|Sen. Gil Kahele takes children along the ancient Hawaiian trail on the South Kona Coast this summer, waiting for the governor to sign the wilderness bill. Photo by Kai`ail`i Kahele.|
|Mayor Billy Kenoi's|
budget will fund the county.
Photo by Julia Neal.
The mayor’s budget restores the Open Space and Natural Resources Fund to collect 2 percent of property tax revenues. Smart voted last week to reduce the funding from 2 percent to 1.5 percent, parting with Angel Pilago, who voted to keep the fund intact. The funds have been used to conserve oceanfront lands for the public in Ka`u and elsewhere and are expected to help the county buy thousands of acres of coastal lands makai of Ocean View and more parkland at Kawa, a popular surfing and fishing beach. Both were threatened by development during the last two decades.
Smart said her vote to reduce the fund to 1.5 percent was a compromise as there had been a proposal at the council to reduce it to 1 percent. She said she also worried about deferring retiree benefit payments as it puts an extra burden on the county to come up with the money later.
|Kawa was sought by developers but saved by the|
community using it for fishing and surfing.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE SOUTH KONA WILDERNESS AREA BILL is scheduled for signing by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Championed by Rep. Bob Herkes and Sen. Gil Kahele, it is designed to preserve lands rich with cultural, biological, and historical significance. Kahele said, “The wilderness area provides a mechanism to address both the community’s interests in utilizing the area for recreational purposes and protecting the vast amounts of archaeological sites, native plants, and native animals that exist in the preserve.”
The lands in the wilderness reserve are at Honomalino and Okoe from the shoreline to 6,000 feet inland and the Manuka Natural Area Reserve boundary extended to the shoreline at Manuka and Kalanamauna. The bill will prevent subdivision of the state-owned land and construction of new homes or structures within 1,000 feet of the shoreline.
FURLOUGH DAYS could continue at county offices, according to a Stephens Media report this morning, which says that Mayor Billy Kenoi is attempting to negotiate with the Hawai`i Government Employees Association to keep the Furlough Fridays going for the next two years.
TOMORROW’S INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE in Na`alehu is taking applications for participants through today. It begins at 11 a.m. and is followed by a rodeo, which is also on for Sunday. Signing up for the Volcano parade this Monday is pau. It begins along Old Volcano Highway at 9 a.m. on July 4 and ends up with music, food and celebration at Cooper Center.
A FREE PANCAKE BREAKFAST IS SET for tomorrow morning before the parade in Na`alehu. It starts at 9 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
PAULINE WILSON PRESENTS A NIGHT of hot, sultry jazz tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling 967-8222.