About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs March 2, 2012

Graph compares Hawai`i County's operating budgets for the last few years.

THE MAYOR’S PROPOSED COUNTY BUDGET IS $365.3 MILLION. Mayor Billy Kenoi released the draft yesterday, promising to refrain from raising property taxes though land values have tanked over the last four years. The county expects to take in $8.8 million less in property taxes in the coming fiscal year. Property tax income pays for more than half the county budget. Another chunk comes from the hotel room tax, collected by the state and distributed to the counties. Kenoi vowed to lobby at the Legislature this year to make sure it isn’t taken away from the counties.
      Kenoi pointed to the new budget as 9.4 percent lower than when he took office more than three years ago. Kenoi said he and his staff “realize that people, businesses, individuals cannot sustain a property tax increase, when people have been experiencing so many challenges.” He praised Bill Takaba, the county’s managing director, for creating a budget without tax hikes. The budget cancels or delays vehicle replacements, consulting contracts and overtime, reported Big Island Video News, which was on the scene.
      Over the next two months the mayor and department heads will take input from the public and the County Council, tweak the draft, and present a final budget to the Council on May 5. The Council will likely amend and approve it before it goes into effect July 1.
      The mayor said he is helping to cover next year’s expenses by using $18 million left over from the current fiscal year, refraining from filling 200 county jobs that have no workers, and cutting solid waste funding by $2.3 million without reducing services. Kenoi proposes to preserve $1.5 million in grants for nonprofits and for senior citizen and children’s programs. He eliminated a West Hawai`i golf subsidy and may end the county’s lava viewing program in lower Puna.

Bob and Julie Jacobson
NEITHER BOB NOR JULIE JACOBSON will seek the open state House of Representatives seat that will likely run from Punalu`u along the corridor to Kea`au, once the new reapportionment maps are finished. The State House of Representative district lines have been redrawn, along with the state Senate lines. Rep. Bob Herkes has declared that he will run for a new state Senate seat, leaving the district open from Punalu`u to Kea`au. The other newly drawn district for the state House will likely start west of Punalu`u and run into Kona and will likely be sought by incumbent Kona House member Denny Coffman. 
      The reapportionment commission, however, delayed finalizing maps this week, following testimony claiming gerrymandering. It will meet in Honolulu again next week before finalizing maps.
      Jacobson told The Ka`u Calendar that he and Julie, who spent a decade serving as County Council members representing South Kona, Ka`u and part of Puna, are very happy living in the rainforest and growing tea. Their company, Hawai`i Rainforest Tea, will be represented in the Philadelphia International Flower Show March 4 - 11. Jacobson said that the county and University of Hawai`i have been very helpful in helping the couple start up their tea business. The Jacobsons, longtime Green Party members, said that growing tea under the shade of native forests is a way to help preserve them.

A meeting about Ka`u Forest Reserve
management take place today.
KA`U COFFEE is another locally grown agricultural product heading east this week. County Council member Brittany Smart will deliver 50 bags of Ka`u Coffee grown by local farmers and milled at the new Ka`u Coffee Mill to legislators and other federal officials in Washington, D.C. She is attending the 77th annual National Association of Counties Legislative Conference on behalf of the County of Hawai`i, March 3 – 7, but will take time to meet Ka`u’s elected federal officials.

KA`U FOREST RESERVE management is the topic of a community meeting today at 5 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center, sponsored by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. An Environmental Assessment has been published on plans to manage hunting, preservation of endangered species, the re-introduction of the `Alala, endangered Hawaiian crow, and opportunities for hiking and camping in this pristine forest. 

A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit the Ka`u Hospital Foundation Scholarship Fund is set for tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The fund helps Ka`u students enrolled in any medical training program.

A THRIFT, PLANT & BAKE SALE takes place tomorrow at the Methodist Church building in Pahala on Huapala Street from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bolo performs at Pahala Plantation
House Wednesday, March 7.
PROCEEDS FROM A RUMMAGE SALE tomorrow and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Volcano Garden Arts in Volcano Village benefit Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences. To donate or volunteer, call 985-9800.

A HUI HOU TO BOLO at a free house concert, next Wednesday, March 7 at Pahala Plantation House from 6:30 p.m. until pau. Bolo, who plays guitar, `ukulele and uketar, will perform slack key and other string traditions along with original songs, including a song about Ka`u Coffee farmer Bull Kailiawa, a song about the original Ka`u Coffee farmer back in the 1800s and a composition he co-wrote with Daniel Ho and other local musicians about the Ka`u mountain Kaiholena, which was recorded on a Grammy-winning album by Tia Correa and Daniel Ho. Among those joining Bolo will be hula dancer Sammi Fo.