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.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, March 3, 2019

Muriel Hughes and her husband operate a five-bedroom vacation rental in Volcano, which, she says, provides
 affordable accommodations for people who want to take children to the living laboratory of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes
 National Park. She said she is concerned about proposed fees and rules. Photo from Big Island Video News

THE SHORT TERM VACATION RENTALS PUBLIC HEARING on Friday drew area residents to Hilo. Another hearing will be held on April 2 at 6 p.m. in Hilo, at County Council chambers.
     Kīlauea Lodge founders Lorna Larson Jeyte and Albert Jeyte talked about the importance of vacation rentals. She referred to a research paper commissioned by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority last year on the economic impact of vacation rentals. She quoted, "It becomes clear just how important the vacation rental industry is for residents and local businesses, particularly outside of traditional resort districts. Money spent in the vacation rental industry is money going straight into the pockets of local residents and small business owners who rely on the extra revenue brought in by visitors year after year.
     "Public policy should reflect the demand for a wide variety of accommodations in the dynamic and evolving tourism economy. Imposing harsh restrictions or completely eliminating vacation
rentals, particularly outside of traditional resort areas, would cause serious economic harm. Looking to limit any one type of accommodations presents a wide variety of consequences: Lost income for residences, less activity for small businesses, decreased revenue to local government, and fewer options for families who otherwise may not be able to visit our beautiful shores.
Lorna Jeyte, who founded Kīlauea Lodge with her husband Albert.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     "Alternative accommodation homeowners and operators value their communities and the ability to provide an authentic experience for visitors. Accordingly, local leaders will need to consider the cost to the local economy as they continue to devise a policy framework for alternative accommodations. A balanced and fair approach should allow communities, residents, and businesses to continue reaping the benefits of these options. If they fail to do so, the cost to the economy and local families could threaten the survival of Hawaiʻi's vibrant tourism industry."
     Lorna Jeyte pointed out that Hawaiʻi visitor arrivals dropped in 2018. "If Hawaiʻi deletes many vacation rentals as alternative accommodation choices, travelers might seek their vacation rentals in Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean, Southern California -- all communities with a plethora of options. Please,
planning department, don't make STVR compliance expensive and time consuming and onerous, as many homeowners on the east side of the island, the site most affected by recent natural disasters, flooding, and lava, might leave the industry. Regulate fairly and reasonably and please, then, enforce the rules."
     Albert Jeyte testified and asked, "What kind of democracy are we in?" He called all the proposed rules onerous and unnecessary. He said the rules should have been involved in the discussions before the County Council before it passed the new ordinance regulating vacation rentals. He said he hears that the state wants to eliminate short term vacation rentals. He claimed the director of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority had a career in the hotel industry and opposes vacation rentals.
Albert Jeyte said the hotel industry and head of Hawaiʻi Tourism
Authority are against vacation rentals.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     Muriel Hughes said she and her husband are school administrators and teachers with a five-bedroom vacation rental in Volcano. She said they and others provide affordable accommodations, meeting a need for the thousands of visitors who come to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, a living laboratory. It's "a personal service where we provide hospitality and not in the box. ...We go to the house, greet our visitors, show them around. It's a one-to one relationship that many of the hosts are providing," said Hughes.
     She said her five-bedroom home rents for $350 a night. Most hotels, for one couple, charge $200, she said. "So where can a teacher who wants to give her children the experience to be out in a living laboratory go for that kind of money?"
     Lucrecia Wooster, who with her husband owns several small vacation rentals that provide their primary income, said the rules could create an "overwhelming cost to small business owners. "Our livelihoods are at stake and our small towns like Volcano are at stake."
     See more at Big Island Video News, in yesterday's Kaʻū News Briefs, and in tomorrow's briefs.

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MORE POLICE OFFICERS FOR KAʻŪ are included in Mayor Harry Kim's proposed County of Hawaiʻi operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20. Kaʻū and Puna would receive funding for ten additional police positions. Body cameras are in the budget. The police department would add nine supervising sergeants and six dispatchers islandwide.
     Ocean View residents and various community groups have long called for more police officers in Kaʻū to service the locations that are very far from one another, from Volcano to past Ocean View. The mayor's budget message states that police positions are being added "to help improve safety for our community and our officers." The police department budget is proposed to increase by $5.8 million.

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THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE NEXT COUNTY BUDGET proposes a 10.7 percent increase over the current budget. The mayor calls his proposal "a balanced budget," fueled by $573.5 million in revenues and appropriations going into the county's General Fund and 13 special funds.
     The process includes review by the County Council and negotiations with the county administration, along with public input.
Mayor Harry Kim
Photo by William Neal
     The budget proposal includes two new funds: the General Excise Tax Fund, funded by an increase in the sales tax within Hawaiʻi County; and the Short Term Vacation Rental Enforcement Fund, funded by fees charged to those applying to operate short term vacation rentals, under new rules and requirements.
     The 2019-2020 budget proposal includes $26.1 million in additional salaries, wages, and employee benefits expenses within Hawaiʻi County government. "Fringe benefit increases were a result of higher retirement contributions, health benefits and post-employment benefits, for both our current employees and our retirees," says the mayor's budget message. " Increased salaries and wages are primarily a result of collective bargaining, but also include the addition of several necessary positions."
     The most significant increase in positions is for the police department. Says the mayor, "This proposed budget represents our departments' best efforts to meet the needs of our residents in a timely and responsible fashion, while striving to maintain the level of services our residents deserve. We are committed to continuing our investment in infrastructure, transportation, public safety, and creating safer communities. These investments are critical to the future of our Hawai‘i Island. We look forward to working closely with the Hawai‘i County Council as we prepare a responsible budget to meet the needs of those that we serve."
     COUNTY REVENUE: Real property tax revenue is expected to increase by $15.7 million or 5 percent, "primarily due to new construction and an increase in taxable values." Fuel tax revenue is expected go up by  $6.1 million, an increase of 35 percent. The portion of the 4.25 percent General Excise Tax that goes directly to the county is .25 percent and is expected to generate $25 million. The new short term vacation rental registration fees and fines are expected to reach about $846,000 for the coming fiscal year. Charges for county services are expected to increase by $2.8 million due to increases in sewer charges and tipping fees. Intergovernmental revenue will increase by $3.1 million. "All of these increases are essential to providing services to our community," according to the mayor's message.
     Revenue from interest and investment earnings is expected to increase by $1 million. Increases in grant revenues are estimated at about $3.1 million.
     COUNTY WORKER PAY, BENEFITS: The largest increases in expenditures in the proposed budget relate to salaries, wages, and fringe benefits. "Our contribution to the Employees' Retirement System is expected to increase by $12.3 million, (25.8 percent), due to the increase in rates passed by the Legislature in 2017 and the increase in salaries and wages. This is the third of four scheduled employer retirement contribution increases through fiscal year 2021. The ERS rates were increased by 16 percent  this year for all categories of employees. By 2021, the retirement contribution rates will have increased 64 percent for police and fire employees and by 41 percent for our general employees over the four year period. Fringe benefits also increased due to the $5 million increase in health insurance premiums."
     The budget proposal says that contributions to the Employer Union Trust Fund will increase by $5 million – 8.5 percent – due primarily to the increase in premiums and the increase in other post-employment benefits required by state law.
Hawaiʻi Island public transport will receive more funding, if Mayor
Harry Kim's proposed budget goes through as presented.
Photo from heleonbus.org
     PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: The mayor's budget message says, "Our transit system continues to be a priority as we implement the Mass Transit master plan. Significant funding was provided to replace our aging fleet of buses and to provide matching funds for our anticipated federal grants. New positions were also added to help improve our transit service. Additional funding for our roads will help us to achieve our goal to repave each mile of road once every 30 years. Eleven miles of roads have been paved in the first half of this fiscal year, and have greatly improved the commute for many of our residents." The budget calls for $2.7 million for additional road maintenance and equipment. Grants of $1.4 million are expected to help with improvements in mass transit, with a budget increase of $5 million to pay for new buses, new staff, and federal grant matching money for the transit master plan.
     WASTEWATER: The mayor's budget points to many sewage treatment projects that will be coming online in the near future. "Their operations are growing to be better able to track the necessary repairs and maintenance of our current facilities and prepare for the expansion of their operations as new projects come on line. ....Funding for sewer was increased by about $2.4 million, or 22.04 percent, due to the increase in personnel for the new asset management system being developed by the EPA and for the operation of the new R-I facility coming online. In addition, engineering positions and funding were added to help catch up on repairs and maintenance at current facilities."
     The budget description says that "Debt service increased $3.4 million, or 7 percent, due to State Revolving Fund loans for upcoming sewer and solid waste projects, as well as the increase for new bonds to be issued for projects already in progress."
     BUILDING DIVISION: According to the mayor, "After years of budget cuts, the revenue increases discussed above have generated funding to be able to provide critical services to our community. In addition to the items listed above, two additional plan examiners were added to relieve the backlog in building permits."
      He also pointed to county Parks and Recreation. The budget includes "critical new positions and related equipment to help better maintain the parks in our communities."
     HOMELESSNESS: Says the mayor, "We have not included additional funding to address the homeless problem on our island. However, funding has been received from the Governor's office to create an additional shelter to service this portion of our population."
     HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE programs will receive $750,000 through grants.
     INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY increases of approximately $500,000 were included for network improvements and new servers.
     SHORT TERM VACATION RENTAL ENFORCEMENT planning expenses are budgeted at approximately $846,000.  
     THE GENERAL EXCISE TAX FUND includes a transfer of $10 million to the Capital Projects Fund for transit and road projects to improve the transportation system on Hawaiʻi Island.
     The mayor concludes, "This budget still does not include everything needed, but it does go a long way towards improving the services required by our community."
      THE PUBLIC SAFETY DISASTER AND EMERGENCY FUND increases by $1.25 million "to be prepared for future disaster," says the mayor's budget proposal.

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FREE VISION SCREENING FOR ALL AGES happens Monday, March 4, 9:30 to 11:30a.m. at Kauahaʻao Church in Waiʻōhinu, and Tuesday, March 5, 9 to 11a.m. at Pāhala Community Center. All participants receive screening for near and far vision. Keiki are screened for color deficiencies, adults for eye diseases. Keiki receive free sunglasses, adults free reading glasses. Sponsored by Tūtū & Me and Project Vision Hawaiʻi, projectvisionhawaii.org, 808-282-2265.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
Kaʻū Trojans Spring Sports Schedule
Mon., March 4, 3 p.m., host Konawaena
Wed., March 6, 3 p.m., @Kamehameha
Sat., March 9, 1 p.m., host Kohala
Sat., March 16, 1 p.m., host Keaʻau
Thu., March 21, 3 p.m., @Waiakea
Sat., March 23, 1 p.m., host Honokaʻa
Tue., March 5, host Konawaena
Thu., March 7, @Kamehameha
Sat., March 9, 11 a.m., host Kohala
Mon., March 11, host Kamehameha
Wed., March 13, 5:30 p.m., host Pāhoa
Sat., March 16, 11 a.m., host Keaʻau
Wed., March 20, @Waiakea
Sat., March 23, 11 a.m., host Honokaʻa
Boys Volleyball:
Fri., March 8, 6 p.m., @Kealakehe
Tue., March 12, 6 p.m., @Makualani, Varsity
Fri., March 15, 6 p.m., host Waiakea
Tue., March 19, 6 p.m., @Kealakehe
Sat., March 9, 2 p.m., @Keaʻau
Sat., March 16, 2 p.m., @Konawaena
Sat., March 23, 9 a.m., @Waiakea

KAHUKU PARK HOSTS CHARADES, for keiki ages 6 to 12 years old, on Friday, Mar. 15, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Registration begins Monday, Mar. 11.
     For more, contact Recreation Technician Teresa Anderson at 929-9113. Kahuku Park is located at 92-8607 Paradise Circle Mauka, Ocean View. See hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation for hours.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Coastal Net Patrol, Monday, March 4. Register in advance. Free; donations appreciated. kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, 769-7629

Free Vision Screening for All Ages, Monday, March 4, 9:30-11:30a.m., Kauahaʻao Church in Waiʻōhinu. All ages receive screening for near and far vision. Keiki are screened for color deficiencies, adults for eye diseases. Keiki receive free sunglasses, adults free reading glasses. Sponsored by Tūtū & Me and Project Vision Hawaiʻi, projectvisionhawaii.org, 808-282-2265.

Ka‘ū Homeschool Co–op Group, Monday, March 4 and 18, 1p.m., Ocean View Community Center. Parent-led homeschool activity and social group, building community in Ka‘ū. Confirm location in case of field trip. Laura Roberts, 406-249-3351

Ocean View Volunteer Fire Dept. Mtg., Monday, March 4, 4-6p.m.Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Free Vision Screening for All Ages, Tuesday, March 5, 9-11a.m.Pāhala Community Center. All ages receive screening for near and far vision. Keiki are screened for color deficiencies, adults for eye diseases. Keiki receive free sunglasses, adults free reading glasses. Sponsored by Tūtū & Me and Project Vision Hawaiʻi, projectvisionhawaii.org, 808-282-2265.

Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Mtg., Tuesday, March 5, 6-8p.m.Pāhala Community Center.

Ash Wednesday Service, Wednesday, March 6, 3p.m., St. Jude's Episcopal Church. 939-7000, stjudeshawaii.org

Arts and Crafts Activity: Tissue Paper Butterfly, Wednesday, March 6, 3:30-5p.m., multi-purpose room, Ka‘ū District Gym. Register keiki ages 5-12 through March 5. Free. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Hula Voices with Kumu Hula Ka‘ea Lyons and Lily Lyons, Wednesday, March 6 – 1st Wednesday, monthly – 5:30-7p.m., Volcano Art Center Gallery. Desiree Moana Cruz moderates the talk story session. Free. 967-7565

Open Mic Night, Wednesday, March 6, 6-10p.m., Lava Lounge, Kīlauea Military Camp. Call 967-8365 after 4p.m. to sign up and for more details. Park entrance fees may apply. Open to KMC patrons and sponsored guests, 21+. 967-8371, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

Women's Support Group, Thursday, March 7 – 1st Thursday monthly – 3-4:30p.m., PARENTS Inc., Nā‘ālehu. Women welcome to drop in. Free. Lindsey Miller, 333-3460, lindsey@hawaiiparents.org

All Ages Game Nite, Thursday, March 7, 5:30-7:30p.m., Ka‘ū District Gym. Register through March 5. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch Mtg., Thursday, March 7, 6-7p.m.Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Mardi Gras Fundraising Dinner, Friday, March 8, doors open at 5:30p.m., dinner served 6-8p.m., St. Jude's Episcopal Church. $8/single meal, $15/couple, $20/family. 939-7000, stjudeshawaii.org

Community Dance, Friday, March 8, 7-10p.m.Cooper CenterVolcano Village. Minors allowed with supervision only. Alcohol-free event. Variety of music. Snacks provided; additional pūpū welcome. Free. 967-7800, thecoopercenter.org

Pancake Breakfast and Raffle, Saturday, March 9, 8-11a.m.Ocean View Community Center. To volunteer, call 939-7033, ovcahi.org

The Business of Art, Saturday, March 9, 9a.m.-4p.m.Volcano Art Center. Intensive training for artists who want to grow their business, led by Ira Ono. Fee tba. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Stained Glass Basics 2, Saturday, March 9, 9a.m.-noon, Volcano Art Center. For those with prior copper foil stained glass experience. Fee tba. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Nā Mamo o Kāwā ʻOhana Work Day, Saturday, March 9, meet 9:30a.m., Northern Gate, Kāwā. RSVP to James Akau, jakau@nmok.org, 561-9111. nmok.orgfacebook.com/NMOK.Hawaii

Zentangle: Lava Layers with Dina Wood Kageler, Saturday, March 9, 10a.m.-1p.m., Volcano Art Center. Returning tanglers invited to bring favorite drawing supplies; loaner supplies available. Bring snack to share. $30/VAC member, $35/non-member, plus $10 supply fee. Register: volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Hula Kahiko - Nā Kumu Hula Ka‘ea Lyons and Lily Lyons with Hālau Ka‘eaikahelelani, Saturday, March 9, 10:30-11:30a.m., hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery. Hula performance. Free; park entrance fees apply. 967-8222, volcanohula@gmail.com, volcanoartcenter.org

Nā Mea Hula with Kumu Kaho‘okele Crabbe - Hālauolakalani, Saturday, March 9, 11a.m.-1p.m., Volcano Art Center Gallery porch. Hands-on cultural demonstration. Free; park entrance fees apply. 967-8222, volcanohula@gmail.com, volcanoartcenter.org

Kauahaʻao Congregational Church Fundraising Bazaar, Saturday, March 16, 9-2 pm, just above Wong Yuen Store in Waiʻōhinu. Bazaar vendor spaces on the church lawn are $10 for 10' X 10'. Vendors are responsible for bringing all supplies, including electricity. Church members will sell kalua pig and cabbage bowls, and roast chicken with gravy bowls, as well as baked goods, produce, and crafts. Submit application with fee by Sunday, March 10; call Debbie or Walter, 928-8039, for application.

Applications for a Job to Help Kids with Healthy Eating and Living in Kaʻū are open through Friday, March 15. Full-time 11.5-month commitment from August 1, 2019 through July 15, 2020, at Pāhala Elementary School. $22,000 living stipend paid bi-weekly; $6,095 AmeriCorps Segal education award upon successful completion of service; student loan deferral or forbearance, if eligible; partial childcare reimbursement, if eligible; health insurance; ongoing training; mentorship; and professional development. Apply at foodcorps.org/apply. See the service member position description for more details. Visit foodcorps.orgFacebook page, or contact seri.niimi-burch@foodcorps.org for more information.

Niuhi-Shark Fine Art Exhibit is open daily through Sunday, March 24 at Volcano Art Center Gallery. The public is invited to hear different perspectives on the life of Kamehameha the Great and experience a visual experience of important events in Kamehameha's life from the perspective of two styles of art. The exhibit and supporting events promise paint, prose, protocol, and conversations providing cultural, historical, and educational experiences, with original paintings by Carl F. K. Pao, paired with selections from the book Kamehameha–The Rise of a King by David Kāwika Eyre, with illustrations by Brook Parker. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Preschool Opens Doors Applications are open for the 2019-2020 school year. The Department of Human Services encourages families to apply before Friday, March 29. This program is for families seeking aid in paying for preschool. Applications, available at patchhawaii.org, received during this period will be considered for preschool participation during July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. For more information, visit bit.ly/2TolEOm or call 800-746-5620.

Five Scholarships are available from American Association of University Women-Kona: Three $2000 scholarships will go to female college-bound Kaʻū High School and West Hawaiʻi high school students. Applications must be postmarked by Monday, April 1. Two $1,000 scholarships will go to any female high school graduate or older women attending a two-year vocational program leading to a marketable skill at Palamanui Campus. Applications must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 10.  Application packets available at kona-hi.aauw.net. Contact sharonnind@aol.com.

Beginning Farmer Institute Cohort Applications open through Monday, April 15. Free training program which "prepares new producers of any age or operation type for a successful future in agriculture." Applications at nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.

Kaʻū Coffee Fest invites non-profits, clubs, cooperatives, and businesses to sign up for booths at the 11th annual Kaʻū Coffee Fest Hoʻolauleʻa on Saturday, May 4 at Pāhala Community Center. The all-day event comes with music, hula, coffee tasting, and meeting the famous Kaʻū Coffee farmers. See KauCoffeeFestival.com.
     Booth fees are $100 for food vendors; $60 for non-food items and crafts, including coffee and coffee samples; and $35 for pre-approved information displays. No campaign and other political displays. Fifty percent discounts for non-profit organizations and cooperatives selling food, crafts, and coffee. Vendors must also obtain county vendor permits costing $30 each and a Department of Health permit, if serving food. Call Gail Nagata 933-0918. Apply by Friday, April 26. Application at KauCoffeeFestival.com. Email to biokepamoses@gmail.com; mail to Brenda Iokepa-Moses, P.O. Box 208PāhalaHI 96777; or call 808-731-5409.

Applications for Paid Internship in Kaʻū for Kupu Hawai‘i and The Nature Conservancy are open. Year-long, full-time position in TNC's Hawai‘i Island Terrestrial Program stewards native forest preserves in Ka‘ū and South Kona. $1,600 monthly living allowance, before taxes; a $5,920 education award towards higher education; health care and childcare benefit, if eligible; and receiving an entry-level conservation career experience. Application at kupuhawaii.org/conservation. For more, call The Nature Conservancy, 443-5401, or call Kupu Hawai‘i, 808-735-1221.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.