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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Waikapuna is in escrow for preservation, with partial funding through the county  2% Land Fund. Its purchase will bring the amount of property acquired for conservation through the Land Fund to more than 6,400 acres - most of it in Kaʻū. Kaʻū residents are urged to attend 
upcoming Charter Commission meetings.  Aerial photo by Shalan Crysdale
THE SAVE OUR LANDS CITIZENS' COMMITTEE urges Kaʻū residents to attend the Charter Commission meeting in Nāʻālehu on Friday, March 29 at Nāʻālehu Community Center. The organization – led by volunteers who helped to establish the 2% Land Fund, which raises money from 2 percent of property taxes on the island to conserve special properties – proposes two charter amendments.
     The group says the charter amendments would "strengthen the 2% Land Fund Program." One would pay for a full time employee under the county Department of Finance to work exclusively on the 2% Land Fund Program. Pay would come from the 2% Land Fund. The second amendment would provide more maintenance funding for lands already conserved. A statement from the group says the charter amendment would "fulfill the original intent of the Maintenance Fund Charter Amendment to empower the non-profit organizations who are already caring for the 2% Land Fund acquisitions with stewardship grants to build buildings and toilet facilities, and to pay workers whether they may be employees or members of the board from their grants."
Rare fresh water near the shore at Kāwā, conserved on the
Kaʻū Coast through the 2% Land Fund.
Photo by Julia Neal
     The statement from Save Our Land's chair Debbie Hecht says, "Hawaiʻi is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our treasured land should be preserved in perpetuity for our keiki and grandchildren."
     The group also reviews its history: "A small group of citizens met in 2006, and formed the Save Our Lands Citizens' Committee to run a petition initiative campaign. Our petitions were signed by more than 9,600 of Big Island voters. The County clerk disqualified more than 6,000 signatures, stopping the petition. The County Council put the 2% Land Fund on the ballot anyway. Mayor Billy Kenoi halted deposits to the Land Fund in 2008 as his first legislation. We realized that we needed a charter amendment that could only be changed by a vote of the people. We did get a charter amendment approved in 2010, but the Charter Commission put it on the ballot at only at 1%. We got the 2% Land Fund back on the ballot in 2012. Each time the Land Fund has been approved by 63% of voters. We believe this is a citizen's mandate!"
     Most of the 4,428 acres conserved are in Kaʻū, with large pieces on the Kaʻū Coast. Another 2,200 acres in Kaʻū, including Waikapuna, are in escrow. Land was acquired with $27.4 million from the 2% Land Fund, $8.8 million in grants and matching funds, and $2 million from private funds.
     Income from 2 percent of property taxes in Hawaiʻi County amounts to approximately $5 million a year. There is about $19 million in the fund and the group urges purchase of more special properties before they go to development or their cost becomes prohibitive.
Kāwā, conserved with help from the 2% Land Fund, has brackish waters
where young fish and birds live, alongside visitors enjoying
springs and saltwater. Photo by Julia Neal
     Charter commission meetings around the island coming up soon are: March 25 in Kohala at 5 p.m. at the Old Court Building; March 29 in Nāʻālehu at the Community Center at 5 p.m.; April 1 at Pāhoa Community Center at 5 p.m.; April 2 at Honokaʻa Gym at 5 p.m.; April 3 at Kona Council Chamber at 5 p.m.; and April 4 at Hilo Council Chambers 5 p.m.
     Sign up to be informed at Hecht.Deb@gmail.com. Send an email to Charter.Commission@hawaiicounty.gov. For more information on the history, the process, and the successes of the 2% Land Fund, go to: debbiehecht.com/2018/03/09/hawaii-county-and-the-big-islands-2-land-fund-report-3-9-2018/.

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Rep. Richard Onishi
USE THE COUNTY'S .5% SHARE OF THE SALES TAX TO IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, urges east Kaʻū's member of the state House of Representatives Richard Onishi. He testified at the Hawaiʻi Legislature that he comes from a very rural district, over 56 miles long, and "the current mass transit system is very lacking, to the point where school children in my district are unable sometimes to participate in extra curricular activities because the school bus system leaves right after school ends and there's no way for them to get back to their communities. I think the Big Island has huge needs for a mass transit system and, as many of you know, our district, in terms of income, is the lowest in the state." He said to "repurpose the money at the county's discretion is bad policy and it doesn't equally affect every county in the state. I think picking and choosing on this particular matter is not good policy."
Rep. Richard Creagan
     Mayor Harry Kim has asked the legislature to lift the restriction to use the money only for transportation. He said the county intends to continue with the implementation of the county's master transit plan, but that flexibility in spending GET surcharge funds is a "top priority" this legislative session.
     He pointed to increasing cost of public worker benefits, a need for more police officers and recovery from last year's volcano disaster.
Mayor Harry Kim
     Rep. Nicole Lowen, who represents Kona, said she agrees with Onishi that "mass transit is one of the most important things we can be doing for ameliorating cost of living, for reducing carbon emissions, for dealing with traffic." She contended that the "mass transit system on Hawaiʻi Island is the furthest behind in the state."
     Rep. Joy A. San Buenaventura, of Puna, said county busses need to be replaced. "Until they fix our roads and until everyone gets proper access back to their homes and back to their farms (after last year's volcanic disaster), I need to be in opposition" to allowing the county to use its share of the GET for other purposes.
     Onishi told the Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald that lawmakers should focus on acquiring revenue from taxes largely paid by visitors rather than hitting the "local guys" with higher gas taxes, weight fees, and vehicle registration fees. He contended that as much as 40 percent of the General Excise Tax could come from visitors.
Hawaiʻi County's master transit plan.
     Last week, Hawai‘i County Council approved hiking the county's share of the sales tax - the GET - from .25 percent to .5 percent of cost of goods and services sold, increasing the total tax to 4.5 percent. It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2030. The county expects the increase to add $50 million per year to the budget.
     Similar bills in the state Senate and House of Representatives are being considered. Senate Bill 1428 SD 1 and House Bill 1394 HD 1 – cosponsorred by west Kaʻū Rep. Richard Creagan – would both authorize "any county with a population equal to or less than 500,000 that adopts a county surcharge on state tax ordinance to use the surcharges received from the State for infrastructure and public safety." Neither bill has a hearing scheduled at this time, and testimony cannot be submitted until hearings are scheduled. Keep track of upcoming hearings, and read the bills and past testimonies, via the links above.

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Mukini, #40, batting a single against 
Honoka‘aPhoto from Ka‘ū Athletics
KῙLAUEA VISITOR CENTER AUDITORIUM will close Thursday and Friday, March 21 and 22, for electrical rewiring in advance of a planned upgrade slated April 8 through 15.
     The auditorium will again close temporarily from April 8 through April 15 for system upgrades. The visitor center will remain open during both closures, but park films normally shown in the auditorium will not be shown during this time.
     The work will be supervised by the National Park Service and is funded by park entrance fee revenue.

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TROJANS BOYS BASEBALL faced off with Honoka‘a yesterday in a game that ended with Ka‘ū scoring 5 runs. Their opponents took the game with 9. See upcoming games schedule, below.

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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
Thu., March 21, 3 p.m., @Waiakea
Sat., March 23, 1 p.m., host Honokaʻa
Thu., March 28, 3 p.m., @Kohala
Sat., March 30, 1 p.m., @Konawaena
Tue., April 2, 3 p.m., @HPA
Thu., April 4, 3 p.m., host Waiakea
Sat., April 6, 11 a.m., @Kealakehe
Wed., March 20, @Waiakea
Sat., March 23, 11 a.m., host Honokaʻa
Wed., March 27, @Kohala
Sat., March 30, 11 a.m., @Konawaena
Wed., April 3, host Waiakea
Fri., April 5, 3 p.m., @Kealakehe
Boys Volleyball:
Wed., March 27, 6 p.m., host Kohala, Varsity
Fri., March 29, 6 p.m., @HPA
Wed., April 3, 6 p.m., host Ehunui
Fri., April 5, 6 p.m., @Christian Liberty, Varsity
Tue., April 9, 6 p.m., host Waiakea
Fri., April 12, 6 p.m., @Keaʻau
Sat., March 23, 9 a.m., @Waiakea
Sat., March 30, 3 p.m., @Keaʻau
Sat., April 6, 9 a.m., @Waiakea

WRITING FOR INNER EXPLORATION AND LIFE REFLECTION WORKSHOP, led by Tom Peek, happens Saturday, March 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village.
     Says Peek, "With all that happens in our lives (say nothing of experiencing the largest Kīlauea eruption in 200 years!) there's plenty to reflect on and write about. Spring's seasonal transition is always a good time to do that—to pause, ponder and generate new ideas.
     "In that spirit, I'm teaching one of my favorite workshops, Writing for Inner Exploration and Life Reflection, on Saturday, March 23 at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani campus, a rainforest setting perfect for creative respites. We still have a few spots left on the roster… please join us if you can.
     "Discover ways to stimulate the creative regions of your mind and unearth your meatiest memories, highest aspirations, zaniest ideas and most incandescent insights. No previous writing experience is necessary, just the desire to explore!"
     To register, visit volcanoartcenter.org or contact VAC's Program Manager, Alyssa Johnasen, at (808) 967-8222 or workshops@volcanoartcenter.org.
     Peek also announced new stories on the Daughters of Fire news blog, including about the recent gathering of Volcano residents sharing their personal experiences during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.

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Ocean View Community Association Board of Directors Mtg., Wednesday, March 20, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Family Reading Night, Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

PiYo Live Classes, Thursday, March 21 and every Thursday after, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ka‘ū District Gym multi-purpose room. Low-impact Pilates and yoga-inspired workout to improve core strength, flexibility, and balance. Bring mat and water. Shoes optional. Donations welcome. Sara, 520-389-0620

Pāhala Sewer Hook-Up Meeting for owners and occupants of properties along Puahala, Pikake, Maile, Ilima, Huapala, Kamani, Hīʻnano, Hala, and Hapu streets – but not connected to the Large Capacity Cesspools – happens Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pāhala Community Center, 96-1149 Kamani Street. RSVP to Mary Fujio of DEM at 808-961-8030.

Poetry Reading with Joe Harrington and Susan Schultz, Thursday, March 21, 6:30 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Fee tba. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Rummage Sale, Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Discovery Harbour Community Center. Food and refreshments available. Donations accepted March 20 and 21, 8a.m.-4p.m., Discovery Harbour Fire Station. No clothes accepted. All tools and appliances in good working condition. Call for pick-up of bulky/large items. Tom Reis, 503-260-6187, or Ken Shisler, 410-299-5359.

Pastel On-Site Landscape Painting w/Patti Pease Johnson, Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Volcano Art Center. $45/VAC member, $50/non-member, plus $10 supply fee. Beginner and intermediate artists welcome. Register: volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Writing for Inner Exploration and Life Reflection with Tom Peek, Saturday, March 23, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. $65/VAC member, $75/non-member. Register: volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Second Chance Prom, Saturday, March 23, 6 p.m. to 10p.m., Ka‘ū District Gym. Open to adults. Register March 1-20. $25/person. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

HOVE Road Maintenance Board Mtg., Tuesday, March 26, 10 a.m., HOVE Road Maintenance office. hoveroad.com, 929-9910, gm@hoveroad.com

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tuesday, March 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

After Dark in the Park: Exploring the Unknown Depths, Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Justin Umholtz, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation education associate for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, shares his experiences aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, mapping and diving unexplored seamounts via a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/havo

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.