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Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The old parking lot behind the abandoned Punalu`u Restaurant and museum has been cleared
and safety fencing will be constructed in order to encourage parking away from the beach.
Photo by Julia Neal
PUNALU'U: SAFETY, TENNIS, FOOD, OPEN MARKET for the empty properties at the old Sea Mountain Resort adjacent to Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach are priorities, according to owner Eva Liu. She recently spent several months in Hawai‘i and said she talked to many people in Ka‘ū, joined a hula hālau and volunteered for a number of community activities. She said she feels increasingly “in love with Ka‘ū” and wants to stay involved with the local people and receive input for planning for the more than 433 acres that include the county beach park, SeaMountain golf course and old golf clubhouse, the old Aspen Center, and the defunct tennis center.
    Zoning for the property she purchased at Punalu‘u includes commercial and resort. Liu said that putting safety first means taking care of the remains of the ruins of the old Punalu‘u restaurant and museum, just mauka of the big pond at the Black Sand Beach. She said she plans to temporarily fence off the dilapidated area to prevent people from wandering through the ruins as her crew cleans it up and makes it safer.
    Another initiative is managing the parking at the beach. The number of cars parking on the sand is increasing and Liu and crew cleaned up the former restaurant and museum parking lot, mauka of the beach, to help draw beachgoers to a less invasive parking spot. She said she hopes to add on to beach activities with food trucks and possibly an outdoor market in the commercial zoned area, mauka of the beach, next to the tsunami siren.
Increased tourism at Punalu'u Black Sand beach is putting
more cars on the black sand. A parking lot mauka has been
cleared to help with the situation. Photo by Julia Neal
    The non-profit community organization ‘O Ka‘ū Kākou has shown interest in having a farmers market there on Saturdays when families go to the beach. In addition, she said, as she renovates the tennis courts across from the Colony One condominiums, she hopes to put up a small restaurant and Ka‘ū Coffee shop, with a place for locals and visitors to pick up food, snacks and ice when headed to the beach. She said she may add sand volleyball courts and pickleball. For any major improvements below Hwy 11, she said, she understands she would need a Special Management Area permit from the county Planning Commission.

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BY OVERRIDING GOV. DAVID IGE'S VETO, HAWAI`I LEGISLATORS TODAY TOOK AWAY MONEY FROM THE COUNTIES that is usually collected through the Transient Accommodations Taxes. They gave it all to the state, but will allow the counties to recoup the funding by tacking on an additional Transient Accommodations Tax of up to 3 percent of the cost of an accommodation.
    The current Transient Accommodations Tax on rooms in hotels, B&Bs, inns and vacation rentals is 10.25 percent on this island. Combined with the General Excise tax of 4.5 percent, the tax on any accommodation is 14.75 percent. If the county approves a 3 percent hike, the tax to rent an  accommodation will go to 17.75 percent.

Image from Destination Maui
    Mayor Mitch Roth said earlier he opposes the legislation that takes away the county's estimated $19 million share of the TAT and puts it all in state coffers but lets the county implement an additional tax. He said that a hike in the tax by the county would reduce the ability of local residents to take staycations affordably and could event price them out of taking a vacation in this state. The O'ahu mayor supports the tax hike. Kaua'i and Maui mayors were neutral but are expected to approve the hike now that the TAT money is taken from them. The Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association, led by former 
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, opposed the measure that would lead to higher taxes on acommodations.
    The rationale behind the TAT money being shared with the counties was that counties are responsible for many facilities and services used by visitors, including neighborhood and beach parks, lifeguard, ocean and hiking rescue operations, maintenance of roads traveled by tourists and the police department for safety and managing tourism traffic.
    By overriding the governor's veto, the legislators also enacted a 24 percent cut in the Hawai`i Tourism Authority's budget and allow the state Department of Land & Natural Resources to charge for ocean recreation.
    In his veto message today, before the Legislature succeeded in overriding the governor's veto of HB862, Ige said, "the counties would be unable to administer the new county TAT tax because the bill does not provide for how it is to be levied, assessed, and collected." The governor contended that "it is inefficient to create an entirely new set of tax collection systems for each county. Previously, the Legislature granted the state the authority to assist the counties with tax collection administration, such as county surcharges. The Legislature did not grant the state this authority in this bill."

    He said he also vetoed the bill with "concerns that the measure will severely damage Hawai'i Tourism Authority's ability to refocus its efforts beyond marketing, to destination management." Said Ige, "Now more than ever, we need to strike a more sustainable balance with respect to tourism's impact on our communities across the state."
    He also said the Hawai'i Convention Center will be put at risk and that "the lack of special fund appropriation makes it impossible to re-establish convention activity in Hawai'i. This is vital to developing a more sustainable tourist industry based on quality, not quantity of visitors. The bill does not allow for long-term planning and the execution of a strategic plan for the operations of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the Hawai'i Convention Center."

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TWENTY-SIX BILLS PASSED BY THE 2021 HAWAI`I LEGISLATURE WERE VETOED today by Gov. David Ige, including (read above) a bill concerning the Transient Accommodations Tax and Hawai'i Tourism Authority, which the Legislature today managed to override. The governor made the announcement sending a Statement of Objections for each of the bills he vetoed to the Hawai'i State Legislature, as required by the State Constitution.
    "There are more bills than usual on the list this year, for two pandemic-related reasons, and the Legislature had no control over the timing of either," said the governor.
    He said the first reason for some bills no longer being needed is that the state's economic position is much brighter than it was at the start of this year's legislative session, and federal COVID-19 relief funds have significantly helped the state address pandemic relief efforts. Also, the return of visitors to  of Hawai'i led the Council on Revenues to increase its general fund revenue projections by $6.1 billion over a seven-year period.
    "This means we no longer need to take some of the extraordinary revenue actions that were proposed this legislative session," said Ige.
     The second reason some bills are not needed, said the governor, is that the state did not receive the U.S. Treasury guidance regarding allowable uses of the federal rescue funding until after the legislative session ended on April 29.
    "To comply with the Treasury's guidance, I am forced to veto several bills, leaving a gap in the state's budget that must be addressed," said the governor. "I will be working with the House and Senate to resolve this issue. It is critical that we forge an agreement -- otherwise, we will be unable to move forward with the new CIP projects that were included in HB200 – Relating to the State Budget.
      HB53 – Relating to State Bonds and HB54 – Relating to the State Budget, plus two line-items in HB200 were vetoed because they appropriated federal relief funds for uses that were subsequently prohibited by U.S. Treasury Guidance, said the governor.
      HB613 – Relating to Education was vetoed because of concerns about compliance with federal guidelines for spending rescue funds. Hawai'i is the only state in the country with a state education agency that is also a local education agency. According to guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education, state legislatures do not have the ability to limit a local education agency's use of funds appropriated through the CARES Act or ARPA. "For this reason, I have vetoed HB613. We cannot risk having to pay money back to the federal government," Gov. Ige said.
     The governor said he also vetoed other bills because of concerns about policy and implementation.
    SB811 – Relating to the Department of Education, a bill for COVID-19 Testing in Public Schools is vetoed because the Department of Education and the Department of Health have already established protocols to report cases, notify contacts and prevent transmission in Hawai'i's public schools. The measure would increase the potential for individuals to be identified and bullied, especially students who live in small communities.   
     Not vetoed was HB817 – Relating to Agriculture, it was taken off the veto list and signed into law on Friday, July 2. The initial concerns included budget costs and operational impacts for some state departments. "However, it was determined that the bill would help create demand for local food products, which supports Gov. Ige's goal of doubling local food production across the state," said a statement from the governor's office.

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See the Ka`u Calendar July newspaper at

ENROLL CHILDREN, from first through eighth grade, in Kula ʻAmakihi, a program from Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences. It starts Aug. 3. Call 808-985- 9800 or visit www.volcanoschool.net. See more on Page 6 of the The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

SIGN UP FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL IN KA‘Ū. See more on Page 5 of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

REGISTER TO GET RID OF JUNK VEHICLES at a pop up event at Ocean View Community Center on Saturday July 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the pickup on July 17 and 18. See more on Page 11 of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

GET PFIZER OR J&J COVID VACCINATIONS at Ocean View on July 10 and Pāhala on July 17. See more on Page 13 of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

VOLUNTEER AT KA‘Ū SCHOOL GARDEN on Saturday, July 31 at 9 a.m. as part of the Hawai`i Island Community Food Summit. See more on Page 5 of the July Kaʻū Calendar Newspaper.

SIGN UP FOR EXPERIENCE VOLCANO FESTIVAL, which happens on Saturday, Aug. 14. See more on Page 15 of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

REGISTER FOR VOLCANO’S OHIA LEHUA RUNS, which happen on Saturday, Aug. 14. See more on Page 5 of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper's July edition.

REGISTER FOR THE KA‘Ū COFFEE TRAIL RUN, which returns on Saturday, Sept. 18. See more on the OKK event at https://www.kaucoffeetrailruns.com/

WALK THROUGH A GUIDED NATURE TRAIL & Sculpture Garden, Mondays, 9:30 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. No reservations for five or fewer – limited to ten people. Free; donations appreciated. Email programs@volcanoartcenter.org. Garden is open to walk through at one's own pace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. www.volcanoartcenter.org. Call 967-8222.

KAʻŪ ART GALLERY is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in Nāʻālehu. It features and sells works by local artists and offers other gift items. Kaʻū Art Gallery's website has 24/7 access online and is frequently updated to show current inventory items. "We are always looking to collaborate with local artists in our community," said assistant Alexandra Kaupu. Artists with an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at kauartgallery@hawaiiantel.bi

GOLF & MEMBERSHIPS for Discovery Harbour Golf Course and its Clubhouse: The Club offers Social Memberships, with future use of the clubhouse and current use of the pickleball courts as well as walking and running on specified areas of the golf course before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m. to enjoy the panoramic

ocean views. Golf memberships range from unlimited play for the avid golfer to casual play options. Membership is required to play and practice golf on the course. All golf memberships include Social Membership amenities. Membership fees are designed to help underwrite programs and improvements to the facilities.Call 808-731-5122 or stop by the Clubhouse during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 94-1581 Kaulua Circle. Email clubatdiscoveryharbour@gmail.com. See The Club at Discovery Harbour Facebook page.

Aloha Friday Marketplace every Friday from 9am to 2pm on the beautiful grounds of Kauaha'ao Congregational Church 95-1642 Pinao St., Wai'ohinu,

ALOHA FRIDAY MARKETPLACE, hosted by Kaʻū Main Street, is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., grounds of Kauahaʻao Congregational Church 95-1642 Pinao St. in Waiʻohinu, corner of Kamaoa and Hwy 11. Farmers Market, Arts & Crafts, Health Practitioners, Food, Music, Yoga, Keiki Fun & More. Inquiries: AlohaFridayMarket@gmail.com.

VOLCANO FARMERS MARKET, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays. 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Hawai‘i Coffee. Cooper Center's EBT Machine, used at the Farmer's Market, is out of service until further notice. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY MARKET, open Saturdays and Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Managed by Mark Council. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in upper lot only. Vendors must provide own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling encouraged.

O KAʻŪ KĀKOU MARKET, in Nāʻālehu, open Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Limit of 50 customers per hour, 20 vendor booths, with 20 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing required, social distancing enforced. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374 (voice or text) or kaufarmer@aol.com for more and to apply to vend. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

OCEAN VIEW SWAP MEET is open at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.


VOLCANO ART CENTER ONLINE, in person. Shop at Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virtual Shopping Appointments offered via Skype or FaceTime. Book at volcanoartcenter.org/shop for $5. Shop online gallery 24/7. Orders shipped or free local pickup available. See the VAC Virtual Classroom, which features over 90 videos. See volcanoartcenter.org/events, call 967-8222.

KAʻŪ COFFEE MILL & VISITOR CENTER. Buy online at kaucoffeemill.com and in person at 96-2694 Wood Valley Road, daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PUNALUʻU BAKESHOP online at bakeshophawaii.com and in-person 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week in Nāʻālehu.

ALIʻI HAWAIʻI HULA HANDS COFFEE. Order by calling 928-0608 or emailing alihhhcoffee@yahoo.com.

AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE COMPANY. Order online at aikaneplantation.com. Call 808-927-2252

MIRANDA'S FARMS KAʻŪ COFFEE. Order online at mirandafarms.com or, in person at 73-7136 Mamalahoa Hwy, Nāʻālehu.
KUAHIWI RANCH STORE, in person. Shop weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 am to 3 p.m. at 95-5520 Hwy 11. Locally processed grass-fed beef, live meat chickens, and feed for cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, horses, dogs, and pigs. Call 929-7333 of 938-1625, email kaohi@kuahiwiranch.com.


OCEAN VIEW EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY CHURCH holds services on Sundays beginning with Sing-Along on the Square at 10:15 a.m., followed by Sunday Morning Service at 11 a.m. In-person services following CDC Guidelines and Hawaii mandates by using hand sanitizer, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Music and Sermons are posted to FaceBook.com/OVECC. Also see FaceBook.com/OVECC for more. The church campus for Ocean View Evangelical Community Church is 92-8977 Leilani Circle. ovecchurch@gmail.com

ST. JUDES'S IS HOLDING SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary, with COVID protocol in place, including wearing masks. For those unable to attend in person, a Zoom link is offered at
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85798655114?pwd=QW5YSmQwNFAyWVZud3QvSVBiNXJ0Zz09. Meeting ID is 857 9865 5114. Passcode is Aloha.
      St. Jude's offers free food and showers, live church services and community outreach in Ocean View. St. Jude's Episcopal Mission is at Paradise Circle - mauka at Keaka. The Sunday service is also broadcast on Facebook through the St. Jude's web page at http://www.stjudeshawaii.org.
     Free hot showers are open to anyone on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12  p.m. Last sign up is at 11:30 a.m. There are two private stalls. The church provides body wash, shampoo and a clean towel. 
    Attendants take the temperatures of the shower users and ask that all wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The monitors sanitize the shower stalls after each use. However, St. Jude's assumes no liability in the transmission of any illness and posts the cautionary, "Use at Your Own Risk." On Saturdays, free lunches (take out only) are available between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
    St. Jude's is also working with Kaʻū High & Pahala Elementary for educational outreach and better internet for the entire Ocean View Community.

HOPE DIA-MEND MINISTRIES holds outdoor services Sundays at 9:45 a.m. at 92-898 Ginger Blossom Lane in Ocean View. Masks and distancing required. For help and/or to donate, call or text 808-937-6355, or call the Ministry at 808-920-8137. See Facebook and at hopedia-mendministries.com.

DEPRESSED, ANXIOUS, NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO? Call Department of Health's expanded Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. program at 1-800-753-6879 – the same number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawai‘i. Individuals in crisis can also text ALOHA to 741741, available 24/7.

LEARN SELF-CARE THROUGH Big Island Substance Abuse Council's Practice Self-Care Series. For additional series that feature refreshing wellness tips, follow the Behavioral Health & Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group at facebook.com/bhhsurg

KAʻŪ WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE OFFERS HEALTH PROGRAMS. Piko focuses on reproductive health; increasing access, respect, cultural competence, education, and choice. Pilina aims to grow membership and establish a culture of collaborative decision-making. Follow @kau_womens_health_collective. Contact rootsmedieshawaii@gmail.com. Call 808-450-0498.

YOGA WITH EMILY Catey Weiss, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Advanced registration required; $5 per class. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222.

CHOOSE ALOHA FOR HOME is available to families, to provide a healthy way to grow together using neuroscience and positive psychology. Program uses a series of self-guided videos, activities, and "dinner table discussion topics." Sign up at chooselovemovement.org/choose-love-home.


Free WiFi Access for Students is available in Kaʻū, Nāʻālehu, and Ocean View through Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary. Questions? See khpes.org or call 313-4100.

Resilience Hub at Nāʻālehu Hongwanji, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Drop-in wifi and laptop access, free meals for participating keiki. Follows all county, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines. Contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927.

Register for Boys & Girls Club Mobile Outreach and Tutoring Programs at rb.gy/o1o2hy. For keiki grades 1-6. Contact Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island Administrative Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (808) 961-5536 or email mobiletutoring@bgcbi.org or info@bgcbi.org.

ʻOhana Help Desk offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads at rb.gy/8er9wm. ʻOhana Help Desk also available by phone, weekdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Invite Park Rangers to Virtually Visit Classes, through connecting with teachers and home-schoolers with distance learning programs and virtual huakaʻi (field trips). Contact havo_education@nps.gov.

Weekly Virtual Town Meetings, hosted by Kaʻū High & Ka'ū Elementary, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Discussion topics include attendance, best practices, Grab-n-Go meals, school updates, questions and feedback, and more. Go to KHPES.org for Live WebEx link.
Public Libraries are open for WiFi, pick-up, and other services. Nāʻālehu open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pahala open Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., limited entry into library with Wiki Visits. Schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Open for library card account help and reference assistance from the front door. WiFi available to anyone with a library card, from each library parking lot. See librarieshawaii.org.

Free Book Exchanges, at laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu, provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Open to all. Keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them. Selection of books replenished weekly at both sites.

Read Report on Public Input about Disaster Recovery from damage during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.
View the Civic Engagement and Comment Analysis Report at rb.gy/awu65k.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through Papakilo Database, papakilodatabase.com.
Virtual Workshops on Hawaiʻi's Legislative Processes through Public Access Room. Sign up by contacting (808) 587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov. Ask questions and discuss all things legislative in a non-partisan environment. Attend Coffee Hour with PAR: Fridays at 3 p.m. on Zoom, meeting ID 990 4865 9652 or click zoom.us/j/99048659652. PAR staff will be available to answer questions and to discuss the legislative process. Anyone wanting to listen in without taking part in discussions is welcome. Learn more at lrb.hawaii.gov/public-access-room.ECONOMIC RELIEF

Online Directory at shopbigisland.com, co-sponsored by County of Hawai‘i, has a signup sheet for local businesses to fill in the blanks. The only requirement is a physical address on this island.


Food Assistance: Apply for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences COVID-19 Family Relief Funds. Funded by Volcano Community Association, and members of the VSAS Friends and Governing Boards, who have donated, the fund supplies KTA or Dimple Cheek Gift Cards, or gift cards to other locally owned business, to VSAS families in need. Contact Kim Miller at 985-8537, kmiller@volcanoschool.net. Contributions to the fund can be sent in by check to: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785 – write Relief Fund in the memo. See volcanoschool.net.