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Thursday, May 05, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, May 5, 2022

ʻĀina Akamu, Joyce Iwasihta and Kelson Gallano at the book launch on Thursday with the image of Pu'u Makanau
 by Gallano gracing the cover. Photo from Hawai'i Executive Collaborative
 ARTIST KELSON GALLANO'S BOOK LAUNCH ON THURSDAY drew students and family to congratulate the Ka'ū High senior for his illustrations for the 48-page volume entitled What the World Needs Now, A Guide for Helping Kids Make Good Choices. The book is authored by Joyce Iwashita, a retired educator and Ka'ū High School '69 alumna, who also attended Nāʻālehu Elementary and served as principal of Honaunau Elementary & Intermediate and other schools. Gallano rendered the digital illustrations of school campus sites and such familiar places as Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and South Point. His illustration of Pu'u Makanau, the table top mountain above Punalu'u, graces the cover.

Ka Lae illustration by Kelson Gallano with writing by Joyce Iwashita.
From the book What the World Needs Now.
    What the World Needs Now offers young readers simple actions they can do to uplift their community and make positive choices. The book is available  at www.bookshawaii.net. Proceeds will benefit art education and literacy at Ka'ū High & Pāhala Elementary School. Yamashita set up a non-profit organization for this purpose. 
    The event is part of Hawai'i Executive Collaborative's community revitalization project known as Kaʻū Dream, launched in October 2021. Kaʻū Dream is a community resiliency model – developed by and for the community – that aims to build a vibrant, thriving and sustainable Kaʻū through education and economic development. One of its portals is the Ka'u Global Learning Lab.
Students on the stairs of a historic Ka'u High & Pahala Elementary building.
Illustration by Kelson Gallano, words from Joyce Iwashita.

    Gallano, son of Brenda and Tymon Gallano of Pāhala and grandson of Fely Villegas, of Pāhala, said he was drawn to becoming the illustrator for the book after he worked in design at the school, coming up with a sweet potato logo for a micro-business he launched. Iwashita admired the logo and asked him to collaborate on the book. Much or the interaction between author and illustrator took place over the last year over zoom.
    Gallano said the work has inspired him to seek an education in graphic design. He said he plans to work as a ranger with
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park after graduation this year, followed by applying to college to continue his art education.
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is the Kelson Gallano image to illustrate "Choose
 to take care of our environment" in the new book What the World Needs Now.
    ʻĀina Akamu, the director of the Ka'ū Global Learning Lab and Ka'ū Agri-preneurship Academy,  stressed the importance of educational materials that are relevant locally, so that students can identify with them. He said that books don't usually represent places like Ka'ū and that this kind of book can help readers experience a "release of mana," good positive energy. He also said he is particularly proud that the publication comes with an ISBN number, and will be archived in the permanent Library of Congress' American, Hawai'i Pacific collection.
    A statement from Hawai'i Executive Collaborative says, "The initiative emphasizes humanity and the arts to elevate the entire community's overall well-being. Kaʻū Dream helped transform Kaʻū High School's Academy offerings, positioning it as a new educational hub for the entire community. "The school now provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to foster community resiliency and become contributing members of the Kaʻū community."
    Derek Kurisu, founder of the Mountain Apple Brand and Executive Vice President of KTA, is also a member of Hawai'i Executive Collaborative. He praised the collaboration to produce the book.  Pomaikai Bartolome, representing Mayor Mitch Roth and whose grandfather is from Kaʻū, shared the mayor's support for the project. Purchase the book at www.bookshawaii.net.

Second graders receive the new book What the World Needs now after a reading and talk
with its creators. Photo by Julia Neal

A REDUCTION IN PROPERTY TAXES is a key measure included in the Hawai'i County Budget for fiscal year 2022 - 23. Mayor Mitch Roth released the budget on Thursday. His statement urges the County Council to reduce tax rates on nearly all real property tax classes.
     While residential rates would remain the same, including for owner/occupants, the mayor proposed to decrease property tax rates per $1,000 valuation from $6.15 to $6.10 for Affordable Rentals; from $11.70 to $11.10 for Apartments; $10.70 to $10.50 for Commercial and Industrial; $9.35 to $9.10 for Agriculture; and $11.55 to $11.10 for Conservation and Resort.
    The final budget reflects an $89.8 million increase from the draft budget he submitted to Council in March. "The increase is predominantly due to grant revenue and includes funding to tackle some of Mayor Roth’s priority initiatives like affordable housing, sustainability, and homelessness." 
    Other reasons given for the increase include employee fringe benefits and a drastic rise in utility costs. “We have seen our residents and on-island businesses struggle through the pandemic, and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure they bounce back stronger than ever,” said Roth. “Our communities have been more resilient because of the work of our small businesses, who never once wavered, and providing them a small reduction in real property tax in the coming fiscal year is the least we can do to help them recover cost from a rough two years. We hope the Council will agree with our suggested rates and join us in uplifting those who have uplifted us.” 
    The budget also includes a new engine for our fire helicopter to ensure community and employee safety, adding positions to provide better and more responsive services, and improving the reliability and safety of the county's critical systems and data. 
    The statement said Roth's administration is also committed to innovative solutions for long-term success, such as converting the County fleet to hybrid and clean energy vehicles, taking care of our facilities and parks, and increasing grant funding for recycling. "This proposed budget represents our departments’ best efforts to meet our residents’ needs quickly and responsibly while striving to maintain the level of services our residents deserve,” said the mayor.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY IS DUE FRIDAY FOR MILOLIʻI COMMUNITY-BASED SUBSISTENCE FISHING AREA MANAGEMENT PLAN. By the end of May 6, submit testimony to state Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813. Email DLNR.Aquatics@hawaii.gov. All interested persons may submit testimony. To view the online Public Hearing held on April 20, go to: www.youtube.com/channel/UCpGVbR8IMi1hnPksQeSVUZA. Also see The Kaʻū Calendar story at 

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

LEI LAʻI WORKSHOP at Kahuku Visitor Contact Station  in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is on Friday, May 6 at 9:30 a.m. Learn to wili (twist) a ti leaf lei. Materials provided. This workshop is part of ʻIke Hana Noʻeau (a Hawaiian skills program) on the first Friday of every month.

CINCO DE MAYO DINNER at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church is on Friday, May 6. Doors open at 4 p.m. Dinner includes enchilada, Spanish rice, refried beans, and dessert. Dine in or take out. From Hwy 11 turn mauka on Donola Dr to Paradise Pkwy. Turn right to the church.

TI LEAF LEI MAKING WORKSHOP WITH KAIPO AH CHONG is on Saturday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus. Kaipo will teach the making of basic ti rope and inserts to create a full leafy beautiful lei. The class fee is $20/$15 for VAC members plus a $10 supply fee. Pre-registration is required. Register online at volcanoartcenter.org/events/.

See The Ka'ū Calendar May edition at
www.kaucalendar.com, on newsstands and in the mail.