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Saturday, July 09, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Saturday, July 9, 2022

Jumping forward, this Hawaiian Horse carries the rider straight to the calf at the rodeo that continues through Sunday in Na'alehu.
  Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses

RODEO IS BACK IN KA'U THIS WEEKEND, after years of being out to pasture during the covid pandemic. The Ka'u Roping & Riding Association event at Na'alehu Rodeo Grounds drew a good crowd of paniolo and onlookers on Saturday. It's on again on Sunday with slack roping starting at 8 a.m. and the competitive roping, racing and other traditional events beginning at noon. On Saturday, the Rodeo Queen was named. She is Lily Dacalio, of Wood Valley and she reigns over the event with runnerup Zira

Hat's off to the return of rodeo in Na'alehu. Photo by Eva Liu
Wroblewsky, of Pahala. Tickets are $10 at the gate.

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.htm

NOT ONLY RESIDENTS, BUT VISITORS ARE PRICED OUT OF THE HAWAIIAN PARADISE, according to Grass Root Institute of Hawai'i. Its President Keli'i Akina released the following opinion piece this weekend:
Wahine and kane compete in roping and many other events
at the rodeo through Sunday in Na'alehu. Photo by Eva Liu
    It's not just Hawai'i residents who are being priced out of paradise. Slowly but surely, tourists are also wondering whether they can still afford to visit here.
    A survey by Anthology Research of almost 4,000 tourists during the 2022 first quarter found that visitors from the U.S. West who say they will return to Hawaii within the next five years declined by 4.1 percentage points since the same period a year ago, to 82.2%. The percentage of people from the U.S. East wanting to return anytime soon fell by even more, 6.6 percentage points, to 66.6%.
    According to the study, conducted for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the No. 1 reason cited by those who said they are unlikely to return soon was price. Visitors from across the U.S. said Hawaii has become "too expensive." A related complaint was that a trip to Hawai'i has become a "poor value."
Young riders, young calves in this weekend's rodeo in
Na'alehu. Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses

    Allison Schaefers reported in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser yesterday that, "Given Hawai'i's dependence on domestic visitors and repeat travelers, such a decrease in U.S. visitors returning to Hawaii in five years could negatively affect the state's tourism performance."
    This is not to say the state should be using tax dollars to fund tourism marketing. Instead, I am saying we should cast off policies that are unnecessarily discouraging visitor arrivals. As we learned the hard way during the coronavirus lockdowns, any drop in tourism can have a ripple effect throughout every sector of our economy, including our state and county budgets and tax revenues. Like it or not, Hawai'i depends on tourism.
    Even our excessively big state and county budgets are made possible — some might say "enabled" — by visitor dollars. If tourism declines, the pressure to make up those lost dollars will fall directly on Hawai'i taxpayers, accelerating the exodus that has already caused so many locals to leave for the mainland in search of lower living costs and greater opportunities.
Patient horse as the team attempts to tie the calf.
Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses
  Yet, policymakers continue to treat tourists as an endless source of revenue, apparently never imagining that raising the price of a trip to Hawai'i could have a negative effect on tourism trends.
    It's not just Hawai'i's hotels and rental cars that are expensive. Tourists also pay among the highest visitor-related taxes in the nation, including the state's 10.25% transient accommodations tax, the 3% TAT surcharge of the counties, the state's 4% general excise tax, the 0.5% GET surcharge of the counties, plus other fees and taxes.
    Jack Richards, president of Pleasant Holidays LLC, told Schaefers that compared to 2019, the cost of a vacation to Hawai'i is now about a third more than in 2019.
    "The prices to Hawai'i aren't sustainable," Richards said. "[The tourist industry] could get it before because there was so much pent-up demand, and a certain segment of the population would not travel internationally."
    Now, with renewed competition from a reopened Europe and other destinations, Hawai'i is not as competitive as it used to be.
Lily Dacalio is the 2022 Kaʻū Roping &
Riding Rodeo Queen.  Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses
    I recognize that some people might view the prospect of fewer tourists as a good thing. Hawaii residents sometimes have a love/hate relationship with our largest industry. But we should not be blind to the fact that tourism is an integral part of our economy.
    When the Legislature panicked during the COVID-19 crisis and grabbed all the state TAT revenues, and allowed for a county-level TAT to further hike visitor taxes, I warned that higher costs could depress tourism. The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii has issued similar warnings as the counties have tried to eliminate short-term vacation rentals, thereby shutting out another category of visitors.
    Proposals like the $50 environmental-impact fee and continued efforts to shut down short-term vacation rentals will increase the price of a Hawai'i vacation even more, making the state even less attractive to repeat visitors.
    If Hawai'i is going to fully recover from the economic effects of the lockdowns, we must focus on economic growth rather than new sources of tax revenue. That means giving Hawai'i's businesses — and our tourists — room to breathe.
    We can do far more to shape the future of Hawaii tourism with a healthy economy than we can with one that is still limping, especially if we want our state to be affordable enough to both live in and visit.
    E hana kākou! (Let's work together!)

Youth roping with Kaʻū Roping & Riding at the rodeo this weekend. Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses

Safe roping event for keiki introduces them to competitive roping and sportsmanship.
Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses

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.htm

A NEW STATE DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT was established when Gov. David Ige on Friday signed HB2171. The last time a new department was formed in the state was over 30 years ago, in 1989, with the creation of the Department of Public Safety.
    The Department of Law Enforcement will include the Department of Public Safety’s Law Enforcement Division (State Sheriff Division and Narcotics Enforcement Division) and Internal Affairs Office, Department of Transportation Harbors Division and the Department of the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigative Division. The department will also include the Department of Defense Office of Homeland Security, and the Hawaiʻi State Fusion Center.
State law enforcement officials at the signing of a bill that
creates the first new state department i 30 years. It's the a state
Department of Law Enforcement. Photo from the Governor's Office
    “Hawaiʻi is the only state in the country that doesn’t have a centralized, independent state law enforcement agency. The new department will allow more efficient and effective emergency response, criminal law enforcement, investigations and homeland security operations,” said the governor.
    Jordan Lowe, Public Safety Department's Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, said, “The consolidation will centralize command and control for the State’s critical incident management, improve interoperable communications, and the ability to handle complex multi-island investigations and improve overall efficiency of statewide law enforcement operations. The new DLE will also be able to provide additional resources for other law enforcement agencies in both independent and joint operations.” 
    State Sheriff Bily Oku, Jr. said, “We want to thank everyone involved in this past Legislative session who contributed to this momentous achievement to get this bill passed, creating our new State Department of Law Enforcement, It would take a week or longer to name everyone, but we want to thank the many people within the Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division who came together to craft the bill, along with all of the law enforcement agencies that threw their support behind it, and the lawmakers who saw the importance and passed it. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s hard work and support.”

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, July 8, 2022

The late former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe with Sen. Mazie Hirono at Pearl Harbor
in 2016. Photo from U.S.-Japan Council

 THE ASSASSINATION OF SHINZO ABE, who was the longest serving Prime Minister in Japan's history, has drawn a statement from Kaʻū's representative in the U.S. Senate, Mazie Hirono. She responded to the shooting of Abe who was giving a speech for Liberal Democratic Party candidates when he was killed on Wednesday in Japan. Hirono, an immigrant born in Japan and first Asian and Japanese American woman to serve in the United States Senate, said:
    "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prime Minister Abe was a transformational figure in Japan who dedicated his life in service of his country. A friend to the United States, Prime Minister Abe fought for the Japanese people and strengthened the relationship between our two countries.
    "I've had the privilege of meeting Prime Minister Abe a number of times, including during a State dinner at the White House in 2015, as well as during official trips to Japan in 2013 and 2017. During our most recent meeting, we discussed a number of topics, including the importance of the trilateral alliance of the United States, Japan and South Korea.

    "This senseless murder was a barbaric act—and one that I condemn in the strongest terms possible.
    "I spoke with Ambassador Tomita this morning to express my deepest condolences to Prime Minister Abe's family and to the people of Japan. As an immigrant born in Japan, I join President Biden and stand with the Japanese people during this time. We will honor Prime Minister Abe's legacy by continuing to work to strengthen our relationship with Japan, which is a critical ally in protecting the security of the Indo-Pacific region and plays a vital role in Hawaiʻi's economy and culture."
    As a champion of U.S.-Japan relations in Congress, Hirono met with Abe several times, most recently on a Congressional Delegation trip to Japan in 2017. In 2016, she joined Abe and President Barack Obama for a wreath laying at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 2015, Senator Hirono served on the Escort Committee and accompanied him for Abe's address to a joint session of Congress. In 2013, she met with Abe during a Congresional Delegation to Japan and several other Asia-Pacific nations.
In November 2021, Hirono was honored by the Japanese government with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of her work to strengthen bilateral relations and promoting legislative exchanges between Japan and the United States.
    U.S. and state of Hawaiʻi flags have been lowered to honor Abe's life.

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.htm

A FIREWORK THROWN INTO HEAVY BRUSH CAUSED THE DISCOVERY HARBOUR FIRE ON WEDNESDAY. That is the likelihood reported by police who arrested a juvenile male from Discovery
A juvenile male has been arrested and accused of
setting the fire this week in Discovery Harbour.
Photo by Jana Kaniho
Harbour in connection with the fire that burned 10 acres and came within 100 feet of a home on Lewalani Street. The fire burned on one side of Wakea Avenue near Kawiki Street. Police found a burnt firework on the site of the fire.
    According to a statement from Hawaiʻi Police Department, a parent of the juvenile took him to Kaʻū police station on Thursday afternoon where he was charged with arson in the fourth degree. The case will be taken up by Family Court. The fire created heavy smoke but no injuries.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 326-4646 Ext. 267 or email donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov. Also contact the police non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.To remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to caller ID.

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.htm

Kaʻū Roping & Riding hosts rodeo this Saturday and Sunday in Nāʻālehu, with slack roping beginning
at 8 a.m. and the show staring at noon. Photo by Julia Neal

THE RODEO IS BACK THIS WEEKEND at Nāʻālehu Rodeo Grounds. The Saturday and Sunday event sponsored by Kaʻū Roping & Riding features slack roping at 8 a.m. with the show starting at noon. It features competition for keiki to kupuna. Tickets are $10 per day at the gate.