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Monday, December 05, 2022

Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

Kaʻū's new County Council member Michelle Galimba with daughter 'Ua at left and Makalapua
Alencastre, Ua's aunt. Photo by Brenda Iokepa-Moses
Kaʻū's new County Council member Michelle
Galimba with County Prosecuting Attorney
Kelden Waltjen. Photo by Tim Wright

KA'U'S NEW COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELLE GALIMBA was sworn in Monday in Hilo, along with the other eight who will serve for the two year term. Galimba is the new Chair of the Policy Committee on Climate Resiliency & Regenerative Agriculture. She is Vice-Chair of the Committee on Legislative Approvals & Acquisitions.
    Her main office is in the County Building in Kona where she will work with continuing Legislative Assistant Dawn Manago, the longtime staffer of Maile David, and Council Aide Kea Loa. Galimba said that "Dawn is continuing from Maile and I am very happy to have her help."
    Galimba said, "I am very excited to be serving on such a dynamic and multi-talented council." She said, "I look forward to our working with our District 6 communities to make our beautiful district a better place to live for all."


County Council Chair Heather Kimbell, of Hamakua,
 left, and 
Vice-chair Holeka Inaba, right, of North
 Kona, welcomed Council member Michelle Galimba.
Photo by Brenda Iokepa Moses
    Department of Hawaiian Home Land's General Plan, updated every 20 years, establishes statewide policies that guide land management and programs over the next two decades. The Department last updated its General Plan in 2002.
    A DHHL statement says "DHHL's General Plan provides a comprehensive policy that ensures coordinated and integrated orderly social, physical, and economic development of Hawaiian Home Lands. It establishes goals and objectives that guide the implementation of the program. The plan is followed by detailed Island and Regional plans that are updated on a rotating basis and on their respective timetables.
    This document is a result of months of consultation with homesteaders and applicants on the Waiting List," said Deputy to the Chair Tyler Iokepa Gomes. "As we enter into the next 100 years of this program, it is critical that we have this foundation to chart the direction and use of trust lands to continue the work to fulfill Kūhiō's vision,"says the HHC statement. An HHC investigative committee was appointed at the August 2020 Commission meeting to oversee the process and met frequently over the 20-month planning period. In accordance with HRS § 9-2.5(b), the members of the investigative committee included Randy K. Awo, Russell K. Kaʻupu, Zachary Z. Helm, and Chair William J. Aila, Jr.
    Three rounds of multifaceted Beneficiary Consultation meetings were hosted virtually between 2021 and 2022 to provide background on the General Plan process and explore existing conditions and future policies related to a variety of topics, including Land Use, Water Resources, and Infrastructure; Housing and Food Production; and Healthy Communities and Natural/Cultural Resource Management; and
Michelle Galimba and Deputy Director of
 Department of Environmental Management
for Hawai'i County, Brenda Iokepa Moses.
Economic Development and Revenue Generation.
    As part of the Beneficiary Consultation process, DHHL also hosted eight statewide Open House events in August 2022 that provided 223 beneficiaries the opportunity to review and provide input on the building blocks developed out of the Beneficiary Consultation meetings that became the draft General Plan. All DHHL beneficiaries, with a valid mailing address, received an invitation to participate in the curation of the plan.
    The draft General Plan was formally opened for Beneficiary Comment in August 2022. In October 2022, the final draft of the plan was presented to HHC along with the report of the Commission's investigative committee. The final General Plan document was approved by HHC at its November 2022 meeting.
    To view the General Plan, or learn more about DHHL's planning system, visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/general-plan-2022.

WHY ARE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO BUILD IN HIGH LAVA RISK ZONES? That  is the focus of questions to county officials from Hawai'i Tribune Herald writer Nancy Cook Lauer. Her story in Monday's edition of the newspaper points to a 2020 study that shows much construction of houses, resorts, businesses and community buildings in high risk areas.
    The study includes a risk assessment with data that reports on all of Kaʻū's 653,292 acres. It shows that Kaʻū's Lava Zone 1, the most risky area for lava, has 52,198 of its 81,299 acres  developed. There is more land in Lava Zone 1 in Kaʻū than in any other district. One Lava Zone 1 area begins at the top of Mauna Loa and heads southwest past Ocean View to above South Point Road. The other begins at the summit of Kilauea Volcano and heads southwest, stopping short of Punalu'u.
    Kaʻū's Lava Zone 2, about 38 percent of Kaʻū, has 164,819 of its 247,214 acres developed. It runs all 
along the southwest coast of Kaʻū and heads up through Ocean View to the top of Mauna Loa.
    Kaʻū's Lava Zone 3 has 103,672 of its 192,131 acres developed. It includes Volcano Village, as well as Pahala and Punalu'u with the coffee lands, farms and ranches above them.
    There is no Lava Zone 4 in Kaʻū. It's all in Kona.
    Kaʻū has the only Lava Zone 5 and 6 on the island.
    Kaʻū's Lava Zone 5, has 4,640 of the 18,308 acres developed. It is along the coast near the Puna border.
    Kaʻū's Lava Zone 6, has 28,842 of the 114,292 acres developed. It includes Na'alehu and communities down to the coast on the east side of South Point. It also includes a large swath from the top of Mauna Loa to lands above Hwy 11 between Pahala and Volcano Village.
    Kaʻū has no Lava Zone 7, which is all in Hamakua and Hilo. It has no Lava Zone 8, which is all in South Kohala, Hamakua and Hilo, nor Lava Zone 9, which is in Hamakua, North Kohala and South Kohala.

ILLEGAL FENTANYL AND VEHICLE THEFT IN OCEAN VIEW are alleged by Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen who on Monday announced that an Ocean View man, 41 year-old Ross Richard Piper, was arrested and charged. The charged are for felony theft of a Hyundai Elantra and possession of fentanyl offenses.
    The Hyundai was originally reported stolen on Nov. 4, 2022 from an Ocean View business located off of Mamalahoa Highway. Piper made his initial appearance in Kona District Court on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. Defense counsel’s motion for a bail reduction was granted over Prosecutors’ objection and Piper’s bail was reduced from $45,000.00 to $10,000.00. 
Richard Piper
    As the Complaint alleges, Piper was charged with Theft in the First Degree (exerting unauthorized control over a Hyundai Elantra without the owner’s permission with intent to deprive them of their property), Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree (exerting unauthorized control over another’s Hyundai Elantra without their consent), and Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree (possessing any amount of fentanyl). 
    The most serious offense, Theft in the First Degree, is a class B felony which is punishable by a maximum penalty of ten years in prison or four years probation and up to eighteen months in jail. 
    The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The case was initiated by Officers James Lorenzo and Xylon Takata, Kau Patrol, and the arrest was made by Officer Elijah Won, Kona Patrol. The felony investigation was handled by Detective Steven Grace, Area II Criminal Investigation Section, and Officer Chandler Nacino, Area II Vice Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. 
    The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Annaliese Wolf. The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. 

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