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Saturday, December 30, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 30, 2023

Mayoral candidate Kimo Alameda sign waving Saturday morning ahead of his 'Ohana Fun Day in Nāʻālehu.
Photo from Friends of Kimo Alameda

DR. KIMO ALAMEDA BROUGHT HIS CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR TO KAʻŪ on Saturday, with sign waving followed by an 'Ohana Fun Day at Nāʻālehu Park. 
     He said, "The event was incredibly successful with the help of campaign manager Raylene Moses and her team. Nearly 400 attendees came to hear a message of hope and inspiration."
     Alameda said he made made note of concerns about Pāhala’s broken lights and scoreboard at its ball field to Nāʻālehu’s "condemned lights and unfinished tennis court. 
    "I also spoke to residents from Wai‘ōhinu requesting a simple fix of a long overdue, broken bathroom. Oceanview residents expressed concerns of wild dogs and drug houses."
Tent of kupuna set to meet with mayoral candidate.
Photo from Friends of Kimo Alameda
      He said, "I was happy to see that connections in Kaʻū are still strong with everybody being related or somehow connected through their church, work, or a friend of a friend. I look forward to connecting with the Kaʻū  team to do this again sometime in July."
    Alameda is the former executive director of the Bay Clinic, which is now Hawai'i Community Health Center in Nāʻālehu, after a merger he helped to orchestrate. He is also known for his time with the County Office of Aging, where he ran services for seniors. 
    Alameda has led anti-fentanyl campaigns, including distributing the antidote Narcan. He said these the anti-addiction campaign around the island solidified his aim to run for mayor on the Democratic ticket. 
    Alameda also served as late Mayor Billy Kenoi's Campaign Manager but said he didn't think he would ever run till he "saw the need."
Halau Hula O Leionalani performs at 'Ohana Fun Day,
a production of mayoral candidate Kimo Alameda.
Photo from Friends of Kimo Alameda
    Alameda said he has heard much from communities around the island about a crisis-level need for affordable housing. He said he sees a workforce crisis and geographic inequality, described by Alameda as  people in rural areas receiving less service from the county than in Hilo and Kona. 
    He said he left employment with Hawai'i Community Health Center to campaign full-time. Alameda noted that he has been working for community service organizations for over 30 years.
   Alameda said he wants to use his business acumen to operate the county in a way that the public can see results from every tax, state, county, federal and donation dollar.

Mayoral hopeful Kimo Alameda talking with Kaʻū folks on
 Saturday in Nāʻālehu. Photo from Friends of Kimo Alameda
.   To tackle affordable housing, he said one approach is to empower local people to build houses they can afford on land they already have, and with infrastructure that can be improved by the county, state and federal government. "Build better, smarter and in locations that make sense."
    He said he also wants to protect the Kaʻū way of life, the fishing, hunting, farming and ranching. "These are activities that are important to people."
     He said he wants to push for more transparency and public access to county government.
Alameda graduated from St. Joseph High School and earned his doctorate in psychological, educational, and cultural studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a licensed psychologist.
     Born in Hilo, he grew up in the hills of Wai'ākea Uka, working with his siblings to make ends meet with his parent's plumbing business and the family ranch. "This work ethic translated easily to other areas as Dr. Kimo gained many athletic and academic accolades and quickly became a state and county government leader," says the campaign website.
    He lives in Hilo with his wife of 29 years, Star Alameda. They are both 54 years of age. They have seven children, the eldest is 26, and the youngest is a freshman at Hilo High School. He said he and his family have always been involved in sports. Alameda hosts a show on Nā Leo TV titled Health is Everywhere.

Pāhala Hongwanji (above) and Nāʻālehu Hongwanji were drop-off and pick up places for Kaukau 4 Keiki in Kaʻū. Vibrant Hawai'i plans to work with these food hubs in Kaʻū again in 2024, including volunteer Glenn Okumura, who guides a delivery truck into place to drop off food. Photo by Julia Neal

VIBRANT HAWAI'I released a year of end report and its leader Janice Ikeda says the non-profit is looking forward to continuing work in Kaʻū. Vibrant helps Kaʻū Food Hubs that serve Ocean View, Kaʻū and Nāʻālehu and surrounding areas and communities in between. In  2023 they partnered for the Kaukau 4 Keiki program. Co-captains Marlene Freitas and Julia Neal led the effort for Pāhala and Captain Marcia Masters led the effort for Nāʻālehu. 
Pāhala Co-captain Marlene Freitas and volunteers help distribute
fresh produce during Kaukau for Keiki. Photo by Julia Neal
     For Kaukau 4 Keiki during the summer school break, the Vibrant Hawai'i report notes that Hawai'i Alliance, LLC, Hilo Products, Inc. Hawai' Institute of Pacific Agriculture and Ho'ola Farms rough pallets of canned goods, milk and boxes of locally grown produce every week to Pāhala Hongwanji, Nāʻālehu Hongwanji and 12 other drop-sites across the island. 
     The report says, "These deliveries were an incredible orchestration of logistics that sourced pantry items and produce for 56,00 meals a week. During the regular academic year, thousands of students receive free or reduced-priced meals, but during hte summer, many schools are unable to continue their meal program due to staffing and logistical challenges. For students living in rural areas, transportation challenges or conflicting family work schedules make picking up Department of Education Gran and Go meals difficult.
    "In an economy that already imports 90 percent of its food, the Kaukau 4 Keiki project provided keiki and teens access to healthy meals, especially low-income rural areas."
Kaʻū Food Hubs participated in distribution of food that reached 4,000 keiki weekly, islandwide during Kaukau 4 Keiki.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Meal kits were provided to the families of 4,000 keiki weekly. They were designed to USDA food guidelines and included over five pounds of locally sourced fruits and vegetables, bread, shelf-stable milk, and protein. "There was a purposeful emphasis on incorporating local produce as part of the Summer Food Series Program: a federally-funded, state-administered program that reimbursed Vibrant Hawai'i for the meal kits."
     See this and other Vibrant Hawai'i programs at www.vibranthawaii.org.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY MAY BE OUT IN KAʻŪ to help people become homeowners in 2024. The organization helps to construct homes with sweat equity of the owners-to-be and volunteers, also offering assistance with financing. New programs could begin in Kaʻū as early as summer, said Margaret Tanaka, the non-profit's community outreach director. 
    Habitat released an end of year statement about its housing ministry on Hawai'i Island, reporting 
Congresswoman Jill Tokuda assisted with building
a home for Habitat for Humanity.
that ten Habitat affordable homes on this island are in various construction phases. In 2023, Habitat completed three critical home repair projects, and two more critical home repair projects are in progress with at least four more projects expected to start in 2024. 
      Over 20 families applied for Habitat's  November offering for new builds. "A lot of work to be done, but it will mean that many more families will have a place to call their own," said the Habitat report.
     Kaʻū's Congresswoman Jill Tokuda and staff volunteered to help build a home earlier this year. They worked alongside Habitat volunteers, the homeowners, and Habitat staff and board members putting up a house wrap and windows.
    Any company, non-profit or other group wanting to volunteer with their team, can contact info@habitathawaiiisland.org.
​    Habitat for Humanity Hawai'i Island's Board of Directors are: Richard Tardiff - President; Gail Noeau - Vice President; Dr. Ann Marie Muramoto - Secretary; Hobbs Lowson - Treasurer; Leiola Augustine;
April Bates; Alexander Keeley; Bo Kahui; Edwina Fujimoto and Napua Kekauoha-Chartrand.
Advisory members are Steve Machesky and Julie Ziemelis. Executive Director is Chris Marlett Patulski.
    Learn more at habitathawaiiisland.org.

PROTECT SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF FOUR-LEGGED FAMILY MEMBERS the New Year approaches, said a statement from Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth, along with the Animal Control and Protection Agency.
    New Year's celebrations "are a time of joy and festivity, but they can also be stressful for pets, particularly dogs. The Animal Control and Protection Agency has observed a surge in calls for lost dogs
during this period, many of which can be prevented with a few simple measures," says the statement.
    "Fireworks, a hallmark of New Year's celebrations, can be frightening for dogs, leading them to escape from yards and properties in search of safety. To mitigate this risk, Mayor Roth encourages pet owners to secure their dogs indoors or in a properly fenced outdoor area during the holiday season.
    "Pets are family for many residents, and our goal this holiday season is to ensure their safety," said the Mayor. "With a rise in lost dog reports during New Year celebrations, we're asking our pet owners to help minimize their stress and worry during the festivities by taking a couple of simple steps that can ensure the safety of themselves and their four-legged friends."
    In addition to securing pets, the Mayor recommends having dogs microchipped as a reliable and permanent form of identification. Collars can break or be removed, but a microchip ensures that vital information is always accessible, significantly increasing the chances of a lost pet being reunited with its owner.
    "After getting your pet microchipped, take the extra step to register their information with one of the many online registration organizations. This proactive measure will expedite the process of reuniting you with your furry friend if they are found," said Matt Runnells, Animal Control and Protection Agency Administrator.
    For more information or assistance, contact the Animal Control and Protection Agency at 808-327-3558.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 29, 2023

Photograph of the Dec. 31, 1974 eruption from the Southwest Rift Zone of Kīlauea. This early morning shot shows the lava fountains feeding the eruption and throwing lava bombs to 115–130 feet (35–40 meters) high. This eruption was very brief, lasting from 2:56 a.m. to around 8:50 a.m.
USGS photo by Robin Holcomb

NEW YEAR'S EVE 1974 IS THE DATE OF THE MOST RECENT ERUPTION BETWEEN  PĀHALA AND VOLCANO in the Southwest Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano. This week's Volcano Watch, written by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Drew Downs, explains, in the context of recent seismic activity in the area: 
     Kīlauea is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, with a majority of its eruptions occurring at its summit or one of its two rift zones, the East Rift Zone and Southwest Rift Zone. The Southwest Rift Zone hasn't erupted since New Year's Eve 1974; almost exactly 49 years ago.
    Recent activity at Kīlauea has been concentrated at the summit (2008–2018 and 2020–2023 eruptions), middle East Rift Zone at Puʻuʻōʻō (1983–2018), and the lower East Rift Zone eruption (2018). These eruptions have all demonstrated Kīlauea's awe-inspiring behavior, with sometimes tragic impacts.
    Now is an apt time to revisit the 1974 Southwest Rift Zone eruption in the wake of the recent elevated
The Southwest Rift Zone paralells Hwy 11 from Kilauea caldera
to the ocean near Punalu'u. Image from Smithsonian Institute

seismicity in similar areas. Elevated earthquake activity, sometimes over a hundred earthquakes a day, has been occurring since early October in the south caldera and Southwest Rift Zone regions of Kīlauea.
    Kīlauea erupted three times in 1974; twice at the summit—in July and September—and once from the Southwest Rift Zone in December. Immediately following the September 1974 summit eruption, the summit region of Kīlauea started undergoing very high rates of inflation (approximately 30 microradians of ground tilt from September to December).
    Seismicity increased in the summit and upper East Rift Zone regions for the month leading up to the December eruption. By the evening of December 30, the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone were experiencing earthquakes at a rate of 2–4 per minute. Just after midnight, at 12:10 a.m. HST on December 31, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) seismic alarm sounded, tiltmeters recorded sharp deflation, and increased tremor indicated that magma was on the move out of the summit region.
    HVO staff did not have long to wait, with the first lava fountains observed on New Year's Eve at 2:56 a.m. HST in the Kaʻū Desert region of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. These lava fountains reached average heights of 115–130 feet (35–40 meters), but on rare occasions threw lava bombs up to 330 feet (100 meters) high. Over ten fissures eventually opened during the first hour of the eruption, to the east-northeast and west-southwest, forming a near-continuous fountain of lava that stretched over 2.5 miles (4.2 kilometers) long.
USGS map showing numerous earthquakes on the Southwest 
Rift Zone for nine days in October of this year. 
    Lava fountain heights started to rapidly decline throughout the morning and the eruption was over by 8:50 a.m. HST. Despite the short duration of this eruption—only about six hours—lava managed to flow approximately 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from source fountains, emplacing an uncommonly thin (typically less than 1 meter or 3 feet thick) lava flow across a large area of the upper Southwest Rift Zone.
    HVO continues to monitor the ongoing unrest in the summit and Southwest Rift Zone regions of Kīlauea, with increased rates of earthquakes and ground deformation indicating that magma is moving in this area. Learn about this activity in Kīlauea updates that posted daily at https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/volcano-updates.
    Whether this increase in activity over the past several months is a prelude to a new eruption in the Southwest Rift Zone in the near future, or if another summit eruption will occur is not possible to forecast currently. However, the Southwest Rift Zone remains an active part of Kīlauea that will experience lava flows in the future.

Volcano Activity Updates: Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY.
The unrest associated with the intrusion that began in early October southwest of Kīlauea's summit continues. Earthquake activity in Kīlauea's summit region over the past week remained relatively low. The Uēkahuna tiltmeter—located northwest of the caldera—showed several microradians of net tilt over the past week, as did the Sand Hill tiltmeter—located southwest of the caldera. Unrest may continue to wax and wane with changes to the input of magma into the area and eruptive activity could occur in the near future with little or no warning. The most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate for the summit—approximately 70 tonnes per day—was measured on December 5.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL.
    Webcams show no signs of activity on Mauna Loa. Summit seismicity has remained at low levels over the past month. Ground deformation indicates continuing slow inflation as magma replenishes the reservoir system following the 2022 eruption. SO2 emission rates are at background levels.
    Three earthquakes were reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the week ending Wednesay: a M3.4 earthquake 14 km (8 mi) SW of Volcano at 27 km (16 mi) depth on Dec. 23 at 4:42 HST p.m., a M4.0 earthquake 13 km (8 mi) SW of Volcano at 27 km (17 mi) depth on Dec. 23 at 4:27 p.m. HST, a M2.9 earthquake 15 km (9 mi) S of Volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on Dec. 23 at 12:51 p.m. HST.
    HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.

Dr. Kimo Alameda is in Kaʻū
on Saturday to meet the people
during his 'Ohana Fun Day.
MAYORAL CANDIDATE DR. KIMO ALAMEDA said he will focus on getting to know more Kaʻū residents and discussing their issues this Saturday, Dec. 30 Kaʻū 'Ohana Fun Day event at Na'alehu Park & Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. He invites the public to join him at  9 a.m. for sign waving in Na'alehu before his event. All sign-wavers will receive a free double shaka t-shirt and be entered into a drawing to win prizes.
    Emcee will be Kurt Dela Cruse. Debbie Ryder's Halau Hula O Leionalani will perform as will Demetrius Oliveira & Friends. There will be water slides, basketball and pickleball games, face painting and Kupuna Bingo.
     The event is designed for family fun and Alameda said that the waterslide will be the biggest and the best that island has to offer. He said, "The Kupuna Bingo will be exciting, and Debbie Ryder's Halau will be performing some new and exciting numbers."
     Throughout the day, Alameda said, he will make his rounds listening to individuals and families, "hearing their concerns and possible solutions for a better South Hawai'i."
    See more on Alameda's run for Mayor of Hawai'i County at www.kimoformayor.com.

Police Activities League hosts a
Young Boxers Spring Showdown.
YOUTH BOXERS FROM KAʻŪ ARE INVITED TO JOIN other young boxers from around the island and beyond for the Hawai'i Island Police Activities League (HI-PAL) Youth Boxing Spring Showdown on Friday, March 22, 2024, at the Old Kona Airport Main Event Pavilion.
    Twenty bouts are planned for boys and girls age 8-17, with pre-matching done on a first come, first serve basis prior to event.
    Weigh-ins will be in the morning, time to be determined, with boxing matches beginning at 5:00 p.m. HI-PAL is teaming up with the Ikaikamauloa Youth Foundation (Kona Gold Boxing Club) for this exciting 
keiki event. 
Advance registration with the following groups is required to participate:
    Register with USA Boxing. Go to https://www.usaboxing.org/membership/registration to register your child with USA Boxing.
     Register with the Ikaikamauloa Youth Foundation. Click on the link below, email 
konagoldboxingclub@gmail.com, or call (808) 854-4469. Ikaikamauloa Youth Foundation registration form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdwzsYHCllytwFak4OkWoHaSobtEwGjt4nmrbzkGHGr303DvA/viewform
    Fill out a HI-PAL permission/release form with Kona Community Policing Section. Contact Officer Leonard Warren of Kona Community Policing via email: leonard.warren@hawaiicounty.gov for the HI-PAL permission/release forms and/or for more information.
    For any additional questions, contact Kona Community Policing Officer Leonard Warren at (808) 326-4646, ext. 259.

Devan Delaney
DEVAN DELANEY OF OCEAN VIEW IS MISSING. Hawai‘i Island police are asking for the public’s assistanceIn locating THE 27-year-old , who was Last known to be in the area of the Kahuku Country Market in Ocean View on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 2 p.m., wearing blue jeans and a red/green colored shirt.
     Delaney is described as Caucasian with a slim build, 4 feet 11 inches tall, 90 po
unds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. She has an octopus tattoo on her right arm and a tattoo of a rose on her right thigh.
    Police are asking anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311

Tara Lasham
LOCATING TARA LASHAM, last seen in Ocean View, is an aim of Hawai‘i Island police who are renewing their request for the public’s assistance with locating the 39-year-old. She is wanted on an outstanding warrant and for questioning relative to a custodial interference investigation. Lasham may be in the company of her six-year-old daughter Solenne Grimes.
    The mother and daughter were last seen a year and a half ago, on Wednesday July 27, 2022, in Ocean View.
Tara is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair. She is known to frequent both north and south Kona areas. Solenne Grimes is described as 3 feet 5 inches tall, 35 pounds, with blue eyes and blonde hair.
    Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of Tara Lasham or Solenne Grimes to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or contact Detective John Kari by phone at (808) 326-4646, ext. 265, or by email at John.Kari@hawaiicounty.gov.
Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.


Thursday, December 28, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 28, 2023

A hiker on Maunaiki Trail, has reopened in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. See more below. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
A MAGNITUDE 4.4 EARTHQUAKE OCCURRED 4 MILES SOUTHEAST OF PĀHALA in the ocean on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 3:16 p.m. with reports of moderate shaking, no damage and no tsunami. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a depth of 8 mi below sea level. The earthquake had no apparent impact on either Mauna Loa or Kīlauea volcanoes.
    The HVO statement says, "This earthquake appears to be the result of faulting on the offshore section of Kīlauea’s Southwest Rift Zone. While the earthquake was felt at Kīlauea’s summit, it did not cause any changes in seismicity or deformation.
    The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's statement says it continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes. Aftershocks are possible in the coming days to weeks 

    More than 90 felt reports were given to USGS  within the first hour. See http://earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/. Ot was widely felt on the southern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. USGS National Earthquake Information Center Maps and Reports for this Event are at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/hv73699997 

Twin Pit Craters in the Kaʻū Desert on Maunaiki Trail. Photo b Janice Wei/NPS

MAUNAIKI TRAIL HAS REOPENED FROM the trailhead near Kulanaokuaiki Campground to the Kaʻū Desert Trail intersection in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The park temporarily closed Maunaiki Trail in October because of increased seismicity in the Southwest Rift Zone of Kīlauea volcano. Kīlauea is not erupting, and other than Thursday's quake, seismicity has been low in the Southwest Rift Zone, the summit region and the upper East Rift Zone according to USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists.
    This remote and uncrowded seven-mile trail traverses the spectacular geological, natural and cultural features of the Kaʻū Desert, including the Twin Pit Craters where koaʻe kea (white-tailed tropicbirds) soar above their nesting sites.
    Although the recent volcanic unrest is quiet, eruptive activity could occur in the near future with little or no warning. Park visitors are urged to plan ahead and check the park website for any closure or hazard alerts at www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes.

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CHANGES IN FIREARMS PERMITTING BEGIN JAN. 1. Established by the Hawai'i Legislature, they include the following: Applicants for a long gun permit will be required to have completed a hunter’s education course within the past four years.

   Permits for long guns are good for one year.
   Regarding handgun permits, applicants wishing to apply for a handgun will be required to complete a firearms training or safety course within the past four years by a certified instructor.
Permits for handguns are good for 30 days.
   The Hawai‘i Police Department statement said it is "committed to ensuring efficiency and a seamless experience for our community members."
    Residents interested in more info or in applying for a firearm permit are encouraged to visit hawaiipolice.com or contact Hawai‘i Police Department Firearms Section at (808) 961-2233.

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HPD ARRESTED 18 FOR DUI from Dec. 18 through Dec. 24. Hawai‘i Island police arrested them for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Nine of the drivers were involved in a traffic collision. Two were under the age of 21. So far this year, there have been 935 DUI arrests compared with 962 during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.8 percent.
   HPD's Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes and found 831 major collisions so far this year compared with 824 during the same period last year, an increase of 0.85 percent.
    To date, there have been 14 fatal crashes, resulting in 15 fatalities, (one of which had multiple deaths, and one was reclassified to a medical condition); compared with 30 fatal crashes, resulting in 33 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths, and one was reclassified to a medical condition) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 54.8 percent for fatal crashes and 54.5 percent for fatalities.
    The non-traffic fatality count (not on a public roadway), so far this year is one compared to zero non-traffic fatalities for the same time last year.
    HPD promises that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

A HIGH SURF ADVISORY FOR EAST FACING SHORES and North Shores has been issued by National Weather Service through 6 p.m. on Friday.
    The Civil Defense statement says, "A High Surf Advisory means surf will be higher than normal. Shore breaks and dangerous currents could cause injury or death. Beach-goers, swimmers, and surfers should heed all advice given by ocean safety officials and exercise caution when entering the water. You will be informed as conditions change. For more information, visit the County of Hawaii Hazard Impact Map

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 27, 2023

Mahina & Her Moonset Viewed from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Behind Mauna Loa, the setting of the moon, the mahina, was recorded Wednesday morning by National Park Service
photographer Janice Wei. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park posted: "A hui hou (until we meet again) to the last full moon of
2023."  This mahina is also called the Cold Moon. See more at https://www.facebook.com/hawaiivolcanoesnps
Photo by Janice Wei/NPS

PEOPLE TAKING THE HELE-ON BUS FROM KAʻŪ TO HILO AND KONA CAN pick up bicycles at ten Bikeshare Stations in Hilo and 13 in Kona. These include new stations. Funding of $900.000 for the six new bikeshare stations, managed by the county Mass Transit Agency and  PATH - People for Active Transportation Hawai'i, comes through county Department of Public Works and state Department of  Transportation through the Transportation Alternatives Program.
    In 2016, PATH’s partnership with the County of Hawaii’s Research & Development Department piloted a bikeshare system in Kailua-Kona to test how bikeshare could work on Hawai’i Island, which was 

After riding the Hele-On to Hilo and Kona, passengers can pick up a free bicycle to
 ride. See https://www.heleonbus.hawaiicounty.gov/programs/hibike-bike-sharing
eventually expanded to the Hilo area. As part of this expansion, Mass Transit came on to start subsidizing the bikeshare operation, incorporating it into the family of services provided by the agency.
    "Since bikesharing promotes active, healthy transportation and exercise, it’s important to maintain this bikeshare system as part of Hawai’i County’s multi-mobility or multimodal transportation plan. Bikeshare stations are also incredibly beneficial in areas where a bus route may not make sense because the destination may be close enough to mainline transit. And establishing bikeshare stations near bus routes to get to and from an off-route location eliminates the need to deviate a mainline transit route," says a statement from PATH.
    With the new expansion of the HIBIKE program, PATH continues its partnership with the County of Hawai’i Mass Transit Agency under the leadership of Mass Transit Administrator Victor Kandle to provide Hele-On passengers with a viable transportation option that provides economic, health, and convenience benefits. Hele-On bus riders can continue to access HIBIKE Bikeshare at no additional cost. For free access, every Hele-On rider can ask bus operators for a code to use at the HIBIKE kiosks. This provides Hele-On passengers with unlimited 30-minute HIBIKE rides for up to 24 hours.
    A service of PATH and Hele-On, HIBIKE Bikeshare "is a form of mobility management ideal for anyone who wants to leave their car parked during a short trip or enhance their transportation options. In other cities with a bikeshare system, it’s been shown that local businesses benefit, with an increase in visibility on the street-level, because people are out of their cars and more aware of the businesses around them," says the PATH statement.
    For more information on the integration of the HIBIKE Bikeshare System, visit https://www.heleonbus.hawaiicounty.gov/programs/hibike-bike-sharing.
PATH and Hawai'i County have expanded free bicycle use in Hilo and Kona for riders of Hele-On Bus.
Photo from PATH

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A CONTESTED CASE HAS BEEN APPROVED for Ocean View residents opposing the location of construction of a new 150-foot cell phone tower within 500 feet of their homes. The Windward Planning Commission approved the proposal to file a contested case to challenge the tower during its meeting in December.
    The cell tower Petition for Standing was opposed by Renegade Towers, LLC, which owns a one-acre lot near St. Jude's Church and the county-owned Kahuku Park. Without "standing" the residents would not be permitted to have a contested case.
    In their Petition for Standing, four residents, Colleen Conifer, Donna Durgin, Dana Jackson and Al Sherman, stated that "close proximity to the proposed tower is what brings us to this meeting, and distinguishes our interests from that of the general public".
    The petition contends that, if the cell tower is built, it would have a negative effect on a "high use area," which includes Kahuku Park that provides recreation and "vital social community activities" such as basketball, pickleball, a childrens' playground, a gathering space for groups and a weekly food distribution
Last year, Windward Planning Commission approved
a Renegade Towers cell tower in upper Kaumana
in Hilo, recommending it be disguised as a tree. This year,
Rennegade's proposed tower for Ocean View has become
 a contested case. Photo from Nello Corp.

center for dozens of residents. The petitioners argue that St. Jude's Church would be affected. They also list five documented fires in cell phone towers nationwide in 2022 - 2023.
    According to the petitioners, more than 150 residents have signed a second petition against the tower citing a "negative impact on the residents, including health, safety and property values". Conifer and friends said they continue to collect signatures at the Saturday swap meet and at SolarWorks! in Ocean View.
    The four petitioners are asking the Commission to "reject the proposed site and instruct Renegade Towers to search for an appropriate location with a recommended minimum of 400 meters, 1320 feet, distance from homes and other high use areas in Ocean View." They wrote, "We ask that the Commission rules in favor of the people it serves over profits to a company that has no stake in our community's well being".
    In a letter to the Windward Planning Commission dated Dec. 6, Danette Martin, a consultant for Renegade Towers, opposed standing for the Ocean View petitioners, objecting to many of the petitioners' claims. Martin asserted that the tower would have no ill effects on the health, safety, property values and that towers are often located on school, park and church properties.
    At the Dec. 7 meeting of Windward Planning Commission in Hilo, Louis Daniele, the planning commissioner for the Ocean View area and manager of the Kaʻū Coffee Mill in Pāhala, made a motion to deny standing for the four Ocean View residents. He stated that he lives in upper HOVE and that he supports the construction of the cell phone tower. He
Opponents of the proposed location
of a cell tower in Ocean View are 
circulating this photo of a cell tower
on fire on the mainland.
alleged that hundreds of homes without cell service would have service with the new cell tower and claimed that the dead area for cell along highway 11 would be corrected.
    Before a vote was taken on Daniele's motion, the Commission held an executive session. Daniele said he was advised that the nearby residents have legal standing. He voted to the petitioners' standing. The Commission also agreed to mediation between Renegade Towers and the petitioners, using a professional mediator.
    Conifer told The Kaʻū Calendar that petitioners are waiting for the Planning Commission to contact them and that they expect to be allowed to select a mediator from a slate presented by the Commission.
    She also said that she and other opponents of the tower are concerned about a fire risk, saying, "We don't want any hazards built in the middle of our rural neighborhood when there are better alternatives." 
    Last year, Renegade Towers was given approval for a cell tower in upper Kaumana in Hilo with the Windward Planning Commission recommending that it be disguised as a tree.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 26, 2023

See https://lrb.hawaii.gov/par/, Public Access Room at the state Legislative Reference Bureau, to learn how to introduce,
support, oppose and track legislation and follow Kaʻū's state Senator Dru Kanua and member of the state House of
Representatives Jeanne Kapela. Image from PAR

Dru Kanuha represents Kaʻū'
 and is also the state Senate's
 Majority Leader
PAR, THE PUBLIC ACCESS ROOM, HAS RELEASED THE 2024 HAWAI'I LEGISLATURE CALENDAR. PAR, a part of the Legislative Reference Bureau, provides many ways for the public to become involved in the introduction of new legislation, testifying pro and con and following each measure through the House and Senate.
     The 2024 Hawai'i Legislature will last about four months, opening on Jan. 17.      
     Public Access Room offers direct assistance to the public in helping with research and understanding the process, on line, on the phone and in person at is office and workspace in the state Capitol. It provides training, desk space and computers for people traveling to the legislature to research, testify and follow legislation. See more on PAR at https://lrb.hawaii.gov/par/.

    The public can follow the activities of Kaʻū's state Senator, Dru Kanuha, who is the Senate's Majority Leader. His Senate District 3 runs from Kona through Kaʻū into Volcano. In the 2024 Hawai'i Legislature, he will serve on Committees on Education, Housing and Ways & Means. See more about Kanuha, along with numerous measures he introduced for 2024 at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/legislature/memberpage.aspx?member=184&year=2024.

Jeanne Kapela is Kaʻū's state House
 member and is vice-chair of the
Education & Tech Committee.

     State House of Representatives member Jeanne Kapela's District 5 runs from Ho'okena through Ocean View, Waiʻōhinu, Nāʻālehu, Punalu'u, Pāhala, and Volcano into Fern Forest, Glenwood, Mountain View and Kurtistown and portions of Kea'au. In the 2024 Hawai'i Legislature she will serve on Committees of Higher Education & Technology; where she is vice-chair; Culture, Arts & International Affairs; Education; and Labor & Government Operations. See more about Kapela, along with numerous measures she introduced for 2024 at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/legislature/memberpage.aspx?member=71&year=2024.

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FIREWORKS PERMITS ARE NOW AVAILABLE, reports Hawaiʻi Fire Department. Permit sales began Tuesday at the following vendor locations for the upcoming New Year's celebration. These sites are:
    KTA Puainako, 50 E. Puainako Street, Hilo
    KTA Kona, Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Rd. Kailua-Kona
    KTA Waimea, 65-1158 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kamuela
    Pacific Fireworks, 74-5629 Kuakini Hwy Suite 155 Kailua-Kona
    J. Hara Store, 17-343 Volcano Hwy Kurtistown
The closest fireworks sales to east Kaʻū is at
 the Tent Sale at J. Hara store in Kurtistown.
Kimura General Store 27-289 Mill Rd. Papaikou, Hilo
    Phantom Fireworks Tent, 74-5511 Luhia St. Kailua Kona
    Phantom Fireworks Tent, 325 E. Makaʻala St. Hilo
    Phantom Fireworks Tent, 111 E. Puainako St. Hilo
    TNT Tent, 381 E. Makaʻala St. Hilo
    TNT Tent, 75-1015 Henry St. Kailua-Kona
    TNT Tent, 45-3327 Kou St. Honokaʻa
    TNT Tent, 16-711 Milo St. Keaʻau
    No permits will be sold in the Parker Ranch Shopping Center Food Court this year.
    Fireworks permits will also be available for purchase at: 
    Fire Administration Office at Hilo County Building, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 2501, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. through Dec. 29. Call 808-932-2911 to set up an appointment.
    Kona Fire Prevention Office at West Hawaiʻi Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Bldg E, second floor, by appointment only through Dec. 29. Call 808-323-4760 to set up an appointment.
    Each permit costs $25 and will entitle the holder to purchase 5,000 firecrackers. Multiple permit purchases are authorized. Permits shall only be issued to persons 18 or older and are nontransferable and non-refundable. Fireworks sales will began on Dec.r 26 and end at midnight on New Year's Eve.
      Permits are not required for the purchasing of novelties and paperless firecrackers.

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SETTING OFF FIREWORKS FOR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS IS ALLOWED between 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 1 a.m. on New Year's Day. Permits shall be visibly displayed at the site of use during the firing.
    Hawai'i Fire Department reminds the public that it is illegal for anyone to:

    Remove the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any firework;
    Throw fireworks from, at, or into any vehicle; 

  Set off any fireworks at any time outside specified periods.
    Set off fireworks within 1,000 feet of any hospital, convalescent home, care home for the elderly, zoo, animal hospital or shelter, or church when services are held; on any school property without authorization from the said school official; on any public way such as a highway, alley, street, sidewalk, or park.

    Offer for sale, sell, or give any fireworks to minors; or for any minor to possess, purchase, sell, or set off, ignite, or otherwise cause to explode any fireworks, except under the immediate supervision of an adult;

     Set off any aerial luminary devices, commonly called Sky Lanterns or Hawaiʻi Lanterns, or any other aerial devices, such as bottle rockets, skyrockets, Roman candles, cakes, mortars, or shells.
    The Hawaiʻi Fire Department asks everyone to please kōkua in helping the Department prevent fires and avoid the unnecessary injuries caused by fireworks each year.
     HFD says that rresidents can help by using extreme care when setting off fireworks. Children playing with fireworks should always be under an adult's close supervision. Even the smallest of fireworks can cause severe injuries that will quickly ruin the Holidays. Please help us to help you start the New Year off safely.
     Fireworks should be set off in an area well away from dry grass or flammable materials.
    Light fireworks one at a time. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
    Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
    Never place any part of your body directly over or under a fireworks device when lighting the fuse.            Never hold a lighted firework in your hand or aim it at another person.
    Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
    Be mindful of lighting fireworks during moderate to high winds that could contribute to spreading a brush fire rapidly.
    Be sure fireworks are completely extinguished before being disposed of.
    Have a fire extinguisher and/ or a water hose for use during an unplanned or unexpected fire. Be sure the water hose(s) can reach all areas where fireworks are being conducted, especially around the entire house. Wetting down any dry, grassy area before and after setting off Fireworks is also a great idea. Doing it before will also let you know the capability of your water source.
    Wear protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries.
    If injured, get medical attention immediately by calling 911.
    For more information on purchasing Fireworks permits, the use of Fireworks, or the Fireworks Amnesty program, call Fire Prevention Branch at 932-2911 (Hilo) or 323-4760 (Kona).

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