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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A multistory home on Bamboo Lane in Ocean View burned Tuesday, valued at $525,000. See more below. Photo from HFD

COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELLE GALIMBA'S FIRST 100 DAYS SERVING KAʻŪ, VOLCANO AND SOUTH KONA is subject of her report issued Tuesday. It focuses on animal control, agriculture. the county waste system and its facilities, distribution of her contingency relief funds to organizations and projects in her district, and a mahalo to long time council staff member Dawn Manago who is retiring. Galimba wrote:
    Aloha! First of all, thank you again for putting your trust in me to represent you on the County Council. To be honest, my first 100 days have been about drinking from a fire-hose, climbing the steep learning curve and figuring out how to dog-paddle in the deep end! It has been exciting and challenging and I have
Michelle Galimba reports on 100 days in office
as a member of the County Council
had the opportunity to meet many wonderful, thoughtful people in our District 6 (Volcano, Kaʻū, and South Kona). Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me - I truly appreciate your input and thoughts, even if I cannot always act on all of them.
    Going in to this job my top three priorities were to learn about and work on addressing: animal control, agriculture, and our waste system/facilities.
    ANIMAL CONTROL: To provide some context for the animal control issue, for many, many years the animal control activities and humane services called for in Chapter 4 of the County Code were handled by the Hawaiʻi Island Humane Society (HIHS) under an annual contract with the County of Hawai’i. In 2020, HIHS declined to bid on the contract. The contract was awarded briefly to Hawaiʻi Rainbow Rangers, before being taken back into the County under the auspices of the Police Department as a one year pilot project. In the ensuing year, an internal task force of the County, including Council-member Heather Kimball, former Council-member Tim Richards, and Council-member Cindy Evans were working on standing up a new agency in the County for the purpose of providing animal control - the County of Hawaiʻi Animal Control and Protection Agency. The Council recently completed the process of voting this agency into existence and providing for the necessary staffing and funding to BEGIN to address our animal control and humane services issues in this county.
        I have been specifically advocating for animal control services and an animal control facility in Kaʻū, which we have not been provided with for a very long time, if ever. This will be a small facility to hold animals temporarily to find their owners and/or transfer to the larger County facilities in Keaʻau or Kona, or on to partner non-profit animal shelters. The Council will continue to work on this issue, including updating Chapter 4 to reflect a more modern approach to animal control and humane services, and I will continue to remain engaged with this effort.
    AGRICULTURE: As many of you may know, agriculture is both my livelihood but also a passion.
County Council member Michelle
Galimba wants tax breaks on residential
property where people farm at home.
Being able to produce our own food has many benefits - from diversifying our economy, providing resilience in times of emergency such as the pandemic, creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, and helping with climate change by decreasing the transportation of food using fossil fuels. It is also a rewarding way to make a living and maintains open space on our beautiful island. It is, to be sure, not the easiest way to make a living and it takes many years to get a farm to be profitable. However, I strongly believe that we can make it easier for our farmers and ranchers to be successful by providing strong public support for the public good that farmers and ranchers provide for all of us. I am beginning to reach out both within the County and to other stakeholders to begin to work on ways to help support agriculture in our County. In the near term, my colleague Council-member Holeka Inaba has a bill before the Council that will help our farmers by allowing them to get a home-owners exemption on their home if they also practice agriculture on the same parcel.
Council-member Heather Kimball and I are also introducing a bill that will create a real property tax program for sustainable agriculture production and focus the benefits of our existing real property tax program on farmers and ranchers producing for our communities.
    WASTE ON THE ISLAND: We have many daunting issues in relation to waste on our island; some of them include mandated cesspool conversions state-wide beginning in high-priority coastal areas; aging wastewater systems in Hilo and Kona; recycling and mulching programs; illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles, and not least the EPA-mandated closure of the plantation-era gang cesspools in Nāʻālehu and Pāhala. None of these issues can be resolved quickly but I will continue to work with the Department of Environmental Management, whose Deputy Director, Brenda Iokepa-Moses, is another Kaʻū girl and dear friend. One small but concrete accomplishment that Brenda and I worked on was ensuring that the HI-5 location at the Waiʻohinu transfer station is properly funded to provide refunds for our recycled cans and bottles. 
    I would also like to thank my colleague Council-member Matt Kanealiʻi-Kleinfelder for recently introducing the necessary legislation to set up a program addressing our abandoned vehicle problem with funding that had been available but un-usable the necessary legislation to direct the funds.
  CONTINGENCY FUNDS: In other notes, my office has had the pleasure and privilege to be able to supply contingency relief funds to the following non-profit organizations:
    Lions Club of Kona for repair and maintenance of Higashihara Park;
    Grass Roots Community Development Group for a skatepark at the Olaʻa County Park;
  Root & Rise for nature-based mental health and art programs;
    O Kaʻū Kakou for continued operation of the Nāʻālehu Resilience Hub;
    O Kaʻū Kakou for its Fun Fest and for Fourth of July celebrations;
    Vibrant Hawai’i for District 6 non-profit technical assistance;
    County of Hawaiʻi Parks & Recreation for renovation of the Volcano Statepark;
    County of Hawaiʻi Parks & Recreation for the proposed Ocean View Skatepark;
    Domestic Violence Hurts Families & Pets for educational activities;
    County of Hawaiʻi R&D to help farmers & gardeners fight coqui frog infestation.
    Finally, I would like to note that Dawn Manago, who has served as Legislative Assistant to Maile David for many years, and for a short but crucial period for myself, will be retiring on April 1. I want to thank Dawn for all she has done for our District. She will be sorely missed and if you have been helped by Dawn in the past, I hope you will reach out to her to wish her a happy retirement at dawn.manago@hawaiicounty.gov

Sixteen volunteer and county firefighters stopped the
fire that destroyed this house on Tuesday. Photo from HFC
AN OCEAN VIEW HOME VALUED AT $525,000 WAS LOST TO FIRE on Tuesday. Hawai'i Fire Department Captain Jason Robello reported that the 3,000 sq. ft. multi-level house with two detached carports was found engulfed in flames at 92-9107 Bamboo Lane. Eleven county and six volunteer firefighters responded and put out the fire just before 1 p.m. Residents escaped without injury. No injuries were reported among firefighters. Two county fire engines, two tankers and Medic 20 worked the scene, assisted with volunteer fire equipment.

WAIKAPUNA MANAGEMENT PLAN PRESENTATION WITH FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITY will take place through a zoom meeting, this Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Log on at: www.zoom.com. Meeting ID: 894 9322 7063. Passcode: kau. Dial-in: (253) 215-8782 (Audio only). Meeting ID: 894 9322 7063. Passcode: 545091
    The 60-page Draft Plan, prepared for County of Hawai'i and Ala Kahakai Trail Association, which owns the 2,317 acres is available for review. See https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/edoc/121424/Waikapuna%20Resources%20Management%20Plan_Public%20Review%20Draft_February%202023.pdf. The draft plan is prepared by Townscape, Inc., an Environmental Community Planning consultancy.
Waikapuna is owned by Ala Kakahai Trail Association,
with county oversight of its stewardship. 
Photo from Ala Kahakai Trail Association
    A hard copy of the draft plan is available at the Nāʻālehu Public Library and Pāhala Public Library. Comments on the draft plan may be submitted online or e-mailed to gabrielle@townscapeinc.com. Comments will be accepted until April 22.
    Gabrielle Sham, who is works with Townscape on the plan said, "Mahalo to everyone who provided manaʻo for the Waikapuna management plan for your time and effort."
    The Executive Summary describes the place, history and effort:
    Situated in the ahupua'a of Kahilipali'iki-Kahaea and Kahilipalinui in the district of Kaʻū on the island of Hawai'i is a treasured wahi pana (storied/legendary place) and wai kupuna (ancestral places) referred to as Waikapuna. It stretches for more than two miles makai of Nāʻālehu  town through challenging terrain to a remote coastline where one can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and elements. In the past, Waikapuna was a thriving fishing community until the devastating natural disasters of 1868.
    Today, Waikapuna remains a place known for its abundant marine resources. There are numerous intact cultural sites that provide a glimpse into what was once home to generations of Hawaiian
Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail
runs through Waikapuna. The land is
stewarded by the County and
Ala Kahakai Trail Association.
families, including one of three springs that remains there and the coastal Alloa (trail) which previously encircled the island. Native wiliwili trees rise up from Waikapuna Pali and the graceful noio can be found nesting among the tall sea cliffs. The coastal area provides food such as fish, limu, shellfish, and
salt for local families, as it did for those who lived in the village near the bay. The mauka areas are used by local ranchers, who have ranched the property for generations. Families trace their lineages to this place and enjoy spending time together here connecting with the 'aina and learning and perpetuating Hawaiian values and practices and local traditions important to the Kaʻū way of life."
    Waikapuna, similar to other large tracts of land on the  Kaʻū coastline, has been subjected to the threat of development over the years, which grew considerably after the closure of the sugar plantation in the late 1990s. In 2019 Ala Kahakai Trail Association, (ATA)," a non-profit organization, acquired the 2,317-acre parcel  (identified  as Tax Map Key 9-5-007:016) in fee-simple for conservation and places a conservation easement over the property to protect it from future development. ATA's interest in preserving these lands is to protect the ancient trail network including the surrounding cultural, historical and natural landscape by facilitating partnerships and creating community connections through stewardship and education.
     Funds raised from the Trust for Public Land; the State's Legacy Land Conservation Program, (LLCP); the County's Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund; and private donors were utilized to purchase the property.
    The County holds the  conservation easement over the property, which was acquired using funds from the County's Preservation Fund that is funded by two percent of the County's annual real property tax revenues. The conservation easement protects the property from future development.
    The purpose of this management plan is to guide stewardship actions and strategies to protect, preserve, and conserve the significant cultural, historical, and natural resources of Waikapuna for present and future generations. See the draft plan at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/1/edoc/121424/Waikapuna%20Resources%20Management%20Plan_Public%20Review%20Draft_February%202023.pdf

U.S. PACIFIC REMOTE ISLANDS WATERS COULD BE NAMED A NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY, under President Biden’s direction to the Secretary of Commerce to initiate their consideration. The action follows Hawai'i Congressman Ed Case’s calls since May 2022 in partnership with the Pacific Remote Islands Coalition and others, for maximum protection of U.S.-owned and

controlled waters surrounding the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands, including the Central Pacific atolls and reefs of Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Island; Johnston, Wake, and Palmyra Atoll; and Kingman Reef.                
    “These waters are among the last pristine marine environments on our Earth, and also the most fragile,” said Case, a member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife & Fisheries who, during his prior service in Congress (2002-2007), also advocated successfully for creation of today’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. “Our world’s oceans are at mortal risk, a breaking point precipitated by the unsustainable overfishing and other resource extraction, debris and landbased pollution, exacerbated and compounded by the devastating and pervasive marine effects of climate change.” 
    Case said: “The Pacific Remote Islands including their waters are not only a critical interlocking component of the broader Pacific marine ecosystem, but an integral part of the historical and cultural ties of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific as well as a key source of scientific knowledge on the preservation of a sustainable ocean environment. As a nation, we have a duty to ensure the long-term survival of the PRI’s ecological, scientific and cultural value. This process will do just that and will achieve the marine protection goals of President Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” 
    Parts of U.S. Pacific Remote Islands waters were designated as a National Marine Monument by President Bush in 2009 and expanded by President Obama in 2014. Case, working with the Pacific Remote Islands Coalition, has urged designation of all of the waters surrounding all of the PRIs to the full extent of their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a new Sanctuary, especially for the currently unprotected waters surrounding Howland and Baker Islands, Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef. The Coalition, which has been working toward expansion since 2014, says a Sanctuary designation would add some 265,000 square miles of highly protected waters, resulting in the creation of the world’s largest highly protected marine area (MPA) in national waters at some 777,000 square miles, an area larger than Alaska. 

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POLICE ARRESTED 19 FOR DUI FROM MARCH 13 - 19.Hawai'i Police Department made the arrests for
driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Five of the drivers were involved in a traffic accident. Two under the age of 21. So far this year, there have been 230 DUI arrests compared with 249 during the same period last year, a decrease of 7.6 percent.
After a review of all updated crashes, HPD's Traffic Services Section found 204 major crashes so far this year compared to 157 during the same period last year, an increase of 29.9 percent.
To date, there have been four fatal crashes, resulting in five fatalities, (Rvsd. 02/07/23: one fatal crash reclassified—manner of death was due to natural causes) and (one fatal crash had multiple deaths); compared with eight fatal crashes, resulting in 10 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 50 percent for fatal crashes, and 50 percent for fatalities.
HPD promises that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

In the mail and on stands.


St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day.


Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.                                                                                                                                  Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner Kona Dr. Drive and Hwy 11, near Thai Grindz. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no rez needed. Parking in the upper lot. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.