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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Car washed away in Wood Valley flood in Makakupu Gulch. Driver escaped. Photo by Tim Benko

WOOD VALLEY FLOODS MORE OFTEN, TIME TO FIX THE FORD? A series of heavy rains and floods have led to Wood Valley residents being trapped in and out of the valley numerous times this year.        Two motorists were washed into Makakupu Gulch from the main crossing and entrance to Wood Valley, when their cars succumbed to floodwaters. Both escaped, but one was taken later by a rescue crew for illness related to water in his lungs.
    After Wood Valley residents waiting for many hours and sometimes days for floodwaters to subside so they could enter or leave Wood Valley, there is much talk about solutions to access during floods, particularly if they become more frequent. With increasing numbers of people living there, there is more concern about emergency vehicles unable to reach Wood Valley homes and farms to help agricultural workers and senior citizens living there.
    Ideas have included building a bridge, installing a culvert with a road over it and establishing a right of way going into the valley on land before the Makakupu Gulch. The road and the crossing are owned by County of Hawai'i.
Councilmember Michelle Galimba

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MICHELLE GALIMBA WEIGHS IN ON INDUSTRIAL SOLAR PROPOSED FOR OCEAN VIEW NEIGHBORHOODS. The County Council member said, "I have serious concerns over this project because of the potential for increased costs for all HELCO customers, as well as inappropriate industrial land use in a rural residential community. I urge the developers to reconsider a project that is so unpopular among the local residents."

   The project would put solar farms on rural houselots scattered between homes in Ocean View.
    An account set up by Ocean View residents in February to fund professional legal representation to oppose the project before the state Public Utilities Commission continues to grow from donations, a benefit concert and matching funds.

Internationally acclaimed pianist David Paquette volunteers
for a benefit concert to raise money for the legal fund to
fight industrial solar in Ocean View.
    Until last month two Ranchos residents, Peter and Annie Bosted, fought pro se against the planned development, by alleging that since the project exceeds 2.72 megawatts, it should be competitively bid and should never have been allowed in the FIT program, which is designed for small, plug-and-play projects that could be easily built and quickly brought online. The Competitive Bid Framework was established for utility-scale power producers that plan to sell power to the HECO companies in Hawai’i.
    After six years of filing motions, the Bosteds will have their day in court vicariously. Bosted and a small group of residents determined that they should be replaced by experienced energy attorneys who would be better able to present their case. The lawyers are Ryan Hurley and Bianca Isaki, both attorneys in Honolulu.

OV resident and guitarist Ken Emerson 
opposes industrial solar
    Peter Bosted told The Ka’u Calendar: “We just don’t have the expertise to win against attorneys from
both HECO and SPI. Stan and Mariann Troeller, who own South Point U Cart, together with a family that prefers to remain anonymous, promised to double all donations to a Go Fund Me account. Amazingly, 34 people donated $5,410 to the account. We feel so encouraged and supported. With the generosity of the Troellers and our unnamed angels, that means we really have over $10,000 in our war chest."
    Another fundraiser was a concert in March. Ocean View resident and Grammy winning guitarist, Ken Emerson volunteered with his friend David Paquette, a world-class pianist. Dick Hershberger and Arlene Araki loaned their
OV resident Farley Sangels plays trumpet to fundraise
to protect the neighborhoods.
electronic piano and musical equipment. Parquette, a native of New Orleans who has recorded more than 45 albums, flew in from New Zealand. They were joined by Farley Sangels, who was a trumpet player in the Hong Kong Symphony.
    "Three musicians from the upper echelons of musical talent all playing their hearts out for us in Ranchos. It was an evening I’ll never forget," said Bosted. With the musicians's generosity and cash donations at the door, funding of over $1,000 came in. "This shows how people from Ocean View, this low-income community, are very willing to put their money where their mouths are to stop this development from ruining our rural community,” said Bosted.

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 JILL TOKUDA, THE REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FOR KAʻŪ comes to Hilo this Saturday, April 1 for a Town Hall to meet with the public. The time is 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the venue is Hilo YMCA, 300 Lanikaula St.
    Tokuda sent out a questionaire ahead of the Town Hall asking about constituent concerns, with a list including: Social Security & Medicare; High Cost of Living; Infrastructure Issues; Access to Healthcare & Mental Health Services; Neighbor Island Transportation & Travel; Climate change Issues; Housing Issues, Agriculture Issue; Other.
  Tokuda said she will cover her first 90 days in office "working for the people of Hawai'i's Second District, including the bills that I have sponsored by my priorities for our future. I'll also be taking questions from community members.

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SUCCESS WITH TWO PRIORITY AGRICULTURE BILLS at the Hawai'i Legislature are announced by Hawai'i Farmers Union United. The bills are headed to the Ways and Means Committee this Friday, March 31 and testimony is urged.
    HB612 creates an income tax credit to alleviate the high costs of production for farmers, ranchers, and

fishers and incentivize growth in the agricultural sector in the State. Read the bill, reports and testimony; give testimony at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=612&year=2023&mc_cid=5025c117d9&mc_eid=563999cc96
     HB607 creates an income tax credit for taxpayers who are farmers, or are producers of agricultural commodities, cooperatives, broad line distributors, or food hubs who ship products and agricultural goods between counties. Read the bill, reports and testimony; give testimony at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=607&year=2023&mc_cid=5025c117d9&mc_eid=563999cc96 

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DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FROM 'O KAʻŪ KAKOU is this Saturday. The applications must be postmarked by April 1. See https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students
    OKK, the nonprofit service organization, is 
offering scholarships for the 2023-2024 school year to high school and home-schooled graduating seniors and to undergraduate college students. 
    Individual scholarship awards are $1,000 ($500.00 per semester) for students enrolled full-time at any accredited trade school or two-year or four-year college to assist with tuition costs. Applicant must be residents of Ka'ū district, or if attending an out-of-state college, applicant must be claimed as a dependent whose parent or legal guardian's principal residence remains in the district of Ka'ū. 
    Instructions, guidelines, and information regarding eligibility, selection criteria, and the application process are detailed in the Application for Scholarship instructions and guidelines at https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students.
    OKK advises that applicants thoroughly complete the application and carefully follow all instructions. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
    Only hard copies of applications and supporting documents will be accepted (no electronic submissions) and must be postmarked on or before April 1. Late submissions will not be considered.          
    Recipients of previous scholarships who have not submitted their mahalo letter to OKK will not be considered for further scholarship funding. Any questions regarding this application can be directed to the OKK Scholarship Committee via email: okaukakou.org.scholarship@gmail.com and expect that it may take up to 24-36 hours for the Committee to respond.

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.