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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, June 27, 2023

County Council member Michelle Galimba with Kahu Kimo Awai at the blessing of the newly 
expanded Wai'ohinu Transfer Station. On Tuesday, Galimba released an update on her work. Photo by Julia Neal

COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELLE GALIMBA released an update on Tuesday, regarding her work representing District 6, which covers Kaʻū, Volcano and South Kona. She wrote:
    "I was honored to be part of the Grand Opening of the beautiful and spacious new Waiʻōhinu transfer station on June 9, 2023.  While the finishing touches continue, the new transfer station is far larger, more convenient and safer than the old transfer station that was damaged by an earthquake. Our thanks go out to Mayor Mitch Roth and the entire team at the Department of Environmental Management, but especially Director Ramzi Mansour and Kaʻū's own Deputy Director Brenda Iʻokepa-Moses.  A special thanks also  to Lee McIntosh, our District 6 representative on the Commission of Environmental Management and to former Council-member Maile David for their years of work advocating for the new transfer station!" 
    Galimba noted that the County Council approved the 2023-2024 County Budget early in June.                    "Highlights of the budget include significant and much needed investments in information technology across multiple departments to help County employees do their jobs more effectively and efficiently, thereby providing better customer service and timely information to the residents of Hawai'i County."
County Council member Michelle Galimba reports that among her many
 projects is working on renovation of the Pahala Pool. Photo by Julia Neal
    The Council member said her office "advocated for increased police presence in Ocean View during the budget process and would like to thank the Hawai'i Police Department for the heroic work they do every day, and especially our new Police Chief, Ben Moszkowicz.  I look forward to working with "Chief Ben" in the coming year to increase public safety and security in District 6." Galimba said her office has also been working with County Department of Parks & Recreation Director Maurice Messina on many projects in the District including extensive improvements to Miloliʻi Park and Pavilion to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, skateparks at Volcano and Ocean View, renovation of the bathroom facilities at Waiʻohinu Park and renovation of the tennis courts at the Nāʻālehu Park and Yano Hall in South Kona. "Other projects that I am advocating for are the renovation of the Pāhala swimming pool and night-time lighting for the ball parks in both Pāhala and Nāʻālehu." 
     On the legislative front, Galimba said she has been working with Council Chair Heather Kimball on Bills 43 and 44 "to reform our agricultural real estate tax programs in order to encourage agricultural production and discourage abuse of these programs for their tax benefits. I have also been strongly supporting the creation of an Office of Sustainability, Climate, Equity and Resilience, (OSCER) proposed by Chair Kimball and Council-member Rebecca Villegas. OSCER will help our County to access federal funding to address sustainability and resilience, as well as help to coordinate our County's climate change response across departments, provide eduction and outreach, and notably, ensure that equity and fairness are taken into account as we grapple with these big issues." 
    Galimba concluded with a "Thank you for entrusting me with the responsibility of representing you, and have a safe and fun Fourth of July!" 

THE FIRST TROPICAL STORM OF THE PACIFIC HURRICANE SEASON is expected to become a hurricane on Wednesday. Off the coast of Mexico and headed west, Adrian is not expected to reach Hawai'i and is forecast to reach Category One hurricane status before dissipating. Many of the hurricanes
that originate in the Eastern Pacific near Mexico come towards Hawai'i, which is located in the Central Pacific. NOAA predicts a 50 percent chance of above-normal tropical cyclone activity during the central Pacific Hurricane Season this year, along with a 35 percent chance for near-normal activity, and only a 15 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season. The forecast is four to seven tropical cyclones during 

this hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
    The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions using satellites, land-and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA, it National Weather Service and their partners. These observations are fed into complex computer models that run on NOAA’s supercomputers. Forecasters at the Center use that information to develop storm track and intensity forecasts and provide critical decision support services to emergency managers at the federal, state and county levels.
    This summer, NOAA is increasing its supercomputing capacity by 20 percent, allowing for more detailed, higher-resolution forecast models, advanced physics and improved data assimilation. Once implemented, the computing system will be able to perform 29 quadrillion calculations per second. The expansion will allow for forecast model upgrades for years to come, starting with the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System.
    The Central Pacific Hurricane Center will extend the forecast range of the Tropical Weather Outlook from five to seven days this season. The seven-day outlook will provide emergency managers and communities with more time to prepare for tropical activity and creates a seamless suite of products when combined with the two-week Global Tropical Hazards Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.
    Check for watches and warnings on the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website throughout the season, and visit FEMA’s Ready.gov for additional hurricane preparedness tips.

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THE LAW ALLOWING SERVICE ANIMALS TO ENTER BUSINESSES is the focus of a statement from Hawai'i Island police reaching out the public for understanding of the purpose and regulations. It describes a service animal "as any dog that is specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the  any dog that is specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other disability." 

    The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require service animals to wear a specific vest, ID tag, or harness. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The animal’s trained work or task must be directly related to the person’s disability. An animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support does not qualify as a service animal under Title II and Title III of the ADA. 
    Individuals with disabilities are entitled to access any facilities, services or programs with their service animals that are open to the public, provided that the presence of the service animal does not fundamentally alter the nature of the service or program, or pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others. A service animal must be either harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times and must not be disruptive or unsafe. In addition, a service animal must be under control of the handler and the handler should follow hygiene standards.
     For further assistance contact the following agencies: Hawaiʻi County ADA Coordinator (808) 961-8361; Hawaiʻi Disability Rights Center (808) 949-2922 and Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission (808) 586-8636.