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Monday, August 21, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, August 21, 2023

Pres. Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden received ho‘okupo during their six-hour visit to see the devastation and
to meet with people in Lāhainā on Monday. Photo from Hawai‘i News Now

PRES. JOE BIDEN SAID LĀHAINĀ WILL BE REBUILT ACCORDING TO THE WISHES AND PLANS BY LOCAL PEOPLE. During the President's six-hour visit to Lāhainā on Monday he was asked by numerous residents to help make sure that local people will be involved and direct the planning for Lāhainā. During his remarks, he said, "The community will be built on your terms."
    During an interview with Hawai‘i News Now, Alicia Kalepa, a Lāhainā resident whose house was spared and became a hub for people who lost their homes, said she will hold the President to the promise. Kalepa is wife of Polynesian Voyaging Society Captain Archie Kalepa. She said that as far as calling for "building a better community or better homes than what we had, unfortunately I didn't like that because for our kupuna, the Lāhainā family and for a lot of people that have lost what they had lost, there is no replacing that, there is no better, there is no new, there is no better than that.... that didn't sit very well with my heart."
A group representing Archie Kalepa asked Pres. Joe
Biden to make sure Lahaina is planned by its residents.
Photo from Maui Now
   "We would just love to have it built back to its original historical site. This is the original kupa‘aina before the overthrow, and for me personally, I would like to see that, the way we want it to be done," said Kalepa.
      Stacey Curimao said, "This is Lāhainā. It's a very, very loving place. You know we may have lost our homes but we fall under the same roof. So we are in this together and we need our community leaders and we need the people of Lāhainā to have a voice in regards to the rebuilding of our community and keeping our hometown Lāhainā."
   Mish Shishido, Archie Kalepa's assistant, urged anyone who made promises to Lāhainā to keep their word. "There are over 40,000 ancestors standing behind us. We are not alone. By no chance are we alone. Keep your word." 
    Shishido also said, "Discussions that have already begun that it comes to this community of Lāhainā and that the discussion remains in Lāhainā and that not looking out to anyone else, if they are going to reach out for help that it is going to be with the consensus of the people of Lāhainā, not what it's going to do for anyone else, but exactly what the people of Lāhainā want."
    See Pres. Joe Biden's entire speech at Lāhainā Civic Center at
    See Pres. Joe Biden's entire speech near the famed banyan tree in Lāhainā at 

Gov. Josh Green hugs Pres. Joe Biden during
their visit to fire-devastated Lahaina on Monday.
Photo from Gov. Green's Facebook
PEOPLE and we are committed to rebuilding Lāhainā the way the people of Lāhainā want...this land is for the people of Maui and it is reserved as they return and rebuild." Green, who previously talked about fast-tracking the rebuilding of housing to replace what is lost, referred to his request to the state Attorney General "to enhance criminal penalties for predatory purchases of fire-devastated real estate."
    Green also said, "Our hearts are broken and we will heal with the assistance of President Biden; and the federal government, and the love and compassion of resources throughout our state, we know we have the support to lift us up as we find those who are lost to deal with the tragedy. The people of Lāhainā will need time to heal, to recover and to grieve." 
     Green also emphasized that while travel to West Maui is restricted to returning residents and emergency responders, the rest of Maui and the state remains safe and open for visitors. He encouraged visitors to come, "to support our local economy and speed the recovery."
    "The world is watching, and we will show it the true strength of our culture, our people and all that we believe. And as they watch us heal, protect, and nurture one another, the world will be reminded why it loves and embraces Hawai'i and we embrace it." 
    Green accompanied the President on his ground tour of Lahaina and meeting at Lahaina Civic Center.
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A TOWN HALL MEETING WITH MAYOR MITCH ROTH WILL BE IN VOLCANO this Thursday at Cooper Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The gathering is one in a series around the island called Sustainable Horizons: Mayor Roth's Community Impact Check-in. The aim is updating and fostering engagement with communities across Hawaiʻi Island. The Mayor said, "The recent events on Maui have highlighted the
importance of trust and unity between government and the communities in which we serve. These town halls act as platforms for government leaders and the community to come together and share what's working and what isn't. They're meant to bring us all together so that we can find common ground and better inform the way we serve. We're excited to continue our town hall series in Volcano and look forward to hearing from the community of upper Puna."
    The town hall series is set up to establish an open and transparent dialogue where residents can stay informed about local initiatives, express their concerns, and actively contribute to shaping the future of their respective communities.
    The event will begin with the Mayor and key cabinet members providing updates on the county's progress and direction. The remaining hour and a half will be dedicated to a Q&A session, enabling attendees to directly pose questions to department representatives and receive responses from subject matter experts.
    For those unable to attend in person, the town hall will be made available on the Mayor's Facebook page (facebook.com/himayormitch) and Nā Leo TV, Channel 55. We encourage all residents to participate and engage in this critical community dialogue.
    "The upcoming town hall at the Cooper Center on August 24 is an opportunity for residents to connect with local government, voice their concerns, and contribute to the future of their community."

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ANDREW AMON OF OCEAN VIEW HAS BEEN ARRESTED. The 27-year-old was wanted for two outstanding warrants for arrest, as well as for questioning in other criminal investigations.
   On August 18, 2023, after conferring with the County Prosecutors Office, Detectives charged Amon with Robbery 2 and Criminal Contempt. His bail was set at $5,500.00.
   Amon remained in police custody and made his initial court appearance on Monday in Kona District Court.

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5,000 in the mail, 2,500 on the street.
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