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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Wednesday Sept. 13, 2023

An excerpt from Ho‘onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale (2019), one of the many books banned at some places on the mainland. Sen. Mazie Hirono and American Library Association are pushing back.

THE RISE IN BANNNG BOOKS ON THE MAINLAND, including Ho‘onani: Hula Warrior, led Hawai‘i's U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono to make this comment in a Senate hearing on Tuesday: “I should think that there is more harm to a young person who thinks that he or she can be shot to death in a school than being exposed to certain kinds of subjects in books.”

    Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned a panel of experts about the rise in book banning in schools and libraries across the country. The hearing came after the American Library Association reported that requests to ban books at U.S. public schools and libraries hit a 21-year high. During her question line, Hirono emphasized concern about groups and individuals who challenge certain books and the way they select books to target.

     “Nobody’s talking about interfering with the right of a parent to determine what kind of material his or her child should have access to. The issue really is the ability of a group of people—not even parents of students in schools—but a group of people, or individuals, who are able to go into a school district—a school board—in an effort to ban certain books,” said Hirono during the hearing. “There are states that have already enacted legislation that makes it pretty easy for anybody to go in and list a book as inappropriate and, therefore, removed until it goes through some sort of a review process.”
   Hirono highlighted a book that explores gender identity in Native Hawaiian culture, Ho‘onani: Hula Warrior, which is being targeted in Iowa. Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois Secretary of State who is also State Librarian, emphasized the importance of keeping books like Ho‘onani: Hula Warrior on the shelves because of the crucial role they play in helping children who may be struggling with similar conflicts as characters in books.
     A link to download video of Hirono’s full question line is available here at https://lfts2.senate.gov/w/MNqkqOKx0ZiGFusTmDWWlqdOk96sLP7h4txmz5LO39irH.

COUNTY MAINTAINING WATERWAYS TO PREVENT FLOODING AND LANDS TO PREVENT FIRES came up in Mayor Mitch Roth's Town Hall with cabinet members in hala on Tuesday evening. 
See the entire meeting that happened Tuesday at 
Dennis Reardon, a retired County Parks Maintenance Manager in Kaʻū, thanked the Mayor for maintainance of drainage canals in Nā‘ālehu. The Mayor said he is not only looking to keep waterways and the adjacent lands clean to prevent flooding but also looking to manage public lands for fire prevention.
    Kaʻū Fire Chief Kazuo Todd mentioned working with the private property owners to plan a firebreak for Punalu‘u. He also talked about fire risk in areas where the old sugar companies dumped bagasse, the byproduct of processing sugar and other waste. He reminded the public that fires can keep burning underground, as they did during a prolonged firefight in Honu‘apo where volunteer firefighter Lizzie Stabo was severely burned from falling into an underground fire pit. At Honu‘apo and on the grounds of the old hala sugar mill, old, flammable bagasse and sugar waste remains. 
    The fire chief said, however, the fire department now has drones with thermal imaging that can detect hot spots. He mentioned that on Maui there are fires still burning after the Aug. 8 firestorm disaster. He also said that the state could become more involved in firefighting and that the State of California, for example, owns planes with very sophisticated and powerful thermal imaging, in addition to drones.
    He also noted that the Hawai‘i County Fire Department's new uniforms are completely fire-resistant.
    See the entire Town Hall on the Mayor's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HIMayorMitch/videos/1515428795696531.

HOW TO MANAGE THE PUNALU‘U BLACK SAND BEACH AREA with private ownership and a public park came up at Mayor Mitch Roth's Town Hall in hala on Tuesday. Candice Ka‘awa, who said she is the property manager at Punalu‘u for landowners Black Sand Beach, LLC, asked numerous questions about
A cooperative cleanup last year by Black Sand Beach, LLC
and non-profit O Kaʻū Kakou. Photo by Matt Baker
partnering with the County to come up with solutions for security, homeless issues, traffic on the private roads going to public beaches, fire prevention and the time it takes police to reach Punalu‘u when there is a problem.
     County Director of Parks & Recreation Maurice Messina said his agency wants to work in tandem with Black Sand Beach, LLC. He noted that the County Park at Punalu‘u is leased from Black Sand. "We manage the beach park but it is on private land."
    Regarding the County's plan to bring in security to Punalu‘u, he gave Spencer Park on the Kohala Coast as an example. He said that people hired for security could help manage the camping permits at Punalu‘u. At Spencer, "when we brought in security, they were able to help manage our camping permits, and that campers aren't harassed, whether they are locals our tourists." He said the people working in security also have to show aloha and respect. 
    Hawai‘i County Police Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz noted that a community policing officer can be involved at Punalu‘u. He also noted that most of the police officers in Kaʻū live here. 
    Ka‘awa said she talks with many police officers about making the private roads at Punalu‘u safer for the public. She gave examples of motorists burning rubber and taking out a fire hydrant, and a car lit on fire.
    See more on the Mayor's Town Hall in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs. See the entire Town Hall on the Mayor's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HIMayorMitch/videos/1515428795696531.

A VIRTUAL ZOOM MEETING ON CESSPOOLS AND THE FUTURE OF SEWAGE DISPOSAL will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. by WAI, Wastewater Alternatives & Innovations.
   According to the announcement, Hawai‘i has over 83,000 cesspools that discharge over 52 million gallons a day of wastewater into Hawai‘i’s waters. "These cesspools and failing septic systems contaminate drinking water, ruin underground aquifers, and pollute marine environments.
    "We work to mitigate the Hawaiʻi cesspool crisis by helping homeowners manage the cesspool and failing septic systems conversion process to new wastewater systems that are affordable, efficient, and better for the environment."  See more at https://waicleanwater.org/

PĀHALA WASTEWATER MEETING WILL BE HELD BY THE COUNTY at hala  Community Center on Thursday, Sept. 28. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Representatives of the Department of Environmental Management will present options for replacing the old plantation gang cesspools. They will review the hala Engineering Report on options ranging from Individual Wastewater Systems to sewer plants and sewer lines, and seek input for a hala Environmental Information Document about the options, which will be presented to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
     Contact 808-961-8099 or email cohdem@hawaiicounty.gov.

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POLICE ARRESTED 16 FOR DUI during the week of Sept. 4, through Sept. 10. Hawai‘i Island police made the arrests for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Three of the drivers were involved in a traffic collision. One was under the age of 21. So far this year, there have been 676 DUI arrests compared with 695 during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.7 percent.

    HPD’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes and found 577 major collisions so far this year compared with 568 during the same period last year, an increase of 1.6 percent.
    To date, there have been 11 fatal crashes, resulting in 12 fatalities, (one with multiple deaths); compared with 23 fatal crashes, resulting in 25 fatalities (one with multiple deaths, and one reclassified to a medical condition) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 52.2 percent for fatal crashes and 52 percent for fatalities.
    So far this year the non-traffic fatality count (not on a public roadway) is one, compared to zero non-traffic fatalities for the same time last year.
     Police promise that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide.

Girls Volleyball Coach Kamalani Fujikawa (center) inspires Trojan Girls Volleyball players who remain undefeated with their fourth win of the season Wednesday at home. Photo by Julia Neal

Image by Jennifer Makuakane

KAʻŪ TROJANS GIRLS VOLLEYBALL VARSITY TEAM beat Makua Lani from Kona on Wednesday at Herkes Kaʻū District Gym in Pāhala. Game scores were 25-9, 25-10 and 25-11.
    The Trojan girls are on a winning streak taking all four matches so far this season.
    The next match is in Waimea at Parker School this Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by hosting Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy from Waimea on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m.
    Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach is Kamalani Fujikawa. Assistant Coach is Marley Strand Nicolaison. Volunteer Coaches are Sandy Fujikawa-Carvalho and Dave Carvalho. Manager is Karsen Polido-Tuaffaiva. Athletic Trainer is Moses Whitcomb.