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Monday, September 18, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Monday, Sept. 18, 2023

National Park Service staff and conservation dogs on petrel survey on Mauna Loa. A $10,000 donation goes toward
protection of the federally endangered Hawaiian petrel and volcanic eruption response. See more below.
Photo from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association

HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS BENEFICIARIES TOOK THEIR CONCERNS directly to the Hawaiian Homes Commission and its Chair Kali Watson during a meeting in Nāʻālehu on Sunday. The public commentary followed a presentation by Department of Hawaiian Home Lands leaders. 
    Watson said he and the commission, all new to their positions, will be much more aggressive on getting Hawaiians into houses and onto pastoral and agricultural lands in Kaʻū.
    See the entire meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkQgHjhG6rI&t=1198s.  
    Jeff Kekoa, President of Kaʻū Hawaiian Home Lands Association, said Kaʻū Hawaiians have been waiting a long time "for actually putting people on the land down there at South Point...What's holding everything up is the water so I am glad you guys working on that right now." 
    Kekoa pointed out that there are 7,390 people from Hawai‘i Island alone on the waiting list for ag lands and 2,022 for pastoral lands. "That's over 9,000 people waiting, and I'm just wondering if maybe we can help people get off the list. "We're getting to the age where we're now more concerned about at least getting on the land and transferring it to our mo'opuna; cause we're getting older, not sure how many more years we have left to do things." 
     In talking about long waits for land, Kekoa reported that the Kaʻū Hawaiian Home Lands Association applied for five acres for a sustainable farming project which was approved by Hawaiian Homes Commission in 2016 for mauka Wai‘ōhinu but the organization didn't get a right of entry until 2022. In the six years, it became overgrown and the group is planning to spend more time getting it ready for farming.
    Paul Makuakane said the focus for the Wai‘ōhinu Kaʻū Hawaiian Home Lands acreage is taro and the plan is to start in January, with about 500 huli ready to go. He said the group wants to produce poi and taro leaf.
    Makuakane said he has personally been on the waiting list for Hawaiian Home Lands for some 35 years. He said he doesn't want his mo'opuna to be on the waiting list.
    Kekoa also called for protecting sacred sites at South Point and said young drunk people recently flipped a truck doing doughnuts on the side of Pu'u Ali'i, a burial ground. He said, "We can prevent outsiders coming to Kaʻū and doing those crazy things with their off-road vehicles." He said there is a need for security to watch the place, working with Hawaiian Home Lands, DLNR and County of Hawai‘i police department.
    Homesteader Dean Kaniho, who has been on his ranch since the first awards in 1989, compared the degradation of lands around Green Sand Beach at South Poing to the invasive axis deer on Maui, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i lands. The axis deers overgraze, leading to runoff into the ocean, and damaging the aquatic resources. Here the invasion at South Point is people eroding the land and leading to runoff. He said public access at South Point is not being controlled. "This is man-made destruction."
    He said ranchers, farmers and gardeners on Hawaiian Home Lands are helping with some of them fencing their lands to keep people and their off-road vehicles off the land. 
    Kaniho urged Hawaiian Homes commissioners to look at YouTube which promotes and "shows everything on Green Sand Beach... We need help down there." 
    He talked about the DHHL Kaʻū Regional Plan, which calls for managing access: "Nothing happened. He urged Chairman Kali Watson to "make the difference, Commission, make the difference." 
Paul Makuakane, Jeff Kekoa and Kali Watson at  Hawaiian Home Lands
 Commission meeting at Nāʻālehu on Sunday. See meeting at 
    Kaniho remembered his late father, paniolo and South Point rancher Tommy Kaniho, who spoke numerous times years ago before the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Dean Kaniho remembered his father saying, "We got to save 'em for the kids, their children and their grandchildren." Now Dean Kaniko urged the same. "Please, by all means," he pleaded to the Hawaiian Homes commissioners.
    David Kuhalani said he came to the meeting "for our people to get our land on Hawaiian Home Lands. It doesn't matter how big it is. We just need a piece of property to put up a house for our people of Kaʻū. We can't afford these freakin' $300,000 houses. Whoever came, he don't belong here. He rich!"
    Concerning South Point, Kuhalani cautioned that when executing a management plan for South Point, "Don't stop our people from coming down to the beach and go fishing. Don't stop our people from coming down to the beach and go camping. This is where our kids learn how swim. This is where our kids learn how to fish and eat and survive."
   He said, "South Point is the last fishing village of Kaʻū. We get people fishing down there every single day, 24/7 in the night. We got people coming from all over the island. You can't only hand-pick one side of the island. That's why it's called Hawai'i... That is my mana‘o."
    See more testimony and the Department of Hawaiian Homes presentation on planned housing, new agriculture lots, upgrade in the water system and management of traffic to Green Sands Beach in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs.

HAWAI‘I COUNTY GENERAL PLAN 2045 IS PUBLISHED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT THROUGH NOV. 20. The County of Hawaiʻi Planning Department announced on Monday that it is "proud to announce the release of the recommended General Plan 2045 (September 2023 Draft) on September 18, 2023. The General Plan (GP) serves as a 25-year blueprint for the long-term growth and sustainable development of Hawaiʻi Island. It envisions a future that balances growth with preserving the island's unique cultural and natural resources."

     Mayor Mitch Roth said,
"Sustainability means responsibly safeguarding our environment, resources, and culture for the prosperity of future generations. The General Plan is our roadmap, guiding us to achieve this vital balance. It ensures that our actions as a community align with our commitment to future generations. We take pride in the work accomplished by our community thus far and eagerly anticipate further collaboration to create a plan as diverse and vibrant as the communities we serve."
    The County of Hawaiʻi statement says the County encourages all residents to review the GP and provide feedback through Konveio, an interactive online platform. The link to the Konveio site is cohplanning.konveio.com. "The County will accept public feedback until Nov. 20, 2023. Together, we can take action to ensure a brighter future for our island and planet."
   Also, see the Kaʻū Community Development Plan at https://www.planning.hawaiicounty.gov/general-plan-community-planning/cdp/kau.
    Public Informational Workshops are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30 at West Hawaiʻi Civic Center, Building A from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Auntie Sally's Lūʻau Hale from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    To stay informed about upcoming events, progress, and the overall process, interested individuals can sign up for the Department's eNews at www.planning.hawaiicounty.gov/general-plan-community-planning/gp/connect. For more information, please get in touch with the County of Hawaiʻi Planning Department at 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, HI 96720. Call (808) 961-8288 or email generalplan@hawaiicounty.gov.

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SUPPORT FOR ENDANGERED HAWAIIAN PETREL has come from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, which has donated $10,000 to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The money also goes toward meeting future volcanic eruption response needs.
    The funding comes from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Project Pays It Forward through a donation from the manufacturer of a recent apparel collection designed around Hawaiian volcanoes and the ecosystems they create. 
Parks Project fashion sales raise money for Volcanoes.
    The company Parks Project donated $10,000 to support Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association's mission: With the spirit of aloha, to inspire the discovery and stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Pacific island parks.
    Surveys for the federally endangered Hawaiian petrel require that park staff work in harsh, remote, high-elevation Mauna Loa nesting areas, notes the statement from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks.
    Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Executive Director Mel Boehl said, “This generous donation from Parks Project goes hand in hand with our longtime support of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s wildlife and other programs over the decades.” 

WORLD TEACHERS'S DAY IS AROUND THE CORNER ON OCT. 27 BUT TEACHERS receive an average of $3,644 less per year than they did 10 years ago when adjusted for inflation, reports the personal-finance website WalletHub. On Monday, WalletHub released its report on 2023's Best & Worst States for Teachers, as well as expert commentary.
    The overall rank for Hawai‘i for teachers, using WalletHub metrics is 49th. Hawai‘i is 51st in the Average Starting Salary for Teachers (Adjusted for Cost of Living). It ranks 35th for Quality of School System, 28th in Pupil-Teacher Ratio and 42nd in  Teachers' Income Growth Potential.
    The top states for teachers, according to WalletHub, are Virginia, New York, Utah, Washington, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey and Georgia.