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Friday, December 01, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 1, 2023

Holidays in Kahuku this Saturday
Holidays in Kahuku this Saturday brings entertainment, food, handmade gifts for sale, free shave ice, activities for
keiki, including Santa with gifts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. 
See poster below and story http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_11_25_archive.html,
Photo of Kahuku Visitor Contact Station and Festival Grounds by B. Hayes/NPS

COUNTY LEGISLATION TO MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD HOMES got the green light from Mayor Mitch Roth, with his signature this week. The bill passed the County Council in November. Roth said, "We've dedicated ourselves to finishing the building permitting process for our residents, and this bill is a significant step in achieving that goal. Recognizing the challenges posed by factors such as COVID-19 and subsequent inflation, we aim to alleviate prolonged building processes and burdens on local homebuilders. The bill establishes a structured and time-sensitive framework for permit applications, expirations, and extensions to streamline the process and provide clarity on timelines, conditions, and limits.”
    County Council Chair said the Council drafted the bill in cooperation with county Department of Public

Works. They revisited "the fundamental purpose of the building codes and their  timeline: Ensuring the safety of the building in our community. Bill 84 removes language that was ambiguous, discretionary, or not aligned with its purpose. The result is a streamlined procedure that I hope the public will find easy to understand and reasonable to follow. To me, working on Bill 84 represents the best example of creative problem-solving and collaboration between the administration and the council for the benefit of the community."
    County Council member Sue Lee Loy said the Bill helps homeowners and lenders have a bright line of understanding on approval timelines and pointed to its importance during times of inflation.
    A statement from the County says it aims to "streamline the construction code permitting process." The measure "simplifies and standardizes application timelines, extensions, and expirations to align with updated construction code standards mandated by State law."
    In its statement, the County stated important provisions of the ordinance:
    Purpose: Aligning construction projects with current safety standards, the ordinance simplifies and standardizes timing elements for construction code permits.
    Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 4, Section 5-4-7: The ordinance introduces a one-hundred-eighty-day timeline from the submission date for applicants to obtain a permit. It outlines provisions for extensions and the process for restarting an application if abandoned.
    Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 5, Section 5-5-4: Standardizing permit expiration, the ordinance sets a six-year expiration period for permits issued after August 17, 2020, outlining conditions and steps upon expiration.
    Amendments to Chapter 5, Article 5, Section 5-5-5: The ordinance addresses permit extensions, specifying circumstances for granting extensions and setting a limit of one extension for one hundred and eighty days.

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Rainy weather mellowed but before it did, NPS photographer Janice Wei captured this image at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE REPORTED FRIDAY EVENING that the kona low, which brought heavy rains, "will weaken into a trough west of the state tonight, with some lingering moisture and instability bringing the chance for some showers and even a thunderstorm to portions of the state through Saturday. A return to trade wind weather will begin Saturday night, with showers favoring windward slopes and coasts.
    "The trades will gradually strengthen Sunday and Monday, with breezy conditions expected Tuesday and Wednesday. An approaching front will gradually ease the trade winds and shift them around to the southeast late next week."

THE ANNUAL HAWAI'I TRI-PARK PASS program, providing admission to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park and Haleakalā National Park, with a single pass, will make a change  Jan. 1. New passes will authorize entry for one person per pass with one signature per pass.
    Current passes that have two signatures and allow those two people entry will be honored until they expire, said a statement from National Park Service on Friday. The park specific passes are part of the nationwide America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes program. The change is happening nationwide.
    Another change for the annual Hawaiʻi Tri-Park Pass is that it is now available for purchase online, a frequent request from many park visitors. Purchasers can download the digital pass from Recreation.gov and exchange it for a physical pass if desired at any of the three participating Hawaiʻi parks.
    The statement from NPS explained that "The change from two signatures to a single signature is necessary to ensure consistency and fairness among all Interagency Passes and park-specific passes, and to prevent fraud and reduce revenue loss. The change will affect purchasers of the passes at all pass sales outlets, including the park entrance and the USGS Store site. Park passes are not transferable."

TWO HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAMES COME TO KAʻŪ ON SATURDAY. Trojans Girls Varsity will take on Christian Liberty Academy at 3 p.m. Pahoa Boys Junior Varsity will take on Kaʻū at 5
p.m. The Varsity game will be at 7 p.m. The games will be held in the Herkes Kaʻū District Gym in Pāhala.
    This week, Kaʻū Trojan boys traveled to Waikea and the JV team beat Waiakea Warriors 44 to 36. Waiakea won in the first quarter 8-6, but the Trojans came back dominating the last three quarters 9-5, 15-4, and 14-9.
    Top Kaʻū scorers were Rhyder Ahmed 14, Loaa Kaupu 9, Kualana Akiona 8, Isiah Manilla Louis 6, Aidan Ahmed 3, Zayden Gallano 2 and Tristan Rasmussen 2.
     In Varsity competition, Waiakea  Warriors beat the Trojans 52-28. Kaʻū lost the first three quarters 3-12, 6-15, 8-13 and tied the fourth at 12 to 12. 
    Top scorers were Justin Karasuda 10, Keaka McDonnell 6, Tyson Kuahia-Faafia 6, Joe Buyuan 5 and Jestin Penera 1.   

 To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.

Directed by Kaʻū's own Farley Sangels and four other
musicians from Kaʻū.

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

Kaʻū News Briefs Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023

Dr. Kimo Alameda at a presentation to Kua O Kala students earlier this year. Now he is running for Hawai'i County mayor.
Photo from kimoformayor.com

DR. KIMO ALAMEDA'S RUN FOR MAYOR OF HAWAI'I COUNTY brings him to Ka'ū on Saturday, Dec. 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Community Center & Park. He said it will be a fun day that will allow him to be up close with Ka'ū people to see deeper into their dreams and listen to their issues. Alameda is known in Ka'ū for his leadership of the Bay Clinic, which merged with Hawai'i Community Health Center last year, and for his time with the County Office of Aging, where he ran many of the services for seniors. More recently, he led anti-fentanyl campaigns, including distributing the antidote Narcan. Alameda said his visits around the island for the anti-addiction cause solidified his decision to run for mayor on the Democratic ticket. Alameda also served as late Mayor Billy Kenoi's Campaign Manager but said he didn't think he would ever run till he "saw the need."

    As he was going around the island, he said, he often heard about the crisis in affordable housing, the workforce crisis and geographic inequality, which he described as people in rural areas receiving less service from the county than in Hilo and Kona. He said he left employment with Hawai'i Community Health Center to campaign full-time. Alameda noted that he has been working for community service organizations for over 30 years.
    Alameda said he is very happy with his role in the merger between Bay Clinic and Hawai'i Community Health Center. He called the merger historic, bringing both organization's strengths together. "Separately, we served about 22,000 patients in East Hawaii and 23,000 in West Hawai'i." He said the combined 45,000 patients to serve helps everyone, including Ka'ū with a larger pool of healthcare workers, and better recruitment and retention. Together the organizations "can apply for bigger grants and have a stronger footing with our payers as a bigger fish. We're a pretty good fish now, can negotiate stronger, and pay our doctors more. Allow employees to live where they want to live, share resources, share doctors and
dentists and best practices," said Alameda. He noted that Bay Clinic brought to the table the operation of a pharmacy. West Hawai'i Health Center didn't have one. West Hawai'i has great outreach with Micronesians and other Pacific Islanders, which is very important in Ka'ū, said Alameda. He said he initiated the merger, but didn't need to be CEO. "I just knew it should happen."
Alameda said he wants to use his business acumen in the operation of the county. "I want to see results from every tax, state, county, federal and donation dollar going to the county."
Regarding affordable housing, he said he wants to empower local people to build houses they can afford on land they already have, and with infrastructure that can be improved by the county, state and federal government. "Build better, smarter and in locations that make sense."
He said he also wants to protect the Ka'ū way of life, the fishing, hunting, farming and ranching. "These are activities that are important to people."

    He said he wants to push for more transparency and public access to county government.
    Alameda graduated from St. Joseph High School and earned his doctorate in psychological, educational, and cultural studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a licensed psychologist.
    Born in Hilo, he grew up in the hills of Wai'ākea Uka, working with his siblings to make ends meet with his parent's plumbing business and the family ranch. "This work ethic translated easily to other areas as Dr. Kimo gained many athletic and academic accolades and quickly became a state and county government leader," says the campaign website.
    He lives in Hilo with his wife of 29 years, Star Alameda. They are both 54 years of age. They have seven children, the eldest is 26, and the youngest is a freshman at Hilo High School. He said he and his family have always been involved in sports. Alameda hosts a show on Nā Leo TV titled Health is Everywhere.

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This grant is coordinated by the Hawai'i County Council, in partnership with the Department of Finance.
A total of no less than $2.5 million is available on an annual basis through this grant program. Applications will be accepted and can be modified/corrected until submitted to the County of Hawaiʻi. Deadline for submission is 11:59 PM HST on January 31, 2024.
    Each organization is permitted to submit a total of two applications. Each application is limited to a request of up to $50,000. Applications submitted through a nonprofit fiscal sponsor are not counted towards the sponsoring organization's two limit application limit.
   For questions regarding the preparation and submission of the application or concerning the overall grant process, contact Council Services, at (808) 961-8255.
   See the application and fill it out at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/Forms/NPGrantApplication.

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Seismic unrest and possible eruption and crowding at the park are reasons to  prepare for
visits to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park during the holiday season. NPS photo by Janice Wei

WITH THE HOLIDAY RUSH and unrest at the summit and upper East Rift Zone, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park advises that "Visitors who plan to explore Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park over the holidays could be in for a surprise if they don't plan ahead. 
    "This waxing and waning unrest has triggered more than 1,800 earthquakes in the last month. Temporary safety closures are in place and more could occur on short notice if the seismicity intensifies, or an eruption breaks out in one of the remote rift zones."
    HVNP reports that even without the allure of an eruption, park visitation soars during the holidays. Anyone who visits should expect that popular areas like Kīlauea Visitor Center, summit overlooks and trails, and Nāhuku lava tube are likely to be crowded with no parking periodically throughout the day.
    It is also nēnē nesting season and one way to ensure survival of the rare and endemic Hawaiian goose is to protect it, especially during reproduction. A nēnē pair is nesting at Uēkahuna and to give this family its best chance for survival, park managers temporarily closed part of the parking lot and a small section of Crater Rim Trail east of the parking lot earlier this week.
    "The best way visitors can plan ahead with so much change afoot in the national park is to visit the park website for updates and alerts that could impact their visit, and check out the short Know Before You Go video on the homepage. Having a Plan B and C with alternate places to explore in the park is also a great idea; let the free NPS app guide you. A new orientation video in the Kīlauea Visitor Center shares ranger tips on avoiding crowds and experiencing what Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park offers based on length of stay," says the message from the Park. "With a little flexibility, planning and respect for this constantly evolving landscape, everyone can have a festive visit this holiday season."

Directed by Kaʻū's own Farley Sangels and four other
musicians from Kaʻū.