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Monday, July 08, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs July 8, 2024

The Art of Oceanic Canoe Building will be the topic of the talk at After Dark in the Park, this Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The presenter is Dr. Doug Herman, of Pacific Worlds Institute, who is also an expert in Oceanic Navigation and Land Finding. See more below

THE FOUR COUNTY COUNCIL CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR KAʻŪ and the rest of District 6 met at Ocean View Community Center on Saturday evening to answer questions from an audience of residents on a variety of topics. 

Residents wrote questions on cards so that the President of the Ocean View Community Association, Marilyn Rose, could put the questions to each candidate. Rose told The Kaʻū Calendar that candidate Marie Burns proposed the meeting and rallied the candidates to attend. About 25 residents attended. 
The panel consisted of incumbent County Council member, Michelle M. Galimba, who is seeking reelection for a second two-year term, Marie J. Burns, Kyle K. Jones, and Ikaika K. Kailiawa-Smith. 
The panelists were given two minutes to answer each question.
Responding to a question on law and order in Ocean View, Burns said there is none, Jones cited a low trust level that the public has for the police, while Kailiawa-Smith decried the lack of criminal prosecutions for suspects arrested by the police. Galimba said Ocean View needs more public safedty resources, that there is a budget for planning a police station in Ocean View and that she will continue to advocate for it. 
In response to a concern that the Hawai'i Police Department's current rental of an Ocean View shopping center store space, which is unstaffed and used for storage, Galimba responded that Ocean View could become the main police station for Kaʻū with holding cells. She noted that $150,000 is in the Capital
Candidates for County Council are are from the left, Marie Burns, Michelle Galimba, Kyle Jones and Ikaika Kailiawa-Smith. Photo by Annie Bosted.

Improvement budget for planning and design, and that it will take time to be realized. 

    Ideas on controlling feral dogs that pose a danger to residents and their pets, were solicited. Kailiawa-Smith advocated that any vicious dog that bites people should be put down while Jones said he did not want to see strays euthanatized. 
Burns, with a bandaged arm in a sling, shared with the audience the news that she is the recent victim of a dog attack. She contended that vicious dogs came from drug houses. "In my situation, the dog pack will be removed," she said.
Kyle Jones is 29 and seeking to be Kaʻū's next County Council
 member. He lives in Capt. Cook, which is included,
along with Kaʻū, in District 6.
Galimba said animal control is a big issue in Kaʻū and her number one priority. There are long range plans to build a facility in and a short-term plan to hire animal control officers in Ocean View.

   The proposed resort redevelopment at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach came up. Kailiawa-Smith noted that he has has spoken against it at public meetings. "Overwhelmingly, the community is against it." He said the cemetery and other cultural sites on the property should be in public trust. 
    Burns said, "If you follow the law, it won't get through. It's a very special place.It's the last of the last."
    Galimba said Black Sand Beach, LLC's application for a Special Management Area permit should be withdrawn as it doesn't adequately address the waste water challenges at Punalu'u. She noted that the wastewater system is very old and "We can't just leave it alone."
Incumbent County Council member Michelle Galimba,
 56, walks the July 4 Volcano parade in Volcano.
Photo by Sara Espaniola
    Jones said the biggest mistake is approving hotel projects that have a negative effect on the landscape and that development should be scrutinized. He said buildings at Punalu'u have not been maintained and are falling apart. He said they need to be cleaned up and restored. He said there should be some investment in the place to make it a bigger county park.

   A solution to mental health and drug use in the Ocean View community was solicited in a question. Burns replied that effective rehab programs are needed. She noted that millions of dollars go into these programs, and said they need to be audited for success rate and positive results. 
Galimba agreed that Kaʻū should have more mental health care resources and noted that most mental health and addiction centers are in Kona and Hilo requiring Kaʻū residents to travel. 
    Jones said that drug addicts do not belong in prison but need the support of the community. Kailiawa-Smith saw the problem as a result of people struggling against the time needed for jobs and commuting and not having time to spend with their keiki, leaving children feeling unloved.
    All the candidates spoke against the proposed mega solar project slated to be built on 18 three-acre lots among existing homes in Ranchos. Galimba, who authored a letter of protest to the Public Utilities Commission, labeled it "a dinosaur project." She stated that although she favors renewable energy, the Ranchos project was proposed 14 years ago and is no longer needed or wanted.
    She added that it would raise the cost of electricity for all Hawai'i Island residents, and that an industrial project does not belong in a residential area.
    Jones stated that he favored more geothermal energy as it is extremely cheap.
Candidate Ikaika Kailiawa-Smith, 32, rides
in the Nāʻālehu Independence Day 
Parade. Photo by Julia Neal

    Kailiawa-Smith stated that he favored continuing to use fossil fuels as they have worked "so far." He contended that there is no renewable energy project that is not destroying something.
    Upgrading the County transfer station to receive waste in Ocean View was opened for discussion.                 
    Kailiawa-Smith, who is a county employee, claimed that the county needs common sense solutions. He contended that five county employees run the Ocean View transfer station and contended that other stations are managed by a single person.
The county at one time planned for Kaʻū's major transfer station to be at Ocean View but selected the more centrally located Wai'ohinu, with its deep soil for excavation and availability of more land for potential expansion.Burns called for accountability for Ocean View residents for whom a major transfer stration was promised. "It's a mess. We need a fully functioning dump," she said, pointing to many illegal trash dumps around Ocean View." 
    Galimba said, "Unquestionably, it is ridiculous." She said that she talked to the county director of the Department of Environmental Management, who confirmed that Wai'ohinu is the main transfer station for the area, and that the one in Ocean View is a "convenience" and that the County has no plans to invest in bigger Ocean View's station in the near future. 
Candidate Marie Burns, 46, walks in the Nāʻālehu
Independence Day Parade. Photo by Julia Neal
   She also said the department is involved with sewage treatment plans for
Pāhala and Nāʻālehu and that a more pressing issue is that waste water is being released into the bay in Hilo, Kealakehe and other places along the shoreline.
A resident raised the issue of abandoned vehicles and asked what steps the candidates would take to get them removed from Ocean View. 
Burns pointed to cars she said were stolen then burned. Kailiawa-Smith suggested vehicle owners should be paid about $50 to turn in each junker, pointing out that for every vehicle registration, the owner is levied a $25 "abandoned vehicle fee" whether they abandon vehicles or not.
Galimba mentioned the abandoned cars program. People can have two per TMK per year picked up, subsidized by the county and that she is working on ways to have them removed more quickly.
    An audience member who has been an Ocean View resident since 1989, Richard Rogers, told The Kaʻū Calendar that he thought the meeting went well. He said that most of the issues raised were hoary chestnuts as they had been raised again and again at multiple community meetings over the decades, but never resolved to the town's satisfaction.

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THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO ATTEND AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING MEETING IN KAʻŪ ON TUESDAY at 1:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. The County of Hawai'i Office of Housing & Community Development will launch its public meetings around the island to gather community input for the development of the 2025-2029 Consolidated Plan. The Plan aims to enhance the availability and affordability of decent, safe, and sanitary housing within suitable living environments. It also aims to guarantee that federal U.S. Department of Urban Development
assistance used here addresses housing and related needs of low- and moderate-income families.
    The County statement says, "The County of Hawaiʻi's CP will outline the needs, priorities, funding plans, and program certification requirements over the five-year period between 2025 and 2029. Submission of the CP to HUD is required for the County of Hawaiʻi to receive its annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) allocations. Similarly, the State relies on the CP to obtain its annual HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) allocations.?
    To meet federal requirements and the County of Hawaiʻi's Citizen Participation Plan, a series of public meetings will be conducted at various locations and times on Hawaiʻi Island. These meetings offer an opportunity for engagement with diverse communities to solicit views and comments on goals and priorities related to housing, community development, and homelessness for the upcoming five years.
    "Your voice matters in shaping the future of our community. Join us in these public meetings to ensure that every perspective is heard and every need is addressed," said County of Hawai'i Housing Administrator Susan Kunz. "Together, we can build a brighter, more inclusive future for all residents of Hawaiʻi Island."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

Dr. Doug Herman will talk about Oceanic
 Canoe Building at After Dark in the Park.
NĀ WA'A: THE ART OF OCEANIC CANOE BUILDING is the presentation at After Dark in the Park this Tuesday, July 10 at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
    The Park announcement says, "Peoples of Oceania constructed, paddled, and sailed canoes specifically designed for the open ocean. This amazing craftmanship enabled them to discover and inhabit some of the most isolated islands on Earth including Hawai‘i. Join Dr. Doug Herman, executive director of Pacific Worlds Institute, who will take us through the creation of these craft. From the massive double-hulled Polynesian voyaging canoes to small one-man fishing vessels, the waʻa (oceanic canoe) continues to connect Hawaiʻi to its past and present."
    The presentation is part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park programs and co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. Support this news service with advertising at kaunews.com. 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.
5,500 in the mail, 2,000 on the streets Volcano to Miloli'i
 See www.kaunews.com