Revitalized CDP to Get Going in January

By Toni Withington. Reorganization of the North Kohala Community Development Plan (NKCDP) Action Committee, under locally proposed rules, will begin next month. The County Planning Department has given tacit agreement to the changes proposed to make the panel more representative of residents’ voices. The NKCDP was adopted in 2008 as the planning guide for the district. An Action Committee (AC) was set up to be the voice of Kohala in carrying out the goals of the ordinance and in speaking to government agencies. However, the committee fell apart after its last meeting in July 2019. A group of former members of the AC has been working this fall to reinstate it under rules that will encourage members to participate and also to represent more voices. The Planning Department had administered the committee under tight rules that made it impossible to respond to issues in a timely manner and to allow discussion of issues not on the agenda. Meetings had eventually been restricted from monthly to quarterly. By re-naming itself the NKCDP Advisory Group the committee will be free of the most restrictive rules of the state’s Sunshine Law. It will meet monthly to hear reports from the many sub-groups and to publically discuss issues brought forward by residents. The heavy work of research and communications with agencies has been done by the seven subgroups, such as the Kohala Community Access Group and the Parks, Water, Roads Groups. Some have continued monthly meetings despite the AC shut down. Agenda and minutes will continue to be submitted to the Planning Department website, and county planners will be free to attend, in person or virtual, any of the meetings. This arrangement will allow the Advisory Group to speak using the authority of the NKCDP with other government agencies. Former AC participants have since August been in communication about the re-organization with the Planning Department’s Long Term Planning Division and Planning Director, Zendo Kern. A meeting of the dozens of Kohala residents who have committed to the revitalization – many of whom are former CDP participants – will be held this month or early January.

North Kohala Tool Library Coming Soon!

By Lani Bowman. A small band of Kohala residents led by David Gibbs has been working on a plan to create a community tool library. Gibbs has visited successful ones on the mainland and felt this is a great service for our community! North Kohala Tool Library is a not-for-profit community program that owns tools and useful items and lends them to members at little to no cost. Our mission is to assist and improve our community, increase our resilience while also having a positive impact on our environment. We would like to receive input from the community on the project. Please take this quick survey to help us learn how we can best serve you, our beloved Kohala community. For more information look up North Kohala Tool Library on Facebook, email us at, or call David Gibbs at 808.987.3116. The survey can be found at

Fix The Ditch Campaign Begins with Flood of Letters to Officials

Story by Libby Leonard. Earlier this month, the North Kohala Ditch Restoration and Preservation Committee met to launch their fundraising efforts to help fix and restore full waterflow to the ditch, whose main flume was knocked out by a rockslide on April 5. This disrupted several farming operations in the community and shut others down entirely.The group, which convened several of the ditch users in August, has begun a letter-writing campaign directed at several public officials, urging them for the financial assistance needed to get the ditch fully restored. The 2006 earthquake also caused significant damage to the ditch; it took two years and $6 million to fix. Funds came from the County of Hawaiʻi, State Civil Defense, Kamehameha Schools, AT&T, and several members of the community. According to Ed Texeira, former Vice Director for Civil Defense, one of the most effective actions in the Herculean effort to get that money was users sharing with officials their hardships: how the lack of ditch water has affected them, their livelihoods and their plans for the future.With that in mind, earlier this month the committee called on users to submit letters to over twenty officials, urging them for their help. The committee plans to extend the invitation to write letters to the community at large. Users – many of whom have been assets during the pandemic in terms of food security – have been currently paying high costs of county water, while they await a temporary pipeline fix. The pipeline will also incur its own costs. Extending only from Makapala to Halaula, it does not reach all users, and all additional installations will need to be paid by the users in their area. The Kohala Ditch Company and the Kohala Ditch Co-op, which are overseeing the pipeline, are hoping to secure financial assistance as well. Both efforts will appear to take a lot of work, but in the end will serve not just Kohala’s highest potential to be one of the leading agricultural communities on the islands, but also create the local resilience Kohala has been fighting to have for over a decade.  If you are a user that has not yet heard from the committee or are an advocate, please contact to be added to the list for emails and upcoming meetings. Also, you can follow the “Kohala Ditch Restoration and Preservation” Facebook page for updates and future calls to action. 

Reuse, Recycle, Re-think!

By Diann Wilson. Members of the North Kohala Lions Club recently mobilized at Lapakahi State Park to conduct their regular highway road clean up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much that was regular about this particular clean up. The group typically fills nine or ten bags of trash between mile markers 12 and 15 on highway 240. During the December pick up, over 16 large trash bags were filled by the energetic volunteers. In addition, there was a large cooler found on the side of the road that the volunteers filled with litter. They also discovered a variety of building materials that were too large to fit into the cooler or the trash bags. While the Lions were glad to provide the service, they were disappointed by the amount of litter that was found. Before you throw something out of your car or truck window, please stop and think, is this something I could reuse, recycle or rethink? Reuse: building supplies, baseball caps, slippers. (Even if you don’t need them, perhaps someone else does. Consider donating to a local thrift shop.) Recycle: cooler, clothing. (The cooler was perfectly usable, as was some of the clothing if someone would just wash it.) Rethink: fast food containers, plastic water bottles, cigarette butts, Q-tips. (Do you really need these things? If so, it’s not that big of an island – wait until you get home and throw those objects in your trash). Please don’t litter and do what you can to discourage others from littering. If you see items that have been discarded on the side of the road, pull over when it is safe and take the items home to discard or to the local transfer station. Let’s all work together to keep our island clean and beautiful.

Drumming in Kohala

By Lavaroots Performing Arts. Have you heard drumming in Kohala and wondered what is going on? Since 2002, Lavaroots Performing Arts has been working with artists from Guinea, West Africa to share cultural arts of drumming and dance with youth and adults in Kohala. We have offered dance programs at Kohala Elementary school for 14 years, along with community classes and performances. Over the years, we’ve had the special opportunity to work closely with world-renowned artist Gabriel Fara Tolno.  Fara’s international travel schedule halted in response to COVID and allowed him to spend more time here in Kohala with his sweetheart and Lavaroots Founder Michal Anna Carrillo. Fara is a master of his craft and ambassador of his culture. He has shared the stage with artists such as BB Kind and for a decade he played as the lead percussionist for the National Company of Guinea Ballet Merveilles. He has been teaching in schools and universities around the US since 1998 and earned his MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Fara has developed an online encyclopedia of West African Rhythms along with an online school to share and archive this important cultural resource for many generations to come. Lavaroots has held weekly classes at various places in Hāwī; when the pandemic hit, we took a break. We restarted practicing with a small private group at one of our homes and are in the process of soundproofing our space to mitigate the volume. Currently we practice on Monday and Sunday afternoons. There may be occasional drumming at other times due to Fara’s teaching and rehearsal schedule. This past November we honored the time of year we usually hold our annual drum and dance conference with a small group.  The event takes place in early November and next year we hope to return to a larger event facility, as we have in the past.We hope sharing a little about who we are will help our community understand the sounds that may have found their way to you. Thank you for taking the time to read, if you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at

North Kohala Lands Top PONC Preservation List

Story and photo by Toni Withington. Protection of Kohala coastal lands soars high on the County’s 2021 priority list for conservation. Seven of the top nine projects on the list being sent to Mayor Mitch Roth this month are on our shores. The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission (PONC) submitted its list of the top 16 of the 27 projects it reviewed for the Mayor’s Annual Report on proposed open space acquisitions due next month. The news was celebrated by the four Kohala Community Groups that have submitted nominations annually for decades. Top of the list is the five-parcel project called Hapuʻu to Kapanaia Cultural Corridor. It makes up much of the four and a half miles of northern coast called Kula Iwi O Kamehameha, the homelands of Kamehameha I. Three of the parcels – those at Hapuʻu and Kapanaia bays – have already been purchased by the County. Of the remaining two, one is under negotiations now, and the other expected to begin next year. The County Council unanimously called for the purchase of Kamehameha’s land in 2015. Halelua, the last remaining mile of the Kula Iwi O Kamehameha, was listed fourth on the PONC list. The fifty acres stretching from Kauhola Point (Lighthouse) to Hapuʻu Bay is the key last link in returning the king’s homeland to the people.Lamaloloa, the recently controversial 36-acres on the leeward coast, was named number three on the list. Efforts were underway for the conservation purchase of this last link in the preservation of 15 miles of coast last summer when the private owners signed a sales contract with a still undisclosed buyer for purchase of the land. The sale had not been completed by KMN deadline, so hopes to return to negotiations with Kohala groups were still alive. Number two on the PONC list is two parcels near anchialine ponds at Keaukaha in South Hilo. The nominators of the land called Kaumaui, which is already being used for cultural education and events, are asking for a conservation easement.The numbers shift back to North Kohala on the list with five, six and seven lying along the leeward coast. Kaupalaoa is a 64-acre parcel at the 10.5-mile marker, near lands that have already been protected at Kaiholena. Honoipu includes parts of the Old Coast Guard Road and the parking lot at Pali Akamoa. Keawenui is a 166-acre parcel near the southern end of the leeward coastal stretch of open space. Kukuipahu, a thousand-acre plus holding between Kapaʻa Park and Puakea, has been on the PONC list since its inception in 2008. It is owned by Parker Land Trust, which has remained silent on its use other than pasture. It was named number nine this year.The groups that annually nominate lands to the priority list are Ka Makani O Kohala ʻOhana, Malama Nā Wahi Pana O Kohala, Malama Kohala Kahakai and Maikaʻi Kamakani O Kohala.Other projects to make the list include the shoreline of kaʻili in Pepeʻekeo, Holualoa Forest in North Kona, the shoreline at Kaupakuea in South Hilo, Kona Cloud Forest, Papaikou Mill Beach public access, and Keauhou Bay.

Good News: Makapala Store Is Open

By Albert Schmaedick. One of Kohola’s favorite gathering places, the Makapala Store, has just reopened and is working toward offering Friday evening Open Mic gatherings, including a potluck dinner. Tell your friends in the community to tentatively mark their calendar to spend New Year’s Eve at the store in Makapala. It will be a fun night with friends and the New Year in mind. It’s a fine time to re-live those neighborly gatherings again. It is especially significant for me, as I have been away from Hawaii for eight years. I settled in Nepal, married a wonderful Nepali lady and we created a very successful pizza restaurant there. However, the COVID pandemic put us out of business. Coming back to my home here in Hāwī town was a logical choice to start a new life again. My wife is very excited to come to America, a very common dream of Nepali’s young folks. I get to introduce her to all the wonders of ʻohana life here. I remember when I lived here before I would come to the friendly entertaining nights at the Store. Now we will work together and recreate this restaurant offering shave ice and other simple, delicious treats. We plan to expand our menu to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we need to find and rent a kitchen that is fully licensed so we can offer delicious meals. If you or anyone you know has a licensed kitchen, please contact us at the store. This would be a most important asset to our business. Please help us fully serve the restaurant needs in the Makapala neighborhood.I appreciate so much the people who have been so generous and helpful in finding me an affordable home and granting me this chance to open the store with a minimum of start-up costs. I look forward to seeing many of my old friends and, especially, some new ones too. See you Friday, December 31, at from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Bring delicious foods that you can share in the potluck.  Albert Schmaedick Store. I never dreamed I would one day have the opportunity to manage the store. My wife and I are working on getting her a green card so she can soon make the trip to wonderful Big Island.

Better Signs for Yielding at One-Lane Bridges

Story and photo by Toni Withington. The State Highways Division has agreed to post more signs to prepare drivers for yielding to traffic on Kohala’s many one-land bridges. However, things are not moving smoothly. The five bridges between Halawa and Pololū Valley have for years created many minor and some major dramas between drivers. The problem came to a head in October when the Department of Transportation (DOT) abruptly changed the direction of yielding traffic from one side of the bridge at Walaohia Gulch to the other. The change was made in conjunction with the Parks, Water, Roads Group of the North Kohala Community Development Plan, which had been for years fielding complaints, particularly about visitors failing to yield. Because it had not reached out to the broader community living beyond the yield signs about the upcoming change, the Parks, Water, Roads Group (PWR) hosted a public meeting on December 3 at the Kohala Intergenerational Center to hear residents’ reactions. Group Chair Andi Longpre explained to attendees that the PWR had approached the DOT about the change, when engineers had determined that, for safety, multiple bridges should yield in the same direction, and that Walaohia, the only gulch that yielded opposite from the others, had sufficient driver visibility from both sides. In 2017, when first discussed with DOT, PWR suggested that two additional signs be placed in Halawa to announce the one-land bridges ahead. When the switch was made, the signs were not added. Notified on the confusion, DOT located a portable light sign announcing the need to yield in Halawa. At the PWR public meeting there was consensus to recommend that DOT take four actions: Install a “One-Lane Bridges Ahead” sign in Halawa followed by a “Prepare to Yield” sign, followed by moving the existing “Yield Ahead” sign to the top of the rise before the gulch. Finally, it was suggested to paint “Yield Ahead” on the highway itself. It was agreed that the progression would train visiting drivers to yield at all other bridges in the same direction heading toward Pololū. On December 10, a highways crew moved the existing Yield Ahead sign to a more visible location but moved the yield sign painted on the pavement to a more confusing spot on the highway. PWR immediately notified DOT of the error. A member of PWR said that traffic to Pololū Valley Lookout had increased to about 75 cars on weekdays and more than 100 on days of the weekend.

KMS LETTER: Childhood Cancer

Hello Kohala readers, my name is Distiny Serna. I am 12 years old and attending Kohala Middle School. Cancer is a disease and it’s very dangerous. To bring awareness, please read my research. Today I will be writing about cancers concerning young children. Approximately 1,800 children die from cancer yearly. This makes me sad and I want to help stop it by even the simplest way, and that is by bringing awareness. What is cancer you may ask? Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to the other parts of the body. When I watched a video about kids’ cancer it made me feel so sad for the kids. I also feel bad for their families because it hurts to see your loved ones in pain. Cancer right now doesn’t have a cure, so it’s hard to defeat it. And for most children with cancer, their life changes dramatically for the worst-case situation and condition. To avoid cancer, please follow these very simple steps: eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough vitamin D. This way of life has apparently contributed to cancer prevention. At this moment, we may not stop cancer but following these steps can keep us healthy. But even the healthiest person can still get cancer. In conclusion, if you follow these steps, you and your family will at least prevent the possible growth of the disease. And hopefully in the future the deaths of kids will decrease due to the miracle of science, hence a cure.Thank you so much for reading this and I hope, optimistically, you learned something. Have a nice day. Mahalo.Sincerely, Distiny Serna

KMS LETTER: Kitchen Fires

What do you think fire is? The first thing that comes to your mind. Probably forest fire, house fire or something similar. Well, think about this when cooking. Say you want to use wine like a “gourmet chef,” then whoops, it spills on the stove’s open fire and your house starts to burn. Well ladies and gentlemen, this is not very common amongst tiny children, but it could happen to cooks of all ages. Kitchen fires are not that common but can still happen. When cooking, put the stove on low to medium-high heat. Start cooking and make sure that a parent or guardian is helping you in the kitchen. While you are learning, don’t have a teenage babysitter who sits on the couch watching TikTok and scrolling through Instagram help you. And kids, beware of fire because if one starts and you’re traumatized, you might get pyrophobia, or fear of fires. Be safe!RC Baun


Aloha, my name is Nalu Sanchez. I will be writing about drug abuse, which is a serious problem in our world today. About 35 million people smoke and drink and do all manner of things. I have learned about one of the most addictive drugs: alcohol. I have learned that some people buy alcohol and keep buying until all their money is gone. That is why some people live on the streets today. Alcohol is a major problem. If you do drink alcohol these are the symptoms you will feel: memory loss, depression, poor decision making, brain damage, heart pain. It could be because you tried one drink, even just a bottle or can. It can be addictive because you drink alcohol to numb the pain but really it doesn’t help at all. Did you know that you can die from too much alcohol? These are things you should do if you are pressured into drinking alcohol: 1. Say no. 2. Get help from a trusted adult. 3. Do things that are good like taking a walk or reading a book. And the best is just to never do it and commit to it because your choices affect your lifestyle. In conclusion, this is why drugs are a real problem.Sincerely, Nalu

KMS LETTER: Misleading Statistics

Dear Reader, did you know misleading statistics are all around us? From toothpaste ads to politicians, think twice before believing everything. The site says in its “85% of Statistics are False or Misleading” post, “Numbers don’t lie, but they tell a lot of half-truths. We have been raised to think that numbers represent absolute fact, that in a math class there is one and only one correct answer.” For example, when a toothpaste ad says “9/10 dentist recommend our brand,” it does not necessarily mean the dentists think that’s the best brand. They might recommend 50 different brands. Also, the manufacturer might select certain dentists that have a “biased” opinion. Maybe Colgate slipped them a little money to

Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives Update From the Desk of District 7 Representative David Tarnas. DEC 2021

Working as a Peace Maker. Aloha. I am grateful to the West Hawaii Mediation Center for asking me to give a speech at their recent event honoring a long-time volunteer and mentor Giovanna Gherardi. Giovanna is well known in the North Kohala community for her steadfast support for community building and peace making. She has strengthened our community’s health and resilience through her work as a mediator and compassionate communicator. I am grateful for Giovanna’s service to our community. It was clear why she was being honored by the West Hawaii Mediation Center as our “Community Peacebuilder Honoree” for 2021. But I had to ask myself, what was I doing to contribute to a more peaceful community? To build our capacity to sustain community health and sow peace, I work as a legislator to build consensus among community advocates, experts, agency leaders and legislative decision makers on effective solutions. There are basic needs for people to feel secure enough to be at peace with themselves and the world around them. In my view, government has an important role to help the community meet these basic needs. It’s part of my responsibility as a legislator to advocate for these government programs and policies.As a legislator, I do my best to support government programs to make sure people have enough nutritious food, clean water and affordable shelter; feel safe from harm; have access to healthy learning environments for lifelong education; have access to treatment services to maintain good health in mind and body; are able to avoid domestic violence and support healthy relationships; have access to appreciate art and music; and are able to freely exercise cultural and religious practices without fear of discrimination. To make sure we have enough food, clean water, and shelter, the State government must address the basic needs facing our ALICE households (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed), which make up the majority of our community. These include better access to affordable housing, childcare, healthcare and education. Feeling safe from harm means having effective means to deal with domestic abuse situations and reduce bullying in schools and workplace. Government must work with the community to prevent violence against women, children, the elderly, disabled, and those from marginalized communities including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community members. Government must support public education, including teachers and staff at our public schools, and repair and maintain our school facilities, which are aging and in need of upgrades. This means supporting our libraries and school gardens. It also means improving access to the internet for everyone, including those of us living in rural areas of our island. Maintaining good health in mind and body means having access to affordable nutritious food, affordable and accessible healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services. It also means having access to natural areas for exercise and outdoor experiences in parks, hiking trails, beaches, coral reefs, natural ecosystems, forests and coastal areas. These are all priorities for me at the legislature. Supporting healthy relationships means learning how to talk and listen with compassion and how to extend courtesy and respect with others, especially those with whom we disagree. We need to heal some long-standing wounds in our community because of historical racial injustices and start to build trust where there is little today. That’s why it is so important for the State to deal with the underlying causes of generational poverty and help our community heal itself. As with any human endeavor, we can achieve more when we tap into our creative heart and soul to extend peace through art and music. We need more music and art classes in schools as an essential part of the curriculum. This would make the world a more peaceful place. Finally, government has a role in protecting people’s rights to exercise their cultural and religious practices without fear of discrimination. We would have a healthier and more peaceful community if we recognize that we share many spiritual values which draw us together rather than tear us apart. When I need guidance for how to approach dispute resolution in my work, I often look to “O Kou Aloha No” or The Queen’s Prayer, composed by Queen Liliuokalani on March 22, 1895, while she was under house arrest in Iolani Palace. Her words speak clearly to us today: Mai nānā ʻinoʻino Nā hewa o kānaka Akā e huikala A maʻemaʻe nō No laila e ka Haku Ma lalo o kou ʻēheu Kō mākou maluhia A mau loa aku nō ʻĀmene Behold not with malevolence The sins of men But forgive And cleanse And so, o Lord Protect us beneath your wings And let peace be our portion Now and forever more Amen Mahalo for the opportunity to serve as your State Representative. If you have comments or questions, please contact me at and 808-586-8510. If you aren’t yet a subscriber, please sign up for my e-newsletter at Be safe and spread peace this holiday season.

County Council Update. From the Desk of District 9 Councilmember Tim Richards: DEC 2021

Aloha! Once again, it is time for the monthly update from our office. County Of Hawai‘i Grant-In-Aid “Waiwai Grant Program” Fiscal Year 2022-23: As noted in the press release on December 9, 2021, the County of Hawai‘i is soliciting applications for its Nonprofit Grant-in-Aid (GIA) program from Fiscal Year 2022-2023. A total of $2.5 million is available for eligible nonprofits providing services that benefit the people of Hawai‘i Island. Using the term “waiwai” for this GIA program was an inspiration by the good work of our community partners. In Hawaiian, wai means water; waiwai translates to assets, value, and wealth. To have an abundance of fresh water is the highest form of wealth and well-being, as water is life. The Hawai‘i County Council sees our island’s nonprofits as assets, bringing incredible value to residents by their programs which creates a rippling effect of positive change throughout the community. With a focus on bringing this change to our community, the Waiwai Grant is now redesigned to track how a recipient of the GIA taxpayer dollars can effectuate “CHANGE” as identified as differing yet connected sectors: C: Community and Economics. H: Health and Wellness. A: Arts and Culture. N: Natural Environment. G: Government and Civics. E: Education. The data collected will help the County better understand the impact of the grant recipients, identify any gaps within the community, determine where other resources are needed, as well as realize and address duplicative efforts being made. This data will also be helpful in identifying similar nonprofits with the hope to bring them together for a bigger impact for Hawai‘i Island.The application and instructions for the GIA Waiwai Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 can be found at The application and all required material are due January 31, 2022, by 4:30 p.m. Please read packet contents carefully as the instructions and process has changed. We encourage all applicants to apply online through the pilot Waiwai Grant Program. A webinar providing informational content on the pilot Waiwai Grant Program was held on December 13 to educate anyone interested on the new online process. A recording of the presentation can be seen at Please feel free to reach out to my offices should you have questions or concerns regarding this funding opportunity.My Agricultural Position On Proposed Bill 91, As Amended, Relating To The Prohibition Of Glyphosate-Based Pesticides Within Hawai‘i County Parks And Recreational Facilities:Last week Council voted on Bill 91, which has to do with the removal of glyphosate use (commonly known as Round-Up) within our county parks. I voted no. Though I fully support the intent of reduction of chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides, to our community, I get very concerned with “categorical prohibition” for several reasons. My first concern is that any categorical denial of something removes a “tool from our tool belt”. Our County Department of Parks and Recreation has already reduced the use of some of the pesticides/herbicides being used around the community parks. In its place, in some instances salt water has been used. There is so much misinformation available for people to grab a hold of, yet the statements are not proven facts. Some of the arguments against glyphosate is that it damages the soil killing the bacteria, fungus and even earth worms; so does salt water. The assertion that “organic“ farming practices are always safer is also inaccurate. A commonly used fungicide, copper sulfate, is used in organic farming yet it is exceedingly toxic. Do I support its continued use? Absolutely, as long as it’s used appropriately and correctly. The initial draft of Bill 91 made claims concerning health risks and potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate. No one on the County Council is qualified to make that determination. Going to literature, under International Agency on Research for Cancer (IARC), glyphosate has been categorized as a Group 2A chemical; “possibly” carcinogenic. Our United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more recently has determined glyphosate to be “safe if used correctly”. Even more recent, other publications have deemed glyphosate “probably safe”. The point is there are opinions on both side of this conversation. One point I find interesting is that the same organization, IARC, has deemed ethanol as a Group 1; known carcinogen. Right now, ethanol is one of the primary disinfectants we all apply to ourselves every day due to COVID. It is also contained in the alcoholic beverages we consume. I find that conversation paradoxical. My greatest concern in legislation like this, is how it can become “anti-agricultural” because it is then used as a springboard and justification for eliminating tools like glyphosate in other jurisdictions, i.e., on private property, ranches, farms, etc. When such forms of legislation are passed in one jurisdiction, the argument is used as justification for another. This is concerning for our agriculture and its future, as was our county’s anti-GMO legislation put in place years ago that created problems globally until it was corrected in those jurisdictions. Of course, I fully support reduction of unnecessary chemical exposure to our communities. Yet, I have also come to learn that we need to be forward thinking about the potential long-term ramifications of any decisions we make. As we close out 2021, I would like to mahalo each of you, the backbone of our communities, for your perseverance, dedication throughout the year, and for your Aloha shared with me, my family, and my staff, and most importantly, among each other. It continues to be a great privilege to serve as your Councilman and I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

St. Augustine’s Christmas Thrift Shopping for Keiki

Story and photos by Kathy Matsuda. On December 12, the thrift shop opened to children ages three to ten as they learned about the gift of giving. No parents were allowed inside. We had helpers to assist them in shopping, purchasing, and getting their gifts wrapped. They also got to choose a free toy before they left.  

St. Nicholas Explains His Story

Story by Kathy Matsuda. On December 5, children were invited to St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church to hear the story of St. Nicholas and how he became known to us now as Santa Claus.  We decorated a cookie tree and received a gift certificate from St. Nicholas for $3 to purchase gifts for family and friends. 

New Year and New Programs at the Kohala Artistsʻ Cooperative

Story and photo by Diann Wilson. The new year is bringing exciting new programs to the Kohala Artistsʻ Cooperative. An increase in membership has brought about an increase in organization, which is yielding more programs and activities for the coop and the North Kohala community.In addition to a recent election of officers, new coop committees have been formed. One of these is the gallery committee, which is focused on gallery layout and programming. One of their first actions was to create a monthly program calendar. According to gallery committee member Kristen Jordan, “We currently have over 25 local artists displaying their work at the gallery. To ensure that all of the artists have an opportunity to highlight their work outside of their regular gallery display, starting January 2022, there will be monthly shows featuring one or more artists.” The calendar for the first six months includes: January: “It’s Not What You Think” show by Kristen Jordan. February: “From the Heart” themed show. Coop members are asked to submit one or more works relating to this theme for a group show. March: Cathy Morgan. April: “Earth Day” themed show. Coop members are asked to submit one or more works relating to this theme for a group show. May: Helen White and Friends. June: “Open Show.” Coop members are asked to submit one or more works of their choice for a group show. The month of January will feature work by Kristen. She and her husband her moved to Kapaʻau on New Year’s Eve just last year. She started volunteering in February at the coop and she works primarily with drawing, painting and photographic installations. She is excited to have her work featured in January and is hoping to do more than work in a two-dimensional space. The theme for her show is “Presence.” Kristen approaches artwork as a meditation practitioner. She focuses on staying in the moment when creating, which gives her a sense of flow. The content for her artwork is pulled from different places –primarily her own life and the natural world. In addition to highlighting individual artists, the monthly shows are designed to get people thinking about things from a different perspective. The month of February asks each coop member to display one or more piece with the theme “From the Heart.” The theme is related to Valentine’s Day, but with a perspective a bit beyond romantic love. Artists are encouraged to create a new piece that is their own interpretation of the theme. For March, Kathy Morgan will be displaying her work. Kathy’s work includes printmaking, collage and paintings. As one of the original Coop founders, this will be her opportunity to feature her artistic works.The Kohala Artists Cooperative is located at 54-3676 Akoni Pule Hwy. in Kapaʻau. The gallery is open seven days a week from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Gallery committee members are Kristan Valensky, Kristen Jorden and Cathy Morgan. Additional single member, group shows, or theme shows will be featured in the months to come. Watch for flyers and the Coop’s Facebook page for information regarding any opening receptions. To keep our community safe, the cooperative follows all COVID protocols.


KOHALA TASK FORCE 1971-1979: Almost immediately (June 1971), the Governor of Hawaii appointed a task force to study the employment situation. It was chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, and included a bank president, the manager of the Honokaʻa Sugar Company, two representatives from the union, one from Castle & Cooke, one from the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association, the Mayor of Hawaii County, one from the County of Hawaii, and three from the State. There were no representatives from the Kohala Sugar Company. Initially it was given $5.5 million dollars by the State (2/3) and County (1/3) to use to create employment opportunities for Kohala. Residents hoped for quick results. In the next four years it created 192 jobs, but by 1978 that number was down to 76. The Task Force calculated that if the situation was left untouched, the State would need to spend $3.7 million on unemployment and welfare benefits. The Task Force studied proposals from entrepreneurs to start-up new businesses in Kohala. It rejected more proposals than it agreed to. It left the management of the operations that it did fund in the hands of the local management. At first it looked for ways to continue growing and selling sugar. Another of the Honolulu sugar agents reviewed the Kohala operations and concluded that sugar in Kohala was not going to be profitable, given the uncertainty of sugar prices. The task force considered forming a grower’s cooperative to keep the mill running, also the possibility of growing cane to be used as cattle feed. Those propositions didn’t come to be. The Task Force was able to convince Castle & Cooke to delay the closing of the Kohala Sugar Company until 1975 (from the date first announced of 1973). By 1975 the Task Force had settled on starting four new for-profit ventures in Kohala, and to build Lapakahi State Park. The State and County appropriated $5.5 million. Much of the money was used to make loans to these operations and to conduct feasibility studies. By March of 1975, 58% of the $5.5 million had been committed. In 1976, $805,000 more was appropriated, bringing the total to $6.3 million. By the end of 1979, it had given $5.6 million in loans and grants to the for-profit Kohala ventures. Kohala Nursery, Inc. The first company funded by the task force in 1973, Kohala Nursery survives to this day selling tropical trees and plants on an eighty-seven-acre site. It was the only company to repay the loan. Hawaiian Biogenics, Ltd. The plan for Hawaiian Biogenics was to begin a 2,000-acre cattle feedlot and store the product in giant oxygen-free silos, to be fed to on-site cattle. Three 1,000-ton silos were constructed. Experienced feedlot operators were hired from Wisconsin. Operations began in September 1975. In its first year it incurred more than one million dollars of debt, in addition to the government loans of $2.5 million. Management problems were apparent. Record keeping was shoddy. The Task Force added three outsiders to the Board of Directors. In January 1976 the Task Force forced the company into an involuntary reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. Cut-back operations continued under a court-appointed Receiver. The Task Force made additional loans to keep the company afloat during the restructuring. Following the recommendations of the Receiver, the Task Force loaned the company an additional $750,000 to restart operations. In 1980 the company was acquired by California Land and Cattle Co. It then became Hawaii Edison Cattle Co., which went bankrupt in 1983. Boteilho Hawaii Enterprises (of Kohala) leased half the land and bought some of the remaining assets in 1983. It appears that little of the Task force loans were ever repaid. Orchids Pacifica, Inc. Orchids Pacifica leased land to grow twenty-five acres of orchids for export. Started in 1973, it was slow to get started – sales in 1976 were only $11,200. It went out of business in 1986. Little of the Task Force loans were repaid. Kohala Plastics Industries, Inc. Formed to sell drip-irrigation parts to the sugar industry, Kohala Plastics Industries soon ran into financial problems. The company was acquired by Kuluwai Corporation of Honolulu in 1976. Kuluwai went bankrupt in early 1979. Pacific Hay. Pacific Hay started in 1976 to cube hay and sell it on a contract to a farmer’s cooperative. Management problems became apparent early on. At the end of 1978 the State and County foreclosed on the company’s assets. Hawaii Feed Grain Research Grant. The College of Tropical Agriculture at the University of Hawaii began a research project in Kohala starting with a County grant of $80,000 in 1973 to improve yields for corn and grains to be used as cattle feed. Another $200,000 was granted in 1976. The Task Force also made grants available. Overall, $590,000 was granted. The project did improve yields. Hawaiian Biogenics benefitted from the result of this project. Other activities. A company tried to grow sorghum for cattle feed above Upolu Airport, but it did not grow well and the venture failed. The government also spent $200,000 on a Kohala Water Resources Management and Development Study.The one hundred and twelve years of sugar history shaped the Kohala we see today. While the buildings are gone and only traces of history can be found beneath the now-wild cane grass fields, the cultural melting pot has remained long after.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.A special thanks Kohala residents Liz Bautista, Sarah Stoddard and Iris Fujii for loaning their copies of the Kohala Sugar Company Annual Reports. And to Fred Cachola for his descriptions of life in the days of sugar.

Ouch, I Hurt My Back! Now What?

By Jana Howard, PTA. We all know the dreaded feeling! Working in the yard or lifting something as simple as a paperclip off the floor and now you can’t move. Shooting pains in the back, sore muscles and worst of all, you can’t get out of bed or off the couch! Pain medication doesn’t even touch it or only lasts a few hours, so you are stuck. Should I go to the Emergency Room? See my doctor? Lie here and hope for the pain to go away? Most of us have been there at some point in our lives, so here is a general guide on what you can do to get back to your old self and what to do to not be in that position again any time soon. Resting for one to two days is often a good idea, although try not to stay in one position for too long, as that can make symptoms worse. Try to walk around the house a little, sit with a support cushion behind your lower back, or lie down for a while with your knees bent over a pillow to reduce strain on your lower back muscles. You can also use ice or heat to help reduce the pain and make you more comfortable. When do you need to see a doctor? If there is very sharp pain, as well as numbness or tingling radiating down one or both legs that is not going away or is getting worse with a few hours of rest, please call your doctor! If the pain stays in your lower back, try the above-mentioned methods of resting and gentle movements for a few days, but if no improvements are noted, call your doctor for an appointment. Your doctor can help you by prescribing pain and anti-inflammatory medications for more immediate pain relief, but also by recommending physical therapy. (If they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to ask for it!) Why physical therapy? Because we are the experts when it comes to pain involving the muscles, nerves and bones of your body! Physical therapists can teach you ways to decrease your low back pain with gentle, appropriate exercises; regain your mobility; help you get stronger; and teach you how to improve the way you are sitting, standing, walking, and bending to prevent future episodes of low back pain.Here are a few things everyone can do right away to improve their back health. Staying active throughout the day is important! Alternate activities like sitting, walking around the house or yard, and gardening, cleaning, or cooking. Take frequent, small breaks when doing more strenuous activities and take the time to do a few easy stretches – like bending and straightening your spine, looking over your shoulder, or a gentle side bend. Getting in the water is a great way to exercise and relieve pain in your back. When you are sitting in your favorite chair or driving, try propping a small pillow or towel roll behind your lower back to help support your spine and decrease strain on your low back muscles. When you have to bend down (and let’s be honest, there is sometimes just no way around it), do it the right way by bending your knees, not your back! If all else fails and you do end up with a sore lower back, or if you have had chronic low back pain for years, please come see us at BodyPro Physical Therapy here in Kapaʻau, next to the Pharmacy. We are happy to help!

AHARO Hawaii’s “Journey Back to Your Island Healthcare Home Conference” Comes to Hawaii Island

By Kai Gacayan. Established in 2008, AHARO Hawaii – a virtual accountable care organization led by five Federally Qualified Community Health Center (FQHC) members: Bay Clinic Inc., Hāmākua-Kohala Health, Molokaʿi Community Health Center, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and Waimanalo Health Center – hosted the Journey Back to Your Island Healthcare Home Conference on Hawaii Island from November 30 through December 2. AHARO Hawaii’s mission is to promote access, quality and cost effectiveness in healthcare by empowering consumers to evaluate the performance of healthcare agencies that serve them. Key accomplishments of AHARO Hawaiʻi include integration of quality data, tracking of medical disparities within the participating FQHC’s as well immense collabortion during the pandemic with the implementation of telehealth solutions to benefit all Hawaii FQHC’s. All five of AHARO Hawaiʻi’s FQHC members have been recognzied by Papa Ola Lokahi as Native Hawaiian Health Clinics. This year’s Journey Back to Your Island Healthcare Home conference attendees included medical professionals, FQHC board members, health insurance carriers and health care workers. Discussions on health equity, COVID experiences of health center frontline workers, and community development and engagement were shared. AHARO Hawaii welcomed keynote speaker Krystal Kaʻai, White House Executive Director of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. For more than eight years, Krystal has had a vast impact on Asian American and Pacific Island populations, including initiatives to better health care, immigration and civil rights. Renowned Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, MD was also in attendance as he shared his manaʻo (thoughts) and expertise on “The Hawaiʻi Experience in COVID response.” Dr. Green continues to provide health care as an emergency room physician at the Kohala Hospital. Hāmākua-Kohala Health recognizes the need for collaboration and importance of partnerships built such as these to keep with our belief of “Caring for your ʻohana, Caring for you” and the ever-changing times to best serve our kaiaulu (communities). Hāmākua-Kohala Health reminds everyone that we are accepting new, insured, and non-insured patients and provide enrollment assistance for health insurance. All medical and behavioral health services continue to be open for in-person and telehealth visits. Free COVID vaccinations for ages five years and up are available.For more information, please call (808) 889-6236 or visit us online at

Turning Waste into Fertility at Dragon Heart Farm

Story and photo by Karolina Garrett. Every human stomach has a story. If we sent an archeology team to yours, excavators might discover particles that signify a relationship to nature, a connection to environment’s history, culture and economy. Or you could simply bring food remnants known as table scraps (organic matter) to Dragon Heart Farm, where Tyler Russell and Brooks Thomas will talk story. Standing at a long wooden trough at Dragon Heart Farm in Hāwī, Thomas and Russell pull back with their hands what looks like soil to reveal hundreds of wiggly worms. Not quite soil yet, for right now they scrape a layer of dark brown granules, the result of your meal scraps—apple cores, broccoli stalks, chicken bones and more—crumbling together when sawdust, sunshine and water are added. In this beautiful muck are compost worms, filling their stomachs with your organic matter and then making fertile castings (poops). Turns out that waste makes fertility.In worm composting demonstrations, Thomas will often drink a glass of water enhanced with these dark brown compost granules full of worm castings to illustrate how our human stomachs flourish in equal health as to the entire Earth’s stomach—which is soil. Healthy soil means healthy human stomachs since our food originates in the soil.Soils amendments are an expertise crafting at Dragon Heart Farms, where they make GrowFAAST (fish amino acid, Hawaiian spirulina and EM1), Vermichar (worm castings and charcoal), and FAABBchar (fish amino acid, bokashi and biochar). And they make amended soil. Russell, Dragon Heart’s Farm Manager, clarifies that for the home gardener, the amended soil he and his farm team create is fertile enough to grow more than a few crops (cycles)—from seed to fruiting tomato, for example, which is often an approximately 90-day cycle. Filling your garden container with Dragon Heart Farm soil can ensure a flourishing stomach story at your home. In a way, then, plants have stomachs, too, in that they love nutrition to eat. And how we amend (nutrition-ize) the soil becomes their mealtime. Consider, then, how effective Dragon Heart’s plant nutrition product GrowFAAST is for a garden. For plants, during a specific growth phase, thriving occurs with a tailored nutrient (amendment). Comparing a food plant to a human baby helps when we see mashed avocado as optimal for infant growth because the brain needs fat to grow at this stage of life. In a similar way, GrowFAAST feeds a plant for optimal growth during the stage when producing vegetables. GrowFAAST can also provide ongoing nutrition to grow leafy vegetables. After a walk through several acres of Dragon Heart Farm, Russell arrives next to 30 or more tall blue barrels, another specific location where waste becomes fertility. Inside the barrels, fish skeletons, with some flesh still on, are fermenting (breaking down) with brown sugar. Several months later, the tap on the barrel bottom is opened and voila—liquid fish amino pours out. Tyler first drives the empty barrels to Kona, then fills them with fish bones, guts, tails, and heads that are recycled—saved from disposal—after the fish leave Blue Ocean Mariculture, a Kanpachi fish farm ( in ocean waters off the Kona coast. The other key ingredient in GrowFAAST arrives from Cyanotech’s spirulina, a strain of Hawaiian blue-green microalgae, that becomes dust in the air when produced ( Once vacuuming the spirulina dust particles, the Kona company then sells the spirulina “leftovers” to Dragon Heart Farm, or they would otherwise go to the garbage bin. A healthy meal regenerates our bodies as the stomach ferments nutrition in so many ways. Likewise, amended soil sequesters (holds purposefully) elements such as carbon, drawing down from the air its negative role in global warming. Eating food, then, from thriving soil influences nature, the current and future healthy environment. This is what we mean by regenerative farming—to generate further and again what nature intended.Tyler and Brooks encourage you to stop by Dragon Heart Farm on Lincoln Road and bring your table scraps. Grateful compost worms can then morph more “waste” into fertile amendments for soil to grow nutritious food—in other words, the story in our human stomachs is ever ongoing.  

The Traveling Cigar Bar: Sharing the Luxury of Fine Cigars

The Traveling Cigar Bar was recently created to provide a unique cigar lounge experience for weddings, parties and corporate events on Hawaii Island. This is a great way to turn any event into a celebration. The Traveling Cigar Bar is hosted by Hawaii Cigar & Ukulele Lounge of Hawi, a five-star rated Experience on Airbnb. With a wide variety of premium cigars to choose from, the lounge is known for its ability to provide guests with the best selection for their tastes. With five-star reviews and great references from corporate customers, you are guaranteed the finest cigars and hospitality. To learn more, contact The Traveling Cigar Bar at 808-889-1282 or

News Of the World. A Poem By Donna Beumler

If I could write the headlines For a vastly different place The world would know that hate had lost And all humanity was saved The news would report that tolerance Had gained the upper hand The fight was hard but kindness won Because compassion took a stand I would write that guns were silenced And religions made amends For how do you fight a war When the enemy is now your friend? The poor had food, the sick had aid The news reports would note The missing had been found And the hopeless had found hope If I could write of the human race I would say perfection is not the goal But we all are better people Proclaimed in big letters above the fold But I do not write the headlines I cannot change the tide My heart is full and heavy Though my arms are open wide

Wednesday Night Fun

Kohala Village HUB Wednesday Night Out is an ongoing event, taking place on the first Wednesday of each month from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Come and join us on January 5 for the next one