Bond Family Returns Library to Kohala
By Christine Richardson. After 11 years of untangling red tape with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the DLNR, members of the Bond Family have finally secured the title to the old Bond Memorial Library Building. This accomplishment will now allow the Bond Library Restoration project, sponsored by the North Kohala Community Resource Center, to commence the exciting challenge of restoring the building and creating a broad based, inclusive community facility. When the old library was first vacated (2010-2013), NKCRC hosted multiple meetings for the community to discuss possible uses for this beloved building in Kapaʻau. The most popular ideas were to create a multigenerational facility that will house the history and artifacts of North Kohala and make the building available for all to learn about the rich history of this district. An important part of this vision was to include our school age youth to participate in the programming and uses. The NKCRC staff and project organizers worked for years with the State to facilitate the complex process of returning the title to the Bond family as stated in the 1928 deed of Reverend Bond’s daughter Carolyn Bond, who built and designated the original building as a library. The initial organizers included Sharon Hayden, Fred Cachola, Rhoady Lee and Boyd Bond. Their collective vision led to the working title, The Kohala Heritage Center, as a place holder for the planning to begin.As the years went on, it became clear that the title reversal process was to be a long and arduous process. The project would never have reached this current status without the dedicated determination of Rhoady Lee, local resident and architect, who led the donor campaigns that supported the costs of maintaining the lawn and utilities and minimal maintenance (think hanging gutters, broken doors and a big bee infestation!) as well as the legal fees to aid the Bond Family in the title acquisition. This huge title challenge fell to our very own Boyd Bond, who worked with an attorney in Kona for almost three years to identify over 38 heirs across the mainland. They had to be notified and sign off on the intention to make this building available for a nonprofit community use. Additionally, the Resource Center remained steady in their support of this long term effort. Mahalo, Rhoady, Boyd and NKCRC! Boyd’s sister, Suzi Bond, is now the family contact for the building. Suzi recently provided a long term lease which will allow for both the restoration and the future facility development. Project organizers to lead this effort are Sharon Hayden and Christine Richardson, recently retired executive director of NKCRC. “I was so captivated by the importance of this project that I decided to team up with Sharon when I retired to support phase one, the Restoration, and help her to facilitate phase two, the Kohala Heritage Center.” Both women are working to pull in both old and new team members to engage the community in this ambitious effort. Restoring this building to its previous integrity and make it last another 100 years will be expensive. John Metzler of Metzler Contracting has stepped up to offer his help and guidance and is currently working on the cost estimates with the project organizers. The team is looking for community members who can donate their skills or materials to help defray costs. They have also begun to submit proposals with the support of NKCRC to raise funds for this important restoration effort. It will take at least a year to produce sufficient funding, secure permits and complete the restoration work. Parallel to the construction effort, Kohala Heritage Center committee meetings will be led by Sharon to create the plan for the future use of the site. You can help make this long awaited dream come true by donating your time, talent and resources to the Bond Library Restoration project! All tax-deductible donations can be directed to NKCRC, P.O. Box 519 Hawi, HI 96719 or online at northkohala.org, and please specify the Bond Library. If you want more information about the project, please email the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Status of Lamaloloa Parcel Uncertain
Community members continue to work on coastal preservation efforts. They are hopeful the landowner of Lamaloloa will come back to the table to complete a preservation purchase to keep the cultural landscape whole, unmarred by development or a luxury home. This coast has the most numerous, intact cultural and archeological sites in the state.
Hawi Re-zoning Faces Traffic Concerns
By Toni Withington. A request for additional commercial zoning in Hāwi will go before the Leeward Planning Commission on December 16 but is already facing questions about traffic and parking impacts. The land is a triangular shaped 7,500-square-foot parcel next to the “Welcome to Historic Kohala” sign. The owner, Dwayne Cravalho, wants to locate two food trucks and portable toilets on the parcel located at the intersection of Akoni Pule Highway and Hoʻea Road.The State Department of Transportation (DOT) controls a strip of land between the triangle and the highway, often used by police for traffic surveillance, and has informed Cravalho that it cannot be used for parking by customers of the food vendors. The County Department of Public Works, which has jurisdiction of Hoʻea Road, controls a 20-foot-wide pavement on a 40-foot right of way. The department has called for the owner to build curbs, gutters and sidewalk along its boundary with Hoʻea Road and allow for widening of its easement. It has prohibited parking along the road near the intersection and required all parking for the facility be on the lot. Maps submitted to the Planning Department show only two parking places and a driveway off Hoʻea. It cites an Institute of Transportation Engineers report that anticipates less than 50 vehicles a day during peak hours.Daryn Arai, a spokesperson for Cravalho, told the County that they will be requesting “relief from having to improve Hoʻea Road with curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements as well as its widening to a 60-foot-wide right-of-way.” ‘The burden of improving Hoea Road to commercial standards should not be borne solely by the Applicant when looking at the existing roadway conditions in the area,” Arai said. The State also expressed concerns about “the validity of the application justification regarding the adequacy of two parking spaces proposed based on the stated projection of 30 vehicle trips to be generated by the food truck operation.” “We are also concerned that the location of the access driveway in close proximity to Akoni Pule Highway may create traffic safety issues,” the DOT told the Planning Department. The public may provide written testimony on the rezone application titled REZ 21-000248 in writing to the Leeward Planning Commission by 4:30 p.m. on December 14 to LPCtestimony@hawaiicounty.gov. The public may provide oral testimony at the meeting through Zoom. To register for oral testimony, contact Noriko Sauer at Noriko.Sauer@hawaiicounty.gov or (808) 323-4783 no later than 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14. According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers Common Trip Generation Rates, the project food truck operation is anticipated to generate much fewer than 50 vehicle trips during the afternoon peak hour, and therefore should not have a significant adverse impact to traffic along Hoʻea Road or its intersection with the Akoni Pule Highway.
Sports Facilities at Two Kohala Schools Move Ahead
By Toni Withington. The new gymnasium at Kohala High School and the new play court/assembly area at Kohala Middle School moved to the head of the class this fall. Both projects received State funding last spring from the Legislature, and both have made progress in planning and permitting. Representative David Tarnas and Senator Lorraine Inouye managed to garner $2.5 million for the gymnasium and $3.6 for the play court. Governor David Ige released the first million to be used for design of the new gym and team changing rooms, which could cost another $25 million to build. Rep. Tarnas said the design consultant has completed the due diligence phase of the planning. “A challenge has arisen because the preferred location for the gym straddles two different land parcels which the school sits on,” Tarnas reported. Planners are now trying to figure out a way to possibly put the gym on one parcel and the changing rooms on another. The alternative would involve long delays in getting land boundary changes through both the State and County, possibly adding two more years to the project. At any rate, Tarnas said he will be asking the 2022 Legislature to fund the construction costs, which he described as “a big ask.” He and Sen. Inouye will be calling for support from the community and all the other island legislators when it comes to budget time this winter. As dear as it is to so many in Kohala, the old gymnasium was declared “structurally unstable” partly due to termite damage in the summer of 2017. Additional supports were added and the building pronounced fit for another nine to ten years. The new covered play court/assembly area at Kohala Middle School is much further along in process. The $3.6 million appropriated is for design and construction of the open-air building and surrounding improvements. The plans for the building have been completed, and Final Environmental Assessment was approved in February. It has received approval from State’s Department of Transportation and Department of Health as well as the County Department of Water Supply. A building permit application was submitted to the County in March. The plan it is still pending County building, structural and electrical approval.Unfortunately, it is one of many projects that are currently backlogged in Hawaiʻi County’s permitting process, mostly due to bottlenecks in the Department of Public Works. The proposed one-story structure will provide students at the school a sheltered area for physical education classes, a play space during recess, a flexible space for creative projects, school gatherings, and celebrations. It will hold 401 people. The new space will allow the entire school to gather in one place under shelter during inclement weather conditions. The 8,653 square feet structure will be located on the current soccer field makai of the auxiliary classrooms. The play court will provide one regulation size basketball court, four half-court basketball courts, one regulation size volleyball court and two practice volleyball courts.
Shop Local for the Holidays
By Diann Wilson. Stories abound about a shortage of merchandise on store shelves and items stuck on cargo trucks with nowhere to dock or no trucks to deliver goods. What better time than now to shop local? And what better place to shop local than the Kohala Artists’ Cooperative? Shopping locally provides many economic benefits to our community. By buying local, you are supporting local artists and investing in our town. More importantly, the Artists’ Cooperative has unique, creative gifts that big box stores don’t carry. To help you with your local shopping, the Coop is holding a Holiday Market from November 26 through January 8. In addition to the items normally for sale in the gallery, the Holiday Market will feature the work of thirteen Coop members who will have special holiday tables highlighting their arts and crafts, where you will surely find the perfect one-of-a-kind creations for gift giving. Special treasures that can be found include textiles, photography, jewelry, oil paintings, watercolor, ceramics and pottery. If you are you looking for unique holiday items for children, this is the place to shop. Gifts can be found for all ages and in all price ranges, including mask holders, holiday ornaments, sculptures, placemats and coasters. The market will be open daily from 12 to 5 at the Kohala Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 54-3676 Akoni Pule Highway, Kapaʻau. In addition to the regular daily hours, the coop members are holding a special Holiday Market Party for the community. This fun-filled event will be held December 18 from 5– 8 p.m. Shoppers will be entertained by music from Joey Bradley and belly dancing by Carla “Aleili” Orellana. A raffle will offer participants a chance to win a piece of art for themselves or to give as a gift. Refreshments will be available throughout the evening, and all COVID protocols will be followed. So, don’t worry about empty store shelves or delayed shipping! Visit the Kohala Artists’ Cooperative and buy local.
Hala’ula Well Given New Deadline
By Toni Withington. Construction of the new $13 million Hala’ula water well continues to move forward, despite delays caused by the pandemic. The new completion date for the entire project is June 2022. The nighttime water shut-off in late October allowed workers to pressure test and verify the new 12-inch waterline constructed along two miles of Ma’ulili Road and Akoni Pule Highway. The process of connecting existing customers to the new waterline is expected to start later this month. The new 500,000-gallon reservoir at the top of Ma’ulili Road is about 90% complete, while the new control building, including the electronic and mechanical instrumentation, is approximately 30% finished, according to the Department of Water Supply (DWS). “DWS is awaiting the State’s permit approval to install and activate the well’s new pump. Also needed is installation of new electrical lines and related infrastructure that will power the pump and control building,” the department announced earlier this month. As to the completion date, Jason Armstrong, Information and Education Specialist for the department said “DWS anticipates completing the project by June 2022. As mentioned previously, final paving of roadway areas DWS has disturbed will be performed shortly before completion.” The well project was begun by contractor Goodfellow Bros, Inc. in September 2019, anticipating to be done at the end of 2020. Later the deadline was advanced to summer of 2021. So far, the contractor has installed new water meters, meter boxes and copper waterpipes called service laterals to deliver drinking water from the main line to properties. “Please know DWS is working to bring the Hala’ula project upgrades online as quickly as possible,” Armstrong said. “As always, your continued patience and understanding are very much appreciated. “When the well installation is complete and the well and control building are functionally operational, DWS can start filling the new reservoir in anticipation of beginning service from the new well source. After assuring that the well water in the new reservoir meets all applicable water quality standards, DWS can close the valve on the waterline currently bringing Hāwī water to Hala’ula and begin service to Hala’ula from the new Hala’ula Well source,” Armstrong said.The well project and distribution system is funded through a low-interest loan from the State of Hawai‘i’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Contact Information: DWS Project Engineer: Larry Beck (808) 961-8070 or DWS Communications Branch: Jason Armstrong (808) 961-8050 Email: email@example.com.
Flap Over New Yield Sign
By Toni Withington. A sudden change in the Yield sign for a one-lane bridge in Halawa last month caused a stir of concern among the residents who have to use it to reach their homes. Pololū-bound traffic now has to yield to town-bound traffic, instead of the other way around. Anger on social media sites spilled over to the monthly meeting of the Parks, Water, Roads Group (PWR), an extension of the district’s Community Development Plan. Most of those posting complained that they had not been consulted on the change. Two Niuliʻi residents registered their anger at the PWR meeting on October 27. The group immediately posted an apology to the community on the Niuliʻi-Makapāla Neighborhood Facebook page, taking responsibility for the mix-up and explaining how it came about. Parks, Water Roads Group has also scheduled a gathering, open to the public, on December 3 at 5 p.m. at the Kohala Intergenerational Center in Kamehameha Park to allow drivers to express their concerns and ideas. Responding to numerous complaints about angry confrontations and motorists “playing chicken” with the one-lane bridge crossings, Parks, Water, Roads Group brought the problem to the attention of the State Department of Transportation (DOT), Highways Division, in 2017.
Following more complaints, the PWR invited then DOT Chief Engineer Don Smith and his then Deputy Harry Takiue in January 2019 to inspect the Yield signs. The group requested that two signs be posted saying “One Lane Bridges Ahead” and “Prepare to Yield” in Halawa. It was pointed out that traffic on all five Pololū-bound bridges yields to out-bound traffic, except the first bridge at Walaohia Gulch in Halawa. DOT engineers said that, for safety purposes, it is better for traffic to yield in a consistent way with multiple bridges. Inspection by engineers later showed that the driver visibility was equally good from either direction at Walaohia Bridge. When nothing was done by DOT about the signs or changes, PWR repeated the problem to DOT present Chief Engineer Takiue on October 1 along with other highway issues. Within days DOT workers fixed all the changes requested, along with shifting the Walaohia Gulch Yield sign. “We had no idea the change would be made so quick and without installing the warning signs in Halawa,” the group said in its apology. At its meeting, members of the group agreed that the signs and warnings about the yielding requirements are not adequate as they stand. Recommendations about how to proceed will be taken at the December meeting.
Letter: Mahalo Kohala!
The Kohala Hospital Auxiliary thanks you, the Kohala community, for your incredible support of our Krispy Kreme fundraiser. We raised nearly $3,000 – including $898 in donations! This money will be used to continue our support and assistance with the special needs of and activities for the long-term residents and staff of Kohala Hospital. Every year we contribute to the residents’ Christmas party and holiday dinners, provide a daily newspaper and much more. The Auxiliary also offers scholarships to students planning to enter the health care professions. Students who are interested in applying for a scholarship should contact Dixie Adams at (808) 889-5730. The response this year was so much greater than we anticipated. In the past there were always 30 or more unclaimed tickets, so we factored that into our plans to avoid having several dozen donuts left unsold. That was not the case this year. We ran out and had to refund some ticket holders. We sincerely apologize to those ticket holders and promise you this will not happen in future fundraisers. We thank you so much for your support. Mahalo Kohala!The Kohala Hospital Auxiliary
Mahalo to all the Trunk-Or-Treat trunk-characters and treat-mak- ers for the recent Kohala drive-throughs. My wife drove, with our 2-year-old daughter and me in the back seat, through the trails at St. Augustine’s and The HUB. As each new authentic figure appeared to us on either side of our car, we were all surprised and amazed, but fortunately not too scared. I just wanted to share our appreciation for the creativity and initiative of our Kohala community for resurrect- ing a doomed but wonderful Halloween tradition for the keiki! Sincerely, George Webb Hāwi
Letter: Volunteer This Holiday Season
The Salvation Army is seeking vol- unteer bell ringers at Takata Store during the holiday season, from November 29 through December 20. All shifts will be on Mondays and run for two hours each, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you would like to volunteer for this worthwhile effort, please contact Gary Todd by phone or text at 808-333-1248 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Viewpoint: By Karen Martinez
No one will argue that life, our lives, will ever be the same again. The challenges we live with every day are creating a “pandemic library of experience” for our children, grandchildren and great, great grandchildren. What daily future wisdom are we growing? If we were receiving a message from our future, what would we want to know? Through the ages, mankind has experienced unimaginable trauma and tragedies. Communities, large and small, suffered wars, plagues and natural disaster. What of the Plague of 1918? What subconscious traumas returned home with surviving soldiers from World War I? What about World War II, and the Great Depression? Families, whose members experienced the pain and suffering from any of that Past, know it is always there because with but one word, a sudden bitter wind scrapes a scab forever raw. In 2021 and 2022, what will we include in this future history of Kohala? What do we want Future Kohala to know? How about all our Heroes? They are also our family, friends and neighbors. They are the Volunteers who gave generous and consistently of their time and energy. Without Essential Workers our society would have collapsed. Without our Health Care Professionals, overworked beyond exhaustion, the pandemic would have taken on even more terrifying proportions. Teachers faced impossible challenges of personal safety and teaching traumatized and depressed young people. Kupuna faced the frailty of aging immune systems, as did their worried families. Our Veterans and Homeless faced an additional new threat to their daily battle to survive. And of course, there is the unspeakable tragedy of COVID Families losing loved ones in despairing isolation. There is so much to bear. Yes, we have scars. How do we heal? We move forward with Gratitude and Compassion. Perhaps, as we enter the 2021 Holiday Season, we need a “Season of Gratitude and Compassion.” Countless professionals, organizations and volunteers worked with urgency to keep us safe and healthy. It’s time to say, “Thank you for your commitment, your dedication and your sacrifices.” Compassion and patience must rise from the heart. Kohala has both. In the giving and receiving, we become more of that which we are, which is Love. Let our message to the Future be, “We came together in gratitude and compassion.” Akahai, Lokahi, Ollulu, Haahaa, Ahonui. ALOHA.
Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives Update From the Desk of District 7 Representative David Tarnas. NOV 2021
Aloha! As we enter the last months of 2021, I am preparing for the 2022 legislative session, which begins on January 19. Since the legislative session adjourned six months ago, I’ve been busy working on three legislative committees that are studying and discussing important issues the Legislature wishes to address. I am also working with two national legislative organizations to learn from other states how they address common concerns. In today’s article, I provide you with a report of this work during the interim between legislative sessions. Act 90 Working Group: In 2003, the Legislature found that public lands classified for agricultural use by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) should be transferred to and managed by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) for the development of farms on as widespread of a basis as possible. That year, the Legislature passed and Governor Ige approved Act 90, which allows agricultural lands held by DLNR to be transferred to DOA upon mutual agreement of the Board of Agriculture and the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Since then, over 19,000 acres of agricultural land have been transferred from DLNR to DOA. According to DLNR, over 100,000 acres of pasture and other agricultural lands remain under DLNR management statewide. Of these lands, DLNR considers 111 parcels eligible for potential transfer to DOA, subject to DOA’s acceptance. DLNR has identified 15 parcels which DLNR would consider eligible for transfer if an easement were provided to allow DLNR and/or the public to access an adjacent parcel. DLNR considers 57 parcels of agricultural land ineligible for transfer to DOA due to DLNR’s priorities on those lands. DLNR wishes to manage those lands for multiple purposes in addition to food production, including conservation values, watershed management, ecosystem services and public recreation. The Act 90 Working Group was established by the 2021 Legislature to ascertain the process and status of the transfer of DLNR’s agricultural lands and determine the challenges and potential remedies to facilitate the process of fulfilling the purposes of Act 90. As Chairs of our respective chambers’ Water and Land Committees, Senator Lorraine Inouye and I serve as Co-Chairs of this Working Group, which is currently preparing its report to the Legislature with recommendations. Mauna Kea Working Group: During the 2021 legislative session, the State House passed HR33, which established the Mauna Kea Working Group to develop recommendations, building on the findings of the Independent Evaluation of the Implementation of the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan, for a new governance and management structure for Mauna Kea that collaboratively engages with all stakeholders, particularly the Native Hawaiian community. The working group has been meeting regularly since last session to develop recommendations for an effective governance and management structure for Mauna Kea and present these in a report to the Legislature by December 31, 2021. The Legislature would then hold public hearings on bills based on these recommendations. I serve on this working group, which is chaired by Rep. Mark Nakashima, Chair of the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. House Investigative Committee: The House also created an investigative committee to follow up on two audits that were recently performed by the State Auditor, research and analyze the subjects covered in the audits, determine what the agencies have done to implement the audits’ recommendations, and recommend any necessary legislative action for consideration in the 2022 legislative session. One audit focused on the operations of the Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corporation and the other audit focused on public land leasing by the DLNR Land Division and the operations of DLNR’s Special Land and Development Fund, where public land lease revenues are deposited. As a member of this committee, I have been studying the audits, researching the many documents submitted by the Auditor and the affected agencies, and questioning witnesses. My goal is to identify ways the Legislature can help the agencies do a better job of meeting the objectives described for them in the statutes and State Constitution. National State Legislative Organizations: I work with two national legislative organizations to learn from other States about best practices and model legislation to address concerns of common interest. Because of the exemplary work we are doing in Hawaii, I was appointed to serve as the National Co-Chair for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee, where we work on policy issues including agriculture, environment, water, land, maritime and road transportation infrastructure, and broadband infrastructure. I also serve as a member of the Agriculture and Water Committee of another national legislative organization called the Council of State Governments, Western Region. In this committee, we have been discussing policy reforms and exchanging information related to the successes and challenges in each of our states. Preparing for the 2022 Legislative Session: All the work I am doing on these legislative committees and national organizations is helping me to prepare for the 2022 Legislative Session. I am also meeting with constituents and stakeholders on numerous other issues affecting our district. If you have ideas and suggestions for legislative action, please contact me at email@example.com or at 808-586-8510. If you aren’t already a subscriber, please keep in touch by signing up for my email newsletter at bit.ly/reptarnas-signup. Mahalo!
County Council Update. From the Desk of District 9 Councilmember Tim Richards. NOV 2021
HAWAI`I COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION: We continue to have a great working relationship with Director Maurice Messina and his Parks & Recreation (P&R) staff, regarding the maintenance and improvements at County parks and its facilities in District 9. Below are some current updates. KAMEHAMEHA PARK: 1) KOHALA POOL – As most may already know, the Kohala Pool is closed again. The pool pump has failed and is currently being repaired. In previous conversations with Director Messina, he shared that it would take more than $4.5 million to completely overhaul the Kohala pool. The County does not have the funds for such improvements, nor is it known when such funding would be available. In the meantime, P&R is aware of how important this pool is to the community and is working hard at repairing this recent system failure. Going forward, I hope to add funding to P&R with my amendment to the contents of Bill 81, addressed hereinbelow. 2) FARMER’S MARKET – If all goes as planned, the Kohala community will have a new Farmer’s Market at Kamehameha Park come January 2022. Through the hard work and perseverance of the Kohala Community Foundation, specific processes are being worked out at P&R to bring this needed economic opportunity to the people of Kohala. The details are being finalized and we are looking forward to the date where we can announce its grand opening. 3) INTERGENERATIONAL CENTER – Conversations are ongoing regarding the current condition of the center and how it can be improved. One request was to have the kitchen re-certified. This request has been made to P&R; however, much investigation remains to determine what processes the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health will require. Having the kitchen operable can be an additional benefit for the community at large. 4) PLAYGROUND – Due to safety reasons, the slide at the Kamehameha Park playground has been inoperable and must be replaced. I have provided approximately $10,000 of contingency funds to P&R for the replacement of various District 9 equipment, one of which being the slide at Kamehameha Park. Unfortunately, due to manufacturing delays and the current lag in shipping, an expected arrival date has not yet been provided. P&R noted its priority and will expedited replacement upon its arrival. 5) TAKATA FIELD – Unfortunately, the sign at Takata Field has been compromised due to weather deterioration. It came as a surprise to the community and the County as the sign was recently installed. Upon observance, a request was made to P&R and a replacement sign is currently being made. KEOKEA BEACH PARK: Brought to my attention by Sara Pule-Fuji`i, the gutters at Keokea Beach Park have been in disrepair for some time. A call in to P&R has put that repair request on the maintenance list to be addressed in the very near future. MĀHUKONA: It appears that the County is in the final stages of preparation for the demolition of the Māhukona Pavilion. It will be replaced in the short-term by a platform for community use, with the long-term plan of replacing it with a modern pavilion structure with supportive restrooms. Director Messina continues to dialogue with the community, and we are grateful for his commitment to seeing this project to fruition. PONC PROPERTY AT OLD FARMER’S MARKET LOCATION IN HAWI: We are in preliminary conversations for constructing a restroom facility on this PONC parcel in Hawi Town as there are no public restrooms nearby. I have been assured by the County Department of Finance that such a request is allowable, and that funding should be available for such a project. Although many details are yet to be completed, we are working to get it approved and accomplished. As with all County parks and facilities island-wide, it is imperative that any damages or deficiencies found be reported to P&R. If you prefer, please feel free to contact my offices to report any issues you see at our parks and facilities so we can assist by facilitating with P&R. BILL 81: AMENDMENT TO COUNTY TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATION TAX BILL: Bill 81 was introduced to the Council to secure an additional 3% in transient accommodations tax (TAT) for the sole usage by the County of Hawai`i. At the onset of the pandemic, the State reversed its original intent to provide each county a share of the State TAT, leaving the County of Hawai`i without an annual average of $19 million in TAT revenue. The opportunity for a County TAT was allowed through the State Legislature, and my colleagues are looking to pass said tax for the County of Hawai`i very soon. I am supportive of the bill, however only through the addition of my recent amendment which provides $1.75 million of the 3% County TAT to be allocated to the following: (1) $1 million to Parks & Recreation for the maintenance of County parks and facilities impacted by tourism; (2) $250,000 to the Department of Finance for additional staffing to administer the County Transient Accommodations Tax program; and (3) $500,000 to the Department of Research and Development to develop and implement a program that would manage the impact of tourism on community assets. With the assurance that these funds are utilized as described, it provides our County the ability to upkeep our parks and its facilities as it is impacted by visitors to our island. KOHALA DITCH: Continued conversations are being had regarding the ditch, with immediate goals identified in two phases thus far: (1) by adding a 6-inch HDPE pipeline, we can get some water to some of the users in the near term, and (2) by allowing larger sourced water from Honokane Valley into the ditch to bring water to many more users. The water cooperative is in place with its structure and governance being refined to address the immediate needs of the community. This ongoing matter is critically important to our community, and I am committed to seeing this project to fruition. As always, it continues to be a great privilege to serve as your Councilman. Please stay safe.
North Kohala Affordable Housing Group – 2021 Report and Survey of Needs
By Beth Thoma Robinson. When the North Kohala Community Development Plan (NKCDP) was written and adopted in 2008, the availability of affordable housing for those who have always called Kohala home, and for their children and grandchildren, was seen as a key to the overall goal, “Keep Kohala, Kohala.” A housing survey conducted for the CDP revealed 30% of those responding were in needed of housing that was more affordable than market prices at that time. Another 44% had a household member in need. The 2008 CDP estimated a need of at least 600-700 additional affordable homes. After 2008 housing prices fell sharply and that enabled some local families to purchase, but also triggered a wave of foreclosures that meant other local families lost their homes. Very little new housing has been built since then. The Kumakua mutual self-help subdivision created 22 new homes, but after 10 years those once-affordable houses can be re-sold at market prices. New projects have been stalled due to the unavailability of water meters. Thirteen years later, Kohala real estate prices are reaching all-time-high levels. The need is not just for homes to buy; many of the new buyers are displacing renters and driving up rents as well. Members of the Affordable Housing subcommittee of the CDP created a sponsored project under the NKCRC in 2017 to focus on the goal of making sure that Kohala people can continue to call Kohala home. Recently, the Affordable Housing Group heard from the developer of the Kumakua project that their next phase depends on showing the demand and having a list of income-qualified buyers. Please help us demonstrate and quantify the housing need in Kohala. This survey completed in either of two ways: 1) Complete online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NKAHG, or 2) Pick up a copy of the survey, along with an envelope for your completed form, at a bulletin board around town. The Affordable Housing Group has a new Facebook page named “Homes For Kohala” to give the community updates as well as hear community needs. We are putting finishing touches on a video highlighting local families, a project with which we hope to inspire partnerships willing to create the homes we need for Kohala. Look for us on Facebook and online!
Sewing…Dignity, Love, and Protection for Girls Around the World and in Hawai`i
By Lani Bowman. Imagine a colorful piece of cloth sewn into a beautiful but simple dress that can save/protect a girl from being Trafficked (I Am Cared For), change her perception of herself (I Am Loved and Of Worth), therefore, changing and inspiring her destiny (I Have Dignity). Dress a Girl Around the World sends dresses to Domestic Violence and Homeless Shelters in Hawaiʻi, parts of Africa, Guatemala, Mexico, Fiji, Mexico and Appalachia, to name a few places. These dresses will be hand delivered to the girls by Missionaries, Ministries, Humanitarian teams and Ambassadors. Dress a Girl Around the World is a nationwide nonprofit organization with two branches on the Big Island. Volunteers receive materials to sew a dress. Everything is included directions and materials. The only things volunteers add is labor and love…OH, and the thread! The personal touches and care that go into the dresses are amazing. The colorful buttons, lacy pockets and bling say, “This dress is made with love especially for YOU!” We would love to continue efforts in Kohala, Kawaihae, Waimea and Waikoloa for this great project! If you are interested in participating, please contact Danelle Coakley at 808-494-9365/ firstname.lastname@example.org or Lani Bowman at email@example.com
ʻOhana Agriculture Resilience Program Kicks Off Its Third Year
On November 8, Kahua Paʻa Mua, Kohala’s education-based agriculture nonprofit, started up their third cohort of families for their ʻOhana Agriculture Resilience program (OAR). This free, year-long program gives six families two 100-hundred-foot crop rows at the nonprofit’s farm to grow whatever they want, while learning organic or Korean Natural Farming methods and animal husbandry. Families may also attend several workshops, some of which involve plant propagation, crop production, aquaponics, poi-making, and the Native Hawaiian medicinal practice of Lāʻau Lapaʻau. Once the families graduate at the end of the year, they’re sent home with a choice of either a mobile pen, called a chicken tractor, to raise chickens; an odorless pigpen that composts manure and processes toxins under the pigsʻ feet; or an aquaponics tank to grow fish and soil-less produce. The program, which first began in 2019, is part of the nonprofit’s many grassroots efforts towards creating food self-sufficiency and building community resilience in Kohala. Husband-and-wife co-founders David and Carol Fuertes call it a Backyard Revolution – empowering others to eventually grow their own food at home. Of the former graduates, two have started farms, while others have cultivated gardens and made use of chicken tractors and aquaponics systems. Last year’s cohort also responded to the economic impact of the pandemic by organizing to plant more crops to help feed the community. During that time, they grew and gave away hundreds of pounds of beans, cucumbers, bok choy, zucchini, lettuce and poi. David Fuertes says that they learned that it doesn’t take much to provide your own food, and while you grow your family becomes closer. This year’s families (which involve both large and small ʻohanas from within North Kohala) said they joined with the goals of learning how to be more sustainable; to be of service to the community; to learn about the history and culture of growing food in North Kohala; and to get their kids involved in the importance of farming, hoping to spark in them a passion for growing their own food someday. Kahua Paʻa Mua also has the Hoʻokahua Ai “HA” Mentorship Program, involving students ages 13-18, and provides hands-on learning to encourage careers in agriculture and agricultural entrepreneurship. Regarding all those that Fuertes mentors, he thinks there are four things they should know. He says, “You should know your origins, because your ancestors have paved the way. You should know your values and connect in those values, because that’s going to drive you to make decisions. You should know your purpose because that will show the ‘why’ of what you’re doing. And you should envision the ultimate for yourself and your lāhui (‘people’).” While Fuertes is a primary mentor for both programs, additional mentors include Leslie Nugent in Korean Natural Farming; David B. Fuertes in Animal Husbandry; Jamiel Ventura in crop production, animal care, and Natural Farming inputs; as well as other guests. To learn more or to donate to this nonprofit, please visit www.kahuapaamua.org/.
RISE AND FALL OF SUGAR IN KOHALA: PART FOURTEEN
ALTERNATIVE CROPS: Because of the ups and downs of sugar, the Company evaluated growing other crops in Kohala. In 1950, over three million pineapple
crowns were planted on 250 acres at various elevations. In 1951 another 100 acres were planted. The upfront capital needed was supplied by Castle and Cooke. The pineapples grew well. But the project was abandoned in 1952 (at an overall loss of $184,000), when it was determined that market prices were inadequate. The crops were plowed under. In 1957, 38,000 macadamia nut trees were planted. The strike in 1958 halted further plantings. In 1959, 20,000 pounds of nuts in the husk were harvested, and then in 1960 another 28,000 pounds were pulled in. The problem was that most of the trees were planted in areas not suitable for the growing of sugar: the gulches. As a result, tending of the trees and harvesting had to be done by hand, as machines couldn’t be used in such areas. Costs made the product unprofitable. FINANCES AND PRODUCTION OF THE KOHALA SUGAR COMPANY: The growing of sugar in Kohala was not a particularly profitable endeavor. The profits reported since the 1937 merger were as follows: Not much of a return on annual sales of: The late 1930s: $2 million The early 1940s: $3 million The late 1940s: $5 million The early 1950s: (the last year’s sales were reported) $6 million Shareholders average return from 1937-1952 was 2.2 percent. In many of these years, the profits included substantial government subsidies. Large amounts of capital were needed to both maintain the existing equipment and mechanize the field and factory. For example, the Company spent in excess of $2,700,000 in 1966-67 on a new boiler and fuel storage facilities. This was the equivalent of seventeen years of accumulated profits. For the thirty-year period of 1937-1967, the amount of sugar produced ranged between 35,000 and 50,000 tons per year. The best year was 1959. The acres harvested were consistent all those years at about 7,000. The only exceptions for both of these were the strike years of 1946 and 1958. The amount of rainfall in Kohala was a big factor in the amount of sugar produced and the resulting profits. It averaged 51 inches per year, but varied from 30 to 73. Because the growing cycle for sugar cane was twenty-two months, extended droughts had deleterious effects on production. 1962-1964 was just such a period, when rainfall averaged just thirty-five inches over the period. Irrigation water from the Kohala Ditch supplemented the rainfall. In 1948 a cement products plant was built at the old Hoʻea mill site to build “Wailua” cement sections. Connected together in the fields, these sections provided secure flumes to transport water for irrigation. By 1949, the plant had produced one-hundred miles of Wailua flumes. By 1950, 93 percent of the irrigated fields used them. Due to rocky soils, almost constant winds, and variable amounts of rainfall, Kohala’s productivity per acre was only about two-thirds of the average for all of Hawaiʻi’s sugar producers. The United States passed Sugar Acts in 1934 and in 1937. These set quotas for the U.S sugar market for domestic and foreign sources. They also provided “compliance payments” from the government to sugar producers if the producers maintained minimum wage and hours standards, and prevented child labor abuses. Additional payments were made to Hawaiian sugar growers, including Kohala Sugar, in 1945-1947 as an incentive to increase production. These two types of payments totaled over $5 million. Without them, Kohala Sugar would have reported a loss for the entire period of 1937-67. At the end of the war, there was a shortage of sugar in the market. By 1950, there was an overabundance. The strike in 1958 caused Hawaiʻi to not be able to meet its sugar quotas set by the U.S. government. The U.S. government set sugar prices for the sugar industry up until 1974. Data from 1935 to 1975 shows that Hawaiʻi produced about one eighth of the sugar consumed in the U.S. Puerto Rico produced an equal amount. However, until 1960, Cuba produced about three times as much sugar as did Hawaiʻi. As a competing crop, beet sugar produced about one-fourth of the total sugar consumed. THE DECLINE OF THE SUGAR
INDUSTRY: For all of Hawaiʻi, these factors led to decline and subsequent demise of the sugar industry: – U.S. tariff and quota protections for sugar began declining in the decades after 1947. – Plantation workers first began to organize effective unions in the 1930s, which helped build Hawaiʻi’s middle class, but also made the industry less competitive compared with other countries. – Hawaiʻi’s land values began to spike as the introduction of passenger jets reduced travel times to Hawaiʻi and launched a tourism boom. Many landowners found they could make more money building hotels and homes than growing cane. – The Agents slowed the production of sugar as cheaper labor was found in India, South America and the Caribbean. KOHALA SUGAR COMPANY CLOSES: On March 1, 1971, Manager Alvan Stearns called a meeting of all 516 employees to announce that the owners of the Kohala Sugar Company, Castle and Cooke, Ltd. (Honolulu), had decided to phase out the company. This decision came as big blow to the community, not only because of the loss of so many jobs, but also because of the paternalistic nature of the company. New planting ceased in 1972. The last cane was milled in October 1975, and the last load of sugar and molasses were unloaded at Kawaihae in that same month, at which time the last 250 workers were let go. All of the equipment was sold by auction. Kohala was the fi rst of the Big Island’s sugar plantations to fall. Puna Sugar was next in 1984, followed by the Hilo Coast shutdown by C. Brewer in 1992, Hāmākua Sugar’s federal court-ordered bankruptcy in 1993, and then the Kaʻu closure in 1996. The last sugar mill in all the islands closed in 2016. Next Month: Kohala Task Force 1971-1979
Community Safety Discussed
By Cheryl Rocha. The first community safety awareness meeting was held at Kamehameha Park on October 20. The meeting was organized by Community Police Officer Dayton Tagaca, Cheryl Rocha, Lydia Zuniga and Hopi Zephier. Guest speakers were Justin Cabanting, Waimea Community Police Officer; Jeff Coakley, former lifeguard at Kamehameha Pool; Renee Gonsalves, Hawaii County Recreation Division; and Kahea Lee (“E Hiki Mai Ana”) from Hilo. Kahea, who assists with community concerns, shared safety for the children and knowledge of Human Trafficking. Jeff shared safety tips for children while working at the pool. Renee shared rules and safety tips while playing at Kamehameha Park. Most of the guests shared safety concerns and safety ideas while visiting the park, including minor children left unattended. There is a sign posted near Roots Skate Park that says, “Supervision of children under 16 is required.”
Cheryl, Lydia and Hopi will plan on having safety awareness meetings every three months. Closing the meeting, Justin shared safety tips, including don’t leave minor children unattended at Kamehameha Park. He will work with the schools on safety awareness at the park. Mālama i ka Makou Keiki: “Take Care the Child.”
Aloha for Māhukona Park
Story and photos by Toni Withington.In a ceremony made small by the pandemic, people gathered at Māhukona Park on November 5 to say goodbye to its iconic pavilion and hello to the new future facilities. Kahu Kealoha Sugiyama led a respectful ceremony that connected the history of the park and community efforts to plan and build a new gathering place for recreation.Michelle Hiraishi, deputy director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, poured ceremonial water over a ti plant, symbolizing the growth of a new park. “The new park at Māhukona is my special project to see through with the help of Kohala,” Hiraishi said. “I could feel the strong commitment as I poured the water.” Kahu Kealoha and his sister Odetta Sugiyama, who helped with the ceremony, were born and raised in the village that once surrounded the harbor and railroad terminal at Māhukona. “It feels right that we participate in this transition from the old to the new,” Sugiyama said. Also attending were others who had ties to the village and lifelong connections to the park – Maydean Bowman, Emily DeWitt and Patty Ann Solomon. Sugiyama chanted an oli that connected Māhukona to all the ahupua’a of Kohala. He then sang the beautiful “Māhukona Hula.” Each participant held a chunk of beached coral through the ceremony. After Odetta planted the ceremonial ti, they placed the coral around the base. Hiraishi then watered the plant from a large gourd and participants agreed to protect the land and see the project grow. Also attending were Cheryl Rocha, Noelani Rassmussen, and Gerald Skelton of Save Māhukona and Andi Longpre and Toni Withington from the Parks, Water Roads Group of the North Kohala Community Development Plan Action Committee. Kaulana provided the pahu drumming for the ceremony. The Parks Department has been working with both groups and many others to plan a new pavilion and restrooms to be located mauka of the 70-year-old pavilion that will be demolished next year. The department has committed to erecting a temporary platform over the footprint of the old pavilion for park users until the new facilities are built. Funds for the planning and demolition – $400,000 – have been appropriated. The new facility is expected to cost $5 million. The planning process will include community involvement, according to the Parks Department.
Kohala High School Football Team 2021-2022
Photo by Tom Morse. Front row (left to right): Chevez Apostadiro, Damien Padilla, Aidan Blanco, Onipaa Tavares-Matsuda, Ethan Tomas, Jace Hook and Logan Neves. Second row (left to right): Makai Pang, Riley Preston, Easton Hoshida, Anthony Kaai, Isaiah Castillo, D’angelo Duque, Weston Jon Camara, Tamatasi Sauta, Arlen Sol-Camara, Keale Valenzuela-Conte, Kamaehu Paaoao, Kona Ledward-Mongkeya, Legend Libron and Denali Duque. Not in picture: Brennan Torres Head Coach: Jay Blanco; Assistant Coaches: Dominique Acorda and Eddie Valenzuela.
St. Augustine’s Trick or Treat Drive-Through
Photo by Cindy Sakai. Left to right: John Sakai, Kirk Corey, Vicar Jennifer Masada, Aotea Masalosalo, Laura La Gassa, Melanie Sahagun and Nalani Andrews to pass out decorated Halloween treat bags at St. Augustine Episcopal Church.
KMS Sends Mahalos to Kohala
Staff and students at Kohala Middle School sent a big Mahalo to our community after school on Friday, October 8. Everyone in the Halaula ʻohana appreciates the support our students and school staff consistently receive. Kohala Middle School is “The Place to Be!”
Kohala Village HUB Trunk-or-Treat
Photos by Kathy Matsuda and Joel Tan.
Representatives from Kohala Middle School were among many community members who dressed up and came out to entertain and pass out treats.
Janet Gomes Schmidt Recognized
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Rocha. Janet Gomes , RN was recognized for excellence in nursing by Kona Community Hospital. A patient nominated her based on her knowledge, compassion and willingness to go the extra mile to help the patient be comfortable.
KCAD Counseling Services Available
On October 26, the Kohala Coalition Against Drugs (KCAD), Kohala Middle School and community supporters held a sign waving to promote wellness and recovery. They announced the availability of counseling services through BISAC (Big Island Substance Abuse Council) in Kohala for those struggling with addiction. BISAC counselors are available on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kohala Village HUB, and Tuesdays at Kohala Middle and High Schools. If you need a referral, please call BISAC at 808-969-9994 ext. 860. If you are interested in joining us to promote recovery by working with KCAD, contact Kathy at Kohala Village HUB at 889-0404 ext. 104.
Kohala High School’s Q1 Honor Roll
Congratulations to Members of Kohala High School’s Q1 Honor Roll!
The following students earned a spot on the prestigious list for the first quarter of the 2021-2022 school year by achieving at least a 3.5 grade point average (G.P.A.).
Biedenharn Gali, Kalimahoonimakani
Heu Mathiew, Adam
Asencion, John Riley
Francisco, Ralph Janssen
Rico, Mark James
Ancheta Morin, Ezra
Damasco, Shaina Mae
Lum, Yvanka Leyria
Majors, Natalie Mae
Stenson Jr. Edward
Van Housen, Adela
Jose, Jensel Merice