Hāmākua-Kohala Health Provides Free COVID Rapid Antigen Nasal Swab Test for State and County Employees

By Kai Gacayan. With the help of multiple funding sources, Hāmākua-Kohala Health is providing ongoing testing services at no cost to help meet the State and County employee mandate. Our program is funded in part by the Pacific Alliance against COVID-19, National Institutes of Health (NIH) RADx-Up Program, and AHARO Community Health Centers. With the use of these very much needed funds, our COVID outreach team has been providing free testing to State and County employees in Honokaʻa, Waimea and Kohala and will soon be starting in Laupāhoehoe. Pre-registered State and County employees are able to go to one of the following locations on Wednesdays to get their free COVID Rapid Antigen Nasal swab test: Kohala High School Gym on Wednesdays from 8 a.m.–9 a.m.; Thelma Parker Gym on Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.; and Honokaʻa School Armory on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m.– 5:30 p.m. Testing can otherwise cost up to $190 per test, per person, per week, so we are very grateful to have these funding opportunities to provide this service at no cost to our State and County employees. For more information and to pre-register, please contact Hāmākua-Kohala Health COVID inquiry line at 930-2751. Hāmākua-Kohala Health continues to provide free COVID vaccinations each week to all community members, whether you have health insurance or not. We are now offering Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations at our Honokaʻa and Kapaʻau locations for those 12 years old and older. Dr. Irving Harper, Internist at HKH, states, “COVID-19 is a major concern for all of us. I have witnessed and treated the unfortunate cost of this virus, including the loss of too many of our friends and family of all ages. We may have our differences, what family doesn’t? But we all agree we want the best for our ʻohana. We need to work together and fight this virus as a team.” To schedule your COVID vaccination appointment, call us at 930-2751. For more information, visit or call 775-7204. Stay safe, stay informed and stay strong. 

Hāwī Re-zoning Request Sparks Opposition

Story and photo by Toni Withington. The County is being asked to support the re-zoning of land at the entrance to Hāwī that would allow for the semi-permanent operation of two food trucks. They would be located on a small parcel between the ‘Welcome to Historic Kohala’ sign and the North Kohala Welcome Center. Kohala resident Dwayne Cravalho has applied to the Planning Department for a change of zone from Agricultural 20-acres to Commercial Village 7,500 square feet. Cravalho bought the slim triangular piece of land via quitclaim deed from Surety Kohala Corporation in March 2016 and fenced it three years ago. The lot, which is on the intersection of Akoni Pule Highway and Hoʻea Road, is 7,500 square feet. From tax records it appears to be a remnant in the curved old alignment of Hoʻea Road before the highway was improved. His intended use of the lot is to install two food trucks, three picnic tables, two portable toilets (e.g., Porta Potti®) and create two paved parking stalls, according to the application. The request has raised objections from neighbors and other Kohala businesses, even though it has yet to be scheduled for hearing before the Leeward Planning Commission. Insufficient parking and traffic safety have been cited by several opposed to the rezoning.  A strip of State-owned land lies between the land and Akoni Pule Highway. Cravalho earlier asked the State Department of Transportation to purchase the land, often used by police to surveil traffic, but the State refused and further declined to let it be used for customer parking. Daryn Arai, Cravalho’s planner, met with representatives of the North Kohala Community Resource Center (NKCRC) online on September 20 to address the ten objections to the proposal which the organization had submitted to the County. The NKCRC maintains its office in a building on the Fukuda/Kobayashi family land that adjoins the triangle. Arai told the NKCRC and confirmed in a later document to the Planning Department that “all traffic associated with the proposed project will utilize Hoʻea Road and will not provide for direct access to the Akoni Pule Highway.” Although the proposal map shows only two parking places accessed by a short driveway off Hoʻea Road, Arai told the County in a letter dated September 23 that “the Applicant will make every reasonable attempt to provide adequate on-site parking as well as to remind customers to not park along Hoʻea Road or the Akoni Pule Highway.” One testifier summed up her concerns: “A traffic study definitely needs to be done before any discussion can be made.” Estimates of how many visits per day to the trucks ranged from 30 to 50 per day. Two Hoʻea Road area residents complained to the County about traffic safety issues on the road caused by increased parking and including the need for sight visibility at the intersection. Complaints that Cravalho has not maintained the property responsibly were also made. Arai said Cravalho would comply with the minimum parking requirements of the County Zoning Code. “If adequate parking, as deemed necessary by the County, cannot be accommodated on the property, then the Applicant will have no choice than to reduce the number of food trucks being contemplated. And given the concerns expressed, the Applicant is willing to start with a single food truck in order to gauge the effects of managing traffic to the subject property,” Arai wrote. Several testifiers pointed to the cultural impact of locating the food trucks at the entrance to Kohala’s towns. Others questioned the ultimate purpose of the zoning. Joan Channon, who worked with the committee to create the welcoming nature of the town entrance, said, “This is the ugliest and most dangerous idea I can imagine for the entry to our town. I have owned and operated Bamboo Restaurant in Hāwī for more than 28 years. I have no issue with there being more places to eat, but I have an extreme issue with this ridiculous proposal. “What is his long-term plan for this tiny property? Once it is zoned commercial, what can he do? Add food trucks without parking? Build a structure? What are his plans?” she questioned. In its letter of concerns, the NKCRC said: “We are concerned that this proposal will turn this lot into a commercial parcel, which will then be turned around and sold to another commercial business. “This proposal also brings business further outside of Hāwī Town. We want to encourage commerce and build back our local economy in Hāwī and Kapaʻau by utilizing the vacant commercial spaces there. There are currently numerous places to host food trucks, all of which have adequate parking,” the letter said.The public may provide written testimony on the rezone application titled REZ 21-000248 in writing to

Hāmākua-Kohala Health Receives $561k For Remodel of Former Kohala Club Hotel Site

By Kai Gacayan. Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) repeat-awardee Hāmākua-Kohala Health has received a generous grant of $561,644 by the American Recovery Act to remodel the former Kohala Club Hotel, the future location of the Kohala Health Center. The full-service health center will provide comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare. As we continue to grow the number of patients we serve, we are also outgrowing our current clinic location with the increased number of staff brought on to meet the needs of our patients. We are dedicated to the Kohala community and responding to the demand for healthcare and behavioral health services. Our goal is to grow alongside the Kohala community while also providing new job opportunities. “This is wonderful news! This award ensures the future home of the Kohala Health Center at the old Kohala Club Hotel site. The full-service clinic will provide expanded access to doctors, dentistry, and clinicians to address many healthcare needs, as well as increase job opportunities. This wonderful effort is long-awaited and much needed in Kohala. Congratulations to Irene Carpenter, CEO, and the hard-working folks at of Hāmākua-Kohala Health for this visionary achievement,” said Christine Richardson, Chair of the Kohala Site Capital Campaign, retired Executive Director of North Kohala Community Resource Center, and current Senior Staff Nurse at North Hawaii HospiceA heartfelt thank you goes to Councilman Tim Richards for his continued support as we expand our services and resources to serve the Kohala community better. In addition, we here at Hāmākua-Kohala Health would like to Congratulate Bay Clinic and West Hawaii Community Health Center on their merger as they continue to serve the East and West side of Hawaii Island. Hāmākua-Kohala Health thrives as the sole Federally Qualified Health Center in the North Hawaii area. 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 are available. For more information, please call (808) 889-6236 or visit us online at 

Support Grows to Preserve Lamaloloa

Story and photo by Gail Byrne Baber. Over 800 signatures have been collected in support of completing a conservation purchase of Lamaloloa. This parcel is in the heart of a long stretch of coast that has been preserved by the community. This area has the most numerous intact, precontact cultural and archeological sites in the state. Funding is secured (full asking price) and work was well underway to purchase the land for public benefit when the landowner pulled out to sell to a private party. The petition is on at

Māhukona Pavilion Replacement Moving Slowly

By Toni Withington. Like many things these days, the plans to replace the condemned Māhukona Park Pavilion are moving slower. However Michelle Hiraishi, deputy director of the County Department of Parks and Recreation, this month assured a committee pushing for new park facilities that some aspects of the project are moving forward. Planners for the department are looking into ideas for a proposed open platform that will sit on the current footprint of the pavilion once the old building is safely removed. “They will be reaching out to the community for ideas, such as should it be on posts and piers or ground level,” Hiraishi said. “Another question is whether the platform will be temporary, or be part of the final layout of the new park facilities.” Community meetings will be held, when possible, to decide on that part of the plan. Because of sea level rise, the new pavilion is expected to be located mauka of the old. She assured the committee of Noelani Rasmussen, Cheryl Rocha and Patty Ann Solomon that the $400,000 to pay for the demolition, the platform and planning of the new park facilities has been secured. The $4.2 million it will take to build the new facility and parking is within the County’s budgeting process. Meanwhile, the engineering team is scoping out the details of the demolition of the pavilion and removal of toxins from the surrounding soil and preparing a timeline for the work. That could take two to three months, Hiraishi said. The actual demolition would follow. The parks department has kept its promise to meet monthly with the people interested in advancing the plans. A ceremony to thank and bless the pavilion before its demolition was scheduled for September 11, but had to be called off because of the pandemic rules for gatherings.  The committee decided to schedule a blessing with only ten people on site, but no date had been set as of the KMN deadline.


New Culturally Based Home Visiting Program Takes Off in Kohala

Lani Bowman, longtime Home Visitor with Tutu & Me Home Visiting Program, will be providing a new, free curriculum from the Partners in Development Foundation. The Naʻu Ke Kuleana is a cultural-based curriculum for caregivers with keiki from ages birth to five. “I am so excited to be able to offer our FREE, amazing new curriculum, ‘Naʻu Ke Kuleana, The Privilege is Mine’ to families in our community,” says Bowman. Interested caregivers are encouraged to visit or contact Lani at 808-365-3157 or for more information.

Silence on the Pololū Valley Front

By Toni Withington. Given all the excitement generated by a proposed subdivision of new lots on the Pololū Valley rim earlier this year, the silence around future plans is noticeable. According to County records, a surprise Consolidation and Resubdivision of land proposed by KP Holdings (Surety Kohala Corporation), reported on in the September Kohala Mountain News, has not been finalized. The July application for changing the boundaries of just two parcels – a request that seemed to replace the ten-lot subdivision – stalled in August by the County Planning Department, which pointed out the need for a Surveyor’s Certification and placing of markers in the ground. Approval of the boundary change is not expected to be contested. The move by KP Holdings leaves up in the air the question of what has become of Surety’s promise to donate a five-acre piece of land for a public parking and restroom site for visitors to the Pololū Valley Lookout. The location, as represented to the State Land Board last December, was to have been carved out of one of the two parcels in the new Consolidation/Resubdivision. County records also make no mention of the proposed donation of Surety’s 86 acres on the valley floor as part of the valley rim subdivision. Questions posed to the Department of Land and Natural Resources about the status of the land donations and communications with Surety Kohala were answered by press liaison AJ McWhorter, who reported the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) “has no new updates” on the issue.  The OCCL acts as staff for the Land Board, which in December approved a Letter of Intent with KP Holdings and Surety Kohala to proceed with the land donations and valley rim subdivision. Meanwhile the Protect Pololū Valley Petition on had by October 8 garnered 875,145 signatures calling on the Land Board, KP Holdings, Surety Kohala and the County Planning Department to protect the sacred nature of Pololū Valley.

Mountain Road Fix Will Come Sooner

Story and photo by Toni Withington. Repaving a dangerous portion of the Kohala Mountain Road, Highway 250, will start next year, thanks to the prodding of the Parks, Water, Roads Group. The group, led by chairperson Andi Longpre, met with the district head of the State Highways Division this month to move forward lingering problems of Kohala’s roads.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) had scheduled the fixing of a section of Mountain Road for 2025. But now it looks like it will start in June 2022. District Engineer Harry Takiue, at the request of the group, has re-inspected the section and determined that funding would be available to make the fix.  The most impaired section was initially listed as from mile marker (mm) 10 to 14, but a DOT crew inspection changed it to mm 9 to13. The group asked that the 13 to 14 mm stretch be included. Faye Yates asked if the DOT has plans to resurface the whole road to which Takiue said yes, perhaps in 2025. He also said his crew would look at replacing the Caution Winding Road sign at the 19 mm and cleaning or replacing the directional sign at the top of Hāwī Hill Road. The Parks, Water, Roads Group, which meets monthly to implement the strategies of the North Kohala Community Development Plan, also extracted other improvements from the DOT at the meeting. In other re-paving issues, John Winter asked about the section of Akoni Pule Highway (Rt. 270) between Kapaʻau town and Pololū Valley which had been scheduled to be completed by now but has not been started. Takiue said the section from mm 17 to 21 would be addressed in February 2023 and the section beyond mm 24 in 2024.

A longstanding issue, brought up again, is the confusion regarding the Yield signs on the three one-lane bridges between Halawa to Pololū. For consistency, the group has suggested the traffic yield in the same direction on all bridges, thus drivers heading toward Pololū would yield to traffic on the bridges, and town-bound traffic would have the right of way. DOT’s research suggests that people are more likely to obey Yield signs if they all point the same way. For consistency, the Walaohia Gulch sign should be switched to the other side of the bridge. Like his predecessor, Takiue said he would made the change. Another sign issue is the missing 45 MPH sign on Akoni Pule Highway by the Old Coast Guard Road (mile 19). The Reduced Speed sign remains standing, but the subsequent 45 MPH sign is gone, so some drivers continue at 55 MPH. The lost sign will be replaced, Takiue said. Finally the group asked Takiue when the squiggly temporary median lines on Hāwī Hill Road would be replaced. The section between Mountain Road and Akoni Highway was repaved several years ago, but the permanent lines and reflectors have yet to be installed. Takiue said this will be done either in January or February 2022. 


By Eila Algood. Humanity is in the midst of a tumultuous and transformative shift in consciousness. It’s not the first time. Many years ago, in Nazi Germany, my maternal German ancestors were silent or active in the persecution of my paternal Jewish ancestors. Their behavior resulted in the painful deaths of millions of people.  Today I see my vaccinated siblings being silent or active in the persecution of my non-vaccinated siblings. Any time one group of people are vilified in our community, in society, regardless of the reason or justification, it’s a call to action. Let’s take a stand. When someone says, “Those people are stupid,” let’s be curious and ask questions such as, “How did you decide that?” or “Can you explain what you mean?” When someone makes a derogatory comment about another person or group of people, rather than ignoring, laughing or being silent, let’s call it out with kindness, asking them to stop. Although not the easiest road, it can awaken someone to their hurtful behavior.  Let’s put out a hand to our fellow humans with love in our hearts so we can all rise in our evolution. 


VIEWPOINT: Dog Ownership: Training the Right Breed for Your Family

By Raymond Pajek. Social practices on dog ownership have shifted tremendously in many communities across the world. Unfortunately, pockets of outdated notions are persistently found here in North Kohala. Elsewhere, dogs that are improperly cared for, left loose and untrained are met with strong community disapproval and removal by authorities. There is a vast amount of available information online about choosing a dog that is the right pet for your family and home. Different dogs have vastly different temperaments and need for exercise. But one thing is common across all breeds of dogs: they all need proper training! This requires patience and perseverance.  A well-trained dog knows what acceptable behavior is and what is expected of them, for example, when being deployed for hunting. And all hunting dogs should be well cared for, and exercised and fed properly. Whether a dog is a companion, a guard for home and children, or primarily used for hunting, proper training is critical.  We need to rapidly improve our community’s collective expectations for proper dog ownership. The best way to do this is through education and awareness. With dog ownership come responsibilities to both the animal and the community. Let’s all do our part in making this community safer and better for all of us!

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

Aloha. As our community continues to struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature has been working to provide input and oversight on the executive branch’s efforts to provide public health services, such as vaccinations and testing, as well as the restrictions the Governor places on residents and businesses to prevent the spread of the virus.

In September, the House Committee on Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness heard an update from the State Department of Health on critical functions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospital capacity, medical staffing, COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and the state’s supply of medical-grade oxygen. In October, the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness heard updates on our economy from the University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization (UHERO) on hospital capacity status from the leaders of the State’s major health care organizations, and from the Department of Health on the status and trends of COVID-19 infection rates and vaccinations. These meetings are always very informative and are available to the public on the Legislature’s website.
Also last month, the House Education Committee convened for a hearing with the State Department of Education (DOE) for an update on public schools, including COVID-19 safety and testing and bus route changes. School bus service has been reduced this year due to a significant shortage of bus drivers statewide. The DOE is trying to address this issue with their bus service contractors, but the shortage continues to cause serious difficulties for families in our community. SMART Health Card option for documenting vaccination: Governor Ige recently announced the launch of a SMART Health Card system, which is an optional way for individuals who have received their COVID-19 vaccination to confirm their vaccination status at businesses and venues where vaccination is required. Through the Hawaiʻi Safe Travels online portal, vaccinated individuals can submit their vaccination details and a photo of their vaccination card, which will be validated against the State vaccine registry. You’ll then receive a verification QR code. Businesses and establishments can use a SMART Health Card app to verify patrons’ vaccination status based on their QR code. If you would like to use this optional program, you can set up your account online at This month, dial 808 to make all local calls: The Federal Communications Commission has adopted “988” as the three-digit number for nationwide access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, effective July 2022. To make this change, all telephone service providers will implement mandatory 10-digit local dialing. Beginning October 24, 2021, all calls – including local calls – must include the area code in order to be connected. Call rates and services will remain the same regardless of the number of digits dialed, and the 3-digit numbers currently available (such as 211 and 911) can still be reached by 3-digit code. Free eviction mediation program underway: The State eviction moratorium ended on August 6, triggering the launch of Act 57, passed by the State Legislature during the 2021 session. Under Act 57, tenants who are behind on rent must be offered the opportunity to mediate before a landlord can file for their eviction. Mediation is a safe, private and neutral setting for landlords and tenants to discuss how to move forward for mutual benefit. To learn more, please contact the West Hawaiʻi Mediation Center at (808) 664-0991,, or 

Low-income renters on Hawaiʻi Island can apply for Hawaiʻi County rent and utility relief funds online ( or by calling HOPE Services Hawaiʻi at 808-935-3050.  Native Hawaiians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for funds through the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; please learn more online at, or by calling 808-596-8155. Small businesses, nonprofits and agricultural businesses: expanded COVID-19 assistance funds: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced changes to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to further support small businesses which continue to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses, nonprofits and agricultural businesses can visit to learn more. Rat Lungworm Disease awareness and research findings: Rat Lungworm Disease is a parasitic disease that is a risk for humans in Hawaiʻi. As you know, Kohala Middle School students were able to document the presence of rat lungworm in our North Kohala area. To help the community understand this serious issue, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has compiled extensive research and resources regarding Rat Lungworm Disease and its prevention. Please go to their website for information and educational resources, including videos and lesson plans, about this important issue: Mahalo for allowing me to serve as your State Representative. Please sign up for my e-newsletter at and contact me at or 808-586-8510 with any questions or advice. Aloha!

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


RETHINKING OUR FUTURE: I have long been an advocate for agriculture in our community. Taro, banana, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, flowers, cattle, pork, etc. – it really doesn’t matter what agriculture products we grow as long we combine the land, water, and sunshine resources and grow something. But for me, it does not stop there. For our community to be food self-reliant, thus resilient, we also must value-add. This is the “economy of agriculture” that I constantly refer to. We currently raise an agricultural commodity but often take it elsewhere for further “manufacturing or processing” that adds value. We need to keep this at home and add value by pre-cooking or making a desired product (poi, ulu chips, bacon, precooked roast, etc.). This boosts our productivity by creating additional jobs and keeping those dollars in our own economy. That in turn increases our food security while developing other income-generating opportunities for our people.  “Manufacturing” is something else that we need to embrace. Basalt tiles is a potential example. (Basalt is our island’s lava rock.) As was pointed out by a constituent, the rock here could be cut into paving tiles and processed for other home construction uses. There is an insulation used in building construction called “rock wool” that many consider better than the usual fiberglass, as it is far less prone to retain moisture and does not mold or mildew. This in part is also from basalt heated to a very high temperature and drawn into fibers (as I understand it, almost like the manufacturing of cotton candy). Though this is energy intensive; however, with our renewable energy resource portfolio of wind, photovoltaic, hydroelectric, and geothermal, I believe it is very possible. This would create both technical and manufacturing jobs in the energy industry while being very “green” to our environment. This would increase our economy while giving a path forward for our young people.  To further expand on this, growing the local economy through manufacturing adds value, jobs and a future for the next generation. The question is “What?” We have touched on Agriculture (food security and jobs), Energy (environmentally friendly and jobs) and Manufacturing (value added to our rock (basalt). Expanding a little on energy production: with the renewable portfolio, what about “harvesting” hydrogen? Again, we have the renewable resources that could supply the energy to split the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen could be refined into medical grade, while the hydrogen could be used as a gas in and of itself, or as an energy source in a fuel-cell for transportation. Done correctly, we could even strive to become a net exporter of hydrogen to the state and Pacific Rim. Again, an industry for our county that addresses environmental concerns and addresses our energy needs while developing an energy economy that supplies jobs.  Another form of “manufacturing” could be the recycling of plastics into fence posts. Currently we do not have much in the way of plastic recycling as for numerous reasons the recyclers, primarily China, are no longer taking our plastics. Changing our approach – or, using the trendy term, “pivoting“ – what if we reformed plastics, of almost any type, into fence post material? We could accomplish two things: 1) start addressing the plastic problem in our county and 2) develop a product for our agriculture/ranching community. New Zealand has already pioneered this with success. Further, if we expanded it, we could even potentially export to the rest of the state. Again, this would be energy-intensive but, getting back to our renewable energy portfolio, seeking the synergy between the different enterprises could answer a great number of concerns. To push the concept and thinking even further outside the box, if this were to work well, could we go further and even harvest the plastics floating out in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Our county could “harvest” the plastics, reform them, and develop a marketable commodity that starts addressing one of the great environmental problems of our world.  Obviously, this all will take a shift in policy as well as paradigms, but unless we are willing to take a step forward, we will be stuck in our old ways of doing things. As the pandemic has shown us, we cannot solely depend on tourism to be our economic driver. Agriculture has always been a key. Add it to the nexus with water and energy, the opportunities can be far reaching. I invite creative thoughts and ideas on this very topic on moving our island’s economy forward through innovative opportunities involving agriculture, water, and energy in seeking solutions for our future. As always, it continues to be a great privilege to serve as your Councilman. Please stay safe. 

What’s New at Artists’ Cooperative

Story and photos by Diann Wilson. The Kohala Artists’ Cooperative caught a breath of fresh air with the opening of “Ward of Pololū.” The show featured works by ShivaRam Wolfgang Thom and was kicked off with an opening reception in the Coop garden on September 25. Born in Munich, Shiva studied and lived as an artist in Paris. He then had a successful floral event design company in Manhattan and moved to Hawaii in 2019.He fell in love with Pololū, which is one of his favorite places on earth, and immediately settled in Kapaʻau. The opening reception began with sunset music and chanting provided by Mahina Lee. Shiva then began the evening by welcoming everyone to his show of his multi-media work infused with his belief that there is no separation between us and nature. His deep spirituality and lifelong passion for ancestral wisdom expresses itself in carefully crafted rune stones, intricate watercolors inspired by crop circles. It culminates in four oversized kapa pieces, which collected in Tonga in the eighties, on which he painted crop circles. These circles appeared in 2021 in England. The collection of various works celebrated the beauty he sees in nature and recognizes the interconnectedness between nature and human beings. The exhibit was on display until October 22. Shiva is in the process of joining the Artists’ Cooperative, which means that his work will continue to be available for sale in the shop.

November brings yet another show – one with a totally different twist. Jill Backus and Melisa Hicks are premiering a collaborative display called “The Magical Menageries.” The show begins with an opening reception on Friday, November 5. Jill comes to us via Alaska. Having earned a BFA in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, her life took a turn when she had kids and then became a nurse. Once she retired, she moved to property that her father had owned in Makapāla and returned to her artistic pursuits. She has been creating her ceramic pieces for the past five years. Jill had previously shown her work at arts and crafts markets but joined the Artists’ Cooperative in 2018 and has been displaying her work there ever since. She primarily sells figurative sculpture and functional pieces such as teapots and mugs in the Coop. More information about her work can be found at Melisa Hicks came to Kohala four years ago, wanting a less-busy life than she was experiencing in Southern California. Her plan was to move here and retire, but instead she took over a veterinary practice in Kapaʻau, where she has been working for four years. While her educational background is not in art, she has been creating ceramic pieces for 25 years – mainly hand building and slip casting with molds. Her interest started in California after she took a class and learned to fire raku. Art then became a hobby and a second profession for her. Melisa has been involved with the Artists’ Cooperative most of the time she has been in North Kohala. As a snorkeler and scuba diver, most of her pieces are ocean art, though she does still work with raku.

Melisa and Jill met at the Coop and feel their work is complimentary. This is their first show together and it is unique in that they are creating collaborative pieces. The whimsical work will consist of four amphibious creations that combine Melisa’s sea creatures and Jill’s land creatures. The Magical Menageries opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on November 5 and runs until November 26. The public is invited to attend the reception or to stop by the Coop any day from noon to 5 p.m. to view their creations, as well as other pieces for sale by local artists. All COVID protocols with be followed.

Musical Innovation in Kohala—The Bass Ukulele or U-bass

By Jack Tottle. A new musical instrument is gaining in popularity nationally and internationally. It’s called the bass ukulele, or U-bass, and its origins are both in here Kohala and elsewhere on the Big Island. This ukulele-sized instrument uses different strings from the ukulele and incorporates a bass amplifier to produce a resonant, acoustic-bass-like sound. Our Kohala neighbors have played a role. Respected luthier and musician David Gomes designed and created what is likely the first one. Former adaptive optics technician at Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Kim Sweeny underwrote the cost, and Chris Wej, bass player with the Kohala-based band Bluegrass Jack—which also includes guitarist Anne Pontius, as well as this writer—may well be the first musician in America to have adapted this instrument to bluegrass music.

Ours is a small state, 40th in population out of the 50 U.S. states, which represents less than one half of one percent of the nation’s total. Yet as the birthplace of both the ukulele and steel guitar, Hawaii’s influence is disproportionately large in the world of music, not only in country and bluegrass but well beyond.  Many of us who love our magnificent home have been glad to see worldwide recognition of great artists like Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (aka Brudda Iz). Folks like our neighbors John Keawe, the late Kindy Sproat, and the Lim Family are just a few of the other wonderful musicians who have introduced Hawaiian music to locales where it is not so well known.  It has been my privilege to play with Kohala musician friends like Clem Lam (noted artist and architect), Geno Amar (of the excellent duo Nino and Geno and administrator of Kohala Hospital), the wonderful musical and hula duo of Matthew and Roselyn Kupukaʻa, talented singer/songwriters Keoki Carter and Yvonne Yarber Carter, and David Gomes for events organized by my wife Lin at our home and elsewhere.  Country music is quite popular here, as a walk near the Waimea KTA will confirm by the choice of music played over the outdoor sound system. When Lin’s fellow nurses at Kohala Hospital learned that while at East Tennessee State University I had founded the first comprehensive program of Bluegrass and Country Music, they were interested. When they found out that among the thousands of students I had taught to play bluegrass and country music was their favorite country superstar, Kenny Chesney—then at the height of his fame—some were overcome with excitement. “You have to get your husband to introduce me to Kenny!” exclaimed one. “I want to marry him!” proclaimed others.  Most of the Hawaiian musicians I’ve met here are familiar with bluegrass and country music. This is not surprising. The Hawaiian steel guitar, pioneered by Oahu’s Joseph Kekuku at the turn of the twentieth century, has served as the basis for instruments widely played in country and bluegrass, as well as popular music, for more than a century. The Father of American Country Music—Mississippian Jimmie Rodgers, who first recorded in 1927—set the tone for future artists by featuring steel guitar on his recordings, frequently played by native Hawaiians. On occasion, Rodgers himself played the ukulele.  The earlier-mentioned brilliant singer, songwriter and guitarist, John Keawe, was generous in his praise of my album, The Bluegrass Sound, after hearing it over our community radio station KNKR 96.1 FM out of Hāwī. Bass player Geno Amar was pleasantly surprised at the similarities between bluegrass and Hawaiian music when he skillfully filled in with Bluegrass Jack. It seems clear that music, the universal language, continues to spread Aloha across thousands of miles to help show all of us—regardless of our widely differing backgrounds—how much we have in common. Jack Tottle is Professor Emeritus at East Tennessee State University. The preceding was taken from his article “Tradition and Innovation: Covering All the Basses, Or At Least Some of Them,” which originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited, the oldest (since 1966) and most widely read magazine on the subject. Readers interested in reading the full text to learn more about Hawaiian connections to bluegrass are encouraged to contact Jack Tottle at for a digital copy. 

Kohala Aloha Friday Night Out

By Kathy Matsuda. On October 1, Kohala Village HUB hosted an Aloha Friday drive-thru for a well-deserved “night out” and to spread the word that Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) is in North Kohala for drug and alcohol recovery services. North Kohala COVID Busters volunteers partnered with Hawaiʻi County Public Health and distributed masks, sanitizers and health information on the proper way to wear a mask. Pomaikaʻi Cafe took pre-orders on a special dinner and dessert menu. Tea O’clock made creative boba tea combinations. Partners In Development Foundation distributed information on their Tutu & Me Program to support mothers with infants and toddlers. Don’t miss out on our next Kohala Aloha Friday Night Out on November 5 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a COVID Buster, contact Kathy at Kohala Village HUB at 889-0404 ext. 104. 


MILL MERGERS, AND LIFE AT THE CONSOLIDATED HALAULA MILL : In 1935, the Kohala mill hired J. Scott B. Pratt from the McBryde Sugar Company on Kauai to manage its operations. He closed the mills at Niuli.i and Ho.ea. By 1937, all of the plantations in Kohala had merged into the Kohala Sugar Company. All milling was done at Halaula. He also formed the Hawaii Rifl es in 1942 for homeland defense of Kohala during World War II.  Pratt envisioned a grand design for the small community surrounding the mill. Located in the center of what is still Lighthouse Road, the mill area included 163 houses, a barber shop, the Kohala Theater, four stores, a fountain (restaurant) – Kohala Soda Works – a post o.  ce, a ball fi eld, two churches (Catholic and Mormon), a shooting range, a Japanese school, a tennis court, two reservoirs, a taro patch, a swimming pool and a cemetery. The mill area also included multiple casinos, which were gambling sites for rooster fights and dice games. On weekends, people came from as far away as Hilo to gamble. The houses, owned and maintained by the sugar company, were rented to mill workers. All of these houses were moved to other Kohala locations from 1959 to 1961, when the workers were allowed to buy them at appraised value and move them to lots provided by the sugar company at a cost of $1. The plantation maintained the common areas. Trimmed hibiscus plants lined what is now Old Halaula Road. The map on the previous page shows the theater, the layout of the mill, and the bordering railroad track. Today, only the bridge supports for the trestle over Lighthouse Road remain. The largest number of houses (not illustrated) were makai (right) of the track in “Down Camp.” The Goya, Harata and Kirta stores were located among the houses. Fewer houses were in “Up Camp,” to the left on the map. In 1951, Kohala Sugar sold their store (in blue) to Shoichi Nakahara, who operated it until the 1960s. The structure still remains. In 1951, Shoichi also purchased the store next to the H.w. Post O.ce, which is still in operation today.The plantation maintained a public swimming pool made of concrete near the mill. The two reservoirs provided the water necessary to wash the cane in the mill. The ball field was also the site of the annual FilipinoGames and country fair. Halaula children went to the public Halaula School, now the Kohala Middle School. To reach the school, approximately two-thirds of a mile away, the children walked (down what is now Old Halaula Mill Road), rain or shine, in a line monitored by Junior Police Officers. Because of the dirt and mud created by the cane trucks, the children took o. their shoes and walked barefoot with their shoes in their hands. They then washed their feet when they reached the school and put the shoes back on, repeating the process on the way back home. If it rained, wet clothes were hung near the cafeteria ovens to dry. Over the years, the Kohala Sugar Company did much to help the community. A gym for public use in H.w. (where Sunshine Hardware is now), and a breakwater at Keokea Park were constructed. The main highway was maintained by the Sugar Company.On the downside, cane hauling from the field to the mill by road spread large amounts of dust in the community. Also, for years the mill dump edits refuse in the gulch below the mill. When it filled up, they would dynamite it. Gradually the trash lined the shores. Next Month – Alternative Crops, Finances and Production of The Kohala Sugar Company, The Decline of The Sugar Industry, Kohala Sugar Company Closes.

St. Augustine’s Welcomes New Vicar on November 1: The Rev. Jennifer Masada 

By John Sakai.St. Augustine’s EpiscopalChurch in is very happy to announce that the Rev. Jennifer Masada has accepted the BishopCommittee’s call to be the next vicar of St. Augustine’s. BishopRobert Fitzpatrick has approved her appointment to this position. Rev. Jennifer has served at St. Augustine’s on several occasions as a supply priest during the past five years, so is familiar withNorth Kohala and the Big Island.She comes to us with over 10 years of experience at New Song Episcopal Church in Coralville, Iowa. She serves as priest of a diverse congregation providing pastoral care, healing ministry, and youth and adult education. 

Project Grad 2022 

Aloha Kohala, Project Graduation is BACK! Due to COVID restrictions, Kohala’s seniors have not been able to experience the annual celebration.But now we, as a community, can bring it back, BIGGER and BETTER than EVER! Keep reading to see how you can help Kohala’s Class of 2022. Project Graduation was established in response to escalating injuries among graduates involved in alcohol and drug related accidents on graduation night. We, the Kohala Project Graduation Committee, and the Class of 2022 are planning to continue preventing tragedies here on Hawaii Island. We are a non-profit organization that encourages making good choices throughout the school year. We aim to protect our graduates when they are most vulnerable. The Seniors will be creating memories with their classmates that they can cherish for a lifetime at this memorable and safe event starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2022. This is an all-night, fun filled,substance free event consisting of an array of activities, such as an onoluau dinner, great entertainment, and a variety of games and awe.some prizes. The students’ last eve.ning together will culminate with a bus ride to see the sunrise at Pololu. Lookout, a tradition in our town.This entire evening is parent chaperoned. The Project Grad Committee and the graduating seniors would like to respectfully ask for your support. Here’s how you can help: 1. Participate in a Fundraiser Purchase any of these items from any participating senior, or contact Maile Akamu or Trisha Coito to purchase(contact numbers are listed below): Big Costco Pumpkin Pie for $12/ea. Sales end 11/8/21. Ice Pops $20/bag of 10 pops. Taking orders beginning January 2022 for pick-up end of January/beginning ofFebruary. Punalu`u Cinnamon Bread $10 each 1-pound loaf. Sales in Feb 2022, pick-up mid-March. Big Island Candies Sale TBD – April.

2.Make a donation to the Kohala Project Grad 2022 through the North Kohala Community Resource Center.You can make checks payable to the Resource Center and include ProjectGrad 2022 on the memo line. Mail to NKCRC, P.O. Box 519, H.wi, HI 96719. 3. Have your business, or you as a person, make a fun donation to be awarded to a Senior during the Project Grad’s evening raffle drawing. We appreciate the Kohala Community and Thank You All for your Support! Any questions, please call either of our co-chairpersons, Maile Akamu (808) 987-1113 or Trisha Coito (808) 987-1780. Mahalo! 

Kohala Koboji Shingon Buddhist Mission Receives Grant for Repairs 

By Rikko and Kristina Varjan .We are pleased to announce that the Kohala Koboji Shingon Mission is the recipient of a grant through the Historic Hawaii Foundation to further support the pro.cess of repairing and preserving the Kohala Koboji Mission.This grant will most assuredly provide protection from the deteriorating weather elements that have taken their toll on these historic buildings.

It warms our hearts to see this initial process of the grant go into action with the termite tenting of the buildings.This marks a historic continuation of our efforts over the past 25years to keep the Kohala Koboji Mission functioning.We want to especially thank Rev. Miyazaki, the Koboji Minister, for his blessings and kindness over the past 25-plus years by providing activities, regular services, and especially his providing for the community when family and friends were ill or have passed…

As most of you know, being a recipient of a grant from the Historic Hawaii Foundation is only the beginning of our work here. We are of to a great beginning making the Kohala Koboji MissionTemple a comfortable and inviting setting with services for generations to come. 

We appreciate any and all support that members of the community would like to offer. Donations can be made at: For more information call 505-449-7161. Thank you for your ongoing support. Be well and stay safe. 

Work of Artist Mia Kolly on Display

Story and photo by Silia Emeliano. Mia Kolly, a former substitute art teacher at Kohala Middle School and talented local artist, generously donated her painting entitled “Kohala Field and Sky.”Boasting the natural beauty of the familiar Ainakea landscape under atypical Hawaiian sky, this beautiful interpretation has found a permanent home in the main once of the school campus.Should you ever have the opportunity to visit the main once,please stop by to appreciate the talents of Mia Kolly. 

Tony Moiha 1938-2021


A resident of Hawi, Tony Moiha was the eighth of twelve children. Originally from Maui, he and his wife, Ilima, were married for sixty-one years. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, thirteen grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren. Services will be held at the Gospel of Salvation Church in Kahei on October 23. A viewing will be held from 10:00–11:00, followed by the service, burial and lunch.The following story is reprinted from the January 19, 2000 edition of the Kohala Mountain News. Moiha is pictured to the left of Sproat. 

Kapa`au’s Culinary Garden, the Blessed Café Pomaika`i 

Story and photo by Karolina Garrett .The 5th grader in our house eyes me skeptically when I mumble this early Saturday morning, “Time for a Wagyu cheeseburger!” Sitting on a tall stool at one of the tables in the Pomaika`i Café garden, he believes easier when the plate arrives.

A ciabatta roll barely encases the thick Wagyu meat patty (especially marbleized beef), grilled onions,tomato slices, cheddar cheese layer, and romaine lettuce that tumble out the sides when going in for the first mouthful. Takes patience to secure all the ingredients for large bites and no stopping the thousand island sauce dripping everywhere. Teamed up with the mango frosty—a creamy “soy-shake,” and bag of Hulapeno spicy kettle-cooked potato chips, we have full-stomachs by 10 a.m. For our .ohana, Saturday mornings evolve into a pocket of time to regenerate after the work and school week. Landscaping and pruning in the garden for Pomaika.i Café create a small-scale Zen energy zone with even a short citrus tree fruiting. After the cheeseburger, I sit with the just-brewed frothy cappuccino, and maybe the influencing caffeine or the soothing warm makani (wind)bring them, yet extra thoughts zing. I start to wonder if our meal is political. If we define politics as who gets what, when, and how then my family sits in some luxury, even privilege this morning.

As the coffee effect tapers down, I realize more clearly that we made a choice to be at Pomaika`i Café. Our family budget (read: frugal) allocates funds to spend locally, this time at Pomaika.i Café, a way to participate in Kapaau’s longevity, the town’s stretch back into historical heritage and the future-facing way to invest as can, then can on behalf of lands, buildings and peoples.

In 2018, Robert Glory Jr. bought the café previously known as Nanbu Court, located in the Nanbu Building, first built in 1898. Glory Jr. kept most menu items—coffees, sandwiches, salads, paninis, smoothies, bagels, and more—yet changed the name to the Hawaiian word Pomaika`i, or blessed. Born and raised in Kohala, Glory Jr. later ventured into 20 years helming food leadership roles for Costco—bakery and food court—on BigIsland, Maui, and Kauai. Today he transforms this experience into Pomaika`i Café’s diverse menu selection and effciency since hiring two full time employees.

Early morning time plenty of kupna are talking and sipping coffee at sidewalk tables street side on Akoni Pule; morning at the café offers a prized sugary treat since the cinnamon rolls are originals, a soft doughy texture that cuts easy with a fork. Plenty of drizzled icing, too.On a different visit, the next garden culinary adventure serves up the Furikake Salmon Salad sprinkled everywhere with mandarin orange slices and One-Ton chips. Centered on a heaping mixed-salad is a thick fillet of salmon crusted with furikake topping (Japanese seasoning)—salty seaweed flakes and toasted sesame seed. Sauntering around the different nooks and crannies at Nanbu shows you the spatial renaissance—viewing the past to reinvent the modern—in the works. Branching out right next door is the Café Pomaika`i Gift Shop. All varieties of snack foods are available plus some specialty items like the popular jerky made in Kohala. Also, Holy Bakery opened in1932 in the same building behind Pomaika`i Café where today’s owners aim to increase business. Glory Jr. expects to sell their pies in his café soon. Back inside the gift shop what mesmerizes you is “Kukulu, a traveling exhibition that pays tribute to community pillars through photography and the arts.” View the poignant photographs of moʻokūauhau(genealogy), mo`oleo (story), and mo`opuna (grandchil.dren) that portray “Connections through the Generations,” the art show’s title, while protecting Mauna Kea. Inspiring art and ono grindz keep the grateful reminder going on how lucky live Hawai.i.