Revitalized CDP to Get Going in January

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

North Kohala Tool Library Coming Soon!

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

Fix The Ditch Campaign Begins with Flood of Letters to Officials

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

Reuse, Recycle, Re-think!

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

Drumming in Kohala

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

North Kohala Lands Top PONC Preservation List

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

Good News: Makapala Store Is Open

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

Better Signs for Yielding at One-Lane Bridges

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

KMS LETTER: Childhood Cancer

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

KMS LETTER: Kitchen Fires

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


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

KMS LETTER: Misleading Statistics

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

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

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

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

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

St. Augustine’s Christmas Thrift Shopping for Keiki

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

St. Nicholas Explains His Story

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

New Year and New Programs at the Kohala Artistsʻ Cooperative

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


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

Ouch, I Hurt My Back! Now What?

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

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

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

Turning Waste into Fertility at Dragon Heart Farm

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

The Traveling Cigar Bar: Sharing the Luxury of Fine Cigars

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

News Of the World. A Poem By Donna Beumler

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

Wednesday Night Fun

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



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, and please specify the Bond Library. If you want more information about the project, please email the

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  The public may provide oral testimony at the meeting through Zoom. To register for oral testimony, contact Noriko Sauer at 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:

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

Letter: Trunk-or-Treat

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

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 or at 808-586-8510. If you aren’t already a subscriber, please keep in touch by signing up for my email newsletter at 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, 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/ or Lani Bowman at 808-895-5753/

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 


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.).
Grade 12
Baldos, Rayana
Bell, Neighton
Biedenharn Gali, Kalimahoonimakani
Carvalho, Leiana
Cazimero-Roxburgh, Anela
Cazimero, Oshen
Cedillos, Iris
Emeliano, Myiesha
Geiger, Brooklyn
Gonzales-Oliveros, Joel
Heu Mathiew, Adam
Hook, Quentin
Isabel, Ayezha-Lynn
Kauka, Laakea
Kawai-Poliahu, Kahelelani
Ledward-Mongkeya, Konapiliahi
Leonard, Emily
Lewis, Patience-ann
Libron-Kauanoe, Legend
Lorenzo-Akamu, Teige
Michaelis, McCartney
Nemzer, Kai
Padilla, Damien
Preston, Riley
Salmoiraghi, Francesca
Grade 11
Akana, Tiani
Apostadiro, Chevez
Asencion, John Riley
Blanco, Aidan
Canine, Keegan
Caravalho, Kaydance
Domingo, Hazel
Edayan, Elias
Francisco, Ralph Janssen
Kaai, Anthony
Kauanoe-Galdones, Hailey
Leitch, Adriana
Lewis, Jersey
Luga-Benedicto, Keith
Perez, Anthony
Pinho, Camille
Reynolds, Prince
Rico, Mark James
Vakauta, Lei
Grade 10
Afaga, Makenzie
Alejandro, Trycen-Anthony
Ancheta Morin, Ezra
Arrajuo-Medeiros, Promise
Cornejo, Lluvia
Damasco, Shaina Mae
Fuertes, Camille
Kauka, Landon
Lewis, Landon
Lum, Yvanka Leyria
Majors, Natalie Mae
Nakamura, Kiona
Perez, Lulia
Ramos, James
Salvador, Jayline
Secuya, Alan
Stenson Jr. Edward
Thomas, Keilla
Van Housen, Adela
Grade 9
Elmer, Aisha
Emeliano, Gabriel
Ishimine, Ava-Grace
Jose, Jensel Merice
Kimball, Christine
Marquez, Sydnie
Nemzer, Ila
Perez, Eden
Sasaki, Averie



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. 



13th Year Scholarships Provide Opportunity

By Joel Tan and Kathy Matsuda. From a generous gift by the Dorrance Family Foundation and the University of Hawaii Foundation, five North Kohala students received the 13th Year Scholarship. The University of Hawaii13th year initiative is an innovative program designed to encourage non-college-bound students and adults to attend and successfully complete their first year of college. This program includes the Elama Project at Hawaii Community College’s Pālamanui campus in Kona and Hilo One at HCC’s campus in Hilo. The 13th Year Scholarship provides financial and other supports that reduce barriers to entering and succeeding in college. Attending HCC-Hilo are Aukea Kaaekuahiwi, Aotealoa Masalosalo and Nalani Andrews. Attending HCC-Pālamanui in Kona are Jeffrey Francisco and Ashton Bolosan. Congratulationsto these five students. Scholarships cover 100% of tuition,books and fees during the first year. Academic, career and financial aid guidance throughout their entire academic career at HCC and Pālamanui. Upon successfulcompletion of the first year, students may be eligible to receive additional support for tuition books, and fees up to an Associate Degree. For more information on 13th Year, please contact Joel Tan or Kathy Matsuda at Kohala Village HUB at 889-0404 ext. 104.

Lamaloloa Parcel in Danger of Being Sold to Private Party

Story and photo by Gail Byrne Baber.A petition at has been created to encourage the landowner of Lamaloloa to honor the process that was underway to protect this coastalparcel, which is in the middle of the coastline already preserved by the community. The heart of the Kohala coastline, preserved for future generations through 50-plus years of community work, is still threatened by development. Lamaloloa is a 35-acre oceanfront parcel Land, continued from Page 1 the community hopes to have protected by December. The full asking price was secured in April and work was well underway to purchase the parcel before the landowner pulled out to sell to a private party. The funds are still available for purchasing and protecting the land. A petition has been started at to ask the landowner and private party to reconsider and allow the community to finish the preservation purchase. “This coastline has the most numerous intact pre contact cultural and archeological sites in the state, including ancient trails at Lamaloloa that are protected by Queen Liliuokalani’s HawaiiHighways Act of 1892”, shared Fred Cachola, long-time advocate for protecting this coastline. “And the North Kohala Community Development Plan calls for the preservation of this area as a cultural landscape without luxuryhomes or development.”Lamaloloa is south of Lapakahi State Park and identified by the shipping container housing a well, makai of Akoni Pule Highway. Community groups hope to use the well to restore native plants on the property and on nearby preserved lands and are concerned that the water could be used for development and landscaping instead.“The goal of the petition is to reach a win-win-win outcome,” shared Joe Carvalho of Kohala Lihikai. “The landowner gets his asking price, the community’s50-plus years of work to preserve this coast is honored, the natural resources are protected, and the cultural landscape remains intact and uninterrupted by development. The petition on can be found at

New Format Proposed for Kohala’s CDP Action Committee

By Toni Withington.Fed up with the County ignoring the North Kohala Community Development Plan activities, a group of community leaders this month called on the PlanningDepartment to change the set up of Kohala’s Action Committee to foster greater and wider representation of members from the community. Planning Director Zendo Kern responded swiftly and positively to the proposals by thirteen signers of a memorandum out lining the problems faced by the committee and its stalled status. The last meeting of the Kohala Action Committee (AC) was July 2019, and it now has only one sitting member. While the County had repeatedly promised to help get it going again, nothing has happened. When residents who are still meeting monthly in CDP subgroups found out that three ACs from other districts had held Planning Department-facilitated quarterly meetings three times this year, it was decided – in true Kohala fashion – to do it ourselves. The page-and-a-half memo to Kern and CDP Coordinator Keiko Mercado outlined four problems and offered solutions for getting the Action Committee up and running again. They were joined by four former chairpersons of the Kohala AC. “It is great to see that you have so many involved in this conversation,” said April Surprenant, head of the department’s Long Term Planning division that oversees the six CDP ACs around the island. She and Kern agreed to meet with Kohala people in order to come up with possible changes.A key change proposed in the memo is that recruitment and nomination of AC members should take place within the community. This is a key strategy already written into the NKCDP. The first AC in 2009 was set up that way. However, since then the County has only called for self-nomination forms sent to the mayor. “By encouraging past members of the AC, former members of the Steering Committee as well as active members of the supporting groups to select and recruit new AC members, those serving can represent a wider spectrum of the community and foster a sense that others are counting on their participation,” the memo says.Other recommendations are to reduce the commitment to serving on the AC from four years to two and to reduce the membership from nine to seven. Perhaps the hardest change to sell to the County will be returning the AC meetings back to monthly. Originally, meeting once a month meant the community could respond to issues and development permit applications swiftly. But the Planning Department reduced the meetings to every other month two years ago, and in January said all the ACs will only meet quarterly.“Quarterly meetings will further erode the chance for the community to be part of any timelyCounty discussion of issues,” the memo said. As a solution to the increased cost of County planners driving from Hilo and setting up all the logistics of the meetings, the memo proposed that residents be trained to take over much of the organizational work and the planners be allowed to attend via hybrid virtual technological means. The signers of the memorandum are former AC chairs Joe Carvalho, John Winter, Jeff Coakley and Steven Hoffman. Joining them are Toni Withington, Lehua Ah Sam, Ted Matsuda, Andi Longpre, Faye Yates, Beth Robinson, Jack Hoyt, Carter Collins andSusan Fischer. “North Kohala residents typically have a deep commitment to managing our future growth in a manner consistent with our rural lifestyle and cultural heritage, while cooperating fully withvarious County agencies in that endeavor,” the memo said. The proposed changes would “reenergize the AC with experienced and dynamic members of the community and allow them to pass along their accumulated wisdom and experience to new members who wish to become community servants and leaders themselves

Anticipated Joy

Eila Algood
Moments from takeoff
From the rock The island
I call home
For the first time
in fifteen months
Feels like fifteen years
My spirit of adventure was grounded
Now about to soar
Wear mask to cover nose and mouth
Fill out forms in this Pandemic crazed world
Excited to depart
To see my grown-up daughter
and Her two-year-old baby boy
Thrill of anticipation
To look into her eyes
Not the eye of the computer
To hear his giggle
Not through a phone
But in person
To play and dance and talk story
After a hug Or ten And kisses, yes, those too
As I sit in an airplane
Which looks similar to how I remember it
The world has changed
Abundant fear in the air I choose love
I choose positive possibilities
I choose optimism for a new, joyful world
Where each person lives in gratitude
For simple things A visible smile A warm embrace
A heartfelt handshake
We’ll unify for humanity To cooperate
To congregate To contemplate A future for all sentient beings Expand our awareness
Beyond me to we 963 Hz tones play angelic melodies
Through headphones Raises my vibration Encourages wellness of Spirit, emotions and body I’m in this world yet when I listen
These tones tell me I’m not of this world My soul is happy
To be here now Happy to honor the call To fly . . .


By Diane Revell
Mere fragment of nature
straining to survive
twisting and turning
finally emerging
From the struggle to stay alive
character shaped
from what went before
Rising to new heights
moving forward
to strive
testament to strength
unique shape of life

Nā Kūpuna ʻO Kohala Stays Active

By Kumu Kaui Nakamura. Na Kūpuna ʻO Kohala hālau has been kept busy from last year. We tried hula lessons by Zoom. I had them start a lei hulu with the teachings by Kalani Heineke and Evalani Kawai. Groups were split up in smaller groups and was assisted by other kūpuna. When guidelines allowed gathering outside with 25 people, a couple generously opened their nut field and we practiced there with masks and hand sanitizers. Tuesday and Thursday we had hula movies at Mike Foley’shome, inviting groups of 10 at a time. We had a huakaʻi at the bird sanctuary and a couple of community performances under the banyan tree, Prince Kuhio Day, and Senior Center lawn for King Kamehameha Day. Joan Channon, owner of Bamboo Restaurant, is ahuge supporter of our hālau. Several kūpuna danced at Bamboo for two days a week for a couple of months. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed each other’s company. We are taking a break now due to numbers of COVID cases. Nā Kūpuna ʻO Kohala would like to thank all the employees of Bamboo Restaurant for their helpfulness and support in this difficult time for gatherings. They made it easy for kūpuna to share their love of hula and we appreciate all the donations that we received.

Hawaii Writers Guild: Member News

By Joy Fisher. Hawaii Writers Guild has debuted a new online periodical, “Member News,” containing stories by, for and about the writers who are members of Hawaii Writers Guild. The periodical is available to the public on its website. “A number of factors caused us to recognize the need for this new publication,” said Joy Fisher, one of the co-editors of the magazine. “We were no longer a small, close-knit group on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi,” Fisher explained. New members live on other islands; and some members live on the mainland part or all of the year, including Cecilia Johansen, the other co-editor of Member News. Johansen, a founding member of Hawaii Writers Guild, moved from Hawaiʻi to California to be closer to family, but wanted to stay in touch with her writer friends on the Big Island. And then there was COVID- 19. “Suddenly even those of us on the Big Island stopped seeing each other in person as we sheltered at home,” Fisher said. “There were no more chats over coffee about what was going on in our writing lives.” To fi ll this void, each issue will have special feature stories about unique or first-time activities of Guild members. The first issue, for example, features a story about how North Kohala Guild Member Virginia Fortner became a woman who wrote history during the COVID-19 epidemic. There will also be opinion columns by members about special aspects of the genre they write in. The first issue contains one column about “episodic writing,” and another about “punk haiku.” Profiles of new members and news of recent publications by members will also be included in each issue. “For members of the public who have ever wondered what the life of a writer is like, Member News offers an inside scoop,” Fisher said. The first issue of Member News can be viewed at www.

Virginia Fortner Joins the Ranks of “Women Writing History”

By Joy Fisher. When North Kohala Guild member Virginia Fortner saw an announcement on the internet that the National Women’s History Museum was gathering stories and journal entries from women about their reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic, she sent them a poem she wrote last fall. The poem was inspired by the various responses she had encountered among her neighbors during the early days of the lockdown as she took long walks through her neighborhood for exercise. When she read the poem to her writing critique group, one member said, “I like your meandering poem.” The National Women’s History Museum liked it, too. They asked Fortner whether she would be willing to sign a “Deed of Gift” of the poem, allowing its use in their project “Women Writing History: A Coronavirus Journaling Project.” In March, she did so. “That means I can’t publish the poem myself,” Fortner explained. It’s theirs, now. According to the museum’s website, contributions like Virginia’s “will be used as a living archive of women’s lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for online and physical exhibits, articles and stories. “This archive will also hold a special place in the future physical site of the National Women’s History Museum.”

Police Department Update: Animal Control

By Officer Dayton Tagaca.Members of the public who have lost a pet are encouraged to: – Post their lost pet on -Post their pet on social media and put fliers up. Members of the public who find a lost/stray animal are encouraged to: – Secure the animal and call the Hawaii County Animal Control at (808) 327-3558. – Post the found animal on -Post the pet on social media and put fliers up.

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

This past summer, Hawai’i has seen its highest numbers of visitor arrivals since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and domestic arrivals to Hawai’i Island have exceeded even pre pandemic levels. As Kohala’s residents and visitors alike enjoy our trails, beaches and parks, we are increasingly challenged to manage crowds, traffic, waste and irresponsible use of our unique natural resources. State agencies are working to develop better tools and strategies to meet this challenge. This is a multi-pronged, long-term effort to support sustainable communities, abundant natural resources and a healthy economy. In the 2021 Legislative Session, the Legislature took a major step by restructuring the funding stream for the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA), the State agency responsible for tourism management. While HTA previously received dedicated funding through the Transient Accommodations Tax, all HTA funding will now be approved by the Legislature during each budget cycle, through the same process that funds other State agencies.This budgetary restructuring will increase HTA’s responsiveness to public priorities and will improve the Legislature’s oversight of HTA to ensure public funds are used effectively. HTA is now working to rebuild our tourism industry in a way that supports communities and protects local resources. They have created Destination Management Action Plans for each island to guide their work, and the Legislature will track their progress closely in the coming years. You can learn more about these plans at Natural resource management under the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is the focus of the House Water and Land Committee, of which I amChair. During the 2021 Legislative Session, our committee and theLegislature approved House Bill 1020 to allow DLNR to implement adaptive management of natural resources. This new procedure allows the Board of Land and Natural Resources to respond to rapidly changing conditions, such as a coral bleaching event, by implementing temporary rules. Temporary adaptive management rules are approved through a process which is procedurally streamlined while still providing opportunity for public review and input.The 2021 Legislature also approved House Bill 1276 to allow the Division of State Parks to implement dynamic pricing, adjusting parking and park entrance fees based on changing conditions. This strategy will allow the DLNR to better manage fees and visitors, following the example of Hāʻena State Park on Kaua’i. At Hāʻena, Hawai’i residents can park and visit free of charge. Non-resident visitors are required to make a reservation and pay a parking and entrance fee, which goes to support the park. The system at Hāʻena also places a limit on the number of visitors so that vehicle and human traffic doesn’t overwhelm the roads, parking lot, facilities, and natural resources. In concert with these policies, the 2021 Legislature recognized that regulations protecting Hawai’i’s unique natural, cultural, and historic resources are only as effective as the front-line officers who are responsible for educating the public and enforcing the rules. The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is responsible for upholding the State laws that protect and manage Hawai’i’s natural, cultural and historic resources. DOCARE’s domain encompasses all State lands, including mauka hunting areas, State Parks, over 750 miles of coastline, and the ocean waters extending three miles off shore. Providing natural and cultural resource enforcement over this vast area is an immense challenge, and DOCARE officers are increasingly on the front lines of addressing the overuse of our State’s natural resources by visitors and growing resident populations.The COVID-19 pandemic has also created new responsibilities for DOCARE officers to enforce COVID-19 gathering restrictions at beaches and other State recreation areas. During the 2021 Session, theLegislature took significant steps to improve DOCARE’s capacity to manage and protect our natural resources. The 2021-2022 State Budget (House Bill 200) included funding to employ and equip 30new DOCARE officers statewide, and restored funding to 12 previously unfunded positions. In total, the Legislature increased DOCARE’s budget by just over $5million, about half of which was covered by annually recurring State funds for the new positions, and half of which was a one-time allotment of federal funds to provide equipment and vehicles for the new officers. DOCARE plans to begin recruitment for 35 officers soon with training to begin January 2022.I am grateful for the Legislature’s support for these natural resource protection and management measures during last session. I will closely track these initiatives as they progress. The next legislative session begins inJanuary 2022, when we will consider steps to further strengthen resource management and support long-term sustainability and quality of life in our state.If you have questions, comments, or concerns about these matters or other issues affecting our community, I am always grateful to hear from you. Please contact me by email at or by phone at(808) 586-8510.Mahalo!

County Council Update From the Desk of District 9 Council member Tim Richards. SEPT 2021

Hawaiʻi County Animal Control: Over the last several months, there has been substantial conversation around Hawaiʻi County’sAnimal Control (AC). Last fiscal year, 2020-2021, a new provider, Hawaiʻi Rainbow Rangers (HRR)had the contract. (For the previous 3-plus decades, the animal control/animal rescue program had been performed by the Hawaiʻi Humane Society (HHS),who this past year elected not to bid for said services. The Rainbow Rangers organization was the only bidder and did receive the contract.)Through 2020-2021, the County of Hawaiʻi and our Hawaiʻi County Police Department (HPD) worked with HRR to ramp up their service. Initially, they started as a “limited” service with the intent of going to full service of control and rescue within six to nine months of their contract. Unfortunately, HRR was never able to fulfill the terms of the contract and the contract was terminated this summer. Hawaiʻi County assumed responsibility of animal control services on July 1, 2021, at the beginning of the current fiscal year, after the contract with HRR ended on June 30. Within the County, the responsibilities of AC Services currently fall under the Police Department. While HPDis responsible for AC in the short term, the County is also considering how to best move forward with AC Services in general, and whether it would be better suited for AC to be within a different department or contracted to an outside vendor. The current model we are working on is patterned after other jurisdictions that share some of the same challenges as we do.Currently, Animal Control calls are evaluated and prioritized as follows: Priority 1: sick or injured animal or animal that is a safety threat to humans; person sees a loose dog in the road that is a public safety risk; dog is an immediate threat to safety (e.g., a dog just bit someone); animal cruelty; immediate threat to animal’s life; or owner arrested/deceased with no family to pick up animal.Priority 2: a person finds a healthy stray animal or is reporting a lost pet.Priority 3: individual finds a lost animal or reports a deceased animal on roadway; animal cruelty/neglect investigations – no immediate threat to animal’s life; or not a dangerous dog – not actively a threat. For sick and injured animals, we’re working on a model using telemedicine to put together a panel of veterinarians that can take a call, triage an animal, and help AC pick the best course of further action. HPD has provided guidance to all veterinary offices on-island as well as created a fact sheet that can be found here: If people find a healthy stray animal, they are encouraged to: 1) Call Hawaiʻi CountyAnimal Control at (808) 3273558 to arrange for scanning the animal for a microchip. 2) Alternatively, take the animal to a veterinarian to scan for a microchip. Veterinarians can search for a microchip on 3) Secure the animal and post it as found on The website is a great resource as it is a national database that uses facial recognition software to help reunite lost and found pets with their owners. This site is used by AC, HHS, and Hawaiʻi Animal Kuleana Alliance to help reunite pets with their owners. Efforts are also made through social media, etc. to attempt to locate owners. If no owner can be found and the animal is deemed adoptable and has a potentially treatable condition, AC networks with several animal welfare groups on-island like HHS or KARES (Kohala Animal Relocation and Education Service) etc. who then work to find fosters and adopters for these animals. I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for continued funding to spay and neuter animals going into our rescue group programs for adoption and further care. AC has hired an Animal Control Director and a total of eight animal control staff on a contract basis. Currently, AC is operating one shelter in East Hawaiʻi and one in West Hawaiʻi. In addition, significant funding will need to be secured for additional shelter locations to be opened. HPD is in the process of hiring more staff, which will need to be in place before additional shelter locations in other parts of the island can be arranged and/or secured. Efforts are also continuing to partner with more animal rescue organizations. Should you find yourself in a position to call County Animal Control Services, for non-emergencies or lost & found pets, please contact 808-327-3558. For animal emergencies (Priority 1 calls listed above) call the Hawaiʻi Police Department non-emergency dispatch line at 808-9353311 for assistance. Our County AC program is still undergoing evolution, but our direction mirrors other successful programs in the nation and we are optimistic that it will be an effective program for our island community. Stay tuned as more details are worked out and look for updates as they become available. As always, it continues to bea great privilege to serve as your Councilman. Please stay safe.

Emergency Declaration Sought by Ditch Users

By Libby Leonard. On August 18, water users and advocates, alongside councilman Tim Richards, came together to figure out how to move forward with the damaged Kohala Ditch. Many agreed that there was a need for elected officials to declare a state of emergency. The ditch has been an agricultural lifeline funneling several million gallons of water from Pololū to Māhukona. In earlyApril, its main flume was wiped out by a rockslide, effectively shutting down the water supply feeding North Kohala. This disrupted and, in some cases, completely devastated several farming operations, along with other profit-making ventures. The meeting, which was organized and facilitated by David Fuertes, executive director of the education-based agriculture nonprofit Kahua Paʻa Mua, was limited to 25 participants due toCOVID restrictions. However, according to Fuertes, there was a significant wait list of other users who wanted to get in.Those who were in attendance came from large enterprises such as Cloverfield Dairy and Kentia Nursey. Smaller enterprises like Spicy Ninja Sauce, Kuleana Rum,E-Scape Enterprise and other area landowners and farms also showed. Many of these organizations use sustainable farming methods, empower community resilience, and have been assets during the pandemic in terms offood security.The last time a mobilization of users was necessary to get the ditch restored was in 2006, after the Kiholo Bay earthquake’s destruction. The community rallied together and, along with the efforts of elected officials and many other entities, raised $6.5million in private, public and federal monies to get the ditch backup and running in 2008.Ed Texeira, former head of Civil Defense who provided disaster assistance and fiscal oversight on behalf of the State and Federal Government on that restoration, was present at the meeting.He told those who attended that change starts locally and that it was important to get a government entity to listen to the pain users were going through to fully understand how crucial and critical things are. He added that once an emergency declaration is made, either at the County orState level, that can free up some of the emergency use funds that are available. Over the last several months, there seems to have been a lot of confusion about what was happening with the ditch. At the meeting, though, one thing was clear: farmers and ranchers are suffering. Cloverfield and Kentia have taken a big hit. Dan Jelks, who owned an area tilapia farm, lost his entire operation. Flumin’ Kohala, a popular tourist attraction run by Kohala Eco Ventures LLC, an entity which subsidized ditch maintenance, also went under. Others have been hand-watering their farms, including several100-foot crop rows, and doing so with expensive county water. Fuertes was quoted saying his small nonprofit—whose USDA ʻOhana Agriculture Resilience project invites ten families from the community to learn about natural farming and grow their own crops for free—went from paying $40 bi-monthly to $650.Newer users had plans thwarted, like Mary Beth Ludwig and boyfriend Chris Schwerzler. The couple recently bought property with the hope of creating assisted living and adult day programs for those with special needs, involving ʻāina-based activities focused on integration and mindful living.It was thought by some that land developer Surety Kohala, who is part-owner and administrator of the ditch, was finished with it in terms of doing any repairs.It was mentioned at the meeting that Surety has been working with a new landowner Peter Evanovich at Ho’okipa Ranch, who plans to run a pipeline from the ranch’s water sources to the location of the ditch. This will provide a short-term solution that could be functioning before the end of the year, according to Evanovich. But again, this would only be a temporary fix. According to Councilman Tim Richards, “Fact is, if we don’t take care of this ditch in a reasonable timeline, we’re going loOse the fact that Kohala has a real potential to be the number one agriculture place in this county because of the water.” Richards was more than happy to help lead the charge in getting an emergency declared by working with other officials, but it would still take the efforts of others. Moving forward, Dash Kuhr from Starseed Ranch and several others felt that letters to officials should come from each user, detailing their struggles. Future meetings with users, officials and other area organizations such as Kamehameha Schools, which also is part-owner of the ditch, will decide further steps.Even though not everyone was able to attend the first meeting, inclusivity and working together seems to be the overall theme. Fittingly, a poster that presided on the wall above Fuertes throughout the meeting read: Aʻohe Hana Nui Ke Aluʻia (No Task Is Too Big When Done Together by All).

Mi Ranchito Offers Michoacán Comfort Food

Story and photos by Karolina Garrett.Mi Ranchito restaurant bustles this afternoon and I spot a lucky open spot. At an adjacent table, one ʻohana hosts all the generations—the gramps, the parents, an amigo of the parents, and the keiki—who stop chattering and gawk as one full platter after another arrives: fish tacos, burritos and tamales. The 18-month old in a highchair holds a flauta, a small tortilla rolled with chicken and cheese then fried, which she devours expertly. The waitress carries a steel plate that crackles and steams when she walks by, serving customers sitting street-side at tables on Akoni Pule Highway in Hawi. When the waitress returns, she refills everyone’s iced tea – just the right quencher, not too sweet, squeezed with that lime wedge. I am impressed as a basket of chips and pureed salsa arrive quickly at my table.One of the more obvious reminders that we live on an island happens at a taqueria.In California, which some of us departed to transplant in Kohala, just one street could have multiple taquerias. Along with the ubiquitous taquerias are the complementary salsas, chips, radishes and jalapenos. Those restaurants can afford the spread since produce in California is inexpensive. But on the Big Island, local farmers grow plenty, yet prices can remain high. Hawaii restaurant owners must be wizards with food costs if sourcing food on island.Restaurant wizard extraordinaire Maria Oliveros, Mi Ranchito’s owner, has enjoyed ten successful years in this location. Her longevity is partially a result of strategic food purchasing – from Costco, if necessary, yet consistently from local farms for plenty of lettuce, tomato and cilantro. However, Mi Ranchito’s long-term success mostly stems from Oliveros’ food roots and culture. These she learned while growing up in Michoacán, Mexico. Watching her parents run their own restaurant in Michoacán, and later on Oahu, Oliveros learned quintessential Michoacán culinary traditions. Today that culinary knowledge resides in the Mi Ranchito kitchen, the happy place for Oliveros, as she concludes, “I never get tired to come here.” The chip basket empties quickly at my table, given the easy process of dipping the not too-thick nor too-thin chips in the spicy salsa. Arriving as a side order, the chile relleno stretches across the 10-inch plate. One mild poblano chile, dipped in an eggy batter then fried and covered in melted cheese and a savory sauce, with bits of crispy cheese from the grill mixed in, takes just a few minutes to eat. Tasty food goes so fast. I break a chunk from the corn tortilla on the fish taco platter –the main dish – to sop up the extra gravy. The fish taco platter brims with enough food for two meals, so I begin the first one by diving in to a taco shell filled with chunks of white fish, shredded dark green lettuce, freshly diced tomato, and grated cheddar cheese—classic flavors because they all enhance each other. The arroz y frijoles(rice and refried beans) on the side level up the comfort-food experience. Half of the plate ingredients go home for the second meal later. One lament Oliveros offers is the challenge of matching supply and demand for her tamales, a customer favorite. Diners often eat some at the cozy location and then order a dozen to go. Cooking even more for locals and visitors becomes the next endeavor for Oliveros and her extensive ʻohana, many working with her to run Mi Ranchito. The thriving entrepreneur just signed a five-year lease to expand the restaurant in the same location. A bigger space, more happy customers—what a culinary adventure for Oliveros to lead.


By Tom Morse. MECHANIZATION IN THE MILL: Extraction of sugar from the cane became more efficient as the number of rollers increased. Before 1876, three rollers extracted about 50 percent of the juice. By 1935, eighteen rollers were able to extract 98 percent. Boiler, evaporator, and centrifuge design improved with time. In the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, Kohala Sugar invested in equipment to reduce the number of workers. Manual tasks were replaced by operator-driven machines at every step of growing and processing. Comparing 1937 to 1945: Sales increased 56%, number of workers decreased 62%. Shown here is a sample of the equipment put into operation. MECHANIZATION IN THE FIELDS: Oki ko and hapai ko, the manual field tasks, did not really become any easier until the late 1930s, when mechanical harvesters – drag rakes, followed by push rake tractors –appeared. In the 1930s, mechanical harvesters began to eliminate the need for men to cut the cane near the ground and carry it to waiting carts. But these machines also picked up much trash that had been avoided in hand harvesting. Mills built cane washers to remove debris before the cane entered the mill. A cane grab did the loading. By 1944, all the crops were mechanically harvested. Man-hours used to produce a ton of sugar in Hawaii were consistently lower than other sugar-producing regions from 1948 on, showing the greater extent of mechanization. First railroads, then trucks, increased transportation efficiency. All of this resulted in the employment of far fewer workers. Next Month – Mill Mergers, Life at The Consolidated Halaula Mill

History of Kohala’s Kauhola Point Lighthouse

By Tom Morse. In the centuries prior to regular trans-Pacific maritime commerce, the people of Hawaiʻi would use open fires to guide paddlers safely to shore at night. After several ships wrecked off Kauhola Point in Halaʻula, theRepublic of Hawaiʻi constructed a wooden tower in 1897 to warn ships of the dangerous, low-lying, offshore reefs. This initial lighthouse was 34 feet high and supported an incandescent oil vapor lamp of 170 candlepower. It showed a fixed white light visible nine miles seaward. The wooden structure withstood two earthquakes in the fall of 1925: magnitudes 6.1 and 6.5.No keeper’s residence was attached to the station. To attract a new keeper, one was built in 1914. Three years later, the original lighthouse was replaced by a temporary frame tower with a lens of 67,000 candlepower. It produced a white flash every six seconds that could be seen for up to 14 miles. In 1932, two generators were installed at the station. They were powered by gasoline stored in an 854-gallon outside storage tank.Reinforcing iron was added foundation and around all openings in response to concerns of possible earthquakes.A new 36-inch electric beacon was placed on top, showing alternating red and green lights – the first of its kind in Hawaiʻi. The New light had 560,000 candle-power, more than eight times the output of the previous (1914)It was visible seaward for 17 miles. The lighthouse stood 86 feet high with six floors, each 12 feet high. The concrete walls were two feet thick. It stood on a foundation to the 24 feet in diameter. There was a spiral staircase inside, five feet in diameter with 108 steps. A hatch opened at the top for access to the beacons. Originally there were double hung windows on each story. Over time these began to leak. In 1963 they were blocked off and plastered over. The lighthouse was under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was manned by a light house keeper, as it was deemed strategically important as an observation post until 1951, when it was converted to an automated unmanned structure. There were eleven different keepers from 1904 -1951. When the lighthouse was first erected, it was 85 feet from the cliff face. By 2009, that had diminished to 20 feet. The 2006 earthquake had taken away six feet. An engineering report completed in 2007 thestimated that the tower would likely collapse within two to five years due to shoreline erosion. Relocating the tower was considered, but after consulting with Hawaiʻi State Historic Preservation officials, the Coast Guard decided to demolish the tower, which was done in December 2009. In 2012, twenty-seven acres of undeveloped shoreline at Kauhola Point were purchased from a private party by Maikaʻi Kamakani ʻO Kohala, Inc., a public-private partnership that raised the $1.3 million necessary for the purchase. As landowner, Maika’i ensures that community access is maintained for recreational, cultural and agricultural purposes remaining undeveloped and a community resource in perpetuity

Keiki Kingdom

By Lala Power. The story of the creation of Keiki Kingdom is one of a community’s journey to fulfill our children’s dreams. In the early 1990s, when my children were young, the few pieces of playground equipment at Kamehameha Park were dilapidated, dangerous and not appropriate for small children. Why couldn’t Kohala build something like the new Anuenue Playground in Waimea? I met with the head of that project for how-to information. With the help of a few friends and teachers, a playground committee was formed, none of us really knowing what we were doing or the lokahi it would generate.On Design Day, a representative from Playgrounds by Leathers met with all the children at Kohala Elementary, the Mission School and as many home-schoolers as we could round up. The keiki shared their ideas for their dream playground, including naming it. Adults requested some dry play space for our many rainy days. The result was a three-story structure bound with mesh to prevent falls over railings, safe but rather zoo-like. It also had only two points of egress, a concern in case of emergency. Other considerations were the effects on young children of toxins in the treated wood, plus how to fund, and who would do the necessary annual oiling of the wood. We decided not to build a wooden playground but we came away with the children’s wish list and the name, Keiki Kingdom. We held community meetings to gather new ideas. Many were creative and fun but new Federal safety guidelines ruled them out. In the end, we hired GameTime to design our colorful metal playscape, keeping in-mind wish lists, safety, handicap access and minimal maintenance. -The County Parks Department agreed to remove the old equipment then maintain the new playscape upon its completion. With the new design and a budget, fundraising began. Magically, people from diverse walks of life seemed to come from everywhere to kokua. There were monetary donations, small and large, from individuals, families and businesses. Keiki, parents, tutus, teachers and local merchants created or took part in seemingly endless fundraisers: collecting spare change, selling candy, and a Mr. and Miss Keiki Kingdom pageant, just to name a few. We sold t-shirts designed by two Kohala El students: a castle bedecked with flags and flowers surrounded by stick figure keiki holding hands, a perfect symbol for this community project. The biggest event was ʻOhana Day at Kamehameha Park, where families came to enjoy games, grinds, music and a silent auction. Very generous donations from the County and Bank of Hawaiʻi were bestowed, closing the door on fundraising. Our little community raised $80,000 in two years! The grading of the site, gravel cement were donated. Build the handicap-access sidewalk was poured, gravel spread, fences constructed and sod planted. So many people gave so much of themselves, hand-in-hand with each other to achieve this common goal – true laulima. In December 1995, Keiki Kingdom opened to the delight of our keiki. The Volcano Climber was added for the ten-year anniversary, thanks to a donation from Mrs. Clara Takata. Keiki Kingdom is a testament to what ordinary folks can accomplish. It has served its community well for almost 30 years, but it is now tired; damaged by time, use and abuse; in need of replacement parts, repair or maybe something entirely new. Perhaps those children whose dreams were fulfilled so long ago will now rise to the challenge for their own keiki. Lala Power made her home in North Kohala with her husband and two children from 1988-2013. In addition to spearheading the Keiki Kingdom project, she worked at Kohala Elementary for several years, teaching a specialized reading program and volunteering as the music teacher for K-5. She also served two years as a community rep on the West Hawaii Hospital Advisory Board and directed the North Kohala Community Chorus for three seasons. She left Hawaii to be with family and now resides in Johnson City, TN, A piece of her heart is still in Kohala.




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