Commentary – Councilwoman Eoff on the Status of Kohanaiki Shoreline Park

Aloha,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some factual background information and to update you on the status of the Kohanaiki Shoreline Park, which will soon be dedicated to the County of Hawai‘i.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The park has been completed and the bathrooms and showers are now open to the public.  A new public access suitable for vehicular use has been completed from Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, and then continues laterally along the shoreline going south to and beyond all the popular surfing spots and camping beaches.

Road and Parking:  The roadway and the parking areas are constructed according to a “Good Faith Agreement” negotiated in 2003 and under the direction of DLNR, the Army Corps of Engineers and the SMA permit.  The jeep trail was specifically required by DLNR to be converted to pedestrian access once the park road was complete to protect the beach and oceanfront from the negative impact of vehicular use.  Public access continues along the entire shoreline, with vehicular access to the turn-around south of the main bay, and from there, pedestrian (and bicycle) access to the National Park border along the Ala Kahakai trail.

Park Amenities and Camping:  New bathroom and shower facilities are completed, and the 17 portable luas will remain in place.  There are 122 parking stalls, located in nodes along the access road, with some overflow parking areas to be determined.  Once the park is dedicated to the County, camping will be permitted 5 days a week for up to 80 people per night.  Park hours for day use will be from 5:30 am – 9:00 pm.  A traditional hale is being constructed in the park for cultural educational opportunities.  There is a partnership in place including the County, landowners and community for monitoring of the park, security, maintenance and trash removal.

Anchialine Ponds: The pond management plan, approved by various governmental agencies, is being implemented under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers with ongoing restoration and maintenance. Non-native species have been removed and the ponds have been restored to a vibrant habitat.

Water Quality Monitoring Program: A comprehensive water quality-monitoring program, with input from the National Park, is in place to monitor the water quality for any potential impacts ofactivities at Kohanaiki.  A drainage system has been installed to direct all drainage away from the ocean and ponds.

Golf Course Management Program:  The golf course and landscaping is managed and certified under the Audubon Silver certification program – the only golf course to receive such certification in Hawai’i.  Brackish water is used for irrigation of the golf course and landscaping.  Primarily native, salt-tolerant species are being used for all landscaping.

Archeology:  Lineal descendants have been consulted and involved in identifying cultural sites. Informational signage on selected archeological sites such as the Ala Kahakai trail, will be placed to help educate the public.  A traditional hale is being constructed with full participation by community members where workshops and cultural activities will be conducted in the future.

For more information, please feel free to give me a call at 323-4280.  

Mahalo,

KAREN EOFF, Vice Chair, Hawai‘i County Council

District 8, North Kona

keoff@co.hawaii.hi.us

FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON HOW THIS PARK CAME TO BE, PLEASE READ LETTER BELOW:

Letters 4-5-13

Kohanaiki access

The real story

Very soon, a public shoreline park will be dedicated to the people of Hawaii at Kohanaiki.

This park is the result of more than 25 years of legal battles addressing Native Hawaiian gathering and access rights, community stewardship efforts, and finally a negotiated settlement agreement. The Kohanaiki Ohana, led by Angel Pilago, won the fight to protect vehicular access along the shoreline after court victories all the way from the county level to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2003, an important agreement was reached between developer/landowner, the community and the County of Hawaii determining the future of Kohanaiki.

The precedent- setting 2003 “good faith agreement” was considered a template by then Mayor Harry Kim; an innovative and unprecedented plan, forged in the spirit of aloha by those who participated in the process.

Under the agreement, the developer is required to donate approximately 108 acres to the public (the county being the preferred entity) and to construct a coastal park, with camping areas, 121 parking spaces, public toilets and showers, a halau for cultural education and activities, as well as a mauka/makai access road and lateral vehicular access road along the shoreline.

The current jeep trail will close to vehicles to meet federal and state requirements to take cars off of the ancient Ala Kahakai trail to help connect 150 miles of pedestrian trails around the island.

In its place, a new vehicular access road for public use has been constructed just inland of the jeep road and will be open to the public from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. per the terms of the agreement.

All of the anchialine ponds, trails and historic sites will be restored. There will be an innovative approach to monitoring and maintenance of natural and cultural resources.

The agreement calls for a public/private partnership in the form of a committee made up of representatives of the community, the landowner and the county with equal one-third decision-making power and also shared responsibility of costs and labor for maintenance.

In return, the developer is allowed to construct 500 homes and a golf course, a portion of which is located on the 108 acres, with an exclusive easement granted back to the landowner. The golf course also provides a buffer between the public coastal park and the homes, which are to be built an average of 700 feet from the shoreline. The golf course will be open to the public one day a week. All of the provisions of the good faith agreement were incorporated into the Shoreline Management Area use permit that was granted to the developer in 2003. There were 88 conditions placed on the SMA permit.

To understand the significance and importance of the good faith agreement, we must remember what could have happened at Kohanaiki given the zoning entitlements on the property since 1980.

In 2003, an article in West Hawaii Today reported the agreed upon plans were “a far cry from the sprawling resort planned for the property in the 1980s by Kona Beach Development Venture and developer Nansay Hawaii.”

Original development plans called for more than 800 hotel rooms, six story-high buildings, specialty restaurants, more than 1,000 condos and homes and a golf course to be built around the anchialine ponds and on the coastline.

Public access would have been like other hotels — had it not been for the efforts and commitment of our community and our community leaders to minimize the impact of development at Kohanaiki.

The Kona community has long advocated for residents to have a role in land use planning. Development at Kohanaiki demanded citizens to fight for our coastline; to protect those activities and access rights that are enjoyed by our community, our quality of life, cultural practices and the environment.

Credit must also be given to all involved, including the late Rep. Patsy Mink, Uncle Leon Sterling, and Herb Kane; community groups, such as the Kohanaiki Ohana, Na Keiki Hee Nalu, Hui Hee Nalu, Public Access Shoreline Hawaii and Wave Riders Against Drugs; lineal and cultural descendants of the area; community leaders and elected representatives Virginia Isbell, Curtis Tyler, Pilago, Harry Kim and Billy Kenoi; Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, Sierra Club Legal Defense, Surfrider Foundation; local residents, businesses, attorneys and advisors; and especially the keiki surfers who continue to make us realize the importance of places like Kohanaiki.

The Kohanaiki Shoreline Park is the result of years of legal battles, collaboration and negotiation, and represents a willingness on the part of all stakeholders to share in the stewardship of this very special place.

Today, this same community that fought and won landmark Supreme Court cases to protect public access and gathering rights, that shaped the path of development on this land, can be proud of the coastal park that will soon be dedicated to the County of Hawaii to be enjoyed in perpetuity by future generations.

Rebecca Villegas

President

Kohanaiki Ohana

 

 

Insurance Agent Pleads No Contest to 11 Counts of Theft for Defrauding Two Elderly Clients

A previously licensed Oahu insurance agent pled no contest on Thursday to 11 counts of Theft in the Second Degree for defrauding two elderly clients of more than $38,000.

Scott Akashi, 31, was accused of convincing an 88-year-old woman to withdraw $30,000 of her life insurance policy and place it into a separate bank account. From that account Akashi had the woman write checks to him for what he explained would be for a better investment.

Akashi is also accused of selling a $50,000 annuity to a 90-year-old man and convincing him to withdraw over $5,000 from the annuity to get a better return. Akashi later approached the elderly gentleman again to do the same.

Both elderly victims were prior clients of Akashi and contacted years later to do these transactions.

Insurance fraud affects everyone by inflating the cost of insurance. Reporting suspicious fraudulent activity may help in lowering premiums in Hawaii. For more information on insurance fraud call the Insurance Fraud Hotline at 587-7416.

The Hawaii Insurance Division oversees the state’s insurance industry; issues licenses; examines the fiscal condition of Hawaii-based companies; reviews rate and policy filings; and investigates insurance related complaints and fraud.

Got Drugs? Drug Take-Back Initiative

The Hawaiʻi Police Department is encouraging the public to participate in a nationwide prescription drug take-back initiative being sponsored in Hawaiʻi by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the state Department of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety.

Got Drugs
On Saturday, April 27, members of the public may turn in unused, unneeded or expired prescription medications between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following collection sites for safe, anonymous disposal:

Army Aviation Support Facility
(adjacent to Civil Air Patrol)
1095 Kekūanāoʻa St.
Hilo

Kona police station parking lot
74-611 Hale Makaʻi Place
Kailua-Kona

Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be accepted. Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted.

Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

Having unused and expired medicine in your home increases the risk of prescription drug abuse and accidental poisoning. Proper disposal also helps reduce the risk of prescription drugs entering a human water supply or potentially harming aquatic life.

For more information about the drug take-back program, visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

 

Hawaii Bill Seeks to Address the Employer-Union Trust Fund Unfunded Liability by Creating a Captive Insurance Company

A conference committee comprised of House and Senate members will meet tomorrow, 4/24/13, at 10:30am in room 325 at the State Capitol, to attempt to address differences in SB946 SD1 HD1 relating to the unfunded liability of the Employee Union Trust Fund (EUTF). One of the differences between the House version and the Senate version involves the proposed Captive Insurance Company which was inserted by the House from HB 1459 introduced by Rep. Romy Cachola (Sand Island, Mokauea, Kapalama, Kalihi Kai).

capital

Cachola who authored HB 1459 issued the following statement on the eve of the conference meeting.

The purpose of the Employer-Union Trust Fund (EUTF) is to fund the healthcare needs of the State’s active employees, retirees, and their dependents (members).  However, the ever increasing cost of health care and the resulting growth in health care premiums, coupled with decades of a ‘pay as you go’ approach has left the EUTF with an unfunded liability of about $18.2 billion.

Short of raising taxes, laying-off employees or reduce employee benefits; funding $520 million is nearly impossible due to competing needs to fund collective bargaining agreements, and new and existing programs.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees agreed to fund $100 million in FY14 and $117 million in FY 15. We need to do more than just setting aside a token amount of contributions, we need to find innovative ways to slow down, reduce, stabilize and fully fund the unfunded liability.

The State House of Representatives voted to endorse a proposal to the Senate under SB 946 SD1 HD1, which would jointly address the unfunded liability and create a program with alternative means of saving the state money.  In addition to increasing the State’s contributions to pre-fund future retiree healthcare costs, the State is to create a captive insurance company within the EUTF that covers only government employees.

Here are the advantages of a State captive insurance company:

1.      According to a report by the State of Hawaii Insurance Division there is a potential for the State to find savings of 5%-25% by creating a captive insurance company. At the current costs of $800 million in healthcare premiums, this would amount to a $40 million savings at the most conservative estimate. Once the said savings are realized, there will be no increase in healthcare premiums for both employer and employees the following year. These savings will also be placed in a reserve account for future use.

2.      By insuring the public employee health benefit in a captive, the state and counties (employer) and EUTF members will not be susceptible to continuously increasing health insurance rates requested by health insurers.

3.       Ability to directly negotiate prices with physicians, surgeons, hospital, and other healthcare providers which results to better understanding of actual costs of health care benefits from the actual providers of services.

4.       Earning investment income on loss reserves for future claims payments that have not yet been paid.

5.       Additional savings due to direct access to the wholesale price of reinsurance. Reinsurance is needed to protect the captive from catastrophic events.

Additionally, this out-of-the-box approach in addressing our unfunded liability through direct contributions and innovative cost-saving measures, demonstrate our serious commitment to solving this critical and difficult issue. This could translate into improving bond ratings allowing the state and county to float bonds at a lower interest rate and less debt service to fund large-scale infrastructure improvement projects.

The EUTF’s unfunded liability is not a new problem and it will not go away.  A one year delay translates to over a billion dollars added to the current $18.2 billion liabilities. It will take new, innovative and bold action to resolve it.

Hawaii Remains State With Least Stress

Residents of least stressed states report highest levels of enjoyment

Stress Free

Hawaii residents remained the least likely in the U.S. to say they felt stressed on any given day in 2012, at 32.1%. West Virginia residents, on average, were the most likely to report feeling stress, at 47.1%.

Five Least Stressed States Five Most Stressed States

These statelevel data are based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2012 and encompass more than 350,000 interviews as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Nationwide, 40.6% of Americans reported feeling stressed “yesterday” in 2012, similar to past years.

Gallup has measured daily stress in its tracking survey since 2008. Hawaii has ranked as the state with the lowest percentage of residents reporting stress on the prior day all five years and is the only state to rank in the top five consistently since 2008. West Virginia, Kentucky, and Utah, have each ranked within the top five most stressed states for the past five years. West Virginia ranked as the most stressed state in 2012, Kentucky was the top state for stress in 2008 and 2011, and Utah was the top state for stress in 2009 and 2010.

For all of the states, stress levels were statistically unchanged in 2012 compared with 2011. Regionally, states with stress levels at or above 42% were clustered in the Northeast and Midwest, but also included Utah, Oregon, and Washington.

Lowest Stress States Report Most Enjoyment

Two of the five states with the lowest stress levels, Hawaii and Wyoming, also boasted the highest levels of enjoyment in 2012. In Hawaii, 89.7% of residents said they experienced enjoyment the day before the survey and 88.8% said so in Wyoming.

Five States with Most Enjoyment

Five States With Least Enjoyment

Rhode Island residents were the least likely to report feeling enjoyment the previous day, at 80.4%, although that is still high on an absolute basis. Residents in other high-stress states, Kentucky and West Virginia, were also among the least likely to experience enjoyment. Both of these states have appeared among the bottom five states for experiencing enjoyment at least three times since Gallup began reporting this measure, including 2012. Utah is unique in that it is routinely ranked among both the highest stress and highest enjoyment states, appearing among the top five in enjoyment in 2008, 2011, and 2012, suggesting a complex relationship between stress and other emotions.

Nationally, 84.9% of Americans reported feeling enjoyment “yesterday” in 2012. States with relatively lower enjoyment levels, below 84%, were primarily clustered in the Northeast and South, but also included Ohio. The states where enjoyment was higher than 86% were located mainly in the Midwest and West, including Hawaii and Alaska.

Bottom Line

For the past five years, Hawaii has consistently ranked as the least stressed state, while West Virginia, Kentucky, and Utah have been among the most stressed states. Despite this, Utah residents join Hawaii residents in reporting among the highest levels of enjoyment in the U.S., while West Virginia and Kentucky residents report some of the lowest levels of enjoyment.

While the relationship between stress and enjoyment is not clear, states with the highest stress levels tend to report less daily enjoyment. Further investigation into what drives stress, how it impacts people, and ways to mitigate its effects are important, as 40% of American adults consistently report experiencing it a lot of the day “yesterday.”

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks wellbeing in the U.S. and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2012, with a random sample of 353,564 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

The margin of sampling error for most states is ±1 to ±2 percentage points, but is as high as ±4 points for states with smaller population sizes such as Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Hawaii.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

Hawaii County Completes $1.7 Million Renovation of Hilo’s Waiākea Recreation Center

Mayor Billy Kenoi and the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation are proud to welcome the public back to a thoroughly renovated and improved Waiākea Recreation Center.

Under renovations a few months ago.

Under renovations a few months ago.

A public blessing and re-dedication ceremony will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Hilo facility. Refreshments will be served, and several martial arts and other groups that use the Waiākea Recreation Center will perform free athletic demonstrations.

Located at 1634 Kamehameha Avenue, the Waiākea Recreation Center has undergone a five month, $1.7 million makeover that has made it more comfortable, accessible and safer for the numerous groups and individuals who use it.

New roof insulation, ceiling fans and lighting have been installed in the main gym area. Extensive termite and water damage have been repaired, new roofing systems installed, hazardous building materials removed, existing bathrooms and showers renovated, the entire facility repainted, and various other improvements performed to meet federal accessibility standards.

General contractor Stan’s Contracting Inc. also installed an underground drainage system in the parking lot, graded and repaved the parking area and three driveway entrances, and connected the facility to the County’s wastewater treatment system.

Many others helped to make an improved Waiākea Recreation Center and save taxpayer money. Several martial arts organizations volunteered their time to complete various finishing touches in preparation for this weekend’s reopening, while personnel from the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Maintenance Division performed numerous repair tasks that complemented the contractor’s efforts.

The Department of Parks and Recreation wishes to thank the Shudokan Judo Club for improving the judo mat area, the Hilo Seishikan Aikido Club for repainting the kitchen, the Hilo Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido Club for beautifying the planter boxes, and the Kongo Zen Shorinji Ryu Son Ryu Karate Club for repainting the wooden floor of the martial arts practice area.

The department also wishes to recognize the following organizations for their monetary contributions and/or volunteer efforts toward improving the facility: Hilo Reshinkan Kendo Club; Hilo Tae Kwon Do Association; Waiākea Judo Club; Hawai‘i International Karate League; Hilo Kobukan Kendo Club; Hayaite Shotokan Karate; Atkins Martial Arts; Mo Min Kuen; Danish Fitness; Morning Fitness; Evening Fitness; and Insane Workout.

A sincere mahalo is extended to all Waiākea Recreation Center users and the general public for their patience and understanding while this important recreational center was being enhanced, repaired, and made more accessible.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.