The 2014 Big Island Film Festival is kicking off tonight at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island.
The 2014 Big Island Film Festival is kicking off tonight at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island.
Daughters of the American Revolution’s (DAR) Hawaii Loa Chapter hosted the ninety-first annual Hawaii State Conference in March, at the Royal Kona Resort in Kailua-Kona. Hawaii State Regent, Mary Ellen Smith, Kailua-Kona, greeted the seventy attendees, welcoming the Aloha Chapter from Oahu, the Hawaii Loa Chapter from Hawaii Island, and several guests. Regent Jane Mann, of Kaneohe, led the Aloha Chapter delegation.
A highlight of the day was awarding the State and Hawaii Loa Chapter prizes in two student essay contests. Presenting the awards were Garlyn Warren, Waikoloa, Hawaii Loa Chapter Regent and Mary Ellen Smith. Ana Bitter, a Hilo 10th grader, was recognized for her essay “How Americans View Christopher Columbus and George Washington Today”. Kimo Diven, a 7th grader from Pahoa, wrote about the life of a child during the revolution. Both well-researched papers will move forward to competition in the Southwest Division of DAR. Mary Ellen Smith presented Mayor Billy Kenoi’s congratulatory certificates to each winner.
After the meeting and luncheon, Maile Melrose, local author and storyteller, gave the group a lighter look at Kona’s earlier days of coffee farms and ranch living. The luncheon tables were beautifully decorated with masses of flowers from members’ gardens, and favors donated by Ilah Merriman, of Kailua Kona and Dallas, Texas.
Keeping everyone on-key throughout the day, musical accompaniment was provided by flautist Bettie Van Overbeke, of Pahoa, and the lovely voice of Garlyn Warren through the “Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic songs.
To be contacted about upcoming essay contests, when details become available, email email@example.com. Contests are for 5th through 12th graders, regardless of school or Island. To find out about upcoming meetings Hawaii Loa Chapter (Hawaii Island) of DAR, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: Keahi Sale, M-24, has been located and arrested in South Kohala. Chelsea Waltjen, F-27, has also been located in South Kohala.
Keahi Sale, Male 24-years-old, is now wanted for kidnapping that occurred today in the morning hours.
Sale is now in the possession of a firearm (handgun) and is considered dangerous.
He is also wanted for numerous outstanding warrants. He was last seen operating a 2001 Honda Civic four door sedan, gray in color, license plate number JSJ-602.
He is described as being 5’8″ to 5’10″ tall, 150 to 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo of the Hawaiian islands on his right chest, “CHELSEA” on his left inner forearm, a koi fish on his left outer forearm, and a tribal type tattoo on his right shoulder.
He presently has with him, the victim Chelsea Waltjen, aged 27, who is reportedly being held against her will. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this wanted individuals, is being asked to contact the Hawaii Police Department immediately by dialing 911.
If you want to learn more about current activities and projects of our county officials and staff, come to the free Community Enterprises’ April 8, 2014 West Hawaii Community Forum. The forum will feature Mayor Billy Kenoi and his senior officials.
Council member Dru Kanuha will also share issues before the Hawaii County Council. And a special presentation will be made to the youth who lobbied Hawaii County Council with the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii which resulted in raising the age to buy cigarettes to 21.
The April 8 West Hawaii Community Forum will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Maka`eo Old Airport Pavilion. Pupus and beverages will be served.
Community Enterprises Inc. is a private non-profit organization with a 501c (3) designation from the IRS. Its mission is to bring educational resources to the residents of West Hawaii so they can better participate in the public policy issues that affect their lives and their communities. Visit us at our website www.konatownmeeting.org.
For more information please call Shirley David at 756-1633 or email at email@example.com
Over 40 professional, amateur and high school contestants vied in the third annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest March 16 at the Sheraton Keauhou Convention Center. Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui campus and the Kealii Pauahi Foundation.
New to this year’s contest was a category for using Hamakua Mushrooms and a fun Poke Throw Down. The Throw Down pitted winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s preparing a quick poke in competition with Bryan Fujikawa of Sun Dried Specialties.
Florist Barbara Meheula won the Celebrity Poke Contest, besting pro football player Max Unger, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond.
Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Kamehameha School’s annual Kamehameha III celebration that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.
The contest is sponsored by presenting sponsor Kamehameha Schools, plus Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.
2014 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Winners
Category: Traditional Poke:
Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu
New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms
Category: Traditional Poke
Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu
New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms
Division: High School
Category-Traditional: 1st Konawaena #304
Category-Cooked: 1st Kealakehe #302
Category-Poke with Aloha Shoyu
Poke Throw Down
Celebrity Poke Contest
Contestants: Pro football player Max Unger, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond
Big Island Mayor Kenoi is quoted as saying the following about the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) lawsuits that are currently floating around the state in Hawaii Business Magazine:
“GMO has been very important and beneficial to our cut-flower, orchid, anthurium and nursery industry. The science research has been cutting-edge and we’ve seen a lot of innovation and creativity, and certainly in our papaya industry, the importance of research is well-known for maintaining, growing and protecting its viability.
I still don’t believe GMO is the issue facing agriculture – it’s water and access to land and how we can grow our next generation of farmers. GMO has taken a lot of energy and emphasis away from more important issues like these. Another important issue is access to markets, making it easier for farmers to overcome regulatory hurdles, reducing our dependence on imported food and providing real food security.
My message to the Council and the community is…”
You can read the rest of his message and other mayor’s thoughts on the issue here: “Talk Story with Neighbor Island Mayors”
As required by the Hawai‘i County Charter, submitted with this message is the proposed operating budget for the County of Hawai‘i for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. This balanced budget includes estimated revenues and appropriations of $412,608,475, and includes the operations of eleven of the county’s special funds as well as the general fund.
This FY 2014-2015 budget is $9,403,477 or 2.3 percent larger than the budget in effect when this administration took office in 2008. During the past five years of budget challenges caused by the national and international recession, we have continued to invest in county infrastructure while restricting spending and coping with increased health care and other costs. This budget reflects those efforts to control the cost of government while always maintaining essential police, fire and other core county government services.
After five years of declining revenues, we are finally witnessing a modest, measured recovery in property values. This will gradually translate into a stronger economy and a brighter budget picture. However, we also face a new challenge in the form of $18.4 million in additional employee expenses in the year ahead. Most of these costs were the result of public worker arbitration decisions and negotiated agreements that significantly increase salaries, wages, social security contributions and retirement obligations. These new employee and retiree costs reflect the difference between last year’s budget and this year’s budget.
Despite those additional costs, this proposed balanced budget does not require any increase in property taxes.
Investing In Our Communities
From the beginning of this administration, we have crafted budgets that limit spending, but also allow for targeted investment in our communities and our future. Through carefully selected initiatives we created or improved parks and playgrounds, built or rebuilt roads and other public infrastructure, and improved public services. Our primary objective has always been to make the County of Hawai‘i a better place for our families to live and work.
We have used the county’s borrowing power and excellent credit rating to help stimulate the economy and create jobs during a period of low interest rates and favorable bid prices. In Kona, we answered residents’ calls for relief from traffic congestion by advancing projects such as the La‘aloa Avenue Extension, the Ka‘iminani Drive Reconstruction and the Ane Keohokālole Highway, and we will soon begin work on the Māmalahoa Bypass. In Hilo, we are repairing downtown streets starting with the Kīlauea Avenue Reconstruction, followed by the Kamehameha Avenue Reconstruction project. We will continue in the months ahead with repairs and improvements to Ponahawai and Komohana Streets.
We have partnered with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, which has emerged as a critical component of our economy. Our university allows our young people to achieve better lives for themselves while providing a skilled workforce to help our island economy to grow and innovate. To help the university expand, we are advancing the Kapi‘olani Street Extension to open up lands for new student housing, additional classroom space, and to alleviate traffic congestion.
We are investing in parks, gyms, and playgrounds across the island where our families can engage in positive activities, and where our coaches can teach our youth respect, discipline, and teamwork. We opened covered play courts at Pana‘ewa Park in Hilo, and built the Kamakoa Nui Park in Waikoloa. We have added seven playgrounds islandwide, and will soon be opening the new Ka‘ū District Gym & Shelter. We renovated popular recreational facilities such as the Waiākea Recreation Center, Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, Laupāhoehoe Pool, Kēōkea Beach Park, and Pāhoa Pool. We will soon make the largest investment in recreation in the history of the county by constructing district parks in Pāhoa, Waimea and Kona.
Despite the budget challenges of recent years, we continue to invest in alternative energy and agriculture because we understand those sectors are essential for a sustainable economy. We installed solar arrays on county buildings to reduce oil consumption and utility costs, and will use wind power at Lālāmilo to provide clean energy to supply water to our communities. We are encouraging growth in agriculture by investing in training and support for farmers, and provided 1,739 acres of county-owned lands for ranching and community-based agriculture at the Kapulena Agricultural Park. We joined in a public-private partnership to upgrade the Pa‘auilo Slaughterhouse and provide a new rendering facility to support our grass-fed beef industry.
At the same time, we have preserved funding for public safety and essential core services. We funded additional police officers for the Puna and Ka‘ū communities, and opened the new Makalei Fire Station. We protected funding for nutrition, recreation and other services for seniors, and preserved and expanded programs for our children and youth. We maintained county funding to non-profit organizations serving the people most in need in our communities.
Fewer Employees, Growing Costs
We want to thank our county workers for their efforts during the Great Recession, which was a time when people across our island made sacrifices. Many of our employees accepted furloughs even as overtime was cut and staffing levels in county agencies were reduced because of hiring restrictions. County employees’ workloads increased, but their hard work and dedication allowed us to continue to deliver essential county services and protect public safety.
During these many challenging budget years, the size of the county workforce declined from 2,787 in November 2008, to a total of 2,628 five years later.
Even with that smaller workforce, the new negotiated collective bargaining agreements will significantly increase our employee costs in the year ahead. Wages, salaries and fringe benefits including health care and retirement for all of our employees will increase in all departments by a total of $18.4 million in Fiscal Year 2014-2015, with almost all of that increase attributable to these new agreements.
County of Hawai‘i tax collections in the year ahead will be $6.5 million or 2.9 percent more than the amount of property taxes collected when this administration began in 2008. However, the combined cost of employee wages, fringe benefits and health care expenses has grown by $30.44 million or 16.95 percent during the same period.
OPERATING BUDGET BY FUND
The following table describes the budgeted expenditures for FY 2013-14 and the proposed budget for FY 2014-15 for each fund:
|OPERATING BUDGET BY FUND|
|(Amounts in thousands)|
|Vehicle Disposal Fund||2,475||3,655||1,180||47.7%|
|Solid Waste Fund||25,368||26,515||1,147||4.5%|
|Golf Course Fund||1,206||1,232||26||2.2%|
|Geothermal Royalty Fund||1,700||1,700||0||0.0%|
|Geothermal Asset Fund||300||50||(250)||-83.3%|
REVENUES BY SOURCE
The following table presents a summary of projected FY 2014-15 revenues from various sources and the changes from the current budget:
|REVENUES BY SOURCE|
|(Amounts in thousands)|
|Real Property Tax||$232,400||56.3%||$13,000||5.9%|
|Public Service Company Tax||10,340||2.5%||195||1.9%|
|Public Utilities Franchise Tax||11,047||2.7%||(520)||-4.5%|
|Licenses and Permits||21,968||5.3%||2,227||11.3%|
|Revenue from Use of Money & Property||1,121||0.3%||215||23.7%|
|Charges for Service||22,789||5.5%||34||0.1%|
|Fund Balance Carryover||37,040||9.0%||3,354||9.9%|
The major changes in projected revenues are as follows:
Real Property Tax. Real property tax revenues are expected to increase by 5.9%, or $13 million, due to new construction and an increase in taxable values.
Public Utilities Franchise Tax. Decreased public utility revenues are expected to result in a decrease of $520,000, a reduction of 4.5% in franchise tax revenue.
Licenses and Permits. Increases in vehicle registration revenue and vehicle weight tax revenue have contributed to an increase of $2.2 million, or 11.3% in this revenue source.
Intergovernmental Revenue. Reductions in grant revenues of about $1 million reflect those grants we are aware of at this time.
Fund Balance Carryover. This budget reflects a higher projection of carryover savings ($3.3 million) from the current year operations.
EXPENDITURES BY FUNCTION
The following table presents a summary of projected FY 2014-15 expenditures from various sources and the changes from the current budget:
|EXPENDITURES BY FUNCTION|
|(Amounts in thousands)|
|Highways & Streets||25,550||6.2%||2,088||8.9%|
|Health, Education & Welfare||25,592||6.2%||88||0.3%|
|Culture & Recreation||20,756||5.0%||1,144||5.8%|
|Sanitation & Waste Removal||37,330||9.0%||3,741||11.1%|
|Pension & Retirement||39,381||9.5%||4,287||12.2%|
Increases in salary and wages are reflected in all functional areas of county government. After several years of furloughs or no wage increases, new wages were negotiated for all bargaining units represented in the county. All salary and wages are reported in each department with the exception of the Unit 11 Fire agreement, which has not yet been approved by the legislature and is estimated in the provision for compensation adjustment account.
Major changes in projected expenditures are as follows:
Highways & Streets
Culture & Recreation
Sanitation & Waste Removal
Pension & Retirement
This proposed budget represents a collaborative effort by our departments to address the growing needs of our growing population in a way that is both responsive and fiscally responsible. Our years of careful planning and conservative budgeting have positioned us to invest in our communities while maintaining core services and meeting our obligations to our employees.
The recent, modest gains in property values point to a gradual economic recovery, and we remain cautiously optimistic that the economic and budget outlook will continue to improve. We believe our efforts to promote renewable energy, agriculture and higher education are an investment in the future of our island. We will continue to invest in recreational projects to support our youth and families and to protect public safety, and we ask for your support in these efforts.
We look forward to working closely with the County Council in the months ahead to address our community’s new and continuing demands for public services while also maintaining a balanced and responsible budget.
William P. Kenoi
Mayor Billy Kenoi and select cabinet members tackle current Hawai`i County issues at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2014 Focus Luncheon 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.
Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the annual luncheon offers a unique opportunity for the local community to meet with County Department representatives in a casual setting. Attendees will have the opportunity to have lunch with a specific department as well as pose questions to the Mayor and other Cabinet heads. Issues to be included in the discussion include the possible increase of the GET via a county surcharge; the County’s solid waste management plan; the controversial GMO bill; and, the quest to reopen the Kona International Airport international arrivals facility.
Cost for the luncheon is $45 for Chamber and Rotary members, $55 for non-members. No walk-ins allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 808-329-1758.
THE KONA-KOHALA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE provides leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawai‘i. The result of KKCC’s work is a community of choice as reflected in our quality of life, business and individual opportunity and manifest respect for our culture and our natural resources. For info, 329-1758 or visit www.kona-kohala.com.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to welcome kupuna athletes from Canada, California and throughout Hawai‘i who are coming to Hawai‘i Island to play in the 2nd annual Mayor’s Cup Senior Softball Tournament.
Games will be played at Maka‘eo Park, also known as Old Airport Park, in Kailua-Kona starting Monday, January 20, and wrapping up Thursday, January 23. The public is invited to watch players competing in the tournament’s two age-group divisions: 60 years and older; and 70 years and older. Admission is free.
Tournament fees will go to the nonprofit Hawai‘i Island United Way for use in supporting dozens of local health and human service organizations. Last year’s inaugural tournament was a tremendous success, and this year’s event promises to deliver an even greater financial boost to Hawai‘i Island’s less fortunate.
The Department of Parks and Recreation humbly asks residents to serve as good hosts by showing aloha for the visiting senior softball players and their families.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed the State Senate Committee on Ways & Means and the State House Committee on Finance today, the opening day of the 2014 Hawai’i State Legislature. His submitted testimony is below:
Aloha, Chair Ige, Chair Luke and distinguished members of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you to outline our priorities for the Island of Hawai’i for the 2014 legislative session.
We remain cautiously optimistic that the economy is slowly recovering. We are hopeful that the difficult decisions made at both the state and county levels are contributing to the increasingly positive economic trends. However, we recognize that we all have a great deal more work to do to support our communities.
We would like to underscore the importance of a number of state initiatives, and respectfully request that the Legislature support these projects to create jobs, provide relief from traffic congestion, protect public safety, and invest in critical infrastructure. We are prepared to assist our legislators and the state of Hawai’i with these projects in any way possible, and look forward to working with you to implement and expedite the following state initiatives.
Improvements to Highway 130, Kea’au-Pahoa Highway
We again ask for your support to provide urgently needed traffic relief to thousands of working people who are commuting each day on the Kea’au-Pahoa Highway. This highly congested state highway is the only major route in and out of Lower Puna, and serves one of the fastest growing regions in our state. Last year the state began construction on the first phase of the plan to convert the existing shoulder lane system on the highway into permanent lanes, and design work is underway for the second phase of the shoulder lane project. We appreciate the support the Legislature has already given to this critically needed transportation infrastructure.
We also ask your committees to press ahead with the larger plan to expand more than nine miles of the Kea‘au-Pahoa Highway to four lanes. State studies show that four intersections along this highway rank among the most dangerous in the state based on the numbers of serious accidents, and improvements to this thoroughfare are an urgent matter of public safety. A design consultant has been selected for this larger project to increase the capacity of this highway and make it safer, but no firm source of construction funding has yet been identified. Your commitment to provide state funding for this project would protect public safety and significantly improve the quality of life for the residents of Puna.
Civil Defense Sirens
We strongly support the administration’s request for an extra $2.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years to modernize the state civil defense siren system, which is critical to protect public safety. The Legislature has already provided $16.4 million to begin its statewide modernization effort, and we thank you for that support. Contractors began work around the state in 2013 on the first phases of this project, and work in the County of Hawai’i is expected to begin this spring. This initiative will convert the existing radio-activated siren system to a more reliable satellite- and cellular-based system.
The additional $5 million for the siren systems over the next two years would be used to add new sirens to better notify the public in the event of an emergency. That would include 36 additional, modern sirens planned for Hawai‘i Island, and we urge your committees to continue this effort to protect our communities and expand this important piece of our public safety infrastructure.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Statewide Juvenile Intake and Assessment Centers
The Hawai‘i Juvenile Justice Working Group last month issued a compelling report that demonstrates the need for alternatives to incarceration for young offenders, particularly for youths who are convicted of misdemeanor offenses. The report noted that each bed at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility on O‘ahu costs state taxpayers $199,320 per year, which underscores the fiscal impacts of incarceration of our youth.
Last year the Office of Youth Services in partnership with the Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney launched the first juvenile intake and assessment center in East Hawai‘i with federal funding from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This pilot program assesses at-risk youth who have been arrested for minor or status offenses, identifies their needs, and links them and their families with appropriate services. These youths are not a threat to public safety, and diverting them out of the criminal justice system helps to free up our police officers for more important patrol duties, making better use of our public safety resources. Additional federal funding has been awarded to continue this initiative in 2014, and we strongly support the effort by OYS to expand this program to other islands and to Kona.
We also ask the Legislature to support statewide initiatives to increase funding for truancy prevention programs, and to place juvenile parole officers on Neighbor Islands. Current plans call for hiring a juvenile parole officer in East Hawai‘i and a second Kona parole officer to supervise and assist youths who have been incarcerated. We need to provide the necessary resources to intervene and divert these youths out of the criminal justice system and into services that will help them to succeed.
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building
We ask for your continued support in building on the successes of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and our community college system, which have allowed higher education to emerge as an economic engine on Hawai’i Island. The university is now the second largest employer in East Hawai’i, and is preparing our young people for success in our community and across the state. The continued growth of our higher educational system is essential for our economic success and our future.
In 2011 the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo became the first school of pharmacy in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region to become fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The college is the only school in the state offering a doctorate in pharmacy, and has been an extraordinary success. An economic impact study in 2011 found the college is generating more than $50 million per year in economic activity statewide, and each dollar of investment in salaries at the college is attracting more than three dollars in spending from outside sources.
The college was granted accreditation before obtaining permanent facilities, and it is time to provide a permanent home for the college to meet its long-range needs and assure it retains accreditation. Providing a permanent home for the college will allow it to fulfill its promise as a center of excellence in education and health sciences. We strongly agree with the request by the administration and the Board of Regents for $28 million in general obligation and $5 million in revenue bonds to finance the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building.
Primary Care Training and Rural Residency Program
The state and Hawai‘i Island continue to face a severe physician shortage, and projections by the John A. Burns School of Medicine suggest the physician shortage will dramatically worsen in the next five years as many doctors retire. An important piece of the solution for our communities is the Hawai‘i Island Family Medicine Residency Program, which was recently notified that it has met the requirements for two-year accreditation. The program is actively recruiting, and will welcome its first class in July. National research shows that 80 percent of residents practice close to the facilities where they train, and we know this program will help ease the physician shortage in our county and in rural areas across the state.
We continue to support efforts by the Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation and our Hawai’i Island delegation to seek a state commitment of $2.8 million per year for the HHSC primary care training program. This includes the Hawai’i Island Family Medicine Residency program, and will also offer training to advanced practice nurses from programs at University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Hilo, and to students from the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy. This program will produce inter-disciplinary teams that can care for four times as many patients as independent practitioners, and will expand to serve rural communities on each of the islands. We are convinced this is an innovative and effective strategy for improving access to primary care services.
Kona International Airport Improvements
We strongly support the administration’s plans for urgently needed improvements for Kona International Airport, and appreciate the decision by the Legislature to appropriate $37.5 million for an international arrivals building, and $70 million for a major terminal expansion. We continue to work collaboratively with state Department of Transportation and community organizations to encourage the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reopen the international arrivals inspection facilities in Kona. State investment in Kona airport infrastructure including the international arrivals building is essential to the success of those efforts.
Your continued support for the Kona airport improvements is important to the state as a whole. Honolulu International Airport operates at its top capacity during busier times of the year, and the administration’s planned international arrivals area in West Hawai’i will allow Kona to function as a reliever airport to ease congestion in Honolulu. Investment in Kona airport infrastructure will allow our state to continue to grow as an international visitor destination during the busiest travel seasons.
Each of these state projects represents a smart, long-term investment in the welfare of our communities and the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors. We thank you for your consideration, and look forward to working with all of our distinguished legislators in the weeks ahead as we press forward together with these initiatives.
Mahalo for your support and your commitment to our communities.
William P. Kenoi
The County of Hawai‘i’s latest acquisition in the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Preservation program will protect 217 acres in Kona, between Kohanaiki Shores and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i.
‘O‘oma was the last privately-held open coastline area between Kailua town and the Kūki‘o resort, and was the top-ranked property on the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission’s latest report. The Māmalahoa Trail and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail run through the property, and the preservation of ‘O‘oma also will help preserve ocean quality and contribute to a healthy reef.
“This open space purchase is the culmination of over 25 years of efforts on the part of the Kona community, which held onto a vision of an open coastline at Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma,” said Councilwoman Karen Eoff, who has been involved with the community movement to protect Kohanaiki and ‘O‘oma in various capacities over the years. “This is an awesome gift to our community and validates the power in a shared vision.”
The purchase of the ‘O‘oma property closed on December 31, 2013 for $6.2 million, slightly more than half the $12 million asking price. Kohanaiki Shores, the neighboring development that has shown a commitment to preserving the beauty of Kona, assisted the County in the purchase with a $2 million donation.
This acquisition also enhances the public benefit of the 1.5 mile Kohanaiki Beach Park just to the south of ‘O‘oma, which opened to the public in June 2013. The County anticipates preserving ‘O‘oma in its current natural condition as a buffer between the mauka urban area and the ocean, while allowing access for passive recreation and subsistence fishing.
“This open space purchase adds another important, publicly owned shoreline recreational area that will serve many thousands of our residents, and will provide a place for our children and families to enjoy for generations to come,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This purchase required a cooperative effort by many community members, and we thank them for their efforts.”
Since taking office, Mayor Kenoi’s administration has purchased more than 1,247 acres to preserve shorelines and open space for children, families, and the community. Since 2008, the County has acquired open space at Kāwā (785 acres) in Ka‘ū; Kaiholena (228 acres) and Pāo‘o (10 acres) in Kohala; and La‘aloa (6 acres) and ‘O‘oma (217 acres) in Kona under the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation program.
Dear Mayor Billy Kenoi,
I don’t know who else to contact as I have tried for the last several years to make this matter known to a few people I thought could help, but so far no one has been able to do anything about it. Hopefully you will know who can help with this matter.
Every ship day in Hilo we see visitors walking into town in pairs or groups all the way from the port to downtown. Most of them follow the coastline after they cross the Wailoa River Bridge and continue hugging the shores of Hilo Bay on Bayfront Park.
When they reach Pauahi Street, there is no sign to direct them to Kamehameha Avenue so that they can approach downtown easily and most of them continue to follow Bayfront Highway, not realizing there is no access to downtown from Bayfront until they reach the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue.
There are several gates on the fence separating the downtown area all the way from Pauahi Street to Waianuenue Avenue, but the gates are locked.
Several times, (including this morning) I’ve picked up visitors, both young and elderly, especially when it is raining, as I drive back home towards Hamakua. After I pick them up, I continue on across the Wailuku Bridge and turn around at Pukihae Street by the Bay Shore Towers, so I can drive back to Hilo and drop them off wherever they wanted to go in downtown. In most cases, it was to drop them off at the Farmers Market.
I cannot believe that it would be such a hardship for the County, the Department of Transportation or the Department of Parks and Recreation (I’m not sure in whose jurisdiction this matter would fall) to have proper signage at the corner of Bayfront and Pauahi directing them to Kamehameha Avenue and/or at least have the gates open along the fence so we can make it a little bit more welcoming and convenient for our visitors to reach the downtown area without having to walk all the way to the end of the fence.
It doesn’t seem like such a big thing to do and yet, I believe it would make a big difference and maybe visitors would try to stay a bit longer in the downtown area if they weren’t so tired from having to walk the extra few blocks.
Can you think of any other solution?
Sonia R. Martinez
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Mayor Billy Kenoi signed into law Bill 135 to raise the legal age of sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to 21 in Hawai‘i County. A ceremonial signing of the bill was held today at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center at 3 p.m.
The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i (CTFH) West Hawai‘i and East Hawai‘i Coalitions and staff from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids worked closely with West Hawai‘i Councilmember Dru Mamo Kanuha and his staff to pass this bill. Hawai‘i County Council unanimously passed Bill 135, nine to zero on November 20.
“I signed this bill for the benefit of our community, and most importantly, our kids,” said Mayor Kenoi. “Mahalo to Councilman Kanuha for hearing their voices and having the courage to follow through. With all of the known harmful effects of tobacco use, this measure is in the best interest of public health and safety.”
More than 40 students from Kealakehe High and Konawaena High attended the initial committee hearing on October 15 and the final reading on November 20, wearing t-shirts stating ‘One Good Reason’ with an arrow pointing up toward their face. Waiākea High students submitted nearly 300 pieces of written testimony.
“My commitment is to help our young people live longer and healthier lives than the generation who came before them, and to improve the overall health of our island,” Councilmember Kanuha said.
“We are deeply grateful to Councilmember Kanuha and his staff for creating a bill that was easy for the other councilmembers to support,” said Sally Ancheta, East Hawai‘i Coalition coordinator for CTFH. “We thank Mayor Kenoi for taking the initiative to protect our youth and supporting the many voices that came to testify.”
The ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2014 and will exempt people who reach the age of 18 before that date. Any person who distributes tobacco or electronic cigarette products to an underage customer will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
Nearly 1,200 Hawai‘i residents die each year from diseases that can be attributed to smoking, according to CTFH. Of those, more than 90 percent of them became daily tobacco users before the age of 18. For more information about the 21 reasons campaign, visit twentyonereasons.org.
Filed under: Announcements, Big Island, County Council, Hawaii, Health, Kenoi, Kids, Legal, Politics | Tagged: Bill 135, Councilman Dru Kanuha, Hawaii County Smoking Bill, Sally Ancheta, Smoking in Hawaii, Stores Selling Cigarettes Under 21 | Leave a comment »
The County of Hawai’i is proud to present the third annual Magic Of The Season holiday open house at the Hawai’i County Building in Hilo, December 9 to 20, 2013. Unless otherwise noted in the schedule, festivities will run 5:30 to 8:00 nightly with free entertainment, activities, and refreshments hosted by your County departments.
County volunteers have decorated dozens of trees and lit up the Hawai’i County Building. Members of the public may view the exciting decorations daily starting at 7:45 a.m.
Cyril Pahinui, Mark Yamanaka, Darlene Ahuna and Henry Kapono will be among the Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers. Taiko drummers, hula dancers and student musicians also will take turns entertaining audiences. School groups, civic organizations and individuals are invited to experience the holiday offerings by touring the office building located at 25 Aupuni St.
For more details, please contact the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi at 961-8211.
Aloha, Chair Yoshimoto and Members:
On Nov. 19, 2013 the Hawai‘i County Council adopted Bill 113 Draft 3 adding a new article relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants, and on Nov. 21, 2013 delivered the bill to me for my consideration. After careful deliberation and discussions with members of my administration and the public, I am signing Bill 113.
Our community has a deep connection and respect for our land, and we all understand we must protect our island and preserve our precious natural resources. We are determined to do what is right for the land because this place is unlike any other in the world. With this new ordinance we are conveying that instead of global agribusiness corporations, we want to encourage and support community-based farming and ranching.
The debate over this bill has at times been divisive and hurtful, and some of our hard-working farmers who produce food for our community have been treated disrespectfully. We are determined to protect every farmer and rancher. Agriculture on Hawai‘i Island will continue to grow with county assistance, investment and support. That commitment includes initiatives such as the public-private partnership to improve and expand the Pa‘auilo Slaughterhouse to support our grass-fed beef industry, and the launch of the Kapulena Agricultural Park, the largest agricultural park in the state on 1,739 acres of county-owned land. It also includes support for innovative training programs to grow the farmers of the future, and to train veterans to engage in agriculture on Hawaiian Home Lands, and the introduction and advancement of Korean Natural Farming as a sustainable method of producing healthier crops and livestock. It includes completion of the first-in-the-state Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study of Hawai‘i Island to measure the island’s progress toward food self-sufficiency.
We are determined to reunite our farming community to create a stronger and more vibrant agricultural sector. It is time to end the angry rhetoric and reach out to our neighbors. Our farmers are essential to creating a wholesome and sustainable food supply on this island, and they deserve to be treated with respect and aloha. We must turn now to a meaningful, factual dialogue with one another.
With my approval of this bill, our administration will launch a year of research and data collection to investigate factual claims and to seek out new directions that farming in our community should take. This work will include an expanded database detailing the locations of both organic and conventional farms, the crops that are grown, more accurate estimates of the revenue earned from these enterprises, and the challenges our farmers face in meeting food safety and organic certification requirements. We will work with our farmers and our ranchers to carefully monitor the impacts of this bill over the next year to separate speculation and guesswork from the facts.
Today our communities expect that government will be as cautious as possible in protecting our food and water supplies. We all want to minimize impacts to the environment while also producing abundant, affordable food for local consumption. This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy.
William P. Kenoi
Filed under: Agriculture, Announcements, Big Island, Environment, Food & Drink, GMO, Hawaii, Hawaii County Public Notices, Kenoi, Legal, National Affairs, Politics, Rumors, Security, State Affairs, Sustainable Living, Technology | Tagged: Agriculture, Bill 113, Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants, Genetically modified crops, GMO Ban on the Big Island, Hawaii County Law | 1 Comment »
Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi will be on vacation beginning Friday, Dec. 6 to cheer on his son Justin, 13, at the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Kissimmee, Fla.
Justin Kenoi is a member of the Big Island Pop Warner champion Pana’ewa Ali’i football team, which is the first Hawai’i Island team to win the Western Regional finals to advance to the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
Mayor Kenoi will remain with the team while the Pana’ewa Ali’i participate in the tournament. Managing Director Wally Lau will be acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns.
Mayor Billy Kenoi, Puna Councilman Zendo Kern, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park invite the public to an opening ceremony for the new children’s playground at A.J. Watt Gym in Mountain View.
Festivities will start at 2 p.m. Friday, November 22, at the Nā Wai Ola Public Charter School campus located next to the gym.
Friends of Mountain View Gym and Park will hold drawings for donated prizes.
Covering 2,300 square feet, the new playground is comprised of two modular-design play areas designed for children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. A climbing wall, stairs, platforms, a protective roof and five slides, including a tunnel slide, are among the features. A special synthetic turf and impact-absorbing layer comprise the safety surface installed under the playground.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or email@example.com.