Hear what Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and his cabinet have to say on the county’s economy and outlook for 2013 at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Focus Luncheon Tuesday, April 2.
Sponsored by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the informative event is 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.
Reservations, which include lunch, are $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members; tables of eight are available. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. RSVP online at kona-kohala.com or by phoning the Chamber office at 329-1758. No refunds or cancellations will be taken after March 27.
Andy Bumatai interviews Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has the drive through Hilo, Hawai’i on one of the most beautiful days.
Sponsored by First Insurance a Hawai’i Insurance Company. Call First Insurance for the best Insurance rates in Hawai’i.
Filed under: Announcements, Big Island, Comedy, Entertainment, Hawaii, Hilo, Kenoi, Television | Tagged: First Insurance a Hawai'i Insurance Company, In the Car with Andy Bumatai, Mayor Kenoi | 1 Comment »
Mayor Billy Kenoi and the people of the County of Hawai‘i mourn the passing of United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a war hero, distinguished president pro-tempore of the United States Senate, and an effective advocate for the people of Hawai‘i for more than five decades.
“Beyond the titles, beyond the power and the influence, what most stands out is his thoughtfulness, his kindness and how he treated everyone with respect and aloha,” Mayor Kenoi said. “I will never forget that lesson.”
Many of Hawai‘i’s leaders walked through Senator Inouye’s office – including Mayor Kenoi, who worked as an intern in Inouye’s office in the summer of 1992. “He gave me opportunity, and he supported me every step of the way,” Mayor Kenoi said. “I look to him with the same respect, honor and love that I feel for my parents.”
“Senator Inouye was a friend and a mentor to generations of public servants. He always encouraged all of us to fight for what we believe in, to stand up for what is right, and most importantly, to give everything we have to serve the people of Hawai‘i,” Mayor Kenoi said. “He taught all of us how to conduct ourselves as public servants.”
Senator Inouye was a leader who embodied the best of yesterday, who served our community the best he could every day, and who was always mindful of tomorrow, of future generations, Mayor Kenoi said.
“He was a tireless advocate for the people of Hawai‘i. Takako and I, our family, and our community are honored and privileged to have had him as a part of our lives.”
After enough analysis of tonight’s race… I will say that Mayor Kenoi will hold office.
Congratulations to both Mayor Kenoi and Former Mayor Harry Kim for really running pretty clean campaigns and really not beefing.
Normally we see a lot of smear tactics amongst constituents of candidates and this year we didn’t see that.
Mahalo to Mayor Kenoi and Harry Kim for running a campaign free of smearing each other.
The County of Hawai‘i today announced that it will soon begin sales of homes in the Kamakoa Nui workforce housing community in Waikoloa.
In a related announcement, the County will extend Paniolo Avenue from Waikoloa Elementary School to the community and the new Kamakoa Nui Park. The extension will provide a primary route to the park, which will provide ballfields and a skate park to all residents of Waikoloa.
The Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) will begin offering new fee-simple homes to qualified buyers at price points between $235,000 and $350,000. There are no additional costs to ownership such as homeowner’s association dues or community facilities charges. OHCD plans to ask for bids on the first three phases of the project — about 20 homes — by December 2012.
“We’ve had challenges along the way, including a lawsuit that we had to deal with,” said Steve Arnett, Administrator of the County’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “We are so excited about the possibility of now making this an addition to the Waikoloa Village community.”
Ongoing litigation between the County of Hawaii and Unidev LLC, the original developer of Kamakoa Nui, had clouded the title to the property. Although the lawsuits are ongoing, the County of Hawai‘i was informed Monday that title to the property was cleared. This development gave the County the green light to offer homes in Kamakoa Nui for sale.
Those who participated in a 2007 lottery to determine placing on the offering list are being contacted and will have first choice at purchasing a home in Kamakoa Nui. Depending on demand, remaining homes will be offered through another lottery. Those who are able to purchase should be able to move into their homes by next summer.
“It’s exciting! I’m a teacher here at Waikoloa, and it’s exciting to have the possibility of owning a home here in the Village where I teach,” said Larry Denis, a Waikoloa Elementary School teacher who was at today’s announcement and walk-through. “I’m excited to look at the options.”
Homes at Kamakoa Nui are being offered to resident families with household incomes of no more than 140 percent of the area median income. For a family of four, that comes out to $97,440. Additionally, Habitat For Humanity will purchase four lots at Kamakoa Nui. This will allow families with even lower average monthly incomes to be able to afford homes.
“Families will have an opportunity to build equity for their families, for their future,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “It becomes a wiser investment for all of us, and more importantly, it’s an investment in our children and their future.”
Mayor Kenoi also on Thursday announced that the $3 million first phase of the extension of Paniolo Avenue is expected to be out to bid in December and could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2014. The extension of Paniolo Avenue, from the traffic light near Waikoloa Elementary School to Kamakoa Nui, will create the primary entrance to the community and the park, lessening the impact to those living on Iwikuamo‘o Drive.
“We’re building the road because the community needs it. Although the obligation to construct the road rests with others, we cannot wait for them to resolve who will build it,” said Mayor Kenoi. “So we will build it.”
Timeline of Kamakoa Nui:
- 2005 – Kamakoa Vistas Workforce Housing project awarded to Unidev LLC of Bethesda, Md. Unidev contracts with the County of Hawai’i's Office of Housing & Community Development to build 1,200 affordable units, which will be offered leasehold between $350,000 and $475,000, not including monthly $100 association dues and $450 in Community Facilities District fees.
- 2006 – Unidev secures $6 million in temporary financing from the National Electricians Benefit Fund (NEBF). Unidev partners with Citicorp to finance the entire project.
- 2007 – County pays off NEBF loan.
- 2007 – County breaks ground for the project on Dec. 29.
- 2008 – Citicorp drops out of project during the financial crisis.
- 2008 – County Council approves $40 million bond float for Kamakoa.
- 2008 – Waikoloa Workforce Housing LLC established by the county.
- 2008 – Isemoto Contracting Co. is the low bidder on backbone infrastructure at just under $28 million.
- 2008 – Unidev does not respond to county, WWH or vendors.
- 2009 – Under a new administration, County stops payments and sues Unidev citing false and fraudulent claims. County closes WWH.
- 2010 – OHCD revises business model under the newly branded name of Kamakoa Nui. Price points are now $235,000 to $350,000 for new, fee-simple new homes with no additional fees.
- 2011 – Site work completed by Isemoto.
- 2011 – Coastal Construction Co. submits low bid for model homes, which are completed on time and on budget.
- 2012 – The model homes are furnished by Trans Pacific Interior Design. Aldridge and Associates hired as real estate broker.
- 2012 – County clears title and announces that sales of homes at Kamakoa Nui are about to begin. County also announces it will extend Paniolo Avenue from the Waikoloa Elementary School to the new Kamakoa Nui Park.
Filed under: Announcements, Big Island, Community, Economy, Hawaii, Kohala, Something New? | Tagged: County of Hawai, Kamakakoa Nui Housing, Mayor Kenoi, Office of Housing & Community Development, Waikoloa | 5 Comments »
A delegation from Hawai‘i County Sister City Oshima Island visited the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi today, delivering a gift in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sister City relationship.
In Japanese, Oshima means “big island” – so it’s fitting that Oshima Island’s only international Sister City relationship is with Hawai‘i’s biggest island. Though Oshima is much smaller than Hawai‘i Island – about 35 square miles with a population of 8,500 in 2008 – it is home to waterfalls, valleys, and Mt. Mihara, an active volcano standing at 2,507 feet. The most recent eruption was in 1990. Oshima is the largest island in the Izu group, over a dozen islands extending south from the Izu Peninsula.
“Fifty years of a special friendship tie between our islands, which our predecessors continuously built, is the pride and honor of the people of Oshima-Machi,” wrote Oshima Mayor Masafumi Kawashima in a letter to Mayor Kenoi.
Mayor Kawashima was unable to come to Hawai‘i Island for the celebration, but Mayumi Jinguh and Zen Tanaka of Oshima visited on his behalf, delivering a letter and a gift – a copper relief depicting a rainbow bridge between the Sister Cities of Hawai‘i Island and Oshima Island. Tanaka, the 19th master of a 414-year-old copper craftsmanship school, started his work with copper when he was 15 years old. The people of Oshima Island, including Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, participated in crafting the piece.
“We are very honored and very privileged to call you our friends, to call you our neighbors, and to call you family,” said Mayor Kenoi.
The County of Hawai‘i’s Sister City relationship with Oshima Island was initiated in 1962 by the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to today’s County Council. The Chairman and Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the office of the Mayor, was Thomas K. ‘Lofty’ Cook.
Members of the Board of Supervisors at the time were Wing Kong ‘Winkie’ Chong, Elroy Osorio, Helene Hale, Sherwood Greenwell, Ikuo Hisaoka, and Elias Yadao.
The current Mayor of Oshima-Machi, Mayor Kawashima, visited Hawai‘i Island before he was mayor – in 1996 as part of a volcano study tour to Mt. St. Helens on the Continental U.S. and three Hawaiian islands. The last visit from Oshima Island to Hawai‘i County was in 2006, when a delegation of 100 people came in celebration of Oshima’s 50th anniversary of township.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Hawaii, Tourism | Tagged: Big Island of Hawaii, Hawai‘i County Sister City Oshima Island, Mayor Kawashima, Mayor Kenoi, Mayor of Oshima-Machi | Leave a Comment »
Police and members of the administration are holding an informational meeting Tuesday night regarding the recent rash of burglaries and car thefts in the County of Hawaii, and particularly in Kona.
“We’re very concerned about this recent spike in crime,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “Police will be available to update the community on their investigation, how to make you home less vulnerable to burglary and how to help police catch these people.”
Call Bobby Command, executive assistant to Mayor Kenoi, at 323-4442 for more information.
Jared Kuroiwa pointed me to a couple graphs and links that showed where the votes came in from on some of the key races.
In the Big Island Mayoral race… this is what the graph looked like:
For more details on this map see here: http://brchawaii.com/map.php/?r=1&contest=139&type=race&width=1708&Height=960
Senate District 2:
For more details on this graph see here: http://brchawaii.com/map.php/?r=1&contest=11&type=race&width=1708&Height=960
And the map that Loraine Inouye may find interesting in that she is contesting the results is the following graph:
More details on this map here: http://brchawaii.com/map.php/?r=1&contest=16&type=race&width=1708&Height=960
Now if you compare the above maps with the actual voter turnout in certain precincts… Well I will let you draw your own conclusions:
To really see this graph in details (some of the precincts don’t show because the map is not zoomed in enough) click here: http://brchawaii.com/map.php/?r=1&contest=139&type=&width=1708&Height=960
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Community, Hawaii, Legal, Politics, Rumors, State Affairs, Technology | Tagged: Bob Herkes, Harry Kim, Lorraine Rodero Inouye, Malama Solomon, Mayor Kenoi, Russel Ruderman | Leave a Comment »
The County of Hawai‘i and the Hāmākua Farm Bureau today held a ceremony to bless the 1,739 acre Kapulena Agricultural Park, just northwest of Honoka‘a. A group of about 50 farmers, ranchers, officials from the County and State including Mayor Billy Kenoi, and members of the community gathered for the morning blessing by Deacon Larry Ignacio, born and raised in the area.
“This is one of the most excited projects that we’ve ever had the opportunity to work on. Its been a true privilege. We talk about cooperation and collaboration. We talk about agriculture and sustainability. There’s a lot of conversation, but we needed to have a meaningful project that was on the ground, where farmers could farm and ranchers could ranch,” Mayor Kenoi said.
The first herd of cattle has been grazing the Kapulena lands since the beginning of 2012 in an effort to clear thick vegetation off the first increment of the fallow sugar cane lands, while simultaneously preparing the cattle for market. Once the lands are grazed down, they will be made available for more intensive farming projects proposed by the community.
“To have the largest agricultural park in the state of Hawai‘i be a County and community one is a very humbling, satisfying, and rewarding experience. Our job was to just remove obstacles, hurdles and barriers along the way,” said Mayor Kenoi.
While the grazing project will clear vegetation growing on the property for the initial group of farmers, the County has also entertained a number of offers from companies that wish to make use of ironwood trees which have taken over a majority of the property. Proposed uses for the ironwood include everything from flooring to fuel cells to biomass.
Other uses of the Kapulena lands could range from community gardens to larger-scale ranching and commercial production of crops to educational programs that will encourage youth to enter agricultural fields, Mayor Kenoi said.
The Kapulena Agriculture Park is operated by the Hāmākua Farm Bureau on a portion of the County-owned Kapulena lands just above the Hāmākua ditch between Honoka‘a and Waipi‘o Valley. Last year, the County worked with partners – including inmates from the Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center – to clear old cane haul roads and install fencing and gates for security to support grazing on this portion of the Kapulena lands.
The commitment of 1,739 acres in Hāmākua represents a major increase in the available opportunities for farming on the Island of Hawai‘i. The state operates agricultural parks in Pāhoa, Hāmākua, Pana‘ewa and Keāhole, but the 1,739 acres at Kapulena amounts to more land for farming than all of those existing state-run agricultural parks on the island combined.
In addition to the County of Hawai‘i and the Hāmākua Farm Bureau, participants in the Kapulena lands include University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“To see collective energy result in a beneficial project that also is focused on growing the next generation of farmers, growing the next generation of ranchers, to have been a small part of that is something I’ll always remember,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We didn’t talk about agriculture or talk about sustainability but actually brought the community together to make it happen and getting it done is the most satisfying, rewarding part of the job.”
- Kapulena Agricultural Park To Be Blessed Tomorrow (damontucker.com)
I mentioned the other day that the State of Hawaii was going to receive $8.44 Million in Federal funding for new buses and that $1.2 million of it would be going to the Big Island.
Mayor Kenoi announced the following today how Hawaii County would allot that funding:
The County of Hawai‘i will receive $1.2 million in grant money to purchase three new buses for its Hele-On fleet.
The money comes from the Federal Transit Administration State of Good Repair grant program. The modern buses will replace three older ones being retired from the Hele-On fleet, which features 51 buses carrying 1.2 million passengers a year all around Hawai‘i Island.
Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi said the county plans to purchase 49-passenger motor coaches to improve and expand upon its island-wide bus service. The new buses will be wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned, and equipped with bicycle racks.
“These funds will go a long way in helping us improve our transportation services,” said Mayor Kenoi. “They will replace buses that are over 17 years old.” Mayor Kenoi said U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye was instrumental in securing this grant.
“The buses we will purchase will provide a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience for our residents,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We would like to thank Senator Inouye for his assistance in obtaining the funds for this project.”
A key strategic goal of the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration is to assist municipalities with the improvement and maintenance of America’s buses and bus facilities. About $650 million has been made available by the Federal Transit Administration to improve the condition of transit equipment across the nation.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Community, Hawaii, National Affairs, Transportation | Tagged: Buses on the Big Island, Federal Transit Administration, Hele On, Mayor Kenoi, TheBus | 1 Comment »
Hundreds of keiki, parents and kupuna attended Saturday’s grand opening of the $3.1 million Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts and rededication of the Pana‘ewa Family Center during a public ceremony at Pana‘ewa Park in Hilo.
While being serenaded by local musicians, community members toured the 26,000-square-foot, gym-like structure offering three regulation high school basketball courts that can be converted into regulation volleyball or tennis courts.
A roof and partial sides protect the playing areas from rain, providing the community with its first indoor athletic venue in the 34-year history of Pana‘ewa Park. Young athletes quickly benefited from the facility’s design that sheltered them first from Saturday’s hot sun and then from passing showers that would have left outdoor courts unusable.
“This wonderful place, this pu‘uhonua, is going to serve our community for generations to come,” Mayor Kenoi told audience members. “This project is about love and family and taking care of our kamali‘i and our haumāna.”
Mayor Kenoi said Saturday’s dedication was one of his proudest days serving the people of Hawai‘i Island because it meant delivering on the vision of providing a facility where keiki can exercise out of the rain while learning the value of teamwork and sportsmanship.
“I want to thank so many people who put so much aloha, so much love into this project,” Mayor Kenoi said, adding the completion would not have been possible without the hard work of numerous community volunteers, contractors and County personnel. He then read their names to deliver a personal mahalo.
Contractor GW Construction built the facility for $3,065,980. GW Construction, fellow contractor Roger Hill Ltd., community volunteers, and County staff also installed a new scoreboard to serve the park’s main softball field and football field.
A retractable, overhead netting system allows the facility’s three courts to be used simultaneously. Modular interlocking tiles, specifically designed to reduce impact-related injuries without sacrificing athletic performance, were used for the playing surface.
“I look at this facility, and it’s like a dream,” Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi said.
Significantly cheaper than a traditional gymnasium, the covered play courts use an open-air design and ceiling insulation in place of costly air conditioning. Energy-efficient LED lights and translucent skylights further reduce operating costs.
Engineering plans developed for the Pana‘ewa Covered Play Courts are owned by the County of Hawai‘i and will be used as a template to provide similar facilities to other communities, Mayor Kenoi said.
Kumu Moses Kaho‘okele Crabbe delivered a traditional pule or blessing before the public, led by keiki basketball players, entered the covered play courts and prompted tested their basketball skills.
Saturday’s celebration also included reopening the park’s newly restored and expanded Pana‘ewa Family Center. Located adjacent to the new play courts, the Pana‘ewa Family Center includes bathrooms meeting accessibility requirements, an administrative office and an expanded multi-purpose room measuring more than 1,400 square feet. The center, which replaces a former center damaged by fire, provides the community with an accessible public meeting and gathering space that will be home to a computer lab and future Summer Fun programs.
Construction was a collaborative effort between County staff and volunteers from the Pana‘ewa Hawaiian Homestead Community Association and The Men of Pa‘a.
Pana‘ewa Park was originally opened July 17, 1978. It was built for $201,809 by Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd.
- The Pahoa Senior Center Opens (damontucker.com)
- Renovated & Improved Waiākea Uka Park & Stanley Costales Gymnasium Rededicated (damontucker.com)
- Reed’s Bay Beach Park Re-Opens (damontucker.com)
- $30 Million Ane Keohokālole Highway Opened (damontucker.com)
Mayor Billy Kenoi today joined the families of the Keahuolū, Kealakehe, Kaloko, and Honokōhau areas, the Keohokālole family, and about 300 members of the public in opening the Ane Keohokālole Highway in Kona. The 2.9 mile, $30.5 million highway opened to the public this afternoon following a noontime blessing. The blessing included chants honoring the history of the area as well as Ane Keohokālole, the ali‘i for whom the road is named.
Ane Keohokālole Highway runs parallel to and about a mile mauka of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Hina Lani Street in Kaloko. It is named after the mother of Lili‘uokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. A large portion of the land for the highway was donated by the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust.
“This is probably the most satisfying project we’ve built because it was the most challenging, and yet the most successful in terms of bringing people together,” Mayor Kenoi said.
The $30.5 million highway represents the largest expenditure of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act money for transportation infrastructure in Hawai‘i. It is also the first major road in Kona to be built by Hawai‘i County since statehood. Ground was broken on the first phase on March 30, 2010.
The county notified the Hawai‘i Island Burial Council and Native Hawaiian community early on in the process of planning the road, and worked closely with cultural descendants to ensure proper treatment of Native Hawaiian remains if found along the corridor. Working with Federal Highways Administration officials, a project team was able to make design modifications that assured the remains were preserved in place.
Project planner Belt Collins Hawai‘i worked on the design of the highway in parallel with the environmental and cultural processes. In November 2009, the project received a finding of no significant impact. The process, which normally takes as long as two years, was accomplished in eight months.
“One of the interesting things that came out of this was because it was a time crunch, everyone pulled together from all levels of government and all the different agencies,” said John Chung, Vice President and Chief Engineer of Belt Collins Hawai‘i. “A project like this wouldn’t have gotten done in under a year without a lot of cooperation. It was very refreshing to see.”
“I believe the Ane Keohokālole Highway serves as a template to show us how to address cultural concerns, burial issues, environmental concerns, and incorporate that into good design and good planning. But more important was the community input and community guidance,” Mayor Kenoi said.
“Because of all of those factors, and the leadership of our team, (Public Works Director) Warren Lee, (Deputy Managing Director) Wally Lau, and (Executive Assistant) Bobby Command, this incredible project is complete. It’s pretty exciting, pretty rewarding, and very satisfying.”
Put out to bid in December 2009, the construction contract was awarded to Nan Inc. of Honolulu. The first phase was originally planned as 1.8 miles of finished highway from Palani Road to Kealakehe Parkway at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. The first phase also included widening and repaving about a third of a mile of Palani Road between Queen Ka‘ahumanu and the intersection with the new highway, as well as the ground work for a future 1.1 mile phase from Kealakehe Parkway to Hina Lani St.
“There were a lot of uncertainties in the beginning. None of us involved had ever built a road quite like this. This is the first concrete paved road on the Island of Hawai‘i, and the first major roadway construction project in over 20 years,” said Alex Leonard, Project Manager for Nan Inc. “A lot of people in the community have been looking forward to this for a long time.”
Deft management of the project by the County’s Department of Public Works saved almost $3 million, and that was applied to the cost of finishing the additional 1.1 mile stretch, linking the road to Hina Lani Street.
“It alleviates and mitigates the congestion that West Hawai‘i has experienced for many years. It allows people to spend less time in traffic and more time at home with their families,” said Mayor Kenoi. “It allows the creation of a thriving, vibrant community here in Kealakehe, in Kaloko, in Honokōhau, and in Keahuolū.”
Ane Keohokālole Highway will facilitate the development of the state’s Kamakana Village affordable-housing project, commercial development by the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust to support children’s programs, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ expansion of La‘i‘ōpua Village and its planned community center. The State Judiciary will also construct its new complex at the corner of Kealakehe Parkway and the new highway. County Mass Transit has committed to establish a Hele-On bus loop using Ane Keohokālole Highway and the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.
The Ane Keohokālole Highway project also involves preservation efforts at each end of the road. An interpretive center is being built at the Palani Road end of the project, while an initiative to preserve one of Hawai‘i’s last remaining dryland forests is taking place at the Hina Lani Street intersection.
About Ane Keohokālole
The new highway is named for Chiefess Ane Keohokālole, a descendant of chiefs and the mother of two Hawaiian monarchs.
Keohokālole was born in 1816 in Kona. Her paternal lineage traces back to Kame‘eiamoku and Keaweaheulu, Kona chiefs who supported Kamehameha during his quest to unite Hawai‘i Island before going on to unite all the islands of Hawai‘i. Keohokālole married Caesar Kapa‘akea and had ten children – among them King Kalākaua, Queen Lili‘uokalani, Princess Likelike, and Prince Leleiohoku, collectively known as Nā Lani ‘Ehā (The Royal Four).
With the lands that she inherited from her mother Keohokālole, Queen Lili‘uokalani established the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust as an enduring gift to Hawai‘i’s people, to serve orphaned and destitute children. A large portion of the land for the highway was donated by the trust.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Environment, Hawaii, Kenoi, Kona, Something New?, State Affairs, Transportation | Tagged: Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kealakehe Parkway, Mayor Kenoi, Palani Road | Leave a Comment »
(UPDATE – Please see corrections provided by Kona resident Aaron Stene below)
Mayor Billy Kenoi invites the public to a ceremony this Saturday, June 23 when the County of Hawai‘i will bless the $30.5 million Ane Keohokālole Highway. The 2.5-mile highway will be open to traffic later Saturday afternoon.
Ane Keohokālole Highway runs parallel and about a mile mauka of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway from Palani Road to Hina Lani Street in Kaloko. It is named after the mother of Lili‘uokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. A large portion of the land for the highway was donated by the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust.
“The Ane Keohokālole Highway is an incredible example of teamwork and cooperation between government, the private sector and cultural and environmental organizations,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “But most importantly, it could not have been accomplished without the support of our West Hawai‘i community.”
The $30.5 million highway represents the largest expenditure of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act money in Hawai‘i. It is also the first major road in Kona to be built by Hawai‘i County since statehood. Ground was broken on the first phase on March 30, 2011, and was originally planned as a mile and a half of highway from Palani Road to the West Hawai‘i Civic Center.
The county notified the Hawai‘i Island Burial Council and Native Hawaiian community early on in the process, and worked closely with cultural descendants to ensure proper treatment of Native Hawaiian remains if found along the corridor. Working with Federal Highways Administration officials, a project team was able to make design modifications that assured the remains were preserved in place.
Project planner Belt Collins Hawai‘i worked on the design of the highway in parallel with the environmental and cultural processes. In November 2010, the project received a finding of no significant impact. The process, which normally takes as long as two years, was accomplished in eight months.
Put out to bid in December 2010, the construction contract was awarded to Nan Inc. of Honolulu and called for two lanes from Palani Road to Kealakehe Parkway, as well as the ground work for a future phase from Kealakehe Parkway to Hina Lani Street. But deft management of the project by the County’s Department of Public Works saved almost $3 million, and that was applied to the cost of finishing an additional mile, linking the road to Hina Lani Street.
“The connection to Hina Lani Street is a tremendous addition to this project,” said Mayor Kenoi. “This highway will make an immediate and lasting positive impact on West Hawai‘i residents who have long deserved traffic relief.”
Ane Keohokālole Highway will also facilitate the development of the state’s Kamakana Village affordable-housing project, commercial development by the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust to support children’s programs, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ expansion of La‘i‘ōpua Village and its planned community center.
It is also good news for those who rely on public transportation to get to and from work, shopping and play. County Mass Transit has committed to establish a Hele-On bus loop using Ane Keohokālole Highway and the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway.
“We haven’t just built a road,” said Mayor Kenoi. “By opening up opportunities for affordable homes, shelters for the homeless, places to work and play, a way to get to college, commuter buses and bike paths, we are facilitating the creation of a safe and vibrant community.”
The Ane Keohokālole Highway project also involves preservation efforts at each end of the road. An interpretive center is being built at the Palani Road end of the project, while an initiative to preserve one of Hawai‘i’s last remaining dryland forests is taking place at the Hina Lani Street intersection.
Saturday’s blessing ceremony begins at noon at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center and is open to the public. The ceremony will include representatives from each ahupua‘a the road runs through, as well as members of the Keohokālole family. Lunch will be served. For more information, or to request special accommodations, please call the Mayor’s Office at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center at (808) 323-4444.
Corrections provided by Aaron Stene:
- The cost of constructing this highway was 29.9 million + 4 million allocated to reconstructing Palani Road.
- The entire highway is 3 miles (from Palani Road to Hina-Lani Street) of Palani Road was reconstructed between Henry Street and Queen Kaahumanu
- Ground was broken on March 30, 2010
- EA FONSI finding was announced in November 2009
- The project was put out to bid in December 2009
The long awaited opening of the Pahoa Senior Center became a reality today as close to two hundred community members came together to help launch the opening of the center today.
Mayor Kenoi and Fred Blas as well as many other current and former politicians were on hand today.
The location of the new center is next to the Pahoa Community Center at the old Pahoa Fire Station that has been remodeled by many folks that volunteered their time and money to get this to become a reality.
Folks got to tour the facility and everyone was impressed with what had been accomplished.
Mayor Kenoi told me that he was willing to work with Oceanic Cable to help get internet services provided to the center… as Oceanic has been looking at projects such as this to possibly help out with.
It was great to see so many folks come out in support… especially 106 year old Pahoa resident Saramae Landers.
The center even has a small kitchen!
I sure hope that the facility is taken care of… it is something that this community has needed for a long time… and yes… Elvis was in the house.
Mayor Billy Kenoi and Puna Councilman Fred Blas welcomed more than 200 people, many of them area seniors. The Senior Center, in the heart of Pāhoa, is the former Pāhoa Fire Station which Hawai‘i Carpenters Union apprentices and County personnel transformed into a community gathering place. The station was vacated when Pāhoa’s firefighters moved to a new $5.3 million fire station in 2009.
The convenient location in the center of town will be used to provide a variety of classes and programs offered by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division, including Senior ID, Senior Employment, and the RSVP volunteer program.
It’s the most beautiful facility of its kind on the island, Councilman Blas told the audience members.
“Our seniors can play, can work and can enjoy our center,” he said, adding Mayor Kenoi’s can-do attitude is responsible for completing the renovation project that frees up the Pāhoa Community Center for keiki Summer Fun Programs and other activities.
Mayor Kenoi said he’s proud of the County’s senior programs and the hard working employees who make them and projects like the Pāhoa Senior Center possible.
“Our senior programs in every community – Ka‘ū, Kohala, Kona, Hilo, Waimea, Puna – are fantastic programs because of fantastic people. It makes you really proud,” Mayor Kenoi said.
“All of this that we’re here today to celebrate is because of the wonderful people, both in the County and in the community, all working together. When people put aside differences and we work together to take care of our kūpuna, it’s a good thing,” Mayor Kenoi said, noting he’s proud to be from Puna.
He credited Councilman Blas, along with former Councilwoman Emily Nae‘ole and former Councilman Gary Safarik, for having helped deliver the improved services to Puna’s seniors.
Noting it was a day to give, Mayor Kenoi said work has started to develop a $5.5 million, 56-acre Pāhoa Regional Park that will be the “nicest on the island.”
Among those publically recognized was Puna’s own living legend – and the most senior member of the Pāhoa Senior Club – Saramae Landers, 106 years young.
Father Joey Ranjo of Sacred Heart Church delivered the blessing, while Dan Nicks aka “Elvis Presley,” Puna Men’s Chorus, Ernie Cruz, Alu Like Senior Group and the Pāhoa Senior Ukulele Class under the direction of Nohealani Sarong entertained the crowd.
The No. 1 Chinese BBQ, L&L Drive-Inn, Luquins Mexican Restaurant, Bryson’s Cinders, Paul’s Repair Service and Gas Station, Pāhoa Cash & Carry Store, Sanford’s Service Center Inc., Madie Greene, and Councilman Blas all donated food for the event. Stanley Oishi from Big Rock Anthurium furnished flowers, while Nā Kāne volunteers helped with the event.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Public Invited to Dedication of New Pahoa Senior Center (damontucker.com)
- Pahoa Town Under Surveillance – Street Cameras Installed (damontucker.com)
- Rock the Vote – Pahoa Pictures (damontucker.com)
- Pictures from the Community Meeting on Geothermal at Pahoa High School (damontucker.com)
Three of the six Hawaii County mayoral candidates will be guests for one-on-one interviews on the Sunday morning radio and online show, Island Issues, with host Sherry Bracken.
The interviews are all on Sunday mornings, at 6:30 a.m. on KKOA 107.7 fm and online, www.koacountry.com, and at 8 a.m. on LAVA 105.3 fm and online, www.lava1053.com. The interviews are then posted to the news web site, www.bigislandnewscenter.com, they’re posted down on the right along with the most recent Island Issues programs for online listening or downloading.
County Council Chair Dominic Yagong: Sunday, June 17
Mayor Billy Kenoi: Sunday, June 24
Former Mayor Harry Kim: Sunday, July 15
In addition, the Mayor candidates will be at at least three forums around the island.
Thursday evening, July 5, Sangha Hall, 6 p.m. This is a moderated forum sponsored by Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Contractors Association, Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association, and Hawaii Island Board of Realtors. Admission by ticket only, call Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce.
Monday evening, July 9, Kealakehe High Cafeteria, 6 p.m. This is a moderated forum sponsored by Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Kohala Coast Resort Association, West Hawaii Today, Kealakehe High, and others. County Prosecutor candidates will be part of forum too. Free admission, no tickets needed, food sales in advance at 5:15 by Kealakehe High Parent Teacher Organization.
Thursday evening, July 12, Waimea Middle School Cafeteria, 5:15. Each candidate will get opening remarks and then it will be a “speed dating” format where candidates go from table to table. Also County Prosecutor, State House, State Senate. Sponsored by Waimea Community Association and 11 other organizations. Free admission, public is invited. Snacks available.
Members of the 100th Battalion, 442 Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service Members Receive Congressional Gold Medals
Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi was in Kona today where he posted some of these pictures on Facebook from a tribute to the members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service as they received Congressional Gold Medals:
A grateful nation paid tribute to members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service by bestowing upon them the Congressional Gold Medal.
About 130 members of the 442nd were from here in Kona, and they and their families were recognized today.
It was an honor to meet true warriors.
Their heroism will be remembered forever.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Hawaii, Kona, Military | Tagged: 100th Infantry Battalion (United States), 442nd Infantry Regiment (United States), Congressional Gold Medal, Mayor Kenoi, Military Intelligence Service | 3 Comments »
Mayor Kenoi Will be Featured at the Statewide 2012 Hawai‘i Family Financial Empowerment Symposium in Waikiki
Hawai‘i Island communities are welcome to attend the 2012 Hawai‘i Family Financial Empowerment Symposium on June 27 – 29 at the Waikīkī Marriott on O‘ahu.
This special event is an opportunity for attendees to deepen their understanding of how to further empower families and communities to be self-sufficient. Symposium activities include: place-based learning workshops (huaka‘i) centered on the unique challenges in Hawai‘i; self-actualization through education and entrepreneurship; and exploration of strategies and tools for building financial security and ending generational poverty.
The cost of attendance is $275 for general admission, $125 for non-profit admission, and $50 for student admission. The Symposium will include presentations, workshops, meals and the huaka‘i. Please visit assetshawaii.org for more information and to complete the registration form. Registration forms may also be emailed to email@example.com or faxed to (808) 534-1199.
The symposium will feature Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi; Hawai‘i Island youth and families; Native Hawaiian practitioners; City Delegates from the Cities for Financial Empowerment; MA‘O Farms; and other community, public and private agencies.
This special event is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Island Ho‘owaiwai Network, whose mission it is to empower families and communities in wealth and asset building, and the Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development [HACBED].
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Community, Economy, Education, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Health, Kenoi, State Affairs, Sustainable Living | Tagged: 2012 Hawai‘i Family Financial Empowerment Symposium, Cities for Financial Empowerment, Hawai‘i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development [HACBED], Hawai‘i Island Ho‘owaiwai Network, Ma'o Farms, Mayor Kenoi, Native Hawaiians | Leave a Comment »
A renovated and expanded Waiākea Uka Park and Stanley Costales Gymnasium was rededicated during a public ceremony held Thursday morning in Hilo.
Mayor Billy Kenoi, Hilo Councilman J Yoshimoto, Parks Director Bob Fitzgerald, and Housing & Community Development Director Steve Arnett joined the Costales family, members of the Waiākea Uka community, and about 100 children attending the first day of the County’s Summer Fun program for the ceremony, held in the newly renovated gymnasium.
The morning began with a blessing by Pastor Sheldon Lacsina of nearby New Hope Christian Fellowship. Councilman Yoshimoto presented Mrs. Roberta Costales, the widow of Stanley Costales, with a framed copy of a 2002 Hawai‘i County ordinance officially naming the gymnasium after the standout athlete who in 1951 signed a professional baseball contract to play shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. Stanley Costales also worked for Department of Parks and Recreation from 1969 to 1987.
“Stanley was a great athlete because of this gym,” Mrs. Costales said.
The gym and park have undergone a $1 million renovation that included adding aluminum bleachers inside the gym and at both ball fields, all of which are now connected by paved walkways meeting federal accessibility requirements. Also, a new roof was installed atop both the gym and annex building, the gym’s bathrooms were renovated and made to meet accessibly standards, the parking lot was paved, and a new parking area added to accommodate more park users.
GW Construction performed the work under a $1,032,376 contract financed with a combination of county bond proceeds and a federal community block grant. Construction started in January.
Much of the work exceeded contractual requirements, Mayor Kenoi said in publicly thanking the contractor. For example, instead of refurbishing the existing gymnasium roof, GW Construction replaced it for the cost of materials, while donating the labor.
GW Construction also joined Mayor Kenoi’s office and Councilman Yoshimoto’s office in providing refreshments for the re-dedication ceremony. “That’s from growing up in the area,” he said of owners Gerald and Wendy Yamada’s generosity.
Mayor Kenoi also praised the Parks Department’s recreational staff, community members and others who worked tirelessly to complete the improvements. “I’m just here to say thank you. Thank you to all the people who came together to make it happen,” he said.
Mayor Kenoi also shared with the children in attendance the secrets to success. “Don’t forget now guys,” the Mayor told them, “dream big, work hard, never give up, and treat everyone with aloha.”