West Hawaii Community Forum to Feature West Hawaii Legislators

The May 13th Community Forum at the main pavilion at Old Kona Airport will feature West Hawaii Legislators who will provide an update on the recently adjourned legislative session. If you want to learn more about State activities and projects affecting West Hawaii, come to the free Community Enterprises’ May 13 Community Forum. Representatives Richard Creagan and Nicole Lowen and State Senator Malama Solomon will also be available for questions.

Dr. K. Marty Fletcher, the West Hawaii Director for the University of Hawaii programs will provide an update of current educational opportunities and potential future programs at the upcoming Palamanui Campus. Dr. Fletcher will also be available to answer questions from those attending.

Christianne Abella

Christianne Abella

Community Enterprises will make a special presentation to Christianna Abella, an 8th grader at Konawaena Middle School and Hawaii State Spelling Bee champion.

The May 13 West Hawaii Community Forum will be held from 5:30 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 contact John Buckstead at 326-9779 or email at jbuckstead@hawaii.rr.com.

West Hawaii Community Forums on Health Care Issues Scheduled

If you are interested in health care in West Hawaii or want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act, two upcoming community forums are designed to answer your questions.  Community Enterprises is pleased to announce a two part program on health care in West Hawaii that it will present from 6:00-8:00 pm on Tuesday, September 17 and 5:30-8:00 pm Tuesday, October 15, at Maka’eo Pavilion at the Old Airport Park.

State Senator Dr. Josh Green

State Senator Dr. Josh Green will be on hand.

The Community Forum on September 17 will focus on critical health issues in West Hawaii and specific actions that are being taken by West Hawaii health providers to address them.  Presenters for the evening include Dr. Sharon Vitousek, former Director of the North Hawaii Outcomes Project; Susan Hunt, Director of the Hawaii Island Beacon Project to improve the use of innovative technology in patient care; Jay Kreuzer, CEO of Kona Community Hospital; Richard Taaffe, Executive Director of the West Hawaii Community Health Center; and Dr. Jeffrey Tolan, West Hawaii Medical Chief for Kaiser Permanente.  The latter three will discuss actions taken by these institutions to improve health care in West Hawaii.  They will be joined by State Senator Dr. Josh Green in a panel discussion during the second hour of the September 17 forum.

On Tuesday, October 15, the Community Enterprises will present a second health care forum, this one focusing on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as ObamaCare.  Tom Matsuda, Implementation Manager of the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, and Coral Andrews, Executive Director of the Hawaii Health Connector, an on-line health insurance marketplace will be the main presenters. They will also participate in a panel discussion with Senator Josh Green.  Representatives from the West Hawaii Community Health Center, Hope Services Hawaii, and the HIV AIDS Foundation who have been trained as Marketplace Assisters regarding the ACA will also be available to provide personal assistance.

Both programs will be moderated by Sherry Bracken.  Pupus and beverages will be served.

For more information please call John Buckstead at 326-9779 or email jbuckstead@hawaii.rr.com.


Pālamanui the Planned Kona Campus of Hawaiʻi Community College Has Groundbreaking Ceremony

Pālamanui, the planned Kona campus of Hawaiʻi Community College, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality. A kīpaepae ʻeli honua, or groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus, was held in May 2013. Welcome news considering Pālamanui was first conceived of more than two decades ago, and had been in the planning stages since 2004.

Palamanui Ground Breaking

“We are graduating from planning to doing,” said University of Hawaiʻi System President M.R.C. Greenwood. “And that is a very important beginning.”

West Hawaiʻi is the only major geographic region and population center in Hawaiʻi without a permanent higher education facility. That will change in 2015 when the first phase of Pālamanui is scheduled for completion.

“The community colleges open the doors for our kamaliʻi, our children, for haumana, our students to dream,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Palamanui Blessing

The state-of-the-art, energy-independent campus is expected to serve as a model for other state projects.

The $25 million first phase includes a structure with 24,000 square feet of classrooms, science labs, learning kitchens, library, learning commons area and a large photovoltaic system.

It fits in perfectly with Hawaiʻi Community College’s mission of E ʻImi Pono, or seeking excellence.

“It is the same spirit that will guide us into the future and the endless possibilities this new campus will provide,” said Noreen Yamane, chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College.


The groundbreaking ceremony prepared the land in a traditional Hawaiian way, and included Hānai ʻAwa, feeding ʻawa to the land; Kanu Iʻa, burying fish; Kanu Lāʻau, planting Lāʻau; and hula, with a mele or song for the spirit of the land, ocean and sky.

Then with ōʻō, or digging sticks, in hand; state, county and UH dignitaries dug into the earth, marking the start of the creation of a new home.

Palamanui Digging Stick

“We pledge all that we have, all that we are, to Hawaiʻi’s and its future,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Pālamanui, is the future of Hawaiʻi.”

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes West Hawaii

A 3.8 magnitude earthquake shook West Hawaii this morning:

Magnitude 3.8
Location 19.024°N, 157.030°W
Depth 23.3 km (14.5 miles)
  • 128 km (80 miles) WSW (238°) from Kailua, HI
  • 128 km (80 miles) WSW (242°) from Kahaluu-Keauhou, HI
  • 129 km (80 miles) WSW (240°) from Holualoa, HI
  • 133 km (82 miles) SW (234°) from Kalaoa, HI
  • 218 km (135 miles) WSW (250°) from Hilo, HI
  • 267 km (166 miles) SSE (162°) from Honolulu, HI

West Hawaii Slated to Receive Captial Improvement Funds – The Projects

West Hawai’i is slated to receive funds for new capital improvement projects based on the state budget which passed out of conference committee in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 28, 2012. The budget bill now goes to the full House and Senate for final vote, and, if passed, will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

Some of the major projects include $7.5 million for West Hawai’i Community College at Palamanui, and Honokohau small boat harbor for critical upgrades on parking, roads, water systems, electrical systems and other miscellaneous areas in need of repair.

“I am extremely pleased that the 2012 supplemental budget includes additional capital improvement for West Hawaii facilities,” said Representative Denny Coffman, (House District 6 (North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau).   “In particular, the new community college facilities being constructed a mile north of the airport next to the Palamanui development project is important because it expands the educational opportunities for West Hawai’i residents.”

“The community has waited a long time for the funding to build a community college campus in West Hawai’i”, says Representative Cindy Evans, House District 7 (North Kona, South Kohala). “Now we have to encourage the University and the Governor to make this dream a reality by building it”.

The West Hawai’i projects receiving funding are:

  • Kona International Airport at Ke’ahole                      $10,400,000.00
  • West Hawaii Community College – Palamanui          $  7,500,000.00
  • Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority      $  6,300,000.00
  • Honokohau Small Boat Harbor                                  $     650,000.00
  • Kawaihae Harbor                                                        $11,500,000.00
  • Kona Community Hospital                                         $  6,050,000.00
  • Waikoloa Public Library                                             $     800,000.00
  • Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant                                $   1,000,000.00
  • Waimea Irrigation System                                          $        40,000.00
  • Kohala Mountain Road                                              $   3,600,000.00
  • Kohala Hospital                                                          $   2,200,000.00
  • Laiopua 2020                                                              $      400,000.00

In addition, the supplemental budget includes $250 million for repair and maintenance for public facilities statewide, including public schools.


“We anticipate that many of the schools in West Hawaii will benefit from the increased repair and maintenance schedule, and this should also create more construction jobs for Hawaii Island,” added Rep. Evans.