Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016

Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School students join residents and dignitaries for this morning's
blessing and opening of Ka`u District Gym & Shelter. Photos by Ron Johnson
“FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE OF KA`U” is how Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi described the new Ka`u District Gym & Shelter this morning. When Kenoi introduced retired police officer Bobby Gomes to bless the facility, he described Gomes as representing “the best of Ka`u, the best of Hawai`i Island.” Gomes invited Pahala Holy Rosary Church’s Father Martin Mwanshibula to help him with the blessing. Both were present for the groundbreaking four years ago on Oct. 3, 2012.
      Principal Sharon Beck thanked everyone involved in the project. She said she had been working toward a new gym since 2007. The old gym did not meet sports standards, and other schools were not able to play there, she said. The 43,300 square foot gym has three basketball and volleyball courts, auxiliary sports facilities, a certified kitchen, meeting spaces and shelter facilities. It will be managed by Hawai`i County Department of Parks & Recreation for both school and public use.
Mayor Billy Kenoi greets students and residents at the gym.
      “Enjoy this gym forever, Punalu`u resident and volleyball Coach Guy Enriques said. Enriques, who launched the campaign for the new gym when he was Ka`u’s County Council member, said it is one of the best facilities in the state. “This is yours,” he said when addressing the crowd, which included current students at Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School and many Ka`u residents. He described meeting with the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye at the White House when Inouye told him to build a “shelter that looks like and gym, and I’ll get you the money” for it. He said the result is evidence that “the country really works; the politics really works.”
      Ka`u’s Hawai`i County Council member Maile David related the event to the opening of Konawaena High's gym, where she graduated. She said she knows how it feels for the community to have such a facility.
Bobby Gomes and Father Martin Mwanshibula
bless the facility.
      Joanna Herkes, widow of state Rep. Bob Herkes, who fought for the facility, said her husband never missed a Ka`u High graduation ceremony, “and they were always inspiring. This gym is inspiring.” The Class of 2017 will be the first to graduate in the new building.
      Ka`u’s state Rep. Richard Creagan remembered Kenoi crossing the Ironman Triathlon finish line. Today, “you brought this gym across the finish line,” he said.
      After the speakers, Trojans were able to try out the court, throwing baskets and serving volleyballs. Those who made baskets or hit targets on the volleyball courts got to keep the balls they used.
Delighted keiki head through the gate to the gym's front door.
      Emcee at the opening was comedian Augie T. Other speakers included Will Okabe for Gov. David Ige, Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman, state Sen. Kaiali`i Kahele (son of the late Sen. Gil Kahele) and Laurence “Cappy” Capellas, Jr., son of the late principal, for whom several residents are working to have the facility named after. Principal Capellas and Rep. Herkes were honored with portraits gracing the gym’s lobby. 
      Ka`u residents are invited to an open house at the gym today at 5 p.m.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE has cancelled a flash flood watch that was set to expire at 6 p.m. A moist air mass and an upper level disturbance threatened to trigger heavy rain capable of producing flash flooding.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

KA`U KAPAPALA KOA CANOE FOREST DRAFT MANAGEMENT PLAN is the topic of a meeting Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.
      The forest is the state Department of Land & Natural Resources’ only officially recognized forest for development of koa canoe resources.
      The draft plan seeks to preserve and use the resource, which consists of more than 1,200 acres adjacent to Ka`u and Kapapala Forest Reserves.
      Hawai`i Forest Institute worked with the Hawai`i Forest Industry Association, Department of Land and Natural Resource Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Imi Pono and the Three Mountain Alliance to develop a draft plan for bringing youth to the forest for cultural and environmental education. The goal is to involve youth through cooperative programs with the state Department of Education, University of Hawai`i and other schools and educational institutions.
      The plan includes a background of the cultural, geological and biological characteristics of the Kapapala Forest Management Area, a vision for future youth educational opportunities through input from stakeholders, a summary of resources and needs and a list of projects directed toward realization of the vision.
Principal Sharon Beck thanked everyone involved in the project,
which she said has been a hope since 2007.
      Christopher Phillips, of Hawai`i Public Radio, described the forest as “a cultural and educational resource and link between land and sea, past and present. … Enthusiasm for the project can be felt in across communities of Ka`u beyond. It is the hope that this forest reserve can teach us all about the cultural importance of native forests, traditional stewardship and the importance of sustainable living.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

KA`U’S U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES are celebrating Filipino American History Month.
Ka`u's former County Council member and volleyball
Coach Guy Enriques worked with politicians
for funding of the $18 million project.
      “This month, we celebrate the vibrant culture, hard work and strong values of the Filipino American community,” Sen. Brian Schatz said. “For generations, Filipinos have made Hawai`i and the United States their home. From labor to business to arts and education, Filipinos have helped write the history of our state and our country.
      “Some of the most significant contributions came from the more than 200,000 Filipinos who fought alongside American service members during World War II. Far too many of them have still not received the basic veterans’ rights they earned. As we celebrate Filipino American History Month, we must continue our efforts to honor those brave Filipino veterans and their families by finally giving them the benefits and recognition they deserve.”
Students tried out the courts, making baskets and serving volleyballs.
      Sen. Mazie Hirono introduced a bipartisan resolution that acknowledges the key role Filipino Americans play in shaping our country.
      “This resolution pays tribute to the wide-ranging contributions that Filipino Americans have made to our country,” Hirono said. “Nearly 200,000 Filipino Americans, including Filipino World War II veterans who fought for the United States, enrich communities across Hawai`i every day. To honor them, we must see through the effort to award these veterans the Congressional Gold Medal and ensure that their eligible family members apply for the Obama Administration’s program to reunite with their parents and other relatives in the United States.”
The new Home of the Trojans hosted many speakers this morning,
including Ka`u's County Council member Maile David.
      Hirono has long advocated for the Filipino American community. In July, the Senate unanimously passed legislation authored by Hirono to award Filipino World War II veterans the Congressional Gold Medal. After years of advocacy by, the Obama Administration announced last May 2016 that it would create a parole program to reunite the families of Filipino World War II veterans. Hirono is now working with veterans groups and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to ensure that eligible family members apply for the program. Hirono also successfully prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from taking funds from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund to pay for other projects.
      “For centuries, Filipino Americans have made exceptional contributions to U.S. businesses, culture and arts, government, technology, sports, health care, military and more,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said. “In Hawai`i, Filipino Americans have been integral to our history, from driving our plantation-based economy in the early 20th century to becoming leaders across every industry in our state. As we celebrate Filipino American History Month and the many positive contributions the Filipino community has made, we must also continue to fight for issues like family reunification and honoring our Filipino veterans. Three hundred and five members of Congress have supported my bill to award our Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal, and I am continuing to work with my colleagues and our Filipino community to get this bill passed before the end of the year. With just 18,000 Filipino WWII veterans alive today, time is truly of the essence to honor these courageous men with the long overdue recognition they deserve.”
Attendees passed by portraits of Rep. Bob Herkes and former
Principal Laurence Capellas.
      The 2010 census showed that Filipinos surpassed Japanese as Hawai`i’s largest ethnic group. The total population of Filipinos was 342,095, of which 197,497 were full Filipinos, and the total population of Japanese was 312,292, of which 185,502 were full Japanese. An American Community Survey showed that Filipinos overtook Japanese between 2007 and 2008. 
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

LEARN ABOUT THE S.N.A.P. PROGRAM and how to apply tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Pahala Community Center. The purpose of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is to put healthy food within reach.
      For more information, call 929-8571 or 933-6030.

St. Jude's hosts Oktoberfest Friday.
OKTOBERFEST IS FRIDAY at St. Jude’s Church in Ocean View. The event features bratwurst, sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, dessert, beverages and music by the Last Fling Band. Tickets for $8 per person, $15 for two or $20 for family are available at the door, which opens at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds help with community service programs.
      Call 939-7555 for more information.


See kaucalendar.com.
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.

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