Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, May 3, 2017

One of the many maps, along with much data and description, in the Ka`u Community Development Plan,
which goes to public hearing on Wednesday, May 10, 5:30 p.m., Na`alehu Community Center.
See the plan at www.kaucdp.info and see story below.
A "JOB-KILLING PILAU BILL" is what Sen. Kai Kahele called a proposed hike in the Transient Accommodations Tax, when he testified today on the state Senate floor. The tax would have raised the TAT from 9.25 percent to 12 percent for a decade to help pay for the mass transit rail project on O`ahu.
     "I am against this proposal for many reasons," said Kahele. "This bill was concocted in the eleventh hour by a privileged few with the complete absence of transparency and collaboration and accountability. The subject matter chairs are circumvented. The industry was sidestepped, the counties were a mere afterthought, and the public, of all people, were not given the opportunity to be heard.
See Sen. Kahele's speech on www.bigislandvideonews.com
     "The mechanism of using the Transient Accommodations Tax is one thing and one thing only. It is a job killer in the state of Hawai`i. And make no mistake, this bill would hurt our state's number one industry, which is tourism. The potentially disastrous consequences of passing this bill and adding to the unfortunate reputation as one of the most expensive places to visit in these states, putting us at a competitive disadvantage that could lead to fewer visitors and less visitor spending and cause a ripple effect that may negatively impact small businesses in our community. The economic impact of this bill on our Neighbor Island communities and local families will be devastating.
    "For my my home on Hawai`i Island, the ramifications of the proposed change to 12 percent TAT would result in an immediate loss of  $4  million dollars to the economy of the County of Hawai`i. It would put at risk core services for residents and visitors, including ocean safety officers,  park and trail maintenance, police protection, fire protection, bus services infrastructure repair and maintenance."
    At the end of the day, the TAT was left at the current 9.25 percent. Kahele said that he supports the rail, in its original plan, connecting the new city of Kapolei with downtown Honolulu and University of Hawai`i at Manoa.

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A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN will be held a on Wednesday, May 10, the county Planning Department reminds the Ka`u citizenry. The hearing before the Windward Planning Commission begins at 5:30pm, at the Nā'ālehu Community Center, 95-5635 Māmalahoa Hwy, Nā'ālehu. For those wanting planning commissioners to consider their comments before the meeting, the deadline to send them in is Thursday, May 4. "Comment submitted electronically will be quickly forwarded to Commissioners," says a statement from the Planning Department.
     "The purpose of this public hearing is to afford all interested persons reasonable opportunity to comment on the Kaʻū CDP and for the Commission to review the CDP and consider its recommendation to the County Council." A link to the May 10 Planning Commission meeting and hearing and related materials is available at the CDP project web site: www.kaucdp.info.
   "The version of the Kaʻū CDP being recommended for adoption is very similar to the version recommended by the CDP Steering Committee in October 2015. Only non-substantive refinements are being recommended by the Planning Director," says the statement from the Planning Department.
     All Planning Commission meetings and public hearings are open to the public, and public comment is welcome. Public comment is accepted before and during Planning Commission meetings. If written comment is provided, ten copies should be submitted, states the Planning Department notice.

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Residents questioned the plans for Discovery Harbour at the recent
Steering Committee meeting for the Ka`u Community Development
Plan, which can be seen at www.kaucdp.info.
CONFUSION, ABOUT LAND USE DESIGNATIONS AT DISCOVERY HARBOUR, is the word from the Hawa`i County Planning Department. According to the Planning Department statement reminding citizens that on May 10, Ka`u Community Development Plan goes to public hearing, "There appears to still be a great deal of confusion about the land use designations recommended in the CDP for Discovery Harbour. 
      The Planning Department statement explains, "The 'gateway' parcels are in the State Land Use Agriculture district, are zoned Open, and are designated Rural in the General Plan. They do not have any Village Commercial land use designation; however, the CC&Rs allow for Single-family residential or Village commercial or multi-family residential. The CDP has no impact on the CC&Rs.
    "The CDP recommends that these parcels be designated Low Density Urban in the General Plan to allow for higher-density residential and neighborhood and convenience-type commercial uses that current land use designations don't otherwise allow.
     "People interested in that issue should refer to the Background Report and Planning Director's Recommendations: http://www.hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp/background-report-and-planning-directors-recommendations-to-the-windward-planning-commission/view, specifically:
The definitions of "Low Density Urban" and "Rural" in the CDP glossary," suggests the Planning Department
     Maps are on pages 18-19 of Exhibit 2: Strategy Rationale (to see current General Plan designations) See pages 4-5 of Exhibit 3: CDP PROJECT TEAM'S DETAILED COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS related to agency comment.

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Ka`u Learning Academy students, with teacher Audra Zook at their
 Peaceful Garden site. Photo from Good for All News
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY'S CHILDREN'S PEACEFUL GARDEN is a collaboration with an organization called Something Good in the World. The organization created a Children's Peaceful Garden design as presented at the most recent United Nations International Day of Peace. In the recent issue of Jane Goodall's Good for All News, writer Barbara Sarbin wrote:
     "Recently, Something Good in the World has been collaborating with a small charter school in Hawai`i." The article states that the Ka`u is rural and that in "situations where people don’t have access to healthy food, there can be a lack of knowledge about the origins of foods and how to make healthy choices, which contributes to poor health and nutrition.
     "Something Good in the World is dedicated to offering free farm-based education programs to children who live in these 'food deserts.' Access to fresh food is difficult in these places and schools provide many of the students’ meals for free. Despite what you might imagine on an island with trees dripping with avocados, mangoes, papayas, and bananas, the district of Ka’u is in fact a certified food desert.
Making worm cakes to help the soil to grow food at
Ka`u Learning Academy. Photo from Good for All News
     "The first step in helping set up their garden was to encourage their teacher, Audra Zook, to apply for a Roots & Shoots mini-grant. She took up the suggestion and named her project, 'Where’s the Food?'
    The article states, "In Ka’u, you can forage fruits and catch fish, if you know how. But what if you want to buy some veggies?  There are only two tiny grocery stores in the town of Na’alehu where the school is located, and you have to own a car to get to more affordable stores. In terms of fresh vegetables, there are farmer’s markets, but these are pricey and many people are on food stamps, which aren’t accepted at local markets. Most affordable foods are processed, which is less healthy and can lead to obesity and diabetes.
     "At one time in history, the district of Ka’u sustained 100,000 people on locally grown foods. Today, 85% of the food is imported. One goal of the school garden initiative is to encourage children and their families to supplement their tables with homegrown, fresh veggies and herbs.
Meeting with Audra’s garden class was a total pleasure. We made 'worm cake' (compost for worms), designed their Children’s Peaceful Garden, and collected lava rocks to delineate the spaces for growing herbs, cactus, and pineapples!  The children had great fun naming their worms for the worm bin, and visiting them each day to feed them and give them a misting of water. They collected lava rocks to create an oval for planting the pineapple garden and learned all about how pineapples grow.
Watering the Peaceful Garden in teams.
Photo from Good for All News
   "We found solutions to many of the obstacles Audra faced. Instead of planting veggies from seeds in the hard and dry ground, they’d have better success getting seedlings from a local organic farm. Rather than planting cash crops, like coffee or sugar cane that required a lot of water, it is better to go with native plants that need less water. We looked at a roof on their outdoor classroom that sloped down to the garden and was perfect for a rain barrel and drip irrigation system.
      "By the end of the week, a new Children’s Peaceful Garden was born. The garden is dedicated to peaceful play and integrated with the school curriculum. It teaches children the origins of their food and how to make healthy choices while supplementing their table at home. I received an email from Audra, telling me she had consulted with a local teacher who translated the name of the garden into Hawaiian so the children could connect with their language. The sign at the entrance reads “Ka Mala Maluhia” = The Garden Peaceful," wrote the writer for the Jane Goodall publication.

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Hawai‘i County Council Meetings, Wed, May 3 & 16/17, 9 a.m.; Thu, May 18. The county has shut down the Na`alehu site for participating via videoconferencing at Nā‘ālehu State Office Building. See hawaiicounty.gov for agendas and live-streamed and archived meetings.

Open Mic Night, Wed, May 3, 6 – 10 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Lava Lounge in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Call 967-8365 after 4 p.m. to sign up and for more details. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch meeting, Thu, May 4, 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-2442 & 928-2015 An Evening of Hawaiian Language.

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