Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013

Funding for community stewardship of Kawa and other sites purchased with money from the county's Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund may become available next year. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I MARRIAGE EQUALITY ACT OF 2013, which recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender, became law this morning when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the measure. He said he never imagined that he would be involved in a decision affecting the lives of so many people and compared it to Hawai`i U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink’s involvement in Title IX, which prohibited gender discrimination by federally funded institutions.
Sen. Clayton Hee
Rep. Chris Lee
      Abercrombie said he looked to a quotation on a portrait of Hawai`i Queen Lili`uokalani as inspiration during progress of the bill: “If we could but see our likenesses, could we not learn to live with our differences?” 
      Several officials spoke with emotions clearly visible. Attorney General David Louie, emcee for the signing ceremony, said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
      Sen. Clayton Hee, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, said passing the bill was “a profound but simple thing to do – bring justice and equality to us all.”
      Rep. Chris Lee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said, “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing. There’s benefit to all; we’ve come to understand one another.”
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Steve Hirakami
FUNDS FOR STEWARDSHIP OF KAWA and other sites purchased with money from the county’s Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund should be available to community groups next year, according to Hawai`i County Parks & Recreation director Clayton Honma. He told fund commissioners at their meeting yesterday that the department is in the process of developing a grant system and has a draft application ready. 
      The county Parks & Recreation Department is in charge of an account for maintenance that has a balance of over $475,000 collected from 0.25 percent of property taxes. A county charter amendment for collection of the maintenance funds was approved by voters in 2012.
      Some commissioners expressed concern that the community has not yet been involved in stewardship of the properties. Honma said that, while funds are accounted for, a total amount of funds needed for archaelogical surveys is still not known because contracts have not been completed.
      In response, commissioner Steve Hirakami said, “It’s easy to say the funds are accounted for. It’s one thing to make a statement, but what percentage of the funds?”
      Ken Van Bergen, property manager with the county Finance Department, defended the county’s course of action, saying, “You can’t preserve something until you know what’s there.” He said the county encourages community involvement and cited Kawa as an example where knowledgeable families joined surveyors in mapping archaelogical sites there.
      The county charter calls for the county to advertise for community groups to apply for stewardship grants by Aug. 1 of each year, “provided funds are available.”
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Planner Ron Whitmore discussed the potential for local food production at yesterday's
Ka`u CDP Steering Committee meeting. Photo by Julia Neal
 KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN documents are a bounty of information and planning ideas for the district, steering committee members told Hawai`i County Department of Planning representatives last night as the county made a public presentation at Pahala Community Center.
      Steering committee member John Cross described the documents that cover population, land use, economic development and preservation ideas and options as easy to read. He pointed out the hyperlinks in the online version that allow people to delve deeply into an abundance of scientific, geographic and sociological data about Ka`u. 
      Ron Whitmore, the county’s lead planner on the project, presented ideas and non-traditional economic models that take into consideration local funding options for new business, the potential for local food growing as cost of transportation increases for importing food, and consideration of the undocumented economy that includes hunting, fishing, ranching and growing food for home use.
      Entities that could democratize ownership and raise money for economic development where profits would stay in the community were presented and included benefit corporations (B Corp), low-profit LLCs, employee stock ownership entities, cooperatives, community development corps, nonprofit social enterprises and community land trusts. Ways of raising money could include conventional investment: seed funding through private equity funds. Also mentioned was alternative private financing: credit unions, CDFIs and microlenders. Local capital raising ideas included crowdfunding, lending circles and peer-to-peer lending.
Rancher Michelle Galimba is on the Ka`u CDP
Steering Committee.
      Chris Manfredi, a coffee broker, president of Ka`u Farm Bureau and former land manger of the 5,580-acre investment property now owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings in Ka`u, said he thinks the documents over-emphasize small- and medium-scale business models, and that the plan should not be limited to small-scale, community-based operations. “It should be more balanced.” He said the `ohana, small economy “is not sustainable,” and that he cannot go to the grocery or gas station without someone pulling out an EDB (welfare) card. He said people are constantly asking him for jobs and that “you have to keep all avenues” open for economic development. He said “pig hunting and cock fighting just doesn’t cut it” and that agriculture is limited in Ka`u by access to land, water and affordable transportation.
      Steering committee member Michelle Galimba, a rancher, also suggested more balance in describing potential outside capital that could be attracted to Ka`u.
      Small farmer Loren Heck, who grows protea and orchids in Ocean View, encouraged the planners to include small, backyard farms in models for economic development.
      S. Reha described Wood Valley as a community that should be recognized for its own status with diversified farming and vacation rentals.
      Steering Committee member Ron Ebert, a volunteer fire captain and retired electronic engineer, pointed to the wealth of information in the document and said he hopes that people will be able to understand it and suggested simplifying some of the language. “I want as many people as absolutely possible involved in it. The more brains you have involved the better. There are ideas out there in the community that we are not aware of.”
      The documents can be read online at kaucdp.info and can be reviewed, along with colored maps and other illustrations, in hard copy at Ocean View Community Center, Na`alehu Library, Pahala Library and Pahala Community Center.
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LEHUA COURT, LLC proposes a state land use boundary amendment and a county change of zoning for a 54,000 square foot commercial center on four lots in Ocean View between Lehua Lane and Mamalahoa Highway in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. The proposal may come to the county’s Windward Planning Commission soon for review and recommendations, according to the Hot Topics in Ka`u list presented by county planners at the Ka`u Community Development Plan public meeting last night in Pahala.
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BIG ISLAND FILIPINO COMMUNITY COUNCIL is encouraging people to give cash to the American Red Cross for relief for the Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda disaster victims and to donate rice, clothing and ready to eat, easy to open foods and such health items as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The collection place in Pahala is R&G store behind Bank of Hawai`i. Store owner Gloria Camba, a director of the Big Island Filipino Community Council, said that a company called LBC is willing to ship goods to the Philippines for free for distribution by disaster assistance organizations. Goods must be collected and taken to Hilo by Saturday, Nov. 23. The Will & Grace store operated by Will and Grace Tabios is the collection center in Na`alehu Shopping Center.       
      The typhoon, the strongest ever recorded to hit land since hurricanes, cyclones ad typhoons have been monitored, left thousands dead and missing and more than a half million people homeless. The typhoon with up to 200 mph winds has been described as a giant tornado, moving like a rotary sander across the landscape, grinding away everything in its path. People are left without clean water and without food as relief organizations try to make their way to the victims. 
      For more information, call Camba at 928-8558 or 928-8155 or Amy Peralta at 928-8470. Call Will & Grace at 929-9993.
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THE ANNUAL RUBBER BAND TURKEY SHOOT will be held a week from today on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Pahala Community Center from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Everyone of any age is invited to compete. Call Nona Makuakane at 928-3102.


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