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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, June 27, 2014

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Hui Okinawa Kobodu Taiko, here at a January benefit concert in Pahala, comes to Na`alehu tomorrow to participate in the Fourth of July celebration. Photo by Julia Neal
COMBINING AND RE-SUBDIVIDING AGRICULTURAL AND CONSERVATION LANDS in order to drive up the sales price of oceanfront and farm lots for expensive estates has come back to haunt the county. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources said the county needs state permission for such actions that involve conservation property and has asked the county to resolve a situation involving buyers of two oceanfront lots created by consolidation and re-subdivision that are valued at $400,000. The lots, with burials and archaeological sites, were bought by people who want them buildable, but DLNR is objecting to the county creation of the lots by a former Planning Director (not the current or previous director) without state permission.
An example of consolidation and re-subdivision in along the Ka`u Coast below Na`alehu.
Map from Hawai`i County Planning Department
      Referred to in the resolution as the Gapp property, the lots are in Puna, where council members are considering resolving the situation by using money the county’s Open Space fund that comes from two percent of the county’s property tax income to buy the land. However, Ka`u’s council member Brenda Ford said that using Open Space funds would set a poor precedent since there is a public process for selecting lands to be conserved. 
      The resolution from Puna council member Greggor Ilagan states that “the County Charter provides that monies in the fund may be used to purchase property for the purpose of preservation of historic and culturally important land areas and sites.” He said that the Puna poperty has historic sites and that Puna needs a beach park.
      Such consolidation and re-subdivision plans have been proposed in Ka`u. One would take kuleana and other lots in a 1,000-acre parcel below Na`alehu and move them to the oceanfront to create expensive lots for sale.
      According to a subdivision plan at the county Planning Department, the smallest lots would be long and narrow, side-by-side and closest to the ocean, with two of them just over six acres.
      The subdivision is being proposed by Waimea realtor Leslie Agorastos, of Clark Realty, and partners. The proposal involves taking existing lots within the larger parcel, some of them former family homesteads of Hawaiians, and moving them toward the coast to maximize property values. The largest lot, more than 500 acres, would be the most mauka.
      The issue will be taken up by the County Council at its meeting this coming Wednesday.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TEN CRIMINAL JUSTICE-RELATED MEASURES PASSED by the state Legislature are now law after receiving Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signatures.
      “As I said in my State of the State Address in January, ‘Crimes against our common humanity will not be tolerated in Hawai`i,’” Abercrombie said. “I commend the Legislature for addressing many areas of criminal justice as we work together to protect our citizens, especially our keiki.”
      Senate Bill 2687 extends the period by an additional two years that a victim of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against an abuser or entity with a duty or care, including the state and counties.
      House Bill 2034 removes the statute of limitations for criminal actions of sexual assault in the first and second degrees, as well as the continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.
      House Bill 1926 amends the offense of solicitation of a minor for prostitution and the offense of prostitution to include sadomasochistic abuse under the definition of sexual conduct, including clarification that a law enforcement officer shall not be exempt from the offense while acting in the course and scope of duties. This measure also amends the applicability of a deferred acceptance of a guilty or nolo contendere plea and clarifies sentencing of repeat offenders and enhanced sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders.
      Senate Bill 702, known as Alicia’s Law, establishes an Internet crimes against children special fund and an Internet crimes against children fee of up to $100 for each felony or misdemeanor conviction. Fees will be deposited into the special fund, which will be used by the Department of the Attorney General to combat Internet crimes against children. This measure also appropriates $62,500 into the new special fund.
      House Bill 1750 expands the offense of violation of privacy in the first degree to include the disclosure of an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person with intent to harm substantially the depicted person.
      House Bill 1993 requires a police officer to make a reasonable inquiry of witnesses or household members when physical abuse or harm is suspected and order a no-contact period of 48 hours. This measure also makes the commission of physical abuse in the presence of a family or household member under the age of 14 a class C felony.
      House Bill 2205 imposes a mandatory minimum term of one year imprisonment upon conviction of habitual property crime and authorizes probation only for a first conviction.
      House Bill 2038 establishes the human trafficking victims services fund to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide support and services to human trafficking victims. This measure also imposes human trafficking victim fees to be imposed upon persons convicted of labor trafficking and prostitution offenses.
      House Bill 1706 sets a fixed fine of $200 for parking a vehicle on a bicycle lane or pathway.
      Senate Bill 2591 requires additional information from county police departments in their annual report to the Legislature of misconduct incidents that resulted in the suspension or discharge of an officer. This measure also allows the disclosure of certain information regarding officer misconduct in cases that result in discharge, after 90 days have passed following the issuance of the decision.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Mazie Hirono congratulates Esther Kia`aina on her new position as
Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs. Photo from Office of Sen. Hirono
BY A UNANIMOUS VOTE OF THE U.S. SENATE, ESTHER KIA`AINA is U.S. Department of the Interior’s new Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs.
The Office of Insular Affairs coordinates federal policy in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It also administers U.S. federal assistance to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association.
      “President Obama recognized a tremendous individual for this important post in Esther Kia`aina,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “Her confirmation is a testament to her distinguished career and expertise on Native Hawaiian issues and land management. Esther is an exceptional addition to the Department of the Interior and will serve well as Assistant Secretary.”
      Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “The Senate’s overwhelming support for Esther’s nomination speaks to her strong qualifications to serve as DOI Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. I have no doubt she will serve with distinction and make Hawai`i proud.”
      Hirono had previously introduced Kia`aina’s nomination during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing last November.

 
      Prior to her nomination, Kia`aina served as the First Deputy Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for Hawai`i, a position she has held since 2012. Previously, she served as Chief Advocate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 2009 to 2011, and from 2007 to 2009, she was a Land Asset Manager for Kamehameha Schools’ Land Asset Division. Kia`aina served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Ed Case from 2003 to 2007. From 1999 to 2003, she was Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Rep. Robert Underwood. Kia`aina served as a Legislative Assistant for Sen. Daniel Akaka from 1990 to 1999.
      She received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Today is the last day that residents can sign up for help with electricity bills
at Old Pahala Clubhouse. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I COUNTY ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL continues its help with electric bills. Low-income families can sign up in Pahala today from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program is available at Ocean View Community Center today and Monday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
     For information for Pahala, call 936-8396. For Ocean View, call 936-9296. Na`alehu and other Ka`u residents can go to either location.

“COME ON DOWN TO KA`U AND JOIN THE FUN TOMORROW,” said Na`alehu Fourth of July celebration organizer Lee McIntosh. Na`alehu Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers a free pancake breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
      Local businesses, organizations and elected officials show their patriotism at this year’s Independence Day parade beginning at 11 a.m. The parade route begins at Na`alehu Elementary School and ends at Na`alehu Hongwanji Mission.
      Starting at noon, there are free games and food for the whole family at Na`alehu Park, with shave ice, hot dogs, a climbing rock wall, water slides and bounce houses for the kids to enjoy until 3 p.m.
      Entertainment will be provided by Keoki Kahumoku and the `Ukulele Kids, Keaiwa, Back to the ‘50s Trio, Hands of Time and Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko. 
      Bingo and lunch will be hosted at Na`alehu Hongwanji Mission for adults until 4 p.m. 
      For more information, visit okaukakou.org or call Debra at 808-929-9872.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.
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