Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, July 21, 2013

The State Public Charter School Commission is receiving testimony through tomorrow on the proposal to add the old Pahala Hongwanji
site to the Hawai`i Academy of Arts & Science. Photo by Julia Neal
WRITTEN TESTIMONY ON A PROPOSED CHARTER SCHOOL SATELLITE  of Hawai`i Academy of Arts & Science that would be located at Pahala Hongwanji is due by 3 p.m. tomorrow, Monday, July 22 by fax or email. Testimony on the proposal can be directed to the state Public Charter School Commission in Honolulu. Email kenyon.tam@spcsc.hawaii.gov or fax 808-586-3776.
      The commission’s Performance & Accountability Committee will meet on the issue this Thursday, June 25 at 2:30 p.m. at the state Public Charter School Commission Office at the Remington College Building, 1111 Bishop St., Suite 516 in Honolulu. Testimony will also be taken through phone conference at Kona Pacific Public Charter School Office at 79-7595 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua during the meeting on Thursday.
      Hawai`i Academy of Arts and Science, of Pahoa, is requesting the approval of Pahala Learning Academy as one of its satellite locations. The proposed teacher and site director is Kathryn Tydlacka, M.Ed. who previously taught at Na`alehu School. She said she expects about 35 seventh- and eighth-graders to sign up for the first semester of classes, which would begin on Aug. 16. According to pahalaacademy.org, the school “is hosted through the generosity of the Pahala Hongwanji and supported by contributions from `O Ka`u Kakou and many community benefactors.”
      Tydlacka said she has heard from many parents, some of them homeschooling their children, and some others sending students long distances to other charter schools, who would like their children to attend a Pahala Learning Academy. Some area parents and teachers have said that a Charter School would take away funding from the existing public schools in Ka`u, which already have small student-to-teacher ratios and enrollment as low as 20 students per grade.
      Funding from the statewide Department of Education is given to public schools based on their student population. Charter school locations through Hawai`i Academy of Arts & Science and the existing state Department of Education schools  in Pahala and Na`alehu are all public schools.
      Pahala Hongwanji is located on agriculture and residential property and, according to the county Planning Department, requires a use permit, legal notification of neighbors, a public hearing and approval by the Planning Commission to operate. The old schoolhouse on the grounds of Pahala Hongwanji was used for after-school and weekend classes in Japanese language, culture and religion into the 1960s. It was also used as a dojo for martial arts but has been unused for classes for more than a decade.

Noel Kawachi was one of many alumni to converge on the Pahala school
campus in 2006 to remember the good works of Laurence Capellas. A
group of alumni want the new gym to have a name that includes Capellas.
A GROUP OF KA`U HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES has launched a drive to include Laurence Capellas when naming the new Ka`u Gymnasium and Shelter in Pahala. Capellas wan an educator, principal and school sports enthusiast. According to a letter signed by former Ka`u football coach Bobby Barba and Ka`u High graduates Dorothy Silva Kalua, Carol Castillo Andrade and Priscilla Domondon Obado, “This man not only took part in the education of thousands of young people, he was instrumental in creating the foundation of our town, Pahala.” 
      The statement says, “It is our desire to have the name of the gymnasium/shelter to include an educator. This second-generation Hawai`i Island educator spent his life working with the youth of this island. He was the principal of Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School from 1946 to 1959. Before coming to Pahala he was the principal of Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate & Pa`auhau Elementary School, and following his time in Pahala he was principal of Hilo High School, where he continued to inspire and influence young people.”
      The statement says that Capellas “was the type of person who could envision what could be possible and inspire others.” It says his “leadership and influence went way beyond the walls of the school. The town we have today carries on the foundations inspired and established because of this man who worked tirelessly for others. Mr. Laurence Capellas recognized that confidence-building, decision-making, character-formation happened in and out of the classroom.”
A group of Ka`u High School alumni would like the new gym and shelter at the school to include the name 
Laurence J. Capellas.
        The group gives examples of his accomplishments, including the organization of people and the sugar company to build the Pahala swimming pool, organizing Little League, Pony League and Babe Ruth League baseball teams and helping to arrange for building the baseball field.
      According to the statement, “The boys played baseball barefooted until the seventh grade. Then somehow he got baseball shoes, but the shoes were turned in at the end of the season for the kids the next year.” He also found shoes for the track and field teams and acquired old equipment from the Armed Forces intramural program and Kamehameha School for the Ka`u football team.
      Capellas launched the basketball program. When he found there was no room in the gym for all the baseketball teams, he made the school cafeteria available for the younger players by installing bars to protect the cafeteria windows. He spearheaded construction of the tennis court and launched his version of summer fun, locating a bus and driving the students himself.
      The Ka`u High graduates, all from the class of 1959, the year of statehood, write that they “humbly ask that this man be remembered by naming the gymnasium/shelter in his name. If it were not for his works, his leadership, his caring, we would not be the people we are. The spirit of this town would not be the same. Although the youth in the school today do not know Mr. Capellas, we think they should know there have been such giving people – to Pahala and to the Island. He is a model. The youth should know whose shoulders they are standing upon….
      “Laurence J. Capellas was not a wealthy man donating funds, nor was he a president or a governor; he was a humble man who gave and who cared. We ask that this man and his values be honored.”
      The issue of naming the gym will be discussed by the County Council and county administration. The facility will be operated by the county Department of Parks & Recreation.

Lorie Obra took first place last night with her Rusty's
Hawaiian Coffee at the annual cupping competition
for the Hawai`i Coffee Association.
RUSTY’S HAWAIIAN 100 Percent Ka`u Coffee took first place for the Ka`u District during the fifth annual statewide cupping competition of the Hawai`i Coffee Association. Both second and third place were taken by Leo Norberte’s JN Farm. Ka`u sent 20 entries to the competition. The winners were announced last night during the convention held at Aqua Kaua`i Beach Resort.
      Ka`u Coffee Mill came in 10th in the Ka`u District and 12th in the state in the commercial division.
      Mountain Thunder Kona came in first in the commercial division in the state. Olson Keolanui Farm’s Hilo Coffee came in second in the state.  More complete Ka`u results and the statewide creative and commercial division results are expected soon from Hawai`i Coffee Association.

KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO PARTICIPATE in this week’s County Council Committee meetings Tuesday and the full Council meeting Wednesday from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site. 
      Committee meetings on Tuesday are as follows:
  • Public Works & Parks & Recreation at 9 a.m.; 
  • Finance at 9:15 a.m.; 
  • Governmental Relations and Economic Development at 9:45 a.m.; 
  • Environmental Management at 10:30 a.m.; 
  • Planning at 1 p.m.; 
  • Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability at 1:45 p.m. 
      County Council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. All meetings take place at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona.
      Agendas are available at hawaiicounty.gov.

Kaliko Trapp-Beamer is one musician who will lead a
three-day songwriting workshop next month.
Photo Courtesy of Kaliko Trapp-Beamer
A THREE-DAY HAWAIIAN MUSIC songwriting retreat for just $25 takes place at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4 with Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakane and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer. 
      The Friday, Aug. 2 workshop runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3 and Sun., Aug. 4 both begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.
      Advance registration is required. Contact Elizabeth Bell at 985-6019 or elizabeth_bell@nps.gov no later than Thursday, July 25.



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