Urgent Advisories & Town Meeting Schedule 2017

2018 WCA TOWN MEETING SCHEDULE: 5:15-7 p.m., First Thursdays - usually in Waimea School Cafeteria (unless notified):

NOTE: WCA will host two Primary Election Candidate Forums this year. Please save these dates:

Thurs., June 7, 2018 will be a Gubernatorial & LG Candidates Forum - 5 p.m., Waimea School Cafeteria.

Thurs., July 12, 2018 will be a "Speed Dating" Candidate Forum at 5 p.m. at HPA's Taylor Commons featuring candidates running for U.S. Congress District 2, State Senate, State House and Hawai'i County Council. Please mark your calendar and join us!

Hawai'i's Primary Election is Sat., Aug. 11, 2018. Most major races will be decided that day. New election laws permit individuals to walk in and register to vote up until Aug. 11.

UNIQUE ASPECTS OF ‘RESTLESS’ MAUNA LOA TO BE EXPLORED AT WAIMEA TOWN MEETING THURS., APRIL 5, 2018 – 5:15 p.m. – Waimea School Cafeteria

Mauna Loa ‘Eruption Not Expected’ But Important To Know Geology & History Of This Massive Volcano

Waimea is not located on the slopes of Mauna Loa, which is the largest volcano on Earth and comprises more than half of the surface area of Hawai’i Island.  But the unique geology and history of this nearby “restless” volcano will be in the spotlight at Waimea Community Association’s 5:15 p.m., Thurs., April 5, 2018 Town Meeting in Waimea School cafeteria.

While the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS-HVO), which is responsible for monitoring Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes, does not expect Mauna Loa to erupt in the near future, it is, HVO scientists say, time for Hawaiʻi residents to learn more about the massive volcano in their backyard and become aware of its potential hazards.

Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS-HVO, will describe the eruptive history and current status of Mauna Loa during the April 5 meeting. Informative USGS Fact Sheets and other informative handouts will also be available.

The mammoth volcano’s history is fascinating. According to a recent HVO “Volcano Watch” article, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843, most recently in 1984. All 33 eruptions began at the summit of Mauna Loa – with about half of them starting and staying in the volcano’s summit area. Of the remainder, about 24% of the eruptions started at the summit and then migrated down Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone, sending lava flows toward Hilo. Another 21% started at the summit and then migrated to lower elevations along the volcano’s Southwest Rift Zone, sending lava flows toward Ka‘ū and South Kona.

Equally significant is the fact that Mauna Loa eruptions produce large, fast-moving lava flows that can travel from the vent to the sea in a matter of hours. For example, during the 1950 Mauna Loa eruption, lava flows that erupted from vents high on the Southwest Rift Zone reached the ocean in South Kona in only three hours.  Along the way, the flows severed roads and utilities, disrupted communications and travel, repaved the flanks of the volcano with large ‘a‘ā flows, and emitted copious amounts of volcanic gas that greatly diminished air quality downwind of the vent.

In 2015, the Volcano Alert Level for Mauna Loa was elevated from “Normal” to “Advisory” due to increased seismicity and deformation. While Mauna Loa’s earthquake and swelling rates have slowed in recent months, they are still above the pre-2013 rates and could increase again, so for now, the volcano’s alert level remains at “Advisory.”

In addition to the unique geologic characteristics of Mauna Loa is the fact that the population of Hawai’i Island has essentially doubled since Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption in 1984 – almost 34 years ago.  So, a generation of kama’aina (Hawai’i-born residents), as well as malihini (island newcomers) have not experienced a Mauna Loa eruption, which can produce large, fast-moving ‘a’a flows.

For example, during the 1984 eruption, Mauna Loa erupted in about 20 minutes the same volume of lava that Kilauea erupts, on average, in one day.  A 1950 Mauna Loa lava flow traveled 13 miles from its Southwest Ridge Zone to the South Kona coast in just over three hours.  In contrast, the 2014 Kilauea lava flow that threatened Pahoa took four months to travel a similar distance.  So, experiencing Kilauea pahoehoe flows does not necessarily prepare the public for Mauna Loa ‘a’a flows.

“Given the volcano’s past eruptions and recent unrest, it’s wise to talk about Mauna Loa now – well before an eruption is about to happen.  Thus, we are informing residents about the eruptive history, hazards, and current status of earth’s largest active volcano,” said HVO.

“Our challenge is to increase awareness of Mauna Loa and how to prepare for a future eruption without creating unnecessary anxiety.”

Neal began her USGS career in 1983 at USGS-HVO, studying the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption and preparing updated geologic maps of Kīlauea’s summit and Southwest Rift Zone. In 1990, she joined the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), where she conducted geologic mapping and studied eruptions and unrest at more than a dozen Aleutian volcanoes. From 1998-2000, she served as the first Geoscience Advisor to the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. From 2005–2015, Neal led USGS-AVO’s cooperative work with volcanologists at observatories in the Russian Far East.  Then in March 2015, she returned to HVO as Scientist-in-Charge, focusing on staff development and support, monitoring of Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions, and preparing for the next eruption of Mauna Loa.

Joining Neil for the presentation will be geologist-educator Janet Babb, who came to Hawai’i in 1990 from New Mexico to spend a summer volunteering at HVO and ended up moving to the island.  She continued to volunteer part-time at HVO while teaching geology at UH-Hilo, and then established private guided hikes on Kilauea.  She joined HVO as a full time geologist in 2008.  Her primary duties are public information, media and educational outreach.

Also on the WCA Town Meeting agenda will be a brief update on Waimea’s Domestic Violence Action Committee (DVAC), which started holding monthly victim support gatherings after the community held a vigil here in late 2016 in response to numerous incidents of domestic violence.  DVAC involves the County Prosecutor’s Office, Waimea Community Policing and many volunteers and serves Waimea, Waikoloa and North Kohala.  DVAC, under the leadership of CPO May Lee with the South Kohala police station, recently succeeded in helping establish issuance of temporary restraining orders (TROs) by the South Kohala family court.  The group is currently working to secure grant and private donor funding to hire a domestic violence “navigator” to support victims in securing needed supports.

DVAC, which is part of Friends of the Future, will be WCA’S spotlighted nonprofit for April.

As always, there is no charge to attend WCA Town Meetings and everyone is invited.  Membership in WCA is encouraged and runs $15 for individuals and $25 per family per year.

For more info, go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833).

 

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Special Waimea Town Meeting Requested By Mayor Harry Kim To Dissect Possible General Excise Tax Increase

Waimea Community Association has agreed to hold a second town meeting during the month of March – from 6-8 p.m., Mon., March 12, 2018 at Anna Ranch on Kawaihae Road — at the request of Mayor Harry Kim to discuss a possible 0.5% increase in the General Excise Tax (GET).

The meeting will be facilitated by WCA for Mayor Kim and County Finance Department Staff led by Deanna Sako to share data related to the county budget and proposed tax increase.  There will be time for questions and answers.

The proposed increase was triggered by Hawai’i County budget shortfalls coupled with a bill passed by the Hawai’i State Legislature during a special session this past summer to resolve how the state would fund monumental expenses for Honolulu’s rail system.  The bill that passed – over the objection of most Hawaii County Legislators – permits a portion of the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) collected from Hawai’i County hotels to be used by the state to pay for Honolulu’s rail.  The bill also allowed each County to opt to increase the GET to make up for the loss of TAT revenue.

Increasing the GET for Hawai’i County has been hotly contested at recent County Council meetings in large part because the County recently increased both its fuel tax and property taxes.  Further, the GET is seen as highly regressive in that it more directly impacts individuals and families with low and fixed incomes.

At the March 12 meeting, County Finance staff will review the island’s overall budget including projected costs for hauling trash to the West Hawai’i landfill as well as potential funding options for the still being finalized County Mass Transit Plan that estimates costs to significantly improve the Hele On bus system, which is suffering from severely aging equipment.

The current bill authorizing the County to raise the GET by 0.5% expires the end of March but the 2018 State Legislature appears poised to extend this deadline to early summer.  A bill to do this has passed the State Senate; as amended, the bill would give more leeway in what the increased revenue could be used for in addition to transportation-related expenses.

The Waimea meeting will be the last of a series of community meetings requested by Mayor Kim around the island.

Everyone is welcome to all Waimea Town meetings and there is no charge to attend though membership in the association is urged.  Dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and as a not-for-profit 501(c)3, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more info: go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

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EDITOR’S NOTE – Monday, March 5, 2018:    

MARCH 12, 2018 SPECIAL WAIMEA TOWN MEETING RELOCATED TO ANNA RANCH!

We have had to relocate our 6-8 p.m., Mon., March 12, 2018 special Waimea Community Association Town Meeting to Anna Ranch on Kawaihae Road instead of Waimea School cafeteria. 

We sincerely appreciate the kokua of Anna Ranch in making this possible.  This is in keeping with their “living history museum” mission and vision of being a cultural, historical and environmental community resource center for educating Hawai’i island residents and visitors about Waimea’s rich heritage, while also serving as a lovely place for family weddings and special occasions. 

There’s plenty of parking at Anna Ranch both in the paved lot and on the grass just inside the main gate and we will have volunteers there to help expedite parking.  You may want to bring a flashlight. 

Mahalo!

 

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Thurs., March 1, 2018 Town Meeting: ‘Blowing Clouds’ Panel Discussion & Update on Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death – 5:15 pm – Waimea School Cafeteria

Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) – or e-cigs – are not “new” but they’ve exploded on the scene in Waimea with now three operating vape shops including a “vaping lounge” near three schools.  Also, some Waimea schools report a sharp increase in students bringing to campus vaping paraphernalia, which the State Department of Education considers “contraband” at Hawai’i public schools. 

Like cigarettes, ESDs are kapu on K-12 school campuses and the number of confiscated items that have resulted in suspensions is on the rise.  Further, as of 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1.78 million school kids had at least tried e-cigarettes.

So what exactly is an ESD?  And what does it mean in terms of health and wellness for North Hawai’i, where many volunteers are working together to become a “Blue Zone Approved” region – a place where residents live longer better due to healthier choices that are supported by public policies, programs, services and infrastructure.    

Uncertainty about e-cigs – and numerous phone calls from Waimea families alarmed about the close proximity of a vape shop to several schools – prompted Waimea Community Association to plan a panel discussion themed “Blowing Clouds – Getting Smart When It Comes to Vaping” as the main agenda item at its 5:15 p.m., Thurs., March 1, 2018 Town Meeting in Waimea School Cafeteria.

The March 1 town meeting panel discussion about vaping will include two Waimea vape shop operators, plus Dr. Gary Goldberg, Chief Medical Officer at North Hawai’i Community Hospital, Kohala Elementary School Principal Danny Garcia, Sally Ancheta with Hawai’i Public Health Institute and a representative of Hawai’i County law enforcement. 

The discussion will include recent scientific studies about the “popcorn effect,” and the use of e-cigs in combination with tobacco products and cannabis. 

Also on the agenda will be an update on Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death (ROD), which has now been confirmed in the Kohala watershed. Corie Yanger, ROD Educational/Outreach Specialist with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture will share details related to ROD samples from a single private property in Kohala that are confirmed to have Ceratocystis Sp. A, the more virulent of the two species currently found in Hawai’i ʻōhiʻa.  She will share the latest strategies to prevent the spread of ROD and what is being done. 

As always, there will be a brief County Council business update and public safety report by a Waimea Community Policing Officer. Starbucks will provide coffee and the association board will provide cookies.

Everyone is welcome to Waimea Town meetings and there is no charge to attend though membership in the association is urged.  Dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and as a not-for-profit 501(c)3, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

WCA will help facilitate a second Waimea town meeting during March to discuss a 0.05% increase in the General Excise Tax proposed by Mayor Harry Kim and that the County Council is considering.  The meeting will be from 6-8 p.m., Mon., March 12, 2018 in the school cafeteria.  Mayor Harry Kim and staff from the County Finance Department will share data related to the county budget and proposed tax increase.

For more info: go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.  

 

NOTE:  SPECIAL WAIMEA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION TOWN MEETING WITH MAYOR HARRY KIM RE: PROPOSED GENERAL EXCISE TAX INCREASE:  6-8 p.m., Mon., March 12, 2018.  Waimea School Cafeteria.  Meeting facilitated by WCA for Mayor Kim and County Finance Department Staff to discuss 0.05% increase in the GET proposed by the Mayor and that the County Council is considering.  Please note a change from our usual meeting time.  Mayor Kim and staff will share data related to the County budget and proposed tax increase.  There will be time for Q&A.  All invited.   

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Thursday, Feb. 1 Waimea Town Meeting To Focus On Medical Cannabis Business Here In Lalamilo Farmlots – All Invited

Medical cannabis has been legal in Hawai’i since 2000, but access to medical cannabis was challenging.  Initially the Hawai’i law enabled patients and caregivers to legally grow their own plants within certain parameters.  Then in 2015, the State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law Act 241, which became codified as Chapter 329D of the Hawai’i Revised Statutes, to establish a dispensary licensure program to make medicinal marijuana products readily available for registered patients while balancing the health and safety of patients and the public.

Today in Hawai‘i, eight licensees have received permission to operate dispensaries for licensed medical cannabis patients.  Two such licensees have been authorized for Hawai’i Island – including one group that will source its flower from Waimea. One of the companies, known as Hawaiian Ethos, has plans to open their first dispensary in Kona in Spring and a second dispensary in Hilo later this year. Both dispensary locations will offer the full range of products that are allowed by Hawaii State regulations including flower, tinctures, tablets and capsules in a variety of dosages.

The Hawaiian Ethos team is led by Interim CEO Luis Mejia and COO Zachary Taffany.

Representatives of Hawaiian Ethos have been invited to the 5:15 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 1, 2018 Waimea Community Association Town Meeting to provide an overview of their plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawaii Island patients.

The Hawai’i State Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has regulatory responsibility for Hawaii’s dispensary licensure program to ensure patient safety, public safety, and product safety, and to ensure licensee compliance with state law. This includes statewide oversight of the laboratories that test the safety and quality of the cannabis and manufactured cannabis products, and onsite inspections and monitoring of licensed dispensaries that grow, manufacture, and sell medical cannabis products to qualifying patients.

All that being said – this new “ag” business in Waimea has drawn widespread community interest – hence the town meeting presentation.

As always, there is no charge to attend though membership in the association is urged and dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and because the organization is a not-for-profit, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

As with all WCA Town Meetings, the program will begin with Hawai’i County Council members providing an update on Council business, and Community Policing Officer Kelena Ho’okano reporting on recent incidents and community safety concerns.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s much needed Emergency Room expansion project which seeks to raise about $1 million from the local community – to be matched with $24 million from other public and private sources, including $1.5 million from the 2018 State Legislature. As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit organization.

Starbucks will provide steaming hot coffee and the association board will provide cookies.

For more info:  www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

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‘Local’ Issues Top Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 Waimea Town Meeting Agenda

At a time when “Think Global, Act Local” seems particularly meaningful, Waimea Community Association’s 5:30 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 4, 2018 Town Meeting will do just this – discuss issues and priorities facing the 2018 Hawai’i State Legislature that are particularly relevant to Waimea and Hawai’i Island.

As always, the meeting will run from 5:15-7 p.m. in Waimea School Cafeteria and everyone’s welcome.  There is no charge to attend though membership in the association is urged and dues for 2018 are due. Annual WCA membership is $15 for individuals and $25 for families, and because the organization is a not-for-profit, dues are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Leading the discussion of the 2018 Legislative landscape for Hawai’i will be State District 4 Senator Lorraine Inouye and State House District 7 Rep. Cindy Evans.

Sen. Inouye will discuss her commitment to prioritize a $1.6 million Capital Improvement Project (CIP) request for the 2018 Legislative budget to purchase the vacant lot adjacent to the Waimea Elementary School (WES) and Waimea Middle School (WMS) campuses and Kamuela post office.  She is also prioritizing a Senate Resolution to urge the United States Post Office to expedite relocation of the Kamuela Post Office to a site in or near town with sufficient land area to ensure adequate parking in decades to come. The resolution will ask Hawai’i’s Congressional delegation to assist with expediting the relocation.

The vacant lot targeted for purchase is owned by Parker Ranch, which has allowed school families and staff, post office patrons and others in the community including Kahilu Theatre patrons to park on the gravel — often flooded — lot due to inadequate parking in the immediate area.  However, the ranch recently announced it must sell the parcel to fulfill other obligations to its beneficiaries.  This triggered widespread community concern.

Based on community input, including WMS teachers and staff during a recent State Senate Ways and Means Committee tour of the school, and also input Sen. Inouye has received from WES families and staff, Waimea Community Association, South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, and conversations with the general community over the urgent need for additional parking, she has informed Parker Ranch that she will be asking her legislative colleagues to buy the lot, even though the state Department of Education has not prioritized this land acquisition.

The ranch expects to put the commercially zoned vacant lot on the market before State CIP funding can be secured and released, but Sen. Inouye is nevertheless hopeful that legislative action will secure funding in time to enable purchase of the land.

“The land is critical to the safety of children.  Given Waimea’s frequent rainy weather and the fact that over time, the schools have become completely land-locked, families with little ones, in particular, urgently need parking as close as possible to leave their cars and walk children to preschool and kindergarten classes.

“Waimea Elementary has been fortunate to secure a number of new funding partnerships that are providing expanded preschool programming – and I think the more, the better for these children.  But there is no place to park that’s close and safe.  Several of the programs require families to walk their child into the classroom and sign them in, and then to return to personally sign them out.  Others require parents to participate in the program.  Parking isn’t optional; it’s a must,” she said.

“The lot acquisition also would relieve parking needed by post office patrons every single day,” she said.

Sen. Inouye said her rationale for purchasing the vacant lot adjacent to the school is primarily based on the fact that the State will not be building another school in Waimea; the safety of children and families, teachers and staff, and the entire community is jeopardized by the lack of parking and safe access to the elementary and middle school campuses.  A proposal to locate school parking south of the middle school’s new STEAM Learning Center is not appropriate for the safety of children, families, teachers or staff,” she said.

Sen. Inouye’s initial CIP request will be for land acquisition so it is a first-step; additional funding will be required for engineering, environmental planning and paving.

“I am very grateful to the families, teachers and staff at both Waimea schools, and also to the Waimea community organizations for advocating for the safety of children and getting serious about relocating the post office.  I am happy to work with them to find solutions,” said Sen. Inouye.

Sen. Inouye also is prioritizing a $1.5 million CIP contribution to help expedite expansion of the North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital Emergency Room.

“NHCH is critical to almost every household in my Senate District – from North Kona to North Kohala and most of Hamakua — and itʻs slammed with patients.  Adding to the pressure on the ER have been many serious traffic accidents.  NHCH is a private hospital operated by Queens, but it is a community health lifeline that needs and deserves public funding support,” said Sen. Inouye.

Joining Waimea’s current state legislators for the town meeting will be former State Sen. Andy Levin, who is again expected to serve as the County of Hawai’i’s legislative liaison during the 2018 session.  Levin will talk about the County administration’s priorities for the coming session and how the community can support these issues.

Also participating in legislative forecasting will be State Department of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright, who will address a variety or ag-related issues of concern to Waimea farmers.  This includes discussing the state’s food self-reliance priorities.  Hawai’i Gov. David Ige has set a statewide goal of doubling local food production by 2020, and Enright will talk about this and also anticipated changes and requirements imposed on local farmers and food producers by the still unfolding 2011 federal Food Safety Modernization Act.

As with all WCA Town Meetings, the program will begin with Hawai’i County Council Chair Val Poindexter providing an update on Council business, and Community Policing Officer May Lee reporting on recent incidents, community safety projects and coming events including regular bi-monthly meetings of a newly formed Waimea Domestic Violence Action Committee.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be North Hawai’i Hospice, which will provide a brief update on their programs and services. As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit organization.

For more info: www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

NEXT WAIMEA TOWN MEETING: 

  • Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 – 5:15-7 p.m. Hawaiian Ethos – the licensed medical marijuana producers/distributors here in Lalamilo Farmlots.

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Federal Essential Air Service Subsidy for Waimea/Kamuela (MUE) Airport To Be Discontinued Jan. 16, 2018

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 (11:14 am PST):  The US Department of Transportation today issued an Order that extends the current contract for the provision of Essential Air Service (EAS) for Kamuela/Waimea (MUE), through January 15, 2018, and, terminates the EAS subsidy effective January 16, 2018.

Message received from Kevin Schlemmer

 Chief, Essential Air Service & Domestic Analysis Division

United States Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave SE

Washington, DC 20590

Kameula HI_EAS_Order 2017-11-7_FINAL

News Update – West Hawaii Today – Sat., Nov. 25, 2017:

http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/mokulele-we-re-committed-waimea

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MAHALO TO OUR COMMUNITY’S FIRST RESPONDERS!

Waimea hosted a very nice mahalo gathering and potluck for our community’s first responders at the Nov. 2 WCA Town Meeting. 

“It was wonderful to take time to honor these men and women who put their lives in danger on our behalf on a daily basis.   The Fire Department — both County and volunteers — were in attendance, as were local Police officers and PTA fire fighters.  And even the pilots, nurse and staff w/ Life Flite, who insist they aren’t “first responders” but who are there when someone very sick or injured needs an airlift to Maui or Honolulu.  Also joining us were the group of Marines who came and helped with the Anuenue Playground “Build!” last week, and PTA Commander Marquez recognized them by giving each a medal, which is a big deal in the world of protocol.  Mahalo everyone for attending and bringing wonderful food to share with all.   Lucky we live Waimea!” 

                                                                                                         — Nancy Carr Smith, WCA Officer 

 

PS:  Mahalo, too, to the Daniel Sayre Memorial Foundation for sharing their 20-year story about their commitment to raising funds to provide our island’s firefighters and emergency responders with both essential equipment and training!  As they say…it takes a village!  Mahalo to Frank and Laura Sayre who, in honoring the memory of their son, are doing so much to save lives all around Hawai’i Island!  

 

First Responders Mahalo Potluck Nov. 2!   

For a third year, WCA invites all to join in honoring our community heroes — our first responders — with a Mahalo Potluck Gathering.  Please mark your calendar and join us to convey gratitude to these everyday community heroes including the volunteers who step up to help protect us in emergencies!

WCA will provide plates, utensils, napkins, cups, cold drinks and a big pan of steamed  rice.  And…Waimea  Starbucks will provide steaming hot coffee…and Tropical Dreams will donate ice cream.

Please join us and bring a potluck dish to share.

 

Why we do this:  

“The chain of survival” in the event of a health or safety emergency or natural disaster rests largely on the shoulders of our community’s first responders – police, fire, and EMTs and a few others including the flight crews that frequently are called upon to air ambulance individuals to Maui or Honolulu for care.  While many of these individuals humbly insist “we get paid,” these men and women often are called upon to go above and beyond, putting themselves at great risk to save and protect others.

However — Hawai’i County, State and federal first responders often point to the more than 300 community volunteers who step forward islandwide to help in emergencies.  They say it’s these volunteers who really deserve recognition.

Waimea Community Association thinks that both volunteer and paid first responders are unsung heroes, so the association for a third year is planning a mahalo potluck gathering at 5:15 p.m., Thurs., Nov. 2, 2017 in Waimea School Cafeteria to thank these men and women.

All North Hawai’i first responders – including volunteers and spouses – are invited and community members are urged to please join in and bring a potluck dish to share.  The association will provide plates and utensils, steamed rice, non-alcoholic beverages, and ice cream for dessert donated by Waimea’s Tropical Dreams Ice Cream.

“These individuals are community heroes and this is a very simple mahalo to acknowledge their compassion and skills in saving lives,” said Patti Cook, Waimea Community Association President.

As with all WCA Town Meetings, the program will begin with Waimea’s two Hawai’i County Council members – Chair Val Poindexter and Member Dr. Tim Richards – providing an update on Council business, and Community Policing Officer Thomas Koyanagi will report on recent incidents, community safety projects and coming events.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be the Daniel Sayre Memorial Foundation, which was founded by the family of a young man who perished falling into a steep ravine in North Kohala and County fire and rescue units went above and beyond to recover him.  This inspired his family to established a 501(c)3 to support the Hawai’i County Fire Department and the Hawai’i Island community they serve.  The foundation recently held its 20th annual awards program, where they honored nine Hawai’i Island fire department personnel for meritorious service and also continued their fundraising for equipment and training for county first responders.  To date, the Sayre Memorial Foundation has raised almost $2 million to purchase equipment and training for Hawai’i Island first responders.

Mrs. Laura Sayre, mother of the late Daniel Sayre, will speak and share two short videos that tell the story about two extraordinary first responder incidents last year.  She also will report on the foundation’s involvement with an anonymous donor purchase of a 4×4 Bulldog firetruck for the Waimea fire station.  This $313,000 off-road fire truck has been ordered by the Foundation – working collaboratively with fire department staff.  It will take about a year to be custom built.

As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this not-for-profit organization.

The entire community is invited to WCA Town Meetings.  There is no charge but membership is encouraged.

For more info:  www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

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FOLLOW-UP ON OCTOBER TOWN MEETING AT HPA ENERGY LAB: 

A warm MAHALO to HPA for hosting an amazing WCA Town Meeting Oct. 5, 2017.  The presentations by Dr. Bill Wiecking, Director of the Energy Lab, and his students about STEAM-focused, hands-on research projects were amazing and inspiring!  After a brief overview of HPA’s amazing science-technology center explaining among other things how and why the facility was recognized by the “Living Building Challenge,” students shared projects ranging from exploring re-inventing a prosthetic hand imbedded with Blue Tooth devices that “talk to” a headset that monitors brainwaves,  hydroponics on Mars, cyber security, VR Mapping, use of drones for problem solving, and creation of an Air B&B Check-In app, to a computer repair project.  Totally awesome!

West Hawaiʻi Today News Coverage – Monday, Oct. 2, 2017: 

http://westhawaiitoday.com/north-hawaii-news/nhn-news/wca-october-town-meeting-relocates-hpa-energy-lab-explore-steam-and

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FOLLOW-UP ON SEPTEMBER TOWN MEETING ON HOMELESSNESS: 

Mahalo to all who attended WCAʻs September Town Meeting on Homelessness and Houselessness.  Special thanks to the panel for sharing a wide ranging perspective on this complicated, challenging, heartbreaking issue thatʻs very much here in our community as well as across the state and country.  No easy solutions but our goal was learning more about how to help one person, one family at a time and some very good suggestions were shared.   Also, thereʻs excellent – mostly volunteer – work already going on here in Waimea and North Hawaiʻi and we thank each of these volunteers, churches, businesses and individuals for “walking the walk.”  

They welcome our help — please consider lending a hand or otherwise contributing.

Perhaps one of the best things to come of the evening was generating even more conversation and collaboration between faith-based groups, non-profits, and our public officials.  Also, there was clear evidence of a shared community “will” to continue working together on this.  

This includes each of us specifically being asked to help the organizations involved by being their “eyes and ears.”   If you know of someone who is homeless or houseless, or who is perilously close to becoming so, please reach out to Hope Services — this is our primary point of contact – Brandee Menino – 938-3050 (or one of their staff).  

If the individual is a Veteran, thereʻs even more help available right here in Waimea — an experienced outreach counselor is here on the ground in our community every day of the week and has resources to assist.   (This is rather new and something to cheer for!) 

Also, Big Island Giving Tree continues to do amazing outreach and these volunteers led by Rhonda Bell are making a difference…and welcome your help.  

Here are key contacts:

Hope Services:  Brandee Menino 938-3050

Big Island Giving Tree:  Rhonda Bell 937-9439  (texting works too)

Veterans Administration – Kona:  David Willard 329-0574

Community Policing – May Lee 887-3080

County of Hawaii – Special Assistant to the Mayor on Homelessness Lance Niimi 961-8866 or 938-2694

Care Hawaiʻi – Jeramy Madrid 990-4079 or 327-6500

Weekly Community Meal @ St. James – Tim Bostock 382-3290 or eat@sthameshawaii.org

Annunciation Catholic Church Food Pantry – Ann Lum 885-0879

Kokua Christian Ministries – Weekly Lunch on Wednesdays – Laurie Ainslie – 885-6144  (a collaboration of Mana Christian ʻOhana, Imiola Congregational Church and New Hope Christian Fellowship)

Bottom line: There are no easy answers, but please reach out if you know of someone who needs assistance. 

Also, please talk to your elected representatives – County, State & Federal – (candidates too as we approach the 2018 elections) to be sure they know that addressing homelessness and houselessness is a community priority.  

There will be more on this in coming weeks/months.  

PS: Special kudos to our WCA Board members Mike Donnelly, Frankie Pang and Nancy Carr Smith for organizing last nightʻs Homelessness panel discussion.  They personally invested a lot of time in getting to know more about this.  Thanks, too, to North Hawaiʻi News Editor Landry Fuller and writer Chris Dunlap for their news features in West Hawaii Today that have helped educate us about homelessness and raise awareness.

News Coverage in West Hawai’i Today:
 http://westhawaiitoday.com/north-hawaii-news/nhn-news/helping-one-family-time-services-solutions-homeless-and-houseless-shared

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Sept. 7, 2017 Waimea Town Meeting: Exploring How Our Community Can Make A Difference For The Homeless

5:15 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 7, 2017 – Waimea School Cafeteria

A panel discussion discerning the range of issues around homelessness and houselessness with presenters deeply involved, experienced and committed to helping our community explore how we can make a difference.  

Homelessness, houselessness, and individuals and families struggling on the edge are increasingly of major concern throughout the state, and it’s true right here in upcountry Waimea.

But what exactly is homelessness?  What are the causes?  And how do we help?  Is it good to give money to people begging on the corner?  What should we do – or not do?

It doesn’t take long to learn that it’s a very complex issue – there are multiple causes and variable, potential solutions, and what might work with one person, may not for others.  But it’s heartbreaking and worrisome, and our community wants to do all that is possible to improve the situation.

So what should Waimea be doing about this?  What is already in motion – programs, projects, possible strategies?  And what more is needed?

WCA Board members have talked about and been approached on the issue for the past several months and decided we as a community need to understand the issues better and how better than to hear from those who work with and for homeless and struggling families every day and every week.  For some, it’s their passion – to help the less fortunate.  For others, it’s their job.  No matter why they’re involved, it’s challenging.

Thus, the 5:15 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 7 Waimea Town Meeting in Waimea School Cafeteria will facilitate a panel discussion exploring the range of issues around homelessness with presenters who are deeply involved, experienced and committed to making a difference.

Panel members will include Lance Niimi, who is Hawaii County’s leader on homelessness from the Office of Housing; Rhonda Bell with Big Island Giving Tree, a non-profit that provides a range of support and assistance for homeless individuals and families; Brandee Menino, CEO of Hope Services, a not-for-profit funded by the state and private donors that provides a wide array of outreach services, Jeramy Madrid, an experienced community-based case manager for homeless needing mental health services, Waimea Community Policing Officer May Lee, Tim Bostock, a volunteer co-leader of the every-Thursday Waimea Community Meal at St. James; and David Willard with the Veterans Administration.

Facilitating the panel with WCA Vice President Mike Donnelly, who has helped coordinate the presentation with WCA Board Secretary Nancy Carr Smith and WCA Director Frankie Pang.

All presenters are being asked to describe the services and assistance their organization provides, and then to share specific calls to action for the community.

The spotlighted community non-profit for the evening will be the Food Pantry at Annunciation Catholic Church.  Ann Lum, who is the program’s volunteer lead for the church’s every-Tuesday morning pantry, will share insight into their experience and how it has evolved.  The program is supported by a host of congregation and community volunteers and donations.  As has become a monthly custom at town meetings, attendees will be encourage to make a tax deductible donation to this program.  .

As always, the entire community is invited to WCA Town Meetings.  There is no charge but membership is encouraged. 

 

Also as always, Waimea’s two Hawai’i County Council members will provide an update on Council business and Community Policing Officer May Lee will report on recent incidents and coming events.

Steaming hot Starbucks and cookies will be provided.

More info: www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com

 

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August 3, 2017 Waimea Town Meeting To Welcome Home Waimea Members of the Hokule’a Worldwide Voyage!

Mahalo to Waimea’s own Hokule’a crew members for a most memorable presentation!  You make us soooooo proud!  

(L-R) Captain Pomaikalani Bertelmann and Navigator Ka’iulani Murphy — both of Waimea — brought home the Hokule’a on its final leg of the worldwide voyage.  Capt. Pomai along with PWO Navigator Chadd Paishon and other Waimea crew members from throughout the 42,000-mile voyage will join us to reflect on the experience, lessons learned and what to expect moving forward.                                                                                — Photo Courtesy of the Polynesian Voyaging Society

5:15-7 p.m., Thurs., Aug. 3, 2017.  Waimea School Cafeteria – Please join us! 

This will be a memorable meeting to welcome home Waimea members of the Hokule’a worldwide voyage crews!   Waimea PWO Navigator and Capt. Chadd Paishon, Capt. Pomaikalani Bertelmann and other Waimea crew members will share reflections about the 42,000-mile Malama Honua worldwide voyage — “Ah, ha!” moments, challenges, life lessons, global climate and environmental observations, cultural encounters and more.  They also will talk about coming voyages. 

Also providing brief updates will be:

1) North Hawaii Community Hospital President Cindy Kamikawa, RN, and Dr. Natalie Kehau Ah-Yin Kong, a new-to-Waimea Family Practice Obstetrician

2) County Council member Dr. Tim Richards

3) Community Policing Officer May Lee   

4) South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee Chair James Hustace will provide a brief overview of a recent community survey about perspectives, issues and concerns related to traffic safety in the South Kohala district.

There is no charge and everyone is welcome; WCA membership is suggested. 

Steaming hot Starbucks coffee and cookies will be provided.  More info:  www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com

 

Future Town Meetings: 

Thurs., Sept. 7, 2017 – 5:15-7 p.m. – Our Homeless and Houseless – A Panel Discussion Discerning The Range of Issues And What’s Being Done…Where Are the Gaps?  

Thurs., Oct. 5, 2017 – 5:15-7 p.m. – HPA eLAB Student Presentation. Note: Meeting moved to HPA upper campus.)

Thurs., Nov. 2, 2017 – 5:15-7 p.m. – Annual Waimea First Responders Mahalo Potluck Dinner – All invited – please bring a potluck item to share! WCA will provide plates, utensils, napkins and cups!

 No December Town Meeting to prepare for the 57th Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade – 5:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 2, 2017

Thurs., Jan. 4, 2018 – 5:15-7 p.m. – 2018 Legislative Preview

 Thurs., Feb. 1, 2018 – 5:15-7 p.m. Briefing by Hawaiian Ethos – the licensed medical marijuana producers/distributors here in Lalamilo Farmlots.

 

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Special Waimea Town Meeting: Tuesday, July 11 To Discuss North Hawaii Community Hospital

The affiliation of North Hawaii Community Hospital and The Queen’s Health Systems, as well as quality of care, available services, finances, and community expectations, will be the focus of a special Waimea Community Association Town Meeting at 5:15 p.m., Tues., July 11, 2017, in Waimea School Cafeteria.

The entire community is invited.

Leading the discussion will be Art Ushijima, Chair, North Hawaii Community Hospital Board of Trustees, and President and CEO, The Queen’s Health Systems, who will be joined by Cindy Kamikawa, RN, President, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Dr. Gary Goldberg, who is the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Lyn Lam, who is the hospital’s Ambulatory Services Medical Director. They will discuss Queen’s affiliation and quality of care, vision and mission, the evolving healthcare landscape, hospital staffing challenges and progress, physical facilities upgrades, addressing community needs, and clarifying expectations.

The entire meeting will be dedicated to North Hawaii Community Hospital; there will not be any other presentations.  There will be time for questions and answers.

The meeting is being facilitated by Waimea Community Association, which hosted a series of community discussions in 2013 and 2014 when the hospital was experiencing severe financial challenges including questions about its ability to meet payroll, specific areas of care provided, and the condition of the aging facility, coupled with needed upgrades of internal systems and equipment. Community concerns also included a rapidly growing challenge to handle the volume of patients in the emergency room.

Info: www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

News Coverage of the 7/11/17 Town Meeting: 

Image may contain: 7 people, people sitting and indoor

WHT – July 12, 2017 — http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/queen-s-nhch-administrators-face-questions-concerns-community-meeting

Hawaii News Now – July 13, 2017 – http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/35873304/waimea-community-and-queens-meet-over-concerns-at-north-hawaii-community-hospital

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Pohakuloa Training Area Update Tops Waimea Town Meeting Agenda Thurs., July 6, 2017

June 28, 2017 Pohakuloa Training Area Groundbreaking – Courtesy of US Army.

5:15-7 p.m., Thurs., July 6, 2017.  Waimea School Cafeteria.

This month’s meeting will feature an update on Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) by Cmdr Christopher Marquez to include current training activities at PTA, the recently started $26 million construction of septic and storm water systems as the first phase of a long-term facilities improvement (not expansion) plan, and a mutual aid agreement for firefighting, emergency response and law enforcement.  There will be time for questions.

This month’s spotlighted community service organization will be the United Services Organization (USO), which recently had one of its storage containers at Kawaihae broken in to and kayaks, snorkel gear, fishing poles, tackle boxes, paddleboards, food and an ‘ukulele and guitar were stolen – equipment used for recreation for troops training at PTA.  We will pass the hat to help with replacement of this gear – checks can be made payable to the USO and are tax deductible.

As always, Waimea’s two Hawai’i County Council members will provide an update on Council business and Community Policing Officer May Lee will report on recent incidents and coming events, including a Sat., July 15, 2017 9 a.m.-noon volunteer work day at Waimea Nature Park to remove underbrush and growth that shelters an encampment on park land behind Longs.  The community is urged to kokua with the work day.  Equipment including chain saws, weed wackers and heavy duty clippers would be helpful but not essential.  A chipper is being donated for the work day by Rainy Day Landscaping.

There is no charge to attend WCA Town Meetings and everyone is welcome; membership is suggested.  Steaming hot Starbucks and cookies will be provided.

More info; www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com

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PŌHAKULOA TRAINING AREA – JULY 2017 UPDATE:  Military units are scheduled to conduct various types of training here that may be heard or observed by surrounding communities.  This monthly schedule is produced to alert neighbors of upcoming training activities that are louder in nature and may be heard outside the military installation. This information is provided for general awareness and may not include all training activity; times and dates are subject to change:

  • July 5-11 (Army): Helicopter gunnery.

  • July 7-Aug. 6 (Army): Mortar live-fire training.

  • July 17-31 (Army): Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations.

  • July 31-Aug. 5 (Army): Artillery live-fire exercises.

The military in Hawaii appreciates the understanding and continued support of its local military training. To report concerns related to noise or training, contact the PTA Public Affairs Officer, Eric Hamilton, either by calling (808) 969-1966, or emailing eric.m.hamilton6.civ@mail.mil. For monthly PTA training updates, email eric.m.hamilton6.civ@mail.mil with the subject line: “Subscribe Training”.* * * * *

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SPECIAL WAIMEA TOWN MEETING:   TUES., JULY 11  TO DISCUSS NORTH HAWAII COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

The affiliation of North Hawaii Community Hospital and The Queen’s Health Systems, as well as quality of care, available services, finances, and community expectations, will be the focus of a special Waimea Community Association Town Meeting at 5:15 p.m., Tues., July 11, 2017, in Waimea School Cafeteria.

The entire community is invited.

Leading the discussion will be Art Ushijima, Chair, North Hawaii Community Hospital Board of Trustees, and President and CEO, The Queen’s Health Systems, who will be joined by Cindy Kamikawa, RN, President, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Dr. Gary Goldberg, who is the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Lyn Lam, who is the hospital’s Ambulatory Services Medical Director. They will discuss Queen’s affiliation and quality of care, vision and mission, the evolving healthcare landscape, hospital staffing challenges and progress, physical facilities upgrades, addressing community needs, and clarifying expectations.

There will be time for questions and answers.

The meeting is being facilitated by Waimea Community Association, which hosted a series of community discussions in 2013 and 2014 when the hospital was experiencing severe financial challenges including questions about its ability to meet payroll, specific areas of care provided, and the condition of the aging facility, coupled with needed upgrades of internal systems and equipment. Community concerns also included a rapidly growing challenge to handle the volume of patients in the emergency room.

The entire meeting will be dedicated to North Hawaii Community Hospital; there will not be any other presentations.

Info: www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com.

Questions may be submitted ahead of time by emailing lscully@queens.org but there will be a Q&A session at the meeting.

 

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3 HIGH IMPACT ISSUES FOR NORTH HAWAI’I SHARE TOWN MEETING SPOTLIGHT

Thursday, June 1, 2017 – 5:15-7 p.m. – Waimea School Cafeteria

 

Three high impact issues on quality of life in North Hawai’i will share the spotlight during Waimea Community Association’s Town Meeting this Thursday in Waimea School cafeteria.

Scope of the meeting will range from the latest scientific findings and concerns regarding Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death (ROD) – most notably how to prevent it from spreading into North Hawai’i watersheds, to projected environmental-social-cultural impacts of extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (aka Saddle Road) further west to Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, to Hawai’i county rules, enforcement and advocacy around liquor control.  As always, everyone is welcome to WCA Town Meetings and there is no charge though membership is encouraged.

Staff from Hawai’i County Liquor Control will begin the evening by reviewing the division’s responsibilities, educational advocacy around safety and abuse prevention, and also enforcement activities.

Then, planner Ron Terry will briefly review the published Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Saddle Road Extension and the approaching June 7, 2017 deadline for comment to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control Commission (OEQC).  Copies of the DEIS are in all public libraries including the Thelma Parker Memorial Library here in Waimea.  It is also accessible online by selecting the April 23, 2017 edition of the OEQC Environmental Notice at: http://health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/   Comments about the DEIS may be sent to Hawaii State Department of Transportation, 869 Punchbowl Street Room 301, Honolulu HI 96813 or email Darell.young@hawaii.gov.  Info: Call Darell Young (808-587-1835).  Or consultant Ron Terry (808-969-7690) or email rterry@hawaii.rr.com.

Terry will quickly review the DEIS process and findings for what is projected to be a $63-74 million project, depending on the final route.  There is, at present, no established construction timetable. Approx. 80% of the funding is expected to be provided by the federal government.

The final portion of the meeting will be Dr. Flint Hughes, a respected Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service, who will share the latest research, policy decisions and recommendations to control spread of ROD.  Dr. Hughes will continue to share specific strategies for the North Hawai’i community to become meaningful “protectors of the Kohala forest” which, to date, does not appear to have been infected.

As always, County Council members will provide an update on Council business.  This month’s featured not-for-profit will be Kipuka o ke Ola (KOKO) with Dr. Claren Kealoha Beaudet and Dr. Franco Acquaro, Ph.D., providing an update on this federally accredited Independent Rural Health Clinic that focuses on addressing Native Hawaiian health disparities.  KOKO’s mission and program intents to seamlessly blend care from numerous health practices including primary care services, psychological services, and psychiatric services.  KOKO expects in the near future to add traditional Native Hawaiian healing arts (laʻau lapaʻau, lomi lomi, and hoʻoponono) to its array of services.

As always at WCA Town Meetings, steaming Starbucks coffee and cookies will be provided.

Info: www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook (937-2833) or email cookshi@aol.com

 

IMPORTANT ADVISORY:  The South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee is conducting a ‘Community Traffic Safety Priorities Survey’ to gather information from individuals and businesses of South Kohala to better understand community needs when it comes to road and traffic safety issues. Results will be shared with interested parties, especially elected officials and State and County employees.  Everyone is asked to take a few minutes to respond to this survey:  https://goo.gl/ZL3N9C

Questions:  Please contact SKTSC Chair James Hustace:  sktscsecretary@gmail.com  (920) 540-3983

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