Urgent Advisories & Town Meeting Schedule 2019

2019 WCA TOWN MEETING SCHEDULE:
5:15 – 7 p.m. – Waimea School Cafeteria
Always First Thursdays

September 5
October 3
November 7
No December Meeting

There is no charge to attend WCA Town Meetings and everyone is welcome. However, membership is encouraged and supports our not-for-profits’ modest operating expenses. (We are all volunteers so overhead is extremely low.)

WCA Membership: Dues $15/person; $25/family/year. Please join!

For more day-to-day news/events, visit our Facebook page.

‘Most Contentious Issue’ Facing Nov. 6, 2018 General Election Voters Tops Oct. 4 Waimea Town Meeting Agenda – Please join us!

Mahalo to all who participated in our Oct. 4 WCA Town Meeting!  

Civil Beat, the online Hawai’i news service that prides itself for its investigative reporting, calls a constitutional amendment on the 2018 Hawai’i General Election ballot that proposes establishing a new tax on investment properties to support public education “one of the most contentious issues to go before voters.”

While Hawai’i voters are being asked to vote a simple “yes” or “no” in the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election, many view the issue is more complicated than a simple up or down vote suggests.

Waimea Community Association’s 5:15 p.m., Thurs., Oct. 4, 2018 Town Meeting in Waimea School cafeteria will dig into the the proposed constitutional amendment, which reads simply: “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education?”

Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) is actively advocating for its passage, even creating and funding a Political Action Committee (PAC) with a half million dollars to communicate their views because they see it as an important first step toward improving public schools in Hawai’i by generating more funding for teacher salaries, special education, arts education and career and technical training.

“This is the best chance we’ve had in decades to actually fix our schools,” says HSTA President Corey Rosenlee, who will explain and speak in favor of the ballot amendment at the WCA Town Meeting.

Opponents, including both some in business and especially the four counties – including the County of Hawai’i – are concerned that it gives the state new taxing power that they insist rightfully belongs to the counties, and because of the vagueness of the proposal – that it does not specify which investment properties would be impacted.  Further, some are concerned that it comes without clarity about what exactly the new funding would be used for within the Hawaii Department of Education, and that it provides no guarantee that the new revenue would actually increase funding for DOE.  Could the legislature use this new revenue to replace what it currently authorizes for public education, leaving the DOE without a meaningful overall funding increase to make desired improvements?

Further adding to the uncertainty is the DOE’s and Board of Education’s decision to take “no position,” said DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

A factual review of how the proposed amendment might impact taxes for the County of Hawai’i will be shared by Lisa Miura, Administrator of the County of Hawai’i Real Property Tax Division.  Because she is not an elected official but rather, a civil servant, Miura will speak to possible tax consequences but will not be suggesting how to vote on the measure.

WCA’s discussion of the education-related constitutional amendment will include time for Q&A.

Also on the WCA Town Meeting agenda will be:

  • A brief update on County Council business by Waimeaʻs two members, Council Chair Val Poindexter and Dr. Tim Richards.

  • A public safety report by Waimea Community Policing Officer (CPO) Kelena Ho’okano, who will address recent home burglaries in and near Waimea and discuss burglary and theft prevention strategies.

  • An update on three construction projects underway by North Hawai’i Community Hospital. Presenters will be Dr. Gary Goldberg, ER Doctor, and Janet Crosier, Ambulatory Services Director. They will discuss the status of the much needed expanded Emergency Room, a new Primary Care Clinic and  new Orthopedic and Wound Care Clinic in Parker Ranch Center.

WCAʻs spotlighted community not-for-profit for the October Town Meeting will be Na Kalai Wa’a’s Hanauna Ola project to “Sustain the Generations through Voyaging.”  This project is to prepare the next generation of voyagers to sail in May-June 2019 to Papahanaumokuakea, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, including Nihoa and Mokumanamana.  The project also involves Hawai’i Island schools – including both Mala’ai school garden and the school-community of Kanu o ka ‘Aina — as well as communities around the island in “provisioning” the Makali’i for this voyage.

“If our kupuna were able to feed ourselves…can we as a community in this great modern day and age?  And, if we are able to feed 14 crew members breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month and a half, then we should be able to feed our own families and community,” say Na Kalai Wa’a leaders.

As always, WCA will pass the basket for donations to the spotlighted not-for-profit – Na Kalai Wa’a.  Also 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).

 

NEXT WCA TOWN MEETING:  Thurs., Nov. 1 – 5:15-7 p.m. – Waimea School cafeteria – Our First Responders MAHALO POTLUCKPlease plan to join us for what has become an annual WCA tradition to thank the first responders who protect us and save lives year-round!

There also will be an update on Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) activities throughout several recent Hawai’i Island emergencies and how to better mobilize the immediate community for future events.

All urged to attend the meeting and enjoy time with first responders and the potluck.  Please bring a dish to share and please bring a card describing ingredients, if possible. Paper products/forks, steaming hot Starbucks coffee and iced water will be provided.

 

No December Waimea Town Meeting

Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade – 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec 1, 2018

Theme:  “Honoring Our Teachers – Our Guiding Stars at Christmas and Always!” – see website page on parade for rules, application, liability waiver and narration form.  

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WCA’s Sept. 6, 2018 Town Meeting To Provide ‘Catch-Up” News That Impacts The Entire Community – Please join us!

Waimea Community Associationʻs Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 Town Meeting at 5:15 p.m. in Waimea School cafeteria includes a packed agenda of important “catch-up” news and introductions.

“Itʻs “catch-up” in nature because we devoted our June and July Town Meetings to Primary Election candidate forums,” said WCA President Patti Cook.

September presentations will include:

  • Hawai’i County Mayor Kimʻs Executive Assistant Roy Takemoto, who will present an interactive discussion of the details and thought process behind the County’s proposed $800+ million eruption disaster assistance package that is being presented to the State Legislature for funding assistance. The discussion will include how County leadership is trying to leverage the disaster for islandwide issues such as affordable housing and homelessness.  The Mayorʻs administration is asking the Legislature to hold a special session as soon as possible to act on their request due to the extensive harm and cascading impacts of recent volcanic activity. (Note: Some of the $800+ million is expected to be an “ask” of the federal government.)

Impacts and repair and recovery costs related to catastrophic flooding caused more recently by Hurricane Lane will also be discussed.

  • A brief update on County Council business by Waimeaʻs two Council members Val Poindexter and Dr. Tim Richards now that the election process has concluded.

  • An introduction of the new Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) Commander, LTC Loreto V. Borce.

  • An introduction of the new South Kohala Police Captain Sherry Bird, who was assigned to the station August 1, 2018.

  • An introduction of Waimea Middle School’s new Principal Janice English.

  • An update on the October opening of a Waimea branch of Hamakua-Kohala Health Center in Carter Professional Center.  A community-owned not-for-profit, Hamakua-Kohala Health is a federally qualified health center, which receives funds from the federal government to provide patient-centered quality primary health care.  This includes all people who face barriers in accessing services because of poverty, language or cultural differences or an insufficient number of health professionals or resources in the area.  Hamakua-Kohala Health has had offices in Honokaʻa and North Kohala for many years, and recently opened a new office in Laupahoehoe.

WCAʻs spotlighted community not-for-profit for the September Town Meeting will be the Waimea Outdoor Circle, which among its many community initiatives is the volunteer backbone and workforce that created and now sustains and guides continuing improvements to Waimea Nature Park – Ulu Laʻau.

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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‘Big Picture’ & ‘Nitty Gritty” of Residential Photo Voltaic To Possibly Reduce Costs and Carbon Footprint Tops Waimea Town Meeting Agenda Thurs., Aug. 2, 2018

WARM MAHALO to our Aug. 2 Town Meeting PV Panel Presenters — it was an extremely informative meeting!  

We’ll have an update soon on our next WCA Town Meeting soon – 5:15 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 6, 2018 – Waimea School Cafeteria.  In the meantime, PLEASE VOTE on or before Sat., Aug. 11, 2018 in the Hawai’i Primary Election!   Walk-in Absentee Voting continues this week, Mon-Thurs., Aug. 6-9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Waimea Community Center – next to Waimea Park.  Bring photo ID…you may also walk in, REGISTER and VOTE these days and on Election Day too!  On Election Day you must go to your precinct poll.  

The high cost of residential electricity continues to consume many throughout North Hawai’i and the state.  What is the current status of residential alternative energy opportunities – how do they work, what’s the process, what can individuals, families and businesses do to minimize their electric bills or hedge future electric bills…and reduce their carbon footprint?  And what’s the downside?

Waimea Community Association’s 5:15 p.m., Thurs., August 2, 2018 Town Meeting in Waimea School Cafeteria will feature a three-member panel to address both “the big picture” and specifics that are relevant to photo voltaic for residential customers.

All three panelists have a major stake and experience in the electrical energy business.  They include Jay Ignacio, President of HELCO, Marco Mangelsdorf, President of Provision Solar, and Roland Shackelford, Vice President of Renewable Energy Services.

A recent Pacific Business News interview with Mangelsdorf “frames” the conversation regarding the status of solar/photo voltaic opportunities in Hawai’i now that the days of net energy metering are history.

“While the incentives to go solar PV are less now than in the past, and the challenges to connect to the grid can be patience-testing, the stars do align from so many different angles to encourage more and more solar going in across our isolated and vulnerable island chain.  We’re still dangerously dependent on sources of energy coming from thousands of miles away.  The trend line for the cost of oil goes nowhere but up despite the ostensible miracle of fracking and other enhanced extraction techniques.  Successive governors, legislatures, mayors, the PUC, our electric utilities and consumers are all supportive of making our islands more energy independent, secure and renewable.  I have absolutely no doubt that solar PV will continue to play a very large part in that quest,” said Mangelsdorf.

The panel presentation will begin with Ignacio presenting an overview of HELCO’s power generation facilities – its transmission and distribution network, typical islandwide power consumption – where power is generated and where it is consumed, and how it fluctuates throughout the day.  He will discuss fossil and non-fossil fuel sources and firm and intermittent sources, and how a residential customer can connect to the HELCO grid, or be independent of their grid.  He also will comment on the utility’s responsibility to provide power and the oversight and requirements of the Public Utilities Commission regarding rates and services.  Ignacio also will include insight into steps HELCO has taken to account for the deficit in not having access to 38 MW of geothermal power from PGV.

Then Mangelsdorf and Shackelford will explain the services that their respective companies can provide to the residential customer, and the various programs that HELCO offers for grid connected systems, as well as those that are independent of the HELCO grid – dependent on battery storage.  They will discuss the assessment process, preliminary design, construction cost estimate, permitting, funding options, construction time required, and dedication/interconnection to the HELCO grid.  They also will talk about current tax credits, and the typical savings expected on the average residential monthly electrical bill and will touch on the future of alternative energy for Hawai’i.

Also on the subject of alternative energy opportunities, but separate from the panel discussion, will be a brief update on Parker Ranch’s new Paniolo Power partnership with Innergex Renewables USA and their collaborative response to a HELCO request for proposal (RFP) for a 30 MW PV project with battery storage backup.

As with all Waimea Town Meetings, the program will begin with a brief update on a valuable community not-for-profit.  This month it will be the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center (HWC), located in North Kohala, which is dedicated to protecting, conserving and aiding in the recovery of Hawai‘i’s native wildlife through hands-on treatment, research, training, science education and cultural programs. The HWC is the first organization of its kind exclusively for native Hawaiian wildlife and provides state-of-the-art care and rehabilitation to all species of native birds and bats from throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike a zoo or preserve, the HWC focuses on treating and rehabilitating sick, injured and oiled wildlife for release back into the wild. In additional to wildlife care, the HWC also provides professional wildlife rescue and response training throughout the Pacific region as well as public education and outreach programs for students and visitors.

“The wonderfully unique animals that we work with have both a local, cultural importance as well as a profound global significance. Hawai‘i holds a great deal of the world’s biodiversity in its islands and it is our hope that the work we do and the stories we share will play a role in preventing the extinction of more native Hawaiian species,” said HWC’s Linda Elliott.

As always, WCA Town meetings include a public safety briefing by Waimea Community Policing.

Everyone is welcome to Waimea Town meetings and there is no charge to attend though membership in the association is urged.  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 information, go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or email Patti Cook: cookshi@aol.com

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VERY IMPORTANT: North Hawai’i Candidate Forum Thurs., July 12, 2018 Spotlights ‘Local’ Races in All Important Aug. 11 PRIMARY ELECTION

WARM VERY MAHALO to our candidates and community for making this forum a very productive learning experience for all!   Mahalo, too, to our “speed dating” table facilitators, moderator Sherry Bracken, timer Terri Greenwell and HPA for welcoming us to use Taylor Commons dining hall.  

Remember:  Hawai’i’s Primary Election Day is Sat., Aug. 11, 2018.  Many local races will be decided in the PRIMARY — so everyone is encouraged to please VOTE on or before August 11.

The published deadline to register to vote in the Primary was July 12, however, the Hawai’i State Legislature has now authorized voter registration on election day.  However, early registration is recommended, and in fact, is required to receive a mailed absentee ballot.

Voter registration forms are available online at https://olvr.hawaii.gov. You must provide a Hawaii Driver’s License or State ID, and your Social Security Number when registering. Voters may also submit by mail a paper Voter Registration & Permanent Absentee Application.  Go to: http://elections.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/Voter-Registration-and-Permanent-Absentee-Application_Form-Fillable.pdf to download the form.

Early walk-in voting will begin July 30 at Waimea Community Center on Kawaihae Road and also in Hilo, Kailua-Kona and Ka’u.

The County Clerk will send mailed absentee ballots to voters beginning about July 23.

2018 Hawai’i Elections Information:  VOTE! 

Questions:  Call County of Hawai’i Clerk Stewart Maeda (961-8277)

To find your polling place: https://olvr.hawaii.gov/altpollingplacesearch.aspx

Important Dates:

July 30:      Primary – Early Walk-in begins – Hilo, Kona, Ka’u and Waimea Community Center

Aug 4:        Primary – Deadline to request absentee mail ballot (7 days prior to the election)

Aug 9:        Primary – Early Walk-in Voting ends

Aug 11:      Primary Election Day (7 a.m.-6 p.m.) 

Oct. 9:        General – Deadline to register (see note above)

Oct. 23:      General – Early Walk-in begins – Hilo, Kona and Waimea Community Center

Oct. 30:      General – Deadline to request absentee mail ballot (7 days prior to the election)

Nov. 3:       General – Early Walk-in Voting ends

Nov. 6:       General Election Day (7 a.m.-6 p.m.)

 

WAIMEA ‘SPEED DATING’ FORUM FOCUSES ON 5 RACES WITH CANDIDATES THAT NORTH HAWAI’I VOTERS NEED TO KNOW WHEN VOTING IN THE AUGUST 11 PRIMARY ELECTION

In Hawai’i, most major election decisions are made in the Primary and this is certainly true for North Hawai’i for the rapidly approaching Sat., Aug. 11, 2018 Primary Election.  While there are candidates for both parties in three of the key “local” races, which means these races will not be final until the November General Election, it’s possible that some of the “local” races will be decided by mid-August.

WCA’s 2016 Primary Election Forum at HPA

Also, with all the uncertainty facing the County of Hawai’i with the damaging eruption impacting not just lower Puna but many residents and businesses islandwide due to displaced people, vog and other emissions, a slowdown in tourism, and businesses and farms forced to close or shorten hours, coupled with longer term issues such as balancing the County budget, plus wide ranging concerns at the State and federal level, there’s a great deal at stake in Hawai’i’s Primary Election.

Also, there are several first-time candidates for voters to get to know.

To help North Hawai’i voters learn first-hand about the candidates that will appear on the August 11 Primary ballot, Waimea Community Association is again collaborating with several community groups to co-host a candidate forum from 5 to 8 p.m. Thurs., July 12, 2018 in Hawai’i Preparatory Academy’s Taylor Commons – the upper campus cafeteria.  Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the program will begin right at 5.

Partnering in the forum are Waimea’s Lalamilo Farmers, Waimea Middle School, Keck Observatory, Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope, Kailapa Community Association, South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee, North Hawai’i Rotary and Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders Association.

All North Hawai’i voters are invited to meet and talk with the candidates for the offices of U.S. House of Representatives Congressional District 2 (which represents all neighbor islands and windward O’ahu), State Senate Dist. 4 (Hamakua-Waimea-North Kohala-Kawaihae-Puako-Waikoloa-North Kona), State House Dist. 7 (Waimea-North Kohala-Waikoloa to North Kona), and County Council District 1 (Hamakua Coast to Waimea’s White Road) and District 9 (from Waimea’s White Road west through the rest of Waimea to Kawaihae-North Kohala-Puako-Waikoloa-North Kona).  All of the 13 candidates who have filed for these seats have been invited and most have confirmed.

The forum will be facilitated by newswoman Sherry Bracken, who will begin the program with candidates introducing themselves and sharing their reasons for seeking public office, and also their top priorities for the North Hawai’i district and island.  Then, candidates will participate in a “speed dating” format that involves candidates meeting with small groups of voters to discuss issues and answer questions.  These small group sessions will be timed, and then candidates will move on to meet with the next small group.  In the course of the evening, all candidates will have spent time with all attendees.

Community leaders are being recruited to captain each of the small groups to ensure as many questions or issues as possible are addressed.

“Waimea has hosted candidate forums since the 1970s and we appreciate that candidates make time to come meet with North Hawai’i voters and get to know more about us,” said Patti Cook, WCA President.

“Our community likes the ‘speed dating’ format because they say it helps them get to know candidates on a more personal basis.  Participants say that ‘speed dating’ lets them convey their priorities and concerns and also hear candidates’ views, what they know and how they think,” said Cook.

“The format also helps candidates get to know more about the priorities and concerns of voters,” she said.

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VERY IMPORTANT: 2018 Governor & LG Candidate Forum – Thurs., June 14, 2018 – 5-8 p.m. – Please join us!

To introduce voters to candidates for Governor of Hawai’i, to enable candidates to get to know Waimea’s and North Hawai’i’s issues, priorities and concerns, and to encourage voting in the all-important August 11, 2018 Primary Election when many Hawai’i races are expected to be effectively decided, Waimea Community Association (WCA) and several community groups are collaborating to co-host a candidate forum from 5 to 8 p.m. Thurs., June 14, 2018 in Waimea School Cafeteria.

All North Hawai’i voters are invited to meet and talk with the candidates for Governor.  All of the current 13 candidates who have filed by the June 5 candidate deadline have been invited.  At present, there are six Democratic Party candidates, three Republican candidates, two  Nonpartisan candidates and one Green Party candidate.  Not all have confirmed.

In the race for Lt. Governor, there are five Democratic Party candidates, four Republican candidates, two Nonpartisan candidates and one Green Party Candidate.  Not all have confirmed.

The forum will be facilitated by newswoman Sherry Bracken, who will begin the program with candidates introducing themselves and sharing their reasons for seeking the highest public office in the state, and also their top two priorities for the North Hawai’i district and island.  Then, candidates will participate in a “speed dating” format that involves candidates meeting with small groups of voters to discuss issues and answer questions.  These small group sessions will be timed, and then candidates will move on to meet with the next small group.  In the course of the evening, all candidates will have spent time with all voters.

Community leaders are being recruited to captain each of the small groups to ensure as many questions or issues as possible are addressed.

“Waimea has hosted candidate forums since the 1970s and we sincerely appreciate that candidates are willing to make time to come meet with North Hawai’i voters and get to know more about us,” said Patti Cook, WCA President.

“Our community likes the ‘speed dating’ format because they say it helps them get to know candidates on a more personal basis.  Participants say that ‘speed dating’ lets them convey their priorities and concerns and also hear candidates’ views, what they know and how they think,” said Cook.

Hawai’i’s Primary Election Day is Sat., Aug. 11, 2018.  The published deadline to register to vote in the Primary is July 12, however, the Hawai’i State Legislature has now authorized voter registration on election day.  However, early registration is recommended, and in fact, is required to receive a mailed absentee ballot.

Voter registration forms will be available at the forum and are available online at https://olvr.hawaii.gov. You must provide a Hawaii Driver’s License or State ID, and your Social Security Number when registering. Voters may also submit by mail a paper Voter Registration & Permanent Absentee Application.  Go to: http://elections.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/Voter-Registration-and-Permanent-Absentee-Application_Form-Fillable.pdf to download the form.

Early walk-in voting will begin July 30 at Waimea Community Center on Kawaihae Road and also in Hilo and Kailua-Kona.

The County Clerk will send mailed absentee ballots to voters beginning about July 23.

Waimea Community Association is planning a second Candidate Forum prior to the Primary from 5-8 p.m., Thurs., July 12, 2018.  This forum will feature candidates for Hawai’i State Senate Dist. 4 (Hamakua-Waimea-North Kohala-Kawaihae-Puako-Waikoloa-North Kona); State House District 7 (Waimea-North Kohala-Kawaihae-Puako-Waikoloa-North Kona); and County Council District 1 (Hamakua Coast to Waimea’s White Road) and County Council District 9 (from Waimea’s White Road through Waimea to Kawaihae, North Kohala-Puako-Waikoloa-North Kona).

Healthy snacks will be provided at both forums by hosting organizations including Waimea’s Lalamilo farmers and there also will be complimentary Tropical Dreams Ice Cream.  Hot coffee will be provided by Starbucks – Waimea.

Hawai’i’s General Election will be Tues., November 6, 2018 and all public schools will be closed that day to facilitate elections.

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

2018 Hawai’i Elections Timeline:

Questions?  Call County of Hawai’i Clerk Stewart Maeda (961-8277)

What’s New – 2018 Voting: To increase voter participation, Hawai’i residents can now walk in, register and vote on both Primary and General Election Days.  To do so, residents must present a valid photo ID (Driver’s License or State ID), and a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government issued document that shows your name and address).

To find your polling place: https://olvr.hawaii.gov/altpollingplacesearch.aspx

July 12:      Deadline to register for Primary (see note above)

July 30:      Primary – Early Walk-in begins – Hilo, Kona and Waimea Community Center

Aug 4:        Primary – Deadline to request absentee mail ballot (7 days prior to the election) 

Aug 9:        Primary – Early Walk-in Voting ends

Aug 11:      Primary Election Day (7 a.m.-6 p.m.) 

Oct. 9:        General – Deadline to register (see note above)

Oct. 23:      General – Early Walk-in begins  – Hilo, Kona and Waimea Community Center

Oct. 30:      General – Deadline to request absentee mail ballot (7 days prior to the election)

Nov. 3:       General – Early Walk-in Voting ends 

Nov. 6:       General Election Day (7 a.m.-6 p.m.)

 

NOTE:  

ELECTION OFFICIALS MAILING ABSENTEE APPLICATIONS TO VOTERS AFFECTED BY THE LAVA (In Puna)

Posted on May 21, 2018 in News Releases

Pearl City, May 21, 2018 – The State Office of Elections and the Hawaii County Elections Division will be mailing Absentee Applications to over 6,000 voters assigned to Pahoa Community Center (04-03) and Pahoa High/Intermediate (04-04) due to the uncertain nature of the volcanic eruption in lower Puna.

Voters can use the Absentee Application to request a mail ballot for the 2018 Elections or to update their address if they have relocated. Completed applications should be submitted to the Clerk’s Office at 25 Aupuni Street, Room 1502, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

Election officials will continue to monitor the situation to ensure affected voters are able to cast their ballot for the upcoming elections. Hawaii Revised Statutes §11-92.3 allows polling places to be consolidated or designated absentee mail precincts during states of emergency.

Additionally, the Hawaii County Elections Division will be providing outreach by visiting evacuation shelters in Pahoa to provide voter information to affected residents.

For additional information about absentee voting, contact the Hawaii County Elections Division at (808) 961-8277. The Primary Election is on Saturday, August 11 and the General Election is on Tuesday, November 6.

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Pursuit Of Non-Fossil Fuel Energy Options, Little Fire Ants & Girl Scout Camp Kilohana Top Waimea Town Meeting Thurs., May 3, 2018 – 5:15 p.m.

MEETING RECAP:  Mahalo to North Hawai’i News/West Hawai’i Today for this recap of our recent WCA Town Meeting re: exciting renewable energy possibilities for our region and island!  Mahalo to our presenters.

http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2018/05/07/north-hawaii-news/paniolo-power-co-forms-partnership-with-innergex-renewables-usa-await-response-from-helco-on-submitted-proposal/

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT:

The pursuit of alternatives to burning fossil fuel, the need to get serious about stopping the spread of Little Fire Ants and a community-driven push to restore Girl Scout Camp Kilohana will top the agenda for the Waimea Community Association’s 5:15 p.m., May 3, 2018 Town Meeting in Waimea School Cafeteria.

Attendees are invited to bring possible fire ants they may have found on their property or in potted plants from other parts of the island – frozen please – to be put under a microscope and identified.  This is the best way to be sure they are nasty little fire ants, say experts with the Little Fire Ants Hui and Big Island Invasive Species Committee.  The meeting will include a briefing on Little Fire Ants and what to do if located.

Also included on the agenda will be briefings about two unrelated projects that both involve the pursuit of renewable energy options — Google’s Makani energy kite pilot project and Parker Ranch’s new Paniolo Power partnership with Innergex Renewables USA.

As always, meetings include a briefing on Hawaii County Council business and community safety by Community Policing.

All are welcome.  For more information, go to www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or email Patti Cook: cookshi@aol.com

FOR MORE ABOUT GOOGLE’s MAKANI WIND KITE:  https://x.company/makani/

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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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