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Waimea Town Meeting Will Focus on 2019 Plan

December 30, 2018, 2:07 PM HST
* Updated December 31, 10:53 AM
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The Waimea Community Association January meeting will focus on plans for 2019.

Change, challenges and opportunities for the new year will be the focus of the next Waimea Community Association’s Town Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at 5:15 p.m.

Meeting highlights will include:

  • An overview of the 2019 Hawai‘i State Legislature with Sen. Lorraine Inouye, and newly-elected state Rep. David Tarnas. They will talk about legislative leadership reorganization due to the 2018 elections, committee assignments and community priorities and will be asking input and providing guidance on how best to communicate ideas, suggestions, funding requests and concerns throughout the coming session, which begins Wednesday, Jan. 16.
  • A glimpse of the newly sworn in 2019 Hawai‘i County Council with re-elected members Val Poindexter and Dr. Tim Richards discussing council organization, committee membership and community and island-wide issues and priorities.
  • Insight and details about an important new law, called the “Our Care, Our Choice” Act—also known as the Death With Dignity law passed by the 2018 Legislature and signed into law by Gov. David Ige that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. Katherine Werner, Executive Director of North Hawai‘i Hospice, will discuss this new choice available in Hawai‘i as a palliative care option. She will review the carefully designed requirements mandated by the new law for an individual who must first be diagnosed with a terminal illness and determined to have six months or less to live and be of sound mind, able to make this kind of decision. Werner also will introduce Katherine Cross, a long-time Waimea resident who is Hospice’s new Volunteer Manager.
  • Waimea’s Community Policing Officer (CPO) Kelena Ho‘okano providing an update on the spate of vandalism that rocked the community this past October-November, causing damage at Waimea Park, Waimea churches, schools, Ulu La‘au Nature Park, businesses, the hospital, Waimea’s Firehouse Gallery and to cars parked near Canada France Hawai‘i Telescope headquarters and the Waimea Senior Center.
  • Introduction of Waimea’s new Family and District Court Judge Mahilani Hiatt, a long time Waimea lawyer who may be better known in the community for her youth sports coaching than her legal expertise. Judge Hiatt appointment to the bench was confirmed by the Hawai‘i State Senate this past summer, and she has recently handled several high profile cases including a trespassing incident involving 13 University of the Nations students and staff caught in a flash flood on Parker Ranch/Anna Ranch lands that required heroic, life-endangering rescue efforts by this island’s first responders.
  • A quick overview of the services and supports available to the community from the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center by Dennis Boyd.
  • A briefing on two airlines’ response to the US Department of Transportation’s Request For Proposals to provide federally subsidized Essential Air Service (EAS) to Kamuela Airport for the residents of North Hawai‘i. Presentations will be made by both Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air. The discussion will include each of the airlines’ service proposal, cost and community “match” as required now by relatively new federal rules related to subsidized service to airports such as Kamuela’s that are less than 40 miles from a major hub.

“Waimea and all of North Hawai‘i feel very strongly about wanting to do all we can to encourage the County, State and federal governments to work together with us to maintain the subsidy program to ensure that our Waimea airport is functioning and in top condition,” said Patti Cook, WCA president.

“We will not be voting on which of the two airlines should be selected by the USDOT; we leave this to individual residents to express their preferences and concerns,” said Cook. “But we will definitely be asking the county to again provide the essential “match.” We are extremely grateful that the county council and administration—with some community financial support—came through with a $20,000 subsidy for the past year, and hope to see this continue.”

Community members are urged to attend the meeting to share their views, ask questions and be better prepared to communicate with lawmakers and the USDOT.

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“The agenda is very full because there is so much happening that is time sensitive; we will start the meeting early—at 5:20 p.m. and it might run until 7:15,” said Cook.

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Membership is not required to attend WCA Town Meetings but is encouraged. It’s $15 per year for individuals; $25 per year for families or businesses and is a tax deductible donation to the extent permitted by law.

Hot coffee will be provided, compliments of Starbucks, and cookies or a light snack will be donated by WCA board members.

WCA will continue to hold monthly town meetings throughout 2019 on the first Thursday of each
month except in July when the meeting will be held on the second Thursday, July 11, 2019, to
avoid Independence Day celebrations.

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The meeting will be located at the Waimea School cafeteria, 67-1225 Māmalahoa Highway in Kamuela.

For more information, visit the Waimea Community Association’s website, call Cook at (808) 937-2833 or email [email protected].

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