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‘Game-Changers’ to Be Featured at Waimea Community Meeting

June 3, 2019, 12:32 PM HST
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The Hale Kuawehi solar-plus-battery-storage partnership with HELCO and Parker Ranch, now approved by the Public Utilities Commission, is one of several “game changers” on the June 6, 2019, Waimea Community Association Town Meeting agenda.

The meeting will be held from 5:15 to 7 p.m. in the Waimea School cafeteria.

The PUC-approved Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for Innergex’s Hale Kuawehi solar project will reduce the cost of electricity with a 25-year fixed rate of 0.09 per kilowatt hour. This price, which will be charged to customers with no mark-up or profit to the utility, is significantly lower than the cost of electricity on Hawai’i Island produced by burning fossil fuel, which is currently about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and expected to continue climbing.

As important, the project will replace the burning of nearly 500,000 barrels of fossil fuel and avoid production of 180,000 tons of green house gasses over the 25-year life of the project.

At the June town meeting, Innergex team members will review ongoing archaeological, environmental and technical studies that will help inform the final design layout and construction of the project.

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Continuing the “game changing” theme, two community-initiated programs to support safe, healthy keiki, will be spotlighted.

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Waimea Athletics will be the not-for-profit for the June meeting. Established by a group of parents and volunteer youth coaches, Waimea Athletics helps support and maintain a wide array of youth sports including volleyball, basketball, soccer, rugby, football and baseball. Working in close collaboration with the County Department of Parks & Recreation, Waimea Athletics provides scholarships to fund equipment, coaching and competitive games. It also provides scholarships for kids unable to meet financial requirements to play in youth leagues. Looking forward, Waimea Athletics hopes to provide athletic scholarships to graduating high school seniors for post-secondary education.

Two years ago, Waimea Athletics adopted the Waimea Fall Festival—also called Pumpkin Patch—as a community partner event to provide both a fun safe day for families and help many other sports and school groups and community organizations fundraise. The 2019 Fall Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Waimea District Park Complex.

Also, a briefing will be presented about an unlikely partnership between two Waimea not-for-profits—KALU and Baby Steps To Stronger Big Island Families—both of which were awarded federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Center “after-hours” youth programming grants.

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For a second summer, the two will join forces to provide two, three-week summer sessions for kindergarten through eighth grade from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering 64 classes ranging from academics and technology, to performing and visual arts, to sports and hands-on
activities.

The program also includes breakfast, lunch and snacks daily as well as multicultural learning experiences. It currently has nearly 200 children registered from all Waimea schools including public, private, public charter and homeschoolers—also a “game changer” in that it provides an opportunity for many of the community’s children to build new, lasting friendships that cross school lines.

Also contributing to this summer youth partnership is the collaborative involvement of four
Waimea restaurants that will prepare lunches, and North Hawai’i Community Hospital, which
will prepare USDA-approved breakfasts.

The WCA Town Meeting agenda will also include an update on Hawai’i County business
including current county budget discussions by Councilmember Dr. Tim Richards. Waimea
Police Captain Sherry Bird will introduce newly appointed Community Policing Officer Aaron
Kaeo.

As always, there is no charge to attend town meetings and membership is not required. Also, as always, hot Starbucks coffee and cookies will be provided.

For more information, go online.

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