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WCA meeting emphasizes working together

<p>Rep. Cindy Evans gives a legislative update at the WCA meeting on June 6. (PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SWEENEY| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Rep. Cindy Evans gives a legislative update at the WCA meeting on June 6. (PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SWEENEY| SPECIAL TO NHN)

Frogs, airplanes and unexploded ordnances were some of the issues that were addressed at the Waimea Community Association meeting last Thursday evening.

About 60 residents filled the Waimea Elementary School cafeteria, where Environet urged everyone to get the word out about traffic delays June 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Kawaihae Road between mile markers 58 and 59. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be working to investigate and remove unexploded ordnance at the Sandalwood subdivision, to safeguard the public from possible hazards. Traffic will be stopped for 5 or 10 minutes and opened for 15 to 20 minutes throughout the day.

In other traffic updates, Mokulele Airlines has submitted a proposal to provide essential air services to the communities surrounding Kamuela Airport. They are proposing to offer 12 round trip departures a week between Kamuela and Honolulu and or Kahului. Mokulele’s main hub is Kona.

“Let the Department of Transportation know you like our services,” said Ron Hansen, CEO and president of Mokulele Airlines.

WCA president Sherm Warner issued a soft warning to business owners and special events coordinators about hanging illegal banners around town.

“We’d like to work with business owners and gently suggest we get this under control, before we turn people in,” he said, reminding new businesses they have 30 days before they need to hang a real sign.

Residents were also reminded that community volunteers are needed in helping to eradicate noisy, invasive Coqui frogs. Coqui-Free Waimea has procured a new 400 gallon sprayer to deal with the infestation, but it takes $1,000 to operate it. Donations are appreciated and a fundraiser will be held July 4, which includes “dough-nations” from Dominos Pizza. Call 885-FROG.

During her legislative update, Representative Cindy Evans had praise for community members who persistently petition their local government for funding.

Evans told the crowd that $1.5 million has been released for the renovation of the Kahilu Theater, which will include repairing a leaking roof. Kawaihae Boat Harbor will also be undergoing renovations with a floating dock, parking lot and a water line. Groundbreaking took place June 7.

“You have these angry, organized folks around certain issues and they stood up in front of the legislature and explained how the community has stepped up,” she said in explaining that money has also been allocated to start a district park, but this money needs to be met by the county. “Hats off to those who continue to be vocal.”

It takes the community to keep projects moving, she said, citing ongoing projects like Saddle Road and the bypass road.

Future projects include petitioning funds for improvements to the middle school in Waimea, and a feasibility analysis for a space port on the island.

Mike Hodson spoke on behalf of the Hawaiian Homes Lands development project, located on approximately 166 acres south of Kuhio Village. Called the Waimea Nui Region Community Development Initiative, the project includes 14 fundamental infrastructure projects to support and promote self sufficiency of the Waimea Homestead community, including all of the people of Waimea.

Hodson spoke to the crowd primarily to clear up any confusion around what the Homestead Association is and what Homestead Lands are. It is not state land, he emphasized. Rather, the land has been held in trust for Hawaiians since the initiative was passed in 1952. The vision was to partner with the entire community, building community facilities and working with UH Hilo, and to be able to deal with health discrepancies between native Hawaiians and the rest of the population.

“We’re looking for grants, CIPs and donations. We have more than one iron in the fire,” he said.

Ideally, Hodson would like to see the money raised in eight years, but if necessary he is in it for the long haul.

“We’re not waiting for the government to take initiative, we’re doing it for ourselves. It’s definitely aggressive, but that’s what our people want,” he said.

The Waimea Preservation Association also reminded everyone of the Honoring Father’s Day Walk/Run Sunday, June 16, starting at 8 a.m. from the WPA cottage. For more information call 885-4453 or go to