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NEWS FROM DISTRICT 9 COUNTY COUNCILWOMAN MARGARET WILLE

<p>Accepting awards from Wille are Jeff Maki, North Kohala firefighter, Jeff Varney, Waimea resident who started the project to install the rescue tubes on the West side of the Island, and Shirley De Rego, Waimea resident and founder of the nonprofit Alex and Duke De Rego Foundation. Kelly Hoyle and her husband Jerry Bevins, of Waimea, were unable to attend the ceremony due to employment obligations. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGARET WILLE)</p>

Accepting awards from Wille are Jeff Maki, North Kohala firefighter, Jeff Varney, Waimea resident who started the project to install the rescue tubes on the West side of the Island, and Shirley De Rego, Waimea resident and founder of the nonprofit Alex and Duke De Rego Foundation. Kelly Hoyle and her husband Jerry Bevins, of Waimea, were unable to attend the ceremony due to employment obligations. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGARET WILLE)

Editor’s note: Councilwoman Margaret Wille’s column is the first in a new regular legislative update column featuring North Hawaii state and county legislators. Also participating is State Sen. Malama Solomon, State Rep. Cindy Evans, and County Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter.

News for District 9:

The new North Kohala County Council video conferencing site will be open for the next council meetings on Nov. 5 and 6. This increased access to our county government in North Kohala was one of my campaign promises. We will be hosting an Opening Ceremony and Blessing, by Kealoha Sugiyama, on Monday, Nov. 4, at 11:15 a.m., following the Senior Citizens Club meeting.

Nov. 5 Council Committee Meeting:

My submissions to the Nov. 5 council committee agenda focus on solid waste and energy. I have asked the Department of Environmental Management to present the status of its solid waste program, including requests for proposals. Also scheduled are several additional presentations on solid waste and energy. I also expect my solid-waste Resolution 123 to return from the Environmental Management Advisory Committee. That resolution urged the Kenoi Administration to adopt a solid waste program that includes a composting/mulching program and supports increased personal responsibility to reduce, reuse, and recycle. My concern was that the mayor might instead advocate to only contract with one large waste-to-energy company, which would require such large quantities of waste, such that to avoid penalties for insufficient waste, the county would need to supply all available green waste. I am surprised the Advisory Committee refused to support this Resolution, supposedly on the grounds it “might tie the Administration’s hands”.

Nov. 6 Council meeting:

My GMO ban Bill 113 passed its first council vote (6-2) at our Oct. 15 council meeting. Only Councilmembers Gregor Ilegan and Dennis “Fresh” Onishi voted in opposition. Councilmember Zendo Kern was absent due to illness. In summary, Bill 113 will prohibit the open air cultivation of GMO crops and plants. GMO papayas and any other currently being cultivated GMO crops will be grandfathered – provided those GMO crops are registered within 90 days of passage of the legislation.

Also at the Nov. 6 council meeting, we will vote on Councilmember Dru Kanuha’s Bill 135 to prohibit the sale of cigarettes for those under 21 years of age.

Nov. 19 Council Committee Meeting:

I have several agriculture related resolutions and presentations scheduled: including a resolution to create an Island of Hawaii brand: “HIPP” and “HIPP-O” (Hawaii Island Produce and Products and, Hawaii Island Produce and Products – Organic); another resolution focuses on Orchids and designates 2014 as the Year of the Orchid. Also on the agenda is a presentation on the health of bees on our island — or better said, how can we improve the health of our already depleted bee population. And if at first you don’t think the health of our island bee population is important, consider that 30-40 percent of our crops are bee pollinated.

Special presentation of certificates of recognition: Finally, I wish to report on my Oct. 16 special council presentation to honor members of our District 9 community who together played a role in the rescue of a family of five at Polulu Valley, and a related on-going water rescue program. The persons honored were: Waimea residents Mike Varney, who on his own began installing rescue tubes at beaches on the west side of the island; Shirley De Rego, whose Alex and Duke De Rego Foundation (named after her deceased sons, one of whom died in an ocean accident) has continued the cause of installing these rescue tubes at our local beaches; Kelly Hoyle, a physical therapist at North Hawaii Community Hospital, and her husband Jerry Bevins, a personal trainer, together quickly reacted to the calls for help. Hoyle immediately grabbed one of the rescue tubes and started into a strong surf despite a broken rib, at the same time, Bevins ran up to the top of the trail to call 911. Jeff Maki, a North Kohala firefighter, was partly up the trail from the valley when he heard calls for help. He ran back down to the beach, entered the water and grabbed the rescue tube from Hoyle, telling her, “I will go.” With the use of the rescue tubes, in two trips he brought all of the drowning swimmers to shore. The council members each expressed their gratitude to these five honored members of our community.

Margaret Wille, is councilwoman for Hawaii County Council District 9, North and South Kohala. To reach Wille, call 887-2043 or email mwille@co.hawaii.hi.us.