Please share the petition with your friends, family, local organizations, Facebook, etc.
County Recovery Update on March 10th in Hilo Chambers. Let's rally! Show your support and spread the word. Wear red to show your solidarity.
Time will be announced on the next agenda posted here by March 4th. We will send a reminder. Testifiers have 3 minutes per topic to testify.
If you are unable to attend in person, please submit written testimony. Feel free to Cc: VHCA Secretary to ensure we print out a copy for our Council Representatives. You can also provide testimony at satellite offices (e.g. Pahoa, Kona).
VHCA Annual Meeting on April 24th @ 9am, Pahoa Community Center.
Please update your mailing address on our website.
I mua Lower Puna Meeting on February 19th. Deb Smith, Eileen O'hara, Betty Oberman and Susan Kim attended the I mua Lower Puna meeting. We discussed rallying our community to attend the March 10th Recovery Update, signing the petition and community's priority projects. Meeting notes available here.
VHCA Board Meeting on February 7th. Meeting minutes available here.
Aloha all, we have our annual meeting coming up in April. Please update your mailing address via our website: VHCA. We will be sending the pertinent information via postal mail. Your board continues to fight for the right of our membership to have access to their properties, we are not giving up.
VHCA Board Meeting on February 7th @ 3pm at 1976 4th Avenue in HPP. Agenda:
New date for Kapoho event
SBA loan update
Road Recovery Update, if any
Recovery Task Force Update
Plan for Annual Meeting
Next County Council Recovery Update on March 10th in Hilo Chambers. Time TBD.
Mark your calendars for the VHCA Annual Board Meeting on April 25th, Time TBD at the Pahoa Community Center.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the County's Hazard Mitigation Survey. It's important! The last question indicates your preference on buy-outs. We hear a buy-out program, if implemented, will take at least a year to roll-out. According to HUD Federal Registrar regulations, buy-outs will give preference to primary residences, "low-moderate" income and may not include secondary residences or vacant land. The intention of the HUD's CDBG-DR program is to relocate primary residents to a "non-hazardous" (e.g. Lava Zone 3+) area and not allow for further purchase or (re)development in Lava Zones 1 &2.
County Recovery Update at Council on February 4th. Douglas Le provided an update. Watch the recap here.
County Recovery Update at Council on January 7th. Douglas Le provided an update. Watch the recap here.
I Mua Lower Puna Meeting on January 31st. The group discussed the little information we have on buyouts, the Task Force and how elected representatives of the community would like to engage with the Recovery Team.
Recovery Task Force Meeting on January 31st. The County Recovery Team presented a draft plan to the Recovery Task Force. After Recovery Task Force review and feedback, this plan will be presented to the broader community which is expected in March.
Next County Recovery Update on Tuesday, January 7th @ 1pmHST at Hilo Chambers. Time TBD. Agenda available here. Update will likely include:
Task Force members
Puna Strong grants status
Overview of draft plans and when to expect community engagement
Status of monies available (~$30M)
Fema 428 Update
Testify in Hilo Chambers, Pahoa Satellite offices or submit written testimony to Council.
Next VHCA Board Meeting on Friday, February 7, 2019 @ 3pm HST, Location TBD
County Recovery Update at Council on December 3:
Two updates were provided to Council.
1. David Yamamoto, Dept. of Public Works Director communicated updates for 2018 Kilauea eruption projects (e.g. roads & infrastructure) and also provided updates on 2018 Hurricane Lane projects. We found it interesting to see the two disaster recoveries and progress juxtaposed in his communication. We highly encourage folks to watch here.
2. Douglas Le, newly appointed Recovery Officer provided a general recovery update. Video here and presentation here.
I mua Lower Puna Meeting with Douglas Le on December 2 in Leilani Estates:
Deb Smith, Betty Oberman and Susan Kim joined other I mua Lower Puna community leaders to meet with the new Recovery Officer, Douglas Le. Douglas listened as we went around the room voicing our community's concerns, offering solutions and how he might be able to help.
VHCA Board Meeting on November 18th:
Betty Oberman will be replacing Jan Marshall on the board.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 29th! Stan Cumbia, VHCA member and musician, is pulling together a benefit for Kapoho at Maku'u Market.
Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Relief on November 15th:
CDBG-DR and HUD representatives provided an overview of the process for County to apply for ~$80M (increased from ~$60M) CDBG-DR funds made available due to the 2018 Kilauea eruption. While these funds cannot be used for "livable spaces"/housing in Lava Zones 1 & 2, the funds can be used for "public facilities". Once the CDBG-DR "federal registrar" is published (publication date unknown), the County has 120 days to develop an "Action Plan". This "Action Plan" will inform CDBG & HUD authorities how the money will be allocated. We are hearing rumors that the County plans to use this money for "voluntary" buy-outs and given the lack of County road recovery, our property values will remain low until roads are recovered. It will be interesting to see how much is offered for the buyouts, what deadlines might be imposed and if County Administration & DPW continues to delay road recovery, how we want to respond individually or collectively as a community.
Apologies for the short notice, this meeting has just been scheduled today. We will be meeting with Douglas Le, newly appointed County Recovery Team Lead, at Leilani Estates Community Association's club house.
Location: 13-3441 Moku Street, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778
If you cannot make the meeting in person, you can connect via phone or computer on the following Zoom address: https://zoom.us/j/708628324
Update on Recovery Task Force and how you can be involved in other roles in the recovery process.
Mark your calendars for the next VHCA Board meetings:
Friday, February 7, 2019 @ 3pm HST, Location TBD
Annual Meeting: Saturday, April 25, 2020, Pahoa Community Center, Time TBD
Members are encouraged to attend and participate in all meetings. For VHCA/KKWA meetings, please bring your own chair.
VHCA Board Meeting will be held on Nov 18th @ 2pm HST at 15-928 Paradise Ala Kai Drivein HPP. Join remotely with Zoom or Dial +1 408 638 0968 US, followed by Meeting ID: 880 696 555. Tentative Agenda:
SBA & Legal Update
Replacing board member, Jan Marshall. Please contact Deb Smith if you would like to volunteer.
Fundraising event organized by VHCA member, Stan Cumbia
KKWA Board Meeting will be held on Nov 9th @ 10am HST at 15-928 Paradise Ala Kai Drive in HPP. Please contact Bill Parecki if you would like to serve on the KKWA Board for the next two year term. Tentative Agenda.
FEMA and USDA update
Water Board update
Past Due Discussion
Annual Meeting Date, Agenda and action items
Nomination for Directors
By-law change discussion allowing for remote participation (consistent with VHCA)
Council Rep. Ashley Kierkiewicz is hosting Council District 4 (CD4) community meetings to talk story. See below for details. Click hereto read the most recent CD4 bulletin.
Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Relief funding opportunity meeting on Nov 15th @ TBD (time/location).
Past Meetings & Updates:
County of Hawaii's Recovery Team Update: Roy Takemoto provided an update per Rep. Kierkiewicz's request. These monthly updates are a requirement per the Interim Recovery Strategy introduced by Rep. Kierkiewicz and unanimously passed by Council. Takemoto provided October's update and can be watched here. Presentation here.
Lighthouse Hike on October 22nd: VHCA members: Deb Smith, Denise Jones, Mark Dziatko and Susan Kim hiked out to Lighthouse Beach with Rep. Kierkiewicz, Chastity Quihano (Council Aide), Christine Kahikina (Legislative Assistant), and County Recovery Team: Bob Agres, Keiko Mercado, Tom Callis and Kara Bocher. The purpose of the hike was for Council and County to experience a portion of the hike Lighthouse Kipuka residents endure to get to their properties. Additionally, the hike to Lighthouse beach provided an opportunity for the County to see and experience what a great asset we have: a new black sand beach, if only we had a road. Tourists are already parking at "one-corner" and hiking in causing both a safety issue as there is no emergency egress.
Neighborhood Place of Puna (NPP) has been awarded a County contract for "long-term case management" to contact disaster victims as part of an effort to understand individual needs. Folks have already been contacted and interviewed by NPP and if you have not, you can reach out to: (808) 965-5550.
Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) hosted an economic recovery meeting on October 29th. Eileen O'hara and Susan Kim attended along with Andy Andrews (Leilani President), Jay Tucker (former Leilani President), Robert Golden (Leilani Board member) along with other community leaders: Matt Purvis (former Mainstreet Pahoa Association President), Amedeo Markoff (Mainstreet Pahoa Association Vice President), Nancy Seifers (132 Kipuka), Gail Clarke (Arts & Sciences Chair), Susie Osborne (Kua O Ka La Founder), Ken Williamson (Pahoa High School), Ikaika Marzo and others. Stephen Jordan (ISD CEO) facilitated the meeting assisted by Heather Long (ISD Consultant) and Diane Ley (County Recovery Lead. Other County Recovery Team members were also present. Many perspectives and ideas were shared at this meeting and we hope ISD will continue to engage us as they prepare their deliverables for the County.
Apologies, our last newsletter had a typo. The Recovery update is scheduled for today (Tuesday, October 15th @ 10am HST) in Hilo.
Have some time to volunteer? We may have some grants and other funding sources available to us and we need some volunteers to explore these options (e.g. determine if we are eligible and if so, how to apply). No grant writing experience necessary. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Board Meeting: We are rescheduling the board meeting. Stay tuned.
Job openings to fill contract recovery positions have been posted. We hope someone from our community will apply to these critical positions and be selected to help shape the future of our community! Click here for more information.
The first report out from the County Recovery Team following the Interim Strategy will be on Tuesday, Oct 15th @ 10am in Hilo Chambers (25 Aupuni Street)
The widely anticipated Kilauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA) has been published. Download and read it here.
As of today (10/2), Hwy 132 paving is complete. Striping, sign installation then Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) inspection to follow before the road is open. According to Department of Public Works (DPW), the road may open in November. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved County's request for a 3-month extension for completion, originally October 5, 2019 now revised to Jan. 5, 2020
The VHCA board needs your help to collect all property owner email addresses. We have approximately 50% and strive to get all current email addresses to keep the community informed. Please urge your neighbors to update their information via the website or email email@example.com.
County Council Meeting on September 4th in Hilo chambers. District 4 Rep. Ashley Kierkiewicz is planning to present a resolution to support recovery efforts. Please submit public testimony to support this resolution. The agenda for this meeting is not yet published so please check the County website prior to submitting testimony.
Bill 12 update: VHCA applied for Lighthouse Road recovery but given County has applied for 700' inundated section of Lighthouse Road in its FEMA request, the VHCA/Lighthouse kipuka will not be a recipient of this grant. We hear the remaining Bill 12 monies have been approved for the Malama Ki kipuka and 132 kipuka. These funds are now exhausted.
VHCA Finance Committee Meeting on August 1 draft meeting notes here.
VHCA Board Meeting on August 2 draft meeting notes here.
VHCA & Leilani Meeting on August 4 was held to share recovery effort progress and challenges.
County Council Meeting with Board of Water Supply update on August 6. The Board of Water Supply provided an update at District 4 Rep. Ashley Kierkiewicz request. BWS presentation here basically communicating BWS currently has no plans to restore water in Lower Puna due to high temperatures.
County Finance Committee meeting on August 6. VHCA members Deb Smith, Eileen O'hara, Susan Kim along with Leilani community members and Lono Lyman testified once again for road recovery and timeline. Full video here and County Recovery team's update here.
Puna CDP special meeting on recovery on August 6. County Recovery Team's presentation here outlining recovery goals. County's recovery page has a summary here.
County Recovery Team, Heather Long (Institute for Sustainable Development consultant) meeting with Lono Lyman and Susan Kim on August 12 touring Lower Puna impacted lands. County's recovery page has a summary here.
VHCA has submitted a formal grant application to the County of Hawaii requesting funds from Bill 12 to restore approximately 700' of Lighthouse Road that would:
Get folks home!
Provide access to a new black sand beach
The bulk of the donation money went to the County Public Works so they have money in addition to their general budget. Please support this effort by clicking the button below to send an email to Diane Ley (County Recovery Lead) and Ashley Kierkiewicz (County District 4 Rep).
Budgeting and funding issues to resolve for upcoming expenses
VHCA board meeting which will include further discussion of these topics.
Friday, August 2 at 2pm HST: VHCA Board Meeting
Location: 15-1026 Ala Heiau Road, HPP
Remote attendees join at zoom or +1 408 638 0968 US, Meeting ID: 690 954 473 The house does however have limited seating and parking.
If you will be attending and have a soft footed chair, please bring it. If convenient, please car pool. Tentative Agenda
Kapoho Water Restoration
Postcard mailing for additional member email addresses
SBA Update The SBA approved borrowing of up to $1,854,200 by VHCA for road restoration. In the approval, VHCA was, however required to provide documentation on assessment rights under CCRs. In fact, VHCA’s right of assessment is based on a court judgement. The SBA has not encountered this situation before and has requested that VHCA retain an attorney to help the SBA understand how the right of assessment functions and the ability of VHCA to pass a multi-year assessment, should the membership make a decision to actually borrow. The SBA’s procedure is to technically cancel a loan whenever documents cannot be immediately provided and give the borrower a 6 month window for loan reinstatement. We are working through trying to utilize donation funds to cover legal and accounting costs related to the SBA loan since the purpose of the loan is restoration of roads which was described to donors as a usage of funds. Also having a road from a restored Route 137 towards the new waterfront would be of public benefit. VHCA has been advised that the use of these funds is restricted.
Upcoming Meetings EVERYONE IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE
Tuesday, July 23 at 10am HST: Board of Water Supply* Location: 889 Leilani Street, Hilo, Operations Center Conference Room *At the previous BWS meeting, during public testimony VHCA board members requested water restoration to Kapoho be added to the agenda for discussion. Click here for this meeting's agenda. Saturday, July 27from 8:30 - 4:30 pm HST: SpeakOut, hosted by County of Hawaii Recovery Team
Location: 16-725 Kea‘au Pahoa Rd, Keaau High School Cafeteria
More info here. Monday, July 29th at 1pm HST: VHCA Roads & Common Areas Committee Meeting
Location: 15-2782 Papio Road, Hawaiian Shores Friday, August 2 at 2pm HST: VHCA Board Meeting Location: 15-1026 Ala Heiau Road, HPP
Remote attendees join at zoom or +1 408 638 0968 US,
Meeting ID: 690 954 473 Sunday, August 4 at 2pm HST: VHCA & Leilani Meeting
Location: 13-3441 Moku St, Leilani Community Center Tuesday, August 6 at 5pm HST: Puna CDP Special Action Committee Meeting
Location: 15-3022 Kauhale St, Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility
This is a special meeting focused on the eruption recovery process.
County Recovery Team Update to County Finance Committee on June 18:
Eric Cockcroft asked the local officials for a timeline on the recovery as it pertains to Kapoho, such as reestablishing roads or water service. Diane Ley's presentation with County expenditure update here. Full Finance Committee video here.
VHCA Meeting with Wil Okabe on June 20:
During this meeting Wil Okabe announced the County would not recover Lighthouse Road at this time along with the 132 recovery. The Federal Highways Fund won't include Lighthouse Road and the County is seeking FEMA funding for all the other county roads affected: permanent restoration of 137 by McKenzie Park, Pohoiki Rd, Leilani Ave, 137 - 4 Corners to Kapoho Kai and Lighthouse Road. Previously Diane Sako stated Lighthouse Road would be funded by Bill 10 monies approved by Council. This creates a challenge for our Kapoho kipuka. We reached out to our Council Rep. Ashley Kierkiewicz who will be helping us find solutions.
We requested the County ask the State for SMA boundaries to be updated (this could alleviate permitting requirements) and the County to consider a shoreline revision (which could alleviate flood insurance requirements). The current SMA remains at Rt. 137. Wil Okabe agreed to look into this for us.
Regarding water restoration, at our request Wil Okabe checked with the Dept. of Water and followed up with us after the meeting (July 1) to let us know the Department of Water Supply currently has no plans to restore water lines. This is why VHCA Board members attended the BWS meeting on June 25.
Hawaii Department of Agriculture on June 25:
VHCA Board members submitted testimony urging the DOA to extend its disaster loan deadline.
Board of Water Supply (BWS) on June 25:
VHCA Board members requested the Board of Water Supply agendize restoring water to Kapoho for the next meeting. As stated above, the next meeting is on July 23 and BWS will be providing an update.
VHCA Roads & Common Areas Committee on June 26:
Meeting notes here.
June 18: Finance Committee Meeting Public Testimony: Kapoho Resident, Eric Cockcroft Speaks Out On Eruption Recovery
Other Updates Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR)
News story here. Diane Ley has clarified: "no award has been made to the County of Hawaii. Rather an announcement was made a few months ago indicating Hawaii disasters including flooding on Oahu and Kauai and the impacts of the Kilauea eruption would be eligible for possible funding through U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are no details available at this time as to whether the State of Hawaii or the individual counties will be able to apply for funding. No information is known as to the possible award amount, restrictions on use or other details – all which will be announced at a future date in the Federal Register.
The County continues to prepare for the announcement of the CDBG-DR program, including assuring HUD aligned policies and procedures are in place and identifying unmet needs of families, businesses and communities. All of which will support the development of a DR Action Plan for submission to HUD for approval. To further support the County’s extensive community engagement, the County is now conducting three (3) surveys – Household Impact and Opportunity Assessment, Business Impact and Opportunity Assessment and Community Impact and Opportunity Assessment. The surveys will be open July 15 – August 4, 2019 and can be accessed on line at https://recovery.hawaiicounty.gov/connect/impact-status-survey-suite/. Hard copies can also be picked up at Council member offices, Department of Research & Development, the Planning Department, at the July 27th SpeakOut, and at other community events.
County's Risk Assessment
From Diane Ley: The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) recently delivered a third draft of the Kilauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA); however, additional work is currently on-going by Tetra Tech, the County’s recovery planning consultant. This work will take the PDC analysis to a finer scale – from Census Block Group (done by PDC) down to the parcel level when possible. This will allow for a much more accurate understanding of hazard exposure and the associated risk. In other words, the volcanic risk assessment is not yet complete. It is important to note that the risk assessment has never been an end in and of itself – it has always been one of several analyses and inputs that will inform recovery planning. As such, the hazard map will inform an understanding of risk associated with alternative development patterns. This risk analysis will help the community make informed decisions about where to make future investments in infrastructure, facilities, and development. This work will inform the County’s Recovery Framework, which will include comprehensive strategies to mitigate hazard risk, reduce vulnerabilities, build complete communities, provide affordable housing, advance economic recovery, and otherwise address community needs. That planning process will continue through the end of this year with plenty of opportunities for community input.
Your VHCA Board and Committee members have been busy! Below are some highlights to keep members informed on recovery progress and challenges.
VHCA Roads & Common Areas Committee meeting was held on May 29th. We discussed roads and other infrastructure related topics. Click here for meeting notes.
Roads & Common Areas Committee will meet regularly, once a month.
On June 10th, County began Route 132 roadwork! See BIVN video below.
Next VHCA Roads & Common Areas Committee meeting:
Tuesday, June 25th
15-2782 Papio Road
Remote attendees can participate via zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting on June 25th @ 1pm HST: https://zoom.us/j/222812140
Dial by your location
+1 408 638 0968
VHCA Meeting with Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on June 11th:
The Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) survey should be available for public viewing early next year, Tina said they will keep us in mind since it is vital to our cause. Les Pedersen, roads expert, will be able to overlay the subdivision roads on the map when it becomes available. The resolution will be down to about 10 cm, definitely will be plenty of detail for property owners.
Regarding the steam vent that Jason Twillman documented, Tina hadn't seen the video but said it could degas for years. We showed her the video.
Regarding any bench collapse, it is possible that the lava could slip on the seafloor but that would be away from the old coastline, it shouldn't affect our properties. She mentioned that the lava flow was quite different from the Pu'u O'o flows and benches weren't necessarily created this time. UH has maps of the ocean topography.
We discussed our desire for water restoration and had been looking into possible wells. Tina said she would be very interested in the hydrology of the area to see how it has been changed. Maybe that would be an incentive for test wells that would benefit us and USGS.
VHCA Meeting with Board of Water Supply (BWS) on May 23rd: BWS had applied to FEMA for funding to replace water delivery infrastructure to the areas where it was lost. They're estimating $30M for total project costs of which FEMA might pay 75%. We are told HB1180 ($60M) monies can be used as a match. We will be lobbying for this and encouraged the County to meet with BWS to plan for water restoration to Kapoho while 132 recovery is underway.
IF they were to pipe water down in conjunction with HWY 132 recovery from its current location at the Y, they would need at least two reservoirs to deal with pressure stabilization - one in mid Kapoho (potentially on large landowner land and another at the bottom (unless they can gain access to the reservoir at Green Mtn).
Their findings to date make it appear that the area south of the line of fissures that opened in 2018 and down to Pohoiki may not be recharging. They've investigated a well in lower Pohoiki on private land that is now too contaminated to use which indicates lack of recharge.
The above observations suggest that if a new well is going to be pursued as a source, it would need to be just north of the current fissure line and preferably outside either the 1955 or 1960 flows.
As a follow up to the BWS meeting, Les Pederson confirmed with Department of Public Works: the main traveled way of the road (Rt. 132) is 22 feet wide with no shoulders and will be graded to the smooth profile of the completed permanent road but much grading outside of the travel lanes will remain for the shoulders. That means that water main construction can still be done during subsequent phases of work when paved shoulders are constructed. The Department of Water Supply requires that water mains be installed below a paved surface. We will continue to request the County make plans to restore water to Kapoho.
Finally, VHCA has received a copy of its original lease agreement (Grant of Easement and Bill of Sale) from BWS.
VHCA Meeting with RCAC on May 29th: The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) had several people on island this past Wednesday, May 29th. Their expertise is in infrastructure restoration and helping communities connect with the appropriate channels. They are very willing to help us and were enthused by our commitment to restoration. It's wonderful to have allies such as these!
VHCA SBA Loan & Funding Update The SBA has tentatively approved a loan of $1,854,200 to VHCA. Full approval is still subject to SBA satisfaction regarding VHCA’s rights of assessment. Those rights are based on a court decision rather than covenants, that the SBA is familiar with. This has required coordination within SBA’s legal department with delays related to vacations.
Any actual borrowing will be subject to a vote of the membership based on actual plans and costs for road restoration. Borrowing would not commence until the restoration required funding.
Repayment would be amortized based on a final payment 30 years from the date of approval. The interest rate is 2.5%.
More on funding aspects later as opportunities unfold.
Agricultural Resources The State Department of Agriculture has a Disaster Loan Program. Details below.
2 years of tax forms
Copy of Lease (if you do not own the property)
You do NOT need to "Letters of Decline" for the State Disaster Loan
You do not need to fill our food manufacturing, if you are not processing your product
Gareth encouraged folks to testify to extend this deadline. Submit written testimony to the Board of Agriculture or attend the next meeting on June 25, 9am HST, in Hilo at the Aupuni Center Conference Room.
For further information and assistance: Gareth Mendonsa at (808) 933-9977
State Disaster Loan program: up to $500,000 @ 3% for "qualified" farmers. "Qualified" meaning 2 years of taxes and at least 2 years of experience. The application forms are available here. The loan is first come, first serve.
Several farmers have been approved and monies dispersed for the disaster loans already. From our understanding, for the papaya farmers, the first 12 months are interest only or a balloon interest-only payment at the end of 12 months. It seems Gareth is willing to work with farmers on an individual basis regarding repayment plan.
The other loan programs, listed below, require denial of lenders (e.g. you need to apply to two other banks/lenders and be denied). Two programs Gareth mentioned:
Ownership loan (requires 15% down, up to $800k and will cover permanent improvements, loan life: 30years @ 4.5%
Operating Loans for expenses, up to $800k @ 4.5% interest
Puna CDP Meeting held on May 21st provided an overview of the Puna CDP Recovery Priorities & Goals which include four broad categories: Village Town Centers, Infrastructure, Natural & Cultural Resource Management, Health & Wellness.
Consultants hired by the County to support recovery efforts were present at the meeting: TetraTech and Institute for Sustainable Development.
Puna CDP Meeting held on June 4th Kea'au Community Center, Kea'au, HI discussed the General Plan. Click here for agenda.
Apologies, we had a typo in our previous newsletter. The Puna CDP (Community Development Plan) meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday), May 21st.The previous newsletter had indicated Wednesday, May 21st which is incorrect.
Mayor Kim at the I Mua Lower Puna meeting on May 11th discusses Hwy 132 and time table for re-establishing the highway (by Oct 5th), including starting at both the top and bottom sections simultaneously. Additionally, Hwy 137 from 4-Corners to Kapoho Kai and Pohoiki rd are being discussed after Hwy 132. Watch full video here.
The board continues to seek funding options for restoring infrastructure for Vacationland. We will have more details soon and then, as an association, we can discuss our options. Mayor Kim has agreed to open Highway 137 from 4 Corners to Kapoho Kai after 132 is restored. We needed that commitment to further our funding requests and are thankful he realized our needs.
As the opening of roads is becoming more apparent, the future of our community is looking brighter. We can become a model for restoration. We have a blank slate and can choose how to make a beautiful neighborhood once again. But, we will need all of your input, so start thinking about your visions.
Thank you for those who have volunteered to join a committee. If you are still interested in joining a committee, please contact the committee chair by clicking their name below. Mahalo for your support!
Upcoming Meetings Tuesday, May 21 @ 5pm: Puna CDP
Pahoa Community Center, 15-3022 Kauhale St
The recovery process from the 2018 eruption is the only item on Tuesday's meeting.
Public testimony is limited to 3 minutes per agenda item.
Q&A session with the Recovery Team presenters where further discussion between Action Committee Members, community members and the County Recovery Team will occur.
Please attend and testify to let Puna CDP know what your vision is for Kapoho!
VHCA participated in the I Mua Lower Puna Community Meeting held on May 11th. Deb Smith spoke on behalf of HOA's and property owners. Watch Part 1 & Part 2 of the video's on Hawaii Tracker's Facebook page.
Eileen, Betty and Jim will be meeting with the Department of Water Supply week of May 19th for an initial discussion on KKWA
We reached out to HELCO and their response "we’re with you as a community responding and supporting the recovery efforts for Vacationland and the surrounding area. I can’t say for certain what the timeline is as we would normally follow the County if and when roads are cut. It’s difficult at this point to project any timelines per se."
We have broached the subject of releasing shoreline restrictions but have met with initial resistance. We have brought this up to our Council Reps.
SBA loan for VHCA continues to move through the approval process but is not yet approved. We are continuing to try to access FEMA grant funding for KKWA and may have found a partner to provide bridge financing for the period between paying for the work and getting reimbursed should FEMA approve our application.
We continue to partner with I mua Lower Puna to provide our Council Rep. Ashley Kierkiewicz with our concerns and potential solutions.
Have ideas for the future of Kapoho? Join one of our committees or submit your ideas to a VHCA Board Member.
The board met for two hours on May 2nd. Draft minutes will be posted on the VHCA website. In the meantime, please see below and volunteer for one of our committees.
County of Hawaii, Finance Committee will be meeting Tuesday, May 7 at 2pm in Kona. Remote testifiers can testify on "LEGISLATIVE DISASTER AID FUNDS" in Hilo, Pahoa or submit written testimony by clicking below. Written testimony must be submitted by May 6th.
Jan Marshall, Chair This committee will seek funding via grants and loans. It will also advise the board on options for past dues and liens as fund raising progresses and oversee any agreed upon collecting efforts. Board members serving on this committee: Eric Cockcroft, Debra Smith.
Political Outreach Committee
Eric Cockcroft, Chair This committee will strive to create political partnerships to steward our new community. This committee will also continue to lobby to government representatives for legislation related to recovery efforts. Board members serving on this committee: Eileen O'hara, Susan Kim, Debra Smith
Jim Lehner, Chair This committee will remain standing, we ask Betty Oberman to sit on this committee. No further volunteers are needed at this time.
Alex Keeley, Chair This committee will review VHCA by-laws and covenants to understand if and what changes are required to support recovery efforts. Board members serving on this committee: Eric Cockcroft, Debra Smith.
The County subsequently corrected the understanding of the VHCA participants by stating: “that a decision about Hwy 137 would be made within one year and that as soon as Hwy 132 is completed Hwy 137 can be immediately looked at.” VHCA will continue to press for access to our properties, as soon as possible, after the projected October completion of Hwy 132. PGV has already been allowed to bring highly explosive gasses over the lava channel and back to their site. We have members who want to be able to redevelop their properties.
Watch VHCA Director, Eric Cockcroft's interview with KHON2.
Deborah Smith, President. Long time resident/farmer in the Farm Lots section of the subdivision with a home still standing but no access. She is a retired Radiologic Technologist who has been active in community work.
Eileen O’Hara, Vice President. Property owner in the House Lots since 2000. She holds a doctorate in resource and environmental economics, previously working for HELCO to coordinate renewable energy services, the County as a planner and recycling coordinator, and the State as a contract manager and faculty at the UHH. She recently served a term on the Hawaii County Council. Eileen has successfully procured and administered federal grants/loans for community development projects including upgrading Hawaiian Shores’ public water system and resurfacing its private roadways, construction of the Pacific Biodiesel plant in Shipman Industrial Park, as well as for various research and solar energy projects within both the private and public sectors.
Jim Lehner, Treasurer. Property owner in the House lots. He is a long time VHCA/KKWA board member who has overseen the Association’s road and water system work and has been heavily involved with both associations since 2005. He obtained much road and airfield construction experience while serving in Vietnam (RVN) with combat engineers. After RVN he was employed by a construction engineering firm in Portland, Oregon and then worked for 26 years with a titanium company in Oregon mostly composing titanium formulations for industry, primarily aircraft while guiding production techniques for these materials.
Susan Kim, Secretary. Former international banker, management consultant and data science and operations senior-level manager. She was a VP at Citigroup specializing in foreign exchange derivatives, managing sovereign wealth and hedge fund accounts all over the world. From her experience in management consulting, the most relevant project was leading multiple teams to help stand up the local economies in Afghanistan in partnership with the Department of Defense. In her last corporate experience, she introduced data science to a Fortune 10 company and managed a team of highly skilled, ivy-league PhD's, applying prescriptive and predictive analysis to extremely large data sets.
Jan Marshall, Director. Property owner in House lots. Partially retired international banker with previous experience with grants and soft loans related to community projects that she has co-led. Her professional career included consulting work for major multi-laterals such as the World Bank on the restoration of financial systems, primarily in Latin America as well as co-managing funding and trading for a unit that included a staff of 115 traders and managers. She has worked professionally in 41 countries and is also a real estate investor.
Eric Cockcroft, Director. Property owner in Farm lots with a home still standing but no access. He is a retired teacher who raised three children in the community and coached sports. He sat on multiple boards throughout his seventeen years as a founding teacher at the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences Public Charter School
Alex Keeley, Director. Property owner in House lots. Practicing California attorney, specialized in contract law, with a software client base - working out of a Hawaii office.