County Council Update

County Council Member Margaret Wille gave out awards at this year’s Special Olympics island-wide weightlifting competition at Crossfit Studio in Waimea on May 2. (COURTESY PHOTO)

SPECIAL EVENTS: Before being elected, I had no idea how many exciting and special events I would have the honor of participating in as a member of the County Council. For example, here are some events I attended between May 2 and 9:

On May 2, I participated in Habitat for Humanity’s Women Builders’ Event at the Kamakoa affordable housing development in Waikoloa Village. Along with some 30 other volunteer, mostly very skilled women, we hammered in bracing, stapled tyvek and installed flashing and windows. Much accomplished!

Later in the day I attended the Special Olympics island-wide weightlifting competition at KC Stallsmith’s Crossfit Studio in Waimea. There I had the honor of giving out awards to the winners. Very special for me.

On May 3, I stopped by the Senior Health Fair at North Hawaii Community Hospital and had lunch with other attendees. The next day I gave a council update at the North Kohala Senior Citizen Club meeting, and introduced the group to Josie Sweeney. Josie manages our County Council North Kohala video conferencing site. A big thanks to the Senior Club President Bobby Glory for his leadership. Upon leaving there, I attended the North Kohala Middle School May Day celebration, a beautiful presentation with amazingly talented kids. Later I attended a fundraiser for Shirley Derigo’s Alec and Duke Derigo Foundation at the Mauna Lani Napua Restaurant. Special thanks to owner Brandon Lee for hosting this event and to part-time resident John Phillips for his contribution sponsoring this successful fundraiser.

COUNCIL MEETINGS: On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5 and 6, I was in Hilo for Council meetings. As usual these meetings were filled with items of interest, including my ethics and agriculture use exemption bills, along with the 2015-2016 budget discussion. With an 8-0 vote, we also passed a landmark Zero Waste Compost Resolution. Very exciting!

We were also scheduled to have an executive session to discuss whether to use the services of the Maui Corporation Counsel office to assist the Ethics Commission in its review of Mayor Kenoi’s alleged ethics violations. I urged the council to instead hold this discussion in open session. I was pleased the other council members agreed. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, we then voted to approve using legal services of a Maui county attorney rather than using our Hawaii County Office of Corporation Counsel.

MORE SPECIAL EVENTS: On Thursday, May 7 I attended the Waimea Community Association meeting held at Hawaii Preparatory Academy and gave an update of the Council’s budget proceedings. At that meeting, we heard from students at Dr. Bill Wierking’s energy and robotics laboratory. If you have not been there to see the cutting edge science going on, you will be so proud and astonished by the students’ accomplishments.

On Friday, May 8 I attended the Office of Aging’s Outstanding Older American Award Ceremony held at the Hilton Waikoloa. Great fun with so many of my friends from Waimea, Waikoloa and North Kohala.

And finally, on Saturday, May 9 I walked in the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s Charity Walk held at the Mauna Lani Resort. Hooray for all of us who contributed and walked the three miles! Hooray also for The Shops at Mauna Lani for hosting the post-walk refreshments and award ceremony.

AND SO: And so now you might ask, just how do I get any work accomplished – legislation, individual inquiries and concerns, and big picture projects? Somehow I fit that in too, with a lot of help from my staff Dave Hirt and Donni Sheather.

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