I grew up with Wailuku Hongwanji as a big part of my daily life. Japanese school, attended church service every Sunday, Girl Scouts and participated in every church conference and organization. Today, thanks to Gwen Hiraga, I'm back as I joined the Women's Buddhist Association. Gwen is the newly elected President. These ladies are part of the hard core soul of our church. I'm grateful to "be apart" again!
16th @smalltownbigart mural at @stephohigashi and @leeohigashi building! Check out Main Street. The celebration was a glorious day for Wailuku Small Town mega rainmaker Steph! All the many ancestors were smiling and shining for the years she gave to our hometown! Wsiluku is an Art District and this 16th mural adding to its small town charm. Perfect! Thank you @ekwademaui for all you do for Wailuku!
Paia municipal parking lot. Monday morning @councilmember_tasha_kama and I went on a site visit with Maui County Police Department homeless outreach program. Very inspiring and I want to commend Sergeant Jan Pontinella and Lieutenant Joy Medeiros who saw the need and created these weekly community outreach. Different organizations provide services. There is a medical doctor who volunteers her time. Dr. Garcia, over a year, every Monday morning. Department of Education who have touched 300 homeless youth. Social worker, eye exam, menstrual supplies, gently used clothes, food, P&J sandwiches, free hair cut, slippers, toothbrushes and more. Bravo! Motto - You matter!
Giving time, caring about the future and speaking up! Water, bike tours, axis deer, charter amendment that excludes upcountry residents from having a second seat on the Maui Planning Commission because our land does not touch the sea. REALLY? (But they even let me be the meeting secretary. ) Love my community. @kulacommunityassociation
Councilmember Sugimura Expresses Support for Mayor Victorino’s Proposed Micro Grants Program for Axis Deer Mitigation
Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura expressed her support for a proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Amendment from Mayor Michael Victorino that would create a micro-grants program for axis deer mitigation.
The proposed budget amendment is scheduled to be heard by the Maui County Council this Friday, February 18th, and is agendized as Bill 46 (2022).
“Through the work of the Maui Axis Deer Task Force and our many partners, we continue to see the immense damage caused by an overpopulation of axis deer. While the Task Force continues to work on long-term solutions, a microgrant program will provide much needed relief to our farmers, ranchers, and others right away,” shared Sugimura.
On Tuesday, February 15th, the Task Force received updates on various work being done to address the increasing axis deer population and related negative impacts. Preliminary data from a recently completed Axis Deer Assessment for the area from Ulupalakua to Paia was included in these updates. The assessment estimates that there are 46,743 axis deer within this area spanning 147,483 acres.
“As we continue to gather data, our short and long-term actions can be better focused and efficient,” added Sugimura. “A microgrant program will not only provide relief for those affected, but it will also help us gather more information through the grant reporting process.”
The public has several options to provide testimony on Bill 46 (2022). Individuals may submit written testimony to email@example.com, or they may provide oral testimony by joining the online meeting link at https://maui.bluejeans.com/295235670. The February 18th Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
Sugimura holds the Maui County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area.
As 2021 comes to an end, it is just the beginning for the Maui Axis Deer Task Force. Since its start in September 2021, my office, in partnership with Mayor Michael Victorino, has formed a core group of Federal, State, County of Maui, and community partners that make up the Task Force. We continue to discuss short and long term mitigation efforts for the axis deer population. With every problem, we began with research and understanding. Our first task is gathering an accurate estimate of the current deer population on Maui and what a manageable target number is. We are also learning more about the behavior and patterns of axis deer, we realize that without the collaboration from our state legislators and officials, environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, hunters and of course, the affected communities, we will not be able to make progress for the future.
On November 9, 2021, Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for Maui County due to the drought conditions and overpopulation of axis deer. The proclamation will expire on January 7, 2022, however I would support a 60-day extension to continue to work on efforts to manage, control and provide related relief to our county. Here are some updates related to axis deer:
Survey Mapping of Axis Deer:
There’s an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 axis deer on Maui, with the majority Upcountry, and without “active management” efforts, that number could likely grow to over 210,000 in the next 10 to 15 years, said Jake Muise in a Maui News, September 2021. https://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2021/09/managing-deer-sustainable-food-is-mission-of-business/
The Task Force is looking forward to the population survey of Ulupalakua to Paia from a feral animal grant award to Muise from the Department of Housing and Human Concerns. The survey is projected to be complete in early January 2022 and will provide key information to guide recommendations on manageable deer numbers. Data collected will then be analyzed by Dr. Steven Hess, Ph.D, Supervisory Research Biologist for USDA-APHIS-WS.
Axis Deer Vehicle Accidents:
Looking at data from Maui Police Department, there has been a gradual increase of motor vehicle incidents involving axis deer since 2018. As of Friday, December 17, 2021, there were 173 total reported incidents in 2021. This is over a 200% increase from last. year. This compares to year totals of 66 in 2018, 92 in 2019, and 83 in 2020. Reporting incidents, no matter how minor, are an important tool for data collection and tracking purposes.
Environment and Ecology Subcommittee:
The Task Force also suggested a proposal to reuse R-1 water from the South Maui Waste Water Reclamation facility to bring back foliage in large areas of open land that have been ravaged by the ongoing Upcountry drought. This could also help bring back foliage and native plants we have lost due to drought and deer grazing. It would be a big benefit to ranchers and farmers who have been decimated by deer damage and drought. This would help prevent massive runoff during large rain events such as we saw with the large amounts of sediment washing makai during the recent Kona Low storm.
Composting Regenerative Ag:
The Task Force also suggested to establishing a pilot project to create a composting facility for deer renderings and green waste. Composting is a climate action crusade.
Economy and Economic Development:
Other mitigation ideas have the potential for multiple benefits. As we look at reducing the herds to a manageable population, an idea that has continuously come up is creating a food donation program, dog food or sale of other products from the deer meat.
Kula Ag Park
Big mahalo to our State Legislators, for appropriating $2.8 million and Governor Ige for releasing the funding from fiscal year 2022 budget for plans, design, construction and equipment for watershed protection and ungulate fencing for the Kula Agriculture Park and other critical watersheds, Maui County. The Department of Land and Natural Resources are working with Mayor Mike Victorino and the Office of Economic Development to coordinate these improvements which will provide relief to the farmers from the devastation of the axis deer. (Photo Submitted from a night harvest by the Kula Hunting Club)
Lana‘i City, Axis Deer Community Meeting:
January 10, 2022 at 5;30 to 6:30 pm online, Pulama Lanai is addressing the growing problem of axis deer in Lana‘i City. Over two days, 93 expired deer were found in Lanai city during the recent Kona low storm said an email from Pulama Lanai.
In a few short months, I feel there has been progress made regarding the Axis Deer situation on Maui. My plan is to continue this Task Force to assist with managing the overpopulation of the axis deer. With the legislative session and County’s budget review process both on the horizon, all stakeholders will be looking at tangible solutions to implement in the short and long term. We need to do this with support from all levels of government, and we will continue to work with our community partners to implement these solutions.
Deer Incident Notification, Who to Contact:
With community safety a top priority, we want to share contact information put together by Senator Lynn DeCoite, on what to do if you see deer in different situations:
Remembering to use these phone numbers if you see dead deer will help our entire community.
The December 5th and 6th the Kona low storm impacted many residents. On December 16th, E. Coli bacteria was detected in some of our water. Some Upcountry residents are on a boil water advisory.
At the request for clearer communication from the affected residents, the County of Maui has updated their website www.mauicounty.gov on storm communications.
Interested residents are asked to check the website for FAQs and updates on boil water advisories. Residents who have storm damage are asked to report it to our Maui Emergency Management Agency for possible FEMA assistance.
I appreciate the County of Maui taking action to assist the concerns of the community and creating this communication.
Please check the website and always know you can contact me to assist at (808) 870-8047 or YukiLei.Sugimura@mauicounty.us.
GOVERNOR ISSUES EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION FOR MAUI COUNTY DROUGHT SITUATION AFFECTING AXIS DEER POPULATION
Wailuku, Hawaiʻi – On November 9, Governor David Ige, at the request of Senator Lynn DeCoite (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe and Molokini) issued an emergency proclamation to address the continued mitigation efforts in Maui County to manage the axis deer population.
“I want to thank the Governor again for his support in granting my request to issue an emergency proclamation to assist Maui County in dealing with the drought situation and the effect that it is having on the deer population,” said Senator DeCoite. “I hope that these resources and information are beneficial to the public as we continue to work towards finding a more permanent solution moving forward.”
"This proclamation has come at a crucial time," shares Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura who formed the latest version of a “Maui Axis Deer Task Force” that includes stakeholders from the County, State and Federal governments, as well as members from farming and ranching communities. The task force’s purpose is to manage and control the axis deer problem, while working to find resources and additional funding sources. "A big mahalo to Senator DeCoite for her dedication to this challenge."
Below are resources for issues relating to:
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
STATE OF HAWAI‘I
By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Hawai‘i, in order to provide relief for disaster damages, losses, and suffering, and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people, I, DAVID Y. IGE, Governor of the State of Hawai‘i, hereby determine, designate and proclaim as follows:
WHEREAS, Hawai‘i, including the County of Maui (Maui County), has suffered under drought conditions since March, 2019;
WHEREAS, rainfall, stream flow, and ground water levels in Maui County, specifically on the islands of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai, have been and continue to be significantly below normal; and
WHEREAS, current forecasts indicate that drought conditions are likely to persist or intensify for Maui County; and
WHEREAS, in March 2020, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Maui County as a primary natural disaster area due to drought conditions. Since that designation, drought conditions have not changed, so Maui County continues as a designated primary natural disaster area; and
WHEREAS, as a result of these conditions, I previously issued my January 27, 2021 Proclamation declaring an emergency, which emergency period has since ended; and
WHEREAS, despite ongoing efforts, axis deer have propagated to numbers that cannot currently be sustained by the environment in Maui County; and
WHEREAS, the axis deer population in Maui County has not been sufficiently reduced through hunting efforts alone; and
WHEREAS, the large number of axis deer in Maui County have devastated pasture forage and most vegetation already scarce due to drought conditions; and
WHEREAS, the devastation of vegetation has forced wildlife, in particular axis deer in Maui County, to migrate into agricultural and developed areas seeking food and water; and
WHEREAS, the increased numbers of axis deer foraging in urbanized areas and along roadways in Maui County have caused a number of traffic accidents that have resulted in injury and death to motorists; and
WHEREAS, the numbers and habitat patterns of axis deer on the island of Maui have driven the deer into the town of Kahului, where approximately 300-500 deer are foraging around the fence line of the Kahului Airport, some entering active runways, thereby potentially creating an unsafe condition for aircraft landing and taking off, and potentially resulting in loss of lives and millions of dollars in aircraft and property damage; and
WHEREAS, immediate measures to appreciably reduce and control axis deer populations in Maui County and to implement deer management strategies, including but not limited to, corralling of axis deer, culling of axis deer to sustainable levels, clearing vegetation along fence lines, and erecting and/or reinforcing or repairing fence lines to keep axis deer away from roadways, airports, and runways are needed to protect the health and welfare of the community; and
WHEREAS, the current threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Maui County caused from the axis deer overpopulation constitutes an emergency under section 127A-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), and warrants preemptive and protective actions; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DAVID Y. IGE, Governor of the State of Hawai‘i,
hereby determine that an emergency or disaster contemplated by section 127A-14, HRS, has occurred in the County of Maui, State of Hawai‘i, and do hereby authorize and invoke the following emergency provisions which are expressly invoked, if not already in effect upon this declaration of an emergency:
I. Invocation of Laws
Section 127A-12(b)(13), HRS, requiring each public utility, or any person owning, controlling, or operating a critical infrastructure, to protect and safeguard its or the person’s property, or to provide for the protection and safeguarding thereof, and provide for the protection and safeguarding of all critical infrastructure and key resources; provided that without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing two clauses, the protecting or safeguarding may include the regulation or prohibition of public entry thereon, or the permission of the entry upon terms and conditions as I may prescribe.
Section 127A-12(b)(16), HRS, directing all state agencies and officers to cooperate and extend their services, materials, and facilities as may be required to assist in emergency response efforts.
Section 127A-16, HRS, by activating the Major Disaster Fund.
II. Deer Control
Pursuant to sections 127A-12 and 127A-13, HRS, the county and state agencies are to provide emergency relief and engage in emergency management functions as defined in section 127A-2, HRS, to enable implementation of deer management strategies, including but not limited to, creating buffers and to erect, reinforce, or repair fence lines to keep the deer away from roadways, airports, and runways, taking action to immediately cull axis deer, and reducing the herds of axis deer to sustainable numbers, so as to provide protection and relief from damages, losses, and suffering caused by the emergency.
III. Suspension of Laws
The following specific provisions of law are suspended, as allowed by
federal law, pursuant to sections 127A-12(b)(8) and 127A-13(a)(3), HRS, to the extent that the law impedes or tends to impede or be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with, emergency functions, including laws which by this chapter specifically are made applicable to emergency personnel to the extent necessary for county and state agencies to implement deer management strategies contemplated herein:
Chapter 6E, HRS, historic preservation, to the extent that compliance requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency repairs or work.
Section 37-41, HRS, appropriations to revert to state treasury; exceptions, to the extent that appropriations lapse at the end of the fiscal year prior to completion of the emergency repairs or work.
Section 37-74(d), HRS, program execution, except for sub-sections 37-74(d)(2) and 37-74(d)(3), HRS, and any such transfers or changes considered to be authorized transfers or changes for purposes of section 34-74(d)(1) for legislative reporting requirements, to the extent that legislative authorization would likely delay appropriation transfers or changes between programs to provide necessary funding to complete the emergency repairs or work.
Section 40-66, HRS, lapsing of appropriations, to the extent that the timing of the procurement of the construction of the emergency permanent repairs may occur the fiscal year following the original emergency proclamation.
Chapter 46, HRS, county organization and administration, as any county ordinance, rule, regulation, law, or provision in any form applies to any county permitting, licensing, zoning, variance, processes, procedures, fees, or any other requirements that hinder, delay, or impede efforts to implement deer management strategies, including, but not limited to clearing vegetation from fence lines to create a buffer against the axis deer under this Proclamation, to the extent that compliance results in any delays involved in securing County permits. These would include but not be limited to chapter 20.08, Maui County Code, soil erosion and sedimentation control, chapter 12-302, Rules for the Molokai Planning Commission, special management area rules, and chapter 12-202, Rules of the Maui Planning Commission, special management area rules.
Chapter 89, HRS, collective bargaining in public employment, to the extent that compliance with this chapter requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency work.
Chapter 89C, HRS, public officers and employees excluded from collective bargaining, to the extent that compliance with this chapter requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency work.
Section 103-2, HRS, general fund, to the extent that compliance results in any additional delays.
Section 103-53, HRS, contracts with the State or counties; tax clearances, assignments, only to the extent necessary to waive the Internal Revenue Service tax clearance requirement.
Section 103-55, HRS, wages, hours, and working conditions of employees of contractors performing services, to the extent that compliance results in any additional delays.
Chapter 103D, HRS, Hawaii public procurement code, to the extent that compliance results in any additional delays involved in meeting procurement requirements for selecting contractors in a timely manner to respond to emergency situations or perform emergency work.
Chapter 104, HRS, wages and hours of employees on public works, to the extent that compliance with this chapter requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency work.
Sections 105-1 to 105-10, HRS, use of government vehicles, limitations, to the extent that compliance with this chapter requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency work.
Section 127A-30, HRS, rental or sale of essential commodities during a state of emergency; prohibition against price increases, for the reason that the automatic invocation of this provision during an emergency is not needed for this emergency.
Chapter 183D, HRS, wildlife, and chapter 13-124, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), indigenous wildlife, endangered and threatened wildlife and introduced wild birds, to the extent that compliance results in any delays involved in implementation of axis deer management activities or requires additional time detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of emergency work.
Chapter 205A, Part II, HRS, coastal zone management, to the extent that compliance results in any additional delays involved with securing approvals from the counties or the Department of Land and Natural Resources for work within the special management area.
Chapter 343, HRS, environmental impact statements, and chapter 11-200.1, HAR, environmental impact statement rules, to the extent that compliance results in any additional delays involved with the environmental review process.
If any provision of this Proclamation is rendered or declared illegal for any
reason, or shall be invalid or unenforceable, such provision shall be modified or
deleted, and the remainder of this Proclamation and the application of such
provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby but shall
be enforced to the greatest extent permitted by applicable law.
No provision of this Proclamation, or any rule or regulation hereunder,
shall be construed as authorizing any private right of action to enforce any
requirement of this Proclamation, or of any rule or regulation. Unless the
Governor, Director of Emergency Management, or their designee issues an
express order to a non-judicial public officer, no provision of this Proclamation, or
any rule or regulation hereunder, shall be construed as imposing any ministerial
duty upon any non-judicial public officer and shall not bind the officer to any
specific course of action or planning in response to the emergency or interfere with
the officer’s authority to utilize his or her discretion.
I FURTHER DECLARE that the disaster emergency relief period shall commence immediately and continue through January 7, 2022, unless terminated or superseded by separate proclamation, whichever shall occur first.
Are you a tenant or landlord? Do you have questions on the recent expiration of the State Eviction Moratorium on Aug. 6, the new Center for Disease Control (CDC) Moratorium - or if you qualify for federal rental relief? Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura, former Judge Joseph Cardoza and Rep. Troy Hashimoto - along with many great panelists, answer important questions on what you need to know! Help is available - don't hesitate to reach out for help.
Thank you to Akakū Maui Community Media for hosting the program!
Maui County Residents are asked to tune in this Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 6:30 PM, on AKAKU 53 & 54 to learn about the end of Governor Ige’s moratorium, the resources available in Maui County, how to reach out for support, and the options available for both landlords and tenants.
Joining State Representative Troy Hashimoto and Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura, landlord and tenant attorneys, mediation administrators, and rent and utility assistance administrators including:
“There may be assistance available to those financially impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic and we hope this round table discussion will reach out to residents who may be evicted with the end of the moratorium on August 6th,” says Councilmember Sugimura. “Special appreciation is extended to retired Judge Joseph Cardoza, Chair of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, who put together the panelists to lead this important discussion.”
For more information please feel free to contact Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura’s cell (808) 870-8047, office (808) 270-7939 or by emailing YukiLei.Sugimura@MauiCounty.us.
*Yuki Lei Sugimura holds the Maui County Council seat for the Upcountry residency area.
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