(BIVN) – The first Waimea Community Association Town Meeting of the new year will be held on January 4, 2024. On the meeting agenda is the introduction of the Association’s new leadership, and a preview of the upcoming legislative session.
From the Waimea Community Association:
The 60+-year-old Waimea Community Association is transitioning to new leadership with four-year President James Hustace stepping down and the election of Nancy Carr Smith as its new lead. Joining Carr Smith as association officers are Mary Beth Laychak as Vice President, Lani Olsen-Chong as Secretary and Victor Tom as Treasurer.
Board Members include Riley Smith (membership), David Greenwell, Whitney Harvey, Patti Cook and Chris Wong (volunteers).
WCA’s first Town Meeting for the new year from 5:30-7PM, Thurs., Jan. 4, 2024 will mahalo Hustace for his considerable contribution – most notably helping the association quickly pivot to virtual, and now hybrid meetings, which helped keep the community connected and informed during the worst of the pandemic. The unexpected “silver bullet” was a significant increase in meeting attendance to about 250+ residents monthly due to the convenient access of “live” streaming and recorded meetings via Facebook and YouTube.
This use of technology to sustain and expand community connectivity – especially during the 2020 and 2022 elections – earned WCA the Big Island Press Club Torch of Light Award during Hustace’s tenure. WCA also has significantly expanded support for the community’s dedicated first responders and enhanced public safety and involvement in the 60+-year Christmas Parade.
Most of WCA’s Jan. 4 Town Meeting will focus on the 2024 State Legislature, which begins in just over two weeks. It is expected to be an especially challenging session due to pressing – highly emotional – needs to address Maui fire recovery. Adding to pressure are issues that are stressing the entire state – from affordable housing and homelessness to health care, especially mental health services, to the high cost of living, to a shrinking state budget and costly public facilities repair, maintenance, and remediation to address public safety, economic security and climate change.
Leading the meeting’s legislative conversation will be Dist. 4 Sen. Dr. Tim Richards, Dist. 8 Rep. David Tarnas, and County of Hawai’i Fire Chief Kazuo Todd. Each will discuss their priorities and welcome community input and questions.
The Town Meeting will be held in person at Tutu’s House and streamed “live” via WCA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The meeting will be recorded and available on Facebook and YouTube for later viewing.
As always, the entire community is invited to attend and questions are welcome – ideally in advance – by emailing: WaimeaCommunityAssociation@gmail.com. Questions may also be typed into FB chat during the meeting and will be addressed during as time permits.
WCA Town Meetings begin with a pule – this month by Rabbi Sydney Mintz – and will include a brief public safety update by South Kohala Community Policing Officers. Newly promoted Acting Major Jeremie Evangelista will introduce newly promoted South Kohala Acting Captain Roylen Valera.
The spotlighted not-for-profit for January will be the Waimea Resilience Hub discussing the volunteer group’s work to create a Waimea Emergency Awareness Network to enhance community preparedness.