Today in West Hawaii history | April 4

April 4, 1984: While Mauna Loa continues to pump out molten lava at a steady rate at the 9,000-foot elevation pushing a slow-moving flow closer to mauka Hilo, the county keeps busy outlining preliminary plans in case the flow actually reaches the city. Although Mauna Loa’s output of lava continues steady at about one million cubic feet per hour, the flow front, as expected, has slowed down. The flow is currently located at the 3,200-foot elevation.

The eruption of Mauna Loa is being interpreted by many native Hawaiians as Madame Pele’s retribution for the desecration and violation of ancient Hawaiian temples and burial sites, according to Lanakila Brandt. Brandt, of the Kahanahou Foundation, said he has heard from many native Hawaiians that the eruption is the result of sacred site desecration, particularly at the Kapokohelele cave complex in Puna.

April 4, 1994: A pilot project is being developed in Kona to combine traditional education with the ancient art of sailing Polynesian voyaging canoes. The Kona Coast Sails Program is the first stem in the establishment of Exploration Learning Centers, which will use Hawaii’s environment to provide students with intense but enjoyable learning experiences. The pilot course will consist of students learning the responsibilities of the crew on a Polynesian voyaging canoe and will culminate with a trip on the Hawaiian double-hulled canoe “Eala” along the Kona Coast.

Controversial unified impact-fee legislation that would establish developmental taxes to help finance county services and facilities is slated to appear before lawmakers this week. The proposal would add roughly $9,000 to the cost of every single-family residential home while hotels, offices and industrial developments would be assessed fees based on size.

April 4, 2004: There are Big Island farmers whose real property taxes have dramatically increased now that the County of Hawaii is taking a different approach to assessing their properties. The county’s Real Property Tax Division recently sent out 5,000 letters informing residents on properties zoned for agriculture that non-farmed portions of their property and their homesite would be compared with similar parcels to determine the market value for this year’s assessment.

Hawaii County Council members will take up a proposed six-cent per gallon increase to the fuel tax this week. Administrators are seeking from four cents of the six-cent-per-gallon increase, or an estimated $3.6 million, for the Department of Public Works to gain 53 new positions, and pay for equipment, supplies and materials to maintain existing roads. Revenue from the remaining two cents, or an estimated $1.6 million is being sought for the county Transit Agency to pay for new or expanded bus routes in Waikoloa, Pahoa and “intra-Kona,” Ocean View, and Pahala; expansion of the boat day service; increased funding for the shared ride tax subsidy; bus fleet maintenance and federal grant matches.