Today in West Hawaii history | May 6


May 6, 1984: Honaunau avocado grower Kerry Watson may be atypical among Hawaii’s farmers, but the uphill battle he is waging to market his crops on the mainland is symbolic of the state’s agriculturalists’ fight for survival. Watson is now learning one of the most difficult aspects of being a farmer in Hawaii is getting his crop to a market on the mainland at a competitive price. Hawaii, one of the few regions in the U.S. with a year-round growing season that can support tropical fruits and vegetables, is straddling a tenuous economic tightrope of freight competition, government restriction and available agricultural lands being eaten up by development. At the same time, agriculture is subjected to ever-present losses from drought, wind and excessive rain.

May 6, 1994: A family that says it has ancestral rights to Upolu Point has challenged plans by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to establish a cultural learning center at the old U.S. Coast Guard station. Catherine Nawahine, spokeswoman for the Perez family, which is now occupying the old LORAN station at the northernmost point of the Big Island, said the family has its own plans to establish a similar center on the property. The 73-acre station was recently shut down by the Coast Guard after 50 years because the navigational technology is now obsolete. OHA announced last week it had approved a licensing agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees the Coast Guard, for a one-year lease of about half of the property to create the Native Hawaiian Cultural Learning Center.

The run-away truck ramp on Palani Road closes. The ramp was closed to allow the construction of a roadway for Queen Liliuokalani Trust’s commercial development on the property. The ramp was originally allowed to be built under the terms of a revocable lease issued by the trust and was built more than a decade ago. The county says it is working with a development consultant for another ramp at a different location.

May 6, 2004: A proposed residential, hotel and commercial development off Queen Kaahumanu Highway is on hold, after Marry Harry Kim speaks against the Ooma rezoning, and other rezonings in areas on the island, with infrastructure at capacity. After Kim spoke, the Hawaii County Council voted to defer the requests for 90 days the proposed rezoning of 83 acres near the Kona International Airport for Clifto’s Kona Coast. Kim apologized for weighing in at the 11th hour, but said it was necessary after he received word form the state Department of Transportation that the second phase of the highway widening, which the developers are relying on, doesn’t have a state funding commitment and may not happen until as early as 2011.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy defeats Kealakehe High School to capture the Big Island Interscholastic Federation water polo title. In what’s believed to have been the longest water polo match in BIIF history, HPA wins the regular-season title match 2-1. The match went into a fourth sudden death after the team battled through four regulation periods (7 minutes each), two overtime periods (three minutes each), and then three sudden death periods (three minutes each).