Letter: Volcano Circus’s Position on BLNR Fine


Despite several attempts by staff and legal counsel of the Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (HVC) to clarify the organizational relationship between HVC and the Village Green Society (VGS), the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) waged fines against both organizations on Friday. According to HVC Chairman, Graham Ellis, HVC did not erect or occupy any of the alleged structures nor is it responsible for any alleged encroachments on state land. He also clarified that all ohia used in constructing SPACE was sustainably harvested on the VGS TMK.

Interim Director, Dena Smith, reports feeling frustrated and disappointed at the vindictive efforts by several local residents that have repetitively waged complaints against SPACE over the last several years. She states that this pattern is destructive and counterproductive to building community connection and communication. Another source of frustration, according to Smith, is the information leakage to the press before either HVC or VGS received communication from the DLNR. It took nearly two months for the DLNR initial finding report to be sent to both organizations.

The mission statement of SPACE is “to creatively promote sustainable local community in Puna Makai.” This mission has been put into practice in recent weeks during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle, when SPACE stepped in to offer assistance to local residents and neighbors by serving as a relief station; offering free ice, bathrooms, food & water distribution, and daily potluck dinners. Now with the lava threatening passage to lower Puna, SPACE is again seeking ways to serve the local community.

The focus for this colorful community arts center is on educational programs, particularly those for children and families. Besides being the home of the renowned HICCUP Circus, SPACE is also home to Seaview School, a satellite program of the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences, which serves 30+ students. A new program is being launched this week called “Sacred SPACE,” offering gatherings on Sunday morning to various local spiritual groups.

For more information about the Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (SPACE), please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HawaiiSPACE or our website at www.hawaiispace.com.


Dena Smith, Interim Director

14 replies
  1. Y.MEE
    Y.MEE says:

    Here we go again, the circus is innocent though mostly the same people are on the Boards of VGS and HVC. Both organizations are linked through VGS’s purpose of giving it’s proceeds to HVC. Maybe VGS could shed a light if secretary Graham ever gets around to publishing their “comment” as he announced months ago on the BIC when he ‘set the record straight’.

    The new interim director Dena Smith forgot to mention that the complaints resulted from neighbors losing enjoyment of their homes through the traffic of hundreds of cars and the noise pouring out of SPACES’s open pavilion into the subdivision during the twice a week performances as well as other loud events. The so called “vindictive efforts” of “several local residents that have repeatedly waged complaints against SPACE” could have been mitigated long ago if SPACE had made efforts to change the relationship into something other than confrontation. But of course that would involve a lot of work and require a flexible and understanding attitude, not a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality.

    Funny also, most people in Seaview did not know about the free ice, water and food after the storm. There was neither anything posted on the bulletin boards nor were the usual “SPACE event” road signs set out to let people know of these generous offers. Was this outpour of ‘assistance’ an internal affair for fans only?
    JB Water Hauling was highly visible in Seaview’s Front park offering free water, food and other items (big Mahalo!)
    Hopefully “community connection and communication” improves and SPACE will finally truly “serve the local community” with needed services instead of bringing hundreds of paying visitors to their shows for their own financial benefit.

  2. Hazen Komraus
    Hazen Komraus says:

    Wow, who wants to guess that Y.MEE is Sativa or RJ still poking the corpse and cursing at the remnants of our community center, farmer’s market, performing arts space, and model sustainable community. Oh wait, those aren’t really happening so much anymore. Thanks again and way to post with your real name coward. More subterfuge and hate from the shadows. Just move away already. The election was a resounding consensus on your hateful views.

  3. Y.MEE
    Y.MEE says:

    WOW, Hazen, let’s see, what did I write?

    – I observed that Graham has not followed through with the comment from VGS on the DLNR issue he had announced.
    – I observed how the complaints were generated and suggested how this issue could have been solved in a neighborly way.
    – I observed that I among many others knew nothing about SPACE’s distributions of ice, water and food after the storm though they easily could have made it known to the whole community.
    – And lastly I expressed my hope for improvement which translates into a yes to SPACE’s community services.

    And because of this I should move away???

    There was no hate in my comment but what’s coming back from you sure feels like it. What happened to democracy and freedom of speech? Are we at a point where only praise is acceptable to Graham’s fans? That’s dangerous, and part of the problem.
    It’s people like you who cause people less outspoken than R.J. and Sativa to remain anonymous.

  4. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    Graham ellis and his friends get appreciation from me for their good works……they also made a lot of big mistakes and got too big for their britches….we do create our own realities….surely the hippies believe this ?..Why is their no middle ground here ? You got your SPACE and ellis haters, and you got your slavish devotees, can do no wrong followers….I can tell you one thing I would not want this bunch as neighbors….Both animal slaughterhouses and firing ranges are allowed uses on farm lands in Hawaii….would you want one of those next door to SPACE ? Getting along with neighbors is fundamental….crucial ….. and might as well cooperate with government…not all government is bad….

  5. mike
    mike says:

    Typical lower puna slime, graham needs to stop splitting hairs, he is involved in it all, this his project, his “dream”

  6. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Hey Mr. mike.
    Your comment loses any moral authority when you stereotype and namecall.
    My family has lived in lower puna since the early 1900s.
    Many different cultures and people have migrated here.
    To use the phrase “typical lower puna slime” is clearly antithetical to community building.
    I commend bellyacres for the many dreams pursued over the years.
    Mr. mike, I ask you to withdraw your slur, express your view on the issues, without slimey comments.

  7. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    There is no question that the Hawaii Volcano Circus et al have done many positive things in the past – and possibly even the recent past. That, however, is not the issue. Neither Graham nor Dena have actually addressed the DLNR’s accusations: did they or did they not exceed their permits? Did they chop down trees? Did they build unpermitted structures on State (= our) land? etc. etc. I am not prepared to be either a slavish supporter or a vigilante, but I sure wonder why they are not addressing the issues rather than all this “but we’re so wonderful, why are you persecuting us?” stuff.

  8. greg owen
    greg owen says:

    There are good DLNR DOCARE agents and their job basically is to protect the forest and the nearshore waters…..otherwise poachers and libertines would have a field day with our SHARED NATURAL RESOURCES…in the ancient days the konohiki would safeguard….perhaps the ways of Ka Poe Kahiko were better…..

  9. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    DLNR is the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and they are empowered by the Hawaii Revised Statutes and their Administrative Rules (HAR). BLNR is the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Their Division of Conservation And Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is the entity that investigated the complaint. The Land Division issued the original permit that allowed Graham’s group the use of State land adjacent to Belly Acres, and of course there were conditions to the permit.The complaint alleged that the conditions had been violated, so DLNR sent its enforcement division (DOCARE) to investigate. They found that there was merit to the complaint and proceeded accordingly. Hiccup Circus/S.P.A.C.E./The Hawaii’s Volcano Circus/The Village Green Society are the entities involved. They may or may not be legally related or all responsible, but there are many of the same people involved and they all seem to have something to do with the Belly Acres parcel. I don’t know the legal details or how liability can be ascribed.

  10. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse says:

    I’ve known G.E. since the Belly Acres (Ache-rs) days and he’s an alright guy, but not coming clean about the cutting, the shacks, the ‘volunteer’ housing, and such isn’t right.
    He may not have cut the trees himself, but he played a role in it happening. Think of it in terms of the BP spill. Mr. & Mrs. British Petroleum didn’t put that oil in that water, but ultimately they are responsible.
    I really believe that if everyone involved had just owned up about what had happened and which individuals were responsible things could’ve gone much smoother.

  11. Y.MEE
    Y.MEE says:

    Rene, the Land Division never gave Graham or his groups a permit to use the State Land adjacent to Belly Acres.
    Graham and his groups has wanted to lease that land for years, but neither now nor before was there a lease.
    Graham and his groups had a Special Use Permit from the Planning Department/Planning Commission which is in cease and desist due to violations of the permit. They were given the chance to amend their permit but the given time has long since elapsed.

  12. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    @Tia, would you put a few more words to your question
    “who’s DLNR…?”
    Of course you know about this ‘state’ agency.
    Are you suggesting that their legitimacy is in question?
    …is that because this, Hawaii,
    is actually the Hawaiian Kingdom?
    {Taking belly acres out of ‘American’ jurisdiction allows a reframing of the alleged ‘sins’.
    What harm has been done by this community from the perspective of the Hawaiian Kingdom?}
    Am I putting words in your mouth?

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