About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Hilo's Yukio Okustu State Veterans Home is under close scrutiny after 27 resident deaths from COVID-19. 
See story below. Photo from Big Island Video News
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF STATE WORKERS COULD BE FURLOUGHED with unpaid days off work over the next four years. The days off would cost the employees a ten percent pay cut, according to Hawaiʻi News Now, which reported the story this morning. The story states Gov. David Ige has been meeting with union leaders in anticipation of starting the unpaid leave program Dec. 1. Also saving money would be deep cuts in state programs and with contractors who do business with the state. Frugal spending is not enough to balance the budget after devastating tax losses to the state, as the economy of Hawaiʻi contracted during the ongoing pandemic, reports Hawaiʻi News Now.

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U.S. DEATH TOLL FROM COVID-19 REACHES 200,000 today, as one more veteran dies at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, bringing its total to 25 and accounting for all but two of the 27 fatalities on Hawaiʻi Island since the pandemic began. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense sent a message about the veterans who died from COVID. "Our sincere gratitude for their service to the country, and prayers and condolences to their families." The Veterans Home reports 70 residents tested positive for COVID, with 23 recovered, five hospitalized, and 17 receiving treatment in an isolated area of the facility. Thirty-four staff members tested positive; 25 recovered. 
Dr. K. Albert Yazawa
    A second report on the cluster at the Veterans Home was released this week, this one by the state Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Joint Information Center. Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency's Dr. K. Albert Yazawa conducted the assessment at the request of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corp, which operates the hospital at Hilo Medical Center, adjacent to the Veterans Home.
    The Veterans Home is managed by Avalon Health Group under contract to the State of Hawai‘i. Between Aug. 25, when the first case was reported, and today, 27 veteran residents died. See more on the situation in previous Kaʻū News Briefs: Aug. 25, Aug. 31, Sept. 3, Sept. 5, Sept. 7, Sept. 9Sept. 11Sept. 13Sept. 14Sept. 15Sept. 16Sept. 20, and Sept. 21.
    Yazawa wrote that sources of COVID infection in the facility included "staff who appear to be connected to known community outbreaks," unknown asymptomatic but infectious staff, and resident exposure at a dialysis center where there was an outbreak of COVID. He said staff complacency, including "break room use and loose mask usage by some staff" played a part in spread, as did lack of onsite testing and staff contact tracing. 
    He suggested "a very low threshold for testing based on a growing list of subtle symptoms to include behavioral changes, non-respiratory symptoms like Gl issues, etc." could have led to discovering infections sooner. He said separating residents with different COVID status and assigning staff to work only one area, sooner, would have slowed the spread.
    "Wandering dementia patients is a complex issue in the nursing home and is difficult to deal with within current nursing home regulations, which discourages physical or chemical restraints of any kind, unlike in acute care facilities," said Yazawa. He suggested "physical barriers, like dementia stop signs" or using plastic curtains to keep those patients in a limited area.
Hilo's Yukio Okustu State Veterans Home. 
Photo from Big Island Video News
    He said the culture at the Veterans Home "remained entrenched in pre-COVID norms of respecting individual resident rights over the health of the general population." He called this a major error. 
    As for staff positivity rates, Yazawa said it is "unlikely that this can be attributed to community-acquired COVID" as Hilo's rates are "far below five percent." He attributed the high staff COVID rates to "less than optimal day-to-day personal prevention practices" and "lack of good systemic practices." 
    He recommends follow-up visits to assure compliance with suggested recommendations by Veterans Affairs.
    A third report is being prepared by state Department of Health's Office of Health Care Assurance. A preview of the report says: "Staff were in-serviced on facility policies and procedures, but it appears there was no follow-up to ensure appropriate behaviors or enforcement."
    Allison Griffiths, spokesperson for Avalon, told The Kaʻū Calendar that a response to the HI-EMA report is forthcoming. A response to the state Department of Health report will come after Avalon receives and reviews it.   
A masked Sen. Brian Schatz in D.C. He said he and his 
staff will closely monitor the situation at 
Hilo's Veterans Home. Photo from Schatz

    She pointed to the recent COVID-19 infection control survey conducted by the Department of Health's Office of Health Care Assurance on June 23. She said OHCA reported that "the facility was in full compliance with infection control guidelines. In fact, the surveyor complimented the facility for its diligence. While standards are updated over time as we learn more about this historic threat, this shows that our healthcare heroes are doing everything they can to keep our residents safe," said Griffiths.
    On Sunday, Sen. Brian Schatz said the VA's report "makes clear that Avalon did not take the steps necessary to protect its residents and staff. We have known all along that nursing homes and their residents were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is infuriating to see that basic infection control practices were not in place months after the pandemic began. Avalon must take immediate action to address the recommendations of this report to ensure the safety of the veterans and staff at the State Veterans Home. My staff and I will continue to closely monitor this outbreak and help provide any additional federal resources that are available."
     See more on the daily COVID count, along with rules and regulations, below.

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Join Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for a
Virtual Townhall tomorrow.

A VIRTUAL TOWNHALL ON COVID, HILO VETERANS HOME DEATHS, and future pandemic assistance from Congress will be held by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. In a statement today from her office in Washington, D.C., Gabbard said she will discuss expected improvements in Hawai‘i's COVID-19 testing and tracing operations, and the outbreak at Hilo's Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home that has claimed the lives of 25 veterans. She will also talk about the latest news from Congress on emergency assistance and this week's vote to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

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COVID-19 TALK STORY ON NĀ LEO TV will launch on Nā Leo. The series with County of Hawaiʻi begins this Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. The 60-minute live premiere will come from the county's COVID-19 Operations Center at Aunty Sally's Luau Hale in Hilo.
    
A Nā Leo statement about the series says it is "aimed toward helping deliver accurate and current information to our island residents regarding the most pressing challenge of our modern lives, the COVID-19 pandemic."
    Nā Leo President and CEO, Stacy Higa, said, "We look forward to providing our community with a program that will have current and important information about our island's COVID-19 recovery. County, State, local non-profits, and community organizations will help provide us with the important content to share with our island residents."
    He said the series will broadcast Thursdays, locally on Spectrum Channel 53, online at naleo.tv/channel-53/, and streaming via the Nā Leo free mobile app available in all major marketplaces. It will be available on-demand at naleo.tv/covid19.

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TODAY IS NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY, the fourth Tuesday of September. Residents are urged to register online, https://olvr.hawaii.gov/, or by U.S. Mail. Print a registration form. Forms must be postmarked no later than Monday, Oct. 5.
    Ballots for Hawai‘i County will be mailed Oct. 7 and should start to arrive within a couple days. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. As during the Primary, all ballots will be mailed.
    Mailed ballots must be sent by Oct. 27. Voters can deposit ballots in mailboxes, at post offices, and at dropbox locations around the island; in Nāʻālehu Police Station at 95-5355 Mamalahoa Hwy starting Oct. 14 through Nov. 2, daily, open 24 hours, and on election day through 7 p.m.
    Voters can still vote in-person and may register the same day. Locations are in Hilo at 101 Pauahi Street, #1, and Kona, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. See tips on helping others to register to vote at nationalvoterregistrationday.org. Find more information at elections.hawaii.gov. Check voter registration status here.

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TODAY IS FIRST DAY OF FALL for the mainland. Hawaiʻi has two seasons, summer – kau – from May to October, and winter – hoʻoilo. This time of year is usually the peak of hurricane season, which has been quiet so far with Douglas, and some unnamed tropical storms and depressions, passing by with no damage. By contrast, the Atlantic has had so many named storms this season, they've gone to Greek for new names. 
    National Weather Service reports Tropical Storm Lowell with winds 50 mph is brewing east of Hawaiʻi and is expected to strengthen and weaken as it moves in this direction. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 1.

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FARMERS AND RANCHERS CAN ATTEND A PRODUCER WEBINAR on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. to discuss U.S. Department of Agriculture's additional $14 billion dollars for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Learn about expanded eligibility for certain commodities, new payment categories – including a sales-based approach to specialty crops and other specific commodities – and how to apply. Register for the webinar here.
    Coffee farmers are newly included – learn more, below. Signup will run through Dec. 11 for this next round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments. See a complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations at farmers.gov/cfap

Chris Manfredi, President of Hawaiʻi Coffee Association
encourages coffee farmers to apply for aid
.
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HAWAIʻI COFFEE ASSOCIATION ENCOURAGES FARMERS TO APPLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. Coffee producers impacted by fallout from COVID-19 statewide are newly eligible to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments through Dec. 11.
    "We are thrilled the USDA has added coffee to the list of eligible specialty crops for this round of CFAP funding," said Chris Manfredi, president of the statewide Hawaiʻi Coffee Association. In a statement released Monday, Manfredi credited the many HCA members who testified on the importance of securing eligibility and others who "went to bat" for Hawaiʻi's coffee industry.
    
Supporters included Hawaiʻi's congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. "who never took their eye off the ball. Their communication and resolve have been outstanding," said Manfredi. "On behalf of the Hawaiʻi Coffee Association, I also want to thank USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and his staff, President Trump, and our local Farm Service Agency, Hawaiʻi and American Farm Bureaus, and HDOA for their support of Hawaiʻi's coffee industry. I urge all those who have been impacted, and are now eligible, to apply for CFAP and CARES ACT funding."
    Coffee industry members can check the HCA website for funding updates and resources related to COVID-19 at hawaiicoffeeassoc.org
    The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association's mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaiʻi coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters, and retailers. The HCA's primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA's work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Learn more about the HCA through hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

Grassroot Institute President Keliʻi Akina
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REFORM THE STATE LAND USE COMMISSION TO ENCOURAGE MORE HOUSING is the recommendation of a new brief from Hawaiʻi Grassroot Institute. A statement from Grassroot says the report "makes it clear that the land-use agency makes it more time-consuming and costly to create new housing in Hawaiʻi, thanks to its quasi-judicial structure and many mandates that often are duplicative of county functions."
    Keliʻi Akina, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaiʻi, said the COVID-19 crisis "is all the more reason to take bold action now to rejuvenate Hawaiʻi's housing industry. It would put homebuilders back to work and provide more homes at more affordable prices for Hawaiʻi's struggling residents. When our lawmakers reconvene in 2021, they should work to make it as easy as reasonably possible to create new housing in the islands. Reforming the state Land Use Commission would be an excellent way to start."  The Grassroot Institute's policy brief, written by research associate Jackson Makaniko Grubbe, suggests three reform options:
    Rein in LUC's authority over specific types of proposed urban uses and detailed reviews of development design and associated impacts. "It is the state Land Use Commission, after all, not the state Zoning Commission."
    Grubbe points out that the agency was established in 1961 to address problems related to urban development spreading throughout agricultural lands. Since then, it has been responsible for reviewing petitions for district boundary amendments, which are requests to change a parcel's land designation. "But these days, the LUC also considers issues generally considered to be within the purview of the counties, such as infrastructure, public facilities, economic feasibility, and environmental concerns."
    Allow counties to handle all DBAs for urban and agricultural lands. The LUC could be retained for reviewing DBAs of conservation lands and for considering statewide environmental issues that the counties might not be equipped to handle, such as potable water availability, natural resource protection, and "important agricultural land" designation.
Jackson Makaniko Grubbe suggests
reforms to ease housing worries.
Photo from Grassroot

    Raise acreage cutoff for LUC review of District Boundary Amendment requests. Currently, the threshold is 15 acres. One proposal in the 2020 legislative session suggested 25 acres. "And increasing the amount would not be unprecedented." The LUC website notes: "In an effort to streamline the decision-making process, the law was amended in 1985 to allow applicants for land-use changes of 15 acres or less to apply directly to the counties."
    The institute's policy brief concludes: "Restructuring the approval process for district boundary amendments would help the Land Use Commission focus on statewide land-use issues, in accordance with its stated purpose. It would also help housing developers move more quickly through the approval process. An acreage increase would have a similar result on a smaller scale."
    Akina said, "More housing is critical if we hope to keep our family members, friends, and neighbors from leaving Hawaiʻi in search of greener pastures. Reforming the LUC is an obvious choice for how to make more housing happen."

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KAʻŪ DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES OFFICE WILL BE OPEN THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 26, by appointment, to process expired Hawaiʻi Driver's License and driver's licenses expiring in September. Hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The location is in the police station building on the makai, Pāhala, side of Nāʻālehu along Highway 11. Appointments may be made here. With any questions, call 854-7214. 
    Face coverings must be worn and customers must adhere to the recommended a six-foot social distancing at all times. Only those customers receiving services will be allowed, but minors or those needing additional assistance may have one additional person accompany them, if needed. 
    Those who have traveled off-island within the past 14 days, have a fever exceeding 100.3 F, receiving the results, please do not attempt to visit Department of Motor Vehicle offices for services or to schedule an appointment in-person.

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THE STATE REPORTS 65 NEW CODI-19 CASES TODAY. Hawaiʻi Island reports eight new cases, Oʻahu 55. Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,522 COVID cases in the state. Department of Health reports 4,992 of those infected have completed isolation. There are about 6,400 active cases in isolation. There are 19 people hospitalized on Hawaiʻi Island with the virus. 

Onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 28 days, by zip code. Gray

areas have zero or few residential addresses. White is zero cases.

Yellow is one to 30 cases. Pale orange is 31 to 60 cases. Medium

orange is 61 to 90 cases. Dark orange (not pictured) is 91 to 140 

cases. Bright red is 141 to 250 cases. Dark red (not pictured)

is 251 to 370 cases. Department of Health map

    Since the pandemic began, Oʻahu reported 10,393 cases, Hawaiʻi Island 659, Maui County 385, and Kauaʻi 57. Twenty-eight victims are residents diagnosed while visiting other places. Statewide, 749 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic began. 
     Hilo's Veterans Home - see story, above - reports 25 total deaths, one new today. Hilo Medical Center reports two deaths, for a Hawaiʻi Island total of 27. The state's official death toll is 120, and Department of Health states about 20 deaths are being verified before being counted.
    In the last 28 days, active cases have been reported in zip codes 96704 with Miloliʻi; 96737 with Ocean View; 96772 with Nāʻālehu, Waiʻōhinu, Green Sands, Mark Twain, Discovery Harbour, and South Point; 96777 with Pāhala, Punaluʻu, and Wood Valley; and 96785 with Volcano Village. Zip code 96718, shaded gray on the map, is Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which has few residents and no cases to date. Other areas shaded gray have no or very little population and no cases. 
    Visitation at Hilo Medical Center has been paused, with the exception of one visitor for OB, pediatrics, and end-of-life patients. The hospital's long-term care ward is closed to new patients for now. 
    All beach and shoreline parks on Hawaiʻi Island are closed through Sept. 30. The activities of exercising, fishing, food gathering, use of restroom, shower facilities, and access to the ocean will continue to be allowed. Use of pavilions, barbecues, tents, or other shade devices, tables, hibachis, coolers, picnicking, camping, and commercial operations are all prohibited. 
    Hawaiʻi Island police continue enforcement of preventative policies of face coverings, distancing, and gatherings. Civil Defense says, "Know that these policies are mandated and will be enforced. While on patrol, police officers will provide face coverings to people they encounter who do not have one. Mahalo for your help." 
    Civil Defense says the number of new cases of coronavirus on this Island "reflects the need and importance of continuing testing throughout the Island as the virus remains a threat. With all accepting kuleana, we can stop the spread of the virus to keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe. With the community's involvement, we can keep Hawaiʻi Safe."
    See the Hawaiʻi County COVID-19 webpage at coronavirus-response-county-of-hawaii-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com. Request travel exemptions for critical infrastructure and medical travel at survey123.arcgis.com/share/e2f4ce19aa854964a8fd60bec7fbe78c. Report violators of COVID-19 safety protocols or quarantine to non-emergency at 935-3311. 
    COVID-19 case count in the U.S. is more than 6,889,086 – about 22 percent of worldwide cases. The death toll is more than 200,558 – about 21 percent of worldwide deaths. Worldwide, there are more than 31.43 million COVID-19 cases. The death toll is more than 967,197.

directory for farms, ranches, takeout. Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is 
free, with 7,500 distributed on stands and to all postal addresses throughout 
Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano throughout the district. Read online at 
kaucalendar.com and facebook.com/kaucalendar. To advertise your 
business or your social cause, contact kaucalendarads@gmail.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our Fresh Food on The Kaʻū Calendar and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more are listed at kaucalendar.com.

EVENTS
Free Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing will be held Thursday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kahuku Park in Ocean View. Other free testing is Wednesday, Sept. 23, and Friday, Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Civic Auditorium in Hilo – enter from Kuawa Street entrance; and Wednesday, Sept. 23 and Friday, Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at Keauhou Shopping Center. No insurance is necessary to be tested, but bring insurance card if have. No co-pay for the individuals being tested. Be sure to wear a face-covering at all times and observe social distancing. For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Submit Testimony on Helicopter and Small Craft Noice Pollution and Safety on Thursday, Sept. 24, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Hawaiʻi Air Noise and Safety Task Force will host the Virtual Public Meeting. Rep. Ed Case urges Hawaiʻi Island residents to also voice their concerns regardless. Attend the virtual forum here, passcode: 077533. Public input to the Task Force may be submitted in writing at any time before the meetings and through Dec. 1 here. Federal Aviation Administration updated its website to include a portal for submitting noise complaints at noise.faa.gov.

Producers Webinar for Farmers and Ranchers on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 9 a.m. will discuss expanded eligibility for certain commodities – coffee is now included – new payment categories – including a sales-based approach to specialty crops and other specific commodities – and information on how to apply. Register here.
    
U.S. Department of Agriculture announced up to an additional $14 billion dollars for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup will run through Dec. 11 for this next round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments.
    See a complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations at farmers.gov/cfap.

PETFIX Spay and Neuter Clinic for Dogs will be held Friday, Sept. 25 in Ocean View. For information and to register, call 808-990-3548 or email petfixbigisland@gmail.com.

Vehicle and License Registration in Kaʻū Saturday, Sept. 26 for expirations in September, from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at 95-5355 Mamalahoa Hwy in Nāʻālehu. By appointment only. Register here. No walk-ins. Face coverings must be worn, and customers must adhere to the recommended six-foot social distancing at all times. Only those customers receiving services will be allowed inside the lobby, but minors or those needing additional assistance may have one additional person accompany them, if needed. Questions? Call 939-2517.

Meet Mayoral Candidate Mitch Roth at a Talk Story even on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Discovery Harbour Golf Course clubhouse at the corner of Kahiki Street and Kaulua Circle. Groups will be limited to no more than eight at a time in one-hour increments scheduled by appointment only, between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. To schedule a group, contact Doug Phillips at 808-339-2927 or officerdug@gmail.com.

National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 26 is celebrated at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park with free entrance to the Park. The public is urged to celebrate by doing something good for the ‘āina (land), such as: Remove an invasive plant from your property, and replace it with a native plant; Pick up ‘opala (rubbish) from a beach, park or other public land; Write a haiku about your favorite public land. Watch a new Park video. The Park encourages people to post a photo or video of themselves engaged in the activity to their personal social media account, and tag @hawaiivolcanoesnps between Sept. 26 and 30. Haiku writers are encouraged to read their haiku on video. The Park will share the most inspiring posts to its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Submit Comments and Questions about Hawaiian Electric's Keāhole Battery Storage Project through Saturday, Sept. 26. The utility submitted an application to the Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 28 for a first-of-its-kind on-island, 12-megawatt, 12-megawatt-hour Battery Energy Storage System to help stabilize the power grid for the whole island, reducing the likelihood of customer outages. Virtual public meetings on both projects were held earlier this year and video replays of the discussions, along with the PUC applications and project details, can be found here. Comments and questions can be submitted to keaholebess@hawaiianelectric.com and will be included in the application to PUC.

Design the 2021 Ocean Count T-Shirt for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary by Sept. 30. Designs highlighting humpback whales in Hawaiian waters must be entirely the artist's own creation. To ensure the design looks its best when printed, submit as a high definition PDF, AI, EPS or PNG with a quality of at least 1500 pixels by 1500 pixels and 300 DPI (dots per inch) with dimensions no greater than 11.5 inches by 14 inches. Top finalists' designs will appear on oceancount.org, the winner's design on the back of the shirt. The winner will also receive $500. Email the design and completed registration form to oceancount@marinesancutary.org.

Artists and Vendors, sign up for the Annual Art & Craft Fair at Ocean View Community Center on Nov. 7. The event, held outside from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., will help raise funds for the Center, as well as benefit local artist and crafters. Booths are $8 for a 10' x 10' space, tents not provided. Face masks required. Free admission for attendees. Contact organizer Helen McCullough at 808-209-9204 or hmccullough.1@gmail.com.

The State of Hawai'i requires a Letter of Exemption for Farm Workers. Requests should be submitted to 
covidexemption@hawaii.gov 5 days prior to arrival. For a sample request letter visit: https://www.rd.hawaiicounty.gov
ONGOING
Micronesian-Language COVID-19 Helpline is offered by We Are Oceania. Receive answers to questions about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, quarantine, health insurance, housing, unemployment, and other related questions, for those Micronesians who do not speak English. COVID-19 questions can be asked 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. For questions other questions about health insurance, housing, or unemployment, the helpline is available weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. WAO helpline: (808) 913-1364. Watch the video here.

Anyone Feeling Depressed or Anxious, or who needs someone to talk to, can call Department of Health's expanded Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. program at 1-800-753-6879 – the same number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawai‘i. Individuals in crisis can also text ALOHA to 741741, available 24/7.

Nominate Businesses that Provide Excellent COVID-19 Safety Precautions for a Gold Star. Submit nominations to County of Hawaiʻi Department of Research and Development here. Find help for small businesses here.

Attend Weekly Virtual Town Meetings, hosted by Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary, on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Discussion topics include attendance, best practices, Grab-n-Go meals, school updates, and questions and feedback, and more. Go to KHPES website for Live WebEx link.

Pre-Register for Boys & Girls Club Mobile Outreach Program in Ocean View here. Completing the form does not guarantee a spot in the program. A staff member will reach out to eligible families, to complete the registration process. Questions? Contact Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island Administrative Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (808) 961-5536 or email mobiletutoring@bgcbi.org.

Free Tutors for Keiki in Pāhala, for grades one through six, will be available from Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island soon. Subjects are Homework Help, Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Math, Spelling, Test Taking Strategies, Organizational Skills, and more. Contact Boys & Girls Club at info@bgcbi.org or 961-5536.

Free Wifi Access for Students is available in Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, and Ocean View through Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary.
     In Pāhala, access is limited to ten students at a time at the school gym on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Support is provided by Joshua Ortega.
     In Nāʻālehu, access is limited to 12 students at a time at Nāʻālehu Assembly of God on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Support is provided by Carla Lind.
     In Ocean View, access is limited to five students at a time at Ocean View Community Center on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Support is provided by Carla Lind and Mrs. Marcia Masters. No restrooms available at this location.
     Kaʻū Mobile Learning Hub at St. Jude's lower parking lot is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Instruction and support are provided by Carla Lind, Mrs. VanNewkirk, Mrs. Heather Naboa, Mrs. Marcia Masters, and Mrs. Ebanez.
     All students and staff must wear a mask at all times and follow all COVID-19 guidelines. Each student must bring their device, school materials, and a water bottle. Questions? Call 313-4100.

Sign Up for Solid Waste Operations Alerts here. Receive notice via phone or email of site closures, availability of services, hours of operation, special conditions affecting solid waste service (such as road closures, flooding, fires), or special events, such as household hazardous waste collections.

Attend Sunday Drive-In Worship Service at Waiʻōhinu's Kauahaʻao Congregational Church. Parking on the lawn begins at 10 a.m., with Worship Service starting at 10:10 a.m. The only time a face covering is needed is when the usher comes to the vehicle to pass out the worship bulletin and other materials, and at the same time, collect any offering or gifts the individual(s) would like to give, or when leaving vehicles for the restroom. Church provides paper fans to stay cool. Bring water. Catch the live-streamed service at 10:10 a.m. and Praise Jam, which runs from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Service is emailed Sunday afternoon to anyone on the email list. Sign up by emailing atdwongyuen.kauahaaochurch@gmail.com or call 928-8039 or 937-2155.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church services and worship are posted online at stjudeshawaii.org. Join the Aloha Hour via Zoom at 11 a.m. on Sundays, here, Meeting ID: 684 344 9828, Password: Aloha. Weekly hot meals, hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended.

One-Time Emergency Food for people is available through Big Island Giving Tree. Emergency food for pets is available through KARES. Call David or Barbara Breskin at 319-8333.

Food Basket Distribution last Tuesday of the month, Sept. 29, provides food at St. Jude's to those in need. Another distribution will be held Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Volcano Village's Cooper Center, from 10 a.m. until pau. See hawaiifoodbasket.org.

Emergency Boxes Available at Cooper Center Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Call ahead, 967-7800.

Volcano Art Center, Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village, open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday. The Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. Virtual Shopping Appointments are offered at Volcano Art Center locations. Via Skype or FaceTime, a VAC associate helps customers browse the selection of artwork up close, and gives personalized tips and recommendations to help customers "find that perfect piece of locally made artwork, wherever you are in the world!" Book appointment online for $5 and VAC staff will help schedule a date and time at volcanoartcenter.org/shop. Shop the online gallery 24/7. Orders are shipped as regularly scheduled. Free local pickup is available.VAC now offers a Virtual Classroom, which features over 90 videos. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222

Guided Nature Walks through Nature Trail & Sculpture Garden, Mondays, 9:30 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. No reservations for five or fewer – limited to ten people. Free; donations appreciated. Email programs@volcanoartcenter.org. Garden is open to walk through at one's own pace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Free. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222

Health and Fitness Website for Kūpuna808b-fit.com, contains videos for kūpuna to play and move along with. There are videos for stretching, tai chi, yoga, dancing, dance fitness, bon dance, hula, chair dancing, and chair yoga.

Yoga with Emily Catey Weiss, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Advanced registration required; $5 per class. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222

Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, open on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, island beef, and prepared foods. Call 808-967-7800.

Ocean View Swap Meet reopens Sept. 5 at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks are required for all vendors and patrons.

Ocean View Community Market, open Saturdays and Wednesdays (starting next Wednesday, Aug. 12), 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Managed by Mark Cocucci. Masks are mandatory. Limit of people is 100. Social distancing is required. Gate will be unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m. Vendors can show up without a reservation for now, with $15 dollars. Parking is in the upper lot; parking on the side of the road is prohibited. All vendors must provide their own sanitizer. All food vendors must have the permits required for the items that you are selling. Vendors and attendees are encouraged to carpool.

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Market, in Nāʻālehu, open Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. The goal is no more than 50 customers on the grounds at a time. Vendor booths per day are limited to 25, with 30 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing are required to attend the market. Social distancing will be enforced. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374 (voice or text) or kaufarmer@aol.com for more and to apply to vend. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Choose Aloha for Home is available to families, to provide a healthy way to grow together here, using neuroscience and positive psychology, children and parents alike can learn to better understand themselves and each other. The program uses a series of self-guided videos, activities, and "dinner table discussion topics," to teach families "how to manage their emotions, communicate in healthier ways, and create a nurturing environment focused on the things that matter most." Sign up here.

ʻOhana Help Desk offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads given out to distance learning students enrolled in Kaʻū public schools. The website is open to the public here. ʻOhana Help Desk is also available to students and parents by phone, Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is closed on Saturdays and state holidays.

Ocean View Mobile Learning Lab operates weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Jude's lower parking lot. It is open to students of Nāʻālehu Elementary and Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary, to connect to internet for distance learning. Questions? See khpes.org or call 313-4100.

Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Public Libraries are open for wifi, pick-up, and other services. Nāʻālehu is open Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala is open Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Library patrons may schedule Library Take Out appointment times to pick up their hold item(s) at their favorite libraries by going to HSPLS Library Catalog and placing a hold on any item(s) they want to borrow, they may call their favorite library branch to place a hold with the library staff, or they may go in-person to request items, without placing a hold. After receiving a notice that item(s) are ready for pick up, patrons schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Both locations are also open for library card account help and reference assistance from the front door. Wifi is available to anyone with a library card from each library parking lot by using their library card and PIN. For more information, visit librarieshawaii.org.

Free Book Exchanges, at the laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu, provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Everyone is invited to take books they want to read. They may keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them to the Book Exchange to make them available to others in the community. The selection of books is replenished weekly at both sites.

Sign Up for Two Women's Health Programs from Kaʻū Women's Collective. Piko focuses on reproductive health; increasing access, respect, cultural competence, education, and choice. Pilina aims to grow membership and establish a culture of collaborative decision-making. Meetings held Sundays on Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8, and Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. Follow @kau_womens_health_collective. Contact rootsmedieshawaii@gmail.com. Call 808-450-0498.

Receive Help Over the Phone with Critical Financial Issuesthrough Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund Financial Navigators from County of Hawaiʻi, in partnership with Hawaiʻi First Federal Credit Union. Access these remote services by completing the webform here or by calling 808-933-6600 to sign up. The Financial Navigator will then send a short service agreement and call the client to begin their personal session. Organizations across the County can also refer clients directly to a Financial Navigator. For more information, contact Sharon Hirota at 808-961-8019.

Find Resources for LGBTQ+, Loved Ones, and Allies at Sexual and Gender Minority online resource hub. Hawaiʻi Department of Health's first website dedicated to LGBTQ+ resources. Developed by the Sexual and Gender Minority Workgroup in partnership with the DOH Harm Reduction Services Branch. Resources: Understanding the Pacific's alternative genders; Pronoun guide; Book lists for children and teens; ʻOhana support; and DOH data. For more information on joining the SGM Workgroup, email Thaddeus Pham at thaddeus.pham@doh.hawaii.gov. See health.hawaii.gov.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through the Papakilo Database, a resource developed by The Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Kahalo Center says the database consists of "collections of data pertaining to historically and culturally significant places, events, and documents in Hawaiʻi's history. The purpose of this educational online repository is to increase the community's ability to preserve and perpetuate cultural and historical information and practices." See papakilodatabase.com.

Native Hawaiian Farmers and Ranchers urged to use U.S. Dept. of Ag On-Farm Market Directory. U.S. Office for American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian Programs is developing a list of Native Hawaiian farmers willing to sell direct to consumers through the On-Farm Market Directory. On-farm markets are managed by a single farm operator that sells products on their farm, or on a property next to their farm. Some on-farm markets may also deliver or ship their goods directly to consumers. Visit the program website for more information and to register.

Receive Free Marketing Assistance, for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Owners can receive free marketing assistance from Univeristy of Hawaiʻi-Hilo faculty and their senior class. They offer help with moving a business online, finding out more about the businesses' customers, analyzing marketing effectiveness, and providing customer service or website feedback. Visit https://bit.ly/2YvFxsl.

Find Grants and Loans Offered to Farmers and Ranchers, at oahuaca.org. The website has a new search feature to help find information that applies to the searcher.

Begin Learning Basics of Organic Farming, from two free modules of a virtual training program by the Organic Farming Research Foundation, the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program, and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.


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