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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Volcano House lodging, dining, and other amenities remain open through the COVID-19 scare. Volcano House photo
RESTAURANTS, BARS, AND PLACES OF WORSHIP ARE ALLOWED OPEN in Hawaiʻi County. Hawaiʻi Civil Defense sent out a message Tuesday night "to clarify your Hawaiʻi County Government's status. The County of Hawaiʻi will maintain all of its services and operations as normal. All County employees are to report to work as scheduled.
     "The State's press release on closures for restaurants, bars, and places of worship acted as a guide for all Counties. Within this county the restaurants, bars, and places of worship may make their own decision as to open or close. If restaurants, bars, and places of worship decide to remain open, do address how you will minimize the risk to your customers. This is of assurance of the cleanliness of the facility and of social distancing. If places decide to remain open the County, with its Open Task Force, will be glad to assist any entity with ideas and ways to remain open and keep the community safe. So if you do need help, please call Civil Defense at 935-0031.
     "Again, all services and operations of the County Government of Hawaiʻi will remain open and all employees are to report to work as scheduled."
     Volcano House in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park remains open, including The Rim dining room and Uncle George's Lounge.
Kīlauea Military Camp's Lava Lounge and bowling alley are closed.
The Café and Grill are open for take-out, and the
recreation room is still open. KMC photo
     Kīlauea Military Camp has closed the Lava Lounge, including cancelling all live music events, and the bowling alley. The Café and the Grill are now take-out only. The recreation area, including movies, the laundry, the sundries shop, and all other amenities remain open.
     Businesses also took extra precautions to stay open. At Bank of Hawaiʻi in Pāhala, one employee stood at the door to allow a maximum of five people in the bank at one time. Counters were cleaned between customers. The line to the teller was redesigned to keep more distance between people. The teller wore plastic gloves for typing and handling money.
     A letter from Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute to Gov. David Ige, signed by 94 Hawaiʻi public health and medical professionals, states they are "alarmed" by the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our Governor must take more decisive action, and he must do so immediately. Yesterday's actions were a start, but they are not enough." The group suggests "extreme" social distancing measures, such as closing all non-essential work and businesses unless teleworking; limiting restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to food take-out or delivery only; closing childcare except for emergency/essential personnel; canceling all travel, events, and parties; and asking everyone to stay home. They also advocate for financial help for all affected by the virus. Read the full letter here.

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ALAN WONG, who has proudly served Kaʻū Coffee in his Honolulu restaurant for many years, is offering the last cup this evening before temporarily closing during the COVID-19 season. Wong, who has visited Kaʻū many times and declared Kaʻū Coffee so good that it should only be served by French Press, features coffee from local farms on his current menu:
     The Rising Sun Kaʻū Coffee from Will & Grace Farms, above Pāhala, is noted for winning Specialty Coffee Association of America's Coffee of the Year for Hawaiʻi and the U.S.
Alan Wong visiting Lorie Obra and Kaʻū
Coffee country in its early years of production.
 Wong discovered his passion to share
 Kaʻū Coffee in his restaurants.
     Tree M Coffee Company, of Pāhala, is described as featuring "Enlightened Habits, lightly flavored fruity tones packed with caffeine. Centered Habit, this medium roast has a light nutty flavor. Dark Habits, low acidity and bold revitalizing flavor. Nutty undertones with an earthy smooth finish." 
     Rusty's Hawaiian is noted for Lorie Obra winning the Outstanding Producer Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, and Coffee of the Year from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Wong's menu describes it as "Very clean and refreshing."
     A message today from The Alan Wong's Restaurant ʻOhana says, "As many of you are aware, the Hawaiʻi State Government has asked all restaurants to cease dining room operations. The safety and wellbeing of our team and our guests has always been our first priority. In accordance with Governor Ige's request, Alan Wong's Honolulu will be temporarily closing beginning Thursday, March 19. We will be open for one more evening, and tonight will be our last night of service.
     "This has been an unpredictable time, and we are grateful for everyone understanding as we all navigate this together... We hope we will be able to see you again soon. Please stay tuned to our e-blast and social media, as we will let you know when we are able to resume service. Thank you for your kindness and support. We are fortunate to be part of a community that cares." See alanwongs.com.

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HAWAIICOVID19.COM is a new website of the state Department of Health. It went public this afternoon and is designed to provide the public with the latest information on the virus. It offers its recommendations on "how to prevent and mitigate community spread, common symptoms of COVID-19, and frequently asked questions."
     According to the website, DOH "is fully endorsing Gov. David Ige's directives to close establishments that typically attract large numbers of people, and to limit employees in the workplace to minimize exposure. While these are not mandates with consequences for non-compliance, these directives require the cooperation of businesses, organizations, and individuals to be effective from a public health perspective."
     Hawaiʻi state Director of Bruce Anderson said, "We can be more effective in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 if everyone takes these aggressive actions seriously. The response to the Governor's directives has been positive so far and there are many, such as food establishments, which have identified alternative ways to serve the public with drive-through and take-out service to maintain their operations."
     State Senate President Ron Kochi said, "Our communities on islands other than O‘ahu: Kauaʻi County, Maui County, and Hawai‘i County, are essentially rural in nature and their medical resources are severely limited. To preserve these limited medical resources for rural community residents and to flatten the curve of the effects of COVID-19, I strongly support Governor David Ige's March 17, 2020 statement that all non-Hawai‘i residents should practice social distancing by staying in their own communities and not come to Hawai‘i at this time."
     The website offers its own primer on "Social Distancing: A New Way of Expressing Aloha."
     It states that "In Hawai‘i's close-knit communities, federal, state, and county mandates for social distancing can be a difficult message to accept. Island residents are accustomed to gathering together for social and public events, and expressing their support and aloha for each other with hugs and other signs of affection.
     "COVID-19 recommendations are changing the rules on how much physical distance individuals should keep from each other, but the aloha spirit prevails in the islands. Social distancing is a new way of expressing aloha. Canceling events that do not allow attendees to be at least six feet apart - the equivalent of two arms length - and avoiding unnecessary physical meeting with others are proven strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus. However, the effectiveness of these initiatives largely depends on the cooperation and compliance from the public."
     The health director said, "It may feel counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to show aloha for each other at this critical time is to refrain from being in large gatherings and to keep a safe, healthy distance from each other. These unprecedented times require a new way of thinking. You may be healthy, but others around you may not be as fortunate. By practicing social distancing, you're limiting the potential for exposure to any illness in your household and protecting everyone in our community. We all need to consider the health and wellbeing of others, especially seniors, those with preexisting health conditions, and others whose health may be compromised."
     Anderson suggested using "tools available for virtual meetings by phone, tablet ,or computer as a way to maintain contact with loved ones, especially kūpuna in care homes, given Gov. Ige's directive to refrain from visiting nursing homes, retirement, or long-term care facilities at this time."

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ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO FINISH THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION for the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi are under consideration, according to its interim Party Chair Kate Stanley. She wrote today: "As we continue counting down to April 4th, our community—and the country as a whole—is faced with the unprecedented challenge of responding to COVID-19. In this climate of uncertainty, we wanted to share an update with you about our need to develop contingency plans. Ensuring the safety of our engaged volunteers and our membership is our number one priority.
     "In light of the Department of Education school closures, we are working with the Democratic National Committee, our election vendor, and our Party leadership to develop an alternative plan to carry out the remainder of the Party-run Presidential Primary. Every decision made by the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi will consider the health, safety, and well-being of all those involved.
     "Our thoughts are with the families and communities struggling through this illness and with those grieving the loss of loved ones. Our gratitude is with those who are working around the clock to contain this virus. Stay safe, take care of one another, and stay tuned for future updates regarding our plans by visiting our website at hawaiidemocrats.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/hawaiidems.
Mālama pono."

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THE FEDERAL TAX DEADLINE IS EXTENDED for 90 days. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS will postpone the April 15 tax deadline to Tuesday, July 14 for individuals who owe $1 million or less and corporations that owe $10 million or less.
     Anyone expecting a refund must still meet the April 15 deadline. Anyone requesting a six-month extension must also meet the April 15 deadline, but can defer payment for up to 90 days beyond that.

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PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE SET TO REOPEN TUESDAY, APRIL 7. Hawaiʻi State Department of Education will hold a press conference with more details tomorrow, Thursday, March 19 at 3 p.m. DOE employees will be working remotely, states the department. Those who need to perform duties at a campus or office during this period will be limited to those tasks, before returning to their telework arrangement.

Roberto Martinez Cebreros
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ASSISTANCE FROM THE PUBLIC is requested by Hawaiʻi Island Police in locating 53-year-old Roberto Martinez Cebreros of Ocean View. He is wanted for questioning relative to a sexual assault investigation. He is described as being 5-feet-6-inches, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Contact Detective Sharlotte T. Bird at (808) 326-4646 ext. 278 or Sharlotte.Bird@hawaiicounty.gov with information as to his whereabouts.

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BOTH VOLCANO ART CENTER LOCATIONS ARE CLOSED and all classes, workshops, and programs are cancelled. The Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and the Niʻaulani Campus are slated to reopen Monday March 30. See volcanoartcenter.org.
Cultural events, like hula on the kahua hula (dance platform) at Volcano Art Center, are cancelled through March 30.
VAC photo

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OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER is closed, without an estimated reopen date. All activities and services are cancelled. Suzanne C. Reiter, President of OVCA, said, "We will update folks when we have more information."

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A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect through Thursday afternoon for Kaʻū due to a continuing Kona low, west of the state. All islands are affected. The low will continue to produce bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms. All islands could experience flooding rainfall, especially leeward locations and lower elevations, like Kāwā. Kāwā flooded last night and closed Highway 11 between the 58 and 62 mile markers from just before midnight through the early hours today.

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Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 6,250 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
See daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more at kaucalendar.com.

All Kaʻū High School and other public school sporting events are canceled until further notice, including:
Kaʻū Spring Sports Schedule
Girls Softball Cancelled
Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m., @Keaʻau
Saturday, March 28, 11 a.m., host Hilo
Wednesday, April 8, 3 p.m., @Honokaʻa
Boys Baseball Cancelled
Saturday, March 21, 1 p.m., @Keaʻau
Saturday, March 28, 1 p.m., host Hilo
Tuesday. April 7, 3 p.m., @Honokaʻa
Boys Volleyball Cancelled
Tuesday, March 24, 6 p.m., host Kamehameha
Tuesday, March 31, 6 p.m., @Kohala
Thursday, April 2, 6 p.m., host Keaʻau
Tuesday, April 7, 6 p.m., @Honokaʻa
Friday, April 10, 6 p.m., @Ehunui
Judo Cancelled
Saturday, March 21, 10:30 a.m., @Konawaena
Saturday, March 28, 10:30 a.m., @Waiakea
Saturday, April 4, 10:30 a.m., @Keaʻau
Track Cancelled
Saturday, March 21, 2 p.m., @Konawaena
Saturday, March 28, 9 a.m., @Waiakea
Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m., @HPA

Spring Break for Public Schools is extended through Monday, April 6 as COVID-19 spread mitigation.

CANCELLED: Stewardship at the Summit, Friday, March 20 and 27, 8:45 a.m. Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center. Volunteer to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Under 18? Parental or guardian accompaniment or written consent is required. Additional planning details at nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund Kaʻū Clean-Up, Saturday, March 21. Volunteer spaces are limited; RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

CANCELLED: Kauahaʻao Congregational Church Fundraising Bazaar, Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Mamālahoa Hwy, Kamaʻoa Road, and Pinao Street, just above the Wong Yuen Store in Waiʻōhinu. Church members will sell kalua pig and cabbage bowls, and smoked meat bowls, as well as baked goods, produce, and crafts. Other vendors will offer more items. For more information, call 928-8039.

CANCELLED: Sign Up for and Attend Second Annual Kaʻū Children's Business Fair, Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m. to noon at Pāhala Community Center. Young entrepreneurs ages seven and 18 share their talents by selling handmade items and services. Learn more about participating at childrensbusinessfair.org/pahala. Visit Kaʻū Children's Business Fair's Facebook event page facebook.com/KAUCBF/. RSVP to the event at facebook.com/events/925342784527676/. Text KAUKIDSFAIR to 31996 for updates and information (message and data fees may apply).

RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 20: Writing for Inner Exploration and Life Reflection Workshop with Tom Peek, Saturday, March 21, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

RESCHEDULED FOR MAY 16: Improv Comedy Show, Saturday, March 21, 6:30 p.m. Headlined by Keli Semelsberger and Matt Kaye. A Big Island Comedy Theater showcase. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

OKK Farmers Market in Nāʻālehu, Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the future Nāʻālehu Senior Housing Site. Contact Sue Barnett for vending, 808-345-9374.

Hour-Long Lomilomi Massage, Mondays, March 23, 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council, 95-5635 Māmalahoa Hwy in Nāʻālehu. Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi offers sliding-fee payment scale sessions with experienced Licensed Massage Therapist and lomilomi practitioner Lehua Hobbs. "Improve circulation, alleviate muscle pain, and improve your overall well-being." Call for appointment, 808-969-9220.

CANCELLED: Registration for Charades, open Monday-Friday, March 23-27, for program at Kahuku Park in HOVE on Tuesday, March 31, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free. Teresa Anderson, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation, 929-9113

CANCELLED: Paper Straw Tulip Craft Registration Deadline, Tuesday, March 24. Program Wednesday, March 25, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kaʻū District Gym. Ages 5 to 12. hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation, 928-3102

CANCELLED: The Third Voyage of Captain James Cook, Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Captain James Cook once wrote that he intended to go not only "farther than any man has been before me, but as far as I think it is possible for a man to go." Join local guide and historian Rob Kitsell as he looks closer at the man who was Captain James Cook, and the fateful third voyage when Cook was killed at Kealakekua Bay, February 14, 1779. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes' ongoing After Dark in the Park series. nps.gov/havo

OKK Farmers Market in Nāʻālehu, Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the future Nāʻālehu Senior Housing Site. Contact Sue Barnett for vending, 808-345-9374.

CANCELLED: Pū‘ohe Demonstration, Wednesday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai. The pū‘ohe is a Hawaiian bamboo trumpet with a deep sound somewhat like a conch shell. Like other native instruments, it takes the spirit breath to produce the proper sound. Join rangers and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association staff as they share their knowledge and help you make your own pū‘ohe. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes' ‘Ike Hana No‘eau "Experience the Skillful Work" workshops. nps.gov/havo

CANCELLED: Gone Country Band Live Country Music, Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp's Lava Lounge in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Line dancers will accompany the performance. $5 cover charge. KMC open to all authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. kilaueamilitarycamp.com, 967-8365

Kaʻū Art Gallery is looking for local artists. Call 808-937-1840

Prince Kuhio Hoʻolauleʻa will be held Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Nāʻālehu County Park. Reborn after a 20-year hiatus through the efforts of local non-profit Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū, the event will feature Hawaiian music and cultural demos, hula, crafts, food, and more. The drug- and alcohol-free event will offer entertainment with live entertainment from Gene Akamu and G2G, Uncle Sonny & Bro Tui, Braddah Ben, Lori Lei's Hula Studio, and more. Local personality Kurt Dela Cruz will emcee, and several lucky number prizes will be announced throughout the day.
     Hawaiian culture demos and activities, showcasing cultural knowledge of Kaʻū people and those tied to the area, include lauhala weaving, ti leaf lei making, waʻa kaulua (double-hull canoe) tours, kākau (tattoo) artistry, ʻohe kāpala (bamboo stamps), traditional Hawaiian games, and more.
     Travel through time by walking through a photo exhibit showcasing the history of Kaʻū, set-up within the Nāʻālehu Community Center. Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū representatives said they intend this to be like a visit to a mini version of their proposed Kaʻū Hawaiian Cultural Center, which has been their goal for the last 20 years. Visit Hana Laulima's booth at the hoʻolauleʻa to learn more about the revival of the Cultural Center project and membership.
     Choose from a variety of ono food including shave ice, korean chicken, roast pork plates, chili bowls, Kaʻū coffee, Big Island Candies Crunch Bars, and more. Local entrepreneurs will have pop-up shops displaying wares such as Hawaiian arts and crafts, jewelry, shirts, and hats.
     Learn more about Junior Rangers, and natural resource management, with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers; ways to help free the coast of marine debris with Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund; staying healthy with state Dept. of Health; native Hawaiian healthcare with Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi; ʻōpeʻapeʻa monitoring with Friends of the Kaʻū Bats; and more.
     The organization's new logo, symbolizing its rejuvenation, was created by Kaʻū High graduate and local artist Kaweni Ibarra, who is also a Hana Laulima board member. Newly elected board members also include Lisa Derasin, Kupuna Jessie Ke, president Terry-Lee Shibuya, vice-president Elizabeth Naholowaʻa Murph, secretary Nālani Parlin, and treasurer Kehaulani Ke. Membership is $10 per year. For more information about the hoʻolauleʻa, contact Terry Shibuya at 938-3681 or terrylshibuya@gmail.com; Trini Marques at 928-0606 or trinimarques@yahoo.com; or Kupuna Ke.
     Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū promises that the Prince Kuhio Day Hoʻolauleʻa will continue as an annual event.

AdvoCATS, Saturday, April 25, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Ocean View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. Reserve spot in advance. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

Sign Up to Vend at the New ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Nāʻālehu Farmers Market, Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the site of the old Fruit Stand, mauka of Hwy 11 in Nāʻālehu. Vending focuses on Kaʻū products, including mushrooms from the new farm in Nāʻālehu, fresh breads, vegetables, fruits, and other products. The market may offer music in the future, and there are plans to acquire picnic tables for market goers. Call Manager Sue Barnett at 345-9374 to sign up.

Register for Volcano's ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Keiki Dash by Wednesday, July 22. The second annual event will be held on Saturday, July 25. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to University of Hawaiʻi for furthering research of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death and The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. See webscorer.com to register.
     Half Marathon registration is $70 through May 24, $80 May 25 through July 22, and $90 for late registration. Registration for the 10K is $50 through May 24, $55 May 25 through Jul 22, and $60 for late registration. Registration for the 5K is $35 through May 24, $40 May 25 through July 22, and $45 for late registration. Keiki Dash registration is $10. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable.
     Late registration is only available at packet pickup or race day morning. Shirts are not guaranteed for late registration.  Race Shirts will be included for Half Marathon and 10K participants only. For all other participants, shirts are available to purchase online.
     Packet pick-up is scheduled for Thursday, July 23 in Hilo; Friday, July 26 in Volcano; and Saturday, July 27, 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. at the race start.
     Half Marathon will start at 7 a.m. Other distances follow shortly after. Keiki Dash will begin at 10 a.m. on VSAS grounds, with the option of one or two laps – about 300 meters or 600 meters. Race cut-off time for the Half Marathon is four hours. The races will begin and end in Volcano Village at VSAS.
     See ohialehuahalf.com.

Tūtū & Me Home Visiting Program is a free service to Pāhala families with keiki, birth to five years old. This caregiver support program offers those taking care of young keiki "a compassionate listening ear, helpful parenting tips and strategies, fun and exciting activities, and wonderful educational resources" from Tūtū & Me Traveling Preschool. Home visits are one hour in length, two to four times per month, for 12 to 15 visits. Snacks are provided. See pidfoundation.org or call 808-938-1088.

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