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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, March 26, 2020

Matson says it is well prepared to continue shipping essential goods to Hawaiʻi. It christened this cargo
 ship last year in San Diego, and gave it the name Luraline. Photo from Matson
MATSON, YOUNG BROTHERS AND PASHA, the main ocean carriers of food, goods and vehicles to Hawaiʻi, all promise to continue shipping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The message from Matson, the shipping company founded in 1882, says it "is committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure the continuation of services, including the deployment of reserve vessels if necessary, to continue meeting the needs of our customers and communities. We are monitoring developments closely and ensuring compliance with all United States Coast Guard and local, federal, and international government reporting and prevention directives at sea and ashore."
Aloha served daily is a slogan of Young Brothers.
Photo from Young Brothers
     The U.S. Department of Homeland Security deems Matson's operations and services as essential as stated by the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response. Matson delivers to Hawaiʻi, Guam, Micronesia, and the South Pacific.
     Much of its cargo is loaded in California where the stay-at-home executive order does not affect its operations. For American Samoa, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, and Niue, Matson often picks up freight in New Zealand, where its services are considered essential for supporting critical transportation infrastructure to the South Pacific. Matson also ships between the West Coast and Hawaiʻi.
     A moving message across the top of Matson's website says, "Service scheduled unaffected by COVID-19. See matson.com. Remain in frequent and regular communication with the United States Coast Guard and the port authorities throughout our Pacific network regarding commercial port operations in the interest of maintaining all our services and the continued reliable flow of goods to our communities."
Young Brothers will continue bringing essential goods between the
islands. Photo from Young Brothers
     Young Brothers has reduced the types of cargo it will ship interisland. Starting on March 30, Young Bros. will turn away nonessential privately-owned vehicles, dry mixed cargo, and less than a container load of livestock. It will accept, food, water, and other household consumer products for retail stores; all household consumer products; medical supplies and equipment for hospital and to care for those in need; educational supplies; first responder vehicles; public utilities vehicles and equipment; and construction supplies and equipment. Dry and refrigerated full containers will be shipped.
     Anyone picking up cargo at the Hilo or Kawaihae ports must follow a new statewide protocol: Enter the port facilities with vehicle windows rolled up and hold TWIC ID or driver's license against the window for the security officers to view through the glass. Maintain the recommended six-feet of distance from others and refrain from congregating. Remain in vehicle at all times while delivering or receiving cargo. Wait to be directed by a YB employee to roll down window and/or to exit vehicle to handle cargo. For more information and regular updates regarding YB operations and COVID-19, visit youngbrothershawaii.com/covid-19.
Pasha shipping company promised this week to help fill the shelves of Hawaiʻi stores again.
Photo from Pasha
     Pasha Hawai’i, the shipping line that brings in Costco goods, promises to keep its schedule carrying big containers. Sr. Vice President Mike Caswell told KITV news this week, "We are the lifeline of the islands and we want everybody to be aloha out there and live aloha and understand that the shelves might be empty right now – people are trying to prepare and stock up – but as you can see we're moving. We are going to fill the shelves again we just want to ensure the people not to panic and cargo is still flowing." On Hawaiʻi Island, Pasha serves Hilo and Kawaihae. See pashahawaii.com.
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CONTINUOUS LEARNING PACKETS AND ACTIVITIES will be available for Kaʻū High and Pāhala Elementary students on Monday, March 30 via the schoolwebsite. A message from Principal Sharon Beck states that elementary teachers will contact parents to determine the best way to deliver packets and learning activities, and that many middle school and high school teachers will use Google Classroom to communicate with their students.
     "Please encourage them to check in on their school Google accounts often," requests Beck. "As many teachers will be using internet resources as part of these packets, we are trying to determine which students have computers and internet access at home. If your student has limitations accessing the internet or may need a capable device, please call the school as soon as possible at 808-313-4100.
     "Please note that the work packets are primarily meant for enrichment purposes and to promote retention of previously learned skills. However, teachers will be providing feedback on work which is returned and graded content may be submitted depending on individual student and teacher agreements."
     Beck said that school staff may be calling soon and throughout the weeks to clarify class packets and answer questions from parents and students. Calls may come in via Google Voice, so phone numbers may show up as unidentified on caller ID.
     The school campus will remain closed through Thursday, April 30. The campus will only be open for daily community meal services for children 18 and under from 7:30 a.m. through 8 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m. through noon for lunch, on weekdays.
     For the most up to date continuous learning information, see KHPES.org or the Department of Education's Continuity of Education website, sites.google.com/k12.hi.us/resources-student-parent/home for more student and parent resources.
     Said Beck, "Thank you for your ongoing patience as we navigate our school's response to COVID-19. Please know that the health and safety of our students is a top priority… Mahalo for your continued support. Please stay safe and healthy."
The campus of Kaʻū High and Pāhala Elementary is closed to all activity except meal pickups on weekdays,
7:30 a.m.to 8 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 p.m. to noon for lunch, for those 18 and younger. KHPES photo 

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RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION, Hawaiʻi's Attorney General, Claire Connors, has joined 27 other attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Department of Education to provide federal student loan borrowers with crucial emergency measures. In a letter to the Education Secretary, the coalition asks the DOE to take steps to "protect borrowers from further financial burden and debt collection due to job losses and lost wages."

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY LAUNCHED NATURE LAB TODAY, an educational and entertainment site to help children stay busy when isolated during the pandemic. The Nature Conservancy operates its Hawaiʻi Island headquarters in Kaʻū.
     Nature Lab is a new online learning platform, created by TNC and its 550 scientists. The platform is designed to "help students learn the science behind how nature works for us, and how we can help keep it running strong." A message from the organization states: "More than 850 million children and youth – roughly half of the world's student population – have to stay away from schools and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While students can't travel the world right now, they can still develop great passion and knowledge about the world through high-quality classroom content."
     Kate Ireland, director of Youth Engagement Programs at The Nature Conservancy, said, "As schools around the world shut down to in response to COVID-19 and parents work to balance the demands on their time and energy, we know that students will have very different learning experiences over the next few months. I'm proud that The Nature Conservancy, with our newly relaunched Nature Lab curriculum, can offer families some support and open up new worlds for young people."
     A variety of age appropriate courses are available for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12, plus bonus Virtual Field Trips such as The Secret Life of CoralsBorneo: The Symphony of the Rainforest, and more. Nature Lab features a free curriculum and engaging videos that can be viewed on computers, tablets, and computers.
     To learn more about Nature Lab and other youth engagement opportunities offered by The Nature Conservancy visit nature.org/en-us/about-us/who-we-are/how-we-work/youth-engagement.

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Gov. David Ige at a press conference today.
Photo from KHON
GOV. DAVID IGE JOINED WITH LT. GOV. AND PHYSICIAN JOSH GREEN in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. Today is the first day of the governor's mandate for anyone arriving in Hawaiʻi to quarantine for 14 days. The governor reported that arrivals by air are down from 30,000 a day to about 4,000 a day, and said he hopes this will help prevent an overwhelming increase in COVID-19. Today's report shows 106 cases so far, with 5 on Hawaiʻi Island.
     Green commended the governor for the home-quarantine directive to all persons in Hawaiʻi, which began on Tuesday. Green called it a bold move that will "absolutely save lives." Green talked about his own survey of health care centers to see what they need if there should be a surge in the need for hospital care. "Everyone is putting into place an important process so if we do get – when we do get – a surge of COVID-19  cases that require intensive care, they will be ready to save lives of our kūpuna or anyone who is sick." He said earlier that at Hilo Medical Center, surgery suites, and clinics could be made into hospital rooms, if necessary.
     Green said the biggest concern is locating more ventilators and personal protection  equipment for health workers. He also talked about hospital beds. Green reported that state of Hawaii has 3,031 licensed hospital beds. The average daily census is 1,970, about 65 to 67 percent. "We can surge that capacity by about 15 percent, another 500 beds." He also reported a count statewide of 328 intensive care beds, 204 negative pressure isolation beds, and 431 to 560 ventilators, depending on what is in supply and activated.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green at a press conference today.
Photo from KHON
     He said that Adjudant General Kenneth Hara, who is commander for the state in the COVID-19 battle, could activate military field hospitals.

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TO ADDRESS THE "VERY SERIOUS SITUATION" OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, Lt. Gov. Josh Green participated in a video meeting with Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday. "We absolutely, absolutely must isolate at home for this period of time" and socially distance, despite how "painful" it is, said Green. He explained that the only way to defend against a novel virus, to which there is no human immunity, is to prevent the spread between people.
     Green told the council that he is working with Kenneth Hara, Adjutant General for the State of Hawaiʻi's Department of Defense, to plan for military assistance, including bringing in supplies and providing field hospitals. 
     Green said he spent the past three weeks speaking with the healthcare community and visiting facilities around the state, including five major hospitals and about 200 providers. He meets twice weekly with healthcare representatives as part of the COVID-19 Healthcare Task Force.
     Green explained to the County Council that the "shortage of health care providers and health care facilities" is worse on Hawaiʻi Island than Oʻahu. "The state has about a 22 percent shortage of healthcare providers across all disciplines; Big Island has a 40 percent shortage of healthcare providers." He said that five of every hundred people who contract COVID-19 "end up in serious condition and need serious hospital support – it will flood the hospitals and overwhelm them just like that, if we have a big surge."
     Green said if 40 percent of Hawaiʻi's 1.4 million population were to contract COVID-19, 25,000 people would need "serious care in the critical care capacity with ICU beds. We would have to choose who to give care to. Whether some people would get ICU beds and some wouldn't. Some get ventilators. Some don't. Some get that breathing tube. That's what I'm speaking about. So the necessary choice to slow down the virus, to do home quarantine, total isolation."
     Watch the video here.

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MANDATORY 14-DAY QUARANTINE of all people coming in from out-of-state, residents and visitors, began Thursday. The governor's office reports initial data indicate incoming airport traffic was "light, as expected, and that the process on this first day of the mandatory order, for the most part, went smoothly." Department of Transportation reported, "Some planes are arriving with fewer than 10 passengers. Some flights had no passengers or only one." Hawai‘i Tourism Authority staff members are assisting DOT in collecting, processing, and scanning traveler forms. Hotels are being alerted before visitors arrive. The majority of the passengers so far are either returning Hawaiʻi residents or catching connecting flights.
     Regarding the directive that everyone stay at home, the state Department of Health is asking residents to make only measured purchases in order to ensure that everyone can acquire needed supplies. DOH has also transitioned vital records to online only, and now requires an appointment to acquire a marriage license.
     In another health related matter, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation reopened all restrooms in state small boat harbors and boat ramps. This is in response to Centers of Disease Control & Prevention guidelines for "ensuring availability of toilets and hand washing facilities for people experiencing homelessness." The Division of State Parks will be opening a comfort station at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park on Hawaiʻi Island and at Sand Island State Recreation Area on Oʻahu. 

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     The state Department of Health reports five cases of COVID-19 confirmed on Hawaiʻi Island as of today, March 26. None are new since yesterday. Two are locals who caught the virus elsewhere. Three are non-residents.
     Throughout the state, there are 106 presumptive positive or confirmed cases, with 11 reported today. Hawaiʻi residents make up 86 of the cases. There have been zero deaths from COVID-19 in the state. There are several possible community spread cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.
     Today, the U.S. surpassed all other countries in the world in COVID-19 cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has recorded 85,991 cases and 1,296 deaths from the virus.
     Worldwide, more than 533,416 people have become victims of COVID-19. The death toll is 24,110.

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
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Daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more are listed at kaucalendar.com. However, all non-essential activities are canceled through the end of April.

All Kaʻū High School and other public school sporting events are canceled through the end of April.

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

CANCELLED: Stewardship at the Summit, Friday, March 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.

CANCELLED: The Lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Monthly Kahuku Coffee Talk, Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., HVNP Kahuku Unit Visitor Contact Station. Free. nps.gov/havo

CANCELLED: Final 2020 Hawaiian Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count, Saturday, March 28, 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., orientation included. Register at oceancount.org. Locations in Kaʻū are: Kaʻena Point in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Miloli‘i Lookout, Ka Lae Park, and Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach Park. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals' surface behavior during the survey, which provides a snapshot of humpback whale activity from the shoreline.

POSTPONED: Prince Kuhio Day Hoʻolauleʻa, Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Nāʻālehu County Park. Event features Hawaiian music and cultural demos, hula, crafts, food, and more. Drug- and alcohol-free. 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. Organized by local non-profit Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū. Membership $10 per year. Contact Terry Shibuya at 938-3681 or terrylshibuya@gmail.com; Trini Marques at 928-0606 or trinimarques@yahoo.com; or Kupuna Ke.

CANCELLED: Ocean View Classic Car & Bike Show, Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Owners of classic cars and bikes are encouraged to register early, as space is limited. This second annual event, a fundraiser for Ocean View Community Association, will also feature food and live music, and prizes for the most impressive cars and bikes. Contact organizers Dennis Custard at 831-234-7143 or Ron Gall at 808-217-7982 to register or for more info.

CANCELLED: Forest Work Day, Saturday, March 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Learn some native plants, help restore a beautiful rainforest, and get some exercise. Tim Tunison leads. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

CANCELLED: 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.

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

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

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.

Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium Closed for Renovation through June 30. The visitor center is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 spread mitigation. Park films, including Born of Fire, Born of the Sea, will not be shown. A popular seven-and-a-half minute 2018 eruption video will continue to be shown on a television in the exhibits area, once the center reopens, and is available online for free download.

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