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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Food Basket, with the helping hands of National Guard members and Sheriffs, distributed fresh and shelf-stable
food to people in Pāhala today. Photo from Volcano Friends Feeding Friends

A MAJOR FOOD DROP INTO PĀHALA TODAY sent a long line of cars all the way to the top of the town to Pakalana Street - almost as long as the annual Pāhala Christmas Parade. National Guard and Sheriffs helped with checking in the people given a multi-day supply of shelf-stable and fresh food. They also helped with the traffic. Other volunteers included Food Basket and O Ka`u Kakou volunteers. The Food Basket van was accompanied by a huge semi-trailer truck that brought much of the load.
     Another ʻOhana Food Drop will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, at Volcano's Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road, from 10 a.m. until supplies run out. See below for June dates. A group of Friends Feeding Friends members from the Volcano area attending the Pahala event today to take in the logistics of the food delivery to those in need.

People waited in their cars in a long line to receive
food from The Food Basket today.
Photo from Volcano Friends Feeding Friends
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ONLY ONE PERSON REMAINS QUARANTINED FOR COVID-19 on Hawaiʻi Island, with no new case this morning. The number of confirmed cases on this island since the pandemic began is 81, with no deaths, and one overnight hospitalization.
     Civil Defense chief Talmadge Magno said this morning that 7,100 people have been tested on Hawaiʻi Island. "Thank you for your participation and know how important it is to continue testing. Early testing means early detection and early care that helps stop the spreading of this virus.
     He noted that a food drop was held today at Kaʻū District Gym from 10 a.m.: "Thank you Hawaiʻi Food Basket and all the contributors for making this possible, and the Hawaiʻi National Guard, County Police, and the Sheriff's Department for helping.
     "It was announced that medium risk businesses, such as salons, restaurants, barbershops, and places of worship may begin reopening June 1st. Individual opening dates will be dependent on their readiness to meet the requirements of safety. If assistance is needed, please call Hawaiʻi County Task Force at 935-0031. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe. Thank you for listening. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense."
     There are no new cases on any other island today, for at least the third day in a row. The state has a case count of 643: 414 in Honolulu County, 20 in Kauaʻi County, and 118 in Maui County have been confirmed positive for the virus since the pandemic began. Seventeen is the number of deaths in all of the Hawaiian Islands.
     In the United States, more than 1.72 million cases have been confirmed. The death toll is over 100,000.
     Worldwide, more than 5.58 million have contracted COVID-19. The death toll is over 350,000.
A monster hauling truck owned by Hilo Products, Inc. brought food for a long line of people in Pāhala today.
Hilo Products' motto is Supporting Big Island Farmers Since 1938. Photo from Volcano Friends Feeding Friends
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IT COULD TAKE AS MANY AS SIX YEARS FOR TOURISM TO RECOVER IN HAWAIʻI, after the pandemic, says a report from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. DBEDT based its study on recovery time after the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, some $2.6 billion in Payroll Protection Loans issued in Hawaiʻi during the pandemic, and the loss of 121,000 jobs outside of agriculture. It also made the assumption that tourism would reopen in September. DEBED projects a 67.5 percent decrease in visitor arrivals for this entire year, topping out a 3.4 million. Next year's visitor county could reach 6.2 million, followed by 8.3 million in 2022 and 9.4 million in 2023. The 2019 levels would not return until 2025. Non-tourism business could recover in about two years, according to DBEDT. See the report with much more detail.
Take Out at the libraries is food for the mind. Librarian Sara Kamibayashi serviced Pāhala today. Photo by Julia Neal
TAKE OUT STARTS AT KAʻŪ'S PUBLIC LIBRARIES with food for the mind - books, periodicals, audio, and films. Sara Kamibayashi, Branch Manager for Nāʻālehu Public Library oversaw Pahala today. She said that Nāʻālehu will be open for pick up services Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala will be open Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. "Those hours will definitely apply this week, and we should know more about how long we will keep this schedule soon," said Kamibayashi.
     Library patrons schedule Library Take Out appointment times to pick up their hold item(s) at their favorite libraries. Here's how it works: Patrons go to HSPLS Library Catalog and place a hold on any item(s) they want to borrow, or they may call their favorite library branch to place a hold with the library staff. After receiving a notice that item(s) are ready for pick up, patrons schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. For patrons who placed holds during the closure, their item(s) are ready for pickup after the patron schedules a Library Take Out appointment. A statement from the Office of the State Librarian says, "Although our buildings remain closed to the public for now, we are excited to offer Library Take Out as a convenient and safe way to access library books and materials. We appreciate the public's patience as we continue to phase in our library services for the community."
    For more information, visit librarieshawaii.org.

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A KEIKI GIVEAWAY BY ʻO KAʻŪ KĀKOU at OKK's Nāʻālehu Market location this Saturday, May 30, will feature Shave Ice and Goodie Bags. In the Goodie Bags, families of keiki up to age 12 will have an opportunity to randomly discover inside the special bags, gift certificates from local merchants: Punaluʻu Bake Shop, Wikiwiki 76, Shaka's, and Hana Hou. Each business is giving two gift certificates. Masks are required to attend, for all ages. There will be no vendors at this event.
     OKK President Wayne Kawachi said the Goodie Bags will be available from 1 p.m. until OKK runs out. He said parents should check the bags for the gift certificates before giving them to keiki. He also promised similar giveaways at a later date in Ocean View and Pāhala.
     The OKK market is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon

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OCEAN VIEW SWAP MEET STARTS BACK UP this weekend 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.

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HILO SHARED RIDE TAXI COUPON EXPIRATION DATES are extended to June 30 for those expiring April 30 and May 31. A statement from County of Hawaiʻi says, "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our Shared Ride users are unable to use their Shared Ride Taxi Coupons within the timeframe allowed. For the convenience of our users, the Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency is extending the expiration date. Please do not alter the expiration dates on the coupons as they will not be accepted. Taxi coupons can be used after taking the bus or otherwise traveling to Hilo. The Mass Transit Agency has notified the participating taxi companies of this extension. For further information, call Mass Transit at 961-8744.

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Grey skies but no rainbows are hovering over Young Brothers today, as they announced they need financial help
to keep interisland shipping services afloat. Photo from Young Brothers
IMPENDING CASH CRISIS DUE TO THIRTY PERCENT DROP IN CARGO leads Young Brothers, LLC to seek assistance from Hawai‘i legislature and Public Utilities Commission, says the interisland shipping company in a press release today. Young Brothers reports losing nearly $8 million through April and projects mounting losses totaling approximately $25 million by the end of the year. The company seeks $25 million in CARES Act funding to sustain operations through December 2020.
     The company terms the situation "an impending cash crisis… due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Young Brothers described its financial situation to PUC as "extremely dire" and indicated the company will no longer receive cash infusions from its parent company, Saltchuk Resources of Seattle, Washington, as of June 1. Jay Ana, president of Young Brothers, explained Saltchuk is "not in a position to continue covering the staggering COVID losses and has told us that we must now find other solutions. We know they have deep aloha for Young Brothers – and for Hawai‘i – and we are grateful to them for carrying us through the challenging times. But we must now find a cooperative solution with the state that allows YB to continue to operate."
     Ana said Young Brothers will not make further adjustments to the sailing schedule at this time, that neighbor island communities that rely on Young Brothers "can rest assured that we are not closing on June 1. We will serve our customers as long as possible while we pursue every avenue of assistance." The company is establishing special procedures to continue transporting livestock between the islands after June 8.
Aloha Served Daily is under threat due to major losses
for interisland shipping company Young Brothers.
Photo from Young Brothers
     Last month, Young Brothers announced measures to streamline operations and reduce operating costs, including reduced sailing schedules for Hawai‘i Island and Maui County, reduced gate hours for non-barge days, a hiring freeze and salary cuts for senior leadership, and deferring non-essential maintenance and related activities.
     Young Brothers filed a request with PUC last year to increase rates to offset rising operating costs and pre-COVID estimated losses of approximately $13 million. The decision is pending.
     If unable to secure relief, says the press release, the company will be "required to prioritize revenue-generating lines of service to sustain operations." A phased approach to service modifications, subject to PUC approval, would begin on June 8 "to reduce costs and provide continuity of service for as many customers for as long as possible."
     Phase 1 would eliminate dry and refrigerated Less than Container Load or mixed cargo to and from Hilo, Kawaihae, Nāwiliwili, and Kahului.
     Phase 2 – with no "effective" date announced – would eliminate Less than Container Load shipments of livestock, modify tug and barge availability, and further reduce sailing frequency to all islands.
     Ana said, "We hope to avoid any disruption in service. Support from the state legislature would put the company on solid ground while we seek solutions from the Public Utilities Commission to achieve a more sustainable future for the company. Our goal is to ensure Young Brothers is here to serve all of Hawai‘i beyond 2020 and into the future."
     Gov. David Ige responded to the announcement: "Every business in Hawai‘i has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including Young Brothers. The company is part of the state's critical infrastructure that keeps goods moving to and between the islands. We will be considering the request as part of the recovery and resiliency efforts underway."
     Read the letter to PUC at drive.google.com/file/d/1THIppEzue8oCYucD08OSPrbW9LND2rhx/view.

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Artist's impression of the "ring of fire" galaxy. Image by James Josephides, Swineburne Astronomy Productions
ASTRONOMERS SEE "COSMIC RING OF FIRE," FROM 11 BILLION YEARS AGO. A study that uses data from W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea was published in the journal Nature Astronomy this week. Lead researcher Tiantian Yuan, from Australia's ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions, said, "It is a very curious object that we've never seen before. It looks strange and familiar at the same time."
     Astronomers captured an image of the "super rare" galaxy type, which has roughly the mass of the Milky Way, showing a circular galaxy with a hole in the middle, "like a titanic doughnut; its discovery is set to shake up theories about the earliest formation of galactic structures and how they evolve," says the report.
     To identify the unusual structure, Yuan worked with colleagues from around the U.S., Australia, Canada, Belgium, and Denmark, using Keck Observatory's adaptive optics combined with its OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph, as well as the Observatory's Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration to gather spectroscopic data of the ring galaxy. The team also used images recorded by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
     The galaxy, named R5519, is 11 billion light-years from the Solar System. The hole at its center is "truly massive, with a diameter two billion times longer than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. To put it another way, it is three million times bigger than the diameter of Pōwehi, the supermassive black hole in the galaxy Messier 87, which in 2019 became the first ever to be directly imaged," says the report.
     Yuan said, "It is making stars at a rate 50 times greater than the Milky Way. Most of that activity is taking place on its ring – so it truly is a ring of fire."
A panoramic shot of the Milky Way galaxy, from Maunakea. Photo from apod.nasa.gov
     The study says evidence suggests R5519 is a "collisional ring galaxy," making it the first one ever located in the early universe. The other, more common type of ring galaxy forms because of internal processes. This type forms "from immense and violent collisions with other galaxies." In the nearby, "local," universe, collisional ring galaxies are 1,000 times rarer than the internally created type, says the report. Images of R5519 stem "from about 10.8 billion years ago, just three billion years after the Big Bang. They indicate that collisional ring galaxies have always been extremely uncommon."
     ASTRO 3D co-author Ahmed Elagali, who is based at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Western Australia, said studying R5519 would help determine when spiral galaxies began to develop.
     Another co-author, Kenneth Freeman, Duffield Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University, said the discovery might help explain how long it took spiral galaxies - like the Milky Way - to assemble. He said that ring galaxies formed by collision "require a thin disk to be present in the 'victim' galaxy before the collision occurs." He said, in the case of this ring galaxy, "we are looking back into the early universe by 11 billion years, into a time when thin disks were only just assembling." Freeman said the Milky Way's thin disk began to come together about nine billion years ago, and that may indicate that spiral galaxies took longer to come together than previously thought.

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. However, all non-essential activities are canceled through the end of May.

Free COVID-19 Screenings are at Bay Clinic during business hours, with appointment. Call 333-3600.
     The next drive-thru screening at Nāʻālehu Community Center will be held Wednesday, May 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Screening will be carried out by Aliʻi Health, with support from County of Hawai‘i COVID-19 Task Force, Premier Medical Group and Pathways Telehealth.
     A testing team from Aloha Critical Care in Kona will provide testing at St. Jude's every other Wednesday. The next date is June 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
     Wearing masks is required for everyone.
     To bypass the screening queue at community test sites, patients can call ahead to Pathways Telehealth, option 5 at 808-747-8321. The free clinic will also offer on-site screening to meet testing criteria. Physicians qualify those for testing, under the guidance of Center for Disease Control & Prevention and Hawaiʻi's COVID-19 Response Task Force.
     Those visiting screening clinics will be asked to show photo ID, and any health insurance cards – though health insurance is not required to be tested. They are also asked to bring their own pen to fill in forms.
     For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Market in Nāʻālehu is open three days per week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – from 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.
     A wide selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, prepared take away foods, assorted added value foods, breads and baked goods, honey, cheese, grass-fed beef, fish, vegetable plants, masks, handmade soaps, coffee, and more are offered on various days. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374, for more and to apply to vend.

Volcano Farmers Market at Cooper Center on Wright Road, off of Old Volcano Highway, is open on Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, island beef, and prepared foods. Call 808-967-7800.

Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary and at Nāʻālehu Elementary on weekdays (no holidays). Each youth must be present to receive a meal. Service is drive-up or walk-up, and social distancing rules (at least six feet away) are observed. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Food is being delivered to Ocean View.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen is open, with a modified menu and increased health & safety standards, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Services are posted online on Sundays at stjudeshawaii.org.

The Food Basket's ʻOhana Food Drop is available once a month at four Kaʻū and Volcano locations. People can receive a multi-day supply of shelf-stable and fresh food, depending on supply. Call The Food Basket at 933-6030 for Pāhala and Volcano or at 322-1418 for Nāʻālehu or Ocean View. Food can be picked up from 10 a.m. until pau – supplies run out – at:
     Pāhala's Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street on Tuesday, June 30.
     Volcano's Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road on Wednesday, May 27 and Wednesday, June 24.
     Nāʻālehu's Sacred Heart Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy on Monday, June 1.
     Ocean View's Kahuku Park on Tuesday, June 8.

On-Call Emergency Box Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon. Call 967-7800 to confirm.

Enroll in Kua O Ka Lā's Hīpuʻu Virtual Academy for school year 2020-2021, grades four through eight. The Hawaiian Focused Charter School teaches with an emphasis on Hawaiian language and culture. The blended curriculum is offered through online instruction and community-based projects, with opportunities for face-to-face gatherings (with precautions), in an "Education with Aloha" environment.
     Kua O Ka Lā offers a specialized program that provides students with core curriculum, content area, and electives in-keeping with State of Hawaiʻi requirements. Combined with Native Hawaiian values, culture, and a place-based approach to education, from the early morning wehena – ceremonial school opening – Kua O Ka Lā students are encouraged to walk Ke Ala Pono – the right and balanced path.
     The school's website says Kua O Ka Lā has adopted Ke Ala Pono "to describe our goal of nurturing and developing our youth. We believe that every individual has a unique potential and that it is our responsibility to help our students learn to work together within the local community to create a future that is pono – right." The school aims to provide students with "the knowledge and skills, through Hawaiian values and place-based educational opportunities, that prepare receptive, responsive, and self-sustaining individuals that live 'ke ala pono.'"
     See kuaokala.org to apply and to learn more about the school. Call 808-981-5866 or 808-825-8811, or email info@kuaokala.org for more.

Free Book Exchanges at the laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu are 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.

Make Reservations for Father's Day at Crater Rim Café in Kīlauea Military Camp for Sunday, June 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Seating limited due to social distancing. Dinner also available to go. The main course is Prime Rib and Vegetable Alfredo Pasta Bake, with side dishes and dessert, for $27.95 per person. Call 967-8356 for dine-in reservations, to-go orders, and current event information. KMC is open to all authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium Closed for Renovation through June 30. The Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 spread mitigation. A popular seven-and-a-half minute 2018 eruption video will be shown on a television in the exhibits area, once the Park and center reopen, and is available online for free download.

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