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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, July 29, 2020

State officials are urging people to gather in groups no more than ten people, even outdoors, and to wear face masks.
Photo by Julia Neal
KEEPING THE COVID-19 COUNT LOW ON THIS ISLAND is the county goal, said Mayor Harry Kim in his press conference today. His comments followed the state recording its first triple-digit case count since the pandemic began, with 109, mostly on Oʻahu and none here.
     The mayor said his administration is working with restaurants, bars, and members of the public who gather together, to help them embed the wearing of masks and social distancing into their daily lives. He talked about this island recently recording the lowest number of cases in the state and said he wants the numbers to go even lower.  There have been no cases here in a week.
     The mayor said that rather than coming down hard with enforcement, he would like to use education and encouragement to convince the public and business owners to comply with COVID-19 protection rules. With the public's help, the economy can start recovering and people can be safe, said Kim. He said he does not want to halt interisland travel again, nor shut down businesses.
     Kim called Trans-Pacific and interisland travel "a big threat to Hawaiʻi Island," particularly for locals who travel to Oʻahu with its spike of cases. He encouraged residents to stay home and avoid traveling. He vowed to increase contact with visitors and returning locals under quarantine, to make sure they isolate for 14 days. He said he will work with the state to improve enforcement and monitoring those in quarantine.
     Concerning large neighborhood and beach gatherings of people with no masks, the mayor said he wants folks to get together for church,  funerals, celebrations, and other events, but the key to prevention is distancing and wearing face masks. "It's not the numbers," said the mayor.
     He said Hawaiʻi Police Department reports many large groups gathering at the beaches and in parks. Patrol officers carry face masks to give to people not wearing them. At the same time, police help educate the public.
     The mayor said the Fire Department Prevention and Education Task Force visits businesses, including restaurants "so they can open and safely stay open." The idea is to use education and training, "and then push to enforcement if they won't comply." He said the no-mask, no-business signs work for commercial operations.
     A Fire Department representative said it is important to come up with catchy messages about masks and distancing, and washing hands, especially with kids going back to school. "Each family needs to make that decision to protect themselves."
     Police Chief Paul Ferreira said police dispatch, when called on its non-emergency number, will respond to reports of people breaking mask and social distancing rules, when officers are available. Police also help Civil Defense find people who are supposed to be in quarantine, when they can't be located.
     Hawaiʻi Island has recorded the most number of arrests in the state for breaking quarantine.

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MORE REGULATIONS TO FIGHT COVID-19 ARE LIKELY, according to Gov. David Ige and his staff members, who gave an update this afternoon. In wake of 109 cases reported on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and in Maui County today, they talked about the possibility of shutting down bars and restricting people to gatherings of no more than ten people.
     Lt. Gov. Josh Green said that people are 19 more times likely to contract COVID in an indoor bar than an outdoor venue. Health Director Bruce Anderson said bars are noisy and people speak loudly, spreading COVID by spray, and that it's impossible to wear masks when drinking. As people become more inebriated they tend to have less control over social distancing, said the Director of Health. The public officials talked about shutting indoor bars but said they would try to work with owners of indoor bars to find a solution.
     The group discussed limiting gatherings of people to ten, including at beaches. Ige said he will talk with mayors this week to see if stricter rules should be imposed.

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Onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 28 days, by zip code. White
is zero cases. Yellow is one to five cases. Light orange is six to 
ten cases. Dark orange (not pictured) is 11 to 20 
cases. Red (not pictured) is 21 to 50 cases.
Hawaiʻi Department of Health map
A TRIPLE DIGIT STATE RECORD OF 109 COVID-19 CASES is reported today. State Health Director Bruce Anderson said the total reflects several days of test results, delayed by the threat of Hurricane Douglas last weekend. He also cited "recent trends continuing since the Fourth of July weekend. We are seeing an increase in small and large social gatherings, including gatherings on beaches and in our parks, at homes and in workplaces. We have also recently seen an increase in cases associated with bars, gyms, and other establishments where physical distancing and masking is not regularly practiced. Based on data collected on cases through our investigations and contact tracing, we are recommending that strategic actions be taken to further restrict activities associated with these cases."
     The 109 cases are 98 on Oʻahu, nine on Maui, and two on Kauaʻi. The Oʻahu spike coincides with another grim milestone for the U.S: more than 150,000 people have died from COVID-19.
     This is the seventh day in a row of no new cases for Hawaiʻi Island. There are three active cases with one hospitalization. One case was reported in Volcano, zip code 96785, in the last 28 days. It has been more than 28 days since a case was recorded for a Kaʻū zip code. The Kona 96740 zip code has between 6 and 10 cases reported in the last 28 days. This island's 113 other confirmed COVID-19 victims recovered. Since the pandemic began, no one died here.
     The state's new case total is 1,866 since the pandemic began. Since the pandemic began, Oʻahu reported 1,517 cases (one case was removed due to new information), Maui County 163, and Kauaʻi 47. Twenty-three victims are residents diagnosed while visiting other places. Twenty-six people in the state died from COVID-19.
     In the daily message from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Director Talmadge Magno said, "Hawaiʻi County has done well with no new cases for several days but we must know that the Coronavirus threat is still out there and we must get better. You can make a difference by following the preventive measures of face coverings, distancing, gatherings, and cleanliness. You should also stay at home if you do not feel well. We need your help to keep our neighbors, friends, and family safe. As a reminder, the wearing of face masks is mandatory on the Island of Hawaiʻi. Thank you for listening and have a safe day. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency."
     In the United States, more than 4,426,982 cases have been confirmed. The death toll is over 150,713. The worldwide COVID-19 case count is more than 17 million. The death toll is more than 667,011.

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Jeanette Howard and Kuma Hula Lorie Lei Shirakawa
are longtime supporters of kūpuna from Kaʻū performing
at Hawaiʻi Kūpuna Hula Fest. Photo by Julia Neal
THE 38TH HAWAIʻI KŪPUNA HULA FESTIVAL IS CANCELED. Sponsored by County of Hawaiʻi Elderly Housing Division, it is a popular venue for kupuna dancers from Kaʻū, who have won competitions there. It was scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 at Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.
     A statement from the County today said that the Elderly Activity Division's highest priority is safety and well-being of kūpuna and community.
     This Festival showcases talented hula dancers from not only Hawai‘i Island and statewide, but also from the mainland as well as internationally. Festival highlights include a craft fair at the hotel grounds and two evenings that featured solo and group competitions with a special Ho‘olauleʻa.
     "It is unfortunate to have to cancel this year's event, but we look forward to the Festival in 2021," said the County statement. For more information, call Elderly Activities Division at 961-8710.

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ATTEND COMMUNITY MEETING ON REOPENING SCHOOLS. It will be held tomorrow, Thursday, July 30 at Pāhala Community Center. Registration at 4:30 p.m., community meeting and talk story run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Hosted by Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association, invited are Mayor Harry Kim and representatives of the teachers union, school administration, and families of students enrolled in Nāʻālehu Elementary, Pāhala High, Intermediate & Elementary, and Volcano School of the Arts and Sciences. Organizer Jessie Marques said that wearing of masks and social distancing will be required. Seating will be limited and based on first-come, first-served. Written concerns will be taken during the registration for the event.

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VOTERS WHO MISS THE AUG. 3 DEADLINE to postmark their ballots for the 2020 Primary Election can walk them into to Nāʻālehu Police Station, 24 hours a day, until Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. Other drop-off places around the island include Pāhoa Police Station, County of Hawaiʻi Aupuni Center in Hilo, Waimea Police Station, West Hawaiʻi Civic Center in Kona, and Rodney Yano Hall in Capt. Cook.
     Saturday. Aug. 8 is primary election day, with county and state officials promising to tabulate the results as early as possible. It will be the first-ever election in Hawaiʻi with most of the ballots mailed.
     Those who do not receive a ballot in the mail or want to vote in-person may do so at Voter Service Centers in Kona at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy and Hilo at 101 Pauahi St. Vote in-person through Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Election Day, Aug. 8, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Same-day voter registration is available at Voter Service Centers. See elections.hawaii.gov.

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NO INCREASE IN ELECTRIC RATES ON THIS ISLAND is the decision from the Public Utilities Commission. The PUC recently made the announcement following an interim decision issued in November 2019.
     A new element is the creation of a risk-sharing approach to the cost of fossil fuels. Consistent with a similar requirement set for O‘ahu and Maui County utilities, Hawaiian Electric announced that it will no longer pass through to customers 100 percent of the costs of fossil fuels used for generation. Instead, two percent of the fossil fuel cost difference relative to a baseline price will be at the company's risk, up to a cap of approximately $600,000.
     The company filed its request for a 3.4 percent or $13.4 million increase in revenue in December 2018. In requesting the rate increase, the company cited continued improvements to the power grid to help integrate even more renewable resources while improving reliability. It also described extensive vegetation management work that is credited with reducing outages and their duration during storms. The decision and order is available on the PUC's website, https://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/. The docket is 2018-0368.

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

Ocean View Community Center Reopens for events Monday, Aug. 3. The library will be open Friday mornings beginning Aug. 7. AdvoCATS, an all-volunteer non-profit organization "dedicated to the well-being of Hawaiʻi Islands's homeless cat population," which often offers spay and neutering services, will be at OV Community Center all day Tuesday, Aug. 11 -- see advocatshawaii.org. To schedule an event, contact Christopher Garske at chrisgarske@gmail.com or 650-996-2790.

Apply for Grants to Start, Expand, or Improve Rural Cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses in rural America. USDA will make $5.8 million in grants available under the Rural Cooperative Development Grant program. USDA encourages applications that will help improve life in rural America. Key strategies include: Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America, Developing the Rural Economy, Harnessing Technological Innovation, Supporting a Rural Workforce, and Improving Quality of Life. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply, to provide technical assistance to individuals and rural businesses. Fiscal year 2019 award recipients who received a grant period extension due to a loss of operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply for fiscal year 2020 funding. Electronic applications must be submitted to grants.gov by 6 p.m. HST Aug. 3. Additional information is available on page 39870 of the July 2 Federal Register.

Exhibition Mixed Flock: Prints by Margaret Barnaby and Pottery by Emily Herb has been held over through Aug. 8. Also available to view online, view the exhibition in person the Gallery in the Park during normal gallery hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Free. The exhibition features two prominent female artists from Volcano Village "who find deep inspiration in Hawaiʻi's natural environment and specifically the native bird populations found within it." volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222

Apply for Grants to Help Socially Disadvantaged Groups develop business and strategic plans in rural areas through USDA Rural Development through 6 p.m. HST on Aug. 10 at grants.gov. Eligible applicants include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers. USDA defines a socially disadvantaged group as one "whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities."
     Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation. Key strategies include e-connectivity for rural America, developing rural economies, harnessing technological innovation, supporting a rural workforce, and improving quality of life.

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 and worship are posted online on Sundays at stjudeshawaii.org. Join the Aloha Hour via Zoom at 11 a.m. on Sundays,
us02web.zoom.us/j/6843449828?pwd=YW94djVvU0szOGNKaFZ1V0pUL1owUT09, Meeting ID: 684 344 9828, Password: Aloha.

The Food Basket
 provides food to those in need. See hawaiifoodbasket.org. Ocean View residents can go to The Food Basket's pantry at St. Jude's the last Tuesday of the month, Aug. 25.

Volcano Friends Feeding Friends, Cooper Center 19-4030 Wright Rd. Served by Friends Feeding Friends Thursday, July 30 -- the last Thursday of the month. Call 985-7140 to verify.

On-Call Emergency Box Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Eligible one time every three months. Call Kehau, 443-4130.

Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Public Libraries are Open for Pick-Up Services Only. Nāʻālehu is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Library patrons 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, 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. For more information, visit librarieshawaii.org.

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.

Nursery, Greenhouse, and Cut-Flower Growers are invited to participate in COVID-19 impact survey by Cornell Cooperative Extension. The survey may help them qualify for USDA CFAP financial assistance. Complete the survey online.

Avocado Growers Survey Open: Help identify opportunities for expanding the local avocado industry, to assist local farmers, buyers, and agencies develop strategies to bolster Hawaiʻi's avocado industry, says Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United. Farmers and farm names will be kept anonymous. Results will be shared publicly. Survey completion gives option to register to win a $200 gift certificate to Home Depot. For a hard copy of the survey, email: info@growfruithawaii.com. Take the survey: surveymonkey.com/r/Hawaiiavosurvey2020.

Receive Help Over the Phone with Critical Financial Issues through 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 at hawaiifirstfcu.com/community-resource-center 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 Minoroty 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/harmreduction/sexual-gender-minority/sexual-and-gender-minorities-sgm-in-hawaii/.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through the Papakilo Database, a resource developed by The Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Kahalo Center says 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 can receive free marketing assistance from Univeristy of Hawaiʻi-Hilo faculty and their senior class. Helen Tien, College of Business and Economics, and her senior retail and distribution management course is offering 1-hour sessions dedicated to helping small business marketing needs. 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. To search for statewide grants, hover over "Grants & Loans" and select "For Farmers & Ranchers." Set the Grant/Loan Filter to "Grant" and the Region Filter to "Statewide." Ranney notes that narrowing the search to County will display opportunities specific to that county. Selecting Nationwide or Statewide will display other opportunities searchers may be eligible for and/or want to be aware of for future reference.

Begin Learning Basics of Organic Farming from two free modules of a virtual training program. Accessible online, additional modules will be added. The course is presented by the Organic Farming Research Foundation, the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program, and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Apply for Internships with Sen. Brian Schatz's office. Internships for undergrad, graduate, and law students are offered in the Honolulu and Washington D.C. offices. Applications are considered on a rolling basis year-round.
     Non-office internships are open for high school students to advocate in their communities. Applications due Sunday, Sept. 13.
     Schatz may also nominate exceptional students for appointment to the U.S. Service Academies. Applications due Friday, Oct. 23.

Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village is 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 an 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. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more.

Guided Nature Walks through Nature Trail & Sculpture Garden, Mondays, 9:30 a.m. at VolcanoArt 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

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

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.

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Market in Nāʻālehu is open three days per week -- Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday --, 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.
     OKK's Nāʻālehu Market offers 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, on various days. 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.

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