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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hawaiian Petrel, ʻUaʻu, nest on Mauna Loa. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park will monitor them Saturday, Sept. 29.
See details, below.
 Photo from Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project
CONTROLLING THE PRICE OF ELECTRICITY was a major topic during the state Public Utilities Commission's three-day hearing that wrapped up today. It addressed the future of providing electricity under regulations to control price, pollution, sustainability, and other concerns. Those participating in the hearing included County of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Electric, Life of the Land, Ulupono Initiative, Blue Planet - the state's Consumer Advocate - Hawaiʻi PV Coalition, Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association, and Distributed Energy Resources Council of Hawaiʻi. The proceedings are available by the day on the PUC YouTube Channel.
    County of Hawaiʻi supported a Consumer Dividend Proposal and a Customer-Centric PRB process, focusing on energy burdens of low and moderate-income communities. Andy McCoy, who represented the county, advocated for more consideration of lower-income people who bear the highest energy burden. He said high energy bills force many low-income people to juggle whether they pay for energy, rent, medical services, food, and internet - basic necessities. This can lead to growing debt through payday loans, he said. He compared the situation to that of the higher-income people, who can pay as little as three percent of their income for energy.
Andy McCoy said high energy bills force
many low-income people to juggle
whether they pay for other basic necessities.
    McCoy explained a Customer-Centric Process that would help to insulate ratepayers and consumers from economic harm from Hawaiʻi's energy system. It would look for ways for consumers to control their costs better in the future. It would entail meaningfully, "verifiable day-one savings for all customers," under the PUC's future regulatory framework.
    The county's presentation noted that Hawaiʻi has some of the highest electric bills in the country and the rate of increase in the last decade has been faster than on the mainland, despite Hawaiʻi households using substantially less residential electricity than on the mainland. There has never been a year in the last decade when Hawaiʻi residential bills weren't among the top five in the country, said McCoy.
    Henry Curtis, of Life of the Land, praised the PUC for becoming one of the more transparent state agencies, with outreach to the public, particularly with proceedings on YouTube.
    According to Life of the Land - which advocates for affordable, non-polluting energy - Hawaiʻi is poised on "the leading edge of a global cyclone ripping apart the old world energy order and replacing it with a continually changing new normal based on low-cost solar, wind, and storage, during a pandemic, and a climate change nightmare. The PUC stands in the middle of the storm, needing to prod the utility to move in a pono direction while self-restructuring how the Commission regulates the utility, mindful of the need for stakeholder engagement, transparency, and cross-silo thinking."
Henry Curtis, Life of the Land, praised the
PUC for becoming one of the more
transparent state agencies
    When the PUC began this regulatory proceeding in April 2018, the Commission stated, "An old regulatory paradigm built to ensure safe and reliable electricity at reasonable prices from capital-intensive electricity monopolies is now adjusting to a new era of disruptive technological advances that change the way utilities make money and what value customers expect from their own electricity company."
    Under consideration is Performance-Based Regulation or Performance-Based Ratemaking. The PUC stated: "By providing rewards for specific outcomes and objectives, PBR framework should provide utility with the opportunity to earn fair compensation, based on business model that is well-aligned with the public interest."
    Four parties filed extensive PBR frameworks: HECO Companies (HECO and subsidiaries MECO and HELCO), Consumer Advocate, Ulupono Initiative, and Blue Planet.
    Life of the Land writes, "Incentivizing the utility to meet societal goals is complex. What goals should be incentivized? Low rates? Efficient utility operations? Simple and quick interconnection of rooftop solar? Sharing risks and rewards? Increasing renewable energy penetration? Promoting electrification of transportation? Resilience? Equity?
    "The utility needs incentives (carrots/sticks) but excessive incentives may allow the utility unreasonably high rates of return at ratepayer expense, while excessive penalties may bankrupt the utility and harm all ratepayers." The formula must be flexible enough to handle unexpected events like hurricanes and pandemics while being tight enough that the utility achieves state goals while earning a reasonable rate of return," states Life of the Land.
    The PUC is led by Chair James P. Griffin, Commissioners Jennifer M. Potter, and Leodoloff "Leo" R. Asuncion, Jr., Chief Counsel Caroline Ishida, and Chief of Policy and Research David C. Parsons.
    The PUC opens about 400 regulatory proceedings each year dealing with electric and gas utilities, ground and interisland transportation, water and wastewater utilities, and telecommunication companies. Pointing to the importance of coming up with Performance-Based Regulation, it dedicated about 30 percent of its biannual budget to this one critical proceeding.
    To prepare for it, the PUC hired Rocky Mountain Institute to conduct workshops, involving more high-level financial executives and regulatory attorneys from the HECO Companies than any other previous PUC proceeding. Former Public Utilities Commissioners from California, Colorado, and Arizona consulted with the various parties. The parties met regularly to discuss alternatives and to hash out differences.
    The videoconference was recorded and is available as the official record of the hearing. Parties will file post-hearing briefs. A final Commission decision is expected by the end of the year. See the PUC YouTube Channel.
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THE COVID-19 STATEWIDE EMERGENCY IS EXTENDED through Oct. 31. Gov. David Ige issued the order today. The emergency proclamation leaves in place the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers. However, beginning Oct. 15, a pre-travel testing option will allow travelers an alternative to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
    The inter-island quarantine for travelers arriving to Hawai‘i Island, as well as the counties of Kaua‘i, Maui, and Kalawao (Kalaupapa), remains in place. However, the proclamation empowers the counties to adopt a negative test exception process for travelers subject to the inter-island travel quarantine.
    Said Ige, "Our response to COVID-19 has always been driven by the need to protect the safety of our residents and community. The pre-travel testing program allows us to do this while welcoming more people to our state. The increased economic activity will help strengthen our communities." 
    Travelers who, upon entry into the state, provide written confirmation from a state-approved COVID-19 testing facility of a negative test result from a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure, will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine.
    A "state-approved COVID-19 test" means a test to determine the presence of active COVID-19 infection that has been approved by the state Department of Health. Currently approved is processing by laboratories licensed or certified by Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments. It uses specimens for nucleic acid amplification testing approved or authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration, pursuant to an Emergency Use Authorization or other authorization for COVID-19 testing. Places that may offer the test are CVS, Walgreens, and Kaise, though some testers said they will not test anyone under 12 years of age.
    The governor's proclamation also mandates that all persons must wear masks in compliance with the county orders, rules, and directives approved by the governor. It extends the prohibition on evictions for non-payment of rent until Oct. 31. It extends the expiration dates of expired/expiring state IDs and driver's licenses until Oct. 31.

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Gail Kalani and Anne Fontes help promote Kaʻū Coffee at Kaʻū Coffee Festival in 2017, participating in a 
coffee picking competition. Photo from Big Island Video News
WHERE ARE THE KAʻŪ COFFEE MARKETS TO HELP OFFSET tourism buying? Kaʻū Coffee farmers can review these national coffee statistics to scan for new buyers who buy online and buy for their stores, restaurants, and other food outlets on the mainland.
    A new WalletHub report gives its view on coffee's importance: "Coffee first became popular in the U.S. after the Boston Tea Party, when the switch was seen as 'patriotic,' according to PBS. And since Starbucks debuted in 1971, the drink is now accessible almost anywhere you go.
    "What gave way to java culture? Science, for one, has convinced us that caffeine possesses multiple health benefits besides mental stimulation. At the right dosages, caffeine may contribute to longevity. Perhaps just as important, though, is coffee's social purpose. Today, coffee stations are a staple of the workplace, and tens of thousands of shops serve as meeting places for friends, dates, and coworkers – though in 2020, many have had to provide take-out service only due to the COVID-19 pandemic." 
    Statistics gathered by Wallethub show that 62 percent of Americans drink coffee daily. The top cities for coffee lovers are Seattle, San Francisco, Portland (OR), Miami, Tampa, Pittsburg, and Honolulu. They are followed by Denver, Oakland, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Orlando, Washington, D.C, Boston, Long Beach, LA, Irvine, New Orleans, Austin, and Jersey City. The most expensive coffee market is Honolulu where the average price for a pack of coffee is $8.10. The lowest are Miami and Hialeah, with an average pack at $3.44. 
One hundred cities are ranked by how much each household spends on coffee. WalletHub image
    Orlando has the most coffee shops and Portland has the most coffee and tea manufacturers. Freemont has the highest average annual spending on coffee per household, Detroit the lowest. Gilbert, Arizona, has the highest share of households with single-cup brewing coffee makers, Newark the lowest.
    The study shows Honolulu has the second most coffee shops, coffee houses, and cafés per capita, and the fourth most affordable-rated 4.5 Stars per capita.
    The study also refers to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, which values the U.S. Coffee industry at $48 millon. "Not only does that indicate how much Americans are willing to spend on the beverage, but it also signals business potential to aspiring entrepreneurs," says the study. See many metrics at 2020's Best Coffee Cities in America.

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UNDERSTANDING OF BLACK HOLE PŌWEHI has made significant progress with recent advances through Maunakea-based telescopes, says an announcement today from the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Harriet Parsons, Head of Operations at East Asian Observatory at University Park in Hilo, sent the announcement.
Another first for the telescopes on Maunakea comes after a decade of collaboration with other facilities across the
globe, studying the movements of black hole Pōwehi. In Hawaiian the name, says Larry Kimura, means
embellished dark source of unending creation. Photo from Event Horizon Telescope
    Pōwehi is a black hole photographed in 2019 and studied through the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Maunakea. Renowned Hawaiian language and cultural practitioner Dr. Larry Kimura assisted with the Hawaiian naming of the M87 supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Pōwehi, meaning embellished dark source of unending creation, is a name sourced from the Kumulipo, the primordial chant describing the creation of the Hawaiian universe. Pō, profound dark source of unending creation, is a concept emphasized and repeated in the Kumulipo, while wehi, or wehiwehi, honored with embellishments, is one of many descriptions of pō in the chant. Kimura is an associate professor at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Ka Haka ‘Ula o Ke‘elikolani College of Hawaiian Language.     The news on Pōwehi is that new analyses of data taken between 2009-2013 - some of them not published before by James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and Submillimeter Array for the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration - have revealed the how the black hole is moving over decadal timescales. The analysis reveals the persistence of the crescent-like shadow feature, but also variation of its orientation – the crescent-like shadow appears to be wobbling. The research is published today in The Astrophysical Journal, the new result is possible due to scientific advances made by the Maunakea-based telescopes and EHT's groundbreaking black hole photo in 2019.

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HOW TO START A PARENT POD is the subject of a Vibrant Hawaiʻi webinar scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 28. Sign up here. A message from Vibrant Hawaiʻi says, "Kōkua aku, kōkua mai, pēlā ihola ka nohona ʻohana. Give help, receive help, that is the way of family. Since the onset of COVID-19, Pandemic Pods, Learning Pods, and Parent Pods have been popping up all over. Pods are built from relationships you have with folks in your neighborhood, fellowship, school, or workplace. In partnership with Community First, Vibrant Hawaiʻi Parents have developed a simple guide to help working parents develop their very own Parent Pod."
    The one hour webinar teaches parents: How to create a Parent Pod; Pod Pitfalls and Communication Crises to Avoid; COVID-19 Health and Safety Pod Guidelines; and "Answers to your questions, so you can get started with confidence and peace of mind!"

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THE U.S. ARMY PROPOSES TO KEEP ITS STATE LEASE FOR THE 23,000-ACRE PŌHAKULOA TRAINING AREA Along Saddle Road. The public can weigh in by providIng written comments during the scoping phase for its Environmental Impact Statement through Oct. 14. See details on acquiring background summiting comments below. Comments should focus on what should be addressed in the drafting of the EIS. Pōhakuloa Training Area is used for war games with military from the U.S. and other countries. 
Photo by LCPL Simon Martin, USMC
     As the proposed retention of the lease involves state-owned land, the EIS will be in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, guided by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Parts 1500–1508, and Title 32 C.F.R. Part 651, and the Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes Chapter 343 and Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules Chapter 11-200.1, collectively referred to as the Hawaiʻi Environmental Policy Act. As a joint NEPA-HEPA document, the public scoping processes will run concurrently and will jointly meet NEPA and HEPA requirements.
    Download and read the subject EIS Preparation Notice. Written comments may be uploaded via the Army's Public Comment Form webpage. Comments may also be submitted via
usarmy.hawaii.nepa@mail.mil or mailed: ATLR PTA EIS Comments; P.O. Box 3444; Honolulu, HI 96801-3444.

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.

APPLY NOW FOR UTILITY BILL ASSISTANCE from government and nonprofit sources, urges Hawaiian Electric. The utility reminds residents that millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funding are available only until the end of the year. Customers can also take advantage of Hawaiian Electric's special payment arrangement plans to help keep past due balances manageable. Go to hawaiianelectric.com/paymentarrangement to learn more about the interest-free plan options for residential and business customers.
    Deadlines for some assistance programs are fast-approaching, says Hawaiian Electric, while others are nearing their funding limits. Eligibility requirements vary. Go to hawaiianelectric.com/COVID19 for a listing of programs. Among them: Hawaiʻi County COVID-19 Utility Bill Support provides up to $500 utility (gas, electric, or non-government water) bill assistance per month for eligible households. Administered by the Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council, funded by $1.5 million in CARES Act distribution. Additional CARES funding is available for households in need of utility payment help that meet the 60 percent state median gross annual income limit (individual, $30,767, and for a family of four, $59,167). Applicants who meet income requirements may be eligible for up to $1,000 in LIHEAP COVID-19 Disaster Energy Crisis Intervention Assistance.
     Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service, said "It's critical for customers to apply for assistance if the COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial strain for their household or business. The time to act is now. It helps everyone in Hawaiʻi when these federal funds are injected into our local economy. We're also offering special payment arrangement plans to help ease the burden for customers – but we need to hear from you in order for us to help."
     Hawaiian Electric service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through Dec. 31, 2020. Public Utilities Commission said, "Customers should continue paying their bills to the extent possible during this time, noting that customers will still ultimately be responsible for paying Utility service billings accrued during this suspension."
     Go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/paymentoptions for available payment methods. For assistance managing energy costs, Hawaiʻi Energy is a trusted resource for tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services. Visit 

Hawaiian Petrel nest on Mauna Loa. Photo from
Kauaʻi Endangered Seabird Recovery Project
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.

PETREL MONITORING ON MAUNA LOA BY HELICOPTER by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park will be held over Kīlauea at 8,000-foot to 9,000-foot elevation on Tuesday, Sept. 29, between 7 a.m. and noon. The Hawaiian petrel, ʻuaʻu, Pterodroma sandwichensis, is a federally endangered native seabird. The majority of known nests on Hawaiʻi Island are within the Park, on the lower alpine and subalpine slopes of Mauna Loa.
     Also on Tuesday, Sept. 29, between noon and 5 p.m., flights will be made between 3,000- and 4,000-ft. elevation for maintenance on Nāpau trail.
     In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation. The Park regrets any noise impact to residents and Park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.
     Management of the Park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Maintenance of Nāpau trail will be conducted the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 29. BigIslandHikes.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.

A NEW DEATH FROM COVID-19 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home brings Hawaiʻi Island's total to 28, with 26 veterans from the Veterans Home. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense says "Our sincere gratitude for their service to the country and prayers and condolences to their families." The Veterans Home reports 70 residents have tested positive for COVID, with 25 recovered, three hospitalized, and 16 receiving treatment in an isolated area of the facility. Thirty-four staff have tested positive, with 27 recovered.
    The state reports 168 new cases today. Hawaiʻi Island reports 13 new cases, Maui County one, and Oʻahu 154.
    Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,689 COVID cases in the state. Department of Health reports 5,125 people of those infected have completed isolation. There are about 6,440 active cases in isolation. There are 16 people hospitalized on Hawaiʻi Island with the virus.

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

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

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

orange is 61 to 90 cases. Dark orange (not pictured) is 91 to 130 

cases. Bright red is 131 to 240 cases. Dark red (not pictured)

is 241 to 370 cases. Department of Health map
Since the pandemic began, Oʻahu reported 10,546 cases, Hawaiʻi Island 672, Maui County 386, and Kauaʻi 57. Twenty-eight victims are residents diagnosed while visiting other places. Statewide, 763 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic began.
    In the last 28 days, active cases have been reported in zip codes 96704 with Miloliʻi; 96737 with Ocean View; 96772 with Nāʻālehu, Waiʻōhinu, Green Sands, Mark Twain, Discovery Harbour, and South Point; 96777 with Pāhala, Punaluʻu, and Wood Valley; and 96785 with Volcano Village. Zip code 96718, shaded gray on the map, is Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which has few residents and no cases to date. Other areas shaded gray have no or very little population and no cases.
    Visitation at Hilo Medical Center has been paused, with the exception of one visitor for OB, pediatrics, and end-of-life patients. The hospital's long-term care ward is closed to new patients for now.
    All beach and shoreline parks on Hawaiʻi Island are closed through Sept. 30. The activities of exercising, fishing, food gathering, use of restroom, shower facilities, and access to the ocean will continue to be allowed. Use of pavilions, barbecues, tents, or other shade devices, tables, hibachis, coolers, picnicking, camping, and commercial operations are all prohibited.
    Hawaiʻi Island police continue enforcement of preventative policies of face coverings, distancing, and gatherings. Civil Defense says, "Know that these policies are mandated and will be enforced. While on patrol, police officers will provide face coverings to people they encounter who do not have one. Mahalo for your help."
    Civil Defense says the number of new cases of coronavirus on this Island "reflects the need and importance of continuing testing throughout the Island as the virus remains a threat. With all accepting kuleana, we can stop the spread of the virus to keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe. With the community's involvement, we can keep Hawaiʻi Safe."
    See the Hawaiʻi County COVID-19 webpage at coronavirus-response-county-of-hawaii-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com. Request travel exemptions for critical infrastructure and medical travel at survey123.arcgis.com/share/e2f4ce19aa854964a8fd60bec7fbe78c. Report violators of COVID-19 safety protocols or quarantine to non-emergency at 935-3311.
    COVID-19 case count in the U.S. is more than 6,940,721 – about 22 percent of worldwide cases. The death toll is more than 201,882 – about 21 percent of worldwide deaths. Worldwide, there are more than 31.76 million COVID-19 cases. The death toll is more than 973,956.

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.

COVID-19 Talk Story on Nā Leo TV will launch Thursday, Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. on Nā Leo channel 53. The series' 60-minute live premiere will come from the county's COVID-19 Operations Center at Aunty Sally's Luau Hale in Hilo. Nā Leo says the series with County of Hawaiʻi is "aimed toward helping deliver accurate and current information to our island residents regarding the most pressing challenge of our modern lives, the COVID-19 pandemic." The series will also broadcast online at naleo.tv/channel-53/, via the Nā Leo free mobile app available in all major marketplaces, and will be available it on-demand at naleo.tv/covid19.

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

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

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

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

Vehicle and License Registration in Kaʻū Saturday, Sept. 26 for expirations in September, from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the police station building on the makai, Pāhala, side of Nāʻālehu along Highway 11, 95-5355 Mamalahoa Hwy in Nāʻālehu. By appointment only. Register here. No walk-ins. Face coverings must be worn, and customers must adhere to the recommended six-foot social distancing at all times. Only those customers receiving services will be allowed inside the lobby, but minors or those needing additional assistance may have one additional person accompany them, if needed. Questions? Call 939-2517.

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

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

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

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

Register to Vote online, olvr.hawaii.gov, or by U.S. Mail. Print a registration form. Forms must be postmarked no later than Monday, Oct. 5. As during the Primary, all ballots will be mailed, but voters can still vote in-person and may register the same day. Locations are in Hilo at 101 Pauahi Street, #1, and Kona, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. Ballots should start to arrive around Oct. 16. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. See tips on helping others to register to vote at nationalvoterregistrationday.org. Find more information at elections.hawaii.gov. Check voter registration status here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coffee Farmers and Producers of Other Agricultural Products are encouraged to apply to the Coronovirus Food Assistance Program through Dec. 11. CFAP-2 funds are pledged to agricultural industry members who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of the pandemic. Coffee industry members can check the HCA website for funding updates and resources related to COVID-19 at hawaiicoffeeassoc.org. See a complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations, at farmers.gov/cfap.

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

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

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

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

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