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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Kaʻū News Briefs, Saturday, October 10, 2020

The FBI investigated Nā Leo TV's Hilo office under a search warrant Thursday. Learn details below. Photo by Tim Wright

NĀ LEO TV is still on the air, and available on demand, after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents investigated the public access television broadcast location in Hilo on Thursday. The investigation postponed Puna Candidates' Forum and a forum for mayoral candidates Mitch Roth and Ikaika Marzo. Learn more on Thursday's Kaʻū News Briefs.
    A statement from the Board of Directors of Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi says they were made aware of the federal investigation on Oct. 8. The Board met with Nā Leo TV President and CEO, Stacy Higa, who "assured the Board that management and staff are fully cooperating" with the investigation. 
    Board Chair, Claude Onizuka, said, "The Board is satisfied with the level of cooperation provided to date and will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure full cooperation with the investigation. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the Board is unable to share more information at this time. However, the Board is pleased to note that all staff will continue with their assigned duties and that Nā Leo TV has resumed its normal operations, subject to prevailing COVID-related guidelines." 
An FBI agent exits Nā Leo's Hilo office. Photo by Tim Wright
    In an article from Civil Beat, special agent and spokesman Jason White of FBI's Honolulu office said the warrant is sealed "and probably will remain that way for the foreseeable future. The only thing we're releasing is we are doing a search warrant over there at Nā Leo TV." Civil Beat reports White said no one had been arrested. Civil Beat reports the investigation "focused on computer equipment in the studios or offices."
    On staff at Nā Leo is Micah Alameda, a board member of Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority since 2018, assistant general manager and marketing manager at Nā Leo. Stacy Higa ran for Hawaiʻi County mayor in the 2020 primary and is a former Hawaiʻi County council chairman.
    The board is comprised of Chair Onizuka; Sidney Fuke, Vice-Chair; Gail Uejo, Board Secretary; Connie Kiriu, Treasurer; Anne Chung; Howard Kelly; Dwayne Mukai; William T. Takaba; and Jennifer Zelko-Schlueter.
    Nā Leo TV is Spectrum Channels 53, 54, and 55; on-demand and live at http://naleo.tv/, and on the free Nā Leo TV app.
    See the Civil Beat story at https://www.civilbeat.org/beat/fbi-searches-the-offices-of-cable-public-access-headquarters-in-hilo/.

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A THIRD DEATH AT LIFE CARE CENTER OF HILO from COVID-19 was reported yesterday. A statement from Mark Mann, executive director, says, "We're heartbroken by this new loss and continue to mourn the loss of all three residents who have died from COVID-19."
Life Care Center of Hilo and University of the Nations Kona
campus both contributed to recent Hawaiʻi Island surges.
Life Care Center of Hilo reports 46 resident cases: 37 active, six recovered, and three dead; and 11 employee cases: seven active and four recovered. Four Life Care residents are being treated at Hilo Medical Center, 37 are receiving care at the facility, one resident is receiving treatment at another facility, and one resident was discharged home from the hospital, according to the update from the Center. 
    Hawaiʻi Island's death toll as reported by the state is 37: three at Hilo Life Center, one at Kona Community Hospital, six at Hilo Medical Center, and 27 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. At least 20 Hawaiʻi Island deaths are not officially reported by the state. At least 166 people have died in the state, according to state records, two new today on Oʻahu.
    Today's 13 new cases on Hawaiʻi Island - and the record high yesterday of 45 cases - are partly due to recent surges at Hilo Life Center and University of the Nations Kona campus.
    West Hawaiʻi Today reported this morning that Mayor Harry Kim said University of the Nations Kona "had a potential of having a real problem. When we requested the quarantine, it was immediately done. It is now a very controlled situation."
    University of the Nations Kona tested 955 individuals on campus in the past week. As of 8 a.m. Saturday morning, 28 tested positive, two new today, with Department of Health clearing 14 individuals. "All active cases have mild or negligible symptoms and no cases have been hospitalized to date. We will continue to provide updates and want to thank the community for your prayer and support," says the statement from University of the Nations.
    Since the pandemic began, Hawaiʻi Island reported 924 cases.

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HOW EASY IT IS FOR COVID-19 TO SPREAD in a workplace and a living facility is shown by a state Department of Health report on Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, where 27 people died. Not immediately removing workers with minor irritations – a stuffy nose, a slightly hoarse voice – before their COVID tests came back positive, may have led to the spread of the virus throughout the home, infecting 35 workers and 75 residents, according to a state report.
    The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on Saturday that a state Department of Health investigation concluded that the spread progressed as follows:
    "The facility's first COVID-19 case was a maintenance worker who was tested Aug. 20 and received a positive result two days later. This unidentified worker, according to the report, belonged to a family connected with a 20-person community coronavirus outbreak that started Aug. 15, and was sent home Aug. 20 after a supervisor noticed the worker's voice was hoarse. A second maintenance worker also was sent home Aug. 20, four minutes behind his colleague, after receiving a call from a family member who said a friend tested positive and that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, the report said. That worker tested positive Sept. 5.
Management of Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home is in process of
transferring from Avalon Health Care to East Hawaiʻi Region
of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corp.
"A third maintenance worker who routinely works with and eats lunch with the other two staffers wasn't sent home Aug. 20, according to the report, and returned to work the following day, with instructions from a supervisor to stay in the office and not go outside 'unless the building is on fire.' On Aug. 23, the third maintenance worker received a positive COVID-19 result from a test administered Aug. 20. The report said the facility's nursing director had this view of the third maintenance worker: 'He was asymptomatic, so he can come to work.' DOH's investigator said in the report that a contact tracing list from the nursing home indicated that the third maintenance worker had complained of a stuffy nose and spent more than 15 minutes with his two colleagues and a housekeeper.
    "The report cited other shortcomings that included an inspector witnessing a doctor leaving the facility without removing all protective gear or hand cleaning, witnessing the same doctor entering the facility's designated COVID-19 resident care unit without wearing a protective gown, and seeing a nurse leave the facility without hand cleaning.
    "These deficient practices (led) to the COVID-19 outbreak in the facility and may have contributed to twenty-six COVID-19 related resident deaths," said the report, which didn't account for one death. See the complete story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
    Management of the Veterans Home is in transition from Avalon Health Care to East Hawaiʻi Region of Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corp., which oversees Hilo Medical Center, Kaʻū Hospital and its clinic in Pāhala, as well as Hale Hoʻola Hāmākua in Honokaʻa.

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URGING EVERYONE TO LOOK FOR THEIR BALLOTS IN THE MAIL and to vote, west Kaʻū and Kona state Sen. Dru Kanuha wrote in his weekend message: "As the County of Hawaiʻi mailed ballots on Oct. 7, please research, complete, and return your ballot by mail or in-person to any County of Hawaiʻi voter service centers or deposit boxes as soon as possible to ensure your vote is counted. If you have not received your ballot by Oct. 16, please contact the COH Elections Office
    "Throughout this year, we have experienced many changes from closures, shutdowns, and quarantines but I remain hopeful better days are yet to come. By working together to identify safer ways to educate our children, support our families, and uplift our local economies, we will maintain our sense of community and aloha through this difficult time.
    "As always, during this global health pandemic, please continue to be vigilant and do your part – wear facial coverings when in public, sanitize hands regularly, and practice social distancing."

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.

GIVE INPUT on the Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Plan Update by the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning from Oct. 13 through 28. The public is invited to participate in online sessions to learn about the strategic plan and contribute to the revision process. Free; advance registration required. Register online.

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.

ARTISTS AND VENDORS can sign up now for the Annual Christmas Art & Craft Fair at Ocean View Community Center, which will be held 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 artists 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.

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.

THIRTEEN NEW COVID-19 CASES are reported for Hawaiʻi Island. The state's new case count is 73, with 58 on Oʻahu.
    Since the pandemic began, there have been 13,371 COVID cases in the state. Department of Health reports 10,713 people of those infected have completed isolation. There are about 2,470 active cases in isolation. There are at least nine people hospitalized on Hawaiʻi Island with the virus. 
        Since the pandemic began, Hawaiʻi Island reported 924 cases. Oʻahu reports 11,954 cases, Maui County 397, and Kauaʻi 59. Thirty-seven victims are residents diagnosed while visiting other places. Statewide, 929 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic began.
    No new cases reported in the last 28 days for two Kaʻū zip codes and one in Volcano. 96772 with Nāʻālehu, Waiʻōhinu, Green Sands, Mark Twain, Discovery Harbour, and South Point; 96785 with Volcano Village; and 96704, which includes Miloliʻi, have had no cases in the last 28 days. In the last 28 days, less than ten active cases have been reported in zip code 96737, with Ocean View; and 96777, which includes Pāhala, Punaluʻu, and Wood Valley. Zip code 96718, shaded gray on the map, is Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which has few residents and no cases to date.

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

areas have zero residential addresses. White is zero cases.

Yellow is one to 10 cases. Pale orange is 11-20 cases. Medium

orange is 21-60 cases. Dark orange is 61-100 cases. Bright

red is 101-170 cases. Dark red is 171-280 cases. 

Department of Health map

In Hilo zip code 96720, 107 cases have been reported in the last 28 days. In Kona zip code 96740, 107 cases have been reported in the last 28 days.
    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 7,706,256 – about 21 percent of worldwide cases. The death toll is more than 214,286 – about 20 percent of worldwide deaths. Worldwide, there are more than 37 million COVID-19 cases. The death toll is more than 1,070,393.

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THE GREAT HAWAIʻI SHAKEOUT, STATEWIDE EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS DRILL on Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m., is the focus of this week's Volcano Watch, written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates:
    Join the Statewide Earthquake Preparedness Drill on 10/15 at 10:15
    Major earthquakes cannot be predicted. Successful earthquake predictions need to have three things correct: the location, the time, and the magnitude. The best anyone can reliably do is get two out of three correct, for earthquakes that impact the public.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory library after the
magnitude-6.6 Ka‘ōiki earthquake on November 16,
. Much of the injuries caused by large earthquakes
are from falling objects, which can be prevented by
securing items to the wall. In the case of books, it is
best to have shelves with raised edges to lessen the
chance of objects sliding off. USGS photo
    There will be a magnitude-6 earthquake this week. This is true – we just don't know where. Probabilistically, at least one magnitude-6 earthquake will happen on Earth on any given week.
    There will be a magnitude-7 earthquake in Alaska. This is true – we just don't know when. Replace Alaska with any square-inch on Earth, and that place will experience a magnitude-7 earthquake sometime in the future: it could be tomorrow, next month, or in the next few million years, but no location on Earth is exempt from a damaging earthquake.
    There will be an earthquake in Hawaiʻi tomorrow. This is true – we just don't know how big. Actually, we can get some magnitudes generally right – there will be a magnitude-1 earthquake in Hawaiʻi tomorrow. This is true – it just isn't detected by anything other than sensitive monitoring equipment, so the prediction isn’t publicly relevant.
    The timing of larger, damaging earthquakes is harder to narrow down. We can look at the record of earthquakes over the past 200 years in Hawaiʻi to understand where large, damaging earthquakes have occurred in the past, but there is no way to reliably predict when damaging earthquakes will happen.
    Of course, that's not going to stop us, humans, from trying anyway. There are numerous methods, scientific or otherwise, that people use to try to predict "the next big one." These methods deserve their own Volcano Watch someday.
    Whether we understand the scientific method or believe in predictions, one question comes to mind: what do we do with that information? We get ready. We prepare.
    Earthquake preparedness can happen at any time. This is true – we don't need predictions of a "big one" to actually be ready for a damaging earthquake.
    One way that you can train yourself to be ready for a damaging earthquake is to participate in an earthquake drill. Last year, over 42,000 individuals in the State of Hawaiʻi participated in an annual earthquake preparedness drill, called The Great Hawaiʻi ShakeOut.
    International ShakeOut day, which The Great Hawaiʻi ShakeOut is a part of, is always the third Thursday of October.
    The date of the ShakeOut determines the time of the earthquake drill. This year, we invite everyone in Hawaiʻi nei to "Drop, Cover, and Hold on!" on Thursday, Oct. 15th (10/15), at 10:15 a.m. local time.
    Register yourself, family, business, or organization as participants in the 2020 Great Hawaiʻi ShakeOut on the web at http://shakeout.org/hawaii/register

    During The Great Hawaiʻi ShakeOut, the public is encouraged to practice "Drop, Cover, and Hold on!" as part of the earthquake drill. "Drop, Cover, and Hold on!" will help reduce the risk of being knocked down or injured during an earthquake for most indoor situations, but not all. The ShakeOut website provides more detailed earthquake safety actions for other situations: outdoors, at school or work, at the beach, or while driving a car.
    While knowing what to do during an earthquake is important, it's also important to know what should be done before and after an earthquake. Did you know that we can greatly reduce earthquake damage with a few simple life hacks, by using putty or Velcro® strips to secure items before an earthquake happens?
    After an earthquake passes, there are other hazards that should be considered, such as damaged utility lines and the potential for a tsunami being generated. Which utilities should be turned off after a damaging earthquake? How far do you go up mauka (uphill) to be safe from a tsunami?
    Find the answer to these and other questions at http://shakeout.org/hawaii. Make sure to register as a ShakeOut participant and start preparing for earthquakes before they happen.
    On 10/15 at 10:15 a.m., join the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory ʻohana by participating in the "Drop, Cover, and Hold on!" drill as part of the 2020 Great Hawaiʻi Shakeout. Tag us on social media (@USGSvolcanoes on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook) to let us know how you are preparing to stay safe during an earthquake. 

See earthquake activity at https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes.

Volcano Activity Updates

    Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at NORMAL (https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/volcano-hazards/about-alert-levels). Kīlauea updates are issued monthly.
    Kīlauea monitoring data for the past month show variable but typical rates of seismicity and ground deformation, low rates of sulfur dioxide emissions, and only minor geologic changes since the end of eruptive activity in September 2018. The water lake at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u continues to slowly expand and deepen. For the most current information on the lake, see https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/k-lauea-summit-water-resources.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting and remains at Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY. This alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to eruption from current level of unrest is certain. Mauna Loa updates are issued weekly.
    This past week, about 98 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded beneath the upper-elevations of Mauna Loa; most of these occurred at shallow depths of less than 8 kilometers (about 5 miles). Global Positioning System measurements show long-term slowly increasing summit inflation, consistent with magma supply to the volcano's shallow storage system. Gas concentrations and fumarole temperatures as measured at both Sulphur Cone and the summit remain stable. Webcams show no changes to the landscape. For more information on current monitoring of Mauna Loa Volcano, see: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/monitoring.
    There were two events with three or more felt reports in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M3.5 earthquake 16 km (9 mi) SE of Waimea at 30 km (18 mi) depth on Oct. 01 at 6:55 p.m. and a M2.7 earthquake 4 km (2 mi) W of Pāhala at 35 km (21 mi) depth on Oct. 01 at 11:57 a.m.
    HVO continues to closely monitor both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa for any signs of increased activity.
    Visit HVO's website for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake info, and more. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

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Look back at Nāʻālehu Public Library's opening at their new temporary location last OctoberKaʻū Calendar photo
Kaʻū Life: The Way We Were Last Year
Nāʻālehu Public Library's reopening at the 
temporary location last October featured 
snacks and drinks. Kaʻū Calendar photo
This time last year, Nāʻālehu Library opened in its new temporary location at Nāʻālehu Civic Center. During the opening celebration, the temporary library offered free lemonade, fresh water, and freshly made popcorn.
    Before the pandemic, the air-conditioned facility shared space with Hawaiʻi County Council Committee and Council Meetings. Due to the small space of the new, temporary location, regular monthly and weekly programs were postponed until the new permanent location is open. Scheduled for around this time this year, the renovated library reopening is delayed. The new space will be three times as large as the one that served the community for many years.
    Both Nāʻālehu and Pāhala Public Libraries are open for wifi (in the parking lot) and pick-up – schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Library card account help and reference assistance can be received at the front door.
    Nāʻālehu is open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed noon to 1 p.m., and Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Pāhala is open Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m., closed 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. See librarieshawaii.org.

Nāʻālehu Public Library's new, temporary location opened last October. Kaʻū Calendar photo

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.

Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund Public Cleanup Events – with size limited due to COVID-19 precautions and government proclamations – are on Monday, Oct. 12, survey; Saturday, Oct. 17, cleanup; Sunday, Nov. 15, cleanup and survey; and Saturday, Dec. 19, cleanup. HWF says details are forthcoming but will be a blend of hiking, BYO-4wd, and limited HWF carpool options. Contact Megan Lamson-Leatherman at (808) 280-8124 or wild@aloha.net.

Attend College from Home Virtual Workshop, Tuesday, Oct. 13, noon to 1 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Zoom Connection Link: go.hawaii.edu/A9z, Meeting ID: 950 5113 4914 Password: palamanui. The announcement asks, "Want to come back to college but not leave home – or know someone who does? If so, you are invited to the UH Online and Hybrid Degrees workshop presented by the University Center West Hawaiʻi. Come learn about the 60+ UH two year, Bachelors, Graduate, and Certificate programs that you can access here on Hawai'i Island. Online Learning with Local Support. Stay Here… Go FORWARD!" For more information, email Carrie at carriekp@hawaii.edu.

PETFIX Spay and Neuter Clinic for Cats will be held Wednesday, Oct. 14 in Ocean View. For information and to register, call 808-990-3548 or email petfixbigisland@gmail.com.

Attend Finding Solutions, Growing Peace free virtual talk Thursday, Oct. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. October's speaker is Lorenn Walker, on the topic Effective Approaches for Positive Adolescent Behavior: Alternatives to Grouping "At-Risk Youth." To get the Zoom link, register online. For more information, contact Ku‘ikahi Program Coordinator Majidah Lebarre at 935-7844 x 3 or majidah@hawaiimediation.org, or visit hawaiimediation.org.

Presidential Debates Schedule: The first Presidential Debate was held Sept. 29. The single Vice Presidential Debate was held Wednesday, Oct. 7. The second Presidential Debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida. The final Presidential Debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. 
    Each debate will air from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on. Each debate will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC, among others. All the major news networks will offer a free live stream, as will YouTube and Twitter. Listen to the Hawaiʻi Public Radio broadcast at 89.1, or stream the audio here, on the HPR mobile app, or on a smart speaker.

Attend a Free Conflict Resolution Workshop, Kū I Ke Aloha: Stand Up & Speak Out on Friday, Oct. 16 from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. via Zoom. The interactive session explores examples of individual and community advocacy that resulted in positive change in Hawaiʻi and beyond. Take away some communication skills for the real world – no matter the media – to use with aloha. Register here or RSVP to Majidah at Kuʻikahi Mediation Center, (808) 935-7844 x 3 or majidah@hawaiimediation.org.

Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi Annual Meeting online at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 17. A statement from the nonprofit says, "Over the past seven decades, CCH has been able to protect our native plants, animals and ecosystems across the Hawaiian Islands because of your support, we are extremely grateful and as we navigate our path forward we rely on your support even more than ever." Register here.

Give Input on the Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Plan Update by the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Planning from Oct. 13 through 28. The public is invited to participate in online sessions to learn about the strategic plan and contribute to the revision process. Free; advance registration required. Register online.

Take Free Courses and Certifications for Hawaiʻi Residents through Coursera are offered by state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. More than 3,000 options. Registration open until Oct. 31. Recommended courses for picking up technology skillsView more.

Give Input of Pandemic on Small Businesses to Hawaiʻi Small Business Development Center. Partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank system, the 2020 Small Business Credit Survey provides vital information to policymakers and lenders who are weighing decisions that affect small businesses. Ten-minute-long survey open to businesses currently in operation, recently closed, or about to launch. Survey closes Oct. 31. Responses are confidential. Complete the survey. Questions? Contact SFFedSmallBusiness@sf.frb.org. 

Vote and Register In-Person
 same day. Locations are in Hilo at 101 Pauahi Street, #1, and Kona, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. Ballots for registered voters should start to arrive around Oct. 16. Secure ballot dropbox located in Nāʻālehu Police Station at 95-5355 Māmalahoa Hwy from Oct. 14, 24 hours a day, until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, Election Day . See other locations here. 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.

Attend Free Virtual Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival through Nov. 4 The 15th year of the festival takes off with a special set of in-depth presentations covering a variety of topics deeply impacting the local community. Featuring Hawaiʻi Public Radio's Burt Lum, host of Bytemarks Café, on several panels. More info & schedule.

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 artists 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.

Veteran Farmers are invited to register for the virtual Farmer Veteran Coalition Conference: Veterans Farming through Adversity held Nov. 18 and 19, Wednesday and Thursday. Presented by Farmer Veteran Coalition, the sixth annual conference will feature education, workshops, keynote speakers, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and more. The cost to attend is $45 ($35 for coalition members). Advance registration required. Register online.

Presidential Debates Schedule: The first Presidential Debate was held Tuesday, Sept. 29. The single Vice Presidential Debate was held Wednesday, Oct. 7. The second Presidential Debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami, Florida. The final Presidential Debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. 
    Each debate will air from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC, among others. All the major news networks will offer a free live stream, as will YouTube and Twitter. Listen to the Hawaiʻi Public Radio broadcast at 89.1, or stream the audio here, on the HPR mobile app, or on a smart speaker.

Watch the Oct. 5 Debate between Mayoral Candidates Ikaika Marzo and Mitch Roth on Nā Leo TV, Spectrum Channel 54, online at naleo.tv/channel-54/, or via the free Nā Leo mobile app.

Apply for Expanded Hawaiʻi County Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program. RMAP partners encourage Hawaiʻi Island residents who are at least 18 years old and lost income or work hours due to COVID-19 may be eligible for up to $2,000 per month for rent, lease, or mortgage payments. The previous grant limit was $1,000 per month. RMAP applicants must also have a current annual household income at or below 140 percent of area median income for the number of members in their household – $81,760/yr. for one person, $126,000 for five. 
    Payments are made directly to landlords, property managers, or mortgage lenders. Approved applicants also have access to financial counseling services. 
    Hawai‘i Community Lending and Hawai‘i County have modified RMAP to address barriers for applicants, application processing, and how to encourage more residents to apply. Other changes include reimbursement for payments made with personal resources, such as savings, credit cards, personal loans, or assistance from family or friends. In addition, households who entered into a forbearance or payment agreement with their mortgage lender or landlord for payments that were due between March and December 2020 may now be eligible. Residents who previously applied to RMAP and were rejected are encouraged to reapply. 
    RMAP nonprofit partners are: Hawaiian Community Assets/Hawaiʻi Community Lending, www.HawaiianCommunity.net, 808-934-0801; HOPE Services Hawaiʻi, www.hopeserviceshawaii.org/rmap, 808-935-3050; Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union, www.hawaiifirstfcu.com/pathways, 808-933-6600; Neighborhood Place of Puna, www.neighborhoodplaceofpuna.org/coronavirus-rent-mortgage-relief, 808-965-5550; Hawai‘i Island Home for Recovery, www.hihrecovery.org/RMAP, 808-640-4443 or 808-934-7852; Habitat for Humanity Hawai‘i Island, www.habitathawaiiisland.org/rmap.html, 808-450-2118.

Coffee Growers are urged to take a survey on how the pandemic is affecting them by Hawaiʻi Coffee Association. Take the survey here.

Micronesian-Language COVID-19 Helpline 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. Other questions about health insurance, housing, or unemployment, helpline 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.

Learn How to Practice Self-Care through Big Island Substance Abuse Council's Practice Self-Care Series. In partnership with Hawai‘i Department of Health, the program seeks to "remind the community that now more than ever, it's important to be gentle with yourself. Be present, limit the amount of news and media, listen to your body, and most importantly, ask for help if you need it. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges, please reach out to friends and family for support, and seek professional help for serious or persistent symptoms."
For additional series that feature refreshing wellness tips, follow the Behavioral Health & Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group on Facebook.

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

Student Athletes of Kaʻū High interested in participating in athletics during the 2020-2021 school year are encouraged to call Athletic Director Kalei Namohala at 313-4161 to sign up for the Student Athlete Google Classroom.

COVID-19 Talk Story on Nā Leo TV series aims to help deliver accurate and current information to Hawaiʻi Island residents. Airs live Thursdays at 10 a.m. at 10 a.m. on Spectrun Channel 53, online at naleo.tv/channel-53/, and streaming via the Nā Leo's free mobile app. Watch all episodes on-demand at naleo.tv/covid19.

Sign Up for ‘Imiloa's Hālau Lamakū Place- and Culture-based Fall Enrichment Program at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. Held for seven weeks, Oct. 19 through Dec.4, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., except holidays. 
    The program offers "fun, engaging and educational activities, crafts, games, outdoor exploration, and observations grounded in Hawaiian culture, science, math, and art. Explorations from deep ocean to deep space, and everything in between – all from ‘Imiloa's facilities and outdoor gardens. 
    Enrollment limited to seven pods for K-5th grade students with one instructor, one assistant, and up to eight participants, who will remain together for all seven weeks. Participant's required synchronous and asynchronous school distance learning needs will be addressed. Students will bring their own lunch, two snacks, and two bottled water each day. 
    Cost per member child is $695; registration starts Friday, Sept. 25 at 8 a.m. Non-member cost per child is $995; registration starts Friday, Oct. 2 at 8 a.m. Enrollment open through Oct. 7, first-come, first-served. Scholarship applications are open; proof of financial need required. See imiloahawaii.org/halau-lamaku to register, apply for a scholarship, become a member, and find out more.

Resilience Hub at Nāʻālehu Hongwanji, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Drop-in wifi and laptop access, free meals for participating keiki. Follows all county, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines. For more info, contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927.

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, 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, available from Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island. 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.

32nd Annual The Trash Show Hawaiʻi: Artists Recycle open through Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center, 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo. Features The TrashFace Collection by Volcano Artist Ira Ono. To attend, all visitors are required to wear a face mask, maintain six-foot social distancing, no physical contact when greeting people, a maximum of ten people in the gallery, and encouraging anyone who feels ill to stay home. See more art from Ono at Volcano Garden Arts & Café Ono, 19-3834 Old Volcano Rd., www.volcanogardenarts.comwww.cafeono.net, 967-7261. For more information go to ehcc.org

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. Face coveri required when usher comes to vehicle to pass out 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 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. Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virtual Shopping Appointments offered via Skype or FaceTime. Book at volcanoartcenter.org/shop for $5. Shop online gallery 24/7. Orders shipped or free local pickup available. See the VAC 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, 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 mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in upper lot only. Vendors must provide own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling encouraged.

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Market, in Nāʻālehu, open Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Limit of 50 customers, 25 vendor booths, with 30 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing are required, social distancing 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. facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket

Choose Aloha for Home is available to families, to provide a healthy way to grow together using neuroscience and positive psychology. Program uses a series of self-guided videos, activities, and "dinner table discussion topics." Sign up here.

ʻOhana Help Desk
 offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads here. ʻOhana Help Desk also available by phone, weekdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Ocean View Mobile Learning Lab, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Jude's lower parking lot. 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.

Apply for Holomua Hawaiʻi Relief Grants for small businesses and nonprofits of up to $10,000 to support core operations, safe on-going and reopening costs, personal protective equipment, and training and technical assistance. The business or nonprofit must employ 50 people or fewer. See the program website.

Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Public Libraries, open for wifi, pick-up, and other services. Nāʻālehu open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala open Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Open for library card account help and reference assistance from the front door. Wifi available to anyone with a library card from each library parking lot. librarieshawaii.org

Free Book Exchanges, at laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu, provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Open to all. Keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them. Selection of books 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 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. Complete webform here or call 808-933-6600. Contact Sharon Hirota at 808-961-8019 with questions.

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.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.

Free Job Training for workers displaced by COVID-19 is launched by the state for up to 650 workers. Using $10 million in federal CARES Act funds, Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism matches workers with companies in sectors such as conservation, renewable energy, agriculture, creative arts, aerospace, entrepreneurship, and STEM fields. The programs offer on-the-job training through Dec. 15, with wages starting at $13 to $15 an hour, health care benefits, and mentoring. Eligible people are displaced workers, or recent high school or college graduates. There are two different tracks in innovation or conservation sectors. To learn more, go to https://dbedt.hawaii.gov/blog/20-21/.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through Papakilo Database, a resource developed by The Office of Hawaiian Affairs. 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.

Read Report on Public Input about Disaster Recovery from damage during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The project will focus on repairing and/or replacement of critical infrastructure in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and U.S. Geological Survey-operated facilities and equipment. Comments received are being considered and used for refining a design concept and developing the National Park Service and USGS's proposed action. Once the proposed action is developed, the NPS and USGS will seek additional community input through public scoping prior to the environmental analysis process, tentatively planned for early 2021. View the Civic Engagement and Comment Analysis Report here

Coffee Farmers and Producers of Other Agricultural Products encouraged to apply to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through Dec. 11. Coffee included; see funding updates and resources hawaiicoffeeassoc.org. See complete list of eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations at farmers.gov/cfap.

Local Ag Producers can Sign Up for a Program to Sell Produce and Meats on Hawaiʻi Island. Hawai‘i Farm Bureau, in partnership with County of Hawai‘i and non-profit entities, has developed a program to purchase product from commercial farmers and livestock producers on Hawai‘i Island for distribution to families in need. The Food Basket and other channels will distribute the products. Learn more.

Native Hawaiian Farmers and Ranchers urged to use U.S. Dept. of Ag On-Farm Market Directory. Visit the program website for more information and to register.

Seed Biodiversity for Hawaiʻi's Local Food System, and the role seed plays in human health and nutrition, is the focus of a recent blog post from Hawaiʻi Seed Growers Network. In It all Begins...and Ends with Seed, Education and Outreach Coordinator Nancy Redfeather shares her insights. Read the blog.

Receive Free Marketing Assistance, for small businesses affected by COVID-19 from Univeristy of Hawaiʻi-Hilo faculty and their senior class. 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.

Find Rangeland Management Resources at globalrangelands.org/state/hawaii. The site offers access to current research, industry news, educational events, and more about rangeland management in Hawaiʻi. The website is maintained by the University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive updates.

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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