After he spoke, Kaʻū's councilwoman Maile David, who is Chair of the County Council, spoke of the "wise words of our honorable keynote speaker," former Mayor Billy Kenoi. "I am reminded of his belief in 'together we can' and the cultural significance of lōkahi. Throughout his term, peace and unity was a priority and ever-present in every aspect of his administration. No one person, agency or nation has the perfect answer or perfect plan, but collaboration is key in developing the most effective approach," said the Council Chair. Today, she said, "It has been my privilege and honor to have known and worked with Billy Kenoi during my role as Councilmember.
"As a native Hawaiian, Billy was and will continue to be my inspiration. I will always remember and cherish his unique ability to touch people with his thoughts and words of wisdom. He will live in my memory as a true example of aloha and humility, and one who demonstrated a deep respect for this beautiful island, his sense of place, his cultural connection, and love for the people of this land. Aloha oe to a beautiful soul."
Kenoi is survived by his wife Takako, daughter Mahina, and sons Justin and Liam.
Today, the current Mayor released a statement. Roth said, "Billy Kenoi was the embodiment of a true Big Island boy and a pillar of our community.
Photo by Julia Neal
Kaʻū's Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele issued the following statement: "It is with deep sadness that I grieve with the people of Hawaiʻi over the passing of my dear friend and mentor, Billy Kenoi. Throughout his life, and especially as a leader of the people, Billy always had the attitude that anything is possible. In what would become a viral commencement address to Hawaiʻi Pacific University graduates, Billy said, 'there is no such thing as no can ... always can!'
"He knew how to make anyone feel special, through his inspiring words he was able to touch the hearts of others, and in doing so, often created positive change in the community where needed.
"With Billy, he would be the last to accept recognition, yet the first to give it to someone else. Billy showed us, by example, the importance of investing in our communities. His imprint and contributions are seen throughout the County of Hawaiʻi and will be felt for generations.
"Maria and I extend our deepest sympathies to Billy's wife Takako, his daughter Mahina, and his sons Justin and Liam. Billy leaves an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of the people of Hawaiʻi, especially those lives he generously touched on Hawaiʻi Island. He will be greatly missed," said Kahele.
Gov. David Ige said, "Billy Kenoi was an energetic and inspirational leader who had a knack for bringing people together. His death is a huge loss for our community. Dawn and I express our deepest condolences to Billy's family and loved ones." The governor said he will order flags to fly at half-staff in honor of former Mayor Billy Kenoi on the day of his memorial service. Arrangements are pending.
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.
|Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh with the Subaru team |
in Hilo and Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park CEO Elizabeth Fien
to receive a $5,000 donation. Photo from Subaru
Peter Dames, executive vice president, Subaru Hawaiʻi, said, "Subaru Hawaiʻi is proud to have provided assistance to our community members and their very deserving services."
Fien said, "We are humbled and honored to receive this significant donation from Subaru Hawaiʻi. This donation will greatly assist us with our mission supporting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and its educational programs, protection of endangered species, as well as cultural and natural resources."
THE FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS DEPARTED TODAY, but only after floodwaters closed Hwy 11 at Kāwā Flats this morning and blocked off roads in Wood Valley and along the old cane road between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu. The two days of rain soaked the land and people without devastating winds. See photos of the wai, the water, along with the second installment, below, of Hawaiʻi's State of the State Address.
Regarding education, the governor said, "Also critical to our families' well-being is the continuing education of their children. Transforming an entire public education system during a pandemic is no small feat. We started this school year with teachers and students embracing online learning. Our schools were provided guidelines on how and when to transition to blended learning and when they can safely return to the classroom.
"Those decisions are being made by the individual schools. This ties in with ongoing efforts to move the DOE into a more school-based system. We want principals and educators—those most familiar with staff, students and their community—to be empowered to design schools of innovation that best meet their needs.
"Last year, the Legislature established a School Facilities Agency to bring our aging school buildings into the 21st century. Even before the pandemic, the new agency was viewed as an exciting new initiative that will also provide jobs and economic opportunities for Hawaiʻi. The School Facilities Agency is a first step in maximizing school lands by building teacher housing, childcare facilities, after-school centers and other uses that are compatible with school facilities. It's also part of a larger recovery plan, which I will get into shortly.
"Building new schools also means jobs and is an integral part of our recovery and resiliency efforts. Working with all stakeholders, we plan to aggressively move forward on three pilot projects to serve as a model for the schools of the future. During this pandemic, we've been forced to not only rethink the classroom but to take instruction beyond its walls. We've had to ask teachers to look for other ways to teach. And we've had to ask parents and students to take a more active role in their own education. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has shown us that it does take an entire village to educate a child.
"In addition, the University of Hawaiʻi is also combining distance and in-person learning for its 50,000 students across all campuses. They are doing this while continuing to maintain a research engine generating more than $400 million for our economy."
Concerning economic recovery, the governor outlined government services, saying, "At a time when government is being asked to be all things to all people, every state is facing historic revenue shortfalls. And so, from the beginning of this crisis, we've been monitoring its impact on the state's finances and taking action. These actions have included: Reducing the current budget by $402 million; transferring $345 million from our rainy-day fund; and eliminating $350 million from state programs.
"For the first time in our state's history, we borrowed $750 million to help make payroll. In spite of these significant measures, we are still projecting that revenues will not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Even with the most generous of federal assistance, it is a staggering deficit. But there are things we can do to reduce the pain.
"Government will have to tighten its belt; our citizens will be asked to do more with less; and we will all need to help each other. Unlike past years, our main budget initiative will be to find ways to cover the historic shortfalls. There are many paths toward that end. I know there will be disagreements on how we get there. No one has all the answers. But the best answers lie in the ones we arrive at together—not in spite of each other, but because of each other. More than ever, we need to lean on that collective effort to manage this fiscal crisis.
|A stream raging up Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal|
The governor put forth short-term initiatives, saying, "In the meantime, we still have to find ways to revive our economy and do so as quickly as possible. There is no silver bullet and it will take time and perseverance. The struggle for businesses to stay afloat during this pandemic has been daunting at best. Because of this, the state is planning to cover the interest payments on the $700 million DLIR loan on behalf of employers. That amounts to over $165 million that our businesses would otherwise have to make up over the next six years.
"Hawaiʻi has been among the hardest-hit states in terms of job losses and economic activity. More than 580,500 Hawaiʻi workers filed unemployment claims last year. Moreover, in the face of a life-threatening virus, where is the sweet spot between ensuring the health of everyone and keeping the economy going? When the CDC is telling everyone not to travel, how do we sustain our hotels and all those small businesses who depend on our visitors?
"The struggle to find that answer has been apparent. The problem is a complex one. It calls for flexibility and a willingness to turn on a dime. That is not something that government has been good at. It is something that we must get better at.
"Last Spring, in response to COVID-19, we launched a 14-day quarantine for travelers—something that the federal government is now looking to emulate with travel to the U.S. The quarantine was devastating to our visitor industry. But it was one of our most important tools to stem the pandemic through the Summer and Fall, when the nation's infection rate rose exponentially. More importantly, it kept our families safe. And in the end, I believe, it also saved our reputation as a healthy visitor destination.
"I believe the key to reviving our economy remains tied to the health of our community, no matter how slow and frustrating the process may be at times."
The governor put forth Long-Term Recovery Initiatives, saying, "The pandemic also exposed our local economy for what it is: very dependent on tourism. To make the state less vulnerable to sudden and unexpected changes, we must diversify.
"We've been here before. In the 1970s, agriculture by itself couldn't relieve us of our addiction to tourism. Neither will technology in the 21st century—not by itself. But it can be used to support a multi-pronged approach toward greater diversification—even as we move to get tourism back on its feet. I will continue to promote technology to help diversify our economy.
"In addition, the pandemic has accelerated economic trends that were already underway. They include the rise in remote work and the demand for digital skills. These trends and the intervention of the pandemic show clearly where the future is. We must invest in our digital economy to be a player in that future.
|A gulch pumping with water up Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal|
"More importantly, we can keep our kamaʻāina here to reverse the brain drain. Because, in a digital economy, our children won't have to move to the mainland to secure good jobs. But to do that, we will need to provide the right environment. Every government, business and nonprofit organization must embrace digital technology to thrive. We need to develop a clear vision for a more diversified and sustainable economy that is compatible with our culture and way of life. And that vision must be based on solid economic analyses. A post-COVID Hawaiʻi cannot be a Hawaiʻi as it used to be."
The governor explained his Hawaiʻi 2.0 initiative: "That's why, in the wake of the pandemic, I am calling for the creation of a program of action to not just reboot but to upgrade our economy. To create a Hawaiʻi 2.0, if you will. I have asked Senate President Kouchi and Speaker Saiki to work with me, as well as business, labor and community leaders, to develop this program of action for Hawaiʻi's future. I have reached out to the Hawaiʻi Business Roundtable, the Hawaiʻi Executive Conference, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi, and the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation to convene stakeholders and communities from across the state.
|Horses in the rain on Kalaʻaiki Road between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu. Photo by Bob Martin|
"I have also sought the counsel of governors Ariyoshi, Waiheʻe, Cayetano, Lingle and Abercrombie for their thoughts on economic recovery. I have asked all of them for recommendations by April, which will be folded into specific actions by the third quarter of this year. The Legislature will then have an opportunity to act upon these initiatives in their 2022 session. The pandemic brought our economy to a screeching halt. But could it also be an opportunity to reassess our path forward? Opportunity takes on many disguises. Sometimes, it only waits for us to recognize it."
"At the same time, a broadband hui, made up of more than 200 local stakeholders, met to find a path through the pandemic to the future. Their long-term goal aligns with the states in developing a broadband infrastructure that is accessible and equitable for all. My thanks to members of the hui and the State's Broadband Officer, Burt Lum, and many others for their collective efforts to increase our connectivity both during and after the pandemic.
|Kaluapuhi Stream flooding onto Hwy 11.|
Photo by Bob Martin
"Clearly, the pandemic has highlighted the digital inequity in Hawaiʻi. Part of our task is to make sure that a student in Nānākuli can access an online lesson plan as easily as a student in Kāhala—and that, in a digital Hawaiʻi, everyone's connected. Likewise, with an FCC grant, we will support a telehealth initiative to connect low-income patients with high medical risks to healthcare providers. DHHL will receive at least $30 million in federal funds to benefit Native Hawaiians.
"In addition, my legislative package this year includes a bill to create a Broadband and Digital Equity Office to oversee these efforts. This office will also enable us to identify and secure Hawaiʻi's share of $7 billion in new federal funds for broadband infrastructure and digital equity programs.
"The pandemic has made it painfully clear that life in the future will be ALL about being connected."
In his Conclusion, the governor addressed the new leadership in the nation's capitol: "Finally, my friends, we are at a historic crossroad—because of the pandemic and because of new leadership in Washington D.C. The latter is a source of rising hope and great expectations.
"This public health crisis has forced us to look down a different road. But it has not determined where that road will end. That has always remained in our hands. The pandemic has not forced us to change. That we must do on our own to address the challenges we face. But our strength lies in something deeper than those superficial changes. It lies in who we have always been as a people. Hawaiʻi is all of us poured into this vessel—a pot that doesn't melt away our differences but highlights them, emphatically and proudly. That is our strength.
|Kalaʻaiki Road closed with flooding gulches. Photo by Bob Martin|
"Hawaiʻi is John Burns, Dan Inouye, Barack Obama, Nona Beamer, ʻIolani Luahine, Chinn Ho, Benny Agbayani, Michelle Wie, Marcus Mariota and Kolten Wong. Hawaiʻi is the hundreds of small family businesses that make up the real backbone of our economy. It is Kalākaua Avenue and Kalihi Street on Oʻahu, Front Street and Main Street on Maui, Aliʻi Drive and Kinoʻole Street on Hawaiʻi Island, and Kūhiō Highway that stretches from Kapaʻa to Hāʻena on Kauaʻi.
"Because we are here. We are Hawaiʻi.
"In these dark times, with the pandemic knocking us back on our heels, it is not enough to occasionally show aloha. We must have aloha for each other—at all times.
"We all have jobs to do—you, me, everyone in Hawaiʻi—to lift ourselves and each other back up into the sunlight. Let us not waste another moment. Join with me in meeting this challenge."
Onset of COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, by zip code. Gray
areas have populations less than 1,000. White is zero cases.
Yellow is one to 10 cases. Light orange is 11-50 cases. Dark
orange is 51-200 cases. Department of Health map
New cases reported statewide in the last day total 71 with 54 on Oʻahu, eight on Maui, and one resident diagnosed out-of-state. The average daily case rate for the state is 108 over the last two weeks.
Since the pandemic began, at least 49 deaths have been reported on Hawaiʻi Island. At least 401 people have died in the state. The dramatic increase of 59 deaths in one day is the result of cases from the past several moths being confirmed as COVID-19 deaths.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 25,339 total COVID cases in the state. Oʻahu has reported 20,578 total cases, Hawaiʻi 2,129, Maui 1,634, Lanaʻi 106, Molokaʻi 25, and Kauaʻi 178. Residents diagnosed while out-of-state, 689. Statewide, 1,669 people have been hospitalized since the pandemic began.
In the last 14 days, zero active cases have been reported in Kaʻū zip code 96737, which includes Ocean View; 96772, which includes Nāʻālehu, Waiʻōhinu, and Discovery Harbour; 96777, which includes Pāhala; and Volcano zip code 96718.
In the last 14 days, less than ten active cases have been reported in Volcano zip code 96785.
In the last 14 days, 20 cases have been reported in zip code 96704, which includes Miloliʻi, and 34 in Kona zip code 96740.
See the Hawaiʻi County COVID-19 webpage, coronavirus-response-county-of-hawaii-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com. Report violators of COVID-19 safety protocols or quarantine to non-emergency at 935-3311. Hawaiʻi Island police continue enforcement of preventative policies.
Cumulative COVID-19 case count in the U.S. is more than 25,439,570. The death toll is more than 425,119. Worldwide, more than 100.27 million total COVID-19 cases have been reported. The death toll is more than 2,157,355.
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TEMPORARY SUMMER JOBS ARE AVAILABLE through Hawaiʻi County Department of Parks & Recreation for Summer Fun at Kaʻū District Gym and Nāʻālehu Community Center, June 3 - July 16. The job is to work with keiki. Applicants must possess a current First Aid certification, submit a completed Summer Fun application, and be available to work June 3 through July 16, 2021. Summer Fun starts June 7, following a mandatory two-day training period for all temporary employees.
Summer Fun applications are available online at
https://www.parks.hawaiicounty.gov/facilities-parks/recreation, the Recreation Division Office at 799 Pi‘ilani Street in Hilo, and various County gymnasiums located around the island.
Completed applications must be filed with the Recreation Division or postmarked by Monday, Feb. 12. All inquires may be directed to the Recreation Division at 961-8740.
7,500 distributed to stands and all postal addresses throughout Kaʻū,
from Miloliʻi through Volcano. Read online at kaucalendar.com
and facebook.com/kaucalendar. To advertise your
business or your social cause, contact email@example.com.
for full event details and more.
STRATEGIES TO JUMPSTART learning the craft of writing will be taught through Volcano Art Center on Jan. 23 by Jacquolyn McMurray and Kristen Wolfgang from 9 a.m. to noon. "How long has writing been on your bucket list? Are you ready to make 2021 the year you finally get started or restarted?" asks VAC in a statement on the session The Strategies to Jump-Start Your Writing livestream Zoom workshop "is perfect for beginning writers seeking new inspiration and strategies. Visit www.volcanoartcenter.org for full event details and more.
for full event details and more.
Nominate Businesses that Provide Excellent COVID-19 Safety Precautions for a Gold Star. Submit nominations to County of Hawaiʻi Department of Research and Development at rb.gy/fsrkwg. Find help for small businesses at rb.gy/sxzjt0.
A BRUSH WITH LIGHT gives the public a chance to "immerse in Hawaiʻi Island’s magnificent landscapes and plants," says the statement from Volcano Art Center. Catherine Robbins’ "evocative oil paintings" are in the solo exhibition, A Brush with Light – Volcanic Island Reflections, at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The show runs through Feb. 14, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday.
GOLF & SOCIAL MEMBERSHIPS for Discovery Harbour Golf Course and its Clubhouse. The new Club offers Social Memberships, with future use of the clubhouse and current use of the pickleball courts as well as walking and running on specified areas of the golf course before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m. to enjoy the panoramic ocean views. Golf memberships range from unlimited play for the avid golfer to casual play options. Membership is required to play and practice golf on the course. All golf memberships include Social Membership amenities. Membership fees are designed to help underwrite programs and improvements to the facilities. Call 808-731-5122 or stop by the Clubhouse during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 94-1581 Kaulua Circle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. See The Club at Discovery Harbour Facebook page.
WALK THROUGH A GUIDED 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 email@example.com. Garden is open to walk through at one's own pace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. www.volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222
VOLCANO GARDEN ART'S SECRET GARDEN WALK is on free trails to the public. Sponsor Ira Ona describes the “Historical garden with many native plants. We have just created a self-guided nature walk in my new secret garden which is carved out of an upland native Hawaiian forest. Open to walk throughout the week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. www.volcanogardenarts.com, 985-8979, Located on Old Volcano Hwy in Volcano Village.
KaiLoki's, at the old Mehe's location in Ocean View, offers live music and karaoke on a to-be-determined schedule, along with a locally-sourced menu and bar. See facebook.com/KaiLokis.
Free Lifetime Entry for Veterans and Gold Star Families to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes and other national parks. Details at rb.gy/k3evh6.
|Volcano Farmers Market. Photo by Julia Neal|
Receive Help Over the Phone with Critical Financial Issues, through Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund Financial Navigators from County of Hawaiʻi, in partnership with Hawaiʻi First Federal Credit Union. Complete webform at hawaiifirstfcu.com/community-resource-center or call 808-933-6600. Contact Sharon Hirota at 808-961-8019 with questions.AGRICULTURE
QUALIFY TO BECOME A BEGINNING FARMER OR RANCHER and receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture To qualify for status as a beginning farmer or rancher: Applicants must be an individual. Business entities may receive benefits only if all of the substantial beneficial interest holders (ten percent or more) of the business entity qualify as beginning farmers or ranchers. For example, a son moves home to take over the family farm and incorporates with his spouse and neither have previous farming experience. Their corporation would qualify as a beginning farmer/rancher. However, if a son moves home and forms a corporation with his father, who has had an insurable interest in crops or livestock for more than five crop years, the corporation cannot receive beginning farmer and rancher benefits. Although the son qualifies as a beginning farmer or rancher, the father does not so the corporation cannot receive benefits; and
CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM enrollment ends Feb. 12. Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program can sign up for the program until Friday, Feb. 12. The competitive program provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation.
Contact AskUSDA at (833) ONE-USDA with representatives available 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. The website, ask.usda.gov is available 24/7 and includes live chat agents available 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. Inquiries can also be sent via email at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women Farmers can Register with Hawaiʻi Women Farmers Directory, a statewide online directory of women-operated farms, ranches, and agribusinesses. Visit the program website to register, rb.gy/87fn9d.
Program to Sell Produce and Meats on Hawaiʻi Island from commercial farmers and livestock producers on Hawai‘i Island for distribution to families in need. Learn more at rb.gy/exzuk1.
Native Hawaiian Farmers and Ranchers urged to use U.S. Dept. of Ag On-Farm Market Directory. Visit the program website, ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/onfarm.
Read About Seed Biodiversity for Hawaiʻi's Local Food System in It all Begin and Ends with Seed, where Education by Outreach Coordinator Nancy Redfeather shares her insights. Read the blog at rb.gy/ijai3y.
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.
Learn Basics of Organic Farming, via free modules at rb.gy/4wio2y.
PETS & WILDLIFE
One-Time Emergency Food For Pets is available through KARES. Call David or Barbara Breskin at 319-8333.
Report Humpback Whales in Trouble at NOAA Fisheries 24 hour hotline, 1-888- 256-984. Also report distressed sea turtles, monk seals and dolphins.
hihs.org, Services Tab, Spay and Neuter or Community Vet Care, or email email@example.com. Call 808-217- 0154. All appointments must be scheduled in advance and are open to healthy dogs and cats. Two pets per family will be accommodated, each pet with own appointment. Unavailable to animals other than dogs and cats. Unavailable to strays and those with contagious illnesses.
Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recycling services available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HI-5 deposit beverage container collection Saturdays only, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. "White goods" appliance collection services will accept one appliance per resident per day. Customers need to check in with the facility attendant before dropping an appliance off at the facility. No unattended drop-offs allowed. Visit hawaiizerowaste.org or call 961-8270.
Ocean View Transfer Station is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HI-5 deposit beverage container collection will continue as usual on Saturdays only, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit hawaiizerowaste.org or call 961-8270.
Sign Up for Solid Waste Operations Alerts at rb.gy/iemgrc for site closures, service hours, and more.