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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 The new Hīlea Bridge, Nāʻālehu side of Punaluʻu on Hwy 11, is open. Photo by Bob Martin

FINISHING THE REPLACEMENT OF NĪNOLE AND HĪLEA VINTAGE TIMBER BRIDGES on Hwy. 11 near Punalu‘u is expected soon. The new Hīlea Bridge, on the Nāʻālehu side of Punalu`u, opened for two-way traffic last week as construction wraps up. The Nīnole Bridge could be open in Spring. Funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration and state Department of Transportation.
    The new longer, wider single span bridges replace the two wooden bridges built in 1940 and keep the highway alignment. Two-way temporary bypass bridges were constructed alongside the old bridges to keep Hwy. 11 traffic going during construction.
The old Nīnole Bridge has been replaced with a new bridge
 that could open in Spring. 
Photo from state Department of Transportation
    Once the old bridges are completed, temporary bridges will be removed, according to the Final Environmental Assessment written for the project.
     The old Nīnole Bridge was a three-span, wooden timber bridge 60 feet long and 24 feet wide, straddling Nīnole Stream that runs through Sea Mountain Golf Course. A golf cart path went under the bridge near residential homes mauka of Punalu‘u. The site is near the intersection of the residential neighborhood and Sea Mountain Resort.
     The old Hīlea was a two-span, wooden-timber bridge, 41 feet long and 24 feet wide, located 1.2 miles southwest of the Alahaki Road and Nīnole Loop road closer to Kāwā. The site is surrounded by ranch and conservation lands.
    The new Hīlea Bridge is 100 feet long and Nīnole Bridge is 65 feet long. They both accommodate two 11-foot travel lanes, with nine-foot shoulders on each side and one-foot, two-inch wide metal guardrails on the approaches.
     The EA says both new bridges will improve mobility for highway users and address existing structural deficiencies by strengthening the bridges' foundations and designing their approaches, decks and railings to meet current standards.
      According to the EA, the old bridges failed to meet structural and design standards on state and federal levels. Their carrying capacity was 27 to 28 tons, while the minimum standard is 36 tons. They were also deficient in meeting seismic requirements, says the EA. The railings did not meet standards for "barrier crashworthiness," to withstand a car or light truck traveling 62 mph, the EA reports.
     The EA also says there would be a minimum and temporary affect on wildlife during construction.
The contractor is Hawaiian Dredging.

The bypass is closed and the new Hīlea Bridge built by Hawaiian Dredging is open. Photo by Bob Martin

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THE FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN WOMAN TO LEAD THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR will be Rep. Deb Haaland from New Mexico, if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Sen. Mazie Hirono interacted with her today during the the first Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on her nomination, made by Pres. Joe Biden.
    Hirono told the nominee: “I thank you for meeting with me a little while ago to discuss policy matters that are very important to me—and of course, the issues that relate to Hawaii’s indigenous, Native Hawaiian community are very important to me. I note, as several have already have noted, how historic and important it is that you will be the first Native American woman…poised to serve as Secretary of the Interior.”

Rep. Deb Haaland would be the first Native American woman to serve as Secretary of the
Interior should the U.S. Senate approve her nomination. Hawaiʻi Sen. Mazie Hirono 
questioned her today. Photo by Michael S. Anaya-Gorman|Albuquerque Journal
   As an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, Haaland’s “people were in our country long before the rest of us ever came here. So I think the significance of your background is not lost on any of us. Based on my conversation with you, I would expect that you will be very committed to working with us on Native Hawaiian issues, as well as issues relating to other indigenous peoples—of course the Alaska Natives and American Indians,” said Hirono.
   Hirono noted that if Haaland is confirmed as Secretary, she wants to work with her to protect native and endangered species and mitigate invasive species in Hawaiʻi. The Senator encouraged Haaland, if confirmed, to work collaboratively with the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and members of Congress to fairly and collaboratively renegotiate the Compacts of Free Association with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau, as they are set to expire in 2023 and 2024.
    Hirono also noted that she hopes to work with Haaland to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and children. The Senator asked about how a transition to clean energy could create jobs—even for families that have worked in the fossil fuel industry. Haaland responded that there is the potential for millions of clean energy jobs, and that renewable energy technology and innovation will help to create those jobs. Hirono emphasized the importance of Haaland’s track record of bipartisanship during her time in the House of Representatives in accomplishing policy goals.
    Hirono and Rep. Haaland met last month to discuss shared priorities for Hawaiʻi and the United States.

State Senator Joy San Buenaventura
will hold a Town Hall on zoom.

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A VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING LED BY STATE SEN. JOY SAN BUENAVENTURA will be held next Tuesday, March 2 at 5 p.m., via zoom. It will be her first town hall of the 2021 Hawaiʻi Legislature and her first to include East Kaʻū residents who are in her district. She won the Senate election last year taking the seat left vacant by Russell Ruderman.
    San Buenaventura said her own survey of community interests show the important concerns to be economy and jobs, crime and safety, legalization of hemp and marijuana, opposition to legalized gaming and improving private subdivision roadways.
    She said she will provide an updates on medical cannabis bills, and fast tracking civil asset forfeiture reform bills such as wage garnishment and attachment. She said she will also discuss pandemic relief. San Buenaventura served as a member of the state House of Representatives before running for Senate.
    She serves on the committees on Human Services, Commerce & Consumer Protection, and Health.

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Enuhe Caterpillars are embedded in Kaʻū's stories and history.
Photo by Chris Balzotti, The Nature Conservancy
NEW STORIES OF OLD KAʻŪ: On the Hunt for the Elusive Enuhe is the first in a series from students, this one by Kaleimanukeakealani Yahna-DeLeon, also known as Manu. She is an eighth grader at the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, Public Charter School. Here is Manu's story:
    When I was seven years old, we went to our friend’s house in Green Sands Subdivision on Kaʻaluʻalu road in Waiohinu. I remember a whole lot of caterpillars, inch worms, on all the plants. They would come down from the mango and Christmas berry trees and would land on me and my mom. They were everywhere, there were just so many of them! They came down from the trees on spider-like webs. I have not seen them since.
    I am finding out more about the caterpillars, the enuhe, because our eighth grade class of Volcano School is doing research about the enuhe of Kaʻū. Last month we listened to entomologist Steven Montgomery with University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, talk about how he visited Uncle Willie Meinecke in Waiohinu in the 1970’s; how Uncle Willie, who was 82 years young, climbed the orange tree in his backyard, and how Uncle found the rare Blackburn moth in Kaʻū. This moth was last seen in the 1890’s. Montgomery also told us about the carnivorous caterpillars 
(Eupithecia) found only in Hawaiʻi and how he found one brown one in Kaiholena. We also watched a video of the caterpillars eating a fruit fly. It was filmed by The National Geographic and it took six weeks for the crew to wait patiently and finally capture on film the caterpillar eating a fly. Our Hawaiian caterpillars are the only ones in the world that eat meat, not leaves. Montgomery also found the wekiu bug on Mauna Kea.
    Insects are interesting; when I was a kid, I would play with bugs in the dirt and grass in our pasture at South Point. I remember when Auntie Ke came to Naʻalehu Elementary and told us stories about Kaʻū, like why Puʻu Enuhe is called that. Puʻu Enuhe, or the caterpillar hill, is named for Kumuhea -- a son of Kū who could change from a caterpillar to a man. According to Mary Kawena Pukui’s The Polynesian Family System in Ka’ū, Hawaiʻi, Kumuhea fell in love with a girl from Kaʻū, married her, and took her to the top of Puʻu Enuhe. He fed her only sweet-potato leaves and she became skinny; her ‘ohana became
worried about her.
    Today, some people in Kaʻū still consider Kumuhea an aumakua, ancestor, and “precautions were taken to avoid stepping on them (caterpillars) even when the roads were covered with them during unusual and pestilential visitations.” (Pukui). I remember my dad, Earl DeLeon, wouldn’t let us pick up and play with the loli (sea cucumbers) when we were kids. The loli are considered another form of Kumuhea so that is 

why some people in Kaʻū do not eat loli.
Kaleimanukeakealani Yahna-DeLeon, The Volcano
School of the Arts & Sciences, eighth grade.
    We are collecting moʻolelo, stories from Kaʻū people about the enuhe, so please contact my teacher: tmorrison@volcanoschool.net to make sure these stories are recorded for future generations. Mahalo nui.
    This student research project on enuhe is part of Hui Kiaʻi Wai O Kaʻū, (Water Guardians of Kaʻū), a watershed stewardship initiative supported by the USDA Forest Service PSW Institute of Pacific Island Forestry (USDA FS) through a Youth Conservation Education award and by the US Department of Commerce National Oceanic 
Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Ocean
Guardian School (OGS) program.
    In addition to USDA FS and NOAA OGS, Volcano School is working with The Nature Conservancy, Akaka Foundation for Tropical Forests and the Teaching Change Partnership, National Park Service, Hawaiʻi Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project, ʻAlalā Project: State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo Global and Three Mountain Alliance (HAWP; Hawaiʻi Alliance of Watershed Partnerships).

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THE VOLCANO SCHOOL OF THE ARTS & SCIENCES is open for applications. Deadline for student applications for next year at The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, a Hawaiian-Focused Public Charter School in Volcano Village, is March 15. Applications will be included in a lottery.
    VSAS offers place-based, experiential education for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 10th and has served families in Kaʻū and Upper Puna since 2001. Parents who are interested in enrolling chilren in Volcano School next school year 2021-2022 can visit www.volcanoschoool.net or call 808-985-9800 to learn more or enroll now.

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ZERO COVID-19 CASES ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND were reported by the state Department of Health today, wiht 27 for Oʻahu, 17 for Maui and zero for Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi. Three Hawaiʻi residents, traveling out of state were also diagnosed. DOH reported that 312,105 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

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A view of some of the coast along the Kahuku Coastal, 3,200-acre property preserved makai of Ocean View, subject of
 community outreach meetings at Ocean View Community Center on Saturday, March 20. Photo by Annie Bosted

KAʻŪ ART GALLERY IS OPEN TO IN-PERSON TRAFFIC in Nāʻālehu, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. It features and sells works by local artists and offers other gift items.
    Kaʻū Art Gallery's website has 24/7 access online and is frequently updated to show current inventory items. "We are always looking to collaborate with local artists in our community," said assistant Alexandra Kaupu. Should anyone have an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at kauartgallery@hawaiiantel.biz

HIKE ONE OF THE MANY open trails, drive to the overlooks in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park at Volcano and Kahuku units. See nps.gov/havo.

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 programs@volcanoartcenter.org. 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. 

GOLF & 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 clubatdiscoveryharbour@gmail.com. See The Club at Discovery Harbour Facebook page.

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, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays. 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Hawai‘i Coffee. Cooper Center's EBT Machine, used at the Farmer's Market, is out of service until further notice. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY MARKET, open Saturdays and Thursdays, 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 Council. 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 Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Limit of 50 customers per hour, 20 vendor booths, with 20 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing 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. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

OCEAN VIEW SWAP MEET is open 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 required.


VOLCANO SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES CALENDARS, t-shirts, and sweatshirts sales raise money for the school. Review the calendar at rb.gy/tmxzva. Order the Calendar using this form: rb.gy/ytekoz. Send payment or donations to VSAS PayPal, 
paypal.com/paypalme/VolcanoSchool. To buy t-shirts and sweatshirts, order from here: rb.gy/2a4cim. Send in order forms and payment to the main office: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785. For a printed copy of the order form to be mailed, contact Kaye at 985-9800, knagamine@volcanoschool.net. Contact Kanani at kwylie@volcanoschool.net for more information and assistance with ordering.

VOLCANO ART CENTER ONLINE, in person. Shop at Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village, 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. See volcanoartcenter.org/events, call 967-8222. 

KAʻŪ COFFEE MILL & VISITOR CENTER. Buy online at kaucoffeemill.com and in person at 96-2694 Wood Valley Road, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 pm.

PUNALUʻU BAKESHOP online at bakeshophawaii.com and in-person 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week in Nāʻālehu.

ALIʻI HAWAIʻI HULA HANDS COFFEE. Order by calling 928-0608 or emailing alihhhcoffee@yahoo.com.

AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE COMPANY. Order online at aikaneplantation.com. Call 808-927-2252

MIRANDA'S FARMS KAʻŪ COFFEE. Order online at mirandafarms.com or, in person at 73-7136 Mamalahoa Hwy, Nāʻālehu.

KUAHIWI RANCH STORE, in person. Shop weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 am to 3 p.m. at 95-5520 Hwy 11. Locally processed grass-fed beef, live meat chickens, and feed for cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, horses, dogs, and pigs. Call 929-7333 of 938-1625, email kaohi@kuahiwiranch.com


OCEAN VIEW EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY CHURCH holds services on Sundays beginning with Sing-Along on the Square at 10:15 a.m., followed by Sunday Morning Service at 11 a.m. In-person services following CDC Guidelines and Hawaii mandates by using hand sanitizer, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. 
Music and Sermons are posted to FaceBook.com/OVECC. Also see FaceBook.com/OVECC for more. The church campus for Ocean View Evangelical Community Church is 92-8977 Leilani Circle. Call 808-939-9089.

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, at rb.gy/3jfbzd, Meeting ID: 684 344 9828, Password: Aloha. Weekly hot meals, hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Check the webpage for Christmas services.

HOPE DIA-MEND MINISTRIES holds outdoor services Sundays at 9:45 a.m. at 92-898 Ginger Blossom Lane in Ocean View. Masks and distancing required. For help and/or to donate, call or text Pam and Lance Ako at 808-937-6355, or call the Ministry at 808-920-8137. See them on Facebook and at hopedia-mendministries.com.


KAʻŪ HOSPITAL offers COVID testing referral from the ER, a physician or a Kaʻū Clinic health provider.

FREE DRIVE-THRU COVID Testing, Saturdays at Kea‘au High School in Puna, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays at Konawaena High School from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Civic Auditorium in Hilo from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (enter from Kuawa Street entrance). No co-pay, no insurance necessary, but bring insurance card if have. People do not have to have symptoms in order to be tested. Social distancing must be observed and face coverings must be worn at all times. For more, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

MICRONESIAN COVID-19 Helpline is supported by We Are Oceania, weareoceania.org, to help with identifying COVID-19 symptoms, testing, quarantine, health insurance, housing, unemployment. Call (808) 913-1364. Watch the video at facebook.com/watch/?v=989579144844697.

DEPRESSED, ANXIOUS, NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO? 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 SELF-CARE THROUGH Big Island Substance Abuse Council's Practice Self-Care Series. For additional series that feature refreshing wellness tips, follow the Behavioral Health & Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group at facebook.com/bhhsurg.

KAʻŪ WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE OFFERS HEALTH PROGRAMS. 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. Follow @kau_womens_health_collective. Contact rootsmedieshawaii@gmail.com. Call 808-450-0498.

RESOURCES FOR LGBTQ+, Loved Ones, and Allies at Sexual and Gender Minority online resource hub at health.hawaii.gov/camhd/lgbtq-safe-spaces.

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. on Spectrum Channel 53, streaming on Nā Leo's free mobile app, and on-demand at naleo.tv/covid19.

HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR KUPUNA at 808b-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.

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 at chooselovemovement.org/choose-love-home.


PICK UP FOOD WEEKDAYS n the parking lot of ACE Hardware in Ocean View from Hope DIA-mend Ministries TLC at 4:45 p.m. About 300 meals available each day, coordinated by pastors Pam and Lance Ako. For help or to donate, call or text Ako at 808-937-6355, or call 808-920-8137. See them on Facebook and at hopedia-mendministries.com.

EMERGENCY FOOD BOXES available at Cooper Center Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Call ahead, 967-7800. 

FREE FOOD FOR KEIKI offered at Resilience Hub, Nāʻālehu Hongwanji on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, noon to 4 p.m. The Hub also features drop-in WiFi and laptop access. Location is 95-5695 Hawaiʻi Belt Rd. Contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927, for more.


Virtual presentation, Sea Turtles in Hawaiʻi. Register to watch at rb.gy/rkd2fd

Free WiFi Access for Students is available in Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, and Ocean View through Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary. Questions? See khpes.org or call 313-4100.

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. Contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927. Register for Boys & Girls Club Mobile Outreach and Tutoring Programs at rb.gy/o1o2hy. For keiki grades 1-6. 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 or info@bgcbi.org.

ʻOhana Help Desk offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads at rb.gy/8er9wm. ʻOhana Help Desk also available by phone, weekdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Invite Park Rangers to Virtually Visit Classes, through connecting with teachers and home-schoolers with distance learning programs and virtual huakaʻi (field trips). Contact havo_education@nps.gov.

Weekly Virtual Town Meetings, hosted by Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary, 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.org for Live WebEx link.

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., limited entry into library with Wiki Visits. 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. See 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.

Read Report on Public Input about Disaster Recovery from damage during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.

View the Civic Engagement and Comment Analysis Report at rb.gy/awu65k

Watch Hawaiʻi's 28th Annual Filipino Fiesta and 8th Flores de Mayo virtual celebration at rb.gy/b53jgn.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through Papakilo Database, papakilodatabase.com.

Virtual Workshops on Hawaiʻi's Legislative Processes through Public Access Room. Sign up by contacting (808) 587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov. Ask questions and discuss all things legislative in a non-partisan environment. Attend Coffee Hour with PAR: Fridays at 3 p.m. on Zoom, meeting ID 990 4865 9652 or click zoom.us/j/99048659652. PAR staff will be available to answer questions and to discuss the legislative process. Anyone wanting to listen in without taking part in discussions is welcome. Learn more at lrb.hawaii.gov/public-access-room.


Online Directory at shopbigisland.com, co-sponsored by County of Hawai‘i, has a signup sheet for local businesses to fill in the blanks. The only requirement is a physical address on this island.


Food Assistance: Apply for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences COVID-19 Family Relief Funds. Funded by Volcano Community Association, and members of the VSAS Friends and Governing Boards, who have donated, the fund supplies KTA or Dimple Cheek Gift Cards, or gift cards to other locally owned business, to VSAS families in need. Contact Kim Miller at 985-8537, kmiller@volcanoschool.net. Contributions to the fund can be sent in by check to: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785 – write Relief Fund in the memo. See volcanoschool.net.

Marketing Assistance, for small businesses affected by COVID-19, from University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo faculty and the senior class at bit.ly/2YvFxsl. 

Apply for Utility Assistance to pay for electricity, non-government water, or gas. Applicants must be a Hawaiʻi Island resident, at least 18 years old, lost income or work hours due to COVID-19, and not previously received assistance from other COVID-19 federal or state-funded programs. Funded by CARES Act and distributed by Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council, required documents for application are government-issued identification, income verification documents for all household members, utility statement with address of services, lease/rental agreement or mortgage document, and proof of hardship. Hardship may include, but not limited to, pay stubs documenting pre-COVID-19 income, unemployment approval letter, or layoff letter. Apply at HCEOC.net or call 808-961-2681.

Apply for Expanded Hawaiʻi County Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program. Contact RMAP partners: Hawaiian Community Assets/Hawaiʻi Community Lending, HawaiianCommunity.net, 808-934-0801; HOPE Services Hawaiʻi, hopeserviceshawaii.org/rmap, 808-935- 3050; Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union, hawaiifirstfcu.com/pathways, 808-933- 6600; Neighborhood Place of Puna, neighborhoodplaceofpuna.org/coronavirus-rent-mortgage-relief, 808-965-5550; Hawai‘i Island Home for Recovery, hihrecovery.org/RMAP, 808-640-4443 or 808- 934-7852; Habitat for Humanity Hawai‘i Island, habitathawaiiisland.org/rmap.html, 808-450-2118.

Apply for Holomua Hawaiʻi Relief Grants for small businesses and nonprofits, up to $10,000, 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 rb.gy/v2x2vy.

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.


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
    Applicants must not have actively operated and managed a farm or ranch anywhere, with an insurable interest in any crop or livestock for more than five crop years (ten years for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection). This includes an insurable interest as an individual or as a substantial beneficial interest holder (ten percent or more) in another person who has an insurable interest in any crop or livestock. Applicants may exclude a crop year's insurable interest if they were under the age of 18, enrolled in post-secondary studies (not to exceed five crop years) or on active duty in the U.S. military.

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 askusda@usda.gov.

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.

Coffee Growers are urged to take a survey on how the pandemic is affecting them by Hawaiʻi Coffee Association. Take the survey here: surveymonkey.com/r/638VWS6.

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.


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.

For free Veterinary Care, Spay & Neuter, visit hihs.org, Services Tab, Spay and Neuter or Community Vet Care, or email petsupport@hihs.org. 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.