|Between the squalls, sunset at Ocean View, interrupting the gray of torrential rains this week.|
See more on the wet weather and today's 4.2 earthquake below. Photo by Bob Martin
"As this life-saving, jobs-creating bill is signed into law, I will keep working with my colleagues on behalf of the people of Hawaiʻi and all Americans to meet this moment as we continue to advance progress to Build Back Better For The People."
He said the American Rescue Plan will save lives and livelihoods through the following:
Put Vaccines in Arms: The plan will mount a national vaccination program that includes setting up community vaccination sites nationwide and addressing disparities facing communities of color. It will also take complementary measures to combat the virus, including scaling up testing and tracing, addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, investing in high-quality treatments and addressing health care disparities.
|Kaʻū Hospital and its sister facilities Hilo Medical Center|
and Hale Hoʻola Hamakua will ramp up more
coordination of COVID vaccination events, with funding
assistance from the America Rescue Plan.
Put Children Safely Back in School: The plan delivers $170 billion for education and $45 billion for child care providers. This includes a $130 billion investment in K-12 school re-opening and making up for lost time in the classroom, with funds that can be used for such things as reducing class sizes, modifying spaces so that students and teachers can socially distance, improving ventilation, implementing more mitigation measures, providing personal protective equipment and providing summer school or other support for students that help make up lost learning time this year. The plan also provides more than $40 billion for higher education.
Put People Back In Jobs: The plan will provide crucial support for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination, with EIDL grants, expanded PPP eligibility and more. The plan also provides crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.
Kahele said that the American Rescue Plan "is strongly supported by a large majority of the American people, bipartisan state and local leaders, national education groups, trade unions and advocacy organizations and hundreds of businesses and chambers of commerce. Economists agree that the American Rescue Plan's targeted, evidence-based action is needed – both for struggling families and for the American economy. The legislation's provisions will generate $1.25 for every $1 of spending, will cut child poverty in half and will lift nearly 12 million people out of poverty."
IMPORTING TEACHERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES COULD BE IN THE FUTURE for more local public schools. The state Department of Education launched an international recruitment program and brought in four teachers - three assigned to Lanaʻi and
one to Oʻahu. Civil Beat carries a story on the recruitment. See civilbeat.org.
The DOE also hosts out-of-state teacher recruitment fairs and lists Kaʻū, along with Honokaʻa, Kohala and other remote schools as "hard to staff locations." Recruiting will take place on March 24 through the EdWeek National Virtual Job Fair and April 8 through the EdWeek Hawaii-Specific Information Session. On May 20, DOE will host its Teacher Applicant Pool Virtual Hiring Fair through invitations to eligible candidates for its Hiring Pool.
The measure for Hawaiʻi passed the state Senate 24 to 1, with the rationale that it would bring in much needed income to help cover state tax shortfalls during the pandemic. The bill also increases the conveyance tax on property sales of $4 million and higher, raises corporate income tax and taxes on capital gains.
GE TAXES CHARGED FOR TRANSPORTING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS interisland would no longer be exempt under a proposal at the state legislature. The Hawaiʻi attorney general recommended maintaining the air transportation exemption for the taxes, saying that deleting it could be challenged under federal regulations, arguing that the air space, in the view of the federal government, does not belong to Hawaiʻi.
|Pooling and ponding on Kaʻū Roads, this near the Mark Twain monkeypod|
tree and Waiohinu Park, during the storm today. Photo by Bob Martin
In Maui County, heavy rains completely washed out the Peahi Bridge on Peahi Road, and displaced the Kaupakalua Bridge on Kaupakalua Road, making the roads impassable. There is also damage to other roads and bridges on the Valley Isle.
Across the state, saturated ground conditions and increased water levels in reservoirs have increased the risk of erosion, seepage, piping and fear of dam failure.
The emergency declaration covers the counties of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kalawao, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi. It gives the governor the authority to spend state funds as appropriated to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors in the State of Hawaiʻi. The declaration supports the state's efforts to provide quick and efficient relief of suffering, damage, and losses caused by flooding and other effects of the heavy rains.
Civil Defense also reminded everyone that "Currently the mandates apply to all persons that have been vaccinated for Coronavirus."
Department of Health has opened vaccine registration to those 70 and older. Those with questions regarding vaccine availability for any age group, can contact the Department of Health at 300-1120.
Department of Health continues to coordinate vaccination points of distribution around the Island. For a list of all the facilities providing vaccinations visit the Civil Defense website: www.hawaiicounty.gov
|Lance Ako shows more signs of |
recovery at Queens in Honolulu
She said she and their family would like to thank the community for their prayers and "for their giving. It has been a challenge of patience for us, but we are relentless in believing for the impossible. He continues to receive 24/7 care with awesome staff and doctors at Queens." She urges friends and family to "Please continue to pray and believe 100 percent! Guaranteed healing and nothing less."
|The Kahuku Coastal county lands, bought with the Two Percent Fund from property|
taxes, is the subject of a public survey online and a meeting March 20. Photo from PONC
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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 email@example.com
|Read the March edition of The Ka`u Calendar at www.kaucalendar.com|