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Friday, September 24, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021

Nāʻālehu Volunteer firefighters in a pre-COVID parade. Tomorrow, the County Building will light up in red to honor
fallen firefighters and continue the evening illuminations until dawn of Sunday. Oct. 3. See more below.
Photo by Leilani Esperanza
A FATAL ACCIDENT ON KAALAIKI ROAD, THE OLD CANE HAUL ROAD, between Nāʻālehu and Pāhala, occurred this afternoon, above Nāʻālehu Cemetery, before the NOAA weather station, according to unofficial reports. Hawai'i Police Department reported an accident and the road closure. Reports on the ground said that two hunters were ejected from their vehicle that overturned as the driver attempted to turn onto Kaalaiki Road from Makino Road. The driver died and the other was taken to the hospital, according to unofficial reports. Kaalaiki Road reopened in late evening.

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CONGRESSMAN KAI KAHELE IS SEEKING SUPPORT FOR RELOCATION OF AFGHAN REFUGEES. Today, he visited Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia as part of the For Country Caucus oversight group for Operation Allies Welcome – a mission to support the relocations of vulnerable Afghan who worked alongside the United States in Afghanistan for the last two decades. 
    The For Country Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress with military service backgrounds. Click here to watch a compilation video of Rep. Kahele's visit to Upshur Village.
Congressman Kai Kahele  with Afghan children today
at Upshur Village in Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Photo from Kai Kahele
     Kahele, an active member of Hawaiʻi Air National Guard, applauded the mission and the MCB Quantico personnel on the ground who are servicing over 3,700 vulnerable Afghans currently residing at Upshur Village located in MCB Quantico.
    "As we have done many times before, the United States stands as a beacon of hope for those fleeing danger and seeking a new home," said  Kahele. "The relocation of Afghan nationals who stood shoulder to shoulder with U.S. troops and their families remains a top priority for myself and fellow members of the For Country Caucus. I commend the efforts of the MCB Quantico personnel, who are aiding thousands of vulnerable Afghans as they start a new beginning for themselves and their families."
   Since Operation Allies Welcome commenced on August 29, 2021, thousands of vulnerable Afghans have arrived at U.S. military facilities across the country to receive screening, vetting, medical care and immigration processing. At Upshur Village, Congressman Kahele and the Caucus were briefed by the operation's commanding officers. As of Sept. 24: 3,711 vulnerable Afghans are lodged at Upshur Village; over 1,100 are children under the age of 16; all eligible vulnerable Afghans have been fully vaccinated; and each week, 350 Afghans are being processed for resettlement in the United States.
    Kahele is a cosponsor of the WELCOMED Act, Welcoming Evacuees Coming from Overseas to Mitigate Effects of Displacement, in order to provide Afghan refugees to be eligible for the same government benefits that other refugees have traditionally received.

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BOOSTER SHOTS FOR PFIZER COVID VACCINE RECIPIENTS are now available throughout the island, according to Kaʻū Hospital's sister facility Hilo Medical Center. Spokesperson Elena Cabatu reported late afternoon that the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that first
and second doses have priority over any booster doses. "The best way to protect Hawai‘i families and communities is to ensure that unvaccinated Hawai‘i residents complete their primary vaccine series," said Cabatu.
    State Department of Health recommends vaccination providers give priority for boosters to individuals age 65 and older and individuals age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions.          
    "The CDC’s strongest recommendations were to provide boosters to these groups, as waning immunity in these populations puts them at highest risk for severe illness." As supply allows, providers should consider booster doses for additional populations recommended by the CDC, reports DOH.
    Cabatu noted that while DOH recommends individuals 65 and older and those 50-64 with underlying conditions be given priority, other groups are also eligible to receive booster shots and should be accommodated as vaccine allocation allows. They are individuals age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on individual benefits and risks; and those age 18-64 and at high risk for occupational or institutional exposure, based on individual benefits and risks.
    Pfizer vaccine recipients unsure if they qualify for a booster should check with their healthcare provider.
    Cabatu also reported COVID hospitalizations at Hilo Medical Center continue a downward trend with fewer new admissions. "We currently have 17 COVID patients (16 unvaxxed/1 vaxxed) in our hospital; four in the ICU with two on vents and 13 in the COVID Unit. We now have 12 post-COVID patients (10 unvaxxed/2 vaxxed) with six on vents. Altogether, we have a total of 29 patients affected by COVID with eight on vents."
    Hilo Medical Center’s FEMA-funded staff dispensing monoclonal antibody (MoAB) treatments arrived Thursday and began orientation in preparation of the clinic’s opening day today. According to Cabatu, "In this delta surge, we continue to see unvaccinated, post-COVID patients most severely impacted with longer hospitalizations. Please consider getting the vaccination if you haven’t gotten it yet."

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SWEEPING CHANGES TO HAWAI'I COUNTY EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM were announced today.  Local nonprofits joined Mayor Mitch Roth, emphasizing a safety net for local renters in financial hardship. The announcement comes as the State of Hawaiʻi and federal rental eviction moratoriums have ended. 
  The grants are available for past due rent and utilities, three months of rent in advance, rental deposits, and temporary hotel or motel stays. The county expects about 2,000 households to be served.
    Maximum annual household incomes for those who apply are: $47,950 for one person, $54,800 for two, $61,650 for three, $68,500 for four, $74,000 for five, $79,500 for six, $84,950 for seven, and $90,450 for eight.
    The income limits reflect help available for Hawaiʻi Island renters who earn below 80 percent area median income who can provide an unemployment letter or attest to financial hardship in writing to establish eligibility for grant assistance. Grants will be available through June 30, 2022, pending availability of funds.

    Temporary housing options will be made available at hotels and motels for local renters who have experienced eviction or are currently houseless.
    Housing Navigators will be hired and trained to help local renters find housing that is affordable. Rental deposit funds up to one additional month's rent will be made available to landlords and property management companies who rent to low-income Hawaiʻi Island renters supported by Housing Navigators.
    Fees for rental applications, moving costs, damages to hotel and motel stays beyond normal wear-and tear, and legal services will be funded for qualified, low-income renters. Financial counseling and affordable loans for low-income renters will be offered through Financial Empowerment and Opportunity Centers.
    Increased legal services and landlord-tenant mediation will be available to assist more local renters in need. Community Navigators will be hired and trained to go out into hard-to-reach communities to promote financial assistance available to renter households facing hardship.

    The mayor said, “It’s important for our community to know that we are here for them and that we are doing all we can to make sure that these funds end up in the hands of those who need it most. We are asking everyone out there who may be experiencing a hard time to just try and apply. A little bit of help can go a long way in ensuring that our local families keep the roofs over their head as we head into the holiday season.”
    The County and ERAP nonprofit partners encourage community groups, faith-based organizations, employers, public agencies, utility companies, landlords, service providers, and policymakers to help spread the word islandwide.
    ERAP is funded by the County of Hawai'i through federal funding. Funding is limited to renters who live on Hawaiʻi Island. Households are limited to 15 months of total grant assistance, including assistance from previous programs. All renters who have annual household incomes below 80 percent of area median can apply through one of the nonprofit partners.

  Persons without internet access or a computer are encouraged to call one of the ERAP nonprofit partners to request a paper application or complete an application over the phone.
    To qualify for grants for past due rent or utilities, three months of rent in advance, rental deposits, or temporary hotel or motel stays, applicants must meet the following qualifications: Be a Hawai'i Island renter; at least 18 years old; show proof of financial hardship (provide an unemployment/PUA approval letter or request an attestation form from nonprofit providers to confirm financial hardship in writing); show 2020 or current annual gross household income at or below 80 percent of area median income for the number of members in the household.
   ERAP prioritizes households at or below 50 percent of area median income with household members who have been unemployed for 90 days preceding the date of the application.
    Applicants will be required to submit: Proof of Hawai'i residency and age; copy of photo ID; income documents for all household members (provide all that apply); all pages and scheduled for 2020 Federal Tax Form or 30 days most recent pay stubs; one month most recent business bank statements (if self-employed); and unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit letter and public benefit statements, if applicable.
    Other income documentation may include child/alimony support letter, pension and retirement statement. To document housing, the program requires a copy of completed, current, and signed rental lease contract.

   Also to prove hardship the program requires one of the following: Unemployment or PUA approval letter; written attestation (request from nonprofit) Housing Assistance; past due rent notice with the amount owed; eviction notice with the amount owed; and/or or past-due utility notice.
    For more information or to apply, visit www.HawaiCountyERAP.org.
    To apply, go online or contact any nonprofit partner:HOPE Services, 357 Waianuenue Avenue Hilo, HI 96720, www.hopeserviceshawaii.org, 808-935-3050, ERAP@hopeserviceshawaii.org;
    Hawai'i First Federal Credit Union,1221 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 150 Hilo, HI 96720, www.hawaiifirstfcu.com, 808-933-6600, empower@hawaiifirstfcu.com;
    Neighborhood Place of Puna,16-105 Opukahaia Street Keaau, HI 96749, www.neighborhoodplace.org, 808-965-5550, ERAP@neighborhoodplace.org;
    Habitat for Humanity Hawai'i Island, 73-4161 Uluwini Place Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, www.habitathawaiiisland.org/, 808-843-0071, rmap@habitathawaiiisland.org;
    The Salvation Army, 219 Ponahawai Street Hilo, HI 97620, hawaii.salvationarmy.org, 808-935-1277, Hilo.ERAP@usw.salvationarmy.org;
    Hawai'i County Economic Opportunity Council, 47 Rainbow Drive Hilo, HI 96720, www.hceoc.net, 808-932-2714, ERAP@hceoc.net.

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FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS WILL BE HONORED starting sundown tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 26 when Hawai'i County will illuminate the county building atrium in Hilo with the color red. The overnight lighting will last through sunrise on Sunday, Oct. 3. 
Firefighters, over the years, have risked their lives in eucalyptus infernos
 to protect Ka`u Coffee lands. Photo by Julia Neal
    A statement from the county says, "Hawai'i County joins landmarks and fire departments across the nation in honor of our fallen firefighters. Among the firefighters in the 2021 Roll of Honor is our own HFD firefighter, Eric Tetsu Hayashi. Hayashi served with the Hawai'i Fire Department in Hilo for 25 years. Known to many as “Buta,” Hayashi served in various stations with his last days of duty at the Laupahoehoe Fire Station as a fire equipment operator. “One thing about “Buta” is he truly loved being a firefighter,” said Assitant Chief Darwin Okinaka, Hawaiʻi Fire Department. “He embraced the profession and was a true steward of the concept of providing exceptional service to the community. I worked alongside him for many years as a firefighter, and he is truly missed.” 
    The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is inviting communities to commemorate the Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters campaign to honor and reflect on the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes. For ways to participate in this year’s Night for Fallen Firefighters campaign, visit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation website at https://www.firehero.org/events/memorial-weekend/about/light-night-fallen-firefighters/

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FALL SPORTS FOR KAʻŪ HIGH SCHOOL BEGIN MONDAY. Physical Education teacher Matt Roddy announced today that "We're starting practice this Monday, Sept 27, with competition to begin October 15."
    Fall sports for this year are: Football, with head coach DuWayne Ke; Girls Volleyball with head coach Josh Ortega; Cross Country with Head Coach David Wells; Bowling with Head Coach Hi'i Lapera and Cheerleading with Heach Coach Carma Hanshew. See the schedule in an upcoming Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs.

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Read the entire Kaʻū Calendar and back issues at 
www.kaucalendar.com. Find it in the mail from Volcano
through PāhalaNāʻālehu, Ocean View to Miloli'i.
Pick it up from newsstands.

Kaʻū COFFEE MILL & VISITOR CENTER. Buy online at kaucoffeemill.com and in person at 96-2694 Wood Valley Road, daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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

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.  See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com..

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Public Libraries are 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.

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

ENROLL CHILDREN, from first through eighth grade, in Kula ʻAmakihi, a program from Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences. It started Aug. 3. Call 808-985- 9800 or visit www.volcanoschool.net.

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. Call 967-8222.

KAʻŪ ART GALLERY is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in Nāʻālehu. It features and sells works by local artists and offers other gift items.Vendor applications are being accepted for its Holiday Arts & Crafts Sale on Saturday, Nov. 13. 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. Artists with an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at kauartgallery@hawaiiantel.biz.

GOLF & MEMBERSHIPS for Discovery Harbour Golf Course and its Clubhouse: The 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 panoramiocean 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.

ALOHA FRIDAY MARKETPLACE, hosted by Kaʻū Main Street, is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., grounds of The Old Shirakawa Estate   in Waiʻohinu.  It features: Made in Hawai'i Products, Organic Produce, Creative Crafts, ARt, Flower and Plants, Food, Ka`u Coffee, Gluen Free Low Carb Goodies, Wellness Services and Products, Clothing, Hand Crafted Treats, Music and more. Vendor and customer inquiries: AlohaFridayMarket@gmail.com.

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.

O 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 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.