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Monday, October 11, 2021

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021

Bay Clinic, with facilities that opened (above) in Nāʻālehu in 2013, plans to merge with West Hawai'i Community Health
 Center by next July. Photo by Joe Febo of Hana Hou Photography
BAY CLINIC AND WEST HAWAI'I COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER WILL MERGE AND TAKE A NEW NAME to serve all of Hawai'i Island, according to a recently released statement. The plan is to combine personnel of both organizations by July 1, 2022. The decision was made in late September by Bay Clinic Board of Directors led by Haidee Abe and West Community Health Center Board of Directors led by Mike Matsukawa.
     The statement says that the yet to be named combined entity would service 40,000 patients and provide medical, dental, pharmacy, behavior health services and enabling services at locations in Nāʻālehu, Ocean View and Milloli'i in the Kaʻū  area. Other communities serviced will be Kealakekua, Kealakehe, Kailua-Kona, Waikoloa, Hilo, Keaau and Pahoa. 
     Bay Clinic CEO Kimo Alameda said, "In thinking about how to unify our island communities and enhance our mission, I approached West Hawai'i Community Health Center with the idea of merging our operations to increase patient access to qualified healthcare providers and improve the quality of patient care island-wide. West Hawai'i Community Health Center CEO Richard Taafe had the same mission in mind and we began to talk story on how to make it work."

Bay Clinic CEO Kimo Alameda, right, with Bay Clinic Covid coordinator
 Erin Samura at a free COVID vaccine event at Miloli' a village to be served
by the merger of Bay Clinic with West Hawai'i Community Health Center.
 Photo by Anuheamailani Shaw
    Taffe said, "As we conducted our due diligence, it became obvious that merging the two operations would have a positive effect on patient health care island-wide. Kimo and I immediately saw a more comprehensive scope of care, increased access to providers, greater economies of scale and the opportunity to add new clinic locations as immediate benefits to a merger. It just made sense."
    The statement says, "Due Diligence. That's where the real work began. Management teams and consultants conducted a due diligence investigation into the risks and opportunities of a merger in the areas of leadership, management, finances, manpower, IT, facilities, regulatory approvals, compliance and liabilities. The Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operations Officers of both organizations met and confirmed that a consolidation was feasible. A Steering Committee was formed to initiate relationship building, align the missions and synergies and set the foundation for collaboration."
    The consolidation is intended to integrate both center’s services, personnel, boards of directors by July 1, 2022. Bay Clinic will be folded into West Hawai'i Community Health Center July 1, the end of this fiscal year.
     The Bay Clinic board chair said, "We have the same mission to enhance the quality of life for the community with improved health care access. Both entities truly understand the unique characteristics of their local communities. It's a win, win for Hawai'i Island."
   Founded in 1983, Bay Clinic is the largest non-profit community health center on Hawai'i Island. It employs about 206 health care professionals and support staff, providing about $13 million in annual salaries and wages. "We are a significant contributor to our local economy, workforce infrastructure, and access to affordable and comprehensive health care," says the statement. Bay Clinic alone serves 22,096 East Hawai'i residents with approximately 80,000 visits annually.
   West Hawai'i Community Health Center was founded in 2005 "by a group of community members who believed all people should have access to quality health. Starting with six employees, 156 years ago, today West Hawai'i Community Health Center has grown to 200+
employees serving nearly 25 percent of the residents of West Hawai'i with an operating budge of $25 million. "Since day one, our mission has remained the same to provide quality, comprehensive and integrated health care services accessible to all, regardless of their ability to pay," says the statement.

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County of Hawai'i is encouraging trunk or treat events
and staying in family pods, like parents, keiki and
dog in Pāhala in 2019. Photo by Julia Neal
WILL HAWAI'I COUNTY ENDORSE TRICK OR TREATING FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE? While other counties have welcomed back the tradition with some restrictions, Hawaii County is reviewing the situation.
    Hawai'i News Now reported a statement from Mayor Mitch Roth's office on Monday, saying, “We know our community has been working tirelessly to slow the spread and keep each other safe, and we believe that because of those efforts, our keiki should have the opportunity enjoy the holiday in a safe and thoughtful way.
    “However, at this time, we continue to encourage our residents to plan for ‘trunk-or-treat’ and other drive-thru-type activities, as many in our community, including our keiki, remain unvaccinated and at risk of potential spread. The safety of our community must remain our number one priority, as we work to slowly return to normalcy. Our office will inform the public promptly of any changes to current Halloween guidance, as we work to battle this virus – together.”
    Groups of no more than 25 keiki and adults will be allowed to trick-or-treat on O'ahu and Kaua'i. Maui will allow trick-or-treating in family pods. Halloween falls on Sunday, Oct. 31. 

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com

HOW MUCH LAVA HAS FILLED HALEMA'UMA'U CRATER? According to USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, with a graphic by J. Bard: 
    "If the Empire State Building, in New York City, was placed at the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater, we estimate the lava lake level could already be as high as the 70th floor!
    "For reference, the base of Halema‘uma‘u crater after the 2018 collapse was 517.4 m/1698 ft above sea level (asl). A water lake occupied the base of the crater from July 2019–December 2020, to a depth of 50.9 m/167 ft (equal to an elevation of 568.3 m/1865 ft asl). 
    "The water lake was evaporated when an eruption began in Halema‘uma‘u crater in December 2020. That eruption created a lava lake that reached a depth of 158 m/518 ft (equal to an elevation of 675.4 m/2216 ft asl) by December 23, 2020. 
    "By the end of that eruption in May 2021, the lava lake had reached a depth of 223 meters/732 ft (equal to an elevation of approximately 741 meters/2431 ft above sea level). 
    "The eruption that began on September 29, 2021, continues to fill the bottom of Halema‘uma‘u crater and by October 6, had reached a depth of 256.6 m/842 ft (equal to an elevation of 774 m/2539 ft asl) above the former base of the crater after it collapsed in 2018. For comparison, the height of the Empire State Building is 443.2 m (1454 ft)."

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AN EMAIL SCAM INVOLVING EMPLOYEES' DIRECT DEPOSITS INTO THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS is the subject of today's warning from Hawaiʻi Police Department.
    According to HPD, several individuals have reported unauthorized changes to their payroll direct deposit accounts. In this scam, commonly referred to as a Business Email Compromise payroll scam, the scammer utilizes a real employee’s name, usually found via an internet search, to send an email to that person’s human resources or finance department.
  HPD reports that the email will usually be sent from a fictitious account, but may appear similar to
the true address or utilize the victim’s name. In the email, the scammer will ask for the individual’s direct deposit to be moved to a different bank (utilized by the scammer) and will submit associated paperwork via this email account.          Since the email uses an employee’s name and similar email address the change is then processed. The victim may not realize this happened until they don’t receive their next direct deposit.
    Variations of this scam utilize popular cash transfer applications as the sender claiming a large deposit or refund and request the user to click on a link to confirm.
    Police advise anyone who receives email requests dealing with financial information to first verify the request is legitimate. One way to do this is by personally contacting the sender either in a separate email, via telephone, or in person. Also, if an email contains a website link to click on to update account information or to make a payment, police advise the public to open a separate internet window and navigate directly to the website to ensure the request is valid.
    Often, in email scams, the included website link will take the individual to a fraudulent site which will then be used to gather personal information such as banking and credit card information. In any event, the public is advised against sending money to anyone or changing financial information unless they are sure the request is legitimate.
    Scams, such as this one, can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission via its website at www.ftc.gov. Additional information about recently reported scams can also be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Read the entire Kaʻū Calendar and back issues at
www.kaucalendar.com. Find it in the mail from Volcano
through Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, 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.