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Friday, December 24, 2021

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

Holy Rosary Church. The carols could be heard on the streets of Pahala Christmas Eve.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET MESSAGE THIS WEEK LOOKS TO GROWTH AND RECOVERY OF THE ECONOMY in 2022, while retaining "crucial programs that aim to ease current challenges facing the State of Hawaiʻi," said Gov. David Ige. His budget will be taken up by the Hawai'i Legislature when it opens in January.
    Doctor and Nurse Shortage on this and other Neighbor Islands: "The pandemic underscored the need," said the governor, who is requesting 20 permanent positions and $2.04 million to expand the John A. Burns School of Medicine's residency program on the Neighbor Islands. To address the state's nursing shortage, Ige is requesting $1.75 million to support the University of Hawaiʻi's nursing programs.
Med-Quest in Hawai'i added 100,000
 persons onto its health coverage
during the pandemic.

     Health Insurance: Ige also addressed the health insurance challenge. "During the pandemic, the Department of Human Services provided help to hundreds of thousands of people who never thought they would need state assistance." Med-QUEST provided health care coverage to more than 100,000 additional individuals. Medicaid now provides coverage for nearly 30% of the state's population. 
   The governor's budget proposal increases Medicaid health care payments by $15.9 million in general funds and $10.2 million in federal funds to provide additional home- and community-based services, extended post-partum benefits and expanded adult dental benefits.
    Housing:  "The demand for housing, including rentals, has reached critical proportions," said the governor. "The cost of housing is one of the most important quality-of-life issues my administration has tackled. We achieved our initial goal of building 10,000 new homes by 2020. And I believe we'll have 3,000 more units by the end of 2022." Ige is requesting a $40 million cash infusion to the School Facility Agency for much-needed teacher housing in West Oʻahu and requesting a $40 million special funds authorization for the project.
    He is also requesting $5 million for statewide loan capitalization for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and asking for $10 million for DHHL lot development projects.    
     Education: In his Budget Highlights, the governor said that both the Dept. of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi suffered significant budget reductions at the beginning of the pandemic. "Last year, we were planning for furloughs. Today, we're restoring and investing more than $689 million for public education." said Gov. Ige.
  This budget adds $100.2 million for DOE programs to restore funding due to reductions during the pandemic. It also adds $32.5 million for extra compensation for classroom teacher differentials.
"I've always been passionate about public education. Improvements to our educational facilities are some of the most important long-term investments we can make," said Ige.
   The administration is requesting $240 million additional funds in FY 23 for public school facilities – everything from deferred maintenance to health and safety projects and compliance. "This will give a much-needed boost to the current appropriation, which is $26 million in FY 23." jr dsof
    At the University level, the administration is requesting $86.5 million for modernization, maintenance, capital renewal/deferred maintenance, and technology renovations across the state. This will increase UH's FY 23 appropriation to $189.1 million in FY 23.
The state already has designated hotspots with free internet service for an hour a day
 for each device and is promising to do more through the federal Broadband Equity,
 Access and Deployment grant. Map of locations in Ka'u from State of Hawai'i
    Reliance on Info Tech: The state administration's broadband initiative will address the state's reliance
on information technology, which came to the forefront during the pandemic and emphasized the need to develop an innovation economy in Hawaiʻi. The initiative "will form the foundation for this new economy." Ige is requesting $33.3 million in ARP funds for Hawaiʻi's state's match so the state can receive additional federal funds through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment federal grant. This would be the largest investment in Broadband, in state history. In addition, the Ige administration is lapsing ARP-funded CIP projects that were appropriated last year but do not meet federal guidance that was issued after the
appropriations were made. The governor is reappropriating $115.3 million in ARP CIP funding for statewide broadband projects pending U.S. Department of Treasury approval of our grant plan.
   Public Safety, COVID-19 Response: This budget requests funds to continue to prioritize public health. The administration is adding: $61.8 million for Safe Travels, National Guard costs, and other COVID-19 expenditures; over $30 million in state and federal funds to provide contingency funding for statewide COVID-19 operations; and restores $5 million to the Major Disaster Fund.
     Jails and Prisons: "Every state in the nation has been reporting prison staffing shortages for many
years, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation. COVID-19 outbreaks in our jails and prisons were alarming," said the governor. His budget restores $17.6 million to fund 291.5 permanent positions in the Department of Public Safety. This will bring the department up to FY 2019 staffing levels.
It adds 193 new positions, including 29 healthcare positions, to staff new wings currently underway that will address the chronic overcrowding problems on Hawaiʻi and Maui, as well as at the Women's Community Correctional Center.
    This budget also adds 24 permanent positions to support law enforcement services on Hawai'i Island and O'ahu. In addition, the budget adds 22 permanent healthcare positions to improve healthcare services in various correctional facilities. The need for around-the-clock nursing services and increased counseling was brought to light during the pandemic.
    Public Safety Facilities: The governor;s budget calls for $5 million for upgrades to the state's emergency operations center, $21 million to replace the existing inmate management system for Public Safety facilities, statewide, and $15 million to take the next steps in relocating Oʻahu Community Correctional Center.
   Cleaner, Safer, Healthier Hawaiʻi: "The pandemic reinforced the relationships between our people, place, and culture," states the governor's budget message. It says his administration prioritizes "a cleaner,
The Rain Follows the Forest:
safer, and healthier Hawaiʻi," focusing on "protecting the state's watersheds, better managing our oceans, creating a bio-security plan, doubling local food production, and moving toward 100% renewable energy." The budget calls for $4 million for watershed protection, $10 million for Royal Kunia Agricultural Park and $3.45 million for Maunawili and Kāneʻohe Pali acquisitions on Oʻahu.
    Transportation: The budget message says the governor "is also seeking to strengthen the infrastructure that supports Hawaiʻi's communities. Using a mix of funding sources, the state will make needed improvements to airports, highways, and harbors across the state."
     The budget statement says, "The state budget is the single most important document developed each year that addresses the state's priorities." The governor's supplemental budget request "presents an action plan that addresses the issues of today and continues to make strategic investments toward improving the state's social and physical infrastructure." 
    Ige said, "This budget request is very different from budget requests of the previous two years, when we had to cut more than $1 billion, and all state agencies were forced to slash spending. This year, the economy has improved more quickly than anticipated." Current general fund tax revenue growth through the first five months of FY 22 has been $27.3%. "That's astounding. We've seen increased consumer spending, the rapid recovery of visitor arrivals, and healthy general excise and income tax collections. The increased revenues allow us to launch initiatives that are responsive to the pandemic and restore critical services that were previously reduced. However, the pandemic brings much uncertainty, so while we're cautiously optimistic, we must continue to prepare for unforeseen events and invest in a sustainable future for Hawaiʻi."
    The state's total Operating Budget from all methods of financing includes: $16.017 billion in FY 22. (This is .1 % less than the current appropriation of $16.040 billion); and $16.926 billion in FY 23. (This is 10.2% more than the current appropriation of $15.364 billion.)

Gov. David Ige released his
budget statement this week.
    For FY 23, the governor's recommended General Fund adjustment to the Operating Budget is $8.701 billion. This represents a 12.2% increase, or $942.3 million, over the current appropriation level of $7.759 billion.
    According to the governor, "State investments in critical infrastructure projects provide the best and most direct way to drive our economy and create jobs for our people. This supplemental budget request includes funding for education, transportation, clean energy, high-speed internet access and many other critical needs.
    The proposed Capital Improvements Program for General Obligation Bond Funds includes:
A slight decrease of $2.0 million in FY 22. This is .2% less than the current level of $984.8 million in FY 22.
    In FY 23, the administration is proposing an increase of $827.4 million. This is 281% more than the current total of GO bond funding of $294.1 million. This increase is high because of the Fiscal Biennium Budget appropriated CIP primarily in FY22 last Legislative Session.

    Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund: In addition to the requests made in this budget, the governor said he will submit a separate spending bill to the Legislature to replenish the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund.
    "As we have seen with the pandemic, we must be prepared to weather the worst. We had built up the emergency fund prior to the pandemic, and we put the funds to good use in responding to it."  Ige  said he will propose to deposit $1 billion into the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund.
    "My primary concern has been and will always be the health and welfare of Hawaiʻi's people. Over the past seven years, we've worked to put the state on solid financial footing and set Hawaiʻi on a better trajectory. This budget continues to invest in Hawaiʻi's future. It allows us to continue on a path where Hawaiʻi's children have all the opportunities they deserve. And it will allow them to choose, and want to choose, to call Hawaiʻi home," said the governor.

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Magnitudes 4.9 and 3.9 quakes rocked Kaʻū
 from offshore on Christmas Eve. USGS map
A MAGNITUDE 4.9 EARTHQUAKE rocked Kaʻū before dawn Christmas Eve. A second quake struck on Christmas Eve night with a 3.9 magnitude. The epicenter for both was offshore at the seamount Kamaʻehuakanaloa - the Lō‘ihi underwater volcano. 
    U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded the first quake on Friday, Dec. 24, at 1:32 a.m. It was centered about 42 km (26 miles) southeast of Nā‘ālehu, at a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles). The second quake was Friday, Dec. 24 at 8:59 p.m. at 47 km (29 miles) east, southeast of Nā‘ālehu at a depth of 10.9 km (6.8 miles).
   Maps showing the quakes' locations are posted on the HVO website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website at https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/hv72844817/.
    Light shaking, with maximum Intensity of IV, was reported across parts of the Island of Hawai‘i. At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures was not expected. The USGS "Did you feel it?" service (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/dyfi/) received over 15 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.
Map of the underwater seamount offshore Ka'u, as seen in
Frontiers of Earth Science at www.frontiersin.org/articles
 . The seamount, called
Kamaʻehuakanaloa and Lō‘ihi, shook at least
 twice on Christmas Eve.
    According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge, Ken Hon, the earthquake was preceded by over 50 small earthquakes on the south rift zone of Kamaʻehuakanaloa over the past two weeks. It is unknown as to whether it was caused by any volcanic or intrusive activity on Kamaʻehuakanaloa, but the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes. Aftershocks are possible and could be felt. HVO continues to monitor Mauna Loa and other Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.
    According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there was no tsunami threat from this earthquake.
    For information on recent earthquakes in Hawaii and eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/.
    According to USGS, intermittent earthquake activity has been recorded in the vicinity of Lō‘ihi since as early as 1952. The most energetic earthquake sequence occurred in July-August 1996, which included more than 4,000 earthquakes, with nearly 300 events larger than M3.0 and 95 events in the M4.0 to 4.9 range. More recently, a swarm of 100 earthquakes occurred on May 11, 2020, with 18 events in the M3.0 to 3.9 range. There are no working monitoring instruments on Lō‘ihi Volcano, whose peak is about 1,000 m (3,280 ft) below sea level. All real-time information about the volcano is derived from land-based seismometers on the Island of Hawai‘i.
    For more Information, see the Kamaʻehuakanaloa Seamount website: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/loihi-seamount.

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See the December and past issues of The Ka`u Calendar
at www.kaucalendar.com.

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. "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 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.

    See recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hawaiian-volcano-observatory/earthquakes