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Friday, February 25, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022

Proposed new roundabout for entrance to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. See more below.
NPS image

CHRIS KANAZAWA HAS RETURNED AS NEW RURAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR FOR HAWAI'I AND THE WESTERN PACIFIC. The announcement was made Friday by President Joe Biden. The last Director was Brenda Iokepa Moses, of Pahala, appointed by Donald Trump. Since the Biden administration took office, an acting director has been in charge.
    Rural Development headquarters for all of Hawai'i and Western Pacific are in Hilo at the historic federal building. In announcing the appointment of Kanazawa and ten other Rural Development Directors around the nation, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "I am thrilled to welcome these talented and experienced public servants to USDA at a critical time in the Biden-Harris administration. I look forward to working alongside these individuals to build a better America.” 

Chris Kanazawa, new and returning Director of Rural Development
for Hawai'i and the Western Pacific, his appointment announced by
 Pres. Joe Biden on Friday.
    Kanazawa is returning to the role 12 years after being appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. “It’s an honor to serve under President Biden's Administration and USDA Rural Development. I look forward to rejoining the mission of improving the quality of life and increasing the economic opportunities for our rural communities in Hawaii and the Western Pacific,” he said.
    Rural Development State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the mission of Rural Development to the benefit of everyone in rural America. In conjunction with the guidance and support of the National Office, State Directors are responsible for promoting the mission and strategic goals of Rural Development and provide key leadership to develop and support a productive, diverse, and inclusive state workforce.
    The announcement comes with a statement saying, "USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America." To learn more, visit www.usda.gov. See the local Rural Development programs and news at www.rd.usda.gov/hi and follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RD_Hawaii.

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Plans for the new Visitor Center at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with comments due March 11. 
Design from National Park Service

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ON PLANS FOR HAWAI'I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK VISITOR CENTER, KILAUEA LOOKOUT, the park entrance and other locations are due March 11. To view site plans and simulations of the proposed changes to the park, visit: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/19519a65ac3d42bd825518909eebbdce. To submit comments, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/HAVODisasterRecovery or call (808) 460-6212 and leave a message.
    The Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Disaster Recovery Project with the proposed plans was topic of discussion during two virtual community meetings Thursday, Feb. 24. They were facilitated by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh.
    Principal Landscape Architect Chad Weiser, of Otak, the architect and planning firm out of Portland, presented plans for recovery of damage related to the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. Weiser guided attendees through an ArcGIS Story Map of the project, which proposes to repair, replace, and remove/relocate critical park infrastructure and facilities damaged by the 2018 eruption at Uēkahuna (Kīlauea Lookout). Also in the plans is replacement of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory research facilities with a new USGS field station and new visitor center to replace the functions of the Jaggar Museum. Plans also call for Crater Rim Drive changes at the park entrance to improve visitor safety.
Proposed new visitor center for Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
Image from National Park Service
    The facilities affected by the 2018 eruption include the Reginald T. Okamura building and the adjacent Geochemistry Annex building and historic Jaggar Museum. These facilities would be removed due to their present damage and lack of long-term resiliency. The project includes plans for repairing and improving the overlook, revegetating the former building areas with native plants, and incorporating historical reference to the Jaggar Museum. The National Park plan also proposes to construct a new research facility for the USGS next to the Kīlauea Military Camp.
    The new visitor center building would be located next to the existing Kīlauea Visitor Center Headquarters and would provide a large covered outdoor area for orientation, ranger programs, exhibits, and special events. The existing building would continue to serve as the park headquarters and would be utilized for indoor park programs. Visitor parking and public restrooms would be expanded.
    The last project element is to improve existing park entrance and re-align Crater Rim Drive. Weiser explained how visitation over the past decade has led to ongoing traffic congestion issues "that pose collision hazards for motorists and pedestrians" by the park entrance. To address this problem, the National Park proposes to relocate the intersection on Crater Rim Drive and convert it to a roundabout and add an entrance lane for administrative function.
    In response to the proposed idea of expanding the parking area, meeting attendee Nancy Locke commented that many national parks in the continental U.S. are instituting a "no-personal-car policy, making visitors use park-supplied buses." Danielle Foster of NPS responded stating that they are considering this option for the future of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, however it is not part of the current proposed project.
    Other meeting attendees commented on the thoroughness and conciseness of the project plans. To learn more, visit https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/19519a65ac3d42bd825518909eebbdce.

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GET READY FOR CYBERATTACKS ON COMPUTERS AND ONLINE PLATFORMS warns Hawai'i U.S. Congressman Ed Case. On Friday, he urged all Hawai’i state and county governments, businesses and residents to practice heightened preparation and vigilance against cyberattacks on their computers and online platforms. He said the threat is "associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and 

resulting sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus."
    He said he is also is relaying resources and practical advice "from our country’s leading cybersecurity and law enforcement agencies" together with a direct request that any online incidents or unusual activity be immediately reported to federal agencies.
    Case said, “Today I joined a briefing to Members of Congress by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Director of Homeland Security Mayorkas, FBI Director Christopher Wray and our other national law enforcement and cybersecurity leaders on the reality of the heightened threat of cyberattacks associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and our response and what each of us can and should do to 
prepare, deter and respond.”

    Case warned: "The bottom line is that we should fully expect and prepare for Russia and individuals and entities associated with Russia to engage in cyber warfare across the world, as they are already doing in Ukraine and have done in our country and elsewhere in the world and as we pursue our critical response through sanctions and other means. This is just as true in Hawai’i as anywhere else in our country. For although we may be physically located on the other side of the world and far from the actual war, cyberattacks do not care about physical locations. We should also not assume that the targets are just governments and businesses with key infrastructure roles. The intent of cyberwarfare is to disrupt economies and societies across a broad range and so nobody is immune."
    He reported that the briefers also stated that those initiating cyberattacks could be various bad actors, starting with Russia itself but also including criminal enterprises sponsored by Russia, other countries and organizations associated with Russia, or other countries, organizations and individuals who may take the opportunity to conduct their own attacks.”
    Case said that the briefers asked and urged all Americans to assist, beginning with reviewing the information, resources and contact directions through the SHIELDS UP program at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) website at https://www.cisa.gov/shields-up. CISA also offers the following contact number for questions or information: (888) 282-0870. Case said the number one 
request is that any actual attacks or unusual activity be reported as soon as possible to the federal
authorities through the CISA website or the FBI.
    For the FBI, the number to call is 1- 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). Reports can also be filed online at https://www.ic3.gov/.  The FBI website features an interview with the head of its Cyber-Division in Washington, DC at https://www.fbi.gov/news/podcasts/inside-the-fbi-staying-ahead-of-the-cyber-threat-011422, with further advice on safety and security at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/on-the-internet

    Case said, “The reason for prompt reporting is that in the area of cyberattack vigilance, response and prevention time is of the essence to identify, authenticate and counter-attack,." He also relayed the following practical advice to heighten cybersecurity and head off attacks: • Update antivirus and anti-spyware software and operating systems to their latest versions. • Avoid clicking unknown links in emails • Enable and use multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. • Never give  password to anyone, and do not reuse passwords across multiple sites. • Turn unused devices all the way on and off once a day • If unsure about an email, link, or attachment, save it as an attachment and send it to your IT department or to the FBI for analysis.
    “Unfortunately, this is the reality of instability and conflict in a modern world so dependent on technology, “ said Case. “We have some of the most advanced cyber operations in the world, but others like Russia have long known that one key way to wage war is in the cyber realm and they have no hesitation to do so. So we must meet this threat just as seriously with preparation and defense throughout our governments, businesses, communities and homes (in addition to the counter-cyber efforts we will continue to conduct through our federal agencies).” 

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A BRUSH FIRE AT MILE MARKER 98 SLOWED KA'U RESIDENTS COMING HOME FROM KONA THIS AFTERNOON. Hwy 11 was closed while firefighters fought the blaze.

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NO MORE HAVING TO GO TO HILLO OR KONA TO PICK UP BUILDING PERMIT PLACARDS to display on construction sites. That's the word Friday from county Department of Public Works, Building Division, which is providing the service of downloading and printing the placards remotely.
    DPW Building Division issued permit placards are available to print from the convenience of the
applicant’s home or place of business. Applicants may access their permit placard upon issuance by logging into their EPIC account and viewing the “Attachments” tab of their permit. 
    Per Section 5-5-2 of Hawai'i County Code, work requiring a permit shall not be commenced until the permit holder or their agent shall have posted the permit in a conspicuous place on the job site. The permit shall be readily visible for the authority having jurisdiction to identify and make all required inspections.        The permit shall remain posted in a conspicuous place on the job site until the work has passed a final inspection by the authority having jurisdiction. Failure to comply with this provision shall subject the violator to a $100 fine. 
    Applicants remain able to have their permit placard printed at the Building Division offices and are highly encouraged to schedule a time to pick up their permit placard via the EPIC Request Assistance form available online. Any questions can be addressed to DPW Information and Education Specialist, Sherise Kana’eKāne at sherise.kanae-kane@hawaiicounty.gov or 808-961-8499.

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COVID-19 PFIZER VACCINE/BOOSTER CLINIC at Ocean View Community Center. Saturday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Open to ages 5 and up. Home test kits will be available while supplies last. Walk-ins and uninsured are welcome. Bring ID. Contact (808) 932-4205 for any questions.

MILOLIʻI ʻOHANA FUNDRAISER at Park Halau in Miloliʻi. Saturday, Feb. 26 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Food, crafts, music, silent auction, and more. For more information, contact (808) 937-1310 or visit www.Kalanihale.com.
YOUNG WOMEN IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS AWARD offered by Zonta Club of Hilo. Deadline to apply is March 1. Open to women ages 16-19 interested in careers in public policy making, government, and volunteer organizations. For more details, visit zontahilo.org/scholarships-grants/.

ST JUDE'S HOT MEALS are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until they run out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View.


See the February Print Edition of The Kaʻū Calendar at www.kaucalendar.com