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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Kaʻū News Briefs, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022

Ka'ū's Congressman Kai Kahele and Rep. Ed Case ask Pres. Joe Biden to help cover costs of recent Mauna Loa eruption.
See more, below. USCG photo

SNAP OUTREACH SPECIALISTS ARE AVAILABLE to help families and individuals to sign up for food programs and adjust the ones they may have. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously Food Stamps Program, has an outreach team that works in communities island-wide to help residents complete an eligibility pre-assessment and also provide aid in the completion of a new SNAP benefits application, SNAP annual recertification application, and Six Month Report Form (SMRF).
    To speak with a specialist and get started with an application, visit hawaiifoodbasket.org/snap or call West Hawai'i Outreach Specialist Duane Pajimola – 808-796.0133; East Hawai'i Outreach Specialist Kat Bumatay at 808-796.0132. Also available at the Food Basket's Hilo Office is Samantha Zee at 808-933-6030. Those who already receive SNAP benefits may access their case by visiting pais.dhs.hawaii.gov/PAIS/#!/access-my-case.
    Also visit pais-benefits.dhs.hawaii.gov/unsecure/getBenefitsPage to verify benefits. Call Public Assistance Information System (State SNAP Office) with questions at 1-855-643-1643.
    EBT Customer Service can be reached at 1-888-328-4292 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report a lost, stolen, or damaged EBT card, to check benefit balance, for a new EBT card, and for a forgotten PIN number, as well as other EBT information.

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EXPEDITE FEDERAL HELP TO HAWAI’I ISLAND in regards to the recent Mauna Loa eruption is the goal of Congressmen Kaialiʻi Kahele and Ed Case. The men sent a letter to President Joe Biden this week, requesting his help to expedite federal assistance to aid the State of Hawaiʻi and County of Hawaiʻi to mitigate the long-term impacts of recent Mauna Loa volcanic eruption.

Congressmen Kai Kahele, left, and Ed Case, right, implore
Pres. Joe Biden to send funds to cover Mauna Loa eruption 
recovery costs for items like cleaning up ash and other
tephra from the eruption to help farmers continue recovering
from the COVID shutdown. Photo from Case's office
    In the letter, the Congressmen wrote: "On November 29, 2022, the Governor of Hawaiʻi declared an Emergency Proclamation for the Mauna Loa eruption to provide relief for disaster damages, losses and suffering. We anticipate that additional federal assistance will be needed as the eruption continues.
    "In addition, we seek federal assistance to help our farmers and ranchers. Agriculture is the primary engine of the County of Hawaiʻi's economy. The eruption's release of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride and other toxic gasses have and will continue to impact crops directly and can also acidify rainfall, negatively impacting soil and vegetation.
    "In addition, VOG (volcanic organic gasses) and wind-blown hair-like threads of volcanic glass, referred to as Pele's Hair, also impact agriculture and pasture lands. The island's fragile economy is still recovering from the devastating COVID-19 shutdown. Federal government assistance will be crucial to helping our food producers rebound from the eruption and accompanying gas and ash impacts.
    "We are grateful for the prompt attention that the federal government has given Hawai'i for prior disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, and we hope you will continue to support our state's needs in response to these most recent volcanic eruptions at Mauna Loa." View the full letter here.

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9-8-8 SUICIDE & CRISIS LIFELINE can be an important phone number during the holidays, when many people feel lonely and lost. For many, the holidays can also be especially stressful. Outreach text 988 is available for those who are having or know someone with thoughts of suicide and those experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.

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THERE IS STILL TIME TO APPLY FOR THE AFFORDABLE CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM. State Sen. Joy San Buenaventura, who represented east Ka'ū until this month when the entire district became the responsibility of Sen. Dru Kanuha, sent out this message:
   "If you live in a Hawai'i household that is struggling to pay for internet service, there is still time to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (extension of the former Emergency Broadband Benefit Program or EBB). Less than 30 percent of eligible households on the Big Island have applied."
   She noted that $30-75 per month will pay for most of an internet bill; and this benefit makes having broadband far more affordable. "Please let others know that they can visit: Broadband | Low Cost Home Internet Service For Residents (hawaii.gov) to check their eligibility and apply. With telehealth and remote education expanding, everyone can use as much help with getting their internet paid for."

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TREECYCLING IS ALL SET UP by the County of Hawai'i's Solid Waste Division of the Department of Environmental Management and Recycling Hawai'i.

Substituted traditional Christmas tree ideas.

    Between Dec. 26 and Jan. 20, residential customers may leave trees in the designated areas (not in the rubbish chutes) during normal business hours, at any of the County Solid Waste Division Facilities (excluding Ocean View Transfer Station). The Facility Attendants will direct the public to the proper drop-off point. For more information or a map and directions to drop-off locations, go to hawaiizerowaste.org/facilities/.
    Trees should be free from all decorations, stands, lights, tinsel and ornaments. Please do not drop off artificial or flocked trees in the designated areas. Any flocked trees, artificial trees or trees with tinsel are not recyclable and may be disposed of in the regular trash chutes.
    All commercial customers must recycle trees at either the East Hawai‘i Organics Facility in Hilo or the West Hawai‘i Organics Facility in Pu‘uanahulu. Residential loads that contain both green waste and trees will be required to scale.     All commercial haulers or commercial holiday tree collectors must proceed to the County scale house prior to disposal.
    The County recommends recycling Kadomatsu decorations with other greenwaste. Kadomatsu decorations are normally a combination of bamboo, pine and flowers. Kadomatsu is a tradition that began 600 years ago in Japan as a way of offering luck in the New Year.
    For more information on Recycling in Hawai‘i County, visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org or call Solid Waste Division Office at 961-8270.

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VOLUNTEER AT HAWAIʻI VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK in January. Sign up at https://forms.office.com/g/0LVfRiFW7y. Saturday, Jan 21 will be planting in the Kahuku Unit. Monday, Jan. 23 will be pot washing (all ages). Monday, Jan. 30 will be cleaning and organizing work areas and refurbishing some greenhouses.
    A release from Eric Hamren of HVNP - Nursery Operations, Ke Ēweiēwe – Plant Restoration - says, “Volunteer events in 2022 were a major success! We accomplished all of our planting and potting goals and made some major dents into tasks that built up during covid! We wrapped up the 2018 Keauhou Fire Recovery Project on Mauna Loa Road with just under 25,000 plants in the ground. We were able to prepare and grow 350 Kaʻū Silverswords that were planted in a new protected enclosure on Mauna Loa, along with several other endangered species. Several thousand keiki plants were uppotted and are happily growing in our greenhouses with plans to plant them later in 2023. This list of accomplishments continues! Mahalo nui to everyone who participated in 2022. We are looking forward to the new year ahead of us and continuing to invite you all back for more events. We are now able to focus on new priorities to start off the new year to make way for some new projects later in 2023 and 2024! I am excited to announce our 3 volunteer days for January!
    “We will also be starting up a regular volunteer program in addition to our ongoing public volunteer events. Regular volunteers are required to attend a 4-hour mandatory training in January or February and will then be able to assist staff with plant care and propagation in our nursery on a more frequent basis. To show interest in becoming a regular volunteer, there will be an available selection using the same link for the January Volunteer Events.”

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

See The Ka'ū Calendar in the mail and in stands from Volcano through Miloli'i. Also see stories daily on Facebook and at www.kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com.

Christmas Lights & Icons Show brightens up the corner of Lehua and Palm in Ranchos at Ocean View every evening. Santa will be there on Christmas Eve to give 300 gifts, with a drawing for bikes to be given on Christmas Day. See story at kaucalendar.com.

Holiday Lighting and Decor are dressing up the cottages at Kīlauea Military Camp for the public to see. See story at kaucalendar.com.

Christmas in the Country is ongoing until the New Year at Volcano Art Center Gallery and VAC's Ni’aulani Campus. See story at kaucalendar.com.

The Hiking Incentive Program at Kahuku Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park wraps up at the end of year. For the Kūkini Challenge, hikers, and walkers can turn in miles, recording them at the Visitor Contact Station for a chance to win a silver water flask and accolades for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Walk into the Past with Thomas A Jaggar to 1939. Talk with the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea volcano on Friday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. and noon. Dressed in period costume, actor Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. Space is limited; pick up free tickets at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai the day of the program. Supported by Kīlauea Drama Entertainment Network.

Volcano Thursday Market Christmas Fair will be Friday, Dec. 23 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with crafts, food, produce, live music, and entertainment for kids at Cooper Center in Volcano, Wright Road.

Pictures with Santa at Ocean View Community Center on Christmas Eve from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Showers, soup, haircuts, and decorating of St. Jude's Church in Ocean View on Christmas Eve from 9 a.m to 1 p.m., with carols at 3 p.m. and Christmas Eve Service at 4 p.m, followed by Aloha Hour.


St. Jude’s Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View.
   Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Masks and social distancing required.

Ka’ū Food Pantry Distribution, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 9:30 a.m. until pau at St. Jude's Episcopal Church above Kahuku Park in Ocean View. Sponsored by Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket.

ʻO Ka’ū Kākou Pantry Food Distribution, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 10 a.m. until pau at Kaʻū District Gym in Pāhala. Sponsored by Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket.

Cooper Center Community Pantry Food Distribution, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 9:30 a.m - 11 a.m. at 19- 4030 Wright Road in Volcano. Sponsored by Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nāʻālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.


Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.

Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Kaʻū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

'O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nāʻālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in the upper lot only. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.

Ocean View Swap Meet 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.

The Book Shack is open every Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Kauahaʻao Congregational Church grounds at 95-1642 Pinao St. in Waiʻōhinu.

See daily, weekly, and monthly events, and more, on page 8 and page 9 of the monthly print edition.