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Sunday, April 30, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, April 30, 2023

Cheryl Baldonado becomes the new manager of Mizuno Superette in Pāhala, as the food store stays open and blends into 'Ohana Foods, which operates along with the Union 76 gas station in Nā‘ālehu. Photo by Julia Neal

MIZUNO SUPERETTE WILL TRANSITION TO NEW MANAGEMENT AND OWNERSHIP with a blessing on Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m. The locally run store, with a family history of enterprise in Pāhala for nearly a century, will retain its name and the legacy of families such as Mizuno, Yamaguchi and Hara, says new operator Carl Okuyama who also has a long history in Kaʻū with food stores in Nā‘ālehu and 'Ohana Foods in Hilo. Mizuno will blend into 'Ohana Foods.
    Okuyama said said he plans a visual display of Mizuno Superette's service to the community throughout the sugar plantation days and into the emergence of the Kaʻū Coffee culture. The most recent operators arrived more than 33 years ago, Rochelle and the late Derek Hara, remembered fondly in the community as an avid fisherman, who passed away while diving. Since then Rochelle has operated Mizuno and
recently told her employees that she must retire and set a date for the end of June. 
    When Okuyama and Olson Trust, owner of the adjacent shopping center, learned of the situation and the possibility of the only grocery store in Pāhala shutting down, they pulled together to create a seamless and early transition. 
    Okuyama said he would hire the workers and keep the doors open as Rochelle moves into retirement. He interviewed employees and most will stay on, with long-time assistant manager Cheryl Baldonado becoming manager and Carla Andrade continuing as assistant manager. Supervisors will include T-J George, Zara Galigo, Kama Wroblewski and Courtney Louis. Anthony Andrade is stocking manager.
    Daryn Galigo, manager at ‘Ohana Foods Union 76 in Nā'ālehu, has been promoted to Kaʻū Area Retail Supervisor. Galigo will provide assistance during the transition and ongoing guidance. Mizuno employs about 12 people. ‘Ohana Foods Union 76 Station employs 19 and ‘Ohana Foods in Hilo 25. 
    Rochelle Hara posted a message on the front of the store in April: "I would sincerely like to thank the community for welcoming my late husband Derek and me over 33 years ago. We have tried our hardest to provide the town with items it needed. I've pushed myself too much and have been really struggling to work through all of the pain. It's been difficult to keep the store stocked during the pandemic. Unfortunately I can’t keep up the pace. However, a new company will take over right after we close on Thursday, May 11." 
    She said that as a mahalo "we are running an in-store sale, at prices below our cost. More sales will be added daily until May 11. I appreciate all the love and support this community has given! Thank you all!"      
    Okuyama said Mizuno will continue to operate on its current schedule of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays. 
    Over time there will be renovations and improvements, said Okuyama. He is leasing the space from Edmund C. Olson Trust II, which purchased the property from Hara. Olson Trust owns the adjacent Pāhala Center, with its bank, post office, hair salon, coffee shop and Longs Drugs. Mizuno Superette will join Pāhala Center where it has long shared the parking lot. 
    For the blessing, the public is invited on May 12 at 10 a.m. There will be light refreshments.

The Kaʻū High Trojans' esport club Valorant Team, on the left, made it to the final competition in the
Hawai'i state tournament on Oa'hu this weekend. Photo by Andrew Honma

THE ESPORT CLUB FROM KAʻŪ HIGH beat Kea'au in the state championships this weekend, but lost to Castle High in the final competition, held at Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Esports Arena on O'ahu.
    The Trojan esport club's varsity Valorant Team competed in Vanta Hawai‘i Esports League's HS Valorant semifinal game. It pitted Kaʻū against Kea‘au High in a best of three. Ka‘ū won, advancing to the final match where the Trojans lost to Castle. See more on the competition and local sponsors supporting the Trojans' trip to O'ahu at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_04_27_archive.html.

TROJAN KALIA GRACE JUST MISSED QUALIFYING FOR STATES in the 200 meter during the Big Island Interscholastic final track meet of the season, Friday and Saturday. She ranked seventh overall. Also
Isaiah Manila Louis is a freshman, showing promise in 
 in running and long jump. Photo by Coach Tolu Rasmussen
ranking seventh was Cheska Aurelio in the 1500 m. 
    Coach Tolu Rasmussen said he and Coach Jacob Davenport have high hopes for next year's track team and call on more Trojans to come out for the sport. He noted that Grace is a freshman and has three more years ahead of her. Freshman Isaiah Manila Louis has excelled in long jump, hurdles, 100m, 200m and 400m. Freshman Cody Rasmussen competes in the 800 and 400. Aurelio will be a junior and presents a lot of talent. Stephen Adler runs the 100m and 200m, and jumped his personal best at the BIIFF finals. He will compete next year as a senior. "He gives it all every time," said Rasmussen. 
    Rasmussen said he is looking for flexibility in the sports program to allow more dual sports participation. For track he hopes for year round field events and track recruitment. He noted that track helps with almost every other sport, particularly football, which is off season during track. He also said that track is good for pig hunting, a popular sport in this community with many of the young pig hunters already in good shape, hiking and running in the mountains going after the pua‘a. 
    The coach also noted that in the track community, there is a high level of respect. "Everyone supports each other to do their best," even those on teams from other schools. "If you want respect and you want to represent Ka‘ū, come out for track." Rasmussen said that he and Davenport will be out recruiting.

LIVE MUSIC WITH OLA LOA, the band from Volcano, Comes to After Dark in the Park on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium. Christopher Miller on guitar, Gary Dikito on ʻukulele and Jeff Hamilton on stand-up bass play Hawaiian, rhythm and blues and classic hits. Sponsored by the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Saturday, April 29, 2023

Thursday Night at the Center presents Marc Hughes and his marine life videography on May 11 from 6 p.m. to
7:30 p.m, at Volcano Art Center Niualani Campus. See more below. Photo by Marc Hughes

GOV. JOSH GREEN: MAJOR DIRECTIONAL CHANGES FOR HAWAI'I. That's the message in the Governor's review of his first five months in office, saying, "In just under five months we are already initiating major directional changes for Hawai'i.

    "Based on what was announced by legislative leaders about the budget earlier this week, signature positive results include rebuilding our public education system with a new contact that rewards those who become teachers, more than $60M for kauhale and 'Ohana Zones to address chronic homelessness, $30M in loan forgiveness to recruit and retain social workers, nurses and physicians for Hawai'i, a new housing package to accelerate the response to our housing crisis, millions to improve rural hospitals on the Big Island and more than $100M for statewide environmental programs and climate response.
    "Generational tax reform to help ALICE, which refers to Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed families, has begun and the legislature approved about half of Green Affordability Plan (GAP Plan) in this

Gov. Josh Green says tax reform will help ALICE families.

first session. There is still work to do on proposals such as the Green Fee and early education (which the Lt. Governor is spearheading), but the seeds have been planted for the coming years.
    "We filled a Cabinet of 18 directors and more than 20 deputies, losing 3 nominees along the way where we didn't have a meeting of the minds with the Senate, but this wasn't altogether unexpected.

    "Our team authorized $50M of grants-in-aid that had been neglected in 2022 and released more than $300M in capital funding for projects all across Hawai'i.
    "We made major progress transferring lands to farmers and ranchers via Act 90 in a very short time and should see growth in agriculture quickly.
    "Over the next eight months we will focus on building multiple kauhale, greenlighting affordable housing developments including $600M for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. We will press the military to drain Red Hill safely and we will begin to implement our new tax policy to help people survive in Hawai'i.
    "With the initial legislative rebuff of HTA we will need to refocus our approach to tourism to avoid major economic harm to Hawai'i. I have hopes that this will be resolved this weekend. Still, it is a good time to reinvent tourism in our state, with a focus on managing the impact of almost 10M visitors annually.
    "Now that we have the final parameters on funding a new Aloha Stadium, we can launch the project and court a partner to build it.
   "In all, this has been one of the most active periods for government in recent memory and we are grateful to be able to make change for the better in the coming months and years."

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POLICE ARE SEARCHING FOR A RUNAWAY IN VOLCANO. Hawai‘i Island police are asking for the

public’s assistance in locating 13-year-old Passion Faamama, who was reported as a runaway.
    Faamama was last seen on Friday, April 28 at 9 p.m. on 10th Street in Mauna Loa Estates in Volcano wearing maroon sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. Faamama is described as local with a dark complexion, approximately 5 feet 3 inches tall, 115 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
    Police ask anyone with information about Faamama’s whereabouts to call 911 immediately.

MUTUALISM, PARASITISM, COMMENSALISM in the underwater world around Hawai'i Island are topics to be explored by Marc Hughes who presents his videography on Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. The venue is Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.
    The presentation provides a visual display of many associations that can be seen in scuba diving and snorkeling depths in the oceans around the Big Island. It encompasses a wide range of behavioral adaptations including symbiotic classifications such as mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism.

   Symbiotic relationships of marine animals shown include: Sharks, dolphins, Moray eels, octopus and other marine creatures that often form bonds and associations between their different species. "The Hawaiian Islands have some of the most interesting examples of these relationships," said Hughes.
    "The videos and accompanying explanations of the intricate nature of these interactions show just how complex the marine environment is and how important it is to preserve the coastal areas. Questions and discussions are welcome, and the goal of the presentation is to highlight the importance of individual species of animals as they relate to the overall health of the marine environment."
    Hughes is a dive guide and marine life educator in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He graduated with a degree in Marine Science and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaii in Hilo and participated in research cruises in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as well as cephalopods research cruise in the Main Hawaiian Islands. All the videos in the presentation have been taken by him and part of his program for teaching the public and students through visual examples with a storytelling point of view.
    The presentation is part of a once-a-month Thursday night series at the Volcano Art Center, focusing on art, Hawaiian culture and this environment. The series is intended to inspire, enhance your appreciation of art and life experience, while fostering community connections. This presentation is free, although a $5 donation is greatly appreciated.

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WAS FOUNDED 111 YEARS AGO. Volcano Watch, the weekly column by scientists and affiliates of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, tells the story:LL
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, founded in 1912 by Thomas A. Jaggar, was the first of five volcano observatories supported by USGS today. The Technology Station (circled) on the eastern rim of Halema‘uma‘u crater—at the summit of Kīlauea—was the first, though temporary, of several buildings that HVO has occupied since its founding. USGS photo by Frank A. Perret
    Over 111 year after its founding, HVO is one of five volcano observatories supported by the U.S. Geological Survey HVO staff has grown from one geologist, Thomas A. Jaggar, in 1912 to more than 30 people today. This team includes scientists and specialists in geology, geophysics, geochemistry, field engineering and telemetry, information technology, administration, public communications and more. Hundreds of volunteers, students, and visiting scientists—many from the University of Hawaiʻi—have also provided valuable assistance to HVO through the years.
Logo and motto of Hawaiian Volcano Research
Association, a private source of financial support for
 HVO for several decades. Thomas Jaggar's vision
became the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
  HVO methods of observing and analyzing data from instruments and field studies have changed dramatically since Jaggar's time. Presently, our monitoring network consists of more than 200 sensors, including seismometers, GPS, tiltmeters, infrasound, gas detectors, and thermal/visual cameras. These sensors transmit data to HVO 24 hours a day in order to track activity and support research into how volcanoes work. Remote sensing data from instruments on aircraft, including UAS systems piloted by HVO, as well as satellites provide additional coverage.
    When HVO was founded, Hawai'i was not yet a state. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park did not yet exist. A lake of molten lava was on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu similar to what we’ve seen over the past three years. HVO was originally operated with support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Hawaiian Volcano Research Association, and later managed by a series of federal agencies including the U.S. Weather Bureau, the National Park Service, and the USGS.
   The USGS became the permanent administrator of HVO in 1947. Based on HVO's success, the USGS went on to establish additional observatories to monitor and study 161 active volcanoes throughout the United States and U.S. Territories.
    HVO focuses on the six active volcanoes in Hawaiʻi including two “very high threat” volcanoes—Kīlauea and Mauna Loa—and one “high threat volcano,” Hualālai. HVO also monitors active volcanoes in American Samoa.
    Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) was authorized in 1980 following the eruption of Mount St.

Helens and formally dedicated in 1982. CVO focuses on volcanoes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. CVO is also home to the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) which aids crisis response at volcanoes around the world.
    Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) was founded in 1988 following the 1986 eruption of Augustine Volcano. AVO, a collaboration between the USGS, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the State of Alaska, focuses on volcanoes in Alaska and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
    Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) was founded in 2001. YVO, a consortium of nine state and federal agencies, focuses on volcanic activity in the Yellowstone Plateau region and intermountain west U.S. states.
    California Volcano Observatory (CalVO) was formed in 2012. CalVO, with expanded scope beyond the Long Valley Observatory (LVO) established in 1982, focuses on volcanoes in California and Nevada.
    The collective knowledge, skills and experience of people at these five observatories is extensive and complementary. Staff communicate and travel between observatories in true team fashion. HVO staff help install instruments on volcanoes outside of Hawaii, and vice versa. The lead scientist for the Kīlauea Seismic Imaging Project described in a recent Volcano Watch article is based at CVO, and many scientists from other observatories are traveling to Hawai'i to assist. Staff from all observatories assisted HVO during the 2018 Kīlauea and 2022 Mauna Loa eruptions. HVO supported eruption responses at other volcanoes such as Mount St. Helens, and will help respond to future events at other volcanoes.
    Fulfilling our mission involves constant evolution and holistic future planning. As an example of preparing for possible future scenarios, HVO is participating in a virtual “tabletop exercise” led by CVO to practice responding to simulated unrest at a volcano in Oregon. And at the national scale, we are
collectively developing the National Volcano Warning System (NVEWS) to ensure that volcanoes are monitored at levels commensurate to their threats. HVO has grown and changed significantly over the past 111 years. Together with four other USGS volcano observatories established since that time, our mission continues—to assess hazards, issue warnings, and advance scientific understanding to reduce the impacts of volcanic eruptions. And to communicate the results of our work to the public, emergency managers, and the scientific community. Imua!
    HVO has grown and changed significantly over the past 111 years. Together with four other USGS volcano observatories established since that time, our mission continues—to assess hazards, issue warnings, and advance scientific understanding to reduce the impacts of volcanic eruptions. And to communicate the results of our work to the public, emergency managers, and the scientific community. Imua!
    Volcano Activity Updates: Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY.
Webcams show no signs of active lava in Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at the summit of Kīlauea in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Over the past week, summit tiltmeters generally showed mild inflation and slightly elevated seismicity. The summit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate was most recently measured on April 26, when it totaled 75 tonnes per day.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL.
    Webcams show no signs of activity on Mauna Loa. Seismicity remains low. Summit ground deformation rates show inflation above background levels, but this is not uncommon following eruptions. SO2 emission rates are at background levels.
    There were eight earthquakes with 3 or more felt reports in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M3 earthquake 14 km (8 mi) S of Fern Forest at 4 km (3 mi) depth on April 26 at 10:09 p.m. HST, a M3.9 earthquake 10 km (6 mi) NNE of Honaunau-Napo'opo'o at 26 km (16 mi) depth on April 26 at 7:27 p.m. HST, a M4.2 earthquake 12 km (7 mi) ESE of Pāhala at 29 km (18 mi) depth on April 26 at 4:30 p.m. HST, a M2.4 earthquake 3 km (1 mi) SE of Volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on April 23 at 2:59 p.m. HST, a M2.5 earthquake 2 km (1 mi) SSE of Volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on April 22 at 2:33 p.m. HST, a M4.1 earthquake 2 km (1 mi) SSE of Volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on April 22 at 2:23 p.m. HST, a M3.2 earthquake 3 km (1 mi) SSW of Pāhala at 34 km (21 mi) depth on April 21 at 10:17 p.m. HST, a M2.2 earthquake 2 km (1 mi) SSE of Volcano at 1 km (0 mi) depth on April 21 at 9:59 p.m. HST.


Friday, April 28, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Friday, April 28, 2023

Kaʻū Coffee producers are invited to register for the annual Hawai'i Coffee Association Cupping Competition
 through Wednesday, May 3. See https://hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/event-5231845

SUBMITTING KAʻŪ COFFEE TO THE ANNUAL CUPPING CONTEST sponsored by Hawai'i Coffee Association has been extended to this Wednesday, May 3. HCA President Chris Manfredi noted that "The Cupping Competition is the Hawai'i Coffee Association's opportunity to honor the work and innovation of Hawai'i's coffee growers. The competition provides several benefits including feedback from professional coffee tasters (Licensed Q Graders), expanding market opportunities, and the chance to collaborate, network and celebrate the progression of and improvements in Hawaii-grown coffee.
    Hawai'i Coffee Association partners with Pacific Coffee Research to administer this 14th annual statewide cupping competition. PCR selected a panel of Hawai'i-based licensed Q Graders to assess and score samples using SCA protocol and methodology at its Kona lab.
    Entries must be received (not sent in) by May 3. Entry fee is $100 per entry. Register at https://hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/event-5231845. Contact Cupping Competition Committee Chair Brittany Horn at brit@pacificcoffeeresearch.com, or call (808) 494-2643 with any questions or comments.

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THE LAST PUBLIC INPUT  FOR THE STATE HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN UPDATE will be a meeting on Wednesday, May 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a virtual option, and through sending in comments until May 9, only through https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HISHMP2023.
    Links to the virtual meeting May 3 will be provided soon.
More than 700 homes were lost in the 2018 eruption. Public
input is requested for the State Hazard Mitigation Plan.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency approval and State adoption of regularly updated State Hazard Management Plans are mandatory for State of Hawai‘i to obtain federal assistance for hazard mitigation and for repair and replacement of infrastructure damaged in natural disasters.
James Barros, administrator of HawaI'i Emergency Management Administration, said the plan is updated every five years "because they’re a key tool we use to reduce or eliminate the harm caused by the hazards we face across Hawai‘i. The State and counties rely on these hazard mitigation plans to guide their efforts to protect communities against the threats of flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and other hazards." Barros noted that hazards evolve over time and are different from island to island.

COVER THE LOAD IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK or be fined is a reminder sent out by Hawai’i Police Department. "While transporting cargo on any public roadway or highway, your load must be covered. Most of the litter on or near our roadways is not intentionally thrown. Rather, it has more often than not, been blown out of open-bed pickup trucks, thereby potentially causing a road hazard or a traffic collision."
    A statement from HPD sats that anytime traveling with a loaded truck bed, trailer, or roof rack, make sure to properly secure the load by:
   Tying down the load with rope or straps.
    Tying large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer.
    Covering the entire load with a sturdy tarp (which is then tied down) or netting.
    HPD also recommends, "After tying down a load double check to make sure that nothing can slide, fall, or shift out of your vehicle. Check your car manual to make sure you aren’t overloading your vehicle."
    According to Hawai‘i Revised Statute 291C-13231, the penalties for first-time violators of the law can expect a fine of $250 to $500. A second violation, if cited within a year after the first, delivers a fine of between $500 and $750, plus suspension of the vehicle registration and/or license of the driver for at least five working days.

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT HAS COME OUT WITH NEW GRANT opportunities, along with resources, events and learning. Its latest newsletter says there is $1 billion of Inflation Reduction funds available under the Rural Energy for America. There are funding opportunities for infrastructure community and economic development, and funding for tribal communities. Read the entire newsletter Innovation Matters at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDARD/bulletins/355dc04

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Thursday, April 27, 2023

Esport club members Rylan Peralta, Chloe Gabini, Marcky Tamayo and Ivan Ramos carry team member Patrick Riehle as they
 get ready to head off to O'ahu for this weekend's state championships. Photo by Andrew Honma 
THE ESPORT CLUB AT KAʻŪ HIGH travels to O'ahu this weekend to seek a statewide championship. The varsity Valorant Team will compete in Vanta Hawai'i Esports League's HS Valorant semi-final game. It pits Kaʻū against Kea'au High in a best of three at Hawai'i Pacific University's Esports Arena. 
    The winner will advance to the championship match against either Castle High or Leilehua High. The day’s events will be carried on Channel 54 on Spectrum, and streamed via Vanta’s twitch channel twitch.tv/vantaesports). The day will also include High School championship matches in Overwatch 2, Apex Legends, Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers, and Chess, and a mini college fair with representatives from UH Manoa, UH West O'ahu, Chaminade University, and Hawai'i Pacific University.
      Kaʻū High esports club is comprised of JV and Varsity Valorant teams, an Overwatch team, and a Super Smash Brothers team. 
    Valorant is a popular online multiplayer game that pits two teams of five players against each other. Teams either attempt to plant a spike until detonation, or prevent that from occurring, with a time limit of 100 seconds per round. The first team to win 13 rounds wins the match. 
    The game requires a high level of teamwork, strategy, and skill to win. Kaʻū High Varsity Valorant team consists of seniors Patrick Riehle, Marcky Tamayo, Rylan Peralta, Chloe Gabini, and Ivan Ramos.                   
    They have been playing together for over a year, even before joining Kaʻū High’s esports club. "We are ready to show what we can do and represent Kaʻū, as we give our best and have fun," said  Riehle, the unofficial team captain. The club eschews official leadership roles. 
    If they defeat Kea'au High, they will play in the championship on the same day at 3:15 pm. A statement from the esports club says: "While the Kaʻū High esports club has self-funded its equipment through fundraisers and donations over the past four years, a last minute trip to O'ahu was a bit of a curveball, and the members of the club would like to express their gratitude to their school and athletic department, and various local organizations and businesses that helped to fund the trip."
    Among the donors are ʻO Kaʻū Kākou, a nonprofit community organization that promotes education, health, and culture in Ka’u; Aloha MAP, a mentoring and tutoring program that serves students in grades 6-12; and Arnott’s Lodge, a lodge and hiking adventure company that offers affordable accommodations and tours on the Big Island.

PROTECTING KIDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA ACT is a bill introduced Wednesday into the U.S. Senate by Hawai'i Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, both Democrats, along with  Republicans Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama.
     The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act would  restrict keiki under 13 from social media apps and would require parental consent for 13 through 17 year-olds. The bill would also stop social media companies from feeding algorithmically-generated content to users under the age of 18.
    A joint statement from the Senators says, "The United States is facing a mental health crisis and no group is affected more than adolescents, and especially young girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 57 percent of high school girls and 29 percent of high
Sen. Brian Schatz and Sen. Chris Murphy join Republicans,
Sen. Katie Britt and Tom Cotton in effort to regulate social
media for people under 18. Photo from Sen. Katie Britt

school boys felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, with 22 percent of all high school students reporting they had seriously considered attempting suicide in the preceding year. One area that requires immediate action is the clear link between social media and poor mental health. Social media companies have known about this link for years, and independent research has confirmed it: social media usage is a cause for the mental health epidemic."
    Schatz weighed in saying, “The growing evidence is clear: social media is making kids more depressed and wreaking havoc on their mental health. While kids are suffering, social media companies are profiting. This needs to stop. Our bill will help us stop the growing social media health crisis among kids by setting a minimum age and preventing companies from using algorithms to automatically feed them addictive content based on their personal information.”
    The Republican Senator from Arkansas said, “From bullying and sex trafficking to addiction and explicit content, social media companies subject children and teens to a wide variety of content that can hurt them, emotionally and physically. Just as parents safeguard their kids from threats in the real world, they need the opportunity to protect their children online. By setting an age limit of 13—and requiring parental consent until age 18—our bill will put parents back in control of what their kids experience online.”
    The Democrat Senator from Connecticut said, “As a parent of two kids – one a teenager and one about to be a teenager – I see firsthand the damage that social media companies, 100% committed to addicting our children to their screens, are doing to our society. This is a reality that we don’t have to accept, The alarm bells about social media’s devastating impact on -kids have been sounding for a long time, and yet time and time again, these companies have proven they care more about profit than preventing the well-documented harm they cause. In particular, these algorithms are sending many down dangerous online rabbit holes, with little chance for parents to know what their kids are seeing online. None of this is out of Congress’s control, and this bipartisan legislation would take important steps to protect kids and hold social media companies accountable.”
    The Republican Senator from Alabama said, “As a mom, nothing is more important to me than preserving the next generation’s opportunity to live the American Dream. Unfortunately, that Dream is turning into a nightmare for families across our country. This bill is a bold, critical step to protect our kids, secure their future, and empower parents. There is no doubt that our country is facing a growing mental health crisis and a deteriorating culture of violence. Children and teenagers across our nation are dying, families are being devastated, and our society is withering. The only beneficiaries of the status quo are social media companies’ bottom lines and the foreign adversaries cheering them on. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact the commonsense, age-appropriate solutions needed to tackle this generational challenge.”

VOLCANO SCHOOL STUDENTS GAVE FARM-IN-A BOX KITS to 50 families at ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Farmers Market in Nā'ālehu on Wednesday. During this third annual event from The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, eighth grade Papa Pono Kiwila - Civics and Papa Nohona Mauō - Permaculture, Sustainability students took turns in teams to explain why they were promoting food sovereignty on the island. They also talked about the role of Farm-in-a-Box Kits in helping with food security.
Volcano School students promote food sovereignty giving out Farm-In
A-Box Kits at OKK's Farmers Market in Nā'ālehu. Photo from VSAS
    A statement from teacher Barbara Sarbin says, "This was the culminating event and authentic assessment process for the Global Run Project, in which the students raised awareness and funding for food justice, to help support healthy food initiatives in our community. After studying the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and participating in the Hunger Banquet, students agreed they wanted to find ways to take action to balance out the world hunger situation. Nothing is better than thinking globally while acting locally!
    "The 50 families who received the free kits gave a lot of recognition to our 8th Graders for their service, and were very grateful to take home a container, organic soil and fertilizer, and a choice of three kinds of seeds for growing their own veggies and herbs. Mahalo to Something Good in the World for donating the funding for the project, to Seed Savers Exchange for the donation of organic, non GMO, heritage seeds, and to McCall's Farm for the locally sourced materials!"

WAIOHINU'S LONG AWAITED TRANSFER STATION UPGRADES are scheduled for a soft opening on Monday, May 1, with an official opening ceremony to be held later in May after more improvements have been completed.
A view of the new waste transfer facilities at Waiohinu Transfer
Station. Drive the one-way route around the upper circle and stop to
 drop off waste. County collection vehicles will use the lower route.
Photo by Annie Bosted
  Michael Kaha, the county's Acting Solid Waste Chief, told The Kaʻū Calendar that due to Covid shutdowns and supply chain delays, construction of new facilities took nearly three years to complete. The project involved building out new facilities for dumping at the lower end of the site and then building a circular one-way road for ease-of-use and improved traffic flow. Cardboard and glass recycling as well as solid waste collection areas will be moved to the lower level. The thrift store, which is presently located on the lower lever, will be moved to the upper level to allow shoppers to visit the store without mixing with traffic destined for collection areas.
    Kaha explained that an area lined with rocks and dirt has been set aside for a planned green waste collection area. He explained that green waste collection is not available to the public immediately as equipment and manpower will need to be in place. However, the waste will be hauled to the West Hawai'i facilities as that is where the contractor is located. The final cost is not available, but according to an Environmental Assessment published in July, 2020, the cost was estimated to be $4.5 million.

The Thrift Store, located in a shipping container, will be moved

 to the upper level so that shoppers can easily visit the store.

   In 2006, County of Hawai'i Dept. of Environmental Management conducted detailed inspections of all the transfer stations and convenience centers. At that time the Waiohinu transfer station was assessed as having "major engineering deficiencies that would require reconstruction of the facility". However, funding at the time had only been authorized for reconstruction of the Pahoa, Volcano and Glenwood stations, according to the 2020 Environmental Assessment.
    In June of 2016, Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, then Director of Environmental Management, told a meeting of Ocean View residents that rebuilding the transfer station at Wai'ohinu has "top priority" as a dumpster fire had damaged the wooden beams supporting the retaining wall, above which vehicles are parked for off-loading. Engineers feared that the structure could collapse. In 2018, heavy rains further damaged a portion of the retaining wall adjacent to the existing disposal chutes, according to the Environmental Assessment. This meant that residents had to carry waste from their vehicles to the chute. It also meant that smaller dumpsters from Ocean View could not be tipped into the larger dumpsters as they could not be backed onto the crumbling wall.

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ONE POUND OF METHAMPHETAMINE DELIVERED TO VOLCANO POST OFFICE is evidence used by a Grand Jury to indict Eric W Clough. A statement from Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen on Wednesday says the 42-year old Volcano resident appeared in Hilo Circuit Court on Monday afternoon. His bail is $135,0000 and he is ordered to appear for jury trial on Sept. 18.
Eric Clough, charged with receiving
meth through Volcano Post Office.
    As the Indictment alleges, Clough was charged with two counts of Attempted Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree and a single count of Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Second Degree (possess over one-eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine). 
    Attempted Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree is a class A felony offense punishable by either a 20-year prison term or ten years probation and up to two years in jail.        The Prosecuting Attorney's Statement says, "The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."
     The investigation was a collaboration between members of Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area I Vice Section and Special Enforcement Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Postal Inspection Services. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Muñoz. 
    "The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information concerning illegal narcotics distribution should call the Hawai‘i Police Department Vice Section in East Hawai‘i at (808) 934-8423 or in West Hawai‘i at (808) 329-0423, or Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300," concludes the Prosecuting Attorney' statement.