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Sunday, January 01, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023

Happy New Year from Midway. Volcano artist and author Caren Loebel-Fried is on Kuaihelani, Midway Atol, and sends middle photo of a moli, Laysan Albatross couple. The left photo of makalena, a short-tailed albatross, is by U.S. Fish & Wildlife volunteer Bob Toleno. The right photo by Jan Beck of manu-oku, the white tern, shows a chick waiting for food via sea delivery by parents.
See friendsofmidwayatol.org

Daryn Galigo grew up in Kaʻū and is back
 as new manager of 'Ohana Foods in 
'OHANA FOODS IN NĀ’ALEHU WILL EXPAND WIKIWIKI WORKFORCE, FOOD OFFERINGS. Wikiwiki Mart, open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily with its 76 gas station, is upgrading to become 'Ohana Foods with more take out meals, fresh produce and an expanded frozen foods section. Doubling the size of the kitchen staff is also in the plan, according to Carl Okuyama, President of 'Ohana Foods. There is also a new 'Ohana Foods Reward Card.
    Manager of the new 'Ohana Foods is Daryn Galigo, who was born and raised in Nā'alehu, graduated from Kaʻū High as senior class president in 2011, and has spent the last decade going to college plus working for Wikiwiki Mart in Hilo and Nā'alehu. In his Kaʻū High senior class address he said, “We have learned to endure and overcome whatever tribulations come our way. It is time to show the world what we are capable of..."
    Okuyama said Galigo worked with him as a start up assistant manager in Hilo, but "I needed him to come back to Kaʻū for 'Ohana Foods. We have built an awesome team. We are all here to serve the public the best we can."
Alyssa Navaro, of Pāhala, introduces 'Ohana Foods Rewards.

 Okuyama noted that he and the staff have run the place daily for more than ten years, the first to open and last to close among gas and food stores in all of Kaʻū. They recently secured another ten year lease on the property makai of Hwy 11, with option to renew an additional ten years. That means Okuyama and team can invest in 'Ohana Foods with new equipment, refreshing the store with air conditioning, furnishings, refrigeration and freezing, and expanding the kitchen.
    "There will be a large deli. The kitchen will be doubled in size, everything from bento breakfasts, to sandwiches, to burgers, salads and other healthful foods." Okuyama operates 'Ohana Foods in Hilo and recommends looking at its facebook for a peak at the kind of menu that will be coming to Nā'alehu at https://www.facebook.com/OhanaFoodsHilo/
    Okuyama said that "Food marketing has changed. There will be more foods to go, along with an increase in frozen seafood, poultry and meat and produce. The 'Ohana Foods perishable departments will increase their offerings as well."
    A second phase of the new 'Ohana Foods program will be expanding the building, said 'Okuyama.
    See 'Ohana Foods facebook in Hilo at https://www.facebook.com/OhanaFoodsHilo/

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KAʻŪ'S NEW REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS, Jill Tokuda, who takes office Jan. 3 to represent all of rural Hawai'i from her home in Kaneohe, sent out a Happy New Year card Jan. 1 with the following message:
    "In just a few days, I will be officially sworn in as Hawaiʻi's newest member of Congress and we'll be opening offices in Washington DC and Hawaiʻi to help serve the constituents of Hawai'i's Second Congressional District.
    "From fighting to ensure greater access to healthcare and mental health services for our rural communities, advocating for increased funding for quality public education, and supporting laws to fight corruption and increase transparency in government, I am very excited about the work ahead."
    Tokuda will be transitioning into the U.S. House seat now held by Kai Kahele. Tokuda is no stranger to D.C., having graduated from George Washington University. She is already lined up as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was recently reported in The Hill saying, “We’ve really got to start looking at the housing gaps and inequities that exist and … doing better with the programs that we have at our disposal at the federal level.” 
    Tokuda told The Hill that she wants to “turn the firehose on and just tackle everything,” but initial priorities are affordable housing, access to the “care economy” and campaign finance reform.
    As during her campaign, Tokuda told The Hill that her priorities are informed by being a mother. She said that access to the care economy — including child care, early learning and long-term care for seniors — “is where the greatest inequities and gaps exist … especially in my district, but I think it exists everywhere in our country.” She said she also plans to study tuition subsidies and loan forgiveness for workers in these jobs.
Gov. Josh Green and wife Jaime. Photo from Josh Green

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A HAPPY NEW YEAR POSTED BY GOV. JOSH GREEN says, "Jaime and I would like to wish you and your ‘ohana a Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year), We are one ‘ohana, and this year we will come together to create a better Hawai‘i for our keiki. We look forward to the work ahead and new beginnings. Let’s do this!"

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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.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu 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, fourth Saturday 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 Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

'O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, 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 Kauaha'ao Congregational Church grounds at 95-1642 Pinao St. in Wai'ōhinu.

Kaʻū News Briefs, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022

Small cottage, big fireworks under the New Years Eve midnight moon in Pāhala, with 2023 coming on. Photo by Julia Neal

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I GREETS THE NEW YEAR WITH NEW FUNDING that involves many community partnerships. UH is a major research institution and economic generator for the state, said Congressman Ed Case. The funds that he initiated and supported are included in the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations measure recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. “This funding measure continues to showcase a very productive partnership between our Hawai’i congressional delegation and UH, our flagship institution of higher education and engine of our economy, with its excellent record of attracting hundreds of millions in research funding,” said Case.
    In the funding package includes $38 million for the U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program, which provides continuing support to the UH Hilo Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes. There is $83 million for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Adaptation Science Centers, which includes the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center based out of UH Mānoa. These Centers provide regionally relevant scientific information, tools and techniques to resource managers and communities in Hawai‘i in response to our changing climate.
Triple works of fire above Pāhala New Years Eve.
Photo by Julia Neal
    There is $1 million for UH’s Office of Indigenous Innovation to establish an indigenous data science hub to engage students in experiential learning opportunities and foster collaboration between indigenous researchers and cultural practitioners in developing community-derived, culturally grounded and globally relevant climate resilience strategies. The hub will be in North Kohala.
    A $24 million allocation supports the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions program, a $3 million increase from last year. This program provides funding support to institutions of higher education in the States of Alaska and Hawai‘i including UH to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native Hawaiian students. An $18 million allocation is for the Strengthening Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions program, an $8 million increase from last year. These funds help undergraduate institutions like UH expand their capacity to serve Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students.
    Funds totaling $28 million for the Centers of Excellence program, a $4 million increase from last year, supports health professions schools across the country, including the Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine, that seek to recruit, train and retain underrepresented minority students and faculty.
    Another $4 million supports work of the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity at UH in advancing indigenous research and policy solutions to achieve health equity.
A fireball on the street in Pāhala New Years Eve. Photo by Julia Neal
    Funding includes $6.5 million for the UH Center to complete construction of the Early Phase Clinical Research Center on its Kaka‘ako campus. The 17,000 square foot outpatient early phase clinical trial clinic—the first of its kind in State of Hawai‘i—will provide Hawai‘i cancer patients who have exhausted traditional treatments with greater access to novel clinical trials across multiple disciplines. The funds include $1.8 million for the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute to develop and train navigators to support kūpuna and family caregivers. It is a joint initiative between UH-Mānoa and HawaiʻiPublic Health Institute.
    The funding includes $101 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at UH Mānoa. NDPC, a seven-member professional alliance, is the principal means through which the Federal Emergency Management Agency identifies, develops, tests and delivers training to state and local emergency responders. NDPC has trained over 2.5 million people throughout the United States and its territories.
    “In my work on the House Appropriations Committee, I know that if I support these programs at the national level then UH and other Hawai‘i institutions and communities will benefit locally,” said Case. Such programs of benefit to UH include:
   An allocation for $470 million for Advanced Research Projects – Energy and High Energy Physics, which directly supports groundbreaking research at UH aimed at rapidly developing energy technologies that can address the nation’s critical economic, environmental and energy security challenges; $144 million for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Engagement, an increase of $7 million above the FY 2022 enacted level, to inspire young people to pursue future careers in science and engineering. This includes $45 million for NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, which funds Hawai‘i STEM programs.
Aerials big and all over the sky in Pāhala New Years Eve. Photo by Julia Neal
    There is $80 million for the Sea Grant Program, which supports coastal and Great Lakes communities through research, extension and education. These funds help support the Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Program at UH that concentrates on promoting healthy coastal ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, resilient communities and economies and environmental literacy and workforce development. Funds totaling $25 million will support facilities like the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on the Island of Maui, the world’s most advanced solar observatory. 
    Fifteen million goes to Energy Transitions Initiatives, a $5 million increase from FY 2022. This program, which aims to advance self-reliant island and remote communities through the development of resilient energy systems, helps recipients who face unique energy challenges due to their remote location, fossil fuel dependency and limited access to affordable infrastructure improvements. Nine million is for the Resilient Innovative Sustainable Economies via University Partnership (RISE-UP) Initiative, a $1.5 million increase from FY 2022. This program seeks to leverage the technical expertise of public universities located in isolated states that play an important role in our national security. 
    "The universities are working to create incubators, develop and commercialize scalable technologies and build a workforce to meet future national security needs in areas such as clean energy and marine technology and economy," said Case.
    In Direct Support for College Students funding includes $24.6 billion for federal student aid programs, which includes increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $500 to $7,395 for the 2023–24 academic
A smokey night from fireworks in Pāhala. Photo by Julia Neal

year. It further includes $1.2 billion for the Federal Work Study Program, an increase of $20 million above the FY 2022 enacted level, and $910 million for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, an increase of $15 million above the Fiscal Year 2022 enacted level. 
    Case also secured an instruction to the U.S. Department of State to consider increasing the number of scholarships available for Pacific Islanders to study in the United States, many of whom study at UH. This is a key component of Case’s efforts to re-engage with the nations of the Pacific across multiple areas including education. Case’s Appropriations Committee is responsible for allocating some $1.7 trillion in funding to federal government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis.

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Lumen Zheng on a 260 mile run
around Hawai'i Island New Years
Eve makes his way through Ka'u.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE GO BIG 260 MILE RUNNING FOOT RACE came through Kaʻū after starting in Hilo on New Years Eve and is expected to wrap up in four days after encircling the island. Both men and women are running the event.            
    Volunteering for race support from Volcano and Kaʻū are Janice Wei and Elizabeth Fien, supporting 24 year old Lumin Zheng, of Shenchen, China. Zheng flew to Hawai'i Island for the race. He and other competitors nap and taken in nourishment all along the route, without staying in homes or visitor accommodations. One of the organizers is Alyx Barnett of Volcano. The runners experienced rain squalls and fireworks as night approached on New Years Eve.

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UPDATING ZONING AND SUBDIVISION CODES for Hawai'i County is the subject of another round of public outreach in Ka'u and beyond by the Planning Department.  The events are scheduled for Jan. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hilo Aupuni Conference Room and at Waimea Community Center, and Jan. 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  at Pāhala Community Center and West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Bldg. G.  

    The County of Hawai'i is updating zoning and subdivision codes in Chapters 25 and 23 of the 1983 Hawai'i County Code, which were last reviewed in 1996. "The code updates intend to increase consistency and predictability, incorporate best practices in land use and zoning, promote desirable and equitable development, and meet the needs of the Hawai'i Island community," says the statement from the Planning Department.
    The process is expected to last approximately 18 months and include several rounds of community engagement with virtual and in-person public meetings, focus groups, and online open houses. The first round of community engagement was completed in October 2022 with two in-person open houses and an online virtual open house.
    Summaries and more information can be found on the project website http://COHcodeupdate.com.

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