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Friday, February 17, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023

Youth volleyball teams from around the island are braving the rain to reach Pāhala for the two-day Miloli'i-Kaʻū Tournament
on Saturday and Sunday. It's in its fifth year. Photos above during a previous tournament from Miloli'i-Kaʻū
 Volleyball Club

THE FIFTH ANNUAL MILOLI'I-KAʻŪ VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT is on for Saturday and Sunday and the public is invited to watch all the action both days from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. at the Robert Herkes Kaʻū District Gym in Pāhala. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. 
    Teams began arriving Friday night with some stopping over at the Civil Defense shelter in Nā'ālehu to wait for the rains to calm and a flooded Highway11 to reopen at Kawā Flats.
    Organizer Kaimi Kaupiko, who heads up Miloli'i-Kaʻū Volleyball Club, said some 25 teams are coming from as far away as Waimea and Hilo.
   The competition is for volleyball players eight to 16 years of age with boys, girls and co-ed teams.
   There will be a food concession with chili, chicken bowl, teri bowl, kalua nachos, hot dogs, chips and drinks. 

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Hwy 11 and back roads of Kaʻū flooded and were blocked on Friday, this one on the Nā'ālehu side of Ka'alaiki Road.
Photo by Bob Martin

THE STORM CALMED AFTER WAVES OF RAIN dominated most of Friday. Bands of torrential rain
Water churned from forests into streams.
Photo by Bob Martin
traveled across Kaʻū this morning, flooding at Kawā, with Hwy 11 closed from the bridge at Punalu'u toward Nā'ālehu. The highway, which circles the island, remained closed as of 8:30 p.m. with many visitors and residents lined up, waiting to reach their destinations. Also shut down were the upper Ka'alaiki Road between Nā'ālehu and Pāhala, and Wood Valley Road at stream crossings.
    Civil Defense Red Cross shelters opened at Robert Herkes District Gym, adjacent to the Pāhala school campus, and at Nā'ālehu Community Center. National Weather Service issued Flash Flood Warnings.
    Both public schools in Pāhala and Nā'ālehu were closed on Friday, along with the Kaʻū Rural Health clinic, which shut down early. Hele On Bus Service could not make it between Nā'ālehu and Pāhala, cutting off service from Pāhala to Kona and from Kona to Pāhala. 
    Coffee picking and other agricultural endeavors across Kaʻū were put on hold as fields and orchards became saturated, and access difficult. Waterfalls poured from the mountains.
Wai'ohinu drainage canal. Photo by Bob Martin
    County of Hawai'i issued a statement asking that anyone sustaining any flood related damage to a residence or business, contact Civil Defense at 808-935-0031.

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SWEPT AWAY BUT RECOVERED: A man from Wood Valley above Pāhala was swept away in his car Friday morning but was able to escape after he attempted to drive across a stream with rushing water. A county fire rescue crew and helicopter were called, but he was able to make his way out of the stream.
     National Weather Service described the circumstance across the district as a "dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order."

The upper Kalaiki Road between Nā'ālehu and Pāhala was blocked by flooding on Friday, here
at the entrance to Aikane Plantation. Photo by Phil Becker

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HAWAI'I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK announced some closures and cancellations for the weekend. The following areas in the park were closed due to severe weather impacts:
Rain and shine, these wet birds of a feather flock to
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Janice Wei
- Kahuku was closed Friday. Saturday's Coffee Talk is canceled.
- Mauna Loa Road was closed to the Lookout from the Kīpukapuaulu parking circle.
- Kīpukapuaulu Trail is closed.
- The Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association store in Kīlauea Visitor Center was closed due to unstable internet. However, visitors can still shop online at www.hawaiipacificparks.org.
- Hilina Pali Road was closed past the gate the Kulanaokuaiki Campground. The campground is open.

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SCHOLARSHIPS FROM 'O KAʻŪ KAKOU are available to applicants through April 1 at https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students. OKK, the nonprofit service organization, is
offering scholarships for the 2023-2024 school year to high school and home-schooled graduating seniors and to undergraduate college students. 
    Individual scholarship awards are $1,000 ($500.00 per semester) for students enrolled full-time at any accredited trade school or two-year or four-year college to assist with tuition costs. Applicant must be residents of Ka'ū district, or if attending an out-of-state college, applicant must be claimed as a dependent whose parent or legal guardian's principal residence remains in the district of Ka'ū. 
    Instructions, guidelines, and information regarding eligibility, selection criteria, and the application process are detailed in the Application for Scholarship instructions and guidelines at https://www.okaukakou.org/scholarships-for-local-students.
    OKK advises that applicants thoroughly complete the application and carefully follow all instructions. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
    Only hard copies of applications and supporting documents will be accepted (no electronic submissions) and must be postmarked on or before April 1. Late submissions will not be considered.          
    Recipients of previous scholarships who have not submitted their mahalo letter to OKK will not be considered for further scholarship funding. Any questions regarding this application can be directed to the OKK Scholarship Committee via email: okaukakou.org.scholarship@gmail.com and expect that it may take up to 24-36 hours for the Committee to respond.

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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.

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.

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.