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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Thursday, March 23, 2023

Going Home Hawai'i, which works to reintegrate people in justice system into the community 
with housing and services, will receive a grant from Hawai'i County aimed at tackling homelessness.

SIXTEEN PROJECTS FOR GRANTS SERVING THE HOMELESS passed the County Council this week after being selected by the county's Office of Housing & Community Development. "The funding of over $7.5 million is unprecedented local County investments toward addressing homelessness on Hawai‘i Island," says a statement from County of Hawai'i.     
    The funding goes to Bridge House, Inc.; CFS Real Property Inc for Hale 'Ohana; Going Home Hawai'i; Habitat for Humanity Hawai'i Island, Inc.; Hawai'i Community Lending, Inc.; Hawai'i Island Home for Recovery, Inc.; HOPE Services Hawai'i, Inc.;  Lokahi Treatment Centers; Mental Health Kokua; Neighborhood Place of Puna; Project Vision Hawai'i; and Hawai'i Island Community Health Center.
Image from Bridge House, which will receive
a grant to help those at risk of homelessness.
  In November, OHCD issued a Request for Proposals seeking applications to carry out priorities outlined in the Strategic Roadmap for Homelessness and Housing released in September. OHCD received 31 proposals from 21 different community organizations requesting over $25 million, far exceeding the available amount to potentially award in this first of an expected five fiscal years of appropriations. A five-member evaluation committee performed an extensive review process to rank the proposals, and the top sixteen were selected for grants.
    “This first year was an opportunity for us to see the capacity of our service providers on the ground as we continue making inroads on homelessness,” said Housing Administrator Susan Kunz. “As we know, communities nationwide are confronting the homelessness crisis. This is one step towards supporting the most vulnerable in our community.”
    Selected initiatives range from permanent supportive housing projects to substance abuse and mental health treatment programs to professional development systems that help build the capacity of the front-line homeless service provider workforce.    “Partnerships are the only way that we will be able to provide the diverse spectrum of services needed to adequately address the homelessness issue on our island,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Forging a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations means creating a place where every individual is provided the services necessary to succeed regardless of the adversities they face.”
    Kunz also expressed appreciation for the organizations and County support. “We are very grateful to our partners for the work they are about to embark on with these projects. While the number of proposals
was promising, it presented a challenging selection process. It’s unfortunate not all could be funded in this round. We will look for ways to work with all stakeholders. We’re thankful for the County investment.”
    In March 2022, the Council passed, and Mayor Roth signed, Ordinance 22-26, which appropriated funds to address the pressing issues of homelessness and housing. Sixty-two percent of the total budget for projects receiving the County grants will be funded by other sources, including from Federal, State, and private entities, optimizing the leverage of local tax dollars to affect a more significant impact. As part of the conditions outlined in the RFP, awarded organizations must submit monthly, quarterly, and final reports on outcomes.
    The Legislative Approvals and Acquisitions Committee of the County Council considered a resolution identifying the selected grants on March 7 and forwarded it to the full Council with a favorable recommendation. The Council approved the funding on Thursday.

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THE SEVENTH PRINCE KUHIO HO'OLAULEA entertainment lineup and more are announced for this Saturday.  Enjoy hula, music, food, Hawaiian cultural demos and more on March 25 at Nāʻālehu Ball Park located along Māmalahoa Hwy. This drug- and alcohol-free event, organized by local non-profit Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū, will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Kaʻū keiki will open the day with an oli, followed by the brief history of Prince Kūhiō given by the
Hawaiian Civic Club of Kaʻū.
    Musicians Gene Akamu & Friends will start off the entertainment followed by Lori Lei's Hula Studio, led by Kumu Hula Lori Lei Shirakawa. Next up will be Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder's Hālau Hula O Leionalani taking the stage. The Green Sands Trio will serenade the crowd during the lunch hour. Miss Kalaoa's Outstanding Teen Hawaiʻi 2023, Karly-Rose Kawaahau-Aiona will perform followed by Bruddah Ben Mejia as he shares fond memories of Kaʻū and songs. Closing out the event will be the lively music of the Backyahd Bruddahs. 
    Get a lucky number ticket from the Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū information booth as prizes will be given out between the music and hula acts throughout the day.
    State House Representative for Kaʻū Jeanne Kapela, Department of Hawaiian Homelands Interim Chair Ikaika Anderson, as well as representatives from the Hawaiʻi County Mayor's office and the OHA's Hawaiʻi Island Trustee Mililani Trask are slated to attend.
    Hotdogs, chili and rice, shave ice, furikake chicken, smoked meat, Korean chicken, char siu, roast pork plate, lechon, spring rolls, french fries, potato balls, taco salad and more will delight hungry event-goers.        For sweet treats there will be a variety of offerings including desserts, mini donuts, boba teas, baked goods, coffee milkshakes and smoothies for sale.
   Buy a hoʻolauleʻa T-shirt, fresh Kaʻū coffee to take home or gifts for someone special.
    Visit Hawaiian cultural demos such as coconut weaving, waʻa (canoe), kuʻi kalo (poi pounding), ʻukulele and lei making. Play Hawaiian Makahiki games with the Hawaiian Civic Club and konane with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park reps. Pick up a native Hawaiian plant while supplies last at the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund and Ka ʻOhana O Honuʻapo booth. Learn about safe and pono fishing practices from a Department of Land & Natural Resources officer.
    Behind the tennis courts in the back building will be a special museum exhibit focusing on Hawaiian 'ohana and cultural artifacts curated by the Kaʻū Multicultural Society.
    Swing by the Hawaiian Economic Opportunity Council booth to qualify for a free refrigerator. Bring Hawaiian Electric Account information. 
   Also sharing information will be Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust, Alu Like, Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi, Kaʻū Rural Health Association, Black Sand Beach LLC
    Hana Laulima Lāhui O Kaʻū's mission is to support the development of a new economic base for the district of Kaʻū that will enhance economic growth, and advance a secure economic future for the community and the children of Kaʻū, while preserving the people of Kaʻū's cultural heritage and respect for the ʻāina (land).

FRIDAY IS WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY and the state Department of Health encourages Hawai'i's high risk residents to get tested for early TB diagnosis. “Approximately 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis worldwide every year,” said Dr. Genevieve S. Ley, chief of the DOH TB Control Branch. However, active TB disease (the contagious form of TB) can be cured with medications. People with latent TB infection (the non-contagious form of TB) can also be treated to prevent progression to active TB disease.
    In 2022, Hawai‘i had 102 cases of active TB disease. Symptoms of active TB include a prolonged cough
of three weeks or longer, unexplained weight loss, fever, sweating at night, and feeling weak or tired. People with latent TB will not have any current symptoms, but the illness can progress to active TB if not treated. DOH estimates that as many as 70,000 to 100,000 Hawai‘i residents could be infected with latent TB.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following non-healthcare workers are considered at increased risk for TB infection and should be tested: 
    People who have spent time with someone who has TB disease;
    People from a country where TB disease is common (e.g. Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands);
    People who live or work in high-risk settings (e.g. facilities and homeless shelters); and
    Infants, children and adolescents exposed to adults who are at increased risk for latent tuberculosis infection or TB disease.
    DOH recommends that healthcare providers ensure that their patients who are diagnosed with latent TB complete a course of treatment.
    Many employers require TB clearance for workers. Testing for TB clearance is available at 17 locations statewide through DOH. Click here to learn more.
    The DOH TB Control Program is part of the Communicable Disease and Public Health Nursing Division. Its mission is to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in the state by providing effective prevention, detection, treatment, and educational services. Examinations and treatment are available free of charge.
    DOH has resources available to help individuals and clinicians diagnose and treat tuberculosis. For more information on tuberculosis or the program’s services and activities, call (808) 832-5731 or visit health.hawaii.gov/tb

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CELEBRATE MICRONESIA HEALTH FAIR WILL BE IN OCEAN VIEW on Saturday, April l at Kahuku County Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A statement from the organizers calls it a "perfect opportunity to learn more about Micronesian culture while discovering local health resources." It will also include cultural music and dance performances.   
    The Celebrate Micronesia Health Fair is open to everyone. It will feature agencies such as Kumukahi Health and Wellness, Kokua Services Partnerships, YMCA, Goodwill, Hawaii Island Community Health Center, Hawai'i Community Foundation, Kalanihale, and MedQUEST Division. These agencies will provide information about various health insurance options, COFA passport apps, and assistance.
    Also available will be help with passports for travel to and from the Compact of Free Association Migrants who hail from Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau. They have a unique relationship with the U.S.
    In exchange for permitting the U.S. exclusive use and military strategic positioning in the Pacific, the U.S. provides grants to fund education, health care, and infrastructure in these jurisdiction. The Compacts allow COFA citizens to freely travel, live and work in the country without a visa and with no time restraints. Many COFA migrants live in Kaʻū with children and grandchildren going to school here and adults working in the coffee and other industries.
    During Celebrate Micronesia Health fair, resources, the first 100 attendees will receive a free bento and produce bag, and all keiki can enjoy a free ice shave. Throughout the day, also enjoy cultural music and dance performances, making it a perfect family-friendly event for all.
   The Kahuku Park venue is at 92-8598 Paradise Makai Circle, Ocean View.

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RAPID OHIA DEATH RESPONSE GOT ANOTHER PUSH in Washington, D.C. this week from Hawai'i's Congressional Delegation. The effort to destroy the fungal pathogen that has killed more than a million native ʻōhiʻa trees in Hawaii since its discovery in 2014 came from U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and U.S. House of Representatives members Jill Tokuda and Ed Case. They introduced The Continued Rapid Ohia Death Response Act of 2023, to authorize $55 million in federal funding over the next 11 years to support ongoing efforts by federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey,
Eleven years of federal funding would be used to fight Rapid Ohia Death.
Photo from CTAHR
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service, working in partnership with state agencies, to help combat Ohia tree death in Hawai'i.”
    The legislation would:
    Direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Geological Survey, to continue providing resources for the purposes of researching ROD vectors and transmission;
    Require the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to work with the State of Hawai'i and other local stakeholders on on ungulate management in control areas on federal, state, and private land;
    Require the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, to continue providing resources to prevent the spread of ROD and restore the native forests in Hawai'i, and to also continue to provide financial and staff resources to the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, located in Hilo, to continue research on ROD; and
    Authorize $55 million in appropriations over the next eleven years for both the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to carry out these actions.
    “Ohia Lehua are Hawai'i’s most abundant native tree, but ROD poses a serious threat to the species’ survival,” said Hirono. “As ROD continues to decimate Hawai'i’s Ohia population, federal support is crucial to combating ROD and protecting Ohia trees across Hawai'i. Ohia plays an important role in protecting our native ecosystems and I am proud to lead our delegation in advocating for the federal
The ohia lehua at left and the decimated blossom at right. Photo from CTHAR
resources Hawai'i needs to prevent further Ohia death and protect our state’s unique biodiversity.”
    Tokuda, who represents Kaʻū and all of rural Hawai'i said, “I’m proud to join Senator Hirono in co-leading the introduction of the Continued Rapid Ohia Death Response Act, which will unlock federal support to combat the spread of Rapid Ohia Death and restore Hawai'i’s ohia forests. Covering nearly one million acres throughout Hawai'i, Ohia lehua forms the basis of our watershed, preventing runoff and providing critical habitat for endangered birds like honeycreepers. In recent years, Rapid Ohia Death has devastated too many ohia forests, especially on the Big Island, and its spread throughout Hawai'i is deeply troubling. This bill is a step in the right direction to ensure this critical natural and cultural resource is there for the next generation.”
    Schatz said. “In order to fight Rapid Ohia Death, we need more resources to research the disease and work to control its spread. Our bill will give us more tools to preserve our Ohia and restore our native forests and ecosystems."
    Case said, “Rapid Ohia Death, first detected on Oʻahu just a few years ago, poses a major threat to these precious endemic trees. Our measure will help to combat this deadly fungus which left unchecked will devastate not only our most abundant native tree but with it our unique and endangered forest ecosystem.”

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

In the mail and on stands.


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.


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 Kona Dr. Drive and Hwy 11, near Thai Grindz. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no rez needed. Parking in the upper lot. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.