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Monday, May 08, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, May 8, 2023

Volcano Art Center Offers Liko A'e Keiki Summer Day Camp Program
A weeklong summer camp will be held at at VAC’s Niaulani Campus from June 12- June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The camp is open to Keiki 7-13 years of age. It includes ceramics. Hawaiian rhythms and dance will be an introduction to hula and Hawaiian instruments. There will be drawing, painting, and It’s A Honu World Puppetry with original music and puppetry celebrating life stories of the sea turtles of Hawai'i. Early registration deadline is May 19. Deadline is June 2. Financial scholarships available. See https://volcanoartcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VAC-LIKO-A%CA%BBE-SCHOLARSHIP-FORM.pdf. Call Volcano Art Center for more info at (808) 967- 8222.

A MAGNITUDE 3.8 EARTHQUAKE 20 miles below sea level, 7 miles east-northeast of Pāhala, was felt
See explanation of Pāhala swarm at https://phys.org/news/2022-12-
hawaii-earthquake-swarm-magma-sills.html. Image from phys.org

islandwide with light shaking just before midnight Sunday, but many people in Pāhala didn't feel it. The quake at 11:58 p.m. followed an M3.3 Sunday morning at 7:35 a.m. Another M2.7 occurred Monday morning at 3:19 a.m.
    USGS reported that the quakes had no apparent impact on either Mauna Loa or Kīlauea volcanoes.
    The M3.8 was described by USGS as "part of the swarm of earthquakes that has been occurring beneath the Pāhala region since 2019. These quakes may be related to deep transport of magma in the hotspot beneath the Island of Hawaiʻi, but pose no volcanic threat to residents." 

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THE MASS MURDER AT A TEXAS SHOPPING MALL on Saturday led to Gov. Josh Green and Pres. Joe Biden on Monday to order U.S. and Hawai'i state flags to be flown at half mast through sunset on Thursday, May 11 at U.S. post offices, the State Capitol and all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai'i National Guard facilities. 
    The eight deceased victims included children and adults. They were multinational, their roots in India, Korea, Latin America and the U.S. The assailant, of Latin descent, who was shot and killed by a police officer, was described as a loaner, a man wearing racist badges and swastika tattoos, having posted messages of hate.
    Hawai'i's Governor said, "We lower the flags in solemn remembrance of the victims of gun violence in Allen, Texas and with healing wishes for all the families and loved ones who are hurting."
    The U.S. President said, "an assailant in tactical gear armed with an AR-15 style assault weapon gunned down innocent people in a shopping mall, and not for the first time. Such an attack is too shocking to be so familiar. And yet, American communities have suffered roughly 200 mass shootings already this year, according to leading counts. More than 14,000 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives, credible estimates show. The leading cause of death for American kids is gun violence.
    "Since I signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law and took two dozen executive actions to stem the tide of gun violence, we have made some progress. States are banning assault weapons, expanding red flag laws and more — but it’s not enough. We need more action, faster to save lives.
    "Too many families have empty chairs at their dinner tables. Republican Members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug. Tweeted thoughts and prayers are not enough.
    "Once again I ask Congress to send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Enacting universal background checks. Requiring safe storage. Ending immunity for gun manufacturers. I will sign it immediately. We need nothing less to keep our streets safe."

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HAWAII'I POLICE DEPARTMENT IS ASKING FOR THE PUBLIC TO HELP FIGHT FENTANYL. HPD issued a statement on Monday, saying it is committed to fighting drugs on island and apprehending those who distribute and sell illegal narcotics. "In recent years, the use of illicit fentanyl has reached
epidemic proportions on the mainland and Hawai‘i. Criminal drug networks are mixing this dangerous synthetic opioid into illegal counterfeit pills and selling them as legitimate prescription pills, often with deadly consequences."
    HPD launched a monthly public release of fentanyl stats documenting the amount of fentanyl related arrests for possession and distribution in Hawai‘i County and the quantity of fentanyl recovered for the preceding month. The monthly reports are similar to HPD’s weekly DUI stats.
    “By proactively issuing monthly statistics on fentanyl arrests and the amount of fentanyl recovered, Big Island residents can monitor the department’s commitment to eradicating this drug from our communities,” says Chief of Police Benjamin Moszkowicz. “What’s more, people can keep track of accurate data themselves, rather than relying on rumors or potentially misleading claims.”
Area I (East Hawai‘i) Area II (West Hawai‘i)
 Month/2023Fentanyl ArrestsFentanyl Recovered: GramsFentanyl Recovered: Pills
January200 January6148.45422
 February057.790  February491.979
March234.612 March429.1315
April21.2450 April219.930
Total693.6452 Total16289.38546
 For fentanyl safety tips, how to recognize fentanyl poisoning, and more, see HPD’s website: https://www.hawaiipolice.com/services/crime-tips#fentanyl.
     HPD asks for info from the public relating to illicit drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues such as prostitution, gambling, and other related crimes. "Hawai‘i Police Department encourages you to call our East Hawaiʻi and West Hawaiʻi Vice Sections 24-hour anonymous vice/drug tip hotline."
    To share info pertaining to districts of Kaʻū, Kona, South Kohala, and North Kohala, call
(808) 329-ZERO-ICE, (808) 329-0423. To share information pertaining to districts of Puna, South Hilo, North Hilo, and Hāmākua, call (808) 934-VICE, (808) 934-8423
    HPD advises, "When you call, you will be asked to provide information. You do not have to provide your name, address or telephone number. All information is kept confidential and within the Criminal Investigation Division. Information is cross-referenced, allowing detectives to determine if additional information related to the criminal activity about which you are calling has been reported in the past. Even “small” bits of information can at times provide detectives with the missing link that allows them to take action."

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IT IS ILLEGAL TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HOUSING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM RECIPIENTS IN HAWAI'I.  "When voucher holders are denied an opportunity to rent, it is a barrier to securing housing assistance," says Michael Yee, who heads the county Office of Housing & Community Development Existing Housing Division. 
    Yee's statement follows the Hawai'i Legislature passing and Gov. Josh Green signing Act 310, which became law on May 1. It prohibits discrimination in advertisements for available real property. It prohibits discrimination against prospective or current tenants based on participation in a Permanent Supportive Housing programs or any Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. The law applies mainly to landlords who own more than four rental properties with some exemptions allowed.
    Yee said, "This law is a needed step in the right direction and will help provide individuals and families greater access to affordable housing."
     The law aims to reduce source-of-income discrimination against people who use these types of rental assistance. It provides Section 8 participants with the same protections afforded to other classes under state and federal Fair Housing laws.
    Nicholas Severson, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Housing Managing Attorney, said, "This law is important because it prohibits landlords from turning away prospective tenants because they rely on housing subsidies. Ideally, it should make it easier for low-income individuals to secure housing. It also provides an enforcement mechanism that punishes landlords for advertising that they do not rent to folks with housing subsidies, hopefully curtailing that very common practice."
     Discrimination that is prohibited under the law includes: Advertising a rental property as not accepting vouchers; refusing to engage in a rental transaction with someone based on their participation in a housing assistance program; and requiring rental conditions that are different from those required for a person not participating in a housing assistance program
    The county announced that a  fine up to $2,000 will be issued for initial violations. Each subsequent violation will net a landlord a $2,500 fine.
    Hawai'i County Office of Housing & Community Development is responsible for planning, administration, and operation of all County of Hawai'i housing programs. "Our Mission is to provide for the development of viable communities through decent housing, suitable living environments and expanded economic opportunities," says the County statement. See https://www.housing.hawaiicounty.gov/housing-assistance