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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023

Halema‘uma‘u crater on Tuesday night. See more below. Photo by Zach Schneider

MAYOR MITCH ROTH HELD A TOWN HALL MEETING ON TUESDAY EVENING at the Herkes Kaʻū District Gym, with numerous county department leaders. The entire meeting is available on the Mayor's facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HIMayorMitch/videos/1515428795696531.
      The Mayor said that the County of Hawai‘i has been focusing on sustainability. "How do we create an island where our keiki can stay here and raise their keiki? And their keiki in turn can raise their keiki?" He said his own three children have left to work on the mainland.
    He noted that more Hawaiians live out of the state than in the state. "As we lose our local Hawaiians, we lose our culture and we lose who we are. So we become something different." 
    He said to keep Hawaiian kids here the County has engaged thought leaders. The County is also working on affordable housing for people with income from low-paying jobs and for such people as teachers, police officers and construction workers.
    He said under his administration, the number of affordable housing units under construction islandwide has risen from 1,200 in the pipeline to about 6,500 units. He said it was difficult to get a permit to build a house when he first took office with a waiting time of some 200 days. He said it has been reduced to about 30 days. He also posed the question, "What is affordable housing?"
     He said he also is working on jobs for local young people. He said a lot of kids are not interested in agriculture. They are interested in STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.  He went to Nā‘ālehu Elementary School on Tuesday for the introduction of new technology and science programs, including robotics and Makers Face, making things with 3D printing. He described the energy of Kaʻū kids as "amazing." 
     He also mentioned the Kaʻū Dreams program at Kaʻū High School, which is based on agriculture but also teaches business. He noted that Hawai‘i has some of the highest costs for electricity and fossil fuel in the country. "Everything that comes over here basically comes over using fossil fuel. How do we create other opportunities here that have clean energy that takes care of our environment that we can make here to be self-sustaining?"
    The Mayor also asked, "How do we make it so agriculture is something that our kids want to do?" 
    See more in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs.

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HAWAI‘I IS THE SECOND HAPPIEST STATE, according to a WalletHub study released on Tuesday. Happiest State is Utah, followed by the rest in the top ten, Hawai‘i, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, 
Image from Hawai'i Magazine.
See https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/
Florida, Idaho and Nebraska.
    The ten least Happy States are West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
    Hawai‘i ranks number one in Emotional & Physical well-being, while Utah ranked 16. Hawai‘i ranks number one in the least Adult Depression. Utah ranks number one in Work Environment while Hawai‘i ranks 25.  Utah ranks number one in Community & Environment, while Hawai‘i ranks 30.
   Hawai‘i's worst ranking is 49th in Adequate Sleep Rate. Hawai‘i ranks 45 in Volunteer Rate while Utah is number one. Both Hawai‘i and Utah have some of the lowest divorce rates, with Utah being the lowest and Hawai‘i fourth. Hawai‘i is also the fifth safest state.
    See the entire WalletHub report and all the metrics at https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-states/6959.

A visitor enjoys the view of fountaining lava from Kīlauea Overlook. NPS Photo


    For the fifth time in almost four years, Kīlauea volcano has a dramatic new eruption in its summit crater with multiple lava fountains feeding a lake of molten rock.
    As an influx of visitors arrives to witness the eruption, everyone is urged to stay safe and be respectful of the hazards and sacredness of Kīlauea by doing the following:

  • Volcanic eruptions can be hazardous and change at any time. Stay on marked trails and overlooks. Do not enter closed areas. Avoid cliff edges and earth cracks, they are unstable.
  • Hazardous volcanic gases present a danger to everyone, especially people with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women.
  • Observe the eruption quietly and respect Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners who honor the sacred legacy of this land and give them space to practice their customs.
  • Slow down and drive safely. Expect long waits for parking spaces at popular vantage points like Kīlauea Overlook.
    The Keanakākoʻi viewing area is closed due to high concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and volcanic particulates and will remain closed until it is safe to reopen. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory measured preliminary sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates up to 100,000 tonnes.
    Optimal viewing of the lava lake and fountains is available at Uēkahuna, Kīlauea Overlook and areas along Crater Rim Trail as of Monday afternoon. Conditions can change at any time.
    The eruption began Sunday, Sept. 10 around 3:15 p.m. and all activity is confined within the summit crater in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. There is no threat to homes or the community at this time. There is a temporary flight restriction above Kīlauea caldera of 1,500 feet AGL.
    Check the park website for eruption viewing information, hazard and closure updates, https://www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes.

AIR QUALITY CONTINUES TO FLUCTUATE, with the new volcanic eruption, reaching its lower quality during windless nights when the vog drifts inland. The air becomes cleaner with the wind blowing it offshore and toward Kona during the day. To see data from the monitors of particulates in the air and the SO2 see the state Department of Health's Hawai‘i Air Quality Data interactive map with links to air quality monitors in Ocean View, Nā‘ālehu and Pāhala. Also playing into air quality is dust largely caused by lack of rain.  See https://air.doh.hawaii.gov/home/map. At midnight Tuesday, the air in Pāhala was rated Unhealthy for Sensitive People with .173 ppm of S02.

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MANY OF THE MAUI FIRE VICTIMS ARE FILIPINO AND THE CONSUL GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINES diplomatic contingency in Hawai‘i is helping out. The Philippine Consulate General’s team has scheduled outreach at the Lāhainā Civic Center Gym from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22, 23 and 24.
Emil Fernandez, Hawai‘i Consul General for the
Philippines, notes the large number of Filipinos
who are victims of the Lāhainā firestorm and has
 offered help through the Consulate.

    The consulate announced that at least four of those who died in a firestorm were Philippines citizens Eight are tied to Filipino nationals. Another 70 who were displaced are receiving assistance from the consul.
    The Consul General told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser that about 40 percent of Lāhainā’s 12,000 residents are Filipino. People from the Philippines make up about 25 percent of the population statewide. He told the newspaper that many of them are already immigrants and U.S. citizens but “still we have quite a number who are so-called green card holders” or legal permanent residents. Many work in the visitor and healthcare industries.
    In Lāhainā, the Consulate helps citizens replace lost travel documents, Philippine passports, access other consular services and help with contacting relatives in the home country and repatriating remains.
    To help Filipino victims in Maui through contact with the Philippines Consulate, see https://www.consularcorpshawaii.org/philippines. Also see https://www.facebook.com/PHinHonolulu/

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ANOTHER HOME GAME FOR KAʻŪ GIRLS VOLLEYBALL is Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. against Makua Lani Varsity at 5 p.m. in the Herkes Kaʻū District Gym in hala. The Trojan girls are on a winning streak taking all three games so far this season.