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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023

This nēnē family has drawn protection through closing areas were they are nesting at Uēkahuna in Hawai'i Volcanoes
 National Park. NPS 
Photo by Janice Wei

    Nēnē geese are rare and Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is giving them added protection by closing off areas where they are nesting. In late November, HVNP blocked part of the parking lot at Uēkahuna and a short stretch of Crater Rim Trail east to protect a pair of breeding nēnē – the state bird and endemic Hawaiian goose. Uēkahuna overlook remains open but should biologists determine the nēnē pair requires more protection, additional areas could close with little notice.
    "The temporary closure prevents human activity from disrupting the nēnē family and is an important
Nēnē are rare and the Park closes off areas where they nest.
NPS photo

action we take to help them survive and raise their young," said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Wildlife Biologist, Dr. Kristina Paxton. "Nēnē face many challenges, including predation by feral cats and mongoose and deadly contact with vehicles."
    Nēnē typically mate for life. Female nēnē lay between two and five eggs and will incubate them while the male guards the family. Incubation takes about 30 days, but re-nesting could occur if eggs are destroyed or abandoned.
    Nēnē nesting season is October through May, and many geese are seen on or near roadways throughout the park, making them especially vulnerable to deadly vehicle strikes this time of year. Visitors can help protect nēnē by slowing down, watching for nēnē near roads, and never, ever feeding nēnē. Keep wildlife wild and give nēnē space by staying at least 60 feet from them.
    Last year, a different nēnē pair nested near the western end of Uēkahuna which prompted a five-week closure of the entire parking lot, restrooms and overlook to protect the family.
    To learn more about nēnē, visit the https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/nature/nene.htmwebsite for history, a video, and a podcast about these rare and magnificent native geese.

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A MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FROM HOVEIDA FAMILY FOUNDATION will not only help Ka'ū Hospital and Rural Health Clinic's mother ship, Hilo Medical Center, but also help improve access to training for those living in Ka'ū who are seeking health careers. It will help to provide housing for doctors and other healthcare providers working here and around the island. It will expand mental health services. A statement from the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, which received the gift, called the grant "a major milestone in our mission to enhance healthcare services and improve the well-being of the East Hawai'i community."
    The statement says, "The Hoveida Family Foundation, known for its commitment to philanthropy and fostering positive change, has recognized the vital role played by Hilo Medical Center Foundation in providing exceptional healthcare service opportunities to the people of East Hawai'i and the surrounding areas."

  Plans for the funding are to further advance ongoing initiatives aimed at enhancing patient care, expanding medical services, and improving the overall patient experience especially in the behavior/mental health medical services area. The Foundation has already renovated a home in Hilo where students from Ka'ū and elsewhere can stay during training and to provide housing for traveling health care providers.
    The Hoveida funding will be directed towards several critical areas, including
    Healthcare Workforce Pipeline: The grant will be used to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts, support outreach/awareness program activities that support students from under-resourced areas to enter a health career, thereby earning a living wage. Scholarships will be awarded to those seeking to advance in their careers as well as physician subsidies to bring in new providers to increase access to healthcare services for community members in East Hawai'i.
    Mental Health Services Expansion: The grant will assist with the expansion of mental health services in East Hawai'i through the creation of a steering committee to bring together mental health providers, healthcare organizations, and the County of Hawai'i to strategize on mental health care delivery, identify gaps in care, and leverage resources to increase access to critical mental health services across the region. The mental health services expansion monies will also include subsidies to mental health providers to increase access to mental health services in the East Hawai'i Region.
    "We are immensely grateful to the Hoveida Family Foundation for their generous grant," said Lisa Rantz, Executive Director of the Hilo Medical Center Foundation. "This transformative investment will enable us to make significant strides towards advancing mental health care in our community. With their support, we will continue to improve patient outcomes, enhance medical services, and touch the lives of countless individuals and families."
    Rebecca and Bahman Hoveida, Co-Chairs of Hoveida Family Foundation, said, "Hawai'i is a special place for all of us, and as residents we want to make a positive contribution to the Island's health care system. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to the Hilo Medical Center Foundation and hope other organizations and individuals follow suit in supporting the medical system on Hawai'i Island. As a part of the community, we have witnessed the lack of available medical and mental healthcare

services on our island. Families should not have to suffer the expense and time it takes to travel off island to receive the medical care they so greatly need and deserve. Individuals dealing with a mental health crisis should be given the opportunity to seek out psychological help instead of being forced through the criminal system. 

    "We can provide better long-term solutions by encouraging our intelligent and motivated students to seek out degrees in the medical and mental health fields so that they can return here to serve their 'ohana. With the support and involvement of the local community, we can find the best long-term solution to recruit for otherwise unavailable medical services and retain our current medical professionals in order to grow our healthcare options on Hawai'i Island." Earlier this year the Hoveida Foundation gave $10 million to Mayo Clinic. See https://hoveidafoundation.org/

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7,500 printed, 5,000 in the mail

Directed by Kaʻū's own Farley Sangels and four other
musicians from Kaʻū.