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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 10, 2024

Keriah Wong won the sixth grade division of the Keiki Water Conservation Poster Contest
in 2023. The 2024 contest with theme Water is Life is now open for submissions.

WATER IS LIFE IS THE THEME FOR THE KEIKI WATER CONSERVATION POSTER CONTEST, open for entries through Friday, March 15. This is the county Department of Water Supply's six annual event open to Hawai‘i Island students attending kindergarten through the sixth grade.
    The free contest promotes the importance of reducing water waste and protecting drinking water supplies. A statement from DWS says, the contest "challenges keiki to utilize artistic ways to depict conserving our most precious resource – safe drinking water."
    Conservation ideas, including the video Save Water to Help the Earth, are posted under the Conservation link at www.hawaiidws.org.
    Keiki can submit original artwork illustrating this year's theme on a flat, 11-by-17-inch paper. Any medium may be used, except for three-dimensional renderings, chalk, charcoal and oil-based crayon. No computer graphics or photographs will be accepted. Make sure each poster lists the artist's name, school, and teacher in legible print.
    Prizes will be awarded to first and second-place entrants from each grade level K-6, as chosen by a panel of judges, for a maximum total of 14 winners island-wide. The Department of Water Supply will announce winning entries on its website, www.hawaiidws.org, and at a future meeting of the Water Board of the County of Hawai‘i.
     Each poster submission should be accompanied by a completed entry form available at www.hawaiidws.org, via email by contacting dws@hawaiidws.org or by calling DWS on regular working days at (808) 961-8050. There is no charge to enter. Contest entries should be mailed to DWS in Hilo or dropped off in designated bins at DWS' offices in Hilo, Kona or Waimea by Friday, March 15, 2024. Address locations and additional contest rules are listed on the attached entry form and at www.hawaiidws.org.
    Founded in 1949, the Department of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous agency of the County of Hawai‘i. The Department's mission is to provide customers with an adequate and continuous supply of safe drinking water through the operation of its 23 separate water systems that combined deliver approximately 25 million gallons of water each day to Hawai‘i Island communities.

A FREE COURSE FOR GROWING FOOD, INCLUDING ON-FARM TRIALS, is being offered with grant funding for participants in Kaʻū. Instructor is Jana Bogs, MS, PhD, who offers the online, interactive course, Perfect Soil, Ultimate Food, Vibrant Health
    Bogs is a farm soil consultant based in Nāʻālehu who was recently awarded more grant funding to work
with Big Island farmers. She said the course with the on-farm trials that she teaches and directs each year helps local farmers grow more and better quality foods. "The basis is extensive soil and plant tissue analyses to better understand what organically-approved amendments to apply to the soil to help the plants."
    Bogs said there have been "outstanding results in our farm trials with increasing quality and quantity of production."  She gives the example of Bryan Riley's farm here in Ka‘ū.
     Last year, the grant-funded course welcomed seven farmers to participate, including Chelsea Cox who sells at ‘O Ka‘ū Kākou Market, "all with excellent results." said Bogs.
    Bogs is taking applications for the course/farm trials to start around the end of February. Boggs also offers advice through her program Done-With-You Garden Optimizing Makeovers and a free video mini-course Creating Health from the Soil Up!

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HAWAI‘I RESIDENTS HAVE ONE OF THE NATION'S TOP SIX CREDIT SCORES, according to a WalletHub report released this week. The top states in the third quarter of 2023 were Iowa with 711, Massachusetts with 707, Vermont with 702, Rhode Island with 701, Colorado with 700 and Hawai‘i with 699.
    WalletHub's tips for improving credit scores are:
    Pay on time and in full on credit accounts: Paying bills on time is very important for improving 
credit score. Make sure to pay at least the minimum amount by the due date. For credit cards or other types of revolving credit, paying the full balance every month can give the score an extra boost and save money on interest.
    Keep credit utilization low: It's good to use less than 30% of a credit card’s credit limit, and keeping utilization in the 1% to 10% range will produce the best results. Even without using card to make any purchases, credit can still be built.
    Pay in full, if possible: On revolving credit accounts like credit cards, paying off the full balance each month instead of just making the minimum payment can raise credit score even more. It also saves money by avoiding interest.
   Avoid opening too many new accounts: Opening lots of new credit accounts quickly can bring down a credit score. Each new account leads to a hard inquiry, which can make the credit score drop for a little while. Try to wait at least six months between applications to give the score time to recover.
   Check credit reports for accuracy: Get free copies of credit report and check them for mistakes. If errors are found, make sure to dispute them. Inaccurate information on a credit report could cause undeserved credit score damage.
   Get personalized advice: Websites like WalletHub can keep an eye on progress with free credit monitoring and provide personalized advice on how to make credit scores better.

A STREAMLINED VEHICLE REGISTRATION WEBSITE is online. It offers simplified navigation with easily identifiable links through user-friendly buttons, ensuring quick access to frequently used
    An added informational bar provides real-time updates and announcements, complementing various access points such as organized sections and menus for residents to find information efficiently.
    Addressing user feedback, information is now thoughtfully organized under relevant sections, eliminating unnecessary sifting. Forms and crucial details are prominently displayed, reducing the need for extensive reading.
    Mayor Mitch Roth said, "Our goal is a user-friendly government. These website updates reflect our commitment, ensuring a seamless experience for residents accessing essential information." Explore the updated website at vrl.hawaiicounty.gov/home-vrl.

A REPEAT OF THE WEATHER ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY is expected as a cold front comes down from the northwest. There is also the possibility of thunderstorms with high winds and heavy showers starting Thursday.
   National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory starting Thursday at 6 a.m. for surf 12 feet to 18 feet high on north-facing shores, and 8 feet to 14 feet along west-facing shores. A coastal flood statement is in effect through early Saturday morning.
   Snow and ice remain on Maunakea with the road closed above 9,200 feet at the visitor station.

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The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail.
2,500 on the streets.