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Sunday, February 04, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 4, 2024

USDA's Rural Energy for America Program will fund programs for new energy sources in rural places like Kaʻū, quarterly
through Sept. 24. See below for Hawai‘i projects already funded and how to apply. USDA photo

IRONWORKERS UNION 625 has endorsed Dr. Kimo C. Alameda in his run for Mayor of Hawai‘i County. The Alameda campaign issued a statement saying it is "the first major endorsement of the 2024 mayoral race" and "signals that the Big Island mayor's race is now in full swing as other unions and organizations consider which candidates they might support. Alameda is hopeful that he will receive additional endorsements as well."

    Alameda said, "I'm excited to earn the support of everybody who wants to bring the spirit of aloha back to County government."
    Local 625 represents almost a thousand members across the state, including many on Hawaiʻi Island, "who provide essential construction, repair, and maintenance services for critical infrastructure projects," noted the Alameda statement.
    The union endorsement statement said, "Local 625, under the leadership of Mr. T. George Paris, is proud to endorse Dr. Kimo Alameda for mayor. We know he will always put the community first, and fight for the infrastructure investments that Hawaiʻi Island needs."

    Alameda noted "Almost a hundred years ago, my grandfather was an ironworker in Hilo. Back in those days, he and his crew would build and fix all the steam engines, railroad tracks, boilers, and other machinery used on the old sugar mills. Today, Local 625 continues to keep that legacy of hard work and dedication alive. I am very proud to be supported by the amazing members of Local 625."
    See more on the Alameda campaign at www.kimoformayor.com.

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A FATAL HIT AN RUN ON HWY 11 NEAR KA‘ALU‘ALU ROAD INTERSECTION in Wai‘ōhinu early Sunday morning has led to a Hawai‘i Island police search for the driver of the unknown vehicle that hit
the pedestrian. The victim is a 25-year-old Kealakekua man, Kevin Adonay Catellanos-Rodriguez.
    Responding to a call at 3:59 a.m., police investigators determined that an unknown vehicle, possibly a pickup truck or SUV-type vehicle, struck Catellanos-Rodriguez. He was possibly in the middle of the northbound (Kona) lane. After striking the pedestrian, the unknown vehicle fled the area in an unknown direction. Catellanos-Rodriguez was transported to the Kona Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:28 a.m.
    Failure to render aid when a person is injured or killed in a traffic collision is a Class B felony that may be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Failure to render aid is covered under section 291C-14 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.
    The Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit has initiated a negligent homicide investigation and is asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact Officer Dayson Taniguchi at (808) 326-4646, ext. 229, or email at dayson.taniguchi@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.
    This is the fifth traffic fatality this year compared to two at this time last year.

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FUTURE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS FROM KAʻŪ HIGH did well at the HOSA gathering at Hawai‘i Convention Center in Honolulu, Jan. 29-31, according to teacher and mentor Dr. Angie Miyashiro. The HOSA conference was part of the statewide Career & Technical State Organizations Conference, 
Alashae Barrios qualifies to attend the
 national HOSA convention in Houston
 this June. Photo by Dr. Angie Miyashiro
representing 45 public, private and postsecondary schools.                   
Future Health Professionals from Kaʻū High did well at the annual HOSA
state competition in Honolulu in late January. Photo from HOSA
    Miyashiro reported that Alajshae Barrios placed third, qualifying her to attend the national HOSA convention from June 26 - 29 in Houston.
    Maryline Amon came close to qualifying, coming in fifth. The other attendees from Kaʻū High who followed close behind the top two are: Anastasia Kovalik, Rojelin Capueta, Aubrey-Ann Delos Santos, Coleen Ramos, Janeea Bonoan and Nyori Soriano.
    The Career & Technical State Organization Conference serves as a forum for students from four of the five Hawai‘i CTSOs — the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Future Health Professionals (HOSA), Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and SkillsUSA — to apply their Career and Technical Education (CTE) learning in a competitive showcase.
    “The CTSO conference is the culminating event for students to take all of this knowledge that they've been learning in class, and display that in front of authentic judges,” said Daniel Addis, CTE educational specialist for the Hawai‘i State Department of Education.
    Approximately 1,700 students from across the state participated in a range of authentic, real-world competitions in areas including business and marketing, retail merchandising, drone operations, robotics, health science, emergency preparedness, engineering technology and more.                 Competitions took place at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in the form of written exams, interviews and presentations, along with team and individual challenges.           Culinary, automotive technology and carpentry competitions took place off site at Kapi‘olani Community College, Leeward Community College and the Carpenters Training Center in Kapolei.
   Community business partners were invited to judge competitions within their respective fields or industries to help ensure that the student CTE skills were in alignment with real-world industry standards.
    “We really rely on our business partnerships to make sure that we're giving the kids the skills they need to be in that career in the future,” said CTSO State Coordinator Margaret Miura.
    With leadership-building as one of the main focuses of CTSO, business partners also help to mentor and guide students looking to enter an industry.
    A statement from organizers said, "The annual conference aligns with the Department’s efforts to strengthen career and college pathways by providing relevant, real-world learning opportunities that help ensure all graduates are globally competitive. Winners of the state competitions will go on to compete in national CTSO tournaments later in the school year."
    The fifth Hawai‘i CTSO, Future Farmers of America, will host its annual statewide conference on Kaua‘i at the end of February. The Ka‘ū High FFA chapter is raising money to attend the event. To donate to Kaʻū FFA, email kaweni.ibarra@k12.hi.us or send donations to Kaʻū FFA, P.O. Box 100, Pāhala, HI 967677.

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A FARM ON THIS ISLAND WILL RECEIVE A $388,667 GRANT to install a 246-kilowatt (kW) DC solar photovoltaic system. The project, funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program, is estimated to generate 422,591 kilowatt hours (kWh) and replace an on-site energy usage through a net-metering agreement planned with a utility company. The location for the Hualua Farm, LLC project is in Hawi.
    USDA continues to accept REAP applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024 for energy projects in rural places like Kaʻū. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register
    On other Hawaiian Islands, there is other recent funding through REAP.
    A coffee stand and agricultural building project will receive a $23K grant for Johnny V. Enterprises in Hana, Maui.
    Moloka‘i Sea Farms will get an $80K grant to install a 29.520 kilowatt (kW) solar power system to include 72 solar panels for a shrimp farm in Kaunakakai on Moloka‘i. The system is estimated to generate 49,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and replace energy usage from a utility company to ultimately being off the grid.
    Garden Island Dental LLC will get a $28,511 grant to help Garden Island Dental LLC install a 14.4 kilowatt (kW) renewable energy solar project. The business is in Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i and will generate 20,773 kilowatt hours (kWh) for a cost savings of $9,221 annually.
    Under the current federal administration, USDA has invested more than $1.6 billion through REAP in 5,457 renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements throughout the country to help rural business owners lower energy costs, generate new income and strengthen their resiliency of operations.
    Rural Energy for America Program provides grants and loans to help ag producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy and make energy efficiency improvements. "These innovations help them increase their income, grow their
businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families," says a statement from USDA.
    For additional funding, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is investing $207 million in renewable energy and domestic fertilizer projects to lower energy bills, generate new income, create jobs, and strengthen competition for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers. Many of the projects are being funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis. 
     Vilsack made the announcement in late January at the 105th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, and said the investments "will expand access to renewable energy infrastructure and increase domestic fertilizer production, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs that they can then invest back into their businesses and communities.”

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