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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, April 13, 2020

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Cook Cecilia Ito and Baker Thomas Kahihikolo prep for meal service. See more photos and read below for more
on the free weekday breakfasts and lunches for youth served out of Nāʻālehu Elementary and
Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary. 
Photo by Nalani Parlin

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON REAL ESTATE AND THE RETURN OF VISITORS were subjects of economist Paul Brewbaker's virtual presentation on the economy today. Brewbaker gave an hour-long talk to over 500 members of Hawaiʻi Island REALTORS®, West Hawaiʻi Association of Realtors®, and Kauaʻi Board of Realtors®. All three are customer boards of Hawaiʻi Information Service, their Multiple Listing Service, and a statewide real estate tech and data firm.
Economist Paul Brewbaker   
     When asked when things would stabilize in a "new normal," Brewbaker said a lot depends on what Hawaiʻi does right now. "If we get the daily case counts down, we implement contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine, maybe in a year -- maybe in 18 months -- we'll reach the day when a version of herd immunity or a vaccine becomes available," he said. "But my own impression is that the state is not leading as much as following, and not following fast enough."
     "As you know, everything was fine until four weeks ago, and then we went off a cliff together," Brewbaker said. "But for the contagion, really nothing was fundamentally wrong with the economy."
     He discussed the COVID-19 pandemic as a "Black Swan" event -- rare, unpredictable, and impactful, like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2011, the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and the global equity market meltdown in late 2018 as the result of the U.S.-China trade war. "These events are worth remembering," Brewbaker said. "They've never been as big as the one we're experiencing right now, but when things go back to normal, normal will still have these shocks."
     He noted that Hawaiʻi had just had its own "Black Swan" event with the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea. "The East rift zone eruption was a speed bump in increasing valuations," Brewbaker said. "If you're willing to bet that whatever made the Neighbor Islands attractive will continue to be factors influencing investor decisions going out into the 2020s, there's no reason to believe a path like this couldn't be restored."
     In terms of the distribution of home prices, Brewbaker  said Hawaiʻi Island has lower numbers because the East Side of the island has the state's most affordable properties. The Kona side is more similar to Kauaʻi in terms of pricing, and the Hilo side is more similar to Kauaʻi in terms of transaction volumes.
     The key question put to Brewbaker was what the future would look like for Hawaiʻi real estate.
"If you say you're doing forecasting right now, you're not," he said, noting that the current situation is of a scale never before observed. "But I would expect a pull back in sale volumes and some compression in valuations."
     He was also optimistic about some of the changes seen across the industry, such as transaction acceleration through paperless, all-digital tools, and the adoption of virtual tools for property showings and other work. There might also be a shift toward less dense, less urban communities, he said.
     Following Brewbaker's presentation, he answered questions from realtors during the video conference. Brewbaker provided the following five key takeaways:
     Hawaiʻi COVID-19 case counts are responding to social distancing and sheltering-in-place protocols, "bending the curve" in successful mitigation, leading to a possible stabilization by May, at which time risks of revived pandemic infection will have to be managed (contained).
     The sudden emergence of Hawaiʻi's coronavirus infectious threat precipitously decreased new home listings for sale, international and domestic travel, and interest rates, and has also disrupted supply chains and clouded the investment outlook, even for ongoing construction and development.
     Big Island regional and Kauaʻi housing markets were in a relatively stable, extended trajectory of modest, single-digit annual price appreciation and sales volume growth. This trajectory will be disrupted by the sudden stop associated with the novel coronavirus, but it can still serve as a reasonable longer-term benchmark for housing market returns on investment during the inevitable recovery.
     Among lessons from the global influenza pandemic from one century ago (1918-1919) are that recession can be sharp but comparatively brief, that risk of second or subsequent infection waves must be taken seriously, and that it's easy to forget how the risks of Black Swan events are ever-present.
     With tourism as Hawaiʻi's principle export, and primary channel of transmission of the pandemic's economic effects abroad (although not infection, 80 percent of which in Hawaiʻi was introduced by returning residents), prior experience does not compare in magnitude of economic impacts, but does offer insights into the V- and U-shaped nature of these experiences.
     Paul Brewbaker is the former Chief Economist for Bank of Hawaiʻi. See tzeconomics.com.

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WHO CAN RECEIVE PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE from the U.S. Department of Labor? Is there coverage for self-employed workers like gig workers who are unable to work due to shrinking demand for their services? Clarification is the goal of a push from Sen. Mazie Hirono,
     Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and colleagues. The senators seek to "ensure that workers who Congress intended to allow access to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program receive the benefits they deserve."
      The senators wrote, "Parts of the guidance appear narrow or ambiguous, which could make states think they need to exclude workers" whom Congress intended to benefit.
     Senators ask that DOL clarify and improve the program for the gig workers, those with COVID-19, those diagnosed with COVID-19 without receiving a test, workers with underlying health conditions like asthma, and workers without child care options in summer months. Hawaiʻi's Department of Labor & Industrial Relations relies on clear guidance from the U.S. DOL to effectively administer the program and provide the appropriate benefits to all eligible workers, said Hirono. Read the letter here.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

ONE NEW CORONAVIRUS CASE ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND, and five statewide were reported today, continuing a pattern of fewer cases per day. State Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson urged restraint in easing restrictions that appear to be slowing the spread of the virus. He gave the report to a state House of Representative Committee studying health and economic rebound plans concerning the pandemic.

Civil Defense director 
Talmadge Magno.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     The Hawaiian Islands have recorded a total of nine deaths, all on Oʻahu and Maui, with 315 people out of isolation after testing positive and recovering.
     Hawaiʻi Island's COVID-19 case count has risen to 36, according to county Civil Defense, with 11 active cases in quarantine at home and closely monitored by Department of Health. Twenty-five people have been cleared as recovered by DOH. At this date, no one on Hawaiʻi Island has been hospitalized or died. No cases from Kaʻū or Volcano are reported.
     Civil Defense director Talmadge Magno's message today: "The State's proclamation of Stay at Home and its policies of physical distancing, closures, gatherings, and travel remain in effect. These policies all have one major purpose; it is to help stop the spread of the coronavirus from those who may have it and do not know it, to those who do not have it. Remember, just as important that within the policies of 'Stay at Home,' keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy as best as you can. This is a community issue and your help is needed. Thank you for listening, have a beautiful and safe day. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense."
    In the U.S., more than 586,000 people have tested positive for the virus. More than 23,600 have died. The U.S. records the highest death toll in the world from COVID-19, with 3,000 more than Italy. New York has the highest death rate among the states, at over 10,000. At least 43,600 people have recovered.
    Worldwide, there have been more than 1.92 million cases of COVID-19 in over 200 countries. The death toll is almost 120,000. The recovery rate is nearly three million.

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HAWAIʻI IS THE STATE WITH SMALL BUSINESSES MOST AFFECTED BY COVID-19, according to WalletHub. Its analysis shows that Hawaiʻi ranks top in the county in share of small businesses operating in high-risk industries. Hawaiʻi also takes first in share of small-business employees operating in high-risk industries among total small-business employees. Hawaiʻi has the most small-business loans per small-business employee in the country.

     Nationwide, 35 percent of small business owners say their business cannot survive more than three months in current conditions. To view the nationwide report and every state's rank, visit: wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-most-affected-small-businesses-due-to-coronavirus/72977/.


To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Food Services Manager Eileen Naboa at Nāʻālehu El. cafeteria prepares free lunches for kids 18 and under.
Photo by Nalani Parlin

NĀʻĀLEHU ELEMENTARY COMPLETED ITS FIRST WEEK OF FREE BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES FOR KIDS, AGE 18 AND UNDER last Friday. Kids from any type of schooling are invited to enjoy the two free meals, Mondays through Fridays, from Nāʻālehu Elementary and Kaʻū High School cafeterias. Although Kaʻū High has been serving meals since March 23, the staff at Nāʻālehu Elementary started its program last Monday, after an appeal was made to the Department of Education to approve a second feeding site for the vast rural district of Kaʻū.
     At Nāʻālehu, cafeteria workers arrive at 6 a.m. each weekday morning to prepare healthy and nutritious meals. Breakfast service is from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Cars pull up drive-through-style near the Nāʻālehu Elementary cafeteria, where a paraprofessional tutor, MayAnne Salvador, keeps her distance while counting kids in each vehicle. She relays the information to autism educational assistant Marites Casteneda, who calls out the number of meals needed to the cafeteria.
Speedily picking up meals for the family waiting in the car. Photo by Nalani Parlin
     The vehicle carrying the young people to be fed pulls up, staying six feet away, to a table where the cafeteria staff has placed their meals. A designee or two from the vehicle quickly jump out to pick up the meals. The driver takes them home to enjoy the food.

     Other Nā'ālehu Elementary EAs – Cynthia Baji, Christen Kawaʻauhau Young, and Louann Ah Yee – assist with counts and manning the school crosswalk to make sure walkers are safe. Security guard Rolland Alcoran keeps watch over the crosswalk on Highway 11, for those who walk from the surrounding community to pick up meals. Not only are meals provided, but signals of aloha are shared as the staff calls out to keiki in cars and wave hello.

Nāʻālehu Elementary security guard Rolland Alcoran helps families
 and students to cross the highway safely during meal pick-up times. 
Photo by Nalani Parlin
     Nāʻālehu Elementary Food Services Manager Eileen Naboa shared, "I had chicken skin when I saw the line of cars on the first day." She and her staff, which includes cook Cecilia Ito, baker Thomas Kahihikolo, and kitchen helper Jame Oyama, said they are happy to be able to provide this service for the community. However, Naboa said she hopes more parents and kids come out to take advantage of this opportunity. Last week, 229 breakfasts and 365 lunches were served. If more people participate, Naboa said, she can continue to increase the volume of food she orders.

     Naboa advised that anyone coming to pick up several meals, bring a box to make it easier to pick it up. In order to be counted for a meal, kids need to be old enough to chew their own food and feed themselves. Some parents expressed concern over their child needing to be present at school to pick up their free meal. However, Salvador noted that children do not need to leave the car to be counted for the meal. Additionally, all staff wear personal protective equipment and observe social distancing during service.


To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Kokua Harvest Coordinator Lisa DeSantis with Dougles Olsen,
after harvesting citrus at his Orange Wood Estate in Kaʻū.
Photo by Katie Graham
KŌKUA HARVEST VISITED ORANGE WOOD ESTATE IN KAʻŪ last Saturday, April 11, to pick citrus for its islandwide food rescue project. Farm owner Douglas Olsen welcomed Kōkua Harvest Project coordinator Lisa DeSantis and FoodCorps service member Katie Graham onto his farm. They picked nine boxes of citrus in their mission to collect and harvest excess fresh food from farms and other sources, for donation to local food pantries and community partners.

     Hawaiʻi County farmers and homeowners with excess produce on their property can help relieve hunger by donating to Kōkua Harvest. Pickers and gleaners will be provided. The citrus from Olsen's farm will be donated to students at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary School and will be included in bags of groceries delivered to students in Ocean View this week. Olsen also sells beef and a variety of citrus, including Kaʻū gold oranges, tangerines, and tangelos, at his farm on South Point Road. For more information on purchasing from him, call (907) 232-1950.


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A thick cluster of earthquakes near Pāhala does not indicate imminent eruptions. 
A 3.6-MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE RATTLED PĀHALA ON EASTER SUNDAY at The epicenter was 20.6 miles deep, centered about 4.3 miles northeast of Pāhala. About 100 people reported they felt the quake to U.S. Geological Survey. No damage was reported.

     The quake is one of a swarm of over 5,900 deep quakes under Pāhala since August 2019. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has recorded the quakes beneath Kīlauea's lower Southwest Rift Zone. The quakes occur in an area about 6 mi (10 km) wide near Pāhala, at about 15 to 25 mi (25-40 km) below the surface. HVO states the cluster does not mean an eruption is imminent.

     See the HVO report on the cluster of quakes on the April 11 Kaʻū News Briefs.


To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Jake P. Branch

ANOTHER CALL FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE in the search for Jake Branch is requested by Hawaiʻi county police. Branch, a 35-year-old male who frequents Ocean View, Holualoa, and Kona, is wanted on multiple outstanding Criminal Contempt Bench Warrants, BOLO's for Resist Order to Stop, Reckless Driving, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Damage to a Vehicle.
     Branch was most recently contacted by police on April 11, while operating a stolen white Toyota Tacoma Pickup in North Kohala. The vehicle was reported stolen from the Puna District on April 1. The vehicle evaded officers but was later located in the South Kohala District, where officers once again attempted to contact Branch. The vehicle again fled and was located a short time later, abandoned in South Kohala. Branch is also wanted for questioning related to a Burglary reported in North Kohala on April 11.
     Branch is described as being 6-feet 3-inches, approximately 285 pounds, with long brown hair. Branch is known to operate a black Yamaha FJ 1300cc motorcycle with unknown plates.
     Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the police non-emergency number, (808) 935-3311.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

SIGN A PETITION TO URGE A SPECIAL FEDERAL ENROLLMENT FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, requests Sen. Mazie Hirono. She sent out a call today, calling "cruel," Pres. Donald Trump's administration's refusal to open enrollment to uninsured Americans to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     Hirono said, "Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, and some have lost their health insurance. It's never been more critical that every American has access to affordable health coverage... With the coronavirus still spreading, Americans need to be able to see a medical professional or go to the hospital and not face financial hardship. We must make it easier, not harder, for people to seek appropriate care for themselves and their families.
     "We can't allow this to happen. Our families have enough to worry about during this pandemic without Trump depriving them of health care, too. Thank you for speaking up and standing with me. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy." Sign the petition here.

Read online at kaucalendar.comSee Kaʻū events, meetings, entertainmentSee Kaʻū exercise,
meditation, daily, bi-weekly, and weekly recurring events. Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar 
is free, with 7,500 distributed on stands and to all postal addresses throughout Kaʻū, from 
Miloliʻi through Volcano throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com and 
facebook.com/kaucalendar. To advertise your business or
your social cause, contact kaucalendarads@gmail.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Daily, weekly, and monthly recurring Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, Meditation, and more are listed at kaucalendar.com. However, all non-essential activities are canceled through the end of April.

MOST EVENTS ARE CANCELLED for the month of April, to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state is under a stay-at-home order, with l4 days of quarantine required for anyone coming into the state. Interisland travel is restricted. Those in Hawaiʻi should stay at home unless needing to obtain food or medical care.

ONGOING
Free Breakfast and Lunch for Anyone Eighteen and Under is available at Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary and at Nāʻālehu Elementary weekdays through at least the end of April. Each youth must be present to receive a meal. Service is drive-up or walk-up, and social distancing rules (at least six feet away) are observed. Breakfast is served 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Food is being delivered to Ocean View.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen is open, with a modified menu and increased health & safety standards, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Services are posted online on Sundays at stjudeshawaii.org.

The Food Basket Food Pantries Distribution, where families can receive 14 days of food per family:

     The Ocean View location for Tuesday, April 14 will be held at the lot across from St. Jude's Episcopal Church, 92-8606 Paradise Mauka Circle, 
     The Nāʻālehu location is Sacred Heart Church at 95-558 Mamālahoa Hwy, under their Loaves and Fishes program, on Thursday, April 23 from  to  Call 928-8208.

     The Pāhala location is Kaʻū District Gym at 96-1149 Kamani Street, distributed by the ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Pantry, on Thursday, April 30 at  Call 933-6030.
     The Volcano location is Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road Thursday, April 30 at  Call Kehau at 443-4130.


A Free Dinner for Those in Need is served at Volcano Cooper Center at 19-4030 Wright Road every Thursday, by Friends Feeding Friends, between  and 


On Call Emergency Food Pantry is open at Cooper Center Monday through Friday,  It is operated by The Food Basket. Call 808-933-6030.

The Next Learning Packet and Student Resource Distribution for Nāʻālehu Elementary School Students will be Monday, April 27. The packets are designed for learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and can be picked up every two weeks. One family member may pick up for several students in the same family. Students need not be present for the learning resources to be retrieved. Please note the grade of each child. Distribution times are organized by the first letter of the student's last name at the site closest to their home. Supplies will be given out simultaneously.
     Everyone is asked to observe social distancing rules, staying 6 feet away from others during pick-up. See the school website, naalehuel.hidoe.us, for more information and updates.

     Distribution in the Nāʻālehu area is at Nāʻālehu Elementary, Waiʻōhinu, and Discovery Harbour Community Center. Distribution in Ocean View is at the county's Kahuku Park, the area in front of Malama Market, and Ocean ViewCommunity Center.

     At Nāʻālehu Elementary, campus pick-up will be from 9 a.m - 9:20 a.m. for A-H;  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     The Waiʻōhinu pick-up:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     The Discovery Harbour Community Center pick-up:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Morning distribution at Kahuku Park for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Evening distribution at Kahuku Park for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Times for distribution in front of Malama Market are:  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

     Times for distribution at Ocean View Community Center are  for A-H,  for I-P, and  for Q-Z.

Kaʻū Art Gallery is looking for local artists. Call 808-937-1840.

Register for Volcano's ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Keiki Dash by Wednesday, July 22. The second annual event will be held on Saturday, July 25. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to University of Hawaiʻi for furthering research of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death and The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences. See webscorer.com to register.

     Half Marathon registration is $70 through May 24, $80 May 25 through July 22, and $90 for late registration. Registration for the 10K is $50 through May 24, $55 May 25 through Jul 22, and $60 for late registration. Registration for the 5K is $35 through May 24, $40 May 25 through July 22, and $45 for late registration. Keiki Dash registration is $10. All registrations are non-transferable and non-refundable.
     Late registration is only available at packet pickup or race day morning. Shirts are not guaranteed for late registration.  Race Shirts will be included for Half Marathon and 10K participants only. For all other participants, shirts are available to purchase online.

     Packet pick-up is scheduled for Thursday, July 23 in Hilo; Friday, July 26 in Volcano; and Saturday, July 27,  at the race start.
     Half Marathon will start at  Other distances follow shortly after. Keiki Dash will begin at  on VSAS grounds, with the option of one or two laps – about 300 meters or 600 meters. Race cut-off time for the Half Marathon is four hours. The races will begin and end in Volcano Village at VSAS.
     See ohialehuahalf.com.

Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium Closed for Renovation through June 30. The Park is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 spread mitigation. A popular seven-and-a-half minute 2018 eruption video will be shown on a television in the exhibits area, once the Park and center reopen, and is available online for free download.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.



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