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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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A member of the Burke family with her patch of giant pumpkin plants in last year's Giant Fruit & Vegetable 
Contest, sponsored by 4-H. Fill out an online questionare to sign up for 2020. Photo from 4-H

HAWAIʻI ISLAND UNITED WAY AND HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES CHARITABLE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCED $200,000 in funding today to respond to the coronavirus. The two entities donated seed money for the Hawaiʻi Island Recovery Fund. Additional donations from companies and individuals have brought in over $60,000. Contributions to the fund can be made at HIUW.org.
     United Way Chairman of the Board Ilihia Gionson said, "Hawaiʻi Island United Way's mission has always been to unite people, organizations and resources to improve the education, financial stability, and health of our island's families – and all three areas are now being impacted by the restrictions needed to fight the coronavirus threat. These new programs are Hawaiʻi Island United Way's effort to quickly get badly needed resources into the community we love."
     He said that Hawaiʻi Island Recovery Fund will support front-line community response efforts through the ʻEleu Grants program, offering up to $2,500 to initiatives with a one-page application, rapid electronic funds transfers, and a one-page report. Non-profit organizations and community initiatives can learn more about the ʻEleu Grants program and apply at HIUW.org/eleu-grants.
Ilihia Gionson, Chair of Hawaiʻi Island United Way,
announced $200,000 for Hawaiʻi Island Recovery Fund
     Since applications opened last week, ʻEleu Grants have been awarded to: Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi for emergency supplies and personal protective equipment for households in the remote Miloliʻi fishing village; Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council to deliver frozen meals and groceries to low-income seniors in Kaʻū; Child & Family Services to support an increase in demand for to help families in crisis; Hawaiʻi Rise Foundation for distribution of senior and children's packages with household supplies and information, and gathering data on vulnerable households; and YWCA Hawaiʻi Island Preschool to implement distance learning for the island's youngest learners.
     Also funded are: Big Island Substance Abuse Council to ensure access to counseling services for healthcare workers and first responders facing catastrophic stress and burnout; Bridge House to fund additional expenses for the sober living program related to the coronavirus crisis; Hawaiʻi Island Home For Recovery to support an increase in demand for services for homeless people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders; and Mental Health Kōkua for additional expenses for their residential rehabilitation program related to the coronavirus crisis.
     Grantees include: Arc of Kona to continue services to participants with intellectual disabilities;  Hāmākua Youth Center to support remote homework assistance and activities, as their youth participants are no longer able to congregate; Homeless Task Force for their homeless outreach services related to the coronavirus crisis, including family reunification and facilitation of housing to ensure stay-at-home compliance; Hui Mālama I Ke Ala ʻŪlili for the purchase and distribution of Paʻauilo-sourced produce and meat to the Paʻauilo community; Island of Hawaiʻi YMCA to support child care for healthcare workers and first responders; Laʻiʻōpua 2020 to provide weekly hot meals to the Kona community; Makuʻu Farmers Market to purchase local produce from their vendors and distribute to seniors and families in the area.

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

A COVID-19 RENT & UTILITY ASSISTANCE program is offered by Hawaiʻi Island United Way for families facing difficulty making rent or utility payments during this crisis. In partnership with United Ways across Hawaiʻi, over $140,000 in payments will be made on behalf of Hawaiʻi Island participants directly to landlords and utility companies. This funding has been provided by the J. Watumull Fund, Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, HEI Charitable Foundation and American Savings Bank. To apply for up to $1,000 in assistance with rent or utility payments, call 211.
     Karen Davis, Hawaiʻi Island United Way President & Chief Professional Officer, said, "We know that over half of our Hawaiʻi Island households face financial challenges, either below the poverty line or in a category we call ALICE – asset limited, income constrained, and employed That means over half our Hawaiʻi Island households will face challenges making ends meet through this crisis. We stand ready to help."
     For more information about any of these programs and to directly benefit the most vulnerable people in the Hawaiʻi Island community, contact Karen Davis at CPO@HIUW.org.

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

KAI KAHELE FILED TO RUN FOR CONGRESS YESTERDAY. He is seeking the seat held by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard who said during her U.S. presidential campaign that she would not run for reelection to Congress.
     Kahele would leave his post as a state Senator for the Hilo area should he be elected to Congress. "This is momentous for me, and I am excited to continue this journey with all of you to create a better future for our state and nation. Together, there is no challenge we cannot meet, no obstacle we cannot overcome.

     "I am honored to be endorsed by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz; Hawai‘i State Senate President Ronald Kouchi; Hawai‘i State Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani; and former Lieutenant Governor and former Hawai‘i State Senate President Shan Tsutsui. I have profound respect and admiration for these leaders and am humbled to have their support.

State Sen. Kai Kahele, filling out the paperwork to run for the
U.S. House of Representatives. Photo from Kahele's Twitter
     "I am also pleased to announce that we exceeded the campaign's fundraising goal for the first quarter of 2020 and raised $124,000! This is only because of the amazing support of all of you, my campaign team, and my ‘ohana."

     Kai Kahele was appointed to state Senate seat after his father Gil Kahele died. Before redistricting, the senior Kahele represented Kaʻū and Miloliʻi – the Hawaiian village of his family roots.

     After being appointed  to the state Senate, Kai Kahele ran for reelection and won.
     Today, Kahele "volunteered for state active duty today to serve his home state as a lieutenant colonel with the Hawai’i Air National Guard, United States Air Force," in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While he is away, his state senatorial staff will continue many of his Senate duties. His congressional campaign team posted on Facebook, "While he serves his mission with the Guard, you won't be hearing directly from him, but our campaign team will continue our work to spread our message of hope and unity to win this congressional seat in November. We are proud of Kai's service and we look forward to his safe return."

     Kahele recently encouraged the populace to fill out the U.S. Census form. He wrote: "We are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety – but we can't forget the importance of filling out the census. The census plays a vital role in allocating federal funds for resources like education, housing, infrastructure, and even representation in Congress. Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have been historically undercounted in the United States. This can lead to higher incidences of poverty, unemployment, and difficulty attaining education.
     "We have the unique opportunity, every 10 years, to change this. Don't miss this extremely important moment to affect the future of our community by taking the 2020 Census today."

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

Alex Brown grew this giant sunflower plant
with a huge head of seeds during last year's
Giant Fruit & Vegetable Contest. Sign up
for 2020 by filling out an online questionnaire.
Photo from 4-H
A GIANT FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONTEST FOR KEIKI has been announced by Hawai’i County 4H.
The organization will provide the starter plants for this annual event for families and schools to help children to grow them at their farms and yards: giant pumpkins, giant watermelons, giant tomatoes, giant bushel gourds, long gourds and giant sunflower heads. An online session is scheduled to answer questions about growing the food plants. To find out more and sign up, see the online questionnaire.

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.

ʻŌ KAʻŪ KĀKOU MARKET REOPENS on Wednesday in Nāʻālehu with new protocols for vendors and customers. The market will be held at the old Nāʻālehu Fruit Stand land mauka of Hwy 11 from to . Only food, such as produce, meats, eggs, baked goods, honey, and processed foods; food producing items, such as seeds, seedlings, and compost; and sanitation items, such as handmade soaps, will be sold.
     OKK's policy is for anyone on site – all sellers and buyers – must wear a facial mask. Social distancing will be enforced. A "you-touch-it, you-buy-it" policy will be in effect.
     A hand sanitation station will be available. Customers are expected to wipe their hands with sanitizer before entering the vendor area, using their own sanitizer or that provided. by OKK.
     The market temporarily shutdown when the first case of CODV-19  was announced on the island in order for OKK to come up with safe protocol. Market manager Sue Barnett said OKK decided to open up one day a week on Wednesdays. Saturdays could be reintroduced with success and safety shown on Wednesdays, she said.

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.

MANY OF THE RECENT COVID-19 CASES ON HAWAI’I ISLAND COME FROM EMPLOYEES AT TWO MCDONALD'S IN KONA, who gave it to each other and took it home to unwittingly expose friends and relatives, apparently without spreading it to customers.
     The state Department of Health announced today that a cluster of recent cases involves seven lab-confirmed employees at the McDonald's fast food restaurants at Kona Commons and in the Kona Walmart. According to a statement from DOH: "Confirmed the establishment closed its operations at both locations and is currently performing enhanced cleaning. All employees who have tested positive are in isolation and potentially exposed employees without symptoms are self-quarantined at their homes. In addition, five family members exposed to two of the confirmed employees have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total count of this cluster to 12 at this time, including both employees (7) and their close contacts (5). The investigation is ongoing at this time and more cases may be identified related to this cluster.
McDonald's workers at the Kona Commons apparently contracted COVID-19, gave it to one another and
to their families, but unlikely to customers, according the state Department of Health. The fast food
restaurant and McDonald's in the Kona Walmart, which shared employees, are both closed.
Photo from Kona Commons
     "Based on findings thus far, DOH does not believe this outbreak poses a risk to the general public. The department is continuing to work with the food establishment to ensure all possible precautions are being taken to prevent further spread of disease, and that any close contacts of those confirmed are being closely monitored for any immediate changes to their health. The Federal Drug Administration has thus far found no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19."
     McDonald's franchise owner Patrick Lim also issued a statement: "The health and safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority. Our organization is continuing to make changes to restaurant operations to serve food safely and conveniently with the health and well-being of restaurant employees top of mind. We have closed our Kona Commons and McDonald's of Walmart Kona locations for deep cleaning to conduct a comprehensive sanitization of the restaurant. Our thoughts are with our crew members who have been impacted by COVID-19, and we look forward to re-opening when it is safe to do so and with the assistance of the Hawai’i Department of Health in accordance with CDC regulations."
     According to DOH, it "is working closely with the Lim Organization to investigate this localized community spread of COVID-19 among all employees at the Kailua-Kona food establishment that may have been inadvertently exposed. Fortunately, the restaurant, like many other food establishments, had previously implemented social distancing measures to protect customers and prevent exposure prior to an employee testing positive. These measures included protective clear barriers between employees and customers during all transactions. These efforts may have helped to reduce the total magnitude of this cluster."


Most of Hawaiʻi Island's COVID-19 cases are in Kona,
with a cluster at two McDonald's locations.
Image from bigislandvideonews.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.

COVID-19 REPORTS TODAY SHOW THREE NEW CASES ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND and 13 statewide, disrupting a pattern of fewer cases, Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense reported. The island records 39 cases, up 13 cases in seven days - see story above.
     Islandwide, all 11 active COVID-19 cases – up from five last week – are in quarantine at home and closely monitored by Department of Health. Twenty-eight 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.
     Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Hawaiian Islands have recorded nine deaths, all on Oʻahu and Maui. Three hundred and thirty-three victims are out of isolation and recovering. Nine percent of them were hospitalized.
     Over 80 percent of cases in Hawaiʻi were from residents returning to the islands. About 70 percent of cases were on Oʻahu.

     In the U.S., more than 602,000 people have tested positive for the virus out of over 3 million tested. More than 25,700 have died. The U.S. records the highest death toll in the world from COVID-19, with nearly 5,000 more than Italy. More than 101,000 have been hospitalized. At least 47,700 people have recovered.
     Worldwide, there have been more than 1.97 million cases of COVID-19 in over 200 countries. The death toll is over 125,000. The recovery rate is more than three million.

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.

HAWAIʻI TOURISM IS HARDEST HIT IN THE NATION, says WalletHub. According to the report, the Aloha state ranks first in State Dependency on Travel & Tourism Industry, with NevadaMontanaFlorida, and Vermont being second through fifth most dependent. The least dependent states are OhioWisconsinIndianaKentucky, and Alabama.

     Hawaiʻi's Share of Employment in Travel & Tourism-Related Industries is the most in the U.S., followed by NevadaMontanaWyoming, and VermontIlliniosIndianaNew JerseyOhio, and District of Columbia have the fewest employees dedicated to travel and tourism.
     The largest Share of Consumer Expenditures on Travel, and in Travel & Tourism Consumer Spending per Capita belongs to Hawaiʻi, though the District of ColumbiaFloridaNevada, and Wyoming all tied with the islands. The smallest percentage per capita from consumer travel and tourism goes to Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island.

     Hawaiʻi ranks second in Share of Travel & Tourism Industry Generated GDP and Share of Businesses in Travel & Tourism-Related Industries. Alsaka ranks first, Nevada third, South Dakota fourth, and Maine fifth.

     By contrast, Hawaiʻi ranks 14th in Travel Spending per Travel Employee, and 18th in Default Probability on Loans of Businesses in Travel & Tourism Industry.

     Hawaiʻi also has the distinction of having the second-strongest "State Agressiveness Against Coronavirus," behind only Alaska.

     The closure of "non-essential" tourist destinations – including natural wonders like Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park – has "wreaked havoc." However, states WalletHub, "Even if tourist spots were open, though, they wouldn't see much business, as Americans are either encouraged or mandated to practice social distancing and stay at home. As tourism suffers, workers will bear the brunt of the difficulty. According to data from the U.S. Travel Association and Tourism Economics, there could be as many as 5.9 million jobs lost due to declining travel by the end of April. However, the stimulus package signed by President Trump may provide some aid to the industry in the form of business loans, tax relief, and other financial support."

     View the full report and other state's ranks: wallethub.com/edu/states-hit-hardest-by-covid-impact-on-tourism/72974/.


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.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION BOARD MEETING IS CANCELED, reminds OVCA President Suzanne Reiter. The meeting was scheduled for tomorrow, April 15, at  Said Reiter, "Please stay home as much as possible, and continue to stay safe and healthy."


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.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect of Kaʻū and the entire state through at least Tuesday. The National Weather Service states an upper level disturbance moving into the state from the west will produce periods of slow moving heavy rain showers and thunderstorms across all islands through the evening hours. These heavy rains could lead to flash flooding and elevated stream levels.

     "Flash flooding is life threatening. Do not cross fast flowing water in your vehicle or on foot. Monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action if a Flash Flood Warning is issued. If you experience heavy rain or rising water, head to higher ground immediately," states NWS.

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 May is to be announced
     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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