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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, April 15, 2020

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Hawaiʻi Department of Education released Special Update - Graduation 2020 today, announcing that traditional on-campus graduation ceremonies will not be held. Alternatives are in the making. Vimeo presentation from DOE
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THE IDEA OF A TWENTY PERCENT PAY CUT FOR TEACHERS AND TEN PERCENT FOR NURSES, FIRST RESPONDERS, and other government employees is drawing heavy pushback from public school teacher and state government employee unions.
     In a letter to Gov. David Ige on Tuesday, Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association Pres. Corey Rosenlee wrote that state human resources and buget directors are proposing cuts "to prevent an economic collapse as the coronavirus pandemic cuts off major sources of state revenues. While we recognize the coronavirus has already started to cripple Hawaiʻi's economy, no one can be sure of its long-term impacts. We believe cutting salaries for tens of thousands of state workers is rash and will hurt our state even more."
     Rosenlee, who represents 14,000 educators in the Hawaiʻi public school system, said the HSTA was not given a formal proposal concerning any cutbacks and that "it is unclear if the governor intends to implement these cuts as furloughs or across-the board salary decreases."
HGEA President Randy Perreira
Photo from HGEA
     He also pointed to the appropriation of $863 million to state government and hundreds of millions to counties by Congress.
      The Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association, the union for state workers, also wrote a letter to Ige. The HGEA objects to a 10 percent pay cut to include nurses, correctional officers, and first responders. HGEA Pres. Randy Perreira told Ige in a letter, "I'd like to remind you that a significant number of the employees we represent continue to provide critical services to the public, without appropriate protective equipment." In a video, released to the public, Perreira said, "Frankly folks, I have lost all, all confidence that this administration is going to pull us out of this problem."
     During his press conference on Tuesday, the Governor said that state officials are considering other fund management "in anticipation of significant reductions in revenues to fund state services."

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PROTECTING TEACHER PAY AND LAYOFFS is the goal of the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association. Its President Corey Rosenlee sent out this message this week to teachers across the state:
     "Over the past several weeks, I have been amazed and impressed by your actions during this coronavirus crisis. In a time of isolation and social distancing, you are finding innovative ways to provide educational opportunities to connect with our keiki and support our communities. It is truly inspiring. Today, I urge you to go one step further.
     "COVID-19 is not only impacting our health, it is devastating our economy. Visitor spending makes up the majority of our state's income. With tourism and non-essential businesses shut down, economists are predicting a massive plunge in tax revenue.
     "We do not know exactly how this crisis will impact education funding, but the reality is clear. There is no escaping this economic disaster. There will be cuts to the state budget, and we expect the Department of Education to be affected. We could face furloughs, hiring freezes, and/or salary changes.
Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee
asks for testimony to support teacher pay and jobs.
Photo from HSTA
     "The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association and our parent union, the National Education Association, are working to minimize this impact by urging Congress to ensure critical federal funding is reserved for education. States need this money to keep our public schools running.
     "But we can't do it alone. Amplify our collective voice by sending your own message to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Remind them how important it is to support our schools so our students don’t suffer. Warn them of the devastating impacts a lack of funding would have on our keiki, our community, and our future." He sent a link to submit public testimony.

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.

FOUR NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES ON HAWAIʻI ISLAND TODAY, and 13 statewide, were reported today. The Hawaiian Islands have recorded a total of nine deaths, all on Oʻahu and Maui, with 359 people out of isolation after testing positive and recovering. The hospitalization rate for those 60 years of age and older is 19 percent; 40-59, 5.8 percent; 20-39, 2.9 percent; and zero percent for those under 20.

Civil Defense director 
Talmadge Magno.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     Hawaiʻi Island's COVID-19 case count has risen to 40, according to county Civil Defense, with 11 active cases in quarantine at home and closely monitored by Department of Health. Twenty-nine 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.
     DOH continues the investigation of the fast food situation in Kona to "ensure that all precautions are taken," preventing further spread of the virus. Based on findings thus far, DOH does not believe this outbreak poses a risk to the general public.
     Civil Defense director Talmadge Magno's message today: "As you may know, the County's task force on disinfection continues seven days a week, and motorist are asked to please drive with caution and be on the lookout for them. Do keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy as best as you can. Look out for each other, be well, and please wear your mask. Thank you for listening, have a safe day. This is your Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense."
Hawaiʻi County map, showing distribution of COVID-19 cases by zip code.
     In the U.S., nearly 642,000 people have tested positive for the virus. More than 28,400 have died. The U.S. records the highest death toll in the world from COVID-19. At least 52,000 people have recovered. More than 101,000 have been hospitalized.
     Worldwide, there have been more than two million cases of COVID-19 in over 200 countries. The death toll is almost 137,000. The recovery rate is 512,000.

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 IS ONE OF THE TOP TEN STATES IN CHILDREN'S HEALTH CARE, according to the WalletHub report 2020's Best & Worst States for Children's Health Care. WalletHub also released a video.

     In order to determine which states offer the most cost-effective and highest-quality health care for children, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbiaacross 33 key metrics. The data set ranges from share of children aged 0 to 17 in excellent or very good health, to pediatricians and family doctors per capita.

     Hawaiʻi ranks seventh overall, placing sixth in kid's health and access to health care, and 13th in kids nutrition and physical activity. The good attributes of Hawaiʻi health care outweighed its first-place rank for having unaffordable medical bills, fourth in number of uninsured children, seventh in obese children, and tenth in overweight children. It ranks first place for having the most cost-effective and highest quality health care, 13th in percent of children in excellent or very good health, 19th in percent of children with medical and dental preventive care visits in the past year, 24th in pediatricians and family doctors per capita, and 24th in percent of children with excellent or very good teeth. It ranked 49th for kids oral health overall. See the full report here.


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New rules are in place for vendors and customers at the OKK Market in Na`alehu.
The market is open 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. Photo by Bryanna Ehls
ʻO KAʻŪ KĀKOU WILL GIVE OUT FREE EGGS AND HOT DOGS at the Kahuku County Park in Ocean View tomorrow, Thursday, at 11:30 p.m. The fresh eggs will be in cartons and the hot dogs in packages, ready to take home.

ʻO KAʻŪ KĀKOU MARKET IN NĀʻĀLEHU SOLD OUT of most food today. It opened at 8 a.m. and most fresh food was gone by 10 a.m.
     The market is
selling fresh beef, vegetables and fruits from local farms, baked goods, and locally made soaps.
     The new protocol requires vendors and customers to wear masks. Hand washing stations and sanitizer are provided, and all patrons must use use hand sanitization before entering the market.
     To sign up to sell at the market next Wednesday, call manager Sue Barnett at 808-345-9374.

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.

The number of meals given out by Boys & Girls Club
has soared to 702 a day. Photos from Boys & Girls Club
HOT MEALS TO OCEAN VIEW began today for Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island youth members. Volunteers bring the food on weekdays from Hilo to Nāʻālehu for pick up and distribution to the children in Ocean View.
     Less than a month ago, Boys & Girls Club launched 200 free meals a day from its East Hawaiʻi Kitchen to support those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization has ramped up production, transporting and delivering 702 hot meals a day, and adding on a kitchen in Kona. All meals continue to be free. In some areas, kūpuna are also served hot meals.
     "The struggle and need continues, and the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island will do what we can to support Hawaiʻi Island, our communities, and our most at-risk and vulnerable populations," said the organization's CEO, Chad Cabral.

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Kitchens are operating for Boys & Girls Club
in Hilo and Kona to provide free food.
HELPING FARMERS TO SELL DIRECTLY TO SCHOOLS, FARMERS MARKETS, CONSUMER institutions, retail markets, restaurants, food hubs, and regional distribution centers is the aim of a letter from Sen. Mazie Hirono and colleagues. They ask Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to set aside a portion of the $9.5 billion in the third coronavirus relief package toward this effort.

     Hirono said that Hawaiʻi's local farmers continue to explore ways to get their produce to consumers while the pandemic prevents some of their usual means of distributing their produce. In their letter, the Senators urge timely action from the USDA to protect local food producers from the fallout of the pandemic and ask for continued support of farmers in future relief packages.

     The Senators wrote, "We urge you to protect the rich diversity of American agriculture by working with producers who supply local markets to tailor USDA relief efforts to their needs. To do this, we respectfully request that you provide payments to local food producers for lost revenue and additional cost incurred by the COVID-19 disaster."

     The letter also notes that the "growth of the local food economy over the last decade has nurtured a diverse group of small and medium size producers who depend on direct markets to reach consumers. Consumers benefit from having more choices and a deeper connection to where their food comes from and how it is grown. Unfortunately, these losses, compounded by increased sanitization and transportation expenses, threaten the survival of many of the farms that supply local food systems."
     The letter was also signed by Senators Brian Schatz, Amy Klobochar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and others. The letter can be found here.


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HAWAIʻI WILDLIFE FUND IS REDIRECTING ITS EFFORTS during the pandemic. The organization is shifting from volunteer events like the beach and shoreline cleanup days in Kaʻū. "During this new era of the Coronavirus pandemic while our team is still working hard to further our mission to protect Hawaiʻi's plants, animals, culture, and environment," the organization encourages volunteers to "shift your efforts to supporting our island communities (if you haven't done so already) in whatever ways you are able (by donating time, money, homemade masks, delivering food, etc.) in addition to continuing to caretake our beloved Hawaiʻi nei and planet Earth. We are hopeful that this current situation will bring countries, islands, and communities together to support each other through this challenging period."
     Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund suggests the KANU Hawaiʻi's Respond with Aloha website for opportunities to get involved – see link. "You can also help support farmers and businesses by buying local (think zero waste and sustainable) and getting take-out from restaurants that remain open at this time. Those itching to get outside and enjoy a little nature therapy... can join Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund and friends with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi to promote #antisocialcleanup efforts through hosting solo D.I.Y. style cleanup events at a beach, community park, trail, campus, or a yard. And for some light humor, we'd recommend the "Nature Rx" YouTube channel – however, language may not be suitable for kids!"
     See the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund YouTube cannel for educational entertainment, events, and keiki environmental education videos here. A Virtual Earth Day celebration will be held on Sunday, April 26, from  to  with Hannah Bernard one of the featured speakers. Check social media and web calendar from more.
     Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund is working on developing COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures for future wildlife fieldwork operations with volunteers. Hawaiʻi Wildlife Team for Kaʻū includes Megan Lamson and Noheal Kaʻawa.

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 HIGH SURF ADVISORY is in effect for west-facing shores of Hawaiʻi Island, from South Point to Mahukona in North Kohala, effective at Wednesday night through Thursday evening, warns the National Weather Service. A High Surf Advisory means surf will be higher than normal, shore break, and dangerous currents could cause injury or death.

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.

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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