|Hilo Medical Center continues to vaccinate those|
75 and older with expectations of younger fold
qualifying very soon. Photo from HMC
MASS COVID-19 VACCINATIONS FLOODED THE HOME OF THE MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL on Saturday. Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium saw more than 2,000 people come for their shots. Many volunteers assisted, including doctors, nurses, med techs and folks from Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi, who helped out at the Hilo venue. Many teachers and workers from schools in Kaʻū received their first vaccinations.The event was organized by Kaʻū Hospital's sister facility Hilo Medical Center. The vaccinations were scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. HMC's spokesperson Elena Cabatu said it "was fueled by our commitment to good public health in our mission." HMC employees "volunteered on their day off to step up and vaccinate our educators from preschool up to college and those in the airline and retail sectors. "Mahalo also to nursing students from UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, and the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department for your help in prepping and administering vaccines. We also mahalo the Kiwanis’ volunteers and Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi’s community health workers for their diligence in wiping down the chairs in the observation area and assisting with line control."We truly appreciate the Hawaiʻi National Guard’s assistance in security and traffic control. Mahalo to everyone who came out today to get you vaccination. We will see you in three weeks for your second dose on March 13 - please make your second appointment in VAMS."
The Merrie Monarch Festival was cancelled for last year and is expected to go virtual this year, with possible return to live presentations at Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium next year, should the pandemic be over.
Appointments for vaccinations at Hilo Medical Center can be made for those 75 years of age and older.
HELP FOR KŪPUNA TO REGISTER FOR COVID VACCINATIONS, AND ASSISTANCE WITH TRANSPORTATION ARE OFFERED BY OKK. ʻO Kaʻū Kākou is willing to help those 65 and older set up their appointments. For help with registering to receive vaccines, contact Hope Yonemitsu at 206-569-4963. For transportation, contact Nadine Ebert at (808) 938-5124. OKK volunteers are standing by.
MORE SUPPORT FOR FARM TO SCHOOL AND OTHER AGRICULTURE MEASURES before the Hawaiʻi Legislature is the call from the Hawaiʻi Food+ Policy group. The organization was founded by University of Hawaiʻi graduates in Sustainable Community Food Systems. The group tracks food and agriculture legislative measures to "support a more sustainable and resilient food system." Bills supported by Hawaiʻi Food + Policy include:
HB767 Farm to School Program. It moves the Hawaiʻi farm to school program from the state Department of Agriculture to the Department of Education. It sets a goal that 30 percent of food served in public schools shall consist of locally sourced products by 2030. The bill passed the House Committee on Agriculturd & Environment and is scheduled for its third hearing in the Finance Committee this Thursday at 2 p.m. "Help kākoʻo this initiative by submitting testimony in favor of this this bill!" urges the group.
HB702 Farm to School Procurement would require the DOE to establish rules that incorporate a geographic preference for unprocessed locally grown and locally raised food product. It passed a second Agriculture & Environment committee hearing on 2/16/21 and is now awaiting scheduling for third committee hearing in Finance. "Contact the House FIN Committee Chair and ask to get these bill
scheduled!" says the statement from Hawaiʻi Food + Policy.
HB443 Farm to School Program would require a cost analysis of food services and student meals programs to, in part, increase the use of locally grown agricultural products. It passed its second Agriculure & Environment committee hearing on Feb. 16 and awaits scheduling for a third Finance committee hearing. "Contact the House FIN Committee Chair and ask to get these bills scheduled!" urges the Hawaiʻi Food + Policy Group.
HB8 Food Security would establish the Hawaiʻi food security initiative that would be tasked with making a plan to make progress toward permanent food security for the state. The measure includes the goal of deriving a majority of Hawaiʻiʻs food supply from locally-produced, sustainable, and regenerative sources by 2035. It passed the Agriculture & Environment committee, and has been referred to Ways
SB512 SNAP Incentives, Removes the $10 cap on the double up food bucks program and makes healthy proteins eligible purchases. It passed AGR committee, and has been referred to FIN.
SB337 would provide farmers with funding to plant cover crops. The message from Hawai`i Food + Policy says, "Cover crops offer a variety of benefits to soil, farms, and the ecosystem at large. These ecosystem services can range from providing nutrients, attracting beneficial organisms, and reducing soil loss! Cover crops are essential tools for farmers, as they contribute directly to maintaining the health and vitality of our soils. Please consider supporting SB337 that would provide reimbursements for cover crops. Our farmers support us, let's support them!"
Hawai`i Food + Policy points out that in order to stay alive, all bills must pass all their committees
before March 5. "But committee chairs can simply decide not to schedule a bill, and then the bill dies."
It urges interested persons to email Ways & Means Chair Donavan Dela Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to schedule the hearing of the bills.