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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, March 4, 2021

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Two visitors approach Kīlauea Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which lost more than half of its
visitation numbers in 2020, due to the pandemic. See more below.  NPS Photo/Janice Wei
ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL FOREST IN HAWAIʻI is the subject of legislation introduced into Congress by all four members of Hawaiʻi's Congressional Delegation this week. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Ed Case and Rep. Kai Kahele introduced bills that direct the U.S. Forest Service to assess the potential for Hawaiʻi lands to be declared a national forest, in partnership with local stakeholders from the state and community. The U.S. Forest Service is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Kaʻū has the largest stands of native forest in the state. It includes Kaʻū Forest Reserve, established on Aug 2, 1906 by the governor of the Territory of Hawaiʻi. The 61,000 acres are held by the state and managed by the Division of Forestry & Wildlife. It is a critical watershed. Other forests in Kaʻū are held by private landowners, Kamehameha Schools, the state and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
    Across the United States, more than 150 national forests receive federal funding to sustain healthy forests, conserve watersheds and wildlife habitats, reduce fire hazards, and provide community recreational access. The national forest designation also allows for further research opportunities as well as other federal support and natural resource management, says a statement from the Congressional Delegation.
    Hirono said, “Hawaiʻi has unique biodiversity that is currently not represented within the National Forest System. At a time when our environment, species, and watersheds are under constant threat, efforts like this bill can help identify forests in Hawaiʻi that are most suitable to preserve as a national forest. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I urge Congress to take action so that the Forest Service can consider managing and conserving forest ecosystem resources in Hawaiʻi,"

   Schatz said, "Hawaiʻi’s rainforests are home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the country, but hundreds of these species are endangered and in need of protection. Our bill is a critical first step to conserving these vibrant ecosystems and establishing our state's first national forest."
    Case said, “Advancing establishment of Hawaiʻi’s first National Forest is long overdue, especially given that we have some of the most unique forest resources in the world. A designated National Forest at home would expand upon the Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest by providing greater support for tropical forest conservation and research throughout the Hawaiian Islands, provide great public access to lands for recreational activities and cultural practice, and help our Hawaiʻi diversify its economy.”
    Kahele said, “The potential establishment of Hawaiʻi’s first national forest reserve is an important step toward the conservation and expansion of our unique and vibrant ecosystems. Hawaiʻi’s finite natural resources, wildlife, and endangered plant species must be protected. A national forest reserve here at home will help to ensure that for generations to come.”

    Bob Masuda, First Deputy of the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, said, "The people of Hawaiʻi share a passion for the lands and resources that have sustained our islands for generations. It’s ingrained into our culture and outlook. We understand that we live with finite resources on a limited land base. We are particularly sensitive to the threats of pollution, climate change, and invasive species. The State and the U.S. Forest Service have a successful record of ongoing collaboration. We believe Hawaiʻi’s existing State Forest Reserves, watershed and endangered species protection programs would align well with a National Forest in Hawaiʻi."
    Hirono is a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. Case is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The bill will be referred to these committees for consideration. If enacted, the bill would require the Forest Service to submit a report within three years to Congress that includes results and any recommendations or conclusions.


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.

NEARLY 600,000 VISITORS CAME TO HAWAIʻI VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK IN 2020. The Park reported today that the 589,775 who visited Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, was a 57 percent decrease from 2019 when the park welcomed 1,368,376. 
    According to the statement released today, the park staff was ready for visitation to rise in 2020, following the annual spike during the holidays, and had already seen a slight uptick in January and February 2020 from 2019 (2 percent), before the pandemic struck. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every National Park Service operation, and parks continue to work with public health officials to navigate changing conditions. Some 66 national parks were fully closed for two months or more, including Hawaiʻi Volcanoes, during Gov. David Ige's Stay at Home order.
In 2018, 1.1 million visited. In 2019. it was 1.3 million. With the pandemic, visitation
 dropped to under .6 million in 2020. Prepandemic photo by Janice Wei/NPS

   “Park staff continue to work hard to keep Hawaiʻi Volcanoes a safe place for our community and visitors to recreate outdoors, and a safe place to work, by implementing and following federal and local public health guidelines during this pandemic,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “Currently, almost all trails and backcountry areas that were open before the pandemic are open again. We continue to urge everyone to recreate responsibly and maintain physical distance and
small group size, wear masks, and frequently sanitize hands,” Loh said. To protect the health of those who live, work and visit America’s national parks, face masks are required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on federally managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and parking lots.
    Learn more about National Park Service visitation for all park units on the NPS visitor use statistics website. Plan your visit and find out what’s going on with the volcanoes on the park website: www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes.

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.

TENDER LOVING CARE OF MAUNA LOA ROAD BEGAN TODAY. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park noted that Mauna Loa Road, Hilina Pali Road, the Kīpukapuaulu turnabout and Nāmakanipaio Campground and cabin access roads are receiving roadside vegetation management and pavement preservation work. The TLC requires extended road closures and/or single-lane closures through April 19.

Mauna Loa Road in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei
    Mauna Loa Road will be fully closed past the gate at Kīpukapuaulu. No vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians allowed during work hours through March 26, weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
    Mauna Loa Road will be open to bicycles and pedestrians after 4 p.m. on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday but will remain closed to vehicles.
    Hilina Pali Road will be fully closed past Kulanaokuaiki Campground to the Hilina Pali Lookout. No vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians during work hours.
from March 16 to April 19, weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Road will be open to bicycles and pedestrians after 4 p.m. on weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday but will remain closed to vehicles.
    Kīpukapuaulu Turnabout will have single-lane closures, no restrictions on access.
on Monday, March 29 (one day), 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Nāmakanipaio Campground and Cabin Access Roads will have single-lane closures, no additional restrictions on access, on March 30 and 31, 7 am. to 4 p.m.
    Backcountry access to Mauna Loa summit and areas in the southwest rift zone of Kīlauea will be rerouted. All existing backcountry permits will be honored. Contact the Backcountry Office, 808-985-6178 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with questions, or email havo_backcountry@nps.gov. The Park explained that pavement preservation is needed to maintain and preserve roadways, and includes patchwork like fixing potholes, heaves and depressions. Some areas will be repaved and others will be treated with durable sealant.

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.

Honuʻapo resident Kiko Kitazawa-Johnston, a cultural, historical educator and Captain of the Golden Rule peace boat, on
 March 1, commemorated the day in1954 when the U.S. conducted nuclear testing at Bikini Atol. Kitazawa-Johnston flew
 Marshall Islands and Hawaiʻi flags aboard Wa'akaulua, his Hawaiian double hulled sailing canoe in Hilo's Wailoa River.
Photo from Veterans for Peace
COMMEMORATING THE VAPORIZATION OF PACIFIC ISLAND ATOLLS to test nuclear bombs, Marshall Islanders joined members of the Veterans For Peace, Hawaiʻi Peace & Justice and the Refuse Fascism organizations this past Monday, March 1. They focused on the 1954 U.S. detonation of the Castle Bravo nuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll and the destruction of atolls. 
    On Oʻahu, after sharing words and song, five Bikinians went sailing on the historic Golden Rule anti-nuclear sailboat, a project of Veterans For Peace. 
Pacific Islanders commemorate nuclear testing that forced them
to leave their atolls. Photo from Golden Rule Project
    The Captain of the Golden Rule is Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa, of Honu`apo. Waterman James Akau, of Pāhala, has also been a crew member on Golden Rule crossings. 
     On Hawaiʻi Island, Kitazawa-Johnston raised Marshallese flags on his own outrigger Hawaiian sailing vessel Waʻakaulua at Wailoa River, in consultation with the Marshallese Community, including representatives of the four irradiated atolls. 
    Both the Hawaiʻi Island and Honolulu commemorations are part of the Golden Rule Project's educational program about the growing danger of nuclear war, and the great damage that has already been done by nuclear weapons, said Golden Rule Project Manager Helen Jacaard.
    She tells the story: "At 15 megatons, 1,000 times the magnitude of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapons, the Castle Bravo bomb vaporized three islands and contaminated many others. Despite a stern warning from the weather forecaster, Castle Bravo was blasted on a day when the wind was blowing over the Marshall Islands population. Fine white radioactive fallout rained down on the islanders, with children playing in the "snow" and even eating it. The radioactive fallout from this weapon has forever devastated the lives of the Marshallese people, who continue to suffer from deadly cancers and other health problems. Many Marshallese have been forced to leave their beloved islands."
    At the Honolulu commemoration, Bikinian men, women and children displayed a banner showing a large nuclear bomb mushroom cloud and reading, "We Are Not Alone." Nixon Jibas, an elected Council member representing all Bikinians exiled to Kili and Ejit Islands, read a statement from his brother, Bikini Mayor Anderson Jibas. Highlights of the statement include:
The Golden Rule, under the captainship of Kiko
Kitazawa-Johnston, is expected to sail to U.S. ports
with its anti-nuclear peace message for the public. 
Photo from Golden Rule Peace Project
    
    "Today only four workers live on Bikini Atoll. Of the 167 people who were on Bikini on March 1, 1954, only 11 are still alive. The U.S. can clean up Bikini Atoll. America spent $142 million dollars every single day in the war in Afghanistan in 2018. Just 3 days of that budget would clean up Bikini and make right what is wrong and would bring recognition to the huge contribution Bikini has made to the U.S. defense capabilities. Can we get some justice?
    "When I say that the U.S. tricked the Bikinians into moving from Bikini, I mean they really were tricked. There were no lawyers representing Bikini when the U.S. came and asked Bikinians to move in 1946. No one told the Bikinians that there would be 23 nuclear bombs exploded on their islands. For the past 20 years, the current Changed Circumstances Petition in Washington, DC has been tossed around like a beach ball between Congress, the Administration and the Courts.
    "The Council and I led the successful effort to get control of the Bikinian Resettlement Trust Fund in order to recognize that the grossly unfunded 'resettlement' would never become a reality unless the people of Bikini raise additional funds. To that end, we have implemented revenue-raising projects , and projects meant to ease the hardships of his people living in exile."
    The Bikini Atoll exiles also shared a mournful song, written by a 33-year old Bikinian after being evacuated. The composition has become the Bikinian Anthem. Here are the words, translated into English: 

No longer can I stay; it's true.
No longer can I live in peace and harmony.
No longer can I rest on my sleeping mat and pillow
because of my island and the life I once knew there.
Nuclear blast that vaporized homes and natural habitats for U.S. nuclear
testing at Bikini Atoll in 1954, the loss commemorated in Hawaiʻi this week.
The thought is overwhelming
rendering me helpless and in deep despair.

My spirit leaves, drifting around and far away where it becomes caught in a current of immense power –
And only then do I find tranquility
.
    
    On Bikini Day, March 7, Bikini Island refugees will be busy commemorating the day they were removed from the atoll to make way for the nuclear tests. Golden Rule crew member Keith Oney, a Navy veteran member of Veterans For Peace, reports that the Bikinians may go sailing on the Golden Rule again on Bikini Day.
    The Marshall Islands were the original destination of the Golden Rule crew of Quaker peace activists in 1958. To learn more about the Golden Rule and her upcoming voyages in the U.S., visit www.vfpgoldenrule.org or contact Helen Jaccard at 206-992-6364, vfpgoldenruleproject@gmail.com
    For a comprehensive article on the Castle Bravo disaster, click 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.

The Kahuku Coastal county lands, bought with the Two Percent Fund from property
taxes, is the subject of a public survey online and a meeting March 20. Photo from PONC

Read the March edition of The Ka`u Calendar at www.kaucalendar.com



HIKE ONE OF THE MANY open trails, drive to the overlooks in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park at Volcano and Kahuku units. See nps.gov/havo.

WALK THROUGH A GUIDED NATURE TRAIL & Sculpture Garden, Mondays, 9:30 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. No reservations for five or fewer – limited to ten people. Free; donations appreciated. Email programs@volcanoartcenter.org. Garden is open to walk through at one's own pace, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. www.volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222 

VOLCANO GARDEN ART'S SECRET GARDEN WALK is on free trails to the public. Sponsor Ira Ona describes the “Historical garden with many native plants. We have just created a self-guided nature walk in my new secret garden which is carved out of an upland native Hawaiian forest. Open to walk throughout the week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. 
www.volcanogardenarts.com, 985-8979, Located on Old Volcano Hwy in Volcano Village. 

KAʻŪ ART GALLERY IS OPEN TO IN-PERSON TRAFFIC in Nāʻālehu, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. It features and sells works by local artists and offers other gift items.
    Kaʻū Art Gallery's website has 24/7 access online and is frequently updated to show current inventory items. "We are always looking to collaborate with local artists in our community," said assistant Alexandra Kaupu. Should anyone have an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at kauartgallery@hawaiiantel.biz

GOLF & MEMBERSHIPS for Discovery Harbour Golf Course and its Clubhouse: The new Club offers Social Memberships, with future use of the clubhouse and current use of the pickleball courts as well as walking and running on specified areas of the golf course before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m. to enjoy the panoramic ocean views. Golf memberships range from unlimited play for the avid golfer to casual play options. Membership is required to play and practice golf on the course. All golf memberships include Social Membership amenities. Membership fees are designed to help underwrite programs and improvements to the facilities. Call 808-731-5122 or stop by the Clubhouse during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 94-1581 Kaulua Circle. Email clubatdiscoveryharbour@gmail.com. See The Club at Discovery Harbour Facebook page.

KAILOKI'S, at the old Mehe's location in Ocean View, offers live music and karaoke on a to-be-determined schedule, along with a locally-sourced menu and bar. See facebook.com/KaiLokis.


FREE LIFETIME ENTRY for Veterans and Gold Star Families to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes and other national parks. Details at rb.gy/k3evh6.

OUTDOOR MARKETS

VOLCANO FARMERS MARKET, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays. 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with much local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Hawai‘i Coffee. Cooper Center's EBT Machine, used at the Farmer's Market, is out of service until further notice. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY MARKET, open Saturdays and Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Managed by Mark Council. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in upper lot only. Vendors must provide own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling encouraged.

ʻO KAʻŪ KĀKOU MARKET, in Nāʻālehu, open Wednesday, and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Limit of 50 customers per hour, 20 vendor booths, with 20 feet of space between vendors. Masks and hand sanitizing required, social distancing enforced. Contact Sue Barnett, OKK Market Manager, at 808-345-9374 (voice or text) or kaufarmer@aol.com for more and to apply to vend. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

OCEAN VIEW SWAP MEET is open at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.

BUY LOCAL GIFTS ONLINE, IN-PERSON

VOLCANO SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES CALENDARS, t-shirts, and sweatshirts sales raise money for the school. Review the calendar at rb.gy/tmxzva. Order the Calendar using this form: rb.gy/ytekoz. Send payment or donations to VSAS PayPal, 
paypal.com/paypalme/VolcanoSchool. To buy t-shirts and sweatshirts, order from here: rb.gy/2a4cim. Send in order forms and payment to the main office: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785. For a printed copy of the order form to be mailed, contact Kaye at 985-9800, knagamine@volcanoschool.net. Contact Kanani at kwylie@volcanoschool.net for more information and assistance with ordering.

VOLCANO ART CENTER ONLINE, in person. Shop at Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virtual Shopping Appointments offered via Skype or FaceTime. Book at volcanoartcenter.org/shop for $5. Shop online gallery 24/7. Orders shipped or free local pickup available. See the VAC Virtual Classroom, which features over 90 videos. See volcanoartcenter.org/events, call 967-8222. 

KAʻŪ COFFEE MILL & VISITOR CENTER. Buy online at kaucoffeemill.com and in person at 96-2694 Wood Valley Road, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 pm.

PUNALUʻU BAKESHOP online at bakeshophawaii.com and in-person 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week in Nāʻālehu.

ALIʻI HAWAIʻI HULA HANDS COFFEE. Order by calling 928-0608 or emailing alihhhcoffee@yahoo.com.

AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE COMPANY. Order online at aikaneplantation.com. Call 808-927-2252

MIRANDA'S FARMS KAʻŪ COFFEE. Order online at mirandafarms.com or, in person at 73-7136 Mamalahoa Hwy, Nāʻālehu.

KUAHIWI RANCH STORE, in person. Shop weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 am to 3 p.m. at 95-5520 Hwy 11. Locally processed grass-fed beef, live meat chickens, and feed for cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, horses, dogs, and pigs. Call 929-7333 of 938-1625, email kaohi@kuahiwiranch.com


 CHURCH SERVICES

OCEAN VIEW EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY CHURCH holds services on Sundays beginning with Sing-Along on the Square at 10:15 a.m., followed by Sunday Morning Service at 11 a.m. In-person services following CDC Guidelines and Hawaii mandates by using hand sanitizer, wearing face masks and practicing social distancing. 
Music and Sermons are posted to FaceBook.com/OVECC. Also see FaceBook.com/OVECC for more. The church campus for Ocean View Evangelical Community Church is 92-8977 Leilani Circle. Call 808-939-9089.

ST. JUDE'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH SERVICES and worship are posted online at StJudesHawaii.org. Join the Aloha Hour via Zoom at 11 a.m. on Sundays, at rb.gy/3jfbzd, Meeting ID: 684 344 9828, Password: Aloha. Weekly hot meals, hot showers, the computer lab, and in-person services and bible studies are suspended. Check the webpage for Christmas services.

HOPE DIA-MEND MINISTRIES holds outdoor services Sundays at 9:45 a.m. at 92-898 Ginger Blossom Lane in Ocean View. Masks and distancing required. For help and/or to donate, call or text Pam and Lance Ako at 808-937-6355, or call the Ministry at 808-920-8137. See them on Facebook and at hopedia-mendministries.com.


HELP FOR HEALTH & COVID TESTING

KAʻŪ HOSPITAL offers COVID testing referral from the ER, a physician or a Kaʻū Clinic health provider.

FREE DRIVE-THRU COVID Testing, Saturdays at Kea‘au High School in Puna, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays at Konawaena High School from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Civic Auditorium in Hilo from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (enter from Kuawa Street entrance). No co-pay, no insurance necessary, but bring insurance card if have. People do not have to have symptoms in order to be tested. Social distancing must be observed and face coverings must be worn at all times. For more, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

MICRONESIAN COVID-19 Helpline is supported by We Are Oceania, weareoceania.org, to help with identifying COVID-19 symptoms, testing, quarantine, health insurance, housing, unemployment. Call (808) 913-1364. Watch the video at facebook.com/watch/?v=989579144844697.

DEPRESSED, ANXIOUS, NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO? Call Department of Health's expanded Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. program at 1-800-753-6879 – the same number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawai‘i. Individuals in crisis can also text ALOHA to 741741, available 24/7.

LEARN SELF-CARE THROUGH Big Island Substance Abuse Council's Practice Self-Care Series. For additional series that feature refreshing wellness tips, follow the Behavioral Health & Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group at facebook.com/bhhsurg.

KAʻŪ WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE OFFERS HEALTH PROGRAMS. Piko focuses on reproductive health; increasing access, respect, cultural competence, education, and choice. Pilina aims to grow membership and establish a culture of collaborative decision-making. Follow @kau_womens_health_collective. Contact rootsmedieshawaii@gmail.com. Call 808-450-0498.

RESOURCES FOR LGBTQ+, Loved Ones, and Allies at Sexual and Gender Minority online resource hub at health.hawaii.gov/camhd/lgbtq-safe-spaces.

TALK STORY on Nā Leo TV series aims to help deliver accurate and current information to Hawaiʻi Island residents. Airs live Thursdays at 10 a.m. on Spectrum Channel 53, streaming on Nā Leo's free mobile app, and on-demand at naleo.tv/covid19.

HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR KUPUNA at 808b-fit.com, contains videos for kūpuna to play and move along with. There are videos for stretching, tai chi, yoga, dancing, dance fitness, bon dance, hula, chair dancing, and chair yoga.

YOGA WITH EMILY Catey Weiss, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Volcano Art Center Niʻaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Advanced registration required; $5 per class. volcanoartcenter.org/events, 967-8222.

CHOOSE ALOHA FOR HOME is available to families, to provide a healthy way to grow together using neuroscience and positive psychology. Program uses a series of self-guided videos, activities, and "dinner table discussion topics." Sign up at chooselovemovement.org/choose-love-home.

FOOD RELIEF

PICK UP FOOD WEEKDAYS n the parking lot of ACE Hardware in Ocean View from Hope DIA-mend Ministries TLC at 4:45 p.m. About 300 meals available each day, coordinated by pastors Pam and Lance Ako. For help or to donate, call or text Ako at 808-937-6355, or call 808-920-8137. See them on Facebook and at hopedia-mendministries.com.

EMERGENCY FOOD BOXES available at Cooper Center Tuesday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Call ahead, 967-7800. 

FREE FOOD FOR KEIKI offered at Resilience Hub, Nāʻālehu Hongwanji on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, noon to 4 p.m. The Hub also features drop-in WiFi and laptop access. Location is 95-5695 Hawaiʻi Belt Rd. Contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927, for more.

EDUCATION

Virtual presentation, Sea Turtles in Hawaiʻi. Register to watch at rb.gy/rkd2fd

Free WiFi Access for Students is available in Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, and Ocean View through Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary. Questions? See khpes.org or call 313-4100.

Resilience Hub at Nāʻālehu Hongwanji, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Drop-in wifi and laptop access, free meals for participating keiki. Follows all county, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines. Contact Michelle Galimba, 808-430-4927. Register for Boys & Girls Club Mobile Outreach and Tutoring Programs at rb.gy/o1o2hy. For keiki grades 1-6. Contact Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island Administrative Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (808) 961-5536 or email mobiletutoring@bgcbi.org or info@bgcbi.org.

ʻOhana Help Desk offers online How-To Guides for Chromebooks and iPads at rb.gy/8er9wm. ʻOhana Help Desk also available by phone, weekdays, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Invite Park Rangers to Virtually Visit Classes, through connecting with teachers and home-schoolers with distance learning programs and virtual huakaʻi (field trips). Contact havo_education@nps.gov.

Weekly Virtual Town Meetings, hosted by Kaʻū High & Pāhala Elementary, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Discussion topics include attendance, best practices, Grab-n-Go meals, school updates, questions and feedback, and more. Go to KHPES.org for Live WebEx link.

Pāhala and Nāʻālehu Public Libraries, open for WiFi, pick-up, and other services. Nāʻālehu open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pāhala open Tuesday, noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., limited entry into library with Wiki Visits. Schedule a Library Take Out time at picktime.com/hspls. Open for library card account help and reference assistance from the front door. WiFi available to anyone with a library card, from each library parking lot. See librarieshawaii.org.

Free Book Exchanges, at laundromats in Ocean View and Nāʻālehu, provided by Friends of the Kaʻū Libraries. Open to all. Keep the books, pass them on to other readers, or return them. Selection of books replenished weekly at both sites.

Read Report on Public Input about Disaster Recovery from damage during the 2018 Kīlauea eruption.


View the Civic Engagement and Comment Analysis Report at rb.gy/awu65k

Watch Hawaiʻi's 28th Annual Filipino Fiesta and 8th Flores de Mayo virtual celebration at rb.gy/b53jgn.

Learn About Hawaiʻi's History & Culture through Papakilo Database, papakilodatabase.com.

Virtual Workshops on Hawaiʻi's Legislative Processes through Public Access Room. Sign up by contacting (808) 587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov. Ask questions and discuss all things legislative in a non-partisan environment. Attend Coffee Hour with PAR: Fridays at 3 p.m. on Zoom, meeting ID 990 4865 9652 or click zoom.us/j/99048659652. PAR staff will be available to answer questions and to discuss the legislative process. Anyone wanting to listen in without taking part in discussions is welcome. Learn more at lrb.hawaii.gov/public-access-room.

ECONOMIC RELIEF

Online Directory at shopbigisland.com, co-sponsored by County of Hawai‘i, has a signup sheet for local businesses to fill in the blanks. The only requirement is a physical address on this island.

COMMUNITY

Food Assistance: Apply for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences COVID-19 Family Relief Funds. Funded by Volcano Community Association, and members of the VSAS Friends and Governing Boards, who have donated, the fund supplies KTA or Dimple Cheek Gift Cards, or gift cards to other locally owned business, to VSAS families in need. Contact Kim Miller at 985-8537, kmiller@volcanoschool.net. Contributions to the fund can be sent in by check to: VSAS, PO Box 845, Volcano, HI 96785 – write Relief Fund in the memo. See volcanoschool.net.

Marketing Assistance, for small businesses affected by COVID-19, from University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo faculty and the senior class at bit.ly/2YvFxsl. 

Apply for Utility Assistance to pay for electricity, non-government water, or gas. Applicants must be a Hawaiʻi Island resident, at least 18 years old, lost income or work hours due to COVID-19, and not previously received assistance from other COVID-19 federal or state-funded programs. Funded by CARES Act and distributed by Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council, required documents for application are government-issued identification, income verification documents for all household members, utility statement with address of services, lease/rental agreement or mortgage document, and proof of hardship. Hardship may include, but not limited to, pay stubs documenting pre-COVID-19 income, unemployment approval letter, or layoff letter. Apply at HCEOC.net or call 808-961-2681.

Apply for Expanded Hawaiʻi County Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program. Contact RMAP partners: Hawaiian Community Assets/Hawaiʻi Community Lending, HawaiianCommunity.net, 808-934-0801; HOPE Services Hawaiʻi, hopeserviceshawaii.org/rmap, 808-935- 3050; Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union, hawaiifirstfcu.com/pathways, 808-933- 6600; Neighborhood Place of Puna, neighborhoodplaceofpuna.org/coronavirus-rent-mortgage-relief, 808-965-5550; Hawai‘i Island Home for Recovery, hihrecovery.org/RMAP, 808-640-4443 or 808- 934-7852; Habitat for Humanity Hawai‘i Island, habitathawaiiisland.org/rmap.html, 808-450-2118.

Apply for Holomua Hawaiʻi Relief Grants for small businesses and nonprofits, up to $10,000, support core operations, safe on-going and reopening costs, personal protective equipment, and training and technical assistance. The business or nonprofit must employ 50 people or fewer. See rb.gy/v2x2vy.

Receive Help Over the Phone with Critical Financial Issues, through Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund Financial Navigators from County of Hawaiʻi, in partnership with Hawaiʻi First Federal Credit Union. Complete webform at hawaiifirstfcu.com/community-resource-center or call 808-933-6600. Contact Sharon Hirota at 808-961-8019 with questions.

AGRICULTURE

QUALIFY TO BECOME A BEGINNING FARMER OR RANCHER and receive benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture To qualify for status as a beginning farmer or rancher: Applicants must be an individual. Business entities may receive benefits only if all of the substantial beneficial interest holders (ten percent or more) of the business entity qualify as beginning farmers or ranchers. For example, a son moves home to take over the family farm and incorporates with his spouse and neither have previous farming experience. Their corporation would qualify as a beginning farmer/rancher. However, if a son moves home and forms a corporation with his father, who has had an insurable interest in crops or livestock for more than five crop years, the corporation cannot receive beginning farmer and rancher benefits. Although the son qualifies as a beginning farmer or rancher, the father does not so the corporation cannot receive benefits; and
    Applicants must not have actively operated and managed a farm or ranch anywhere, with an insurable interest in any crop or livestock for more than five crop years (ten years for Whole-Farm Revenue Protection). This includes an insurable interest as an individual or as a substantial beneficial interest holder (ten percent or more) in another person who has an insurable interest in any crop or livestock. Applicants may exclude a crop year's insurable interest if they were under the age of 18, enrolled in post-secondary studies (not to exceed five crop years) or on active duty in the U.S. military.

CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM enrollment ends Feb. 12. Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Conservation Reserve Program can sign up for the program until Friday, Feb. 12. The competitive program provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation. 
     Contact AskUSDA at (833) ONE-USDA with representatives available 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. weekdays. The website, ask.usda.gov is available 24/7 and includes live chat agents available 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. Inquiries can also be sent via email at any time to askusda@usda.gov.

Women Farmers can Register with Hawaiʻi Women Farmers Directory, a statewide online directory of women-operated farms, ranches, and agribusinesses. Visit the program website to register, rb.gy/87fn9d.


Coffee Growers are urged to take a survey on how the pandemic is affecting them by Hawaiʻi Coffee Association. Take the survey here: surveymonkey.com/r/638VWS6.

Program to Sell Produce and Meats on Hawaiʻi Island from commercial farmers and livestock producers on Hawai‘i Island for distribution to families in need. Learn more at rb.gy/exzuk1

Native Hawaiian Farmers and Ranchers urged to use U.S. Dept. of Ag On-Farm Market Directory. Visit the program website, ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/onfarm.

Read About Seed Biodiversity for Hawaiʻi's Local Food System in It all Begin and Ends with Seed, where Education by Outreach Coordinator Nancy Redfeather shares her insights. Read the blog at rb.gy/ijai3y.

Find Grants and Loans Offered to Farmers and Ranchers, at oahuaca.org. The website has a new search feature. Find Rangeland Management Resources at globalrangelands.org/state/hawaii.

Learn Basics of Organic Farming, via free modules at rb.gy/4wio2y.

PETS & WILDLIFE

One-Time Emergency Food For Pets is available through KARES. Call David or Barbara Breskin at 319-8333.

Report Humpback Whales in Trouble at NOAA Fisheries 24 hour hotline, 1-888- 256-984. Also report distressed sea turtles, monk seals and dolphins.

For free Veterinary Care, Spay & Neuter, visit hihs.org, Services Tab, Spay and Neuter or Community Vet Care, or email petsupport@hihs.org. Call 808-217- 0154. All appointments must be scheduled in advance and are open to healthy dogs and cats. Two pets per family will be accommodated, each pet with own appointment. Unavailable to animals other than dogs and cats. Unavailable to strays and those with contagious illnesses.

Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recycling services available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HI-5 deposit beverage container collection Saturdays only, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. "White goods" appliance collection services will accept one appliance per resident per day. Customers need to check in with the facility attendant before dropping an appliance off at the facility. No unattended drop-offs allowed. Visit hawaiizerowaste.org or call 961-8270. 
Ocean View Transfer Station is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HI-5 deposit beverage container collection will continue as usual on Saturdays only, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit hawaiizerowaste.org or call 961-8270. 

Sign Up for Solid Waste Operations Alerts at rb.gy/iemgrc for site closures, service hours, and more.



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