Hawaiian Electric & HEI Charitable Foundation Support Big Island Families During COVID-19 Pandemic

Hawaiian Electric and the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation (HEICF) recently donated $21,000 to three Hawaii Island non-profit organizations that are feeding communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Hawaii Island, the biggest concern and priority is food security. The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, The Food Basket, and Activate Hawaii Aid each received $5,000 from HEICF to support their ongoing efforts to provide fresh produce, shelf-stable food, and prepared meals to Hawaii Island families. These donations are in addition to the $2,000 each organization received from Hawaiian Electric last month.

“Communities count on us to provide reliable electric service to operate essential businesses and support new stay-at-home lifestyles,” said Sharon Suzuki, Hawaiian Electric’s president of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities. “It’s also important for us to do what we can to help those who are struggling with basic needs. I’m grateful these three organizations are working together to meet Hawaii Island’s food security needs during this very tough time.”

Through its daily Community Meal Support Initiative, the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island (BGCBI) is providing nutritional hot meals to the island’s most vulnerable populations including keiki, kupuna, homeless, and struggling families. Their efforts help fill shortfalls and resource gaps, especially in very rural communities that are unable to benefit from school-based cafeteria meals due to lack of transportation. Last month, it provided more than 18,000 meals and it now provides up to 800 meals daily. Through this donation, BGCBI can provide 1,272 meals for the community.

“The continued support of Hawaiian Electric and the HEI Charitable Foundation has allowed the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island to be able to quickly respond to the needs of those on Hawaii Island who are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” said Chad Cabral, Chief Executive Officer. “Thank you for a true partnership that helps to support and strengthen our Hawaii Island communities.”

The Food Basket is providing Ohana Drop boxes which include a multi-day supply of shelf-stable food and local fresh produce for individuals and families. It offers drive-thru food distribution at 16 sites around the island and home delivery for those with limited transportation or compromised health. Through this donation, The Food Basket was able to purchase 5,000 pounds of food for the community.

“We are so extremely grateful to HEI and Hawaiian Electric for their long-time partnership and generous support to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable residents on Hawaii Island,” said Kristin Frost Albrecht, executive director of The Food Basket. “Given the skyrocketing number of families and individuals in need in our hard-hit communities across the island, this donation will provide critical food support during this unprecedented and challenging time.”

Activate Hawaii Aid (AHA) is a collective of community and government, working together to activate an islandwide network of resilience. The $2,000 donation supported the Keiki Care Packs initiative by providing 2,712 packs to children in more than 30 Hawaii Island communities. Each pack includes food stuffs, curated activities, resources and materials to help keiki and parents better understand and cope with the pandemic. The additional $5,000 will support the #FeedThePeopleHI – Puna project, a collaboration between Chef Hui and AHA to increase food security for Puna households. Beginning May 15, and every Friday for the next eight weeks, 500 meal kits with ingredients and recipe cards for one-to-two big batch meals will be distributed to communities in upper and lower Puna subdivisions.

“Many hands and many huis have come together to do something special for our keiki and community,” said Ashley Kierkiewicz, lead organizer for Activate Hawaii Aid. “So much thought, aloha, and planning goes into each project, and because it is a massive, ongoing give, working with community leaders is key. We rely on generous donations such as those from Hawaiian Electric, so we can activate our volunteer network and amplify our give.”

Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood Project’s 3rd Phase Completed

The Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation (HICDC), a Hilo-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, announced the completion and planned rent up for the third phase of the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project in Hilo. The third phase has 92 affordable units for low-income seniors 62 years and older who qualify for Section 8 rental assistance. 

The County of Hawaii Office of Housing and Community Development received more than 450 tenant applications for the 92 units. A lottery was conducted to establish the processing priority of the applicants. Tenants will begin moving in on May 8, 2020. Prior to occupancy, the units will be sanitized to minimize the risk of COVID-19 contamination. Occupancy will occur gradually to maintain social distancing. It is expected that 6 units per day will be occupied, one on each floor of the complex. It is expected to take 4 to 5 weeks to completely fill the apartment complex with qualified seniors. 

“With the completion of this third phase of the Mohouli Heights Senior project, we will have completed 182 low income senior rentals on the site with the 9,000 square foot Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Adult Day Center (a collaboration with Hawaii Island Adult Care, Inc.) embedded on the campus providing housing and services to seniors,” said HICDC Executive Director Keith Kato. 

The Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood project is being developed through a collaboration between the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation, Wells Fargo Bank, Sugar Creek Capital and Bank of Hawaii. The project has been awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits and a low interest loan from the State Housing Finance and Development Corporation. The 5.4-acre project site is leased from the County of Hawaii for a nominal $10 per year.  Total development cost for the project is projected to be $36 million and the project has been completed four months ahead of schedule.

“Our mission at the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation started over 25 years ago with a dedicated group of volunteers who wanted to help provide needed housing on Hawaii Island for elderly and low income families. We will have completed over 700 affordable housing units in Hilo, Puna, Hamakua, Waimea, Kohala and Kona and provided housing security for those in need.”

Gov. Ige Appoints Oshima to Lead Economic & Community Recovery

Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige, joined by Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki, issued a proclamation today announcing the appointment of veteran business executive and community leader Alan M. Oshima to lead Hawaiʻi’s efforts to develop and implement a plan for economic and community stabilization, recovery and resiliency. 

Alan M. Oshima

“The health and safety of Hawaiʻi’s people will always remain my overriding priority. However, while working to protect our residents we also need to focus on stabilizing our economy. With the staggering increase in unemployment and the number of businesses shutting their doors, we need to take action now so we can provide for the basic needs of our citizens – food, shelter and healthcare – and plan for what the future holds,” said Gov. Ige. “The only way we can address these issues and rise out of this crisis, is to work together – this includes government, the private sector, non-profits and the community-at-large.” 

Oshima was selected to lead the governor’s efforts based on his experience, long-standing reputation, business acumen and dedication to leadership and volunteerism with community organizations. In February, Oshima became the senior executive advisor of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) after serving five years as its president and chief executive officer. While at HECO, he is credited with accelerating a company-wide transformation initiative that reorganized its focus and built an employee culture that readily adapts to change.

Oshima will lead a collaborative effort to develop and implement the Hawaiʻi Economic and Community Recovery & Resiliency Plan that will include a concurrent three-part strategy to address both the economic and community impacts of COVID-19: 

• Part I: Stabilization. Identify and address critical economic and community impacts, including the allocation of the federal CARES act funds and state and local funding to mitigate the collapse of key economic sectors. Also, provide direct economic relief to individuals to avoid homelessness, hunger and sickness. 

Part II: Recovery. Identify and support economic and community development activities which provide recovery, job growth and capital investment in the economy. 

Part III: Resiliency. Re-evaluate and restructure Hawaiʻi’s economy to meet the new normal and desired future for Hawaiʻi. Identify and invest in systemic changes in the economy and society which furthers economic diversification, environmental preservation, sustainability and Hawaiʻi’s values and way of life. 

“This is a monumental role that the governor has established, and it will be critical in helping Hawaiʻi through this crisis and shaping the direction of our state for generations to come,” said Oshima. “We need to move quickly to establish a collaborative approach that brings together all stakeholders and maximizes Hawaiʻi’s efficiency and response. These are critical times and we can’t afford to be duplicating efforts.”

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi said, “While we are sheltering in place to reduce community spread of COVID-19, the task force’s primary concern is to ensure that all federal monies are used to the fullest extent possible to stabilize our current economic free-fall.” Senate President Kouchi added, “It is hoped that this task force will be able to advance and expand upon the partnerships that were aborted when the pandemic struck.”

“This pandemic has reaffirmed what we have known for a while — that our economy must be diversified and cannot be over-reliant on one or two major industries,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “This task force must help modernize our economy. The future of our families and state relies upon a sound and resilient economy.” 

As part of the plans design, it will utilize the economic and community sectors identified in the Hawaiʻi 2050 Sustainability Plan: 

• Economy (Including Healthcare, Infrastructure, Financial Services, Hospitality, Construction, Innovation & Technology, Government and Military)

• Environment and Natural Resources

• Community and Social Well-being (Including NGOs, social services, culture and the arts, and faith-based)

To address community needs and expedite the decision-making process, input from key stakeholders and sectors will be essential. Each sector will have a state government appointed liaison to provide support, outreach and connect ideas and needs with available government and community resources. They will also be asked to identify and leverage tools, resources, and assets available to achieve desired outcomes, including the roles and responsibilities of government, business, nonprofits, labor organizations and individuals. 

“There are so many individuals, groups and organizations in our community that want to help and many have already started looking for solutions. We want to make sure that they all are engaged and that our efforts are streamlined to collectively identify issues, needs and solutions; facilitate cross-sector planning with government, business, non-profit and labor organizations; and collect reliable data and information for analysis that will be used as the basis for decision making,” added Oshima.

One of the first areas for collaboration is the federal CARES Act and other relief programs. It is anticipated the Hawaiʻi will receive $4.0 billion which need to be used by the end of the year. If the funds are leveraged with state and local government (e.g., infrastructure spending, bond financing, tax incentives), private (e.g., targeted industries and investments), philanthropic (e.g., direct contributions) and consumer initiatives, it will allow for greater utilization and provide for maximum impact to the stabilization and recovery efforts.

Gov. Ige concluded, “There is no time for personal agendas and self-interest – Hawaiʻi is one community, one family. We need to work together. This is the only way we are going to survive.”

Hilo Residents Displaced by County Homeless Sweep Removed Despite CDC, Nonprofit Warnings

Hope Services Hawaii released the following statement regarding the homeless sweep that was done in Hilo on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

At 6:00 on the morning of April 7th, residents of the camp behind Agasa Furniture were awakened by the blast of a loudspeaker announcing that their home would be demolished in 30 minutes. Occupants were instructed by Hawaiʻi County workers to remove their belongings and vacate the premises, and were not offered alternate shelter arrangements.

PC: Hope Services

The day before, in a series of meetings between Community Alliance Partners (or CAP, a network of organizations providing services to people experiencing homelessness), and members of Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim’s cabinet, the county was repeatedly advised to follow CDC guidelines highlighting the public health risks of conducting a sweep.

The guidance, taken from a CDC webpage entitled “Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) among People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness,” states:

“Unless individual housing units are available, do not clear encampments during community spread of COVID-19. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”

Brandee Menino, the CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii, the island’s largest homeless services provider, was present at the meetings. She says that CAP representatives advised the mayor’s cabinet that, if the county chose to ignore the CDC and move forward with plans to clear the site, it must provide a relocation plan for residents. 

Menino went on to say, “Together, we developed a plan where the county would demarcate 12-foot squares under the Bayfront Soccer Fields, open up the bathrooms, and provide HOPE Services with advance notice of a sweep.” She says the cabinet members agreed to advise the mayor to accept the plan. “While we’d hoped the mayor would protect the community by canceling the sweep, we were at least assured that we’d have enough notice to help people move to a temporary location, so that we could help them make long-term arrangements.”

Early the next morning, however, Menino was shocked to hear that the sweep was in progress, without the relocation plan.

HOPE Outreach Team Lead, Carrie Hoʻopiʻi, was on her way to Kona to help secure housing for kūpuna during the pandemic, when members of her team alerted her to the sweep. Upon returning to Hilo, she found approximately twelve HPD officers, fifteen county workers, and a bulldozer at the site of the camp. Twelve of the approximately fifteen camp residents were present.

Hoʻopiʻi says that when she arrived, a loudspeaker was announcing to shocked residents that they’d have thirty minutes to gather their possessions and leave. She and her staff worked furiously to help residents pack and remove their belongings, but it wasn’t enough time. “I asked for an extension, and they gave me fifteen minutes,” she says. “It wasn’t enough, but we worked together to remove as many belongings as possible, including items belonging to the three residents who weren’t home. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get everything out.”

PC: Hope Services

Immediately following the sweep, two members of the camp were picked up by family members and taken to a home they had secured on their own. Two people were taken to HOPE’s emergency assessment center, and one was admitted to the men’s shelter. Later that evening a second man from the camp entered the men’s shelter.

“Our shelters are already operating at or near capacity, and squeezing more people in is not an option at a time when we are following CDC social distancing guidelines,” says Menino.  While Carrie [Hoʻopiʻi] met individually with each camp resident, exchanging contact information, and encouraging them to stay in touch with us, we don’t know where the remaining residents will go, or if we’ll be able to find them.”

Hoʻopiʻi says that in the preceding weeks, her team visited the camp about 3 times a week–providing them with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and educating them about preventing the spread of COVID-19. She says residents were complying and were willing to follow safety guidelines. She also says that her team had planned to enter the camp and physically help the residents to rearrange their tents in order to maximize social distancing. Unfortunately, these plans were cut short by the county’s demolition of their camp.

PC: Hope Services

“The decision to demolish the camp has traumatized a community, and has created yet another public health risk” says Dr. Kāʻohimanu Dang Akiona, a physician with Premier Medical Group, who had regularly visited the encampment to provide medical care with HOPE’s Street Medicine Team. “We went from having an established location where we monitored people’s health and provided necessities like food and PPE, to a situation where they have no choice but to go out into the community to get these items.”

Rising housing costs and stagnant wages have made the homelessness crisis even more urgent in recent years, with over half of Hawaiʻi Island residents struggling to pay rent, even before the pandemic hit. When asked why the residents of the camp became homeless, Hoʻopiʻi replied without hesitation, “For the majority, they became homeless because they can’t afford housing. They all want housing, but just can’t afford it.”

The Hawaii Police Department released the following statement:

Hawaii Police and other county and state agencies addressed the replenishment of illegal structures behind Agasa Furniture today (04-07-2020).
 

PC: HPD

At 6:30 AM police along with other agencies that included Hope Services removed about 12 people and various structures located on a lot behind Agasa Furniture. Court proceedings held on Monday (April 6) resulted in the granting of a motion in favor of the County of Hawaii. Part of the courts granting of the motion included the appointment of a commissioner who will oversee the legal proceedings moving forward.
 

PC: HPD

The operation was aimed at permanently removing all illegal structures from the lot and included help from Hope Services who offered alternative housing and assistance for the people on the property. There were about 4 people that took advantage of the services, the remaining people elected to seek assistance on their own.
 
The operation was completed at about 12:00 PM and now includes fencing and “No Trespassing” signage to prevent any further activity on the property.
 
Police reported that the people that were on the property were cooperative, and there was no enforcement action needed. There was an abandoned vehicle left on the property that was removed.
 
Lieutenant Robert Almeida of the South Hilo Community Policing Section, who supervised the police part of the operation said, “It was a joint effort, and it was a long process that involved patience, perseverance and everyone working together. We appreciated the cooperation of the all people involved. In all this was a successful operation here.”
 

PC: HPD

The operation was a County response to complaints about the property that resulted in a similar operation about a year ago to illegal structures and development on the lot without permits.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Kona

Ali’i Health, with the support of Premier Medical Group and the County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force, will be conducting drive-through screening and testing clinics in Kona. The twice weekly clinics will be held on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 2, and continuing until further notice.

The Clinics will be held at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

These clinics will replace the drive through clinics that were held at the Old Kona Airport. No testing will be held this weekend at the Old Kona Airport.

These free clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

To bypass the screening que patients can go to Pathways Telehealth by calling (808) 747-8321 option 5 to be screened and expedite testing.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

Proposed Big Island Clean Energy Projects to be Discussed

ENGIE Hawai‘i will be hosting a televised town hall meeting on Nā Leo TV on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. to discuss two proposed solar and energy storage projects in the Puakō and Waikoloa area. These proposed solar and energy storage projects will reduce the use of fossil fuel, bring stability to electricity prices, and protect Hawaiʻi Island’s environment for future generations.

Screen shot of website


ENGIE Hawai‘i is one of several companies who proposed clean energy projects to Hawaiian Electric as part of an effort to bring more clean, affordable energy to customers. Hawaiian Electric is expected to select projects this May to be built over the next two years.

This televised town hall meeting, which will have no studio audience, is being held in lieu of an in-person meeting in compliance with social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The interactive town hall will take questions from viewers via phone and email. 

Interested residents can tune in to ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s town hall meeting on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. on Nā Leo TV, on cable or online at naleo.tv. The broadcast will also be archived on ENGIEHawaii.com.

More information about the proposed Puakō and Waikoloa projects, plus proposed battery storage projects on Maui and Oʻahu, can be found at ENGIEHawaii.com. Residents are also invited to sign up for the email list at ENGIEHawaii.com, send questions to info@ENGIEHawaii.com, or call (808) 315-5531.

Visitors No Longer Allowed at NHCH

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, no visitors are allowed at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital until further notice.

Limited exceptions may be made in certain situations such as pediatric or maternity patients and end-of- life care; additional screening will be required.

Friends and family members are asked to consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely. Free Wi-Fi is available for all patients and phones are available in all patient rooms. Call the hospital operator at 885-4444 to be connected to a patient room.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this visitation restriction may cause. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 for our patients, staff and community. We know that visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. The visitation restriction will be reevaluated daily and removed as soon as conditions allow.

Hele-On Working With Robert’s

According to the Hele-On website, effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020, Hele-On drivers will be contracted through Robert’s Hawaii on at least some routes.  

The following transit routes will be conducted with Robert’s Hawaii vehicles:  

  • Intra Kona 1, 2, 3
  • N. Kohala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • N. Kohala to Waimea to Kona 
  • Kau to Hilo
  • 03:30 Pahala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • 05:40 Pahala to Kona
  • 08:00 Pahala to S. Kohala Resorts
  • 05:45 Kona to Hilo
  • Kau to Oceanview Extension
  • 04:15, 11:15 & 7:15 pm Hilo to S. Kohala Resorts

 For more information, contact the transit office at (808) 961-8744

Fostering & Adopting Continues at HIHS

The community response to Hawaii Island Humane Society’s call for additional fosters has been incredible. Last week alone, 83 pets went to a foster home with an additional 41 pets adopted. Fostering is critical to Hawaii Island Humane Society’s lifesaving efforts by allowing more space in the shelters and additional room to hold incoming animals. 

HIHS Animal Care Technician Brendan Souza carries Brax to meet his new foster mom in the parking lot. HIHS is doing drive-up pick-ups for fosters and adopters to promote social distancing. PC: Lauren Nickerson.

Fostering is a rewarding experience that gives pets the chance to enjoy life in a home environment. Research by Maddie’s Fund has shown that even a short time in a foster home can decrease stress, improve behaviors and increase adoptability. Foster caregivers provide the Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS) with important information about their foster pet allowing to better promote them for adoption and match them with forever families. 

“Our shelters are fully staffed and we continue to care for the animals during this community crisis. While the community response has been wonderful so far, we continue to need more fosters. Hawaii Island Humane Society will provide the supplies as donations allow, medical care, support and education for foster caregivers. You supply the love,” said HIHS Community Program Director Lauren Nickerson.

Foster to Adopt Program

The greatest need today is for fosters who can care for medium and large adult dogs but with kitten season coming, HIHS will have an increasing need for kitten fosters.  

Unfortunately, with today’s shelter in place guidelines, Hawaii Island Humane Society is not able to permit the public into its shelters and browse the selection of adoptable pets. All adoptable pets are now available online at www.hihs.org

To enhance the bond between human and animals and to connect adoptable pets with loving, forever homes, community members will have up to 2 weeks to foster a pet and get to know them in the comfort of their homes. 

To sign up on the Foster to Adopt program go to http://hihs.org/adoption/item/adoption-during-covid-19

If you would like to help but cannot foster or adopt, the Hawaii Island Humane Society is accepting donations of new, unopened bags of dry dog, cat, kitten and puppy food to support our community in this time of need. Donations can be dropped off at any one of 3 shelter locations in Keaau, Waimea and Kona. Community members can contribute by also shopping on HIHS’s Amazon Wishlist found at hihs.org

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Kona on Saturday, March 28

Ali’i Health, with the support of Premier Medical Group and the County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force, will be conducting a drive-through screening and testing clinic.  The one-day clinic will be held at the Old Kona Airport Park on Saturday, March 28, 2020, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

This clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested.  Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing.  The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

To bypass the screening queue, patients can go to Pathways Telehealth by calling (808) 747-8321 option 5 to be screened and expedite testing. 

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID.  Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

For further information, call Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Hilo on Sunday, March 29

Premier Medical Group and Bay Clinic, with the support of the County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force, will offer a drive-through screening and testing clinic. The one- day clinic for COVID-19 will be held at Hilo’s Ho`olulu Complex on Sunday, March 29, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

This clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. 

The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

For further information, call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Drive-Through, Pop-Up COVID-19 Testing Coming to Kona

A pop-up testing clinic for COVID-19 will be set up at the Old Kona Airport Park on Monday, March 23.  The County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force has teamed up with Premier Medical Group and HOPE Services to offer the clinic, with the support of The Ironman World Championship and Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

The one-day clinic will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.  This clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

“The fact is, we need to screen to know where the disease is. That’s the key,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, president and founder of Premier Medical Group Hawai‘i.

Dry cough and fever are the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but the disease is also known to cause other upper respiratory symptoms, and in some cases, none at all. Other factors that will determine eligibility for testing include travel history, frequency of exposure to visitors from outside Hawai`i, and frequency of exposure to vulnerable or high-risk populations.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID.  Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

Miscovich, who serves as senior advisor to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, said that the hope is to provide enough COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites as needed.  The goal is to hold pop-up clinics in rural areas of the island to provide the critical support that is needed.

The belief among State leaders, including Lt. Governor Josh Green, is that increased screenings will slow the spread in Hawai‘i.  “To beat this, the key is to screen, screen, screen,” Miscovich said.

Catering & Food Trucks to Deliver Free Meals to Kūpuna

Mayor Caldwell, along with Aloha Beer owner Steve Sombrero announced today a coalition of Catering and food truck operators will deliver free meals to Hawaiʻi’s kūpuna during this COVID-19 period. This coalition is self-funded but is looking for grants from local foundations and donors to support this project.

The Coalition has created a website called “Malama Meals COVID-19 Community Meal Program” with the goals of supporting kūpuna, who are encouraged to stay out of the public for the next 15 days. This program will provide meals to seniors who live in senior centers along with keiki who depend on school meal programs.

Department of Community Services Director, Pamela Witty-Oakland, shared, “our Elderly Affairs team is excited to launch this partnership, which will supplement our existing meal delivery program to home-bound seniors and expand that network to help our kūpuna at senior housing across the island get nutritious meals that will allow them to stay in their homes as we all try to help flatten the curve.”  Some of the projects receiving daily meals will include:

  • Whitmore Circle Apartments
  • Kumuwai, the City’s newest project which provided permanent housing to previously homeless seniors
  • Mānoa Gardens
  • Nā Lei Hulu Kūpuna
  • Franciscan Vistas ʻEwa Beach
  • West Loch Elderly Village
  • Additional sites still being confirmed

The City & County of Honolulu, Department of Community Services, also serves as the Area Agency on Aging.  Our County Executive on Aging, Derrick Ariyoshi, and his team have been working hard with our network of senior care providers to ensure that in-home and meal services to the thousands of seniors we serve will continue uninterrupted.  Catholic Charities of Hawaiʻi has also been a key partner in reaching out to the senior housing to be served through this program.

Coalition Partners currently include Owner of Aloha Beer Steve Sombrero, Debra Espino of Applebee’s, IHOP and Olive Garden Restaurants, Ahmad Ramadan of Da Spot, Gilbert Sakaguchi of Blue Water Shrimp, and Dan Port of Aloha Venues. In coordination with public service and non-profit community organizations, Malama Meals mission is to provide food security to individuals and communities in need or at risk to contain COVID-19.

Those in need can also request meals online at Malama Meals website, www.malamameals.org.

Hawaiʻi Island Delegation Letter to Mayor Kim

A Hawaii Island delegation of elected officials have sent the following letter to Hawaii Mayor Kim requesting immediate action in response to the public health concerns regarding the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Friday, March 20, 2020:

Dear Mayor Kim,

To protect the residents of the County of Hawaiʻi and the long-term stability of our island economy, we implore you to immediately order the shut-down of non-essential county government operations and the sheltering-in-place of all people throughout the County of Hawai‘i.

As Mayor of the County of Hawai’i, we strongly urge you to take the following immediate actions through an Emergency Proclamation and Emergency Rule(s):

  • Institute an immediate countywide shut down for the next fifteen (15) days.
  • Order all people in the County of Hawai‘i to shelter-in-place for the next 15 days and coordinate with the Joint Incident Center under the command of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Director/Adjutant General Kenneth Hara to immediately use his authority under the March 16, 2020, Emergency Supplementary Proclamation by Governor Ige to take all necessary steps and required means to ensure that the supply chain for basic necessities — such as food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, cargo and public safety throughout the County of Hawaiʻi — is secure.
  • Request Director/Adjutant General Hara to secure and requisition any needed hospital and medical supplies that are necessary to assist with the coming need to treat individuals due to COVID-19, at all available Hawaiʻi Island medical facilities.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, order the quarantine of all travelers arriving from outside Hawaiʻi at the Hilo and Kona International Airports for a minimum of 15 days.
  • Prohibit all non-essential inter-island and out-of-state travel from Hawaiʻi Island.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, require the immediate closure of all public and private schools, daycare centers, preschools, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiʻi Community College and Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui.
  • Require the immediate closure of all County facilities and workspaces, and send home all non-essential County of Hawaiʻi personnel for the duration of the shut down.
  • Limit County of Hawai‘i work to only essential personnel, provided they are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adhere to spatial distancing guidelines and preventive measures as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

As Mayor, you are the only person who has the direct authority to institute these actions. As state legislators, we passed and continue to support the delegated authority provided to the counties under Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 127, which grants you, as Mayor, the power to act in emergency situations such as the unprecedented one we face today. The entire Hawaiʻi Island delegation is speaking with one collective voice, and we implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the County of Hawai‘i.

Sincerely,

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha, and Senator Lorraine R. Inouye

Representative Mark M. Nakashima, Representative Chris Todd, Representative Richard H.K. Onishi. Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Representative Richard P. Creagan, Representative Nicole E. Lowen, and Representative David A. Tarnas

NHCH Announces Relocated COVID-19 Testing

Drive-up testing at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will be relocated to a more convenient location starting Thursday, March 19, and testing will be expanded to 6 days a week – Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm.

The new location is at the QNHCH Primary Care Clinic, 65-1267 Kawaihae Rd., located next to Longs Drugs in Waimea. Physician’s orders are not required. Patients are asked to bring ID and insurance information, and to stay in their vehicle; testing takes only a few minutes and is done while the patient stays in the vehicle.

For more information, visit coronavirus.gov or the State of Hawaii Department of Health new website hawaiicovid19.com or call the Queen’s COVID-19 Information Line at 691-2619.

Hawaii Police Department Promotions Announced

Police Chief Paul Ferreira has announced three promotions, two employees from the rank of Lieutenant to Captain, and one employee from Captain to Major.

Thomas Shopay, a 20-year veteran, has been promoted to Captain and assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigation Division (Kona). He formerly commanded the Area II Criminal Investigation Section and has previously worked on the Special Response Team, Area II Vice Section (Kona), and Kona Patrol District.

Regino Saludares, a 22-year veteran, has been promoted to Captain assigned to the Hāmākua Patrol District. He formerly commanded the CALEA (Accreditation) section, and he has previously worked in the Area I Criminal Investigation Division (Hilo) and South Hilo Patrol District.

Kenneth Quiocho, a 27-year veteran, has been promoted to Major assigned to the Area I Field Operations Division (Hilo). He formerly commanded the South Hilo Patrol District, and previously worked in the Puna Patrol District, Kaʻū Patrol District, CALEA (Accreditation), South Kohala Patrol District, Area I VICE Section (Hilo), and Hāmākua Patrol District.

These promotions are effective today (March 16, 2020).

Puako Beach Drive Water Main Break

This is a Department of Water Supply (DWS) message for Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.

Customers along Puako Beach Drive may experience no or intermittent water service while DWS crews repair a water main break near the Ascension Mission Catholic Church. Repairs are estimated to be completed within 6 to 8 hours.

A DWS water tanker will be stationed near the Puako General Store for the public’s use. Please call (808) 887-3030 or (808) 961-8060 during normal business hours, (808) 961-8790 for after-hour emergencies, or email: dws@hawaiidws.org. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Hawaii Electric Light’s Energy Fair on Oct. 21

Hawaii Electric Light invites the community to its energy fair on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Keauhou Shopping Center.

The free, family-friendly event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and feature educational displays, demonstrations, and interactive activities on electrical safety, energy conservation, electric vehicles and fast charger stations, renewable energy, and our plan to reach a 100% renewable energy future.

Fun activities will include games as well as building and racing a model solar boat made with recycled products. Enjoy live, local entertainment by Kahakai Elementary School, The Humble Project, Kealakehe High School Dance Team, Mauka Soul, and Solid Roots Band.

For more information on the energy fair, visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com/energyfair or call 327-0543.

2017 Hilo World Peace Festival Set for October 21

The 8th Annual Hilo World Peace Festival will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 21 at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

Festivities are free and open to the public.  This is a partnership event coordinated by Soka Gakkai International USA, the International Committee of Artists for Peace, Destination Hilo and the County of Hawaii. The Festival celebrates cultural diversity and promotes the creation of a peaceful world. The festival features performances, food and beverages, as well as opportunities to experience cultural expressions of dance, music and art.

The Hilo World Peace Festival was created to promote the spirit of Aloha; the universal language of love; which encourages acts “to honor and revere our elders; to love, nurture, and protect our children; and to respect the harmony of our families; thus creating a healthy community and island lifestyle.”

The entertainment line-up includes Lopaka, Hula by the Hilo SGI Group, Randy Skaggs, Lori Lei Shirakawa, contemporary music by Vaughn Valentino and To’a Here Tahitian Revue. The 2017 Hilo World Peace Festival is a true partnership event where community organizations, private enterprise, and government work together toward a common goal.

More information can be obtained by calling the County of Hawaii, Culture & Education Office at 961-8706.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Severe Weather Information Alert

This is a Civil Defense message. This is a severe weather information message for Thursday October 12 at 8 PM.

The National Weather Service reports heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning to continue through the night for East Hawaii Island.

Doppler image at 8:26 PM.

Police report all roads are open at this time, but advise that driving conditions are poor because of occasionally heavy downpours. This is a good night to stay off the highways and be safe.

Remember, if lightning does threaten your area, the safest place to be is indoors.

Also be advised that due to the thunderstorm, your utilities of power and phones may be interrupted.

Should power outages occur, be on the alert for non-operable traffic signals. Please treat flashing traffic lights as a four-way stop.

Again, the national Weather Service reports heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning to continue through the night.