Announcements: June 2, 2021

Solar projects to be discussed during Waimea Town Meeting

Representatives of two solar with battery storage projects planned for South Kohala will discuss the efforts during Thursday’s Virtual Waimea Town Meeting.

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Representatives of the two projects – known as Hale Kuawehi by Innergex, and AES Clean Energy’s Waikoloa Solar +Storage — will update Big Island residents during the meeting set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Also presenting will be representatives of Hawaiian Electric to discuss how these projects connect to the islandwide grid and anticipated benefits.

The 30MW solar with battery storage projects have received the “green light” from Hawaiian Electric to help transition from fossil fuel energy to clean, less costly alternatives. One of these projects will be constructed on about 300 acres of Parker Ranch land southeast of West Hawaii Concrete and the second southeast of Waikoloa Village and south of Waikoloa Road.

Together, the projects are expected to power up to about 27,000 homes with clean renewable energy.

Also providing community updates during the town meeting will be state Rep. David Tarnas speaking about the recently completed 2021 legislative session, and County Council members Heather Kimball and Tim Richards. Safety updates will be provided by Capt. Jeremie Evangelista.

The meeting will be streamed “live” on WCA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation. To submit questions email, WaimeaCommunityAssociation@gmail.com.

OHA announces emergency financial assistance program

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs recently made $1,044,253 available to implement an emergency financial assistance program for Native Hawaiians. OHA’s Ka Wailele Emergency Financial Assistance Program is being administered by Hawaii Community Lending, a Native Hawaiian community development financial institution.

OHA is encouraging Native Hawaiians — who are at least 18 years old and in financial hardship — to review program requirements and apply. Program applications were made available on Tuesday. No income requirements apply.

Ka Wailele will provide grants up to $1,500 for past due rent, mortgage, utilities and rent deposits to an estimated 520 households that can prove Native Hawaiian ancestry, Hawaii residency, financial hardship, and need for housing and/or utility assistance. Native Hawaiians are limited in receiving OHA emergency financial assistance to one grant every two years.

Hawaii Community Lending will process applications, and payments will be made directly to landlords, mortgage lenders, or utility providers. Approved applicants will also have access to financial counseling, additional grants or affordable loans, and career coaching through Financial Opportunity Centers run by HCL’s parent corporation, Hawaiian Community Assets.

Native Hawaiians in financial hardship should apply online at www.oha.org/emergencyaid or www.kawailele.org. Persons without internet access or a computer are encouraged to call Hawaii Community Lending at (808) 587-7656 to request a paper application or complete an application over the phone. In-person assistance will be available at Financial Opportunity Centers and remote offices statewide.

Learn more at www.oha.org/emergencyaid.

Free AARP webinars cover fraud

Get tips on how to protect yourself and your family from scams on free AARP Hawaii Fraud Watch Friday webinars in June.

Do you or a loved one know what to do if a pop-up window that won’t go away appears on your computer telling you to update your Internet security? Do you know how to reduce the number of robo-calls and text messages sent to your phone? Learn why scam artists target veterans and why you should protect your Medicare insurance information.

The free webinars, presented by AARP Hawaii volunteer speakers, are held every Friday in June at 2 p.m. To register for a Zoom link go to www.aarp.cvent.com/HIfraud.

This Friday’s webinar is covers protecting oneself from technology scams. On June 11, the webinar will cover robocalls and identity theft and on June 18 avoiding veterans scams. The series wraps up June 25 with Medicare and COVID-19 scams.

Kaukau 4 Keiki launches June 14 in Hawaii Island

Kaukau 4 Keiki is launching across Hawaii to address the increased food hardship families experience during summer months. The new program is being implemented in partnership with USDA Food Services, Hawaii Child Nutrition Program, and food access coordinators across the islands.

Vibrant Hawaii is leading Kaukau 4 Keiki on Hawaii Island, which runs for seven weeks – June 14 through July 31. The free program is open to all children, 18 years and younger, and up to age 22 for individuals who live with a physical or mental disability and participate in school programs.

“Our network of resilience hubs continue to provide critical support to their communities. Through the Kaukau 4 Keiki program we are able to expand and welcome new partners to the network,” said Janice Ikeda, executive director of Vibrant Hawaii.

Kaukau 4 Keiki will provide a seven-day kit of breakfast and lunch supplies, including locally sourced produce. Hawaii Island kits will include 10 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and a mix of pantry staples such as bread, cereal, shelf stable milk, and shelf stable protein for keiki to create healthy, nutritious meals.

Families can register online at bit.ly/kaukau4keiki. Kits will be distributed islandwide beginning the week of June 14.

For more information and to make a donation, visit www.kaukau4keiki.org.

Hyperbaric Treatment Center to close for renovations

The University of Hawaii Hyperbaric Treatment Center, located at the Kuakini Medical Center on Oahu, will temporarily suspend all operations from June 28 through Aug. 13 to undergo renovations. The scuba diving community was notified in April and asked that planned dive operations scheduled during the renovations be carefully reviewed and that recreational dive operators inform their clients.

The Queen’s Medical Center has agreed to provide limited emergency hyperbaric services during the renovations. Due to limited capacity, QMC will only be able to admit emergency patients who are stable and without need for other medical interventions. The University of California, San Diego multiplace hyperbaric chamber in San Diego, California will serve as a potential back-up for hyperbaric emergencies that cannot be accommodated at QMC.

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The facility at Kuakini Medical Center will undergo a $1.6-million renovation funded by the state. The renovation includes a complete overhaul of the hyperbaric chamber control station, patient monitoring and system upgrades to improve medical care.

The center has treated civilian divers for decompression sickness or “the bends” in Hawaii since 1983 and maintains 24-hour emergency services. In 2020, HTC treated 18 emergency patients and provided more than 1,350 hyperbaric oxygen treatments for patients suffering from tissue damage due to infection, illness and radiation.

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