The Trump administration recently announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $966,540 in three projects in the state, including the county Office of Economic Development’s Kaua‘i Rise Initiative. The initiative will provide business mentoring, training and technical assistance, project planning, market research and feasibility studies to support island businesses, and will get $55,000. The Kohala Center will receive most of the federal funds, $832,540, to provide technical assistance to a total of 176 socially-disadvantaged producers who are members of five rural cooperatives, six rural groups operating across the state and a group of 50 socially-disadvantaged businesses operating in rural areas statewide. The funds will help provide technical assistance in the areas of business planning and capitalization, co-op leadership in project management, accounting and financial literacy, community food-system development, community soil-fertility practices, grant-application coaching, website development, community engagement, agroecology and Pacific island planting in commercial systems, co-op membership roles and responsibilities, and agricultural pest control. Additionally, the state will receive $79,000 for a rural development investment to provide technical assistance to grantee’s Neighbor Island Innovation Initiative program. The program provides business mentoring to startup and small companies to achieve their next level of growth. The USDA money is through the department’s Rural Business Development Grants program. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” said Bette Brand, USDA deputy under secretary. “Sometimes the biggest challenge for our applicants is getting through the application process,” said Brenda Iokepa-Moses, USDA Hawai‘i and Western Pacific state director. ”These technical-assistance grants are vital in helping our rural-community applicants package their application and get to the finish line,” said Iokepa-Moses. The USDA business programs provide financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate business creation and growth. The programs work through partnerships with public and private community-based organizations and financial institutions to provide financial assistance, business development and technical assistance to rural businesses. These programs also help to provide capital, equipment, space, job training and entrepreneurial skills that can help to start and/or grow a business. Business programs also support the creation and preservation of quality jobs in rural areas. The USDA Rural Development program provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit rd.usda.gov.
Wednesday afternoon, 302 furry friends jetted off Kaua‘i toward their new furry futures on the Mainland. Flown out of Gate 30 at the Lihu‘e Airport, the efforts made by the Kaua‘i Humane Society in partnership with JR Peterson Foundation, Greater Good Charities, and Wings of Rescue, marks the largest pet rescue flight in history. The flight originated out of Lihu‘e, and went on to the rest of the Hawaiian Islands, to pick up over 600 dogs and cats. At the airport, KHS volunteers made an assembly line Wednesday afternoon, handing crates of cats and dogs off of two trucks to pallets to be placed onto the Hercules C-130 plane. Part of the shipment included kittens as young as seven weeks old to a decade-old dog, KHS Executive Director Mirah Horowitz said. Horowitz started in her position in October 2018, and in that time, the humane society has drastically reduced its euthanasia rates. KHS’s live release rate in 2020 for dogs was 96%, up from 89% the year before, and the overall shelter live release rate was 84%, up 16% from 2019’s 68%. “This kind of flight was unimaginable two years ago,” she said as she took a moment’s break from loading the animals onto the plane. “The change to life-saving is what makes this possible.” KHS has been overwhelmed by the pandemic’s effect on airline travel. Typically, the humane society relies on outgoing flights to transfer cats and dogs off the island to Mainland shelters with higher demand and low populations of adoptable animals. This time around, the shelters involved handpicked the animals they’d get, and by one estimate, the majority of these rescues will be adopted within three days, said KHS Development Director Tanya Ramseth.“It’s bittersweet,” Ramseth said. “We’re sad we won’t see them every day, but we’re so happy.” Since last week, Horowitz said over 50 volunteers have helped with this undertaking. All of the animals were spayed or neutered, given all their proper vaccines and health check-ups. Crates were color-coded specific to the various shelters that’d pick up the pets and tagged with identification information. Animals were tucked away with bedding, water and some other comforts. “It’s a massive effort,” Horowitz said. “Staff and volunteers have been amazing. They were here at 8 p.m. yesterday and back at 8 a.m.this morning. I’m so proud.” KHS Boardmember Mindy Smith helped load the animals into the plane Wednesday. “Staff has been working on this for weeks,” Smith said. “This went as smoothly as possible.” The pets will arrive at Seattle’s Boeing Field Thursday morning, where pet shelters and rescue groups will collect them. About 120 will then continue onto Walla Walla and Coeur d’Alene. Hawai‘i shelter partners include Kaua‘i Humane Society, Hawaiian Humane Society, Lanai Cat Sanctuary, Hawai‘i Island Humane Society, Maui Humane Society, Aloha ‘Ilio Rescue, and Kaua‘i SPCA. Kahu Wayne Vidinha of Akua Mana Church offered a blessing before liftoff. “It's great to let somebody love them somewhere,” he said. Written by Sabrina Bodon Dennis Fujimoto The Garden Island
The Kaua‘i District Health Office opened the free post-travel test site for residents returning from the Mainland yesterday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall where quick results could be obtained within 20 minutes from its on-site laboratory. A similar test site for visitors opened at the American Medical Response office in Lihue, several days into the state’s loosening the travel requirements for visitors to the Islands.
“One of the safety issues we are most passionate about is promoting a second, post-arrival test for incoming, out-of-state travelers,” Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami said during his daily video update Monday. “If you traveled here from the mainland and participated in the state’s Pre-Travel Testing Program, whether you are a resident or visitor, we urge you to take a second COVID-19 test no sooner than 72 hours following your arrival.” These tests are available for travelers participating in the state’s Pre-Arrival Test Program. “If you have not participated in the state’s Pre-Arrival Testing Program, you are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival,” the mayor said. “If you have not taken a pre-arrival test, there is no option for you to test out of quarantine once you arrive.”
For Kaua‘i residents returning from Mainland travel and participating in the state’s Pre-Travel Testing Program, the free COVID-19 test is available at the convention hall site from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday. Residents are encouraged to take the test no sooner than 72 hours following arrival at home. “The free post-arrival test is offered to Kaua‘i residents who returned home from mainland travel,” Kawakami said. “This program is not yet available to inter-island travelers. But we are looking to expand our program.”
For visitors from the Mainland, the post-arrival testing is available at the AMR office located behind Pizza Hut in Lihu‘e from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday with walk-ins welcomed. Visitors will be charged for their test, but will receive gift cards and vouchers to local restaurants and businesses for their participation.
“While we are very passionate about providing a post-arrival testing program to offer another layer of protection to our community, we must acknowledge that testing does not prevent COVID-19,” Kawakami said. “The absolute best way you can protect yourselves, and those around you, is to wear your mask at all times when you are around people who don’t live with you. This includes your close family, friends, and co-workers, regardless if you are indoors or outdoors. Keep at least a six-foot distance from others whenever possible. Wash your hands regularly. Sanitize your environment, and please, avoid group gatherings.” Since the pre-test program started on Oct. 15, some of the problems encountered include travelers taking the pre-test, but not from one of the state’s Trusted Partners, and not completing their Safe Travels Digital Form that is required before leaving the airport. “As a reminder,” Kawakami said. “All travelers must complete the state’s Safe Travels Digital Form by going to www.travel.hawaii.gov. For those taking part in the state’s Pre-Travel Testing Program, tests must be taken at a Trusted Partner and results uploaded to your Digital Profile.”
United Airlines, which brought more travelers to Hawaii than any other carrier pre-pandemic, on Oct. 15 will offer rapid COVID-19 tests to Hawaii-bound customers originating from San Francisco. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who was among those brokering the deal, said the state has agreed that customers participating in United’s pilot program may participate in the state’s pre-arrivals testing program which begins Oct. 15 and allows passengers to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine under certain conditions. “The test is very current so it lowers the risk and it also sets a precedent where I think a lot of other airlines are going to want to do that at their airports,” Green said. “Two or three months from now this might be the standard. Going into the winter and spring of next year people may get very comfortable getting a NAAT test at the airport.” United Airlines, which brought more travelers to Hawaii than any other carrier pre-pandemic, on Oct. 15 will offer rapid COVID-19 tests to Hawaii-bound customers originating from San Francisco. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who was among those brokering the deal, said the state has agreed that customers participating in United’s pilot program may participate in the state’s pre-arrivals testing program which begins Oct. 15 and allows passengers to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine under certain conditions. “The test is very current so it lowers the risk and it also sets a precedent where I think a lot of other airlines are going to want to do that at their airports,” Green said. “Two or three months from now this might be the standard. Going into the winter and spring of next year people may get very comfortable getting a NAAT test at the airport.” “Our new COVID testing program is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently,” Toby Enqvist, Chief Customer Officer at United, said in a statement. “We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade HEPA air filtration systems.” United offers daily service between San Francisco and Honolulu, Maui and Kona. The carrier has said that it plans to increase service to Hawaii on October 15, including the resumption of service between San Francisco and Lihue and additional flights between San Francisco and Maui and Kona. United said that it decided to expand its testing program after partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care in July to test its international flight crews that were coming into San Francisco. “We are excited about expanding our partnership with United and continuing to support their proactive safety measures,” said Todd Latz, CEO of GoHealth Urgent Care. “Our on-site, real- time testing for passengers is yet another example of GoHealth’s nationwide efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a safer return to normal activities and business operations.” The partnership announcement comes after Gov. David Ige’s new emergency proclamation issued Wednesday that extends through Oct . 31 a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers to Hawaii that’s been in place since March 26. However, starting Oct. 15, Ige’s latest order says that “travelers who, upon entry into the state, provide written confirmation from a state approved COVID-19 testing facility of a negative test result from a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure, will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine.” The inter island quarantine for travelers arriving in the counties of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Kalawao (Kalaupapa) remains in place; however, Ige’s proclamation allows counties to adopt a negative test exception process allowing travelers to bypass the interisland quarantine. United’s pilot program also follows urging from the American Hotel & Lodging Association this week for Congress to pass another round of COVID-19 recovery legislation. According to AHLA’s most recent member survey, 68 % of hotels report they have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time, and without further governmental assistance, 74% have said they would need to lay off more. Meanwhile, United was among the airline management and labor leaders who on Tuesday asked federal legislators to extend the airline Payroll Support Program to prevent thousands of involuntary furloughs from taking place on Oct. 1 - Article written by Allison Schaefers from Star Advertiser
A proposal by the Miami investment firm redeveloping the former Princeville resort and adjoining Makai Golf Club has stirred new controversy by proposing a 50-unit luxury camping resort that would be built, to open in 2022, on three holes of one of the property’s two golf courses. The proposal, which has still not been announced publicly, was disclosed by media coverage in late August. It has drawn vicious attacks from Princeville residents who, among other things, accuse Starwood Capital Group, the investment firm, with threatening local homeowners. The new resort would offer glamping — short for “glamorous camping” — in luxury tents in a complex that would also have a restaurant, spa and commercial building. Nightly rates would be in the $500-and-up range. The resort would be built on just over 50 acres currently included in three of the nine holes of the Woods Course, a layout mostly used by budget-conscious local golfers. The course and a more upscale 18-hole layout make up the Makai Golf Club. The golf properties together occupy about 290 acres that has remained open space under terms of a three-paragraph document signed in 1972. The document — technically called a dedication letter — guarantees that the golf course land is to remain open space until February 2026. At that point, however, the dedication expires, theoretically opening up a vast swath of Princeville to new development.
“The idea is to create a very-attractive-looking tent structure that will be well immersed into the landscape and really fit into the North Shore of Kaua‘i,” said Hall. The glamping units would have an average of 460 square feet. While most of the units would have a single king-sized bed, others might be large enough for families to be guests. The plan also includes a new, 80-to-100-seat restaurant, a very large “event tent,” as well as massage facilities and a “commercial building” whose exact purposes were not described. East West said they plan to open the glamping resort in the first or second quarter of 2022. The “commercial space” is likely to take 12 months to build, and the glamping units six months. Residents objected that the schedule means that construction noise and other problems could begin sometime in 2021.
It remains unclear, however, how long it would take East West and Starwood to negotiate the county planning process. Aggressive resistance is expected. Al Albergate, president of the Princeville Community Association, said it has retained counsel, and will disclose the association’s position on the legality of the glamping project at another community meeting tentatively set for Saturday, Sept. 26. Several residents, including attorneys and non-attorneys, said protracted litigation is almost certain.
The 1972 document has remained little known until the last few weeks. Princeville residents have said they were never made aware of the expiration of the open-space guarantee when they purchased their homes. For a variety of technical legal reasons, the document does not appear to have been discovered in hundreds of title searches for Princeville homes over the last four decades. Starwood Capital has said it can move forward immediately with construction of the glamping resort under terms of the 1972 letter, which permits the acreage to be used for golf or “ancillary recreational uses.” The document in question is a mere three paragraphs. It was originally executed by the Eagle County Development Corp., based in Colorado, the original developer of Princeville. In 1980, a one-paragraph amendment conveyed the development rights to the Princeville Corp. As it stands, the 1972 letter applies to all land that makes up the total of 27 holes on two golf courses. On Thursday, Starwood’s representatives said the company is willing to execute a new determination letter permanently placing the 18-hole course that is the principal component of the Makai Golf Club into open-space status. However, the company has apparently not taken action to execute that new determination.
The Thursday meeting’s participants included several residents who are either practicing or retired attorneys. They attacked Starwood’s interpretation of the language and inaccurate use of the word “ancillary.” The arrangement is unusual among planned golf-course communities, land-use experts said, because the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association is powerless to prevent development on the golf course acreage after Feb. 28, 2026, even though dozens — if not hundreds — of nearby homes have been thought for decades to be golf-course properties permanently immune to development intrusion. Article written by Allan Parachini Special to The Garden Island.
After being delayed for months, a much-touted pre-travel testing program that authorities say is a key step in rebooting the tourism industry will be launched Oct. 15, allowing trans-Pacific visitors to forgo a 14-day quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19. Gov. David Ige made the announcement Wednesday, saying reopening the doors to trans-Pacific travelers is critical to getting tourism-dependent businesses reopened and people back to work. Under the program, travelers will have to test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before arrival to qualify for the quarantine exemption. Trans-Pacific travelers of all ages will be subject to the rule. And at least for now, there will be no tests available at airports.But key details must still be worked out, including the specifics on how the state would confirm that a negative test is valid and taken within the required window. The state did say it is contracting with CVS and Kaiser Permanente to offer the tests at the traveler’s expense. “The pre-travel testing program does provide an added layer of security,” Ige said. Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who will be overseeing the rollout of the testing program, added that the tests will cost about $140. He said the program “definitely provides economic opportunity to our state." Article writing by HNN Staff
Gov. David Ige is set to approve a voluntary “Resort Bubble” program on Kaua‘i in the hopes to bring tourism revenue back to the county this week. The “Enhanced Movement Quarantine Program,” more commonly known as the “Resort Bubble,” will have safety policies to protect employees and guests all while allowing quarantined travelers to take advantage of the resort property, including pools and on-site restaurants. This is Mayor’s Emergency Rule No. 16. “Because the virus continues to threaten our communities, we don’t know when the mandatory quarantine can be lifted,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday. “As we’ve learned, this virus does not follow specific dates in the calendar, so we have to be ready to adapt and adjust.” Guests will be outfitted with an electronic bracelet called AQUA (Active Quarantine User Ally) by the company Hub Culture. Using geofencing technology, guests will be under an electronic quarantine that will monitor their movement on the property using GPS and Bluetooth signaling. If a guest were to leave the property or tamper with the bracelet, the tracking service would alert hotel security and the Kaua‘i Police Department. Kawakami said the bubble is “not the final solution, but a tool” to bring in tourism. Further, he said this is an “added tool, not a replacement” to the state-mandated two-week quarantine that is currently in place through the end of this month for inter-island and trans-Pacific travelers. Kawakami said he’s “still supportive” of the quarantine and the state’s proposed pre-travel testing program that is supposed to launch October 1. Yesterday, Ige told The Star-Advertiser he expects to again delay reopening. “At the same time, we understand the need to address the economic hardship facing our tourism-based community, while also preserving the safety of our residents,” Kawakami said.
Resort employees will also be subject to rules and guidelines, including social distancing and masks.
Hawai‘i currently has the highest “insured unemployment rate” in the nation for the week that ended August 22, according to the U.S. Department of Labor last week. This insured unemployment rate represents the number of people receiving unemployment insurance as a percentage of the labor force.
Hawai‘i’s insured unemployment rate was 20.3% for the week ending Aug. 22 was followed by Puerto Rico at 16.7% and Nevada at 16%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 13.1% in July. Last Thursday, the state has seen 282,897 claims filed statewide, with 174,233 claims paid, according to the state. Yesterday, the Hawai‘i Department of Health reported 80 new positive cases in the state. This includes one new case on Maui, two cases on Moloka‘i, seven on Hawai‘i Island and 70 on O‘ahu. Kaua‘i does not have any active cases but has five people on a close contact quarantine for a case reported on O‘ahu. As of Monday, the state recorded 6,987 active cases statewide, with a total of 3,693 patients classified by health officials as “released from isolation.” This brings the state’s cumulative total to 10,779 cases statewide. One previous case was removed due to updated laboratory information. Article written by Sabrina Bodon The Garden Island
Two hour guided exploration through our gardens and processing facilities. On the North Shore of Kaua‘i, there’s a farm where plants are called allies and the farmers are herbalists. Kaua‘i Farmacy creates plant-based medicine from crops grown on the company’s Kīlauea organic farm. In 2017 Kaua‘i Farmacy began offering tours. The company employs a unique in-house farming model where it grows, processes, cures, packages and sells over 50 healing remedies, ranging from teas to culinary powders and moisturizing balms. Kaua‘i Farmacy offers a two-hour tour twice a week, and its apothecary is open on weekdays. All of the company’s products are available online. Kaua‘i Farmacy founders are Doug and Genna Wolkon. They credit their herbal lifestyle to the noni (indian mulberry) leaf, which they began using early on in tea and as a poultice for sprains. The Wolkons moved to Kaua‘i in 2007 with their first child, abandoning an intense city lifestyle on the East Coast. Within four years, after what he called an “immersion” in herbs, the couple bought the 4-acre property along Kīlauea Stream. On the organic farm today, 15 gardeners and herbalists grow, hand-pick and process it all using solar dehydrators. It took the Wolkons years of trial and error, discovering each plant’s optimal growing condition and how they work together, before they opened the garden to visitors. Tours from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Fridays. Cost is $55 for adults, $10 for children. Reservations required. The apothecary is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Kaua‘i Farmacy, 4731G Kūawa Road, Kīlauea, (808) 828-6525, kauaifarmacy.com