Eruption recovery SpeakOut events slated

SpeakOut events Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5, will help guide Hawaii County’s recovery from the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano.

Both events will take place in the Pahoa High and Intermediate School cafeteria, with the first focusing on Puna’s youth.

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The Youth SpeakOut is scheduled from 4:45-8 p.m. Friday and will include a student panel addressing the topic of resilient recovery, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities and a light dinner. Students, their ohana and school faculty are welcome to attend.

The SpeakOut is from 9 a.m-3 p.m. Saturday and is meant for the general public. Residents can drop in at any time.

This event focuses on Phase III of Kilauea eruption recovery: identifying strategies and actions.

The county recovery team will provide a report back about ongoing engagement efforts and interactive activities related to recovery strategies and decision making.

“The recovery process is at the point where some hard choices need to be made,” said Diane Ley, county Research and Development director. “We want the public to understand potential strategies and trade-offs, so the county can make informed decisions that meet the needs of the community.”

County staff and consultants are developing a recovery strategic plan. The plan is expected to be available by the end of the year and will include ways the county can support the community post-eruption and mitigate future risks.

Input from these SpeakOut events will help guide recovery strategies and opportunities.

Additionally, the county is organizing an art contest for students attending high schools in Puna.

Students are asked to design an image reflecting what being “Puna and Hawaii Island Strong” means to them.

The top three entries will be awarded Individual Development Accounts, or a savings account that can be used for education, workforce training, certifications or entrepreneurship opportunities, in amounts of $500, $750 or $1,000.

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The deadline for entry is Oct. 21.

For more information about the contest, visit https://recovery.hawaiiCounty.gov/connect/opportunities/high-school-logo-essay-contest.

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