Free Medical Care Is Coming Soon

Daniel Sanchez and his art. Photo courtesy Art Umezu

A November MidWeek Kaua’i cover story showcased an innovative program that would bring free health care to the island, and now the time has come. Physicians, dentists and other specialists will be on-island providing free physical examinations, vision checks, eyeglasses, dental care and counseling Tuesday, Feb. 28, through Friday, March 9. The clinics will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Tuesday, March 6, when they close at 3:30 p.m. The effort is thanks to some out-of-the-box thinkers and a slew of community coalitions and public servants, including those at the state Department of Health’s Kaua’i District Health Office and Communities Putting Prevention to Work. I’d like to give a special nod to Rev. Ben Nelson, rector at All Saints Church of Kapa’a, who helped the effort by finding beds for doctors while they’re here. To any skeptical readers out there, there’s no catch, you can’t make too little or too much, as it’s not about income level. That said, it doesn’t matter if you have health insurance, and so there’s no shame in getting your eyeglass prescription updated (finally) or whatever else you’ve been putting off, especially since it’s free. As Dr. Dileep Bal, state DOH district health officer, says, this is about getting people care. To schedule free health services for a group or to learn more about Tropic Care Kaua’i 2012, call DOH 241-3387 or go to TakeTheLEAPHawaii.org. To request special assistance or an auxiliary aid, call DOH at least one week prior to the opening of the clinics …

Folks also can enjoy free public transit in upcoming weeks, as Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. is making a push to get people out of their cars and onto the Kaua’i Bus. Riding the bus will be free from Monday, Feb. 20, to Saturday, March 10. The mayor says he hopes the promotion will allow everyone to check out how convenient it is to use. The promotion also is giving riders the chance to win 12-, sixand one-month bus passes. To enter, fill out an entry form and deposit it in the receptacle on the bus. Or, if you’ve got your iPhone with you, (or other device) you can capture a “memorable bus image” and submit the photo via email to sblane@kauai.gov. Photos selected will be featured on the county website or Facebook page …

Watermen (front, from left) Raymond Chow, Randall Watanabe, Kevin Pongasi, Valentino Reyna (back) William Eddy, Warren Rita, Alan Iwasaki, Corey Silva, Darren Lizama and David Craddick. Photo courtesy Mary Daubert / County of Kauaʻi

Congratulations to Daniel Sanchez of Wailua, who was awarded “Employee Of The Year” at Courtyard by Marriott Jan. 14 for his work at its restaurant Voyager. At 18, Sanchez is the youngest person to receive the honor. The KCC student also is a past winner of KIUC’s annual student calendar contest and is a mixed media artist, according to Kaua’i Film commissioner Art Umezu. Sanchez can be seen often at The Jam Room, a free youth venue for performing and creative artists, which is open to the public every Friday night at Kukui Grove Center next to GameStop …

It was great to see in people rather than numbers how the Garden Isle remains a top tier destination, when roughly 150 visitors as part of a Shanghai convention arrived at the airport last week. There to greet them was Sue Kanoho of Kaua’i Visitors Bureau, George Costa of the Office of Economic Development and Mayor Carvalho, among others. The fun wasn’t just thanks to the hula dancing and music, but the palpable excitement and barrage of photos and videos that were being taken by the visitors. One might think that a group of people who had just been on such a long flight wouldn’t appear to be that happy and energetic, but they were. The numbers also show something to smile about, as despite the economic slump we’ve been in, Kaua’i had 1,015,264 visitors last year, a 6.3 percent increase over the year prior, according to the state Office of Economic Development. An aunty pointed out to me recently that 100-odd years ago so many Chinese families came here searching for a better life by working in the fields and found it, and now the Chinese can afford to travel here …

It’s hard to think of a more legitimate cause than March of Dimes, and its kickoff is just around the corner. It’s helped TeeAnn Michiko Garcia, who was born three months prematurely May 18, 2010, to Sheldon and Natural-Lee Garcia. Though she weighed 1 pound 15 ounces, and was in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Kapiolani Medical Center for 92 days, she’s now a healthy 20 months old. Lee will be among the attendees at the upcoming March for Babies “Team Captain Kickoff” from 7 to 9 a.m. Feb. 16 at Starbucks in Kukui Grove Shopping Center. Those interested in starting a family team, company team or who are already registered can pick up a team captain packet, meet the ambassador family and receive a $5 Starbucks gift card. The march is April 14, starting at 8 a.m. with registration at 6:45 at Lydgate Park. For more information, go to marchforbabies.org, email kauai.marchofdimes@gmai l.com or call 652-1284. To register online, go to marchforbabies.org

Event promoter Scott Franklin Manning is at it again, and Grammynominated Youssoupha Sidibe, a Senegalese West African kora (African harp) player, and Al Torre, guitarist from The Human Revolution, will be here Thursday, Feb. 16, at Children of the Land in Kapa’a. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30. Tickets cost $20 for adults, free for keiki. To learn more, go to hookui.org …

Congratulations to the seven-member crew named Department of Water Employees of the Quarter,

Warren Rita and Alan Iwasaki, lead pipefitters; Raymond Chow, pipefitter; Corey Silva and Darren Lizama, equipment operators; and Randy Watanabe and Kevin Pongasi, pipefitter helpers. According to a release from chief engineer David Craddick, the crew was recognized for not only going above and beyond in making repairs in lessthan-desirable conditions, but giving priority to getting residents’ water restored. Nice job …

Kudos as well to Lihu’e resident Mari Graham, who made the fall 2011 dean’s list at Bellarmine University, an independent Catholic institution in Louisville, Ky. Graham is a senior majoring in political science and a Kaua’i High School graduate. Making the dean’s list means earning a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Well done …

Kaua’i Beekeepers Association, in partnership with the KCC Apiary Program, will offer its second round of courses for apiarists who want to learn more about honeybee management, honey production, hive-related products or pollination services that are being developed with the state Department of Agriculture’s Apiary Program. The next Introduction to Beekeeping, a three-session course, will be held Feb. 18, 25 and March 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. To register, call the Office of Continuing Education 245-8318. For more information about upcoming beekeeping courses, call Jimmy Trujillo, chairman, Kaua’i Beekeepers Association, at: 346-7725 or email jtrujill@hawaii.edu …

Yoga and horseback riding may seem like a counterintuitive combination, but they’re both relaxing, energizing ways to enjoy life on Kaua’i. The Lokahi Ride, a program that combines the two, is offered by Princeville Ranch Adven-tures. For more information, call Corinne Travillion, 808-826-7669 ext. 221, or go to princevilleranch.com.

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