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Hawaii Rep Calls On Attorney General to Protrect Net Neutrality

In light of the Federal Communications Commission’s vote today to eliminate the 2015 Open Internet Order by then President Barrack Obama, Representative Matt LoPresti today called on Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin to explore pursuing legal action that would bar the effects of the FCC vote in Hawaii.
“I call on Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin to pursue legal action because the protection and preservation of net neutrality is key to allowing equal access to all forms of internet content. The FCC’s decision erodes such protections and empowers large and powerful internet service providers to control internet content in order to leverage corporate profits. I was pleased to learn that the Democratic Attorneys General Association is exploring this matter and urge Mr. Chin to protect net neutrality for the people of Hawaii.”

County Park Closures 2018 Schedule for Select Hawaii County Parks

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 2018 closure schedule for ‘Āhalanui Park, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park, Kahalu‘u Beach Park and Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach.

Monthly closures are necessary to maintain and repair high-use parks without exposing park patrons to potential hazards associated with large-scale maintenance work.

Located in Puna, ‘Āhalanui Park will be closed between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, with the exception of the October closure, which will occur on the first Wednesday of that month. The closure dates are:

  • January 10
  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11May 9
  • June 13
  • July 11
  • August 8
  • September 12
  • October 3 (first Wednesday due to schools’ Fall Break)
  • November 14
  • December 12

Located in Puna, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park will be closed on the third Thursday of each month and reopened at 1 p.m. on the following day. Overnight camping permits will not be issued for the night before each closure date. The closure dates are:

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
  • June 21
  • July 19
  • August 16
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15
  • December 20

Located in North Kona, Kahalu‘u Beach Park will be closed until 10 a.m. on the first or second Tuesday of each month. The closure dates are:

  • January 9
  • February 6
  • March 6
  • April 10
  • May 8
  • June 5
  • July 10
  • August 7
  • September 4
  • October 16
  • November 6
  • December 4

Located in South Kohala, Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach will be closed all day on the following dates:

  • January 10-11
  • February 7-8
  • March 14-15
  • April 11-12
  • May 15-17
  • June – No scheduled closures
  • July – No scheduled closures
  • August – No scheduled closures
  • September 11-13
  • October 17-18
  • November 14-15
  • December 12-13

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its understanding and cooperation during these temporary closures.

For more information, contact Parks & Recreation Administration office at (808) 961-8311 or email parks_recreation@hawaiicounty.gov.

Photos: Haihai Fire Station Grand Opening and Blessing

The Haihai Fire Station Grand was held this morning. The fire fighters and equipment had moved from the Kawailani Station in the previous few weeks and today marked they had the blessing and an open house.

The Master of Ceremony was Assistant Chief Glen Honda.

Welcoming statements were given by County of Hawaii Public Works Project Manager Nolan Eskaran, Kaeo Jones of BCP Construction, Retired Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association Rep from Local 1463 James Pacheco, Hawaii County Mayor Kim and the Fire Chief Darren Rosario.

The blessing was performed by Pastor Sheldon Lacsina of New Hope Hilo.

Attendees were able to tour the station afterwards.

Click on images to enlarge:

 

Hasinger Leaving UH Institute of Astronomy for the European Space Agency

University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) Director Günther Hasinger is leaving UH to be the next director of science at the European Space Agency (ESA), Europe’s equivalent to NASA. He will be responsible for the definition, planning and execution of ESA’s science program, which includes working with member countries and international partners like the United States. Hasinger has been with the university since 2011.

Günther Hasinger

“I am extremely honored to have been part of the IfA ʻohana and to have worked with such a talented and dedicated group of people,” said Hasinger, who will be based in Spain and will be closer to his family, including his first grandchild. “I look forward to future partnerships between ESA, NASA and the ground-based observatories, especially those here in Hawaiʻi.”

UH will name an interim director for IfA and begin the search for a new director.

During his tenure, Hasinger led the institute during the ongoing TMT process and regularly represented the university during the proceedings. He also oversaw many significant advances at IfA. The Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Haleakalā, Maui, came into full operation, eventually producing the world’s foremost sky survey, and becoming the world leader in the detection of asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects.

Hasinger also helped shepherd the transfer to UH of the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Maunakea. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, also on Haleakalā, drew close to completion during his tenure.

Lasting changes to IfA’s education and outreach programs were also made under his leadership. The institute and the UH Mānoa College of Natural Sciences developed a new undergraduate degree program, offering a BA in astronomy and a BS in astrophysics. IfA also worked with the Maunakea observatory community to significantly expand public outreach, including development of the Maunakea Scholars program. IfA now organizes more than 200 events annually, reaching 25,000 people across the state.

For more information, visit: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/

Common Cause Hawaii Welcomes New Board Member

Common Cause Hawai‘i announces the appointment of David Miyashiro to their board of directors, effective immediately.

David Miyashiro

Miyashiro is the founding executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN, a local education advocacy non-profit organization that works with communities and people of all sectors to promote educational equity in Hawaii. A former Hawai‘i public school special education teacher, previously Miyashiro has also worked with Teach for America, the U.S. Senate and various political campaigns. Miyashiro also serves as an elected member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board.

“We are very honored and proud to welcome David to our board. His leadership skills, energy, and commitment to civic engagement is a welcome addition to our team. His interest and experience in policy and advocacy is a great fit with Common Cause’s mission, and I look forward to exploring new ways to engage more youth with David,” said Corie Tanida, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawai‘i.

Big Island Resident Ka‘ehu‘ae‘e Announces Run for Governor

Big Island resident Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a has once again thrown his hat into the political scene here on the Big Island of Hawaii.

On his Facebook account this evening, he has announced that he will run for the Governor of Hawaii.

The following was posted to his account:

For GOV 2018. IMUA “NO MORE LIES”. Wkaehuaea@Yahoo.com. P.O. Box 6848 Hilo, Hawaii 96720. Graduated Farrington High School, Honolulu 1960. U.S. Navy, Veteran, 1960-1964. Serve under Admiral John McCain, 7th Fleet Pacific. Aloha Airlines, Honolulu Terminal. Suisan, Hilo. Cost Accountant and Sales. Build two Radio Stations. KAHU AM Panaewa, Hilo. KAHU FM Pahala, Ka’u. Puna Sugar, Supervisor Cultivating Department. Hawaiian Homes Farm Lot. Panaewa, Hawaii. For 30 Years. Hawaii Community College at Hilo. AA Liberal Arts 1997. University of Hawaii at Hilo. BA Communication, BA Political Science, and a Minor in Economics 2000. Nā Leo ‘O Hawaii. Community Access Television. Hilo. Community Outreach Producer. Goals and Promise. Get All Hawaiians on the waiting List on the Lands State-wide. Support All Programs for Seniors, Veterans and Handicap. IMUA, “NO MORE LIES”. Mahalo for Your Support.

101 Traffic Fatalities Statewide

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is saddened to report 11 traffic fatalities since the release of November’s preliminary year-to-date traffic fatality data on Nov. 15, 2017.

“Tragically we are now at 101 traffic fatalities statewide,” said HDOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “That’s 101 mothers, fathers, sisters, or brothers that are lost to their families and friends this holiday season—and beyond. At HDOT we are prioritizing safety in every project we do and we’re asking everyone to make safety on the streets and sidewalks a priority too. Working together, we can reduce Hawaii’s annual traffic fatalities from 101, to 80 or fewer by 2018, toward the ultimate goal of zero deaths.”

All road users—motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists—can help reduce preventable deaths on Hawaii roadways by avoiding the top contributing factors in traffic fatalities. These factors are speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and distracted driving.

In 2016, 46 of 109* fatal crashes involved speeding, contributing to roughly 45 percent of the year’s 120 fatalities. Drivers in 64 of the 109 fatal crashes tested positive for alcohol and/or drugs, accounting for 73 deaths. Finally, approximately 13.7 percent of the fatalities on Hawaii’s roads in 2016 were determined to have had distracted driving as a contributing factor.

Drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists are encouraged to visit the HDOT Safe Communities page at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/safe-communites/ and the Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan website at http://www.hawaiishsp.com/ to learn more about simple measures they can take to ensure their own safety and the safety of their families and friends.

 

Traffic Fatality Data from January 1, 2017 through December 11, 2017

Motor Vehicle Occupants Pedestrians Motorcycle, Moped, Scooter Operators Bicyclists ATV
Operators
TOTAL
C&C of Honolulu 19 9 7- m/c
4 – moped
1- scooter
Total – 12
3 1 44
Hawaii County 24 2 5 – m/c
1 – moped*
0 – scooter
Total – 6*
3 0 35
Maui County 10 1 4 – m/c
0 – moped
1 – scooter
Total – 4
0 0 16
Kauai County 6 0 0 – m/c
0 – moped 0 – scooter
Total – 0
0 0 6
TOTAL 59   12 23 * 6 1 101  

*indicates 1 motorized bicycle

Traffic Fatality Data from January 1, 2016 through December 11, 2016

Motor Vehicle Occupants Pedestrians Motorcycle, Moped, Scooter Operators Bicyclists ATVOperators TOTAL
C&C of Honolulu 22 20 7- m/c5 – moped

0- scooter

Total – 12

0 0 54
Hawaii County 22 5 2 – m/c1 – moped

0 – scooter

Total – 3

0 0 30
Maui County 13 5 3 – m/c0 – moped

0 – scooter

Total – 3

0 0 21
Kauai County 5 1 0 – m/c
0 – moped
1 – scooter
Total – 1
0 0 7
TOTAL 62 31 19 0 0 112

Hawaii Caregivers Now Eligible for Financial Help of $70 Per Day

Working caregivers who pay for services to support their kupuna may now be eligible for financial help of up to $70 per day to cover the cost of adult day care, chore services, home-delivered meals, homemaker services, personal care, respite, or transportation. The Hawaii Executive Office on Aging (EOA) is launching the state’s Kupuna Caregivers Program which was signed into law earlier this year by Gov. David Ige to help Hawaii’s working caregivers.

“The landmark initiative is a first step in recognizing the significant contributions and sacrifices of Hawaii’s working caregivers as they celebrate and honor their kupuna,” said Gov. David Ige. “Support for our caregivers is critically needed as Hawaii’s population is aging more rapidly than the national average and our seniors live longer than seniors in any other state.”

Under Act 102, qualified caregivers who apply for the program may receive up to $70 per day in services (subject to the availability of funds and paid directly to contracted service providers, not the caregiver). To be eligible, caregivers must be employed at least 30 hours a week by one or more employers and provide direct care to a care recipient who is a citizen of the US or a qualified alien, 60 years of age or older, and not covered by any comparable government or private home and community-based care service, except kupuna care services. The care recipient cannot reside in a long-term care facility and must have impairments of at least two activities of daily living or two instrumental activities of daily living or one activity of daily living and one instrumental activity of daily living or substantive cognitive impairment requiring substantial supervision.

“We are hopeful that this program will provide working caregivers with the opportunity to continue working and with peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are safe and are receiving services and supports that maximize their independence and quality of life,” said Terri Byers, director of the Hawaii Executive Office on Aging. “EOA is looking forward to analyzing the data we collect during this first six-month pilot period to evaluate demand for services, provider capacity, and how effective the program is in helping caregivers retain employment and ease financial burden.”

Interested caregivers should contact the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) as soon as possible to apply for the program. Program funding is limited to a total of $600,000 available until June 30, 2018 unless a subsequent appropriation is made by the Hawaii State Legislature. Applying for the program includes employment verification, assessment of the care recipient, and a caregiver burden assessment. For further information or to apply, call the ADRC statewide phone number (808) 643-2372, ADRC TTY line (808) 643-0899, or go to http://www.hawaiiadrc.org

Teen Mothers May Have Higher Heart Risks

Women who became first-time mothers as teens were significantly more likely than older mothers to have greater risks for heart and blood vessel disease later in life, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Catherine Pirkle, an assistant professor in the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, served as lead author.

Catherine Pirkle

“If adolescent childbirth increases the risk of cardiovascular disease risk, then our findings reinforce the need to assure that girls and adolescents have sufficient sexual education and access to contraception to avoid adolescent childbearing in the first place,” Pirkle said. “If the association is mediated by lower educational attainment, poorer health behaviors and other factors caused by young motherhood, then our findings also suggest a need to provide more support to young mothers.”

Researchers found that women reporting a first birth before the age of 20 scored significantly higher on the Framingham Risk Score, a measure commonly used to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk. In comparison, women whose first births occurred at older ages had lower average risk scores.

The lowest cardiovascular risk, however, was among women who had never given birth.

“Adolescent mothers may need to be more careful about lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including maintaining a healthy body weight and sufficient physical activity,” said Pirkle. “Clinicians may need to pay more careful attention to women’s reproductive characteristics, and more intensive screening of cardiovascular-disease risk may be required of women reporting early childbirths.”

While previous studies found that women who had several pregnancies had higher cardiovascular risks, in the most recent study, the number of lifetimes births did not affect cardiovascular risk.

Pirkle notes that women who had never given birth may have miscarried or terminated pregnancies, but would have experienced dramatically lower average levels of pregnancy-related complications. Therefore, they would have no, or much shorter durations, of pregnancy-related stress on the body, which may explain the lower average risk scores in that group.

Investigators obtained information about age at first birth for 1,047 women participating in the International Mobility in Aging Study in 2012. Study participants were between the ages of 65 and 74 and were from Canada, Albania, Colombia and Brazil.

Read more at the American Heart Association story.

Hawaii Ranks 5th in Funding Programs that Prevent Kids from Smoking

Hawaii ranks 5th nationwide in funding programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a report released today by leading public health organizations. Hawaii is spending $6.6 million this year on tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which is 48.1 percent of the $13.7 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report challenges states to do more to fight tobacco use – the nation’s leading cause of preventable death – and make the next generation tobacco-free. In Hawaii, 9.7 percent of high school students smoke, and 500 kids become regular smokers each year. Tobacco use claims 1,400 Hawaii lives and costs the state $526 million in health care bills annually.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Hawaii will collect $163.9 million in revenue this year from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend only 4 percent of the money on tobacco prevention programs.
  • Tobacco companies spend $25.5 million each year to market their deadly and addictive products in Hawaii – almost 4 times what the state spends on tobacco prevention. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $8.9 billion a year on marketing – that’s $1 million every hour.

The report – “Broken Promises to Our Children: A State-by-State Look at the 1998 Tobacco Settlement 19 Years Later” – was released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and Truth Initiative.

Hawaii has been a leader in the fight against tobacco. It has a high cigarette tax ($3.20 per pack, 5th among the states), a comprehensive smoke-free law, and in 2015 became the first state to raise the tobacco age to 21. This year Hawaii increased tobacco prevention funding by 25 percent (to $6.6 million), the first increase since 2012. However, total funding is still less than half what the CDC recommends.

Hawaii has made tremendous progress, but needs to continue and increase its investment in preventing kids from smoking and helping smokers quit,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We can win the fight against tobacco and make the next generation tobacco-free, but Hawaii must keep doing its part to help achieve these goals.”

The U.S. has reduced smoking to record lows – 15.1 percent among adults and 8 percent among high school students. But tobacco use still kills more than 480,000 Americans and costs the nation about $170 billion in health care bills each year.

Today’s report also highlights large disparities in who smokes and who suffers from tobacco-related diseases in the United States. Smoking rates are especially high in a swath of 12 states in the Midwest and South, an area called “Tobacco Nation” in a recent Truth Initiative report. Nationwide, smoking rates are highest among people who live below the poverty level and have less education, American Indians/Alaska Natives, LGBT Americans, those who are uninsured or on Medicaid, and those with mental illness. These differences are in large part due to the tobacco industry’s targeting of vulnerable populations through advertising, price discounting and other marketing strategies.

By funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs at the CDC’s recommended levels, states can reduce tobacco use among all Americans. But most states are falling far short:

  • The states will collect $27.5 billion this year from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but will spend less than 3 percent of it ($721.6 million) on tobacco prevention programs.
  • The $721.6 million that the states have budgeted for tobacco prevention is a small fraction of the $3.3 billion the CDC recommends. Not a single state funds tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels, and only two states – California and Alaska – provide more than 90 percent of the recommended funding.
  • States with well-funded, sustained tobacco prevention programs have seen remarkable progress. Florida, with one of the longest-running programs, has reduced its high school smoking rate to 5.2 percent, one of the lowest rates ever reported by any state.

The report and state-specific information can be found at tfk.org/statereport.

HVNP: Musician and Textile Artist Selected as January 2018 Artists-in-Residence

Musician Will Oldham – who performs under the name Bonnie “Prince” Billy – and his wife, textile artist Elsa Hansen Oldham, have been selected as the January 2018 Artists-in-Residence at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
The non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) announced the selection of singer/songwriter Oldham, whose music is described as an alternative blend of country, folk and punk, and his wife, whose quilting and cross stitch work puts a folksy pop-art spin on history and modern culture.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – and his wife, textile artist Elsa Hansen Oldham. Photo courtesy Christian Hansen.

The pair will present a dual multimedia performance on January 26, 2018 in the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 6 p.m. Will Oldham will sing and play music while Elsa Hansen Oldham stitches on stage as her handiwork is projected on the auditorium’s movie screen.

“As the park enters our fourth year of the Artist-in-Residence Program, we look forward to our second musician and first textile artist,” said Laura Carter Schuster, Chief of Cultural Resources at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. “Hawai‘i has such a long tradition of both music and quilting, this pair seems like a match for our location. And the park will inspire both the musician and the fabric artist alike,” she said.

The couple lives in Louisville, KY and will reside in the park for a month. Oldham has performed since 1998 as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and prior to that as Palace Brothers and Palace Music. His songs have been performed by Johnny Cash, Marianne Faithful and others. His new record, Best Troubadour, is a collection of Merle Haggard songs. Hansen Oldham’s textile art is displayed at the Dickinson Roundell Gallery in New York, and she was recently profiled in the New York Times.

The project is supported by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and other benefactors. The NPAF is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the national parks through creating dynamic opportunities for artwork based in the natural and historic heritage of America. All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors. Visit www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org for details.

Waimea Ocean Film Festivals Opens January 1st

The action-packed 2018 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Waimea Film) offers an exciting lineup of films, speakers, coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, presentations and morning activities, running non-stop January 1-9. The annual event opens January 1, with films playing simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. On January 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, where films play this year under the stars at Hoku Amphitheatre.

Waimea Film brings over 60 films to the big screen this year—most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres—with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions. The festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea, and island cultures. Inspirational, thought-provoking films and those that shed light on who we are infuse the program, sharing the extraordinary.

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Community Tips Lead to Execution of Narcotics Search Warrant

The Area II Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) concluded a month-long narcotics-related and community nuisance-type investigation which stemmed from numerous community complaints of suspected narcotic use and narcotics-related activities occurring at a Kalaoa residence.

On Monday (December 11) afternoon at 2:15 p.m., SEU, assisted by the Area II Vice Section, executed a narcotics search warrant at a residence located in the 73-4500 block of Iki Place. During the search, officers located and recovered approximately 3.9 grams of a black tar-like substance (suspected heroin), three syringes containing a brownish-colored liquid (suspected heroin), 0.4 grams of a crystalline substance (suspected crystal methamphetamine), numerous drug paraphernalia items associated with heroin and methamphetamine use, and $870.00 in cash which was seized for forfeiture. At the scene, officers also located and arrested 32-year-old Nicholas Catlett, of Kailua-Kona, and residents 28-year-old Dylan Brehaut, and 30-year-old Ashley Safa, for suspicion of Promoting Dangerous Drugs in the Third Degree. They were transported to the Kealakehe Police Station as officers continued their investigation.

Upon conferring with the Prosecutor’s Office, on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., Ashley Safa was charged with three counts of Promoting Dangerous Drugs in the Third Degree and one count of Drug Paraphernalia. Her total bail was set at $30,250.00.

Dylan Brehaut was released pending further investigation for the narcotics offenses, however he was charged for an outstanding bench warrant with bail set at $10,000.00.

Safa and Brehaut remained in custody at the Kealakehe Police Station pending their initial court appearance at Kona District Court this morning.

Upon conferring with the Prosecutor’s Office, Nicholas Catlett was released pending further investigation.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to thank community members for the numerous tips received in this investigation. In addition, the community is encouraged to remain aware of suspicious activities occurring within their neighborhood and to report any suspicious activity to the police non-emergency number at (808)935-3311.

Puna Man Charged in Firearms Incident

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 20-year-old Puna man in connection with a terroristic threatening incident involving a firearm.

Eric Wilson. HPD photo

At 5:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon (December 9), officers were called to an address on 37th Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.  Police determined that following an argument, a male suspect pointed a handgun at an 18 year-old man at the residence.  The suspect, 20-year-old Eric Wilson Jr., of Puna, fled from the scene in a vehicle after the confrontation.  No physical injuries were reported.

At 8:50 a.m. Monday morning (December 11), an officer assigned to the department’s Special Enforcement Unit arrested Wilson at the Hilo courthouse without incident.  He was taken to the Hilo cellblock while investigators continued the investigation.  About an hour later, patrol officers located the suspect’s vehicle at a Ala Heiau Road residence in Keaʻau.    A search warrant was later served on the suspect’s vehicle where a handgun and ammunition was recovered.

At 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (December 12), police charged Wilson with one count each of first-degree terroristic threatening, ownership (of a firearm) prohibited, possessing a loaded firearm on a highway, place to keep a pistol, and place to keep -ammunition.  Wilson remains in police custody at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $610,000 bail pending his initial Court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon (December 13) in South Hilo District Court.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or have any information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Aaron Carvalho of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2272 or Aaron.Carvalho@hawaiicounty.gov.

Trump Sending Astronauts Back to the Moon

President Donald Trump is sending astronauts back to the Moon.

The president Monday signed at the White House Space Policy Directive 1, a change in national space policy that provides for a U.S.-led, integrated program with private sector partners for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

President Donald Trump signs the Presidential Space Directive – 1, directing NASA to return to the moon, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, NASA, and commercial space companies in the Roosevelt room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The policy calls for the NASA administrator to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.” The effort will more effectively organize government, private industry, and international efforts toward returning humans on the Moon, and will lay the foundation that will eventually enable human exploration of Mars.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” said President Trump. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”

The policy grew from a unanimous recommendation by the new National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, after its first meeting Oct. 5. In addition to the direction to plan for human return to the Moon, the policy also ends NASA’s existing effort to send humans to an asteroid. The president revived the National Space Council in July to advise and help implement his space policy with exploration as a national priority.

Two members of the BASALT project, a NASA Mars-analog mission, conduct a high-fidelity, simulated exploration of basaltic (lava-rock) terrain. The geology of their actual location – Kilauea Iki crater on Hawaii Island – is similar to basalt-rich landscapes found on Mars (see below). This provides a good training ground for the group conducting research, designing procedures, and developing tools to make similar missions possible one day on Mars. Pictured are: Stan Love, a NASA astronaut from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Alex Sehlke, a post-doctoral fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.
Credits: NASA

“Under President Trump’s leadership, America will lead in space once again on all fronts,” said Vice President Pence. “As the President has said, space is the ‘next great American frontier’ – and it is our duty – and our destiny – to settle that frontier with American leadership, courage, and values. The signing of this new directive is yet another promise kept by President Trump.”

Among other dignitaries on hand for the signing, were NASA astronauts Sen. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, Buzz Aldrin, Peggy Whitson and Christina Koch. Schmitt landed on the moon 45 years to the minute that the policy directive was signed as part of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, and is the most recent living person to have set foot on our lunar neighbor. Aldrin was the second person to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Whitson spoke to the president from space in April aboard the International Space Station and while flying back home after breaking the record for most time in space by a U.S. astronaut in September. Koch is a member of NASA’s astronaut class of 2013.

Work toward the new directive will be reflected in NASA’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request next year.

“NASA looks forward to supporting the president’s directive strategically aligning our work to return humans to the Moon, travel to Mars and opening the deeper solar system beyond,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. “This work represents a national effort on many fronts, with America leading the way. We will engage the best and brightest across government and private industry and our partners across the world to reach new milestones in human achievement. Our workforce is committed to this effort, and even now we are developing a flexible deep space infrastructure to support a steady cadence of increasingly complex missions that strengthens American leadership in the boundless frontier of space. The next generation will dream even bigger and reach higher as we launch challenging new missions, and make new discoveries and technological breakthroughs on this dynamic path.”

A piece of Moon rock was brought to the White House as a reminder of the exploration history and American successes at the Moon on which the new policy will build. Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by Schmitt’s Apollo 17 crew. Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon and returned with the greatest amount of rock and soil samples for investigation.

Lunar Sample 70215 was retrieved from the Moon’s surface and returned by NASA’s Apollo 17 crew. The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough.
Credits: NASA

The sample is a basaltic lava rock similar to lava found in Hawaii. It crystallized 3.84 billion years ago when lava flowed from the Camelot Crater. Sliced off a parent rock that originally weighed 8,110 grams, the sample weighs 14 grams, and is very fine grained, dense and tough. During the six Apollo surface excursions from 1969 to 1972, astronauts collected 2,196 rock and soil samples weighting 842 pounds. Scientific studies help us learn about the geologic history of the Moon, as well as Earth. They help us understand the mineral and chemical resources available to support future lunar exploration.

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Hawaii Second Healthiest State

America’s health is challenged by an increase in premature death and uneven concentration of health care providers, according to key findings in United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.

America’s Health Rankings

America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, now in its 28th year, provides a holistic view of the health of the nation and of each state by analyzing 35 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data.

Disturbing Trends in U.S. Mortality: Increases in Premature Deaths, Drug Deaths and Cardiovascular Deaths
The report finds increases in the rates for three key mortality indicators.

  • The premature death rate increased for the third year in a row. The rate increased by 3 percent from 2015. Premature death is defined as the years of potential life lost before age 75.
  • In the past year, the rate of drug deaths continued an upward trend, increasing by 7 percent to its highest level ever as measured by the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.
  • Cardiovascular deaths increased for the second consecutive year, with the rate among African Americans significantly higher than the rate among whites, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.

Even Healthy States Are Experiencing Increases in Mortality
Increases in key mortality indicators are being felt even in the nation’s healthiest states.

  • In the past five years, some of the healthiest states by overall rank have experienced large increases in drug death rates, including New Hampshire (a 118 percent increase, with an additional 13-plus deaths per 100,000 people), Rhode Island (a 56 percent increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people) and Massachusetts (a 69 percent increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people).
  • In the past five years, Utah (ranked as the fourth healthiest state) experienced one of the largest increases in the rate of cardiovascular deaths (10 percent, with additional 21-plus deaths per 100,000 people).

Continued Variation in the Concentration of Health Care Providers
The wide variation in health care providers across the country may contribute to differences in overall health.

  • The state with the highest concentration of mental health care providers, Massachusetts, has six times the number of mental health care providers than the state with the least amount, Alabama, Massachusetts has 547 care providers per 100,000 people vs. Alabama, which has 85 care providers per 100,000 people.
  • There is also a significant variation in primary care physicians, with a nearly two-to-one ratio between the states with the highest and lowest concentrations.  Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut have more than 200 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, compared to fewer than 100 physicians per 100,000 people in Utah and Idaho.
  • Similarly, the concentration of dentists varies by almost two to one across states. Massachusetts and New Jersey have more than 80 dentists per 100,000 people. Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Delaware have fewer than 45 dentists per 100,000 people.

State Rankings in 2017: Massachusetts Ranks 1st, Mississippi Ranks 50th

  • Massachusetts ranks as the healthiest state in 2017 for the first time, followed by Hawaii (2), Vermont (3), Utah (4) and Connecticut (5).
  • Mississippi is ranked 50th for the second year in a row with Louisiana (49), Arkansas (48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) rounding out the states with greatest opportunities for improvement.

“This report serves as an important tool for health care professionals, policymakers and communities in their collaborative efforts to address these challenges, and help build healthier communities across the nation,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation, and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “This is a call to action for each of us to make changes in our own lifestyles that can help improve our overall health and well-being.”

Senator Hirono Lashing Out at President Trump – Calls for His Resignation

Senator Mazie Hirono is going off on Twitter today and has called for the resignation of President Donald Trump:

5 hours ago

. is a misogynist, compulsive liar, and admitted sexual predator. Attacks on Kirsten are the latest example that no one is safe from this bully. He must resign.

EPA, State of Hawaii Receive Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Tank Upgrade Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) are reviewing the draft Tank Upgrade Study for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility as part of a 2015 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with the Navy. The Navy study provides in-depth conceptual design information for six upgrade options, but does not recommend one option. EPA, DOH and the Navy will use the study, along with community input and other work produced under the agreement, to select the final upgrade option.

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“This report provides EPA and DOH with information for us to evaluate as the Navy progresses in upgrading the Red Hill tanks,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work is proceeding under our enforceable agreement with the U.S. Navy as EPA and DOH oversee long-term solutions for the Red Hill facility to protect public health and Hawaii’s aquifers.”

A public information workshop will be held in spring 2018 to explain the report and allow EPA, DOH and the Navy to respond to questions and concerns from the community. After the workshop, the Navy will propose a tank upgrade option. EPA and DOH will hold a second public meeting about the Navy’s proposed upgrade decision before approving or disapproving the Navy’s proposal.

The Red Hill Tank Upgrade Study considered more than 30 different approaches to physical improvements to the tanks. Six of the 30 were ultimately selected for in-depth study and evaluated for 20 factors ranging from construction challenges and cost to inspection and maintenance requirements. Three improvement options use a single-walled tank system and three are double-walled systems.

“The Red Hill tank upgrade is an important issue to Hawaii residents, and the AOC outlines a process of careful analysis and decision-making that will result in the most appropriate final outcomes at the facility,” said Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Health. “The Navy has met an important milestone in delivering this assessment of potential tank upgrade options.”

The Tank Upgrade Study and the Navy’s decision process for proposing a tank upgrade option are available for public review and comment at https://www.epa.gov/red-hill/tank-upgrade-alternatives-red-hill.  Any questions, comments or concerns related to the Red Hill Facility can be directed to DOH and EPA by sending an e-mail to red-hill@epa.gov or contacting agency representatives identified on our Red Hill websites.

In January 2014, while refilling Tank 5, the Navy identified a loss of jet fuel from the tank and reported it to DOH, estimating that about 27,000 gallons was released. The Navy drained the tank and collected samples from existing water monitoring wells. Results of samples taken around Tank 5 indicated a spike in levels of hydrocarbons. The Navy increased the frequency of monitoring at a nearby Navy drinking water well, and current monitoring results for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system confirmed they were in compliance with federal and state drinking water standards both before and after the January release.

Red Hill, constructed in the 1940s, is a unique facility in the United States, consisting of 20 underground bulk fuel storage tanks built into a mountain hillside. Each tank is 250 feet tall and 100 feet in diameter, constructed of steel and encased in a minimum of 2.5 to 4 feet of concrete surrounded by basalt bedrock. Each tank has a fuel storage capacity of 12.5 to 12.7 million gallons, giving the facility a maximum capacity of approximately 250 million gallons. Eighteen tanks are currently active, and two are not in use.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/red-hill and http://health.hawaii.gov/RedHill.

VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on FCC to Uphold Net Neutrality Protections

With three days before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) makes a final decision on net neutrality, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) urged the commission to reject corporate-led efforts to unravel open, fair, and equal Internet access and to listen to the voices of the majority of Americans that support current protections on net neutrality.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“In three days, the Internet as we know it could change forever. On December 14th, the FCC will be taking a vote on whether or not to get rid of net neutrality protections that keep the Internet open, fair, and equal for everyone.

“Repealing these protections will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T to control the levers of the Internet—stifling access, deciding the websites you and I can visit and use, and making it impossible for small businesses to compete against industry giants. It will hurt our students, entrepreneurs, working families, and all who rely on the Internet for things like education, healthcare, and employment as a level playing field of opportunity.

“The FCC must protect the people it’s supposed to be serving—not big, corporate interests—and make sure the Internet remains a place where everyone has a seat at the table.”

Pesticide Testing to Expand to Maui and Hawai‘i Island

The House Committee on Health & Human Services, chaired by Rep. John M. Mizuno, and the Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Richard P. Creagan, held an informational briefing today to update the status and progress of the Kauai Pesticide Joint Fact Finding (JFF) Study Group’s recommendations released last year.

The report, completed in May 2016, provided an analysis of environmental and health issues associated with pesticide use on Kauai, and today’s briefing was to hear how the various state and county departments had followed up on the group’s recommendations. Lawmakers also want to make sure continued environmental and human health impacts related to pesticides are addressed with fact-based policy and decision making.

Rep. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Lower Kalihi) said pesticide use will continue to be an important issue for Hawaii and will be discussed during the next legislative session.

“I want to acknowledge the state departments of Health, Agriculture, and Education along with the County of Kauai, and the Kauai Department of Water for working together on the pesticide issue and taking positive steps to protect residents,” said Mizuno. “This is a critical health and environmental issue that we need to have consensus and solution building to stay in front of.”

At the briefing, department representatives reported that steps taken since May, 2016 include:

  • The hiring of three new agriculture inspectors that has reduced the number of open pesticide investigation cases from 780 to less than 10.
  • Funding to hire an epidemiologist by the Department of Health.
  • Training of departments and first responders to coordinate rapid response to pesticide exposure incidents.
  • Training of the local medical community to record birth defect data.
  • Testing more than 50 surface water areas for pesticides on Oahu and Kauai and planning to expand testing to Maui and Hawaii Island.

Scott Enright, Chair of the Board of Agriculture told the Representatives that the Department of Agriculture has also developed a packet of rules that update Hawaii’s pesticide laws and regulations.

Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) said lawmakers see these as positive steps and want to make sure the departments have the resources they need to continue their efforts.

“This has been good information to direct us moving forward on this issue,” Belatti said.

Rep. Dee Morikawa, (Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea) said Kauai County has developed a pesticide policy and she suggested all four counties work together to develop a statewide policy on pesticide use, testing, enforcement and treatment.

“Let’s have a plan that allows proper pesticide use, protects our residents and notifies communities if there is any possible contamination,” Morikawa said.

Rep. Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) said he is concerned about the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides.

“I am concerned with the possibility of birth defects, particularly nerodevelopmental injuries to the fetus from long-term, low level pesticide exposure, especially related to chlorpyrifos,” said Creagan.