Public Information Meeting Scheduled for Pahoa Roundabout Project

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will be holding a public information meeting in coordination with area legislators, Senator Lorraine Inouye and County Council Members Greggor Ilagan and Daniel K. Paleka, Jr., to inform the public of the anticipated opening date of the Pahoa Roundabout.

Pahoa Round-a-boutThe meeting will include information on the project schedule and remaining work. A display station demonstrating how to drive through a roundabout will also be available for public viewing.

The meeting is scheduled at the following location and time:

Thursday, April 7, 2016
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Pahoa Neighborhood Center
15-2710 Kauhale Street, Pahoa

The public information meeting is accessible for individuals with disabilities. For more information or to request an auxiliary aid or service (e.g., sign language, interpreter, specific language interpreter, designated parking, and materials in alternate format) contact J. Sonomura at (808) 933-8866 or e-mail dotpao@hawaii.gov by March 28, 2016.

HDOT thanks motorists for their patience as they work through the temporary detour and traffic signal changes in the area. Anticipated opening of the area to limited use is scheduled for mid-April. Full operation of the Pahoa Roundabout will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on lane closures and detours, visit the HDOT website at http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/roadwork/ or follow us on our Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiiDepartmentOfTransportation) or Twitter (@DOTHawaii) accounts.

Zika Virus Case Suspected on Maui

The Maui County District Health Office and the County of Maui jointly announced today a suspected case of Zika virus brought to the island by a resident who became ill while traveling in Latin America and upon return to Maui in February.

While initial lab tests were not conclusive, results did warrant further testing and pointed to a high probability of Zika, which carries other, more serious impacts than Dengue Fever.

Both Dengue Fever and Zika are spread when a sick person gets bit by a mosquito, which later bites another person. Evidence suggests that Zika can also be transmitted through sexual contact if a man has been infected. The best way to prevent both Dengue and Zika is to take mosquito control measures, and to avoid getting bitten. Some who carry Zika do not show symptoms, and in others, illness may last from several days to over a week. There is currently no cure for either virus.

“Because the lab results thus far point to the high probability of Zika, we are taking this very seriously,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui County District Health Officer. “We need the public’s help in preventing the spread of whichever virus caused the illness so that we don’t get locally transmitted cases. The best way to do this is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and make sure people avoid getting mosquito bites.”

Additionally, Department of Health and County of Maui staff and volunteers will be conducting site visits in various areas along the North Shore of Maui this weekend to assess problem areas for mosquito breeding and inform residents of the need to take precautions against mosquito-borne viruses.

“If you receive a flyer or letter from the Department of Health, please be sure to read the information carefully, as this public health issue affects us all,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “This is the time for our community to step up efforts to ‘fight the bite,’ by seeing a doctor if you have even mild symptoms, especially if you have traveled to parts of the world where there are outbreaks of these viruses.”

The public is advised that anyone who has traveled outside the country and has mild to severe symptoms such as fever, joint pain, rash or pink eye to see their physician. All residents and visitors should avoid getting mosquito bites by using repellent and wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks when outdoors. Residents should fix broken window and door screens at home, and get rid of standing water in the yard. Old tires, buckets, toys and plants, especially bromeliads, can become breeding sites for mosquitos. A mixture of soapy water (1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle) can be sprayed on backyard plants to control mosquito larvae.

For more tips on how to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, visit www.mauiready.org.

LIVE STREAM MONDAY – Proclamation to Honor UH Warrior Basketball Teams

March Madness UH

What:  Proclamation ceremony to honor the University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine basketball teams 

Who:             

  • Gov. David Ige
  • Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Senate Higher Education committee chair
  • Rep. Isaac Choy, House Higher Education committee chair
  • UH Athletics Director David Matlin
  • UH Rainbow Warriors Basketball Head Coach Eran Ganot
  • UH Rainbow Wahine Basketball Head Coach Laura Beeman
  • UH Rainbow Warriors men’s basketball team
  • UH Rainbow Wahine women’s basketball team       

When:           Monday, March 28, 2016 at 3pm

Where:         State Capitol, 5th floor, Governor’s Ceremonial Room

Live Stream: governor’s website.

Merrie Monarch Dengue Fever Precautions – Vector Spraying at Venues

With the annual Merrie Monarch Festival just around the corner, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging both residents and travelers to take extra precautions to stay away from and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while they are in Hilo for the event.

Mosquito Bite

Although the number of locally-acquired dengue fever cases have slowed over the past several weeks, the outbreak is not over, and the public should reduce their risk of infection as much as possible.

In the days leading up to one of Hawaii’s most celebrated traditions, Vector Control teams will be taking preventive measures by surveying and treating areas near the venues where the Merrie Monarch Festival will be held: the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium and the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

“People from all over the world come to Hawaii to celebrate the tradition of hula during the Merrie Monarch Festival, so we are doing our due diligence and taking proactive measures now to reduce the risks of both imported and local cases of mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health.

“We continue to work with our county partners to coordinate and implement best practices for mosquito abatement and prevention.”

DOH is advising visitors to be vigilant in their efforts to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during their stay. Recommended precautions include:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors, and always follow directions for using repellants -especially on small children.
  • Wear covered clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks, to help protect skin from mosquito bites.
  • Be aware and avoid activities in areas with lots of mosquitoes.

In addition to these recommendations, DOH advises Hilo residents to take the following steps in their own neighborhoods to help fight the bite:

  • Eliminate standing water in buckets, containers and puddles around your home;
  • Fix leaky faucets and outdoor hoses that may be dripping water;
  • Treat bromeliads and other plants that hold water with a larvicide;
  • Clear storm gutters and other outdoor drains of leaves and lawn cuttings;
  • Repair screens and jalousie windows to keep mosquitoes out; and
  • Dispose of old tires and anything else that may collect and hold standing water.

For further recommendations on how to take precautions against mosquitoes and dengue fever, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dengue-outbreak-2015/ .

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company for Burn Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch has issued a Notice and Finding of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S).

PrintHC&S operates a sugar cane refinery and plantation at Puunene on Maui, and was cited for agricultural burning permit violations that occurred in May, June and July of 2015.

The violations were self-reported and after a review of the reports a penalty of $8,300 was issued by DOH and paid by HC&S. Copies of the Notice of Violation are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/cab/.

The DOH Clean Air Branch monitors air quality and regulates businesses that release pollutants into the air. The Branch reviews and approves air permits, evaluates and enforces state and federal air standards, conducts inspections, and investigates reported incidents related to outdoor air quality. Through the air permit process, the Branch ensures companies comply with state and federal emission standards to minimize air pollution impacts on the public.

Student Photography Competitions at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites Big Island students, grade 6-12 to take their best shot at cash scholarships in The Shops’ first-ever Photography Competition. Cash scholarships will be awarded to the top three finishers, in the amounts of $500, $300 and $200, for photos that best express an inspiring image on location at The Shops—including architecture, nature, food, onstage performances, and whatever captures the student photographer’s imagination.

From performers to nature, still life to food and fashion, student photographer are invited to capture inspiring moments at The Shops for a chance to win cash scholarships.

From performers to nature, still life to food and fashion, student photographer are invited to capture inspiring moments at The Shops for a chance to win cash scholarships.

Deadline to enter is April 15, and all photo entries will be on exhibit at The Shops’ Suite 306, April 22-30, generally 3-8 p.m. (April 25 and 28, 3-5 p.m. April 27, 5:45-8 p.m.) Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on April 30 at 11 a.m.

“We love seeing photos from people who visit The Shops, especially young people, and that inspired us to create a photography competition with scholarship prizes,” said General Manager Michael Oh. “Our hope is that lots of students take the challenge, come down and take pictures of whatever catches your eye—whether it’s our jumping fountains or a pair of shoes, an ice cream cone, a fire dancer, lei-maker or a special event. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.”

PHOTOS courtesy The Shops at Mauna Lani.

PHOTOS courtesy The Shops at Mauna Lani.

There are no entry fees, and multiple submissions will be accepted. Entry forms and information is available at www.shopsatmaunalani.com/SPC or by phone 885-9501.

HI-PAL “Click It or Ticket” 14-and-Under Basketball Championship Results

Fifty-four youths from seven teams participated in the HI-PAL “Click It or Ticket” 14-and-under basketball championships this past weekend at Andrews Gym.

In the Boys Division, Hoop Dreams defeated Pāhoa 54-12 to claim the championship. Keawe Silva scored 18 points and Kiaʻi Apele 10 for Hoop Dreams. Damon Romero led Pāhoa with six points.

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams

Members of the champion Hoop Dreams squad included Silva, Apele, Kaukahi Alameda, Macmillan Aloisio, Izayah Chartrand, Kilohana Haasenritter, Umi Kealoha, Guyson Ogata, Keegan Scanlan and Kaupena Yasso.

In the third place contest, Waiākea Titans edged Keaʻau Chargers 50-42. Isaiah Cordero led Waiākea with 20 points and Chance Simeona added 10. John Gunny Ramirez scored 12 for Keaʻau.

In the Girls Division finals, Wahine Ryders defeated Hoop Dreams Wahine 34-16. Mindy Kawaha tallied 11 for the champions.

Wahine Ryders

Wahine Ryders

Members of the champion Wahine Ryders included Kawaha, Asia Castillo, Jamila Collins-Ebanez, Zaelyn Lui, Keani Midel and Tatiana Rideout.

“Click It or Ticket” is a national education and enforcement campaign to increase seat belt usage and decrease traffic fatalities and injuries. The Hawaiʻi Police Department encourages all youth, teens and adults to use their seat belts.

Former Hawaii Superferry Renamed USNS Puerto Rico and Will Run Between US and Canada

The former Hawaii Superferry Alakai is being renamed by the US Navy to USNS Puerto Rico and will now run routes between the United States and Canada.

SuperferryAccording to Fosters.com:

High-speed ferry service will return this summer between Maine and Nova Scotia on a vessel that is smaller and faster than one that operated for two financially disastrous seasons.
Mark MacDonald, president of Canada-based Bay Ferries, said the company will operate a twin-hulled vessel under a lease agreement with its owner, the U.S. Navy.
The ship, USNS Puerto Rico, can make the 212-mile trip in 5 1/2 hours. The Nova Star, which ended service in October, took 11 hours to make the crossing…
…The Puerto Rico was built in Mobile, Alabama, in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry LLC and designed to operate in the Hawaiian islands. The federal government obtained the vessel after Hawaii Superferry went bankrupt in 2009.

More information here: High-speed ferry to run between Portland and Nova Scotia