Hawaii State Urges Consumers with Sports Authority Gift Cards to Redeem Unused Balances Immediately

Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, is urging Hawaii consumers who may be holding gift cards, certificates or store credits from Sports Authority to redeem their balances as soon as possible. Consumers are also urged to return unwanted merchandise immediately for a refund or exchange.

sports authority gift card

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March of this year, and initially had received approval from the bankruptcy court to proceed with business as usual. The company has since announced plans to begin liquidating its business throughout the United States, including its operations in Hawaii. Change is expected in the coming weeks, with an auction scheduled for late May, making the future of the company uncertain.

“An important guideline with gift cards is to use them as soon as you can, because if a store closes or goes bankrupt, there may be little to no recourse for a consumer to recover an unspent balance,” said Executive Director Levins. “If you currently have a Sports Authority gift card, you should use it immediately to avoid losing whatever credit it contains.”

Sports Authority operates eight stores in Hawaii, in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona, Kaneohe, Kapolei, Lihue, and Waikele.

Winner Announced for 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Senior Essay Contest

All senior year students from West & North Hawaii’s schools were invited to participate.  This year’s student winner is Simon Ellis from Konawaena.  He wins a $1000 cash prize.

Konawaena Student Simon Ellis was the 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Essay Winner

Konawaena Student Simon Ellis was the 2016 Auto Body Hawaii Essay Winner

Mr. Ellis’s essay, titled “Eclectic Election,” discussed how the current presidential race is generating a conversation amongst teens through social media and its potential impact on topics of teens’ interests. He chose not to write about one particular party but how, more than any other time, teens are actively getting involved in the political arena and how their involvement can make a difference.

An excerpt of his essay follows:

“In school, it has never been uncommon for students to discuss politics in Social Studies and History classes.  These days it’s not uncommon for students to discuss them electively in their free time.  The lunch room talk has moved away from “who’s her boyfriend” to “what is her stance on foreign policy.” I think that one reason teens are so much more involved in the democratic process this year in particular is that social media gives us the ability to discuss the issues like never before. Not only do we talk about current events at school, but we can also talk about them at home and immediately voice our ideas to the rest of the world.  This open dialogue is not only attractive to teens who want to have their voices heard, but also to those of us who want to learn more and see other people’s point of view.”

The full essay is posted on the Auto Body Hawaii website; www.autobodyhawaii.com.

 

High Rates of Hepatitis C Found Among Hawaii’s Kupuna

Hawaii’s kupuna — baby boomers between the ages of 51 and 71 — are among those most at risk for hepatitis C, which can lead to liver disease or liver cancer. The Hawaii State Department of Health is partnering with CVS Minute Clinics and Hep Free Hawaii to protect kupuna and others by offering convenient hepatitis C point-of-care testing, on an ongoing basis starting on Thursday, May 19, 2016, which is National Hepatitis Testing Day.

clinic locator

All nine CVS Minute Clinics, located within selected Longs Drugs stores on Oahu, will offer a finger-prick test (instead of a blood draw) to check for hepatitis C in persons at risk, especially baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965. Results from the rapid hepatitis C antibody test are available in 20 minutes. This preventive health service is fully covered by most insurance plans with no out-of-pocket costs for members.

Hepatitis C and Liver Cancer

Hawaii is the state with the highest rate of liver cancer in the U.S., and the majority of liver cancer cases in Hawaii are caused by viral hepatitis types B and C. An estimated 23,000 persons in Hawaii are currently living with chronic hepatitis C, which can lead to liver disease and cancer.

Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood exposure (such as sharing injection equipment), but there are also high rates among baby boomers (born 1945-1965), regardless of any known blood exposure. More than one out of four people in Hawaii are baby boomers and should be tested at least once for hepatitis C infection.

Early Detection is Critical
“Most people with hepatitis C don’t know that they have it,” stated Thaddeus Pham, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator with the Hawaii State Department of Health.  “If undetected, hepatitis C can lead to liver disease, liver cancer, or even death. Since hepatitis C is manageable and, in some cases, even curable, people can prevent liver cancer through early detection. We encourage all baby boomers, as well as other Hawaii residents at risk for hepatitis C, to get tested right away. Getting tested is the first step in liver cancer prevention.”

CVS Minute Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who not only can administer the test, but also offer other services such as immunizations and non-urgent medical care. They are also committed to ensuring the patients get connected back their primary care providers. The CVS Minute Clinics are currently at 9 select locations on Oahu.  See http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinics/Hawaii for exact locations and times.  Appointments are first come, first serve, although you can hold a place in line using the Minute Clinic location website.

Partnering with Community

“We’re partnering with local CVS Minute Clinics because we recognize the increasing importance of non-traditional healthcare delivery models,” Pham said. “Many of us often go to our local pharmacy or drug store more often than we go to our doctor. It’s important to use every opportunity to increase awareness and screening for our ohana. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get tested to prevent liver disease and cancer.”

For list of participating sites, go to http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinics/Hawaii or www.hepfreehawaii.org.