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Kona Tax Office Changes Walk-In Service Hours

Effective August 1, 2016, walk-in service hours at the Department of Taxation’s Kona Office will be changed to 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Telephone calls will continue to be taken from 7:45am to 4:30pm.

tax mission

Due to the small number of staff in the Kona Office, adjusting the walk-in service hours will help the Kona staff provide better overall service to all Kona taxpayers.  Changes to the walk-in service hours are needed to ensure documents received by our Kona Office staff that day can be timely processed.

“We thank the residents of West Hawaii for their flexibility and understanding,” stated Director of Taxation Maria E. Zielinski.

Big Island Restaurant Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak – Confirmed Cases at 93

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a new case of hepatitis A infection in a food service employee on Hawaii Island.

The employee has a history of exposure on Oahu and worked at the fast food and catering restaurant, Sushi Shiono Waikoloa, located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, from July 5 through July 21, 2016 (actual dates: July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21).

Waikoloa SushiThe department is advising persons who consumed any food products from this store during this period that they may have been exposed to the disease.

The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. However, as a precaution, unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

Since the outbreak began in mid-June, there have been 93 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 29 of which have required hospitalization. All cases have been in adults who were on Oahu during their exposure periods. DOH continues to investigate and is working to identify the source of infection for this outbreak.

“Preventing exposure from infected food handlers is difficult because patients with hepatitis A are most contagious one to two weeks before symptoms start,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.“ It is possible that other food service establishments will be affected with additional new cases.”

Affected food service establishments who are unable to notify their customers directly are listed on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/. These businesses are not sources of this outbreak. At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses; the list is provided to prevent possible new cases. Hawaii State law requires all unvaccinated food handlers (persons who directly prepare, serve, or handle food) who are contacts of confirmed cases be tested for infection and have a negative hepatitis A IgM test before returning to work. A “contact” with the case is defined as unvaccinated household members, unvaccinated sexual contacts, anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case, anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case, anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene.

Once an infected food handler has been identified, DOH staff coordinate directly with the owners and managers of the affected food service establishments to ensure their employees are tested before resuming their work.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

For a statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

As Lava Meets the Ocean, New Dangers Persist

The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō towards the coastal plain on Kīlauea’s south flank remains active. The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō entered the ocean, as of as of 1:12 a.m. HST, last night. Areas of incandescence remain visible in overnight webcam views of the active lava flow field, marking lava tube skylights and areas of active lava on the pali and along the flow as it extends towards the coast.

Last night Senator Kahele walked out to the flow.

Last night Senator Kahele walked out to the flow.  That would make “Lava Meets Kai” a reality… LOL!

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry (location where lava meets the sea) for Flow 61G, there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Lava Flow Crosses Emergency Road and Flows Into Ocean

Flow 61G reached the emergency access road inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on July 25 at 3:20 pm and crossed the road in about 30 minutes. At 4:00 pm, the flow front was approximately 110 m (0.07 miles) from the ocean.

hvo 726aThe active lava flow on Kīlauea Volcano’s south flank crossed the emergency access road in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park this afternoon around 3:20 p.m., HST, providing wonderful lava-viewing experiences for Park visitors.

. A section of the road can be seen here, with fume from the active lava tube in the far distance behind it, and the active flow front in the foreground.

A section of the road can be seen here, with fume from the active lava tube in the far distance behind it, and the active flow front in the foreground.

The flow front continued to advance, and was less than 100 meters (yards) from the ocean a few hours later (when this photo was taken).

The lava flow reached the ocean about 01:15 a.m. on  July 26.

The lava flow reached the ocean about 01:15 a.m. on July 26.

Request for Information for Harvest of Timber and Other Forest Resources in the Waiakea Timber Management Area

The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is requesting potential offerors to supply the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) with information to improve the quality of a possible Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Forest Product(s) Land License(s) to harvest and reforest the Waiākea Timber Management Area (WTMA) in accordance with Section 171-54, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), as amended. Responses to this RFI are due September 2, 2016 at 3:30PM (HST).

Waiakea Timber

Please find link to the Request for Information (RFI) for the WTMA above and below.

The appendices of the RFI can be downloaded using the following links:

Appendix A. – https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/files/2016/07/2016-04-23-FEA-Waiakea-Timber-Management-Area.pdf

Appendix B. – 1999 Timber Inventory Report of WTMA: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/files/2016/04/Constantinides-1999-A-Timber-Inventory-of-the-Waiakea-Timber-Management-Area.pdf

Additional information can be found on the WTMA website.

Should you have any questions, please contact Philipp LaHaela Walter, State Resource and Survey Forester, at (808) 294-9429 or by email Philipp.LaHaelaWalter@hawaii.gov and/or Jay Hatayama, Forest Management Supervisor II, Hawaiʻi Island, at (808) 974-4387 or by email Jay.M.Hatayama@hawaii.gov.