Department of Health Workers Doing Door-to-Door Surveys Saturday on Oahu

Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) workers and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods in McCully-Moiliili, Makiki-Lower Punchbowl, and Ala Moana-Kakaako on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon to conduct a Community Health Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER). Participation in the door-to-door survey is confidential and voluntary.

department-of-healthHousehold in these areas can expect to see teams of two volunteers wearing DOH identification badges and carrying clip boards. The purpose of this survey, or CASPER, is to gain a clearer picture of possible public health needs in case of an emergency or disaster. The survey includes general questions about household size, makeup and existing emergency preparations. The information gathered will help DOH and state and county partners better understand how Honolulu communities prepare for public health emergencies to then better shape response and recovery plans.

The pilot project was presented at a McCully/Moiliili neighborhood board and other meetings in the past months to encourage participation and collaboration. Project results will be shared with the respective area neighborhood boards and state and county emergency management agency partners. For more information, contact the Public Health Preparedness Branch at (808) 587-6569.

The Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness Branch is funded by a Hospital Preparedness Program – Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through the grant, the branch works to prepare for, respond to, and assist in recovery from natural and human-caused public health emergencies and threats.

The Hawaii Medical Reserve Corps has local volunteer members throughout the state and is housed within the Public Health Preparedness Branch. Volunteers are asked to attend quarterly meetings, participate in disaster preparedness exercises, and assist with non-emergency community health activities, such as the Stop Flu at School program, vision screening clinics, and community health fairs.

Hawaii Governor to Request Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance After Surveying Storm Damage

Gov. David Ige today toured Maui’s Iao Stream area, which suffered severe damage during last week’s storm. The governor was joined by Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, State Adjutant General, Major General Arthur Logan, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi and other government and emergency management officials for aerial and ground tours of the disaster site.

maui-storm1The tours follow initial assessments of the disaster area by the National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

On Thursday, Gov. Ige took a 30-minute aerial tour of the site aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter before surveying the disaster site on the ground where he met with residents directly affected by the storm.

maui-storm4“It truly is a sobering reminder of the power of nature and to see the impact on the stream and the change of the flows that had a devastating effect on families, the state and county. I will be sending a letter to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance,” said Gov. Ige.

maui-storm3The governor also met with some of the 30 Hawai‘i Air and Army National Guard members who have been activated to clear out debris and boulders which have diverted the stream flow into residential areas along the stream.

Initial assessments put the state and county’s damage estimate at $15 million. About 20 families were directly impacted by the storm.

maui-storm2While the county and National Guard continue to clear out an estimated 9,000 truckloads of debris, the state and county are working to ensure the safety of the community.

maui-storm5“This is going to be a large project. Very expensive. It’s going to take months and months to try and secure this area, but it’s going to be worth it,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Click here for video of the governor’s aerial tour.

Hawaii Innocence Project Event Will Test Reliability of Eyewitness Identification

Could you be a reliable eyewitness? Want to test your skills with some expert attorneys?

eyewitnees-identification

On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, in recognition of “International Wrongful Conviction Day,” the Hawai‘i Innocence Project will challenge audience members to see how well they can identify a possible suspect in a mock exercise at the UH Law School.

The program, titled “Eyewitness Identification,” is scheduled from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. in Classroom 2.  Lunch is available in the courtyard; donations are welcome.  Similar programs are taking place across the nation and around the world.

“Eyewitness Identification” aims to demonstrate pitfalls in the standard technique that has been used in courtrooms for decades. Documentation has begun to show that faulty eyewitness identification accounts for as much as 75 percent of all wrongful convictions, according to Innocence Project data.

The Hawai‘i Innocence Project is run by faculty members at the William S. Richardson School of Law, with assistance from community attorneys. In 2011, using advanced DNA testing technology, the Hawai‘i project succeeded in having Alvin Francis Jardine exonerated after he spent almost 20 years in prison for a rape and burglary he consistently maintained that he did not commit. The national organization has freed several hundred wrongly incarcerated people by using advanced DNA testing.

As part of the national Innocence Project network, Faculty Specialist Kenneth Lawson and Associate Dean Ronette Kawakami head the project and work with other attorneys on cases in Hawai‘i.  Said Law Dean Avi Soifer, “Our faculty and students, along with our cooperating attorneys, deserve great admiration for their passionate, tireless work to free those who have been unjustly imprisoned.”

The October 4 program will help show just how fallible eyewitness testimony can be.

World’s Largest Forensic Anthropology Laboratory is Completed on Oahu

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) Forensic Identification Laboratory recently reached construction completion at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Oahu, Hawaii. Designed by SmithGroupJJR, the new $89 million laboratory will aid in the investigation, recovery and accounting of Americans lost during the nation’s past conflicts dating back to World War II.

pow-building-2

SmithGroupJJR served as architect, MEP engineer and laboratory planner and programmer of the new DPAA Laboratory, the world’s largest forensic anthropology laboratory.

The 136,497-square-foot facility consolidates operations that were previously dispersed on three military locations on Oahu. The goal of the new facility is to improve efficiency, productivity and support the DPAA mission, which is to “provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.”

By bringing all operations under one roof, the new three-story facility demonstrates the unique function and mission of DPAA by providing advanced investigation laboratories, a highly sustainable and flexible working environment for staff and appropriate spaces for the families of the deceased.

Primary laboratory spaces include the DPAA Laboratory, the Material Evidence and Life Support Investigation Lab, DNA lab and a complete forensic medicine facility.

The mission of the DPAA is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.

The mission of the DPAA is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation.

“The process of designing this unique facility was a humbling one for our firm,” said Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, design director, SmithGroupJJR. “Having the ability to meaningfully impact DPAA’s mission was a professional honor.”

The design for the new DPAA facility acknowledges the architectural legacy of Hickam Air Force Base (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam), while creating a uniquely Hawaiian character. A three-story garden space with outdoor lanais provides a serene respite for staff, while a chapel-like space for family viewing hovers above. Structural concrete as well as pre-cast concrete panels, which were manufactured on the island and fashioned with an abstracted Hawaiian pattern, create the primary architectural aesthetic. A one a kind craftsman-like shade trellis welcomes families and visitors to this highly secure, yet public facility.

DPAA Laboratory

The DPAA Laboratory spaces within this facility occupy the third floor of the building including 70 tables for examination. Approximately half of the floor space is devoted to conducting laboratory procedures, while the remaining half consist of a family viewing room providing a serene meeting space for families to reunite with their deceased loved ones, as well as offices and administrative spaces for the DPAA Laboratory. The general design of the DPAA Laboratory conforms to Biological Safety Level Two in accordance with requirements set forth by the Center for Disease Control/National Institutes of Health.

“The unique island and Pearl Harbor setting, coupled with this significant national mission allowed for a truly one-of-a-kind facility of national significance,” Kranz added.

Lend a Hand to Protect Volcanoes National Park on Public Lands Day this Saturday

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates 100 years protecting native ecosystems and invites everyone to lend a helping hand on National Public Lands Day (NPLD) this Saturday, Sept. 24. It’s a fee-free day, and while all park visitors can enjoy the park at no charge, NPLD volunteers will receive a free pass to use on another day of their choosing.

Keiki cut invasive Himalayan ginger from rainforest near Devastation Trail. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Keiki cut invasive Himalayan ginger from rainforest near Devastation Trail. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

Join volunteers on Saturday for the Stewardship at the Summit program, from 8:45 a.m. to noon. Meet NPLD coordinator Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center, then head into the rainforest to remove invasive Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided.  No advance registration required.

While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan ginger (also called kāhili) is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, and makes it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow. This inedible ginger species crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others.

Every year on NPLD, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands. To find out more, visit www.publiclandsday.org.