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Commentary – Former Councilman Airlifted to Oahu, Cardiac Care Unit Wanted at Kona Hospital

Former Council member Dominic Yagong is the latest high profile community member to be airlifted for heart or stroke problems to Maui Memorial or Queen’s on Oahu. Please ask your Hawaii State Senator and Council members to include a Cardiac Care unit in the state budget. It would be $2 million to remodel the ER at Kona Community Hospital and money for a stipend for two cardiologists.

Yagong posted the following on his Facebook page:
“Medivac to Queens hospital tomorrow morning. Spending the night in Waimea ER after experiencing severe chest pains at Basketball game in Honokaa. Sorry girls for missing announcing your game. I’ll be fine,,,,got my lucky Green Bay cap with me! Thanks Kahea for calling EMT. No worries…thumbs up!”

THE PROBLEM: There is a 2- hour window when patients need to be treated in order to expect a full recovery. Think about where you live on the Big Island. From my home it would take 45 minutes to get to Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room, then the time to be diagnosed and then get the helicopter and then the 45 minute + time to Oahu, getting checked in and a cardiologist hopefully is at the hospital and you need to be seen, an Operating Room hopefully is available. Get the picture? Other important island residents to be airlifted are Mayor Kim, Council Chair Pete Hoffmann and OHA Representative Bob Lindsey.

I talked to an architect who specializes in building hospitals and a medical planner at NBBJ Architects. There is currently no facility or any cardiologists to staff a dedicated cardiac care unit for West Hawaii. We agreed that Kona Community Hospital (KCH) was the best location for a Cardiac Care unit. Kona Community Hospital has one cardiologist, Dr. Michael Dang who travels from Honolulu. Dr. Larry Derbes is an interventional cardiologist in private practice in Kona, who agrees that a Catheterization Lab to do stents and ablations and to treat strokes, would save lives and result in better outcomes and quality of life for cardiac patients. He is eager to help. I talked to Jay Kreuzer, is the CEO of KCH, and has also been a cardiac patient. He pointed out that staffing the Catheterization Lab is the biggest challenge because we lose doctors, because the Medicare reimbursement rate of only 93% of the actual cost is compounded by Hawaii Medical Services Association (Hawaii’s biggest healthcare insurer), which compensates at only 110% of the Medicare Reimbursement. He told me that there is an airlift almost every day from KCH to either Queens in Honolulu or Maui Memorial and they are usually for heart or stroke patients.
I also met with Dr. Frank Sayre, Chair of the Board for the West Hawaii Regional Hospital Board of Directors, which oversees Kona Community Hospital and the North Kohala Community Hospital. He agreed with Jay Kreuzer. He told me that he had discussed setting up a “funded chair” for specialists (similar to academic chairs) as a stipend to keep doctors on the island.
SOLUTIONS:
1. A HYBRID CATHETERIZATION LAB/ OPERATING ROOM FOR KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL was recommended by architect and planner. The recent flooding of the Operating Room at KCH presents an opportunity to remodel the Operating Room and accommodate Cath Lab equipment.
2. STAFFING: An annuity with the Hawaii Community Foundation or the Kona Community Hospital Foundation to generate a yearly stipend for two cardiologists to establish a “chair position.
Please get in touch with your State Representatives and State Senators to include these items as allocation in their Budget Legislation for the coming year.
There has been some discussion about building a new hospital sometime, but even if that were started tomorrow, it would still take about 6 years to be built, with land acquisition, EIS, plans, hiring a contractor and building. We need a Cardiac Care unit NOW to save our friends and family and allow heart attack and stroke patients to recover fully and at home on our island. Please ask your Hawaii State Senator and Council members to include a Cardiac Care unit in the state budget. It would be $2 million to remodel the ER at Kona Community Hospital and money for a stipend for two cardiologists. Healthy people are happy people.

For more information go to this site: https://debbiehecht.com/2016/06/21/a-cardiac-care-unit-for-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Debbie Hecht
Kailua-Kona

Python Snake Turned in on Oahu

An illegal snake was turned in over the weekend under the State’s Amnesty Program. The snake was turned in on the evening of Friday, Jan. 13th to the Hawaiian Humane Society on Oahu. Inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked up the snake the next morning and it is being safeguarded at the Plant Quarantine Branch. It has been identified as a ball python and measures about four-and-a-half feet long and weighs about four-and-a-half lbs.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaii. They have no natural predators here and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s environment because they compete with native animal populations for food and habitat. Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds. Large snakes can also be a danger to the public and small pets.

Ball pythons are non-venomous and are common in the pet trade on the mainland. They are native to Western and West-Central Africa and are related to boas, which are also constrictors that subdue its prey by coiling around and suffocating it.  Its diet usually consists of small mammals and birds.  Ball pythons may grow up to six-feet long.

Under the amnesty program, illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA office, Honolulu Zoo, Panaewa Zoo on Hawaii Island or any Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed. Anyone with information about illegal animals should call the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).  The maximum penalty under State law for possession and/or transporting illegal animals is a class C felony, $200,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

Drone Footage – A Sad Day in Pahoa

As most folks know by now, Luquins and Akebono Theater caught fire in Pahoa early Monday morning.

Here is aerial footage of the aftermath:

Sad Day In Pahoa from Clive on Vimeo.

Project Vision Hawaii Receives $25,000 Grant from Walmart Foundation for Emergency Preparedness Supplies

Project Vision Hawaii (PVH) will increase its emergency and disaster relief program efforts through a $25,000 donation from Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program.

State Senator Karl Rhoads, Anne Chipchase (PVH board president), State Senator Josh Green, Steven Reed (Hawaii market manager for Walmart), Annie Valentin (PVH executive director) and Maika Motas (AED Institute of America) with $25,000 check from Walmart Foundation.

The grant from Walmart Foundation will be used to stock all three Project Vision mobile screening units with emergency preparedness supplies such as automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and wound care items to help residents affected by natural disasters.

“Walmart’s gift will strengthen Project Vision’s ability to serve Hawaii’s most vulnerable and underserved populations in the event of a natural disaster,” said Annie Valentine, executive director of PVH. “The supplies we’ve purchased are critical in ensuring those severely affected and unable to get help, receive the resources and support they need to recover.”

Project Vision operates three mobile screening units – one to serve Oahu, Molokai and Lanai, another on Hawaii Island, and a third shared between Maui and Kauai – in an effort to increase access to health care. The nonprofit provides free vision and health screenings to the state’s underserved communities with the goal of detecting and addressing eye diseases early on.

“We believe in giving back to the communities we serve,” said Steven Reed, Hawaii market manager for Walmart. “On behalf of more than 4,000 Hawaii associates, it’s our privilege to collaborate with Project Vision and support this important community outreach program for those in need.”

The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better, awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

9th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop

The 9th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop is happening February 1-28, 2017, featuring five different shops from Kona to Hilo and points in between. Traveling quilters can have passports stamped for a chance to win prizes, collect quilting patterns and kits to create a custom “Tropical Flowers of Hawaii, a Stain Glass Quilt” quilt for 2017, and enjoy the company of fellow quilters island-wide.

Those who visit and get passports stamped at all five shops are eligible to win the Grand Prize. Other winners will receive fabric, quilt shop gift certificates and more—with special in-store prizes at individual shops, for a total of 11 winners. The five shops will also have exclusive quilt block patterns, one from each store, plus a customize bonus add-on to give the 2017 Shop Hop quilt some added zip.

The 9th Annual Big Island Quilt Shop Hop launches February 1, leading into the 24th Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival and the Hawaiian Quilt Show held in Waimea. Maps and passports can be picked up any quilt shop on the route, and “shop-hoppers” can follow their own path, or sign up for one of two bus tours. In West Hawaii, call Karen Barry at Quilt Passions, 808-329-7475. In East Hawaii, call Leimomi at Kilauea Kreations II, 808-961-1100.

For more information contact Mary at bigislandquiltsh@earthlink.net, or visit www.facebook.com/BigIslandQuiltShopHopHawaii.

2017 Big Island Quilt Shop Hop shops:

West Hawaii

East Hawai‘i

Hawaii Child Advocates Announce Legislative Priorities

Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN) released their annual “Children’s Policy Agenda” today.  HCAN was created to help nonprofits, businesses, government, and citizens advocate for policies aimed at improving kids’ lives.

According to the group’s executive director Deborah Zysman, the event is all about collaboration.  “A diverse group of policy experts, non-profits advocates and coalitions have come together to prioritize the next steps we can take to make Hawaii the best place for children. Together, we share a common goal to improve the health, economic security, and education of our children,” said Zysman.

Over fifty organizations participated in the creation of this year’s Agenda.  Issues are categorized by economic security and equality, strengthening families, child safety, health and wellness, and education. All contain policy ideas that will be led by various groups.

Senator Karl Rhoads (D-13) and Rep. Matt Lopresti (D-41), new co-chairmen of the Keiki Caucus, supported HCAN for the launch.  The Keiki Caucus previously was chaired by former Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland until she retired last fall.

“We realize that of course kids are indeed our future,” said Rhoads.  “It’s an honor to chair this Caucus and to help carry the torch of doing what we need to do to make Hawaii a great place for children to grow up,” he said.

According to Lopresti, the future looks bright for the cooperation between citizen groups and lawmakers.  “We rely on citizen groups and issue experts in the same way that advocates rely on lawmakers to keep making progress,” said Lopresti.  “The Children’s Policy Agenda is a great way for us to open up the channels of dialogue and share expectations,” he said.

More information about the Children’s Policy Agenda can be found at www.hawaii-can.org

North Kona Residents MUST Reduce Water Consumption by 25%

This is a Department of Water Supply water notice for customers in the North Kona area.  Due to ongoing repairs to wells in North Kona, a water restriction notice is being issued.

Customers must reduce water consumption by 25 percent.

For a list of ways to reduce water use, please go to our website at www.hawaiidws.org.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated in using water sparingly at this time.  Once again, this is a water restriction notice for North Kona. For further information, please call 322-0600 during normal business hours, 7:00 to 3:30.

Film Festival Health Documentary to be Shown at UH Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo hosts a public screening of the documentary film “Ola–Health is Everything” on Thursday, January 26, at 5 p.m. in Wentworth Hall Room 1.
The documentary, which premiered at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival in April 2013, highlights the power of communities to heal themselves, explores how society must rethink what it means to be healthy, and features individuals who bring hope to communities across Hawaiʻi. A Question & Answer discussion with Director Matthew Nagato will follow the screening.

“This film is so important and valuable because it highlights some of the protective factors present in our communities and relevant ways to foster health and healing,” said Dr. Yolisa Duley, East Hawaiʻi Suicide Prevention Task Force Chair and co-chair of UH Hiloʻs Suicide Prevention Committee. “Sadly, suicide is a leading cause of death in our state, and messages of hope such as those portrayed in ‘Ola’ can help people identify ways to reach out and seek support and a pathway to healing.”

The presentation is co-sponsored by the East Hawaiʻi Suicide Prevention Task Force, UH Hilo Student Health & Wellness Programs, and the UH Hilo Nā Kiaʻi O Ke Ola (Guardians of Life) Suicide Prevention Committee.

For more information about the event, email yolisaduley@hawaii.edu or call 932-7848.

Annual Stop Flu at School Vaccination Clinics Start Today

The Hawaii State Department of Health’s (DOH) annual Stop Flu at School program begins today, and will continue in more than 240 public, private, and charter schools statewide through Feb. 28, 2017. This marks the 10th year for the voluntary program, which administers free flu vaccinations to Hawaii students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled at participating schools.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older. Each year, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands of deaths in the United States, and the most recent CDC report showed flu activity beginning to increase in the United States. Influenza A viruses, often associated with more severe illness, especially in young children and people 65 and older, have been the most common circulating strains so far this season.

“Through the Stop Flu at School program, we hope to vaccinate many of our school-age children,” said Dr. Sarah Park, State Epidemiologist. “Since flu can cause severe illness in people of all ages, we encourage everyone to talk to their doctor to learn more and get vaccinated. Vaccination is our best defense against the flu.”

For more information about the Stop Flu at School program, go to http://flu.hawaii.gov/sfas.html or call the Aloha United Way’s information and referral line at 2-1-1.  To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your neighborhood, use the DOH Vaccine Finder at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/where-to-get-your-adult-and-flu-vaccinations/.

The Stop Flu at School program is an innovative partnership between DOH, Department of Education, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and Hawaii Catholic Schools. The program is endorsed by the Hawaii Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, and is made possible through funding from DOH, CDC and Hawaii Association of Health Plans.

DLNR & YOU TV Special Chronicles Hawaii’s Endangered Forest Birds

The latest DLNR & You television special, The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i, documents the efforts of dozens of organizations and hundreds of people across the state to halt the extinction of critically endangered forest birds.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We hope this show brings the serious plights of these native birds into our homes.  When you see a tiny ‘Akikiki (Kaua‘i honeycreeper) in the forest or hear the call of the native crow, the ‘Alalā, it reinforces why so many people are undertaking some pretty extraordinary steps to reverse the downward trend of numerous forest bird populations.  The birds have long been part of Hawai‘i’s natural landscape, and culturally they’ve been revered for centuries by Native Hawaiians.”

Photographed over the course of nearly two years, “The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i, transports you deep into the Alaka’i Plateau on Kaua‘i, where the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project (KFBRP) is working with numerous partners to try and save three endangered species of tiny birds on the brink of extinction (‘Akikiki, ‘Akeke’e, and Puaiohi). Dr. Lisa “Cali” Crampton, the KFBRP Project Leader commented, “The most recent estimate for the number of ‘Akikiki is 450 birds, give or take fifty.  The worst thing that could happen is for any of these forest birds to join the list of twenty-three endemic bird species that have gone extinct since 1778. All of our partners and everyone working to reverse these trends are excited to show viewers around Hawai‘i some pretty astonishing projects underway to save these amazing forest dwellers and their native homes.”

The show chronicles some of these remarkable projects and the people working in some really tough environments, toward the common goal of preventing further population reductions and ultimately extinction.  In one segment you can watch as a staffer from San Diego Zoo Global climbs a freely suspended ladder, 40-feet in the air, to collect marble-sized eggs from a treetop nest in an ʻōhiʻa tree. Another segment is dedicated to “The ‘Alalā Project,” which for several decades has worked tirelessly toward the reintroduction of captive-raised ‘Alalā, back into the Pu’u Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve on Hawai‘i Island. You’ll see, first-hand, the tremendous amount of work being done by a broad collaboration of federal, state and non-profit partners to be sure the birds continue to exist and thrive in their natural habitats.

The Endangered Forest Birds of Hawai‘i, airs on KFVE-TV (K5) on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.  It will be available on line for viewing after 7 p.m. on Jan. 21st at https://vimeo.com/199157463. This is the third DLNR & You television special to have been broadcast by K5.  In 2016, Renegades, Risks and Rewards of the Napali Coast, traced the work of the DLNR Division of State Parks and Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement to clean-up the fabled Napali Coast State Wilderness Park.  The second show, The Endangered Sea Birds of Kaua‘i, describes the plight of native seabirds, very much like the same issues facing forest birds.  Airtime for all three programs is provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Safeway, Inc. for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against SAFEWAY, INC. (Safeway) for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the state’s deposit beverage container law. Safeway was delinquent for the monthly reporting period of Aug. 1-31, 2016.

Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-105 requires beverage distributors to submit monthly distributor reports and payments to DOH no later than the 15th calendar day of the month following the end of the payment period. Safeway received multiple written notices reminding them of reporting requirements prior to being assessed a penalty.

DOH has assessed an administrative penalty against Safeway of $2,800 for its failure to comply with deposit beverage container requirements.

Safeway may request a hearing to contest the alleged facts and penalty.

Foul Play NOT SUSPECTED in Pahoa Fire – Police Seeking Witnesses

Hawaiʻi Island police are seeking witnesses to the start of a fire Monday (January 16) in Pāhoa.

Photo via Tiffany Rippa

The fire started just after midnight Monday at a vacant business at 15-2948 Pāhoa Government Road next to Luquin’s restaurant in Pāhoa town.

Police do not suspect foul play. They ask anyone who saw or heard the start of the fire to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Wendall Carter at 961-2383 or wendall.carter@hawaiicounty.gov

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Hosts WWII Tuskegee Airmen

On February 3 and 4, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor will pay tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and the vital role they played during World War II with special presentations by decorated WWII Tuskegee Airman Pilot Colonel Charles McGee to Hawaii’s youth and the public.

On Friday, February 3, 10 – 11 am in the theater, teachers are encouraged to bring their students, in grades 6-12, to a presentation geared towards youth entitled, “In His Own Words,” by Colonel McGee. Colonel McGee fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and holds the record for the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in the United States Air Force history. Colonel McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group. The Tuskegee Airmen were pioneers who fought racial prejudices to fly and fight for their country during WWII. Colonel McGee’s career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and 3 wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Colonel McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (twenty-five times).

Admission is free for this youth presentation, and funding for bus transportation to the Museum will be provided for school groups who register in advance. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly advised. To register, contact 808-445-9137 or email Education@PacificAviationMuseum.org.

On Saturday, February 4, Colonel McGee will once again be the featured speaker at a “Hangar Talk” in the theater, 11am to 12 noon. This event is open to the public.

Also present at the Hangar Talk will be WWII Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham. Baham served as a crew chief for the 337th Composite Group at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Baham is a dedicated volunteer at Pacific Aviation Museum, sharing his story with visitors as a greeter in the lobby of Hangar 37. Access to the Hangar Talk is free with Museum admission, free to Museum Members, and free for Navy League members with I.D. For more information, call 808-441-1007. Discounted tickets are available online at www.PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Prior to 1940, African Americans were prohibited from flying for the U.S. military. Even in light of extreme racism, African Americans fought to defend their country, which led to the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of WWII. Their dedication to defending the freedom of all Americans and their acts of heroism paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Tuskegee Airmen completed more than 1,500 missions.

Both events are being held in conjunction with Black History Month.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is located on Historic Ford Island, where bombs fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Visitors to the Museum can see remnants from that day of infamy, including the 158-foot tall, red and white iconic Ford Island Field Control Tower, Hangars 37 and 79, and bullet holes in Hangar 79. Through its preservation and restoration of World War II fighter planes and accompanying artifacts in the Museum’s historic hangars, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor shares the story of the vital role aviation played in America’s winning of World War II, and its continuing role in maintaining America’s freedom.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Historic Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in The Pacific Region, and to preserve Pacific aviation history. Contact: 808-441-1000; Marketing@PacificAviationMuseum.org.

Smoking Costs the Average Hawaii Smoker $2,048,587 Over a Lifetime

With the societal and economic costs of smoking totaling more than $300 billion a year and rising, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on The Real Cost of Smoking by State.

To encourage the estimated 36.5 million tobacco users in the U.S. to kick the dangerous habit, WalletHub’s analysts calculated the potential monetary losses — including the lifetime and annual costs of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Financial Cost of Smoking in Hawaii (1=Lowest, 25=Avg.):

  • Out-of-Pocket Cost per Smoker – $167,535 (Rank: 48th)
  • Financial-Opportunity Cost per Smoker – $1,411,246 (Rank: 48th)
  • Health-Care Cost per Smoker – $173,258 (Rank: 32nd)
  • Income Loss per Smoker – $283,621 (Rank: 46th)
  • Other Costs per Smoker – $12,926 (Rank: 36th)
  • Total Cost Over a Lifetime per Smoker: $2,048,587
  • Total Cost per Year per Smoker: $40,168

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/the-financial-cost-of-smoking-by-state/9520/