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Coast Guard Responds to Increase in Illegal Lava Boat Charters on Big Island

In the last 24 hours, the Coast Guard has identified two tour boats operating illegally out of Pohoiki Boat Ramp and is ramping up enforcement in response to a perceived increase in illegal charters operating in the area to view lava streaming into the ocean from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The viewing area is 800 meters (about one-half mile) from the ocean entry, but affords excellent views of the lava flow.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said Capt. David McClellan, chief of prevention, Coast Guard 14th District. “For boat operators, it is important to maintain situational awareness and not unnecessarily put yourself, your passengers or your boat in danger. For visitors, it’s important they check that their hired boat operators are licensed ensuring they possess the experience and training required to get them to the viewing area and back safely.”

Commercial tour boat and charter operators must possess the appropriate merchant mariner credential to operate. Masters of commercial charters operating in state waters are also required by the State of Hawaii to have a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and to keep that permit on the vessel.

For vessels carrying six or fewer passengers for hire, the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued operator of uninspected passenger vessel license and operate on near coastal waters not more than 100 miles offshore, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101 (42)(B).

For vessels carrying seven or more passengers for hire on vessels less than 100 gross tons (not including auxiliary sail), the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued master of self-propelled vessel license to operate on near coastal waters. The vessel must also have a Coast Guard-issued certificate of inspection posted in a visible location.

According to the National Park Service, the spot where lava meets the ocean is referred to as the “bench.” It is one of the most dangerous areas of the park because it could potentially collapse, sending dangerous projectiles into the air. The steam emitted where lava meets the water contains hydrochloric acid and glass particles. Tour boat operators are urged to maintain a safe distance from both to ensure their safety as well as that of their passengers.

More on information regarding licensing for charter boat captains can be found at: https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/credentials/charter_boat_capt/default.asp.

Hepatitis A Second Dose Recommended in Coming Months for Those Vaccinated During 2016 Outbreak

In August 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) identified raw scallops imported from the Philippines as the source of the hepatitis A outbreak, which sickened hundreds of Hawaii residents. According to data from the Hawaii Immunization Registry, healthcare providers reported 90,259 hepatitis A vaccinations were administered in the state between July and November 2016. Vaccine manufacturers estimate more than 100,000 doses were distributed to Hawaii providers during the outbreak.

“The response from the community during the outbreak was tremendous,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, played a key role in ensuring hepatitis A vaccine was available for those needing and wanting to be vaccinated. They truly rose to the challenge of vaccinating a large number of people in a relatively short amount of time.”

“Hepatitis A outbreaks will continue to occur worldwide and a local outbreak could occur again,” warned State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “While one dose of hepatitis A vaccine provides good protection, two doses are necessary for nearly 100 percent protection and lasting immunity. We’d like to remind people now, if they received their first dose during the outbreak, to get their second dose at least six months after the first one was administered.”

DOH is recommending those who are due for their second dose of the hepatitis A vaccine contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment. If choosing to be vaccinated at a pharmacy, the public is encouraged to return to the same pharmacy that administered their first dose of vaccine to receive their second dose. This allows the pharmacy to use an existing physician prescription and ensure the vaccine is administered at least six months after the first vaccination. Those not returning to the same location for vaccination should provide documentation of their first dose, if possible, and contact their physician if a prescription is needed. To ensure vaccine availability, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacy in advance.

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy or clinic near you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/where-to-get-your-adult-and-flu-vaccinations/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about hepatitis A is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Isles Water Company for HI-5 Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Isles Water Company for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors by the state’s Deposit Beverage Container law. The department found Hawaiian Isles Water Company delinquent for the monthly reporting period of July 1 – 31, 2016 and a penalty fee of $3,600 was assessed.

Hawaiian Isles Water Company complied with the department’s enforcement order by submitting its required corrective action plan and paying in full the entire penalty and late distributor payment.

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

Since January 2005, Hawaii’s Deposit Beverage Container (DBC) program has assisted residents to recycle more than 7 billion containers. Through recycling, consumers are helping to remove beverage containers from the waste stream and reduce litter in the community. The DBC program certifies independent recycling companies to operate Certified Redemption Centers (CRCs) statewide. CRCs provide Hawaii consumers with refunds of the five cent deposit fee that is paid for eligible containers. Beverage distributors submit payments and reports to the program each month for all HI-5 containers sold within the state.

Commentary: Caldwell Appoints Marc Alexander to Lead Honolulu Housing Office, Victims Respond

Shame on Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. He has given a powerful city job to a man who has been sued for for child sexual abuse and who left a previous government job in disgrace because of an unethical affair with an adult woman while he was a priest.

Marc Alexander

In fact, because secret Diocese of Honolulu personnel documents and other evidence in Marc Alexander’s recently settled civil child sex abuse case have not yet been made public, we do not know the details of what happened, or the scope of the risk that Alexander could pose to adult women and children. Is this a risk that the people of Hawaii should be willing to take? Is this a personnel investment that Hawaii’s taxpayers should make?

We ask that Caldwell at least put this decision on hold until a thorough public review of Alexander’s Diocese of Honolulu personnel file can be completed. We also urge city and county leaders to immediately enact new hiring regulations that ensure that men and women arrested or sued for sexual assault or child sexual abuse are not given city jobs where they have positions of power over vulnerable populations.

If you have information about abuse or have been abused, no matter the abuser, it is safe to come forward and report. Help is available.

Joelle Casteix, SNAP Volunteer Western Regional Director

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested in all institutional settings, including churches, schools, clubs, and homes. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Ailey II at Kahilu Theatre

On Saturday, February 18 at 7pm, the Kahilu Theatre presents the dance company Ailey II. Ailey II is universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Ailey II is one of the most popular dance companies in the country, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.  In his fifth year leading the company, Artistic Director Troy Powell welcomed four dynamic new commissions, three of which will be performed at the Kahilu: Circular, Stream of Consciousness, and Sketches of Flames.

Ailey II in Bridget L. Moore’s Sketches of Flames. Photo by Kyle Froman

“I am excited to introduce audiences to the outstanding premieres by talented rising choreographers that we’ve welcomed into the repertory,” said Troy Powell. “These diverse and powerful new works showcase the strength, grace, and versatility of these gifted young dancers.”

Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer Jae Man Joo’s Circular is a heartfelt conversation through movement. The Korean-born Joo’s distinctive choreographic style – a blend of classical and contemporary ballet – is showcased in this large ensemble work that captures the full circle of human emotions. The melodic soundscape is by a diverse group of composers including Denisov and Handel.

Stream of Consciousness, by former Ailey company member Marcus Jarrell Willis, gives physical life to our inner thoughts. Willis weaves six simple gestures into “the stream,” the tumultuous monologue within each person’s mind. Set to a contemporary reimagining of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Max Richter, this work echoes the tension and poignancy of the music’s ever-changing tides.

In Sketches of Flames, Bridget L. Moore fuses flamenco influences with her African-American and contemporary aesthetic to create a rapturous ensemble dance.  Set to a series of passionate folk songs and drawing upon the writings of Federico García Lorca and others, each section of this eight-part work depicts a different facet of the joys and sorrows of love.

This season, six new dancers – Tara Bellardini, Khalia Campbell, Yazzmeen Laidler, Jessica Amber Pinkett, Martell Ruffin, and Christopher R. Wilson – join the six returning members – Lloyd A. Boyd III, Gabriel Hyman, Jacob Lewis, Jacoby Pruitt, Courtney Celeste Spears, and Terri Ayanna Wright.

Doors open at 6PM for the performance and there will be beverages and snacks available for sale at the Kahilu Theatre bar. In the Kahilu Galleries the exhibit Solo Exhibits 2017 will be on display featuring works by Eli Baxter, Margaret Shields, and Jean René Leblanc.

Tickets are $68 / $58 / $48 / $20 and available for purchase online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday – Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

This performance is made possible by sponsorship by Kate Bell & Tom Blackburn, and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.