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Makers of the Prescription Drug that Treats Opioid Addiction Sued for Antitrust Practices

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and 35 other attorneys general today filed an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, over allegations that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and cause purchasers to pay artificially high prices.

suboxoneSuboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat heroin addiction and other opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings. No generic alternative of the film is currently available.

Attorney General Chin said, “Helping addicts recover from the deadly effects of opioids is a top priority here and in other states. This week I had commented on the legal authority in Hawaii to prescribe Suboxone for the purpose of opioid detoxification or maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. Unfortunately, the makers of this drug have capitalized on this serious public health crisis and raked in huge corporate profits.”

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, is accused of conspiring with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain monopoly profits. The companies are accused of violating state and federal antitrust laws.

According to the lawsuit, when Reckitt introduced Suboxone in 2002 (in tablet form), it had exclusivity protection that lasted for seven years, meaning no generic version could enter the market during that time. Before that period ended, however, Reckitt worked with MonoSol to create a new version of Suboxone – a dissolvable film, similar in size to a breath strip. Over time, Reckitt allegedly converted the market away from the tablet to the film through marketing, price adjustments, and other methods. Ultimately, after the majority of Suboxone prescriptions were written for the film, Reckitt removed the tablet from the U.S. market.

The attorneys general allege that this conduct was illegal “product hopping,” where a company makes modest changes to its product to extend patent protections so other companies can’t enter the market and offer cheaper generic alternatives. According to the suit, the Suboxone film provided no real benefit over the tablet and Reckitt continued to sell the tablets in other countries even after removing them from the U.S. market. Reckitt also allegedly expressed unfounded safety concerns about the tablet version and intentionally delayed FDA approval of generic versions of Suboxone.

As a result, the attorneys general allege that consumers and purchasers have paid artificially high monopoly prices since late 2009, when generic alternatives of Suboxone might otherwise have become available. During that time, annual sales of Suboxone topped $1 billion.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Pennsylvania, accuses the companies of violating the federal Sherman Act and state laws. Counts include conspiracy to monopolize and illegal restraint of trade. In the suit, the attorneys general ask the court to stop the companies from engaging in anticompetitive conduct, to restore competition, and to order appropriate relief for consumers and the states, plus costs and fees.

Attorneys general of the following jurisdictions joined in the lawsuit:  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Partially Open as Hurricane Lester Nears

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open Thursday, with partial closures in place as Hurricane Lester nears, and Hurricane Madeline,  now downgraded as a tropical storm, passes south of Hawai‘i Island.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

NPS Photo/Jay Robinson: Hurricane Madeline caused an ‘ōhi‘a tree to fall near Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Several other trees were reported down on closed park roadways.

Open areas include Crater Rim Drive and Crater Rim Trail, Kīlauea Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum and observation deck, Steam Vents, Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kīlauea Iki, Devastation Trail, Sulphur Banks and most front-country trails.

These closures remain in place: all camping and campgrounds, Chain of Craters Road, including the coastal lava viewing area, all backcountry areas, Hilina Pali Road, and Mauna Loa Road after Kīpukapuaulu to the overlook.

“Hurricane Lester is still a threat to Hawai‘i Island, even though it is projected to go north.  Therefore we will maintain the aforementioned closures until Lester has passed and is no longer a threat,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Hawai‘i Island and Maui are under a hurricane watch, and according to the National Weather Service as of 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Lester was 675 miles east of Hilo, moving west at 13 mph. Forecasters are again expecting very heavy rainfall, dangerously high surf, and hurricane-force winds.

The Kahuku Unit, open only on Saturdays and Sundays, will remain closed on Saturday. Rangers will determine if Kahuku can reopen for Sunday.

Updates are posted to the park’s website www.nps.gov/havo, its general information phone number, (808) 985-6000, and its official social media sites.

Hurricane Lester May Move into the Central Pacific Basin this Afternoon

At 200 PM PDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Lester was located near latitude 18.0 North, longitude 139.9 West.

LesterLester is moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.  A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast on Thursday.  On the forecast track, Lester will move into the central Pacific basin this afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts.  Lester is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 954 mb (28.17 inches).

Big Island Courthouses and Judiciary Offices Closing Due to Hurricane Madeline

Hawaii Island Courthouses and Judiciary Offices to Close Due to Projected Severe Weather Conditions

madeline12

State Courthouses and Judiciary Offices on Hawaii Island will be closed on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, due to severe weather conditions being projected by the National Weather Service.

The Chief Justice issued an order extending deadlines for any Hawaii Island court matters with a filing or hearing date of Wednesday, August 31, 2016. All documents due during the court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Thursday, September 1, 2016. Hearings or trials cancelled due to the closure of the courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates. We will provide updates if there are any changes or additional closures.

The World’s Worst Lyft Passenger Freaks On Hawaiian Bobble Doll

I don’t know what to say about this lady who is freaking out on this Lyft driver for having a Hawaiian Bobble Doll on his dashboard:

  • The video purports to show a woman named ‘AN’ arguing with a driver
  • She berates him for being ‘disrespectful’ by having the bobblehead
  • At one point she says he’s white and he tells her he’s Asian
    But she continues to complain, eventually upsetting the other passenger
  • The video ends with her calling him a ‘f******g dumba** idiot’

After-School Programs for Middle and Intermediate Schools Expands With R.E.A.C.H.

As the new school year gets underway, Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui today announced the participants in the statewide R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Arts, Culture and Health) Initiative for the 2016-2017 school year.  Nearly 5,000 middle and intermediate public school students at 28 schools across the state will be part of the program.

reach1R.E.A.C.H.’s mission is to ensure all public school students in grades 6 to 8 receive the academic and community-based support they need to stay on track toward high school graduation by engaging them in a broad-base of programs and activities, outside of regular instructional hours, in the areas of academic enrichment, arts and culture, and athletics.

“I am thrilled that we, along with the support of the Department of Education and community partners, are able to continue positively impacting after-school programs for middle and intermediate schools,” said Tsutsui.  “The after-school programs participating in the R.E.A.C.H. initiative are improving and reaching more students every year.”

reach2

The initiative, spearheaded by Lt. Governor Tsutsui in collaboration with state Department of Education (DOE) Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, provides an organizational framework for public middle and intermediate schools to offer students expanded learning opportunities during after-school hours.

“R.E.A.C.H. provides a very positive option for our students that keeps them engaged in activities and learning after the school day has ended,” said Matayoshi.  “Keeping young minds and bodies active is essential for growth and we appreciate the support of our R.E.A.C.H. partners and their commitment to our keiki.”

Studies have shown that after-school programs not only keep students safe and engaged in learning, but also help improve their academic performance, school attendance, behavior and health.

reach3

Selection of the schools was based on criteria, which included:  strong student interest and/or participation for the after-school program and established relationships with key stakeholders.

The applications were also evaluated on its readiness to achieve the goals and student outcomes set forth by the initiative. Some schools apply for the grant every year and are selected based on the criteria.  This year, 14 of the 28 schools are returning R.E.A.C.H. participants.

Since the initiative was launched in 2013, 39 public middle/intermediate schools (including this year) from across the State have benefited from R.E.A.C.H. funding. To date, along with its partners in the business sector, the Initiative has awarded $2.25 million to middle and intermediate schools statewide.

The schools participating in the R.E.A.C.H. Initiative during the 2016-17 school year are:

  • Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle
  • Connections Public Charter School
  • Dole Middle
  • Hana High & Intermediate
  • Hilo Intermediate
  • Iao Intermediate
  • Kalama Intermediate
  • Kapolei Middle
  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary
  • Kawanakoa Middle
  • Ke Kula O Nawahiokalani’opuu Charter School
  • Keaau Middle School
  • Lahaina Intermediate
  • Lanai High & Intermediate
  • Lokelani Intermediate
  • Maui Waena Intermediate
  • Moanalua Middle
  • Molokai Middle
  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate
  • Niu Valley Middle
  • Pahoa High & Intermediate
  • Stevenson Middle
  • Wahiawa Middle
  • Waiakea Intermediate
  • Waialua High & Intermediate
  • Waianae Intermediate
  • Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate
  • Wheeler Middle

For more information on R.E.A.C.H., please go to www.reachouthawaii.org. Archive photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/seqajwa5honglhp/AAD8-YLdlQbBkebDw0SqZBfWa?dl=0

Big Island Police Identify Two Who Died in Mohouli Crash

Police have identified two individuals who died in a two-car crash Thursday (August 4) on the Mohouli Extension near Kukuau Street in Hilo.

The woman has been identified as 20-year-old Alicia Andres of Hilo.

Facebook picture

Alicia Andres Facebook picture

The other deceased person was identified as a 17-year-old boy. Police are not releasing his name because he is a minor.

An autopsy conducted Friday morning (August 5) determined that both died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Mohouli Wreck

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Acting Lieutenant Grant Todd at 961-2385 or grant.todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Department of Health Awarded $3.7 Million to Support Epidemiological and Laboratory Activities

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded $3.7 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support infectious diseases epidemiological and laboratory activities in the state. The funding is being provided through the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Disease Cooperative Agreement (ELC).

Mosquito Bite

In addition to funding vital ongoing infectious disease surveillance and investigation for areas such as foodborne disease, flu, and healthcare-associated infections, the ELC award will provide increased support in the area of arboviral disease (e.g., dengue, Zika, chikungunya) and critical new resources to address growing concerns presented by general antimicrobial resistance and specifically, antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and chlamydia.

“These new funds will help in many critical areas of disease investigation, including providing support for our current Hepatitis A outbreak,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We’re grateful for this recognition and generous grant from CDC, and will work to ensure that these new funds translate to sustainable efforts to protect our residents and visitors in Hawaii.”

Of the approximately $3.7 million awarded, ELC funding will focus on areas including:

  • $1,062,000 to support Hawaii’s efforts to protect the state from Zika and other arbovirus diseases such as chikungunya and dengue. ELC funds will be used to augment epidemiologic surveillance and investigation, enhance mosquito monitoring, and provide supplies and support to the State Laboratories Division for arbovirus testing.
  • $2,711,149 to support other ELC efforts, including: building capacity to address antimicrobial resistant gonorrhea and chlamydia concerns, increasing laboratory capacity for antimicrobial resistance detection and response infrastructure, strengthening flu surveillance and foodborne surveillance and response capacity, increasing health information systems capacity, and other ELC activities.

“The funding of this award will greatly boost our efforts to protect our community against the potential introduction of Zika virus and many other infectious diseases,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “By building our capacity to find and stop disease outbreaks we increase our ability to help save lives.”

Dr. Chris Whelen, State Laboratories Division administrator added, “We are grateful to the CDC ELC program, and very excited about expanding the role of the State Laboratories in combating drug resistant infectious diseases.”

The Department of Health’s Disease Outbreak Control, Environmental Health Services, Family Health Services, Communicable Diseases and Public Health Nursing, and State Laboratories Divisions are working jointly across the department and with partners throughout the state to assure a comprehensive Zika prevention strategy and response plan. The ELC funding in addition to grants through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement and the Hawaii Birth Defects Surveillance, Intervention, and Follow-up for Zika Virus Grant will further support these efforts to protect public health.

Information on Zika virus can be found at the Department of Health’s Zika webpage at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/.

For more information on the ELC program, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dpei/epidemiology-laboratory-capacity.html.

Happy 100th Birthday Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kīlauea is putting on quite a show for park visitors eager to see a volcanic eruption – just like it was 100 years ago today when Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park was established on August 1, 1916.

Visitors were treated to free entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on its 100th anniversary, August 1. The entrance station was draped in two 40-foot tī leaf lei made by park staff . NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Visitors were treated to free entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on its 100th anniversary, August 1. The entrance station was draped in two 40-foot tī leaf lei made by park staff . NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Today, as the park enters its next century, park visitors were treated to free entry,  a native plant giveaway, Hawaiian music by Ken Makuakāne, lei making and kōnane (Hawaiian checkers), plus presentations about park efforts to save endangered nēnē (Hawaiian goose) and honu‘ea (Hawaiian hawksbill turtle). Lava cookies and centennial stickers were shared with the first 100 visitors who arrived for the festivities.

A lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s 4,000-foot summit continues to rise and spatter, deflate and degas. At night, the lake casts a magnificent glow; by day, a plume of steam, particles and gas billows upward. Visitors can easily and safely observe this eruptive activity from an accessible overlook at Jaggar Museum.

“It is amazing that in 1916, the year the park was established, we had two eruptions. Mauna Loa erupted during May, and sent lava towards Kahuku, and Halema‘uma‘u fountained and spattered,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “Fast forward 100 years and Kīlauea erupts from two locations. What an auspicious way to commemorate our centennial anniversary,” she said.

A week ago, out in the volcano’s remote east rift zone, lava from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent streamed down forested cliffs and crossed an emergency access route. Early the next morning, streams of rough ‘a‘ā and smooth, viscous pāhoehoe lava plunged down jagged coastal cliffs into the ocean. This cascade of molten lava, at the Kamokuna ocean entry, has enlarged to almost 800 feet (240 m) across and is being fed by the active flow field on the coastal plain.

Park visitors are urged to stay away from the steep, unstable sea cliffs, and rangers have placed rope barriers along the ocean entry to keep people safe.

hvo roped

Visitors observe the beauty of the Kamokuna ocean entry on the eve of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s 100th anniversary. Rangers have placed rope barricades to keep people away from the unstable, steep cliff edges, flying volcanic debris and fumes, and bench collapse. NPS Photo/Sami Steinkamp

Hikers can access the active flow field from the end of Chain of Craters Road in the park, along the gravel emergency route (Chain of Craters-Kalapana Road), and are rewarded with beautiful sights of molten, flowing lava. It’s a long and hot hike, nearly five miles one-way. Preparation is key. Bring at least three to four quarts of water per person. Wear sturdy closed-toe hiking shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions. Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlamp with extra batteries.

“There’s no way to tell what Kīlauea will do next, and it’s likely that someone will be saying the same thing 100 years from now,” Orlando said.

Coast Guard Opens All Hawaii Ports – Investigation Under Way on Spirit of Kona Tour Boat

Coast Guard Captain of the Port opened all commercial ports in the Hawaiian Islands and cargo operations have resumed, Monday.

Tropical Storm Darby is expected to continue to move west and degrade. Vessel and facility operators are recommended to exercise caution when maneuvering in the ports as there may be fields of debris present.

Representatives from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Department of Natural Resources, Hawaii Division of Boating and Recreation, commercial salvors and the owner of the vessel continue to address the grounding of the Spirit of Kona on Hawai’i Island.
Spirit of Kona

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watch standers received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse. The vessel reportedly broke free of its mooring in Kailua Bay as Tropical Storm Darby passed over the region early Sunday. No one was aboard the vessel at the time.

Kona Boat

A non-recoverable sheen was seen in the area. The vessel reportedly has a maximum pollution potential of 600 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, commercial batteries and 19.5 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. As the Spirit of Kona is a commercial vessel, operated by Blue Sea Cruises, the Coast Guard is investigating the cause the of the grounding. A notice of federal interest has been issued.

As a reminder, the public and visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf may continue to impact beaches as the storm degrades. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe. Near-shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff up to several days following a storm.

Civil Defense Sirens Malfunctioned… NO EMERGENCY

Regarding Civil Defense sirens, there is no emergency, sirens malfunctioned

Siren

Hawaiian Adds New Kona-Tokyo Route – Senator Schatz Responds

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) welcomed the announcement today that Hawaiian Airlines has begun ticket sales for a new non-stop service between Kona International Airport and Haneda International Airport.

“I congratulate Hawaiian Airlines on their new route from Kona to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. This new service is not just great news for Hawaiian, it’s excellent news for our visitor industry and for Hawaii Island’s local economy,” said Senator Schatz. “There are still five additional routes up for competition and I plan to continue strongly advocating for Hawaiian Airlines in their effort to obtain these routes and expand Hawaii’s reach around the world.”


Hawaiian Airlines today announced that new non-stop service between Hawai’i Island’s Kona International Airport (KOA) and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport (HND) will begin on December 20, 2016, when the inaugural flight departs KOA.

Hawaiian Airlines Plane in Sky

Hawai’i’s flagship carrier has successfully operated daily service between Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Haneda since November 2010.  In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved Hawaiian’s application to provide three times weekly service between KOA and HND airports, along with a second frequency four-times weekly from HNL to HND beginning December 21.

“Since launching our first daily service to Haneda six years ago, Hawaiian has had the pleasure of carrying nearly 1 million visitors to Honolulu,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief executive officer. “As Hawai’i’s largest international market, it is clear Japanese travelers have chosen Hawaiian as their carrier of choice when visiting our beautiful islands. We are excited to offer even more choices for service with a second flight option from Haneda, the option to fly nonstop to Kona, and our new nonstop daily service from Narita launching later this month.”

Starting today, travelers in Japan can book tickets for these flights online at www.HawaiianAirlines.co.jp or through their preferred accredited travel agent or by calling Hawaiian Airlines’ sales office in Tokyo at +03-6435-1179. For English-speaking travelers, tickets can be purchased at www.HawaiianAirlines.com, through any travel agent or by calling Hawaiian’s Reservations Department toll-free at 800-367-5320.

The new flight schedules for both routes are as follows:

KONA (KOA)-TOKYO HANEDA (HND) SCHEDULE

Flight

Route

Departs

Arrives 

Frequency

Start Date

HA 851

KOA-HND

5:05 p.m.

10:05 p.m.*

Tues., Thurs., Sat.

Dec. 20, 2016

HA 852

HND-KOA

11:55 p.m.

12:15 p.m.**

Wed., Fri., Sun.

Dec. 21, 2016

HONOLULU (HNL)-TOKYO HANEDA (HND) SCHEDULE

Flight

Route

Departs

Arrives 

Frequency

Start Date

HA 855

HNL-HND

5:30 p.m.

10:05 p.m.*

Mon., Wed., Fri., Sun.

Dec. 21, 2016

HA 856

HND-HNL

11:55 p.m.

11:55 a.m.**

Mon., Tues. Thurs., Sat.

Dec. 22, 2016

Flights cross the international dateline and land:   

*At HND the following day 

**At KOA and HNL the same day

The DOT is still deciding which five of eight remaining applications from four other U.S. air carriers it will approve for daytime slots, and Hawaiian has urged the DOT to confirm its existing daily Honolulu-Haneda service be among them. Dunkerley previously advised that flights between Hawaii and Japan are the most traveled and most beneficial to the U.S. economy, and being able to expand the number that Hawaiian can offer to Tokyo’s Haneda airport is especially important.

The new Kona-Haneda and Honolulu-Haneda services will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, seating 294 passengers. From the moment guests arrive, they will enjoy Hawaiian’s signature Mea Ho’okipa (translation:I am host) onboard service, long-celebrated for its warm and friendly celebration of the culture, people, and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands.

The comfort, roominess and amenities of Hawaiian Airlines’ A330 aircraft will add to the enjoyment of customers’ travel experience throughout the flight. With high-resolution LCD touch-screen monitors in each seatback, the A330’s state-of-the-art entertainment system lets customers choose from a wide-range of movies, TV programs, music, and video games, while also offering a USB port for the use of their own personal media players.

Amenities for guests traveling between Hawai’i and Japan also include an expanded selection of entertainment, including Hawaiian music starring award-winning performers, classic artists and emerging new talent as well as original Japanese-language programming showcasing the best of Hawai’i on Hawai’i Local News.

On inbound flights from Japan, travelers in all cabins are treated to the best of modern Hawai’i cuisine before even reaching the Island shores with regional and global fusion dishes provided by renowned local Chef Lee Anne Wong, owner of island favorite Koko Head Cafe. When booking flights, families with children ages 12 and under can also pre-order keiki (kids) meals, which include a Hawaiian-print drawstring snack bag.

Hawaiian’s Honolulu to Haneda service served as a springboard for an expanding Japan network that today includes: Osaka (July 2011) and Sapporo (October 2012). On July 22, 2016, the airline will start service to its fourth destination in Japan, with daily nonstop service between Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) and Honolulu.

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian® has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 12 years (2004-2015) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai’i.

Now in its 87th year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai’i’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. Mainland. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai’i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights system-wide.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com. Follow updates on Twitter about Hawaiian (@HawaiianAir) and become a fan on its Facebook page.

Hawaii Senator Calls for Ban on Sunscreen with Oxybenzone

Compound found in sunscreen and personal care products blamed for damaging coral reefs

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

Some sunscreens known to have Oxybenzone

As the 13th annual Coral Reef Symposium comes to end in Waikīkī, State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 – ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) has announced he will introduce legislation for Hawai‘i to ban sunscreen with oxybenzone beginning in 2018.

“A ban is the right thing to do in order to protect our fragile marine eco-system,” said Sen. Espero. “Since our ocean environment is key to our tourism industry and our economic lifeline, banning a chemical substance that harms our coral and other marine animals should be a top priority next year in the state legislature.”

Speakers and scientists at the Symposium shared the dangers of oxybenzone on our coral reef and other marine life. Scientists said testing has revealed high levels of oxybenzone in Hawai‘i waters. Oxybenzone is found in personal care products and is a component of many sunscreen lotions.  It has been found to kill coral and negatively affect other Marine organisms.

“At the very least, a serious discussion should be had on the value and need of oxybenzone in sunscreen and other products,” Sen. Espero noted.

Enter for Chance to Win Stay at Big Island Luxury House

Exotic Estates, a leading boutique vacation rental agency specializing in luxury villa rentals, is inviting travelers to enter for a chance to win a stay at Rainbow Falls Villa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Waterfalling Estate

The lucky winner will also receive four (4) round-trip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska’s US Mainland network to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Once guests arrive on the Big Island, they will check into their Exotic Estates villa – epic Rainbow Falls Villa.

To top it all off, Paradise Helicopters will pick up guests directly from the villa’s rooftop helipad for a tour of Kilauea Volcano, the Kona Coffee district, and the dramatic beauty of the Big Island!

All legal US residents over 21 can enter to win this incredible trip by July 5th 2016. For complete details, Official Rules and to enter, visit the Exotic Estates’ website: Exotic Estates – Hawaii Villa Escape Sweepstakes!

“This is the villa vacation of a lifetime,” said John Di Rienzo, the Marketing Director for Exotic Estates. “Rainbow Falls is a unique and luxurious villa located along a beautiful and less-traveled coast on the Big Island. We are also pleased to be working with Alaska Airlines and Paradise Helicopters to offer this incredible prize. The vacation embodies what Exotic Estates is all about – making lifelong memories at an exceptional vacation home with people you love.”

Exotic Estates’ Rainbow Falls Villa is a cliff-side mansion overlooking a double-waterfall that cascades down to the Pacific Ocean. Designed as a dream home, this estate boasts 10,000 square feet, an Olympic-size swimming pool with a two-story waterslide and 21 ft. diving platform, a tennis and basketball court, private golf course, elevator and a rooftop helipad!

Its three levels are easily navigated via an in-house elevator. The home truly is an exotic estate designed for VIP guests looking for the ultimate luxury vacation home.

The winner will receive four (4) round-trip economy class tickets on Alaska Airlines from any city in Alaska’s US Mainland networked to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Alaska Airlines offers convenient non-stops from eight cities along the West Coast to Hawaii including the Big Island. Learn more at www.alaskaair.com.

Paradise Helicopters will pick up the winner and guests directly from the rooftop helipad of Rainbow Falls Villa! They will be treated to a custom tour of the Big Island, including Hilo town, Kilauea volcano, and the world famous Kona coffee district.

Paradise Helicopters is Hawaii’s premiere helicopter tour company and specializes in creating the most unique, fun and flexible air tours across the Hawaiian Islands. Learn more at www.paradisecopters.com.

29-Year-Old Man Survives Two-Months at Sea – Three Others Perish at Sea

A 29-year-old man arrived in good condition to Honolulu Wednesday aboard a Coast Guard small boat after being rescued by merchant mariners in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean and surviving a two- month ordeal at sea.

coast guard rescue man

A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Honolulu safely transported the man from the motor vessel Nikkei Verde offshore of Honolulu to the Coast Guard Base Wednesday morning to meet awaiting EMS in stable condition.

“This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Lt. Cmdr. John MacKinnon, Joint Rescue Coordination Center chief with the Coast Guard 14th District. “The Pacific is vast and inherently dangerous and all mariners respect that. These merchant mariners did the right thing in rendering assistance and most mariners heed the obligation to render assistance at sea, found in the Safety Of Life At Sea Convention, out of a sense of duty and understanding rather than required compliance.”

JRCC watchstanders in Honolulu received notification April 26, from the master of the motor vessel, reporting while on their voyage to China his crew had located a man stranded at sea aboard a 23-foot skiff. They brought him aboard and requested medical advice and assistance to return the man to his home country. They were located about 2,150 miles southeast of Hilo, but still within the Coast Guard’s area of responsibility for search and rescue at the time of the report.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon provided medical advice to the crew. Coast Guard officials worked with the Nikkei Verde crew to arrange a transfer near Honolulu and coordinated with the Colombian consul in San Francisco who arranged for transportation, Customs clearance, lodging, any hospital care, and an escort ahead of his arrival to Honolulu.

According to the survivor he and three companions set out from Columbia more than two months earlier. Once the skiff’s engine became disabled they were adrift. He said he caught and ate fish and seagulls to stay alive. The three other men reportedly perished at sea. Their bodies were not aboard the skiff when located by Nikkei Verde’s crew; however, the survivor did surrender their passports to officials.

The Coast Guard assisted in the man’s rescue but is not investigating the case as the circumstances fall outside Coast Guard purview.

The Nikkei Verde is a Panamanian-flagged 618-foot bulk carrier. JRCC Honolulu is located at the Coast Guard 14th District in Honolulu and has responsibility for search and rescue across 12.2 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean to include the Main Hawaiian Islands, Guam and Saipan extending out in all directions. The Coast Guard maintains several search and rescue agreements with sovereign Pacific Island nations and regional partner countries.

Investigative Reporter Jim Dooley Slated for Hilo Talk

The Big Island Press Club is delighted to have Jim Dooley, author of Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers and Corruption in the Aloha State, as our featured lunch speaker April 22. He’ll be signing books available for sale, and we’ll have a couple as door prizes as well.

Sunny Skies

Dooley is a take-no-prisoners kind of journalist. A longtime investigative reporter whose work led to the indictment of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi on bribery charges, Dooley has focused his career on digging deep into Hawaii organized crime and yakuza, government contracting fraud, Teamsters Union movie driver violence, Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools, police corruption and secret land ownership huis in Hawaii whose members included political, judicial and criminal syndicate figures.

There are major Big Island connections to his latest saga, so you won’t want to miss it!

Event is scheduled for Friday, April 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, across from the Circuit Courthouse. Tickets are $20 for BIPC members, $25 for nonmembers. Buffet lunch includes chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage.

Register and pay online at http://jimdooley.eventbrite.com

Pay with a credit card or PayPal (small surcharge applies) or send a check to reach BIPC by Wednesday, April 20, to Big Island Press Club, P.O. Box 1920, Hilo, HI 96721.

Hawaii County Democrats Select Nominees to Replace Late Sen. Gilbert Kahele

This morning at Keaukaha Elementary School cafe, Hawaii County Democrats met to select three nominees for the late Sen. Gilbert Kahele’s seat on the Hawaii Senate.

Democratic Meeting

Last night, House Rep. Richard Onishi was disqualified for running which lead to Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, Donald Ikeda, Kaialii “Kai” Kahele, Shannon Matson, Kaloa Robinson, and Dolly Strazar being the remaining contenders for office.

Each candidate had their chance to address the folks that would be selecting the nominees and the public and media that was in attendance.  The candidates then went into a “Speed Dating” type of format where questions were asked of them.

When all was said and done, the Democratic Party nominated the late senators son Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele along with Dolly Strazar and Kaloa Robinson as the three that would be passed on to Hawaii Governor David Ige to then nominate one of them to the position.

Washington Man Dies After Jumping Off End of the World on Hawaii Island

A 36-year-old man died Monday (February 8) after jumping off a cliff into waters off Kailua-Kona.

He has been identified as William H. Holman of Auburn, Washington.
End of the World
In response to an 11:38 a.m. call, police learned that Holman jumped into the ocean at Lekeleke Bay, also known as “End of the World,” and then cried out for help before disappearing into the water.

Fire/Rescue personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard searched the area for the missing man. His submerged body was located at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

A coroner’s inquest has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Hawaii DLNR Closes Muliwai Trail and Waimanu Valley Campground After Waipio Valley Is Closed as Dengue Precaution

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has closed the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its Waimanu Valley campground,  following the closure of Waipio valley access road on Wednesday to residents only by Hawaii County officials following confirmation of two cases of dengue in Waipio residents. Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley can only be accessed via Waipio valley. Campers with existing permits will be contacted by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife. No new permits will be issued until further notice.

Waimanu Valley

As a precaution to prevent the spread of dengue fever, the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area was been closed to all traffic yesterday afternoon.  Access will be limited to valley residents only.  This restricted access will remain closed for 8-12 weeks after no new cases are diagnosed in the area by health officials.

Dengue is a virus that is transmitted from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then infect another person. Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. Of the 215 confirmed cases, 2 are recent and could be in the stage of their illness in which they can infect mosquitoes.

Symptoms of dengue include a high fever, intense headache and joint pain, and rash on the arms. If you suspect you may have dengue, contact your health care provider and remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.

For further information about the January 13, 2016 Waipio closure go to the Hawaii County Civil Defense website http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

For additional information on dengue and preventing the spread, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001. Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.

Hawaii Judges Lead Grassroots Effort to Help Landlords and Tenants Curb Evictions

First Circuit District Court Judges Hilary B. Gangnes and Michael K. Tanigawa are leading a grassroots effort called STAE (Steps to Avoid Eviction).  STAE’s mission is to find ways to ensure that landlords get paid the rent they are owed and tenants are not evicted, by encouraging tenants and landlords to use available resources in a more timely and effective manner.

Judiciary“There are a lot of organizations and people out there who want to help,” said Judge Michael Tanigawa.  “The first step was getting everyone together in one room to discuss current landlord and tenant challenges and to see how we could more effectively partner together and use the resources we have.  The next step was getting essentially a one-stop-shop of information, listing the collective resources and services currently offered to landlords and tenants.”

The grassroots effort includes representatives from the State Department of Human Services, Homeless Programs Office; City & County of Honolulu, Department of Community Services; University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law, Students for Public Outreach and Civics Education; Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii; Legal Aid Society of Hawaii; Helping Hands Hawaii; Catholic Charities Hawaii; Mediation Center of the Pacific; and landlord attorneys David Chee, Kenneth Lau, and Richard Yanagi. The group put together an informational flyer (please see attached), which will be distributed throughout the community.  The Honolulu Board of Realtors has also offered to make copies of the flyers for distribution to community groups.

“By the time the landlord-tenant cases come to us, it is frequently too late,” said Civil Lead Judge Hilary B. Gangnes.  “We see many mom and pop landlords struggling to make ends meet after their tenants have skipped months of rent.  We also see tenants who are drowning in mounting bills, often after unexpected circumstances.  The key is early intervention.  We hope by providing more collaborative information, we can help save landlords and tenants time and money, as well as curb evictions.”

“I’d like to thank Judges Gangnes and Tanigawa for their initiative and desire to help the community, as well as District Court Chief Judge Barbara Richardson for her leadership,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “I also want to extend my appreciation and thanks to the city and state agencies, non-profit organizations, community partners and those in the private sector, whose collaborative efforts and generous support have made this initiative possible.