Video: Sammy Hagar Opens New Restaurant at Honolulu Airport

Today, rock star Sammy Hagar and Hawaii Governor David Ige, opened the new Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill and the Makai Plantation Restaurant at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport between gates 27 & 28.


Video courtesy of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Maunakea Astronomers Shed Light on Formation of Black Holes and Galaxies

Stars forming in galaxies appear to be influenced by the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, but the mechanism of how that happens has not been clear to astronomers until now.

Image of the quasar host galaxy from the UC San Diego research team’s data. The distance to this quasar galaxy is ~9.3 billion light years. The four-color image shows findings from use of the Keck Observatory and ALMA. As seen from Keck Observatory, the green colors highlight the energetic gas across the galaxy that is being illuminated by the quasar. The blue color represents powerful winds blowing throughout the galaxy. The red-orange colors represent the cold molecular gas in the system as seen from ALMA. The supermassive black hole sits at the center of the bright red-orange circular area slightly below the middle of the image. Credit: A. VAYNER AND TEAM

“Supermassive black holes are captivating,” says lead author Shelley Wright, a University of California San Diego Professor of Physics. “Understanding why and how galaxies are affected by their supermassive black holes is an outstanding puzzle in their formation.”

In a study published today in The Astrophysical Journal, Wright, graduate student Andrey Vayner, and their colleagues examined the energetics surrounding the powerful winds generated by the bright, vigorous supermassive black hole (known as a “quasar”) at the center of the 3C 298 host galaxy, located approximately 9.3 billion light years away.

“We study supermassive black holes in the very early universe when they are actively growing by accreting massive amounts of gaseous material,” says Wright. “While black holes themselves do not emit light, the gaseous material they chew on is heated to extreme temperatures, making them the most luminous objects in the universe.”

The UC San Diego team’s research revealed that the winds blow out through the entire galaxy and impact the growth of stars.

“This is remarkable that the supermassive black hole is able to impact stars forming at such large distances,” says Wright.

Today, neighboring galaxies show that the galaxy mass is tightly correlated with the supermassive black hole mass. Wright’s and Vayner’s research indicates that 3C 298 does not fall within this normal scaling relationship between nearby galaxies and the supermassive black holes that lurk at their center. But, in the early universe, their study shows that the 3C 298 galaxy is 100 times less massive than it should be given its behemoth supermassive black hole mass.

This implies that the supermassive black hole mass is established well before the galaxy, and potentially the energetics from the quasar are capable of controlling the growth of the galaxy.

To conduct the study, the UC San Diego researchers utilized multiple state-of-the-art astronomical facilities. The first of these was Keck Observatory’s instrument OSIRIS (OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph) and its advanced adaptive optics (AO) system. An AO system allows ground-based telescopes to achieve higher quality images by correcting for the blurring caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. The resulting images are as good as those obtained from space.

The second major facility was the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, known as “ALMA,” an international observatory in Chile that is able to detect millimeter wavelengths using up to 66 antennae to achieve high-resolution images of the gas surrounding the quasar.

“The most enjoyable part of researching this galaxy has been putting together all the data from different wavelengths and techniques,” said Vayner. “Each new dataset that we obtained on this galaxy answered one question and helped us put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. However, at the same time, it created new questions about the nature of galaxy and supermassive black hole formation.”

Wright agreed, saying that the data sets were “tremendously gorgeous” from both Keck Observatory and ALMA, offering a wealth of new information about the universe.

These findings are the first results from a larger survey of distant quasars and their energetics’ impact on star formation and galaxy growth. Vayner and the team will continue developing results on more distant quasars using the new facilities and capabilities from Keck Observatory and ALMA.

ABOUT OSIRIS

The OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS) is one of W. M. Keck Observatory’s “integral field spectrographs.” The instrument works behind the adaptive optics system, and uses an array of lenslets to sample a small rectangular patch of the sky at resolutions approaching the diffraction limit of the 10-meter Keck Telescope. OSIRIS records an infrared spectrum at each point within the patch in a single exposure, greatly enhancing its efficiency and precision when observing small objects such as distant galaxies. It is used to characterize the dynamics and composition of early stages of galaxy formation.

ABOUT W. M. KECK OBSERVATORY

The W. M. Keck Observatory telescopes are among the most scientifically productive on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Maunakea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers, and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Some of the data presented herein were obtained at Keck Observatory, which is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.

The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.

Article Summary

Latest findings using the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii increase scientific understanding of how powerful winds generated by supermassive black holes impact and regulate the growth of 3C 298 Quasar Host Galaxy.

Hilo: Home of a World-Class Pineapple Collection

Hilo is home to one of the world’s largest and most genetically diverse pineapple collections.

A field of pineapples in Maui, Hawaii. Photo credit: USDA-ARS photo by Tracie Matsumoto.

According to the USDA:

“The collection is managed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) on 33 acres of land in Hilo as part of the agency’s National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Tropical Fruit and Nut Crops.

The ARS collection represents a treasure of genetic resources for identifying and improving important traits in commercial pineapples as well as for research to understand the basic biology and evolution of different plant processes.

Big-name as well as little-known pineapple accessions alike are kept there. Some, like Smooth Cayenne, are industry leaders, prized for their fresh fruit or canning quality. Others, like Saigon Red, are more obscure though no less worth preserving.

A miniature pineapple brought to Hawaii from Vietnam in 1938, Saigon Red is too tart to eat. However, its compact size, red-skinned fruit and long, shapely leaves could prove ideal for landscape plantings or indoor use as a decorative plant.

Ensuring the good health and availability of the Hilo collection—which numbers 186 different kinds of wild and cultivated pineapple—can be labor-intensive; so, too, can cataloguing the plants and their traits. Now, new tools called “molecular markers” are helping to speed up the process—from 18 months to 2 years down to just a few days. The markers detect the gene or genes for specific traits in the pineapple’s DNA. This can be done with seedlings rather than full-grown plants, saving time, money and resources.

Just as canning refinements made Hawaii an early world leader in exports, so too is the state on the cusp of technology today to mine the fruit crop’s untapped genetic potential, with benefits to growers and consumers across the globe.”

Mauna Kea Recreation Area Bunkhouses Available from January 3, 2018

The Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce that the Mauna Kea Recreation Area’s Bunkhouses will be available for public use commencing January 3, 2018.

Effective immediately, applications for Bunkhouse lodging permits may be obtained via the Department’s online camping reservation system at http://hawaiicounty.ehawaii.gov or in person at the Department’s administration office located at Aupuni Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 6.

The Bunkhouse accommodations are intended for use by groups and organizations (seven persons minimum), have a maximum capacity of 48 persons, and may be reserved for up to six consecutive nights.  There are two Bunkhouses, each containing four individual rooms capable of accommodating up to six persons each.  Each room is furnished with a folding table and chairs, and has a shower, toilet and lavatory.  Permittees must furnish their own bedding, food and personal supplies.

Groups that utilize the Bunkhouses will be provided access to the dining hall, a separate structure that consists of a kitchen and dining area for preparing and eating meals and group activities.  Groups must provide their own meal preparation equipment and supplies, foodstuffs, serving/dining supplies, and cleaning supplies.  The kitchen is equipped with an electric range/oven and refrigerator/freezer.  The dining hall is equipped with folding tables and chairs.

The cost for overnight use of each of the two Bunkhouses (maximum 24 occupants each) is $240 for Hawai‘i residents, and $480 for non-Hawai‘i residents.  There is a one-time refundable security deposit of $250 per Bunkhouse that also covers use of the dining hall.  The security deposit will be refunded in full provided the permittee complies with all conditions of the lodging permit.

Persons interested in utilizing these facilities shall review the Department’s Administrative Rule 16, “Rules Relating to Mauna Kea Recreation Area,” for details on the costs, expectations and proper use of the Bunkhouses, as well as the Park in general.

Mauna Kea Recreation Area users are reminded that the following are prohibited within the Park: alcohol, smoking, tobacco products, firearms and explosives, open fires or burning of any kind, dogs and pets (excluding service animals), and fireworks.  See Rule 16 for a full list of prohibited items and activities.

Public use of the Park’s seven individual Cabins will be phased in over the upcoming months as the Department works to certify that operational procedures are perfected, to ensure reliable, safe and positive experiences at the Park.  Additional information will be provided as the Cabins become available.

For more information please contact the Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 961-8311.

DOH Approves ALS as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Use

The Hawaii Department of Health has added Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use. The decision was based on a rigorous review and analysis of written and oral testimony, a public hearing, and peer-reviewed scientific evidence.

Of the 29 states and U.S. jurisdictions that permit medical cannabis, 19 include ALS as a qualifying health condition.

Although the Hawaii Department of Health found little evidence to support the value of medical cannabis for ALS; DOH determined medical cannabis may be appropriate for patients diagnosed with ALS after receiving a comprehensive assessment by a patient’s physician or APRN and a risk-benefit discussion.

The Petition Process

In April 2017, the Department of Health opened the petition process to allow patients, physicians, and advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) to petition the department to add new debilitating medical conditions to the existing list of conditions that could benefit from the use medical cannabis.

Unlike prescription medications that undergo rigorous clinical trials for the treatment of certain health conditions before being released to consumers, medical cannabis does not have that same level of evaluation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Under Hawaii Revised Statutes, all new conditions must be thoroughly reviewed from an evidence-based perspective and be subject to a public hearing. This year, the Department of Health received two such requests and began the review process.

The other condition submitted for consideration was general anxiety disorder (GAD). The Department of Health declined this request because at this time there is inconclusive medical evidence that cannabis has beneficial use in the treatment or alleviation of symptoms of anxiety, social phobia, and social anxiety disorder (SAD), and no evidence specific to GAD.

In addition, because the prevalence of GAD, high rate of comorbidities, and dearth of scientific evidence to support the use of cannabis in the treatment of GAD, the potential for adverse outcomes is a public health concern.

Next Year’s Petition Process Deadline

Next year’s deadline to request the addition of new health conditions is Feb. 19, 2018. The petition form is available online for patients, physicians, and APRNs and must be submitted by the deadline to be included in the public hearings tentatively scheduled for May 2018. Any petitions received after Feb. 19 may be considered the following year.

DOH Identifies 14 Priority Areas for Cesspool Upgrades to Protect Drinking Water

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a report with the Legislature identifying 14 priority areas of the state where cesspool upgrades are critically needed to protect public health and the environment. The report indicates about 43,000 cesspools – half of Hawai‘i’s total 88,000 cesspools – are located in the 14 priority areas in all counties and need urgent action.

Click to read report

“The report findings are troubling and show wastewater from cesspools is beginning to impact drinking water in some parts of upcountry Maui,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The water in these areas is still safe to drink, with no evidence of bacterial contamination; however, there are early warning signs that tell us we must act now to protect the future of our drinking water and the environment.”

Hawai‘i has about 88,000 cesspools, far more than any other state. Cesspools provide no treatment and inject about 53 million gallons of raw sewage into Hawai‘i’s groundwater every day, potentially spreading disease and harming the quality of drinking water supplies and recreational waters. Hawai‘i gets over 90 percent of its drinking water from groundwater.

“In areas, such as Kahulu‘u on Oahu and Kapoho and Puako on Hawai‘i Island, cesspools harm recreational waters and precious coral reefs,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of the Environmental Health Administration. “All cesspools pose a serious threat to our natural environment, and the 14 priority areas are our greatest concern as we are seeing the start of potential impacts to Hawai‘i’s shoreline and drinking water resources.”

The DOH report was ordered by the Legislature earlier this year in Act 125 of 2017. The 14 priority areas with maps of cesspool locations are: Upcountry Maui; Kahalu‘u, Diamond Head, Waimanalo, Waialua and Ewa on O‘ahu; Kapoho, Kea‘au, Puako, Hilo Bay and Kailua/Kona coastal areas on Hawai‘i Island; and Kapa‘a/Wailua, Poipu/Koloa, and Hanalei Bay on Kauai.

In 2016, Governor Ige signed Wastewater System rules that banned all new cesspools statewide. Prior to the ban, there were approximately 800 new cesspools per year. The rules also provided tax credits under Act 120. The Act provides a temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic tank system or an aerobic treatment system, or connecting to a sewer system. A taxpayer may apply for a tax credit of up to $10,000 for cesspools upgraded to a sewer or septic system during the next five years. The program is limited to a total of $5 million or about 500 cesspool upgrades per year. Under the law, owners of cesspools located within 500 feet of the ocean, streams or marsh areas, or near drinking water sources can qualify for the tax credit. To date, about 50 taxpayers have used the program.

“The state began taking action last year, and today’s report clearly highlights the need for greater measures to tackle this impending threat to our drinking and recreational waters,” said Kawaoka. “With 88,000 systems currently affecting our environment, it will take a concerted effort by our entire community to convert existing systems to safer alternatives.”

The cost to upgrade all of the state’s roughly 88,000 cesspools is estimated at $1.75 billion. State law currently requires the elimination of cesspools in Hawai‘i by year 2050. DOH presented its report on cesspools and prioritization for replacement to legislators and will begin community meetings in impacted areas of the state in January 2018, beginning with Makawao on Jan. 9 and Kahulu‘u on Jan. 12. For more information on cesspools in Hawai‘i and the Tax Credit Program for Qualifying Cesspools go to http://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/.

BISAC Receives $10,000 from Weinberg Foundation

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) received a $10,000.00 check from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Sharon Vause, Weinberg Foundation, Anashe Brooks, BISAC Case Manager, and Kim Krell, BISAC’s Director of East Hawaii Services.

BISAC was selected by the Weinberg Foundation employees because of the many good works that they do in the community. BISAC provides services such as their Po`okela vocational Training programs to help individuals gain marketable skills following treatment.

“We are definitely blessed with this generous gift” said BISAC’s CEO, Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “We are grateful for the donation and it will be used to help us continue to inspire positive change and help individuals and their families in our communities.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse and mental health. They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

For more information about BISAC and all of its programs call 969-9994 or visit www.bisac.org.

Man Shot in Leilani Estates – Ongoing Hostage Situation

2:43 p.m. UPDATE:  The hostage situation has ended in the Puna District. A 33-year-old suspect has been arrested. Leilani Blvd.between Highway 130 and Hapuu Street remains closed.

Hawaiʻi Police are investigating an ongoing hostage incident in the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna.

This morning at about 5:40 a.m., Puna District Patrol Officers responded to a call of a shooting on Nohea Street. A 25-year-old male victim was located shot several times about his body. That male victim was then transported to Hilo Medical Center where he remains in stable condition.

The suspect in this shooting was then located at a residence on Leilani Boulevard where he barricaded himself inside. This incident is currently being investigated as a hostage situation, and the Hawaiʻi Police Department Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators are on the scene.

The suspect, in this case, is believed to be armed with a firearm.

Leilani Boulevard between Highway 130 and Hapuu Street remains closed and neighboring residents have been asked to evacuate. Police ask that members of the public avoid the area for their safety as well as that of the first responders in the area.

Applications Open for 2018-2019 Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship

The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP), a program of Papa Ola Lōkahi (POL), is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications from students in health care and allied health professions for the 2018-2019 academic year. The deadline to apply online is March 18, 2018.

Awards are provided to students enrolled or enrolling full-time in an accredited college in Hawai‘i or the continental U.S. Benefits include tuition, other school related expenses, and a monthly stipend. Upon completion of the degree and required training and licensure, the recipient shall serve two to four years of full-time employment in designated medically underserved sites in Hawai‘i.

“Our applicants all demonstrate that they are exceptional college students,” asserts NHHSP director Keaulana Holt. “The ideal applicant will also understand the needs of their communities and be willing to apply their training and skills to improve the well-being back home.”

Applications are being accepted from students in clinical psychology, dentistry, dental hygiene, dietetics, marriage & family therapy, nursing, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physician’s assistant, public health and social work.

Last years recipients

Nine scholarships were awarded earlier this year. More than 275 scholarship awards have been made in almost 20 different health and behavioral health disciplines since 1991.

“The success of this grow-your-own program is that the scholars and alumni all contribute to improving the health of the lāhui.” POL executive director Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels says proudly. “Even better, they are becoming the leaders in our lāhui. We’re nurturing Hawaiians to serve Hawaiians.”

The entire application process is online. For more information about the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program visit our website at www.nhhsp.org.

Hawaii Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Regarding the Parental Rights and Responsibilities of Married Same-Sex Couples

On December 14, 2017, the State of Hawaii presented oral argument to the Hawaii Supreme Court in the case of C.C. v. D.D., arguing that same-sex spouses must be treated as the presumed parents of children born during their marriage, just as opposite-sex spouses are.

The case involves a dispute between a former married same-sex couple regarding whether C.C. is a legal parent of a child conceived using anonymous donor sperm and born to D.D. during the marriage. C.C. is asking the Hawaii Supreme Court to rule that she is not a legal parent and has no obligation to pay child support because she is not biologically related to the child. The State of Hawaii submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of D.D., urging the Court to read Hawaii parentage law in a gender-neutral manner, as required by the Marriage Equality Act, and to apply the marital presumption of parentage equally to both same-sex and opposite-sex married couples.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “The State has a strong interest in ensuring that the Marriage Equality Act is properly enforced and that both same-sex and opposite-sex married couples are treated equally, so their children have the same opportunity to receive child support.”

At oral argument, Solicitor General Clyde Wadsworth said to the Court, “All means all. The Marriage Equality Act mandates that ‘all gender-specific terminology’ in ‘all sources of law’ regarding the rights and responsibilities of spouses must be construed in a gender-neutral manner. . . . So the presumption of parentage must be construed in a gender-neutral manner and applied equally to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”

The Court took the matter under advisement and will later issue a written opinion.

Hawaii Supplemental Budget Proposal Builds on Progress Made in Education, Housing, Homelessness, Sustainability, Capital Improvements

Gov. Ige unveiled his Supplemental Budget proposal today, asking the State Legislature to continue supporting programs that tackle many of the challenges our communities face.

“Last year’s biennium budget invested in programs that have helped us address our state’s biggest problems. Evidence shows that we’ve made progress in many of our high priority areas, while being smart about managing taxpayer dollars,” said Gov. Ige.

Housing production is up. Homelessness is down nearly nine percent across the state. Our classrooms are cooler. Hawai‘i is a recognized national and international leader in sustainability and clean energy. And Moody’s Analytics reports that Hawai‘i is one of only 16 states with enough cash reserves to weather the “stress test” of another recession.

SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET OVERVIEW

Operating:
FY 19 amendments total $85.5 million – an increase of .6 percent over FY 19 Operating appropriations in the biennium budget (all revenue sources).

Capital Improvements:
FY 19 amendments total $1.497 billion, an increase of 215 percent over FY 19 CIP appropriations in the biennium budget (all revenue sources).

The state’s improved G.O. bond ratings and lower interest rates make it a favorable time to invest in the state’s infrastructure. These capital projects have broad economic impact, supporting about 14,000 jobs of which 5,520 will be in the construction industry.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS:

Education:
• $2.8 million for the Hawaii Keiki program that provides school-based health services
• $1 million for the Early College High School initiative
• $700,000 for the Hawai‘i Promise Scholarship Program
• $15 full-time positions and $1.2 million to support underserved regions and populations at UH Mānoa and the community colleges
Also,
• $150 million in capital improvement projects to improve public school facilities
• $120 million in total CIP for the University of Hawai‘i
The future begins with investing in education and improving school facilities to make a difference for generations of students.

Housing:
We are asking for a cash infusion of more than $100 million. This includes:
• $25 million CIP for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund, statewide
• $50 million CIP for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, statewide
The Department of Hawaiian Homelands is helping in the effort to produce more housing.
• $10 million CIP for repairs and maintenance of existing infrastructure
• $15 million CIP for lot development
“Our efforts are paying off. Since I’ve been in office, 5,300 units have been completed, 40 percent of them affordable. There are another 1,400 under construction and 4,500 units in the planning stages. Let’s build on our momentum,” Ige said.

Homelessness:
• $15 million for Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing, housing subsidies, homeless outreach services, and other homeless initiatives (this includes $5 million for property storage and trash/debris removal)
• $800,000 for homeless outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless persons experiencing severe substance use disorders
To maintain safety in public areas:
• Asking for 8 FTE (full time equivalent) permanent positions and $419,302 for deputy sheriffs positions to support homeless and illegal camping operations
• $300,000 for staff time and equipment to support homelessness policy reinforcement statewide for the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)
“For the first time in eight years, there are fewer homeless people across the state – a decline of nearly nine percent. We hope the State Legislature continues to support our efforts to put more families in homes and drastically reduce our homeless population,” Ige said.

Sustainable Hawai‘i:
• $5 million for cash infusion for the Agricultural Loan Revolving Fund
• $2.8 million for agricultural infrastructure improvements
• $8.3 million for watershed protection
• $7 million for land acquisition for forest reserve expansion on O‘ahu and Maui
• $8.7 million for state parks infrastructure and improvements
“We are asking for this funding to continue support of the initiatives announced at last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress – protecting our natural resources, doubling local food production, and growing our economy,” said Ige.
Other highlights:
• $4.5 million for Kupuna Care and Caregivers programs
• $536,819 in operating funds for Maui and Kauai County lifeguard protection at beaches under the jurisdiction of DLNR
• $69 million in revenue bonds for Kona International Airport permanent federal inspection station
• $16.5 million CIP for the Tax System Modernization project
“We see progress on complex issues, and this budget aligns our values and programs with those actions we know will make a difference. My administration remains focused on doing things the right way to achieve the best outcomes for the State of Hawai‘i,” Gov. Ige said.

Alaska Woman Charged for Attempted Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged an Alaska woman in connection with an Attempt Murder 2 investigation.

Crystal Young

On (December 15), officers were responding to a reported traffic casualty with injuries that occurred on the Old Airport Runway involving a vehicle and pedestrian. Information was received that the traffic casualty had started as a domestic dispute between an unidentified male and female. The male was struck by the female who was operating a black sedan.

After striking the male with the vehicle, the female drove to the dead end side of the park and fled on foot into the brush area where she was later located by police.

Police arrested the driver of the vehicle, 30-year-old female, Crystal Young of Anchorage Alaska, who was taken to the Kona cellblock while detectives with the Juvenile Aid Section continued the investigation.

The male, later identified as Emil Dushkin, is the boyfriend of Young, and was taken to Kona Community Hospital and then medevaced Queens Medical Center for treatment of his injuries where he remains in critical condition.

At 6:15 p.m., Saturday, (December 16), police charged Young with Attempted Murder II, Accident Involving Death or Serious Bodily Injury, Abuse of a Family/Household Member and Failure to Give Information or Render Aid. Her bail was set at $281,000. Young remains in the Kona cellblock pending her initial appearance scheduled for this afternoon, (December 18), in Kona District Court.

Anyone who may have information or witnessed this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Brandon Mansur of the Area II Juvenile Aid Section at (808) 326-4646 or Brandon.Mansur@hawaiicounty.gov or call Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Juvenile Aid Section at (808) 326-4646 or Rio.Amon-Wilkins@hawaiicounty.gov.

STUDY: 94% of the Rats in Hilo Are Infected With Rat Lungworm Disease

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo research group supported by Hawai‘i Island legislators is urging more control measures be taken to lower the risks of the spread of rat lungworm (RLW) disease.

UH Hilo Rat Lungworm Lab

Findings of a study headed by the Rat Lungworm Working Group at the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) are described in a paper entitled “High prevalence of Angiostrongylus cantonensis (rat lungworm) on eastern Hawai‘i Island: a closer look at life cycle traits and patterns of infection in wild rats” published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Our study showed almost 94 percent of the rats in the Hilo area are infected with RLW,” said Susan Jarvi, director of the working group who has been researching the progress of the disease for more than six years.

More than 30 other countries report data on RLW, including Australia, Brazil, Thailand and China. Jarvi suggests that due to the lack of diagnostic tools and difficulty in diagnosis, the disease may be underreported. Her group has been adding to the scientific evidence that gives legislators in Hawai‘i the proof they need to become more involved.

“Hawai‘i is able to take the lead globally on assessing the effects of this debilitating disease thanks to this scientific evidence from UH Hilo,” said Senator Kai Kahele, who represents Hawai‘i Senate District 1, which includes Hilo. “The first step in conquering a threat is in knowing the enemy. We can get ahead of the terrifying risks, but these results certainly show the urgency for more research.”

RLW disease is a parasitic infection that reproduces in rats and is transferred to slugs and snails, which can, if ingested intentionally or not, infect people. While symptoms can be mild and flu-like, there have been cases that have resulted in long-term disability and even death.

“UH Hilo continues to support Dr. Jarvi’s efforts to safeguard public health through her research on the system of this disease,” noted UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. “We are exploring alternatives with state agencies that will continue to fund this important research, which reflects our commitment to help maintain the health of the community.”

Researchers in this study examined a total of 545 wild rats from multiple sites in the South Hilo District of east Hawai‘i Island. Through evaluation of multiple stages and locations of development of the infection with A. cantonensis, they were able to determine prevalence, and examine patterns of infection. The purpose was to determine how these data can be used to improve risk assessment and guide research development to better prevent and control human infection.

“Defeating this threat to our islands is essential to perpetuating our way of life,” said Representative Chris Todd, who represents Hilo in the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives. “I believe in the research being done at UH Hilo; their work will help us ensure a healthy future for our keiki – we, as a legislature, need to do more to support their mission.”

DKICP and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation – Medical Research supported research in this study. Authors were from DKICP: Jarvi, Stefano Quarta, Steven Jacquier, Kathleen Howe, Deniz Bicakci, Crystal Dasalla, Noelle Lovesy, Kirsten Snook and Robert McHugh; and Chris N. Niebuhr from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Wildlife Research Center, Hawai‘i Field Station in Hilo.

“The clear and present danger of this difficult-to-eradicate disease warrants increased measures to control its spread in both snails, slugs and rodents,” Jarvi said. “Only by deliberate management can we hope to protect human and animal populations.”

DOH Launches First Statewide Media Campaign on Rat Lungworm Disease Prevention

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) recently launched a statewide broadcast media campaign to educate residents and visitors about rat lungworm disease, a potentially devastating illness that can have debilitating effects on an infected person’s brain and spinal cord. Through a partnership with the Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, the campaign aims to increase awareness and prevention of rat lungworm disease through a series of television and radio public education announcements, which are now on air.

Earlier this year, the 2017 Hawaii State Legislature appropriated one million dollars to DOH over the next two years to deliver enhanced response and outreach activities to control the spread of rat lungworm disease. As part of this effort, public education announcements are now running on 40 radio stations and seven television stations to build awareness and inform the public-atlarge about rat lungworm disease and how to prevent it.

“The risk of rat lungworm disease is present on all islands and there are basic steps we can take each day to reduce this risk and help prevent infection,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health. “Knowledge is the best defense we can provide people with to collectively protect our communities from rat lungworm disease in Hawaii.”

Additionally, visitors to local movie theatres on Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu can expect to see rat lungworm disease prevention announcements prior to movie showings in December and January. Shopping centers and malls across the state have also posted large-scale announcements reminding patrons to always wash produce before eating and to control rat, slug, and snail populations around their homes and gardens.

Community education was highlighted as a high priority by the Governor’s Rat Lungworm Disease Task Force, a group of local experts from medical, scientific, environmental, and public health fields gathered to actively work on developing guidelines for schools, farms, food
establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and manage rat lungworm disease.

Public education has been a collaborative multi-agency effort, involving many partners such as the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and John A. Burns School of Medicine, for example. Several informative pieces were created and have been used during informational meetings hosted in all counties by the department throughout the year as well as shared with partners for further distribution into the community.

To date, in 2017, Hawaii has experienced 18 confirmed cases of rat lungworm disease. The most recent case was a Hawaii Island adult resident in Hilo. It is believed the individual accidently ingested an infected slug while drinking from a garden watering hose in late November. The public is urged to take the following precautions to prevent rat lungworm disease:

  • Wash all produce thoroughly under clean and potable running water before eating, especially when eating raw fruits and vegetables;
  • Cook food completely by boiling for 3-5 minutes or heating to 165°F for 15 seconds;
  • Store food and drinks in sealed containers, especially when outdoors;
  • Control and eliminate rats, slugs and snails around the home and garden;
  • Inspect water catchment tanks regularly and always keep them covered;
  • Watch children carefully while playing on the ground and keep them away from areas with slugs and snails;
  • Do not drink from the garden watering hose since slugs and snails that may be inside could be dislodged and swallowed.

DOH will continue its outreach and education efforts centered on rat lungworm disease prevention, especially with the rainy season well upon the state. For more information about rat lungworm disease and DOH’s education campaign, visit: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/rat-lungworm-angiostrongyliasis/.

Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawai‘i residents can spot the International Space Station (ISS) tonight, depending on clouds.

Photo via Ignazio Magnani in the Space Station.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, at 6:25p.m.

ISS will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 87 degrees.

The space station will appear 11 degrees above the northwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the southeast part of the sky.

View a livestream from the space station here.

Hawaii Supreme Court Holds Oral Argument at Castle High School

The Hawaii Supreme Court held oral argument today at Castle High School with about 200 Oahu high school students in attendance.

Students from Castle, Farrington, McKinley, and Mililani high schools and Le Jardin Academy participated in the Judiciary’s Courts in the Community outreach program. They prepared to watch the oral argument by working through a curriculum developed by the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center and the Students for Public Outreach and Civic Education of the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Attorneys from the Hawaii State Bar Association also volunteered their time to visit classrooms to assist in preparing students for the argument.

The case heard at Castle, CC vs. DD, is a parentage case involving a former same sex married couple. The issue is whether Appellant has a legal parent/child relationship with the child born to Appellee during the marriage.

The goal of Courts in the Community is to enhance students’ understanding of the Judiciary’s role in government and its function in resolving disputes in a democratic society. The Hawaii Supreme Court convenes in schools to hear oral argument in actual cases pending before the court. Since the program’s inception in 2012, 56 schools and about 3,900 students have participated. This is the 11th oral argument under this program.

“Our Courts in the Community program enables students to discover how our judicial system operates in practice,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Through this experience, we hope that the students realize the judicial process is designed to get to the truth by carefully considering both sides of the case. That understanding of the rule of law is vital to the future of our democracy.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the teachers, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Foundation, and the volunteer attorneys who helped make this happen. These invaluable partnerships are what make the program a success,” added Chief Justice Recktenwald.

The Hawaii State Bar Association and the Hawaii State Bar Foundation generously provided the students with lunches and transportation to and from their schools.

“The Hawaii State Bar Association would like to thank and congratulate the many dedicated teachers, volunteer attorneys, school and court administrators, and especially the students, who together made the Hawaii Courts in the Community Supreme Court session at Castle High School such an overwhelming success,” said Howard Luke, president-elect of the Hawaii State Bar Association. “The attorneys arguing each side of the many unique, challenging issues presented in this case set the stage for a very spirited question-and-answer session following the Court proceedings.

“It was especially encouraging to see how well prepared and thoroughly engaged the students were, as demonstrated by their very thoughtful, relevant questions to the justices. We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity made possible by our Hawaii Supreme Court,” added Luke.

Oral argument was followed by two separate question-and-answer sessions for the students – one with the attorneys and another with justices.

Hawaii Current and Upcoming Highway Projects

Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Deputy Director for Highways, Ed Sniffen, provided an update today, Dec. 14, 2017, on high visibility current and upcoming highways projects statewide.

Hawaii County

  • Keaau-Pahoa Road – 4-lane restriping and Shower Drive Intersection Improvements
    • Work to add a traffic signal at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road (Highway 130) and Shower Drive and the restriping project, which will remove a restricted shoulder lane and add an unrestricted travel lane through restriping from Keaau Town to Shower Drive, will be substantially completed by the beginning of 2018. An update will be sent out at the close of the project to remind Hawaii Island drivers of the changes to the area as well as the reduction of the speed limit to 45 mph (from 55 mph) on Highway 130 between MP 2.3 and 3.7 and between MP 7.4 to 9.9.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Widening, Phase 2
    • The Queen Kaahumanu Highway Widening Project, Phase 2 to widen the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport Access Road is expected to be substantially complete by August 2018. Remaining work on the project includes milling and resurfacing of north bound lanes, pavement extension of the north bound lanes, paving of south bound lanes south of Kealakehe Parkway, construction of swales and median barrier in the south segment, side road transitions, and installation of signage, pavement markings, and landscaping.
  • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Intersection Improvements at Kawaihae Road
    • Bid in December 2017, work expected to begin April 2018
    • Project will widen the intersection to provide a right-turn lane for northbound Queen Kaahumanu Highway traffic, a right-turn lane for east bound Kawaihae Road traffic, an acceleration lane on Kawaihae Road and lengthening the left-turn lane for west bound Kawaihae Road traffic.
  • Hawaii Island rumble strip projects – HDOT to install rumble strips where possible to provide tactile and audible warning for motorists straying from their lane. Planned rumble strip projects for Hawaii Island are:
    • Kohala Mountain Road Safety Improvements, MP 7.2 to MP 9.2
      • Advertised November 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will add milled rumble strips to centerline and shoulders, high friction surface treatment, pavement markings, signage, and curve ahead signs and beacons
    • Mamalahoa Highway Safety Improvements, MP 3.9 to MP 6.9
      • Will advertise December 2017
      • Est. Cost $1-5 Million
      • Project will install milled rumble strips in the centerline and shoulders, pavement markings, and signage, and will upgrade guardrails
    • Queen Kaahumanu Highway Rumble Strip Improvements, Mahaiula to Kawaihae
      • Construction to begin January 2018, estimated completion May 2018
      • Work includes installation of centerline rumble strips, new pavement markings and striping to enhance lane visibility and will be conducted in five phases to minimize impact to motorists

Maui County

  • Lahaina Bypass Phase 1B-2
    • This bypass phase from the vicinity of Olowalu landfill to Hokiokio is expected to be opened to traffic in March 2018 at which time HDOT will redirect traffic from the existing Honoapiilani Highway. Those that would like to bypass Lahaina town will have a more efficient route that takes them away from slow moving beach and town traffic. Moving the main route to west Maui Mauka in this area also protects the corridor from coastal erosion and inundation and allows for future capacity if funding develops.
  • Honoapiilani Highway Improvements, Kapunakea to Keawe
    • At Keawe Street, to prioritize the bypass movements, the intersection will be adjusted to allow for a free right turn movement off of the bypass to continue north to Kaanapali. To accommodate this movement, the double through movements going northbound from Kapunakea through Keawe will be reduced to a single through movement. In addition, the Makai side of the road will be widened to allow for a double left for southbound traffic from Kaanapali to enter the bypass.
    • These adjustments were based on the traffic studies performed for the original and follow up environmental documents, and by the updated traffic studies. In general, we anticipate 70 percent of the traffic through the area will utilize the bypass from Olowalu to Keawe Street. Keawe Street is considered an interim connector as the bypass plans include an extension toward Kaanapali. At this time, the highways program does not include sufficient funding to program the next phase of the bypass.

City and County of Honolulu

  • Kalanianaole Highway Resurfacing – Interstate H-1 to West Hind Drive
    • Resurfacing of Kalanianaole Highway from where the route meets the H-1 Freeway to its intersection with West Hind Drive is expected to begin in April 2018. Joining of the bike lane in the vicinity of Kalani High School will take place as part of this project. Conceptual drawings including the proposed locations of staging areas for this project are available.
  • Likelike Highway Resurfacing
    • The Likelike Highway Resurfacing, School Street to Emmeline Place is expected to be substantially complete by March 2018. Remaining work includes guardrail installation, curb and gutter work, catch basin installation, traffic signal work, paving, and installation of striping, landscaping, and signage. Night work for this project will be complete prior to the beginning of night closures for the Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka.
  • Pali Highway Street Lighting and Resurfacing – Kamehameha to Waokanaka
    • This project, the first of the planned Pali Highway improvements, will repair or replace street lights from Vineyard Boulevard to Kamehameha Highway and will repave Pali Highway from Waokanaka Street to Kamehameha Highway—including the parallel Waokanaka Street and the Pali Highway/Waokanaka Street intersection—and is estimated to be completed in Winter 2019. More information, including the project schedule and a 24/7 hotline number, can be found at palihighway.org
  • H-1 Additional Eastbound Lane from Waiawa to Halawa
    • HDOT is undergoing the procurement process for this design-build project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement from the vicinity of the Waimalu Viaduct to Halawa and anticipates award of the project to Design-Build Team in January 2018 with notice to proceed following in April 2018. The rehabilitation of the asphalt concrete in this area will widen the current 10-foot shoulder with a 24-foot wide eastbound shoulder that could be used for unrestricted vehicular traffic.
  • H-201/H-1 Additional Westbound Lane: Halawa Interchange to Aiea Pedestrian Overpass
    • Work on the project to repave the H-201 west bound Halawa offramp to the H-1 west bound at the Aiea Pedestrian Overpass began in August following the completion of the Kahekili Highway resurfacing from Hui Iwa Street to Haiku Road and is expected to be completed at the end of the year. This project also creates a third west bound lane to the H-1 through grading, reconstruction of the shoulders, and relocation of guardrails.
  • Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) Rehabilitation
    • The partnership project with the Federal Highway Administration – Central Federal Lands Highway Division to rehabilitate the Kipapa Stream Bridge, a 484-foot long bridge built in 1933, is estimated to be completed at the end of May 2018. To complete the bridge rehabilitation, which includes the widening of the bridge to provide a 7-foot mixed use shoulder, requires four more full weekend closures of Kamehameha Highway between Ka Uka Boulevard and Lanikuhana Avenue between January and April. Notification of the closures will go out as they are scheduled.
  • Farrington Highway Safety improvements/Nanakuli contraflow
    • Crews are working day and night to complete the Farrington Highway Intersection Improvements (turning lane) project by the end of the year. The Nanakuli Contraflow will run to the end of this project, which will improve traffic flow on Farrington Highway through the addition of a fifth turning lane at Nanakuli Avenue and Haleakala Avenue. If operational funds are available past the completion of the project, HDOT will consider extending the operation of the Nanakuli Contraflow with modifications to ensure the return of two eastbound lanes in the area.
    • HDOT has been working with the community on safety improvements to coincide with resurfacing projects on Farrington Highway. The ongoing and upcoming Farrington Highway resurfacing projects are:
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, VICINITY OF KILI DRIVE TO SATELLITE TRACKING STATION ROAD
      • Estimated Completion Date: Spring 2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, KAHE POWER PLANT TO HAKIMO ROAD, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 12/2017
    • FARRINGTON HIGHWAY RESURFACING, HAKIMO ROAD TO KILI DRIVE, IB & OB
      • Scheduled Advertise Date: 04/2018

Kauai County

  • Kuhio Highway Resurfacing Kapule Highway to North Leho Drive, Phase 1
    • Project will reconstruct in areas, cold plane, and resurface pavement as well as install channelizing curb and delineators. Project was advertised earlier this month.
  • Kuhio Highway Short Term Improvements
    • This project, currently planned to advertise in June 2018, would widen the south bound 0.64 mile stretch of Kuhio Highway between the Temporary Kapaa Bypass Road and Kuamoo Road from three to four lanes and would extend the existing right-turn storage lane along Kuamoo Road Mauka from its intersection with Kuhio Highway. The widening of this stretch of highway is expected to improve access to Wailua and Kapaa.

Highways project status can be found at any time on the Highways Program Status Map, which was featured at the news conference. This ESRI-powered map highlights current and upcoming construction projects on state highways as well as data on traffic volumes, traffic fatalities, and road conditions.

Data on the state’s 782 bridges will be added to the Highways Program Status Map at the end of the year with construction lane closure information to follow shortly. HDOT also plans to introduce a crowd sourcing app in Spring 2018 that will allow community members to report road issues such as potholes and street lighting outages.

Community Forum on Crime & Drug Abuse in Puna

Concerned about all the crimes being reported on Facebook sites like Big Island Thieves, Big Island Po Po Alert and East Hawaii Watch these days???

A community forum hosted by Rep. Joy San Buenaventura on crime and drug abuse, will be held at the Pahoa Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Guest speakers scheduled to appear are:

  • Mitch Roth, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Brandee Menino, HOPE Services
  • Officer Davy Kamalii and Officer Jeremy Kubojiri, Hawaii County Police Department, Puna District Patrol Division
  • Kat Brady, Community Alliance on Prisons
  • (Tentatively Scheduled) – B.I.S.A.C. (Big Island Substance Abuse Council)
  • Neighborhood Watch

County Park Closures 2018 Schedule for Select Hawaii County Parks

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 2018 closure schedule for ‘Āhalanui Park, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park, Kahalu‘u Beach Park and Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach.

Monthly closures are necessary to maintain and repair high-use parks without exposing park patrons to potential hazards associated with large-scale maintenance work.

Located in Puna, ‘Āhalanui Park will be closed between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, with the exception of the October closure, which will occur on the first Wednesday of that month. The closure dates are:

  • January 10
  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11May 9
  • June 13
  • July 11
  • August 8
  • September 12
  • October 3 (first Wednesday due to schools’ Fall Break)
  • November 14
  • December 12

Located in Puna, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park will be closed on the third Thursday of each month and reopened at 1 p.m. on the following day. Overnight camping permits will not be issued for the night before each closure date. The closure dates are:

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
  • June 21
  • July 19
  • August 16
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15
  • December 20

Located in North Kona, Kahalu‘u Beach Park will be closed until 10 a.m. on the first or second Tuesday of each month. The closure dates are:

  • January 9
  • February 6
  • March 6
  • April 10
  • May 8
  • June 5
  • July 10
  • August 7
  • September 4
  • October 16
  • November 6
  • December 4

Located in South Kohala, Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach will be closed all day on the following dates:

  • January 10-11
  • February 7-8
  • March 14-15
  • April 11-12
  • May 15-17
  • June – No scheduled closures
  • July – No scheduled closures
  • August – No scheduled closures
  • September 11-13
  • October 17-18
  • November 14-15
  • December 12-13

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its understanding and cooperation during these temporary closures.

For more information, contact Parks & Recreation Administration office at (808) 961-8311 or email parks_recreation@hawaiicounty.gov.

Photos: Haihai Fire Station Grand Opening and Blessing

The Haihai Fire Station Grand Opening and blessing was held this morning. The fire fighters and equipment had moved from the Kawailani Station in the previous few weeks and today they had grand opening, blessing and an open house.

The Master of Ceremony was Assistant Chief Glen Honda.

Welcoming statements were given by County of Hawaii Public Works Project Manager Nolan Eskaran, Kaeo Jones of BCP Construction, Retired Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, Hawaii Fire Fighters Association Rep from Local 1463 James Pacheco, Hawaii County Mayor Kim and the Fire Chief Darren Rosario.

The blessing was performed by Pastor Sheldon Lacsina of New Hope Hilo.

Attendees were able to tour the station afterwards.

Click on images to enlarge: