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Hawaii List of Applicants Applying for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today posted the list of applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. A total of 66 applications were received during the application period of Jan. 12, 2016, 8 a.m., Hawaii Standard Time (HST) to Jan. 29, 2016, 4:30 p.m. HST.

“The department has posted the names of applicants in accordance with Chapter 11-850, Hawaii Administrative Rules,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance. “All other information on dispensary applications is confidential as we move into the evaluation and selection process.”

Click to enlargee

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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The medical marijuana dispensary law, Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), allows DOH to award a total of eight licenses initially: three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail-dispensing locations.

DOH expects to select and announce licensees by April 15, 2016. A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing medical marijuana not sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department.

For more information about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, go to http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/

Hawaii Kupuna Caucus Unveils 2016 Legislative Package

The Hawai‘i State Legislature’s Kūpuna Caucus today unveiled the package of bills that are being introduced in the 2016 Legislative Session.

Kapuna Caucus

The bills address a wide array of issues that impact our seniors’ health and safety, including funding for kūpuna care and aging and disability resource centers statewide. Measures to provide caregiver training and financing, as well as long term care services with a half percent General Excise Tax increase is also included as part of the package, along with bills aimed at supporting health care services for Hawai‘i’s aging population.

One such bill, SB2064 and its companion bill HB1881, appropriates funding to restore staff and long-term care services at Leahi and Maluhia hospitals within the Hawai‘i health systems corporation.  Both hospitals serve the highest number of individuals on Medicare and Medicaid, while reimbursements for care provided continue to decline. Both hospitals were forced to cut 64 staff positions and temporarily halt new admissions to remain operational due to an estimated $3.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2016.

“Our population is aging. Right now more than a third is 50 years old or older. We need to ensure there are enough facilities to assist our kūpuna so they can enjoy their golden years as best they can,” said Sen. Chun Oakland.

“Our seniors are the treasures of our community,” said Sen. Les Ihara, Jr. “Establishing the proper resources and services they need to live healthy, prosperous lives is what we intend to accomplish with these bills.”

“We need to increase the amount of services we provide to seniors because more and more seniors are living longer, living more healthfully, and living independently,” said Kūpuna Caucus co-convener, Rep. Gregg Takayama. “The resources we provide them as a state will enable them to continue to live independently for as long as possible.”

The Kūpuna Caucus, now in its 11th year, is comprised of a bi-partisan group of 18 House and Senate state legislators.  Members of the Kūpuna Caucus include a broad array of community organizations, government departments, and individuals concerned about the well-being of the elderly in our community.

Other bills included in the 2016 Kūpuna Caucus Package include:

  • SB2085/HB1878  RELATING TO AGING – Part I: Appropriates $5,100,000 for the Kūpuna Care program. Part II: Appropriates $1,710,000 for the aging and disability resource center. Part III: Appropriates $32,000 for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly. Part IV: Appropriates $485,880 for the healthy aging partnership program. Part V: Appropriates $70,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator position and appropriates $200,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness program.
  • SB2072 MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE KŪPUNA CARE PROGRAM – Makes an appropriation for the Kūpuna Care program to provide a safety net for all kūpuna and their caregivers.
  • SB2071  MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE AGING AND DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER – Makes an appropriation for the aging and disability resource center.
  • SB2074  MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR FALL PREVENTION AND EARLY DETECTION SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY – Makes an appropriation for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly.
  • SB2073/HB1884  MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE OFFICE OF THE LONG-TERM CARE OMBUDSMAN – Appropriates $300,000 to the office of the long-term care ombudsman for three full-time (3.0 FTE) ombudsman specialist positions; one each on Kauai, Maui, and Hawai‘i.
  • SB2065  MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE HEALTHY AGING PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM – Makes an appropriation for the healthy aging partnership program of the Department of Health’s executive office on aging.
  • SB2066/HB1880  MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS – Makes an appropriation for grants to various senior centers, Lanakila Multi-Purpose Center, Kapahulu, Mo‘ili‘ili, and Waikiki Community Center.
  • SB2075  MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR AN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND RELATED DEMENTIA PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN – Makes an appropriation for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.
  • SB2067/HB1876  RELATING TO HEALTH – Requires the Department of Health to require dementia training for caregivers. Requires the Department to establish training criteria and annual review the training program.
  • SB2070/HB1877  RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES – Appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services to create one full-time program specialist position for Maui County within the adult protective and community services branch to oversee the foster grandparent program and senior companion programs on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i.
  • SB2068/HB1882  RELATING TO COLLEGE SAVINGS PROGRAM TAX DEDUCTION – Provides an annual maximum deduction of $5,000 per individual or $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly for contributions made to the Hawai‘i college savings program.
  • SB2207/HB1883  RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII CENTER ON AGING – Appropriates funds for a permanent full-time associate professor and permanent full-time assistant specialist position within the University of Hawaii center on aging.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 250

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 250.

Mosquito Bite

As of February 5, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/26/16 to 2/1/16
Cases no longer infectious
247 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/25/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
250

Of the confirmed cases, 226 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
205 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/1/16.

As of today, a total of 1109 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 249

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 249:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 4, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
246 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/24/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
249

Of the confirmed cases, 225 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
204 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1100 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Security Guards Indicted for Taking Bribes at Honolulu Airport

An Oahu grand jury indicted four Securitas law enforcement and traffic control officers for accepting bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

SecuritasDeputy Attorney General Albert Cook said, “Securitas employees Ruben Corpuz Alonzo, Ranie A. Ilagan, Gay Manicia Gatchalian and Euriphides Magalang allegedly solicited and accepted more than three thousand dollars in monetary payments from taxi and shuttle drivers at the airport. In exchange the defendants provided customers to these drivers and allowed the drivers to circumvent the rules and regulations relating to taxi and shuttle drivers and ground transportation at the Honolulu International Airport.”

“These indictments followed a months-long, complex undercover investigation conducted by the FBI in conjunction with Special Agent Investigators at the Attorney General’s office. Taxi drivers complained about certain officers at the airport taking bribes and showing favoritism to those willing to pay,” said Attorney General Chin.

The four Securitas employees were indicted for bribery, a violation of section 710-1040, Hawaii Revised Statutes. This is a class B felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000.00 fine.

The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Securitas receives about $33 million a year to provide security.

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection – Spraying at 2 Kona Schools Saturday

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

As of 1:00PM today the Department of Health reported 2 additional confirmed cases since yesterday and the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak is at 248. These cases include 224 residents and 24 visitors.

As a proactive and preventative measure, the Department of Health will be conducting spraying or treatment of the Kealakehe Elementary and Intermediate Schools in Kona this Saturday, February 6th. 

 

“25 by 25” Bill to be Heard by Public Safety Committee

“OCCC is severely overcrowded and in disrepair. Native Hawaiians are over represented in our prison population. One third of Hawaii’s prisoners are housed in Arizona. Over 60% of the inmate population in the U.S. are non-violent, primarily for drug related offenses. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate on any nation in the world.

None of this is new information, but what are we doing to address these issues?” states Rep. John M. Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley and portions of Lower Kalihi) who introduced HB2001 with a provision to reduce the State’s prison population by 25% by the year 2025. “We have already set a goal for renewable energy for the State; it is time to set a goal for our prison population that is currently costing state taxpayers millions of dollars every year and has been one of the fastest growing segments of the state budgets.”

House Bill 2001 (HB2001) will be heard tomorrow – February 4th – at 10:00am at the State Capitol conference room 309 by the Public Safety Committee.

Stolen StuffMichael Kitchens, creator of the 42,000 strong community watch group, Stolen Stuff Hawaii, believes in striking at the core of the problem. “We have to attack the root cause for crime…the factors that drive someone to relapse into crime even after punishment.  This commission will study these factors and offer alternative strategies that can combat recidivism and provide opportunities for the misguided to become productive members of society.”

“In reviewing the State’s probation system, the commission that would be established by the bill could evaluate current practices relating to incarceration, crime prevention and education with a focus on reducing spending on corrections and reinvesting the savings gained in strategies that will increase public safety and reduce recidivism.

The Governor in his recent State of the State Address noted the need to tear down the Oahu Correctional Facility in Kalihi and build a new facility in Halawa ‘to take advantage of all that we have learned about incarceration, and the need to give inmates a real opportunity to change their lives.’ recognizing that the current facility is ill equipped to effectively lower the recidivism rate in the State. We need to develop effective programs that offer greater opportunities for offenders’ rehabilitation”

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 248

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 248:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 3, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
245 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/23/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
248

Of the confirmed cases, 224 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
203 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1087 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Hawaii Attorney General and Office of Consumer Protection Warn Residents About Recent ‘Government Imposter’ Scams

Attorney General Doug Chin and Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection Stephen Levins are warning the public about two recent attempts by scammers to obtain personal data from Hawaii residents by posing as representatives of state government.

In one scam the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (“HPHA”) received multiple complaints from people trying to apply online for Section 8 housing vouchers. In so doing applicants found themselves on a website that asked for credit card and social security number information. The ‘government imposter’ site mentions the HPHA and seems to perform a credit check. The suspected website is not the HPHA’s and is in no way affiliated with the HPHA.

Executive Director of the HPHA Hakim Ouansafi said: “The HPHA alerted the Attorney General, Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) so that the State’s most vulnerable population does not fall victim to this type of scam. The HPHA never requires fees or credit checks to apply for any of its programs. Potential applicants for Section 8 or public housing should be vigilant when asked to provide private information and should contact the HPHA directly at (808) 832-6040 if they have any concerns about websites, advertisements, postings, etc.”

In another scam people reported receiving emails that claim to include a “membership certificate” and “official letter” from the Director of the Department of Budget and Finance. This email asks the recipient to raise funds in order to allow them to “gain rights to certain benefit.” The email includes two attachments with official-looking seals and claims to be sent by a representative of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in Washington, D.C.

Copies of the government imposter scam letter and scam certificate are below.

Attorney General Chin said “If you receive a suspicious message that claims to be from a government agency, do not click on any links in the email or respond to the email or call with any personal or financial information. When in doubt, please report the suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

According to Executive Director Levins “The best way to guard against this kind of illegal conduct is to be very careful when you give out your personal information. Never provide it to someone who telephones or emails you out of the blue. And always remember, just because someone claims that they are from your bank or from a government agency doesn’t mean that they are.”

There are several ways to spot possible ‘government imposter’ scams. Among other things these scam emails typically involve messages that:

  • Are poorly written;
  • Are sent from ‘.com’ email addresses rather than ‘.gov’ email addresses;
  • Say you have won a lottery or sweepstakes;
  • Say you owe a fake debt; or
  • Ask you to wire money right away, often to a foreign country.

For more information about how to recognize a government imposter and report such scams, please visit this consumer protection information website of the Federal Trade

Commission: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams.

Example of the scam letter being circulated

Example of the scam letter being circulated

Bogus Certificate

Bogus Certificate

Neighbor Island Lawmakers Ask Governor NOT to Sign Wastewater Rule Change – New DOH Rules Would Ban New Cesspools Statewide

Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Governor David Ige not to sign off on a proposed state Department of Health rule change that would ban new cesspools statewide.  A letter, dated February 1, was signed primarily by neighbor island state representatives and senators whose constituents include many rural communities that rely on existing cesspools or the ability to install new ones.

CesspoolThe letter points out that a previous version of the rule change would have required conversion of all cesspools to septic systems, and would have cost Big Island homeowners, with over 50,000 cesspools, $1.5 billion.

“A bill to do that same thing was introduced into the Legislature in 2015 and DID NOT PASS.  In fact, a bill to ban new cesspools was NOT passed.  The will of the Legislature should thus be clear,” the letter states.  “Furthermore, this rule change greatly discriminates against the poorest of our citizens who might not be able to afford to build a home if a septic system is required.

“While the department claims that these rule changes are necessary to protect the public health and preserve our natural resources, the arguments in that regard are weak and unsubstantiated, and in fact contradictory and contrary to current legislative intent.”

The letter also notes that septic systems in Hawaii cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to install, compared to cesspools which range from $2,000-$3,000.

Neighbor island representatives and senators signing the letter include: Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), Rep. Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), Rep. Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona), Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), Rep. Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea), Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala), Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului), Rep. Lynn DeCoite (Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini), Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau), and Senator Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona).

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 246

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 246:

Mosquito BiteAs of February 2, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/26/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
246

Of the confirmed cases, 222 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
201 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/25/16.

As of today, a total of 1071 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

VIDEO – Governor Ige Responds to Dengue Fever Outbreak

Ige on DengueThis morning at the State Capital, Governor Ige along with Mayor Kenoi and Hawaii County Civil Defense Administer Daryll Oliveira met this morning and the following video was livestreamed on the Governor’s website:

Recently a letter went out to Maui residents informing them that a case of Dengue Fever was confirmed on that island.

Dengue Fever Case in Maui

BREAKING NEWS – Dengue Fever Case Reported on Maui

The Hawaii State Department of Health sent out a memo on January 29th to Maui residents notifying them that a Dengue Fever case has been confirmed on the Island of Maui.
Dengue Fever Case in MauiAs of today on the Big Island of Hawaii… we currently have 244 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever with no end in site.

Hawaiian Aha Convention Does Not Represent the Public

Despite a Supreme Court injunction that halted the race-based election sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, government contractor Na’i Aupuni unilaterally transformed the election into an “everybody wins” scenario, seating everyone who had been on the ballot.  The resulting convention–the stated intent of which is to formulate a government for Native Hawaiians–begins today amid continued controversy over the actions of Na’i Apuni and OHA and whether any tribal entity developed from the meeting will be able to pass legal muster.

Hawaiian Activist Walter Ritte escorted out of a meeting.

Hawaiian Activist Walter Ritte escorted out of a meeting.  Click to view video

The lawsuit against the election is still ongoing and currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Native Hawaiian activists continue to protest the political aims of Na’i Apuni and OHA, questioning OHA’s management of funds intended for the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

“The Aha convention clearly does not represent the voices of Hawaii’s citizens in general nor of Native Hawaiians in particular,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and a plaintiff in the case against the election. “Whatever document or governing organization the delegates come up with will have no more force of law or moral authority than a wish list put together by any group of 150 or so individuals.  The participants in this convention have been misled by organizers if they believe that they are able to start a viable race based government. Their efforts are also at risk as the status of the Na!I Aupuni  process is still an open case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals”

Dr. Akina continued, “The more than 6.5 million dollars of public funds that have been wasted on the Native Hawaiian roll and Aha convention have robbed Hawaiians of money that should have been spent on housing, education, jobs, and health services.”

A list of documents and filing associated with the case of Akina v. Hawaii can be viewed at:  http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2015/10/akina-v-hawaii-the-documents/

Click here to watch a video of Walter Ritte protesting the process.

Hawaii 9th Least Dependent State on the Gun Industry

According to a recent study, Hawaii is the 9th least dependent state on the gun industry.

With President Barack Obama’s executive orders on gun control and recent changes to state gun legislations, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry.

Gun Industry

To determine which states depend most on the arms and ammunitions industry both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through firearm ownership, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across eight key metrics.

Hawaii’s Dependence on the Gun Industry (1=Most Dependent; 25=Avg.)

  • 47th – Number of Firearms-Industry Jobs per Capita
  • 50th – Average Wages & Benefits in the Firearms Industry
  • 51st – Total Firearms Industry Output per Capita
  • 49th – NICS Background Checks per Capita
  • 29th – Gun-Control Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita
  • 46th – Gun-Rights Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita

For the full report, please visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-dependent-on-the-gun-industry/18719/

Source: WalletHub

Open Application Period Begins Today for Preschool Open Doors Program 2017 Assistance

The Department of Human Services encourages families to apply for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program between Monday, February 1 and March 31, 2016.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Patch HawaiiThis program, which is currently serving more than 1,100 children statewide, provides child care subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life.

To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2017-2018 school year (born between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012). Families are reminded that a child must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Families may choose any one of the 438 state-licensed preschools. Underserved or at-risk children receive priority consideration for the POD program, and funds are limited.

Interested families may request an application beginning February 1, 2016 from the Department’s POD contractor, PATCH, by visiting www.patchhawaii.org or calling 791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620.  PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by March 31, 2016 to be considered for the July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 program period. Applications should be dropped off, mailed or faxed to the following:

PATCH – POD
560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI 96817
Fax: (808) 694-3066

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed online in HAR §17-799, which is available online at humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs.  For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov

Motorcade Tribute for Late Sen. Gilbert Kahele – Schedule for Final Tribute in Honolulu & Hilo

The public is invited to pay their respects to the late State Senator Gilbert Kahele as he makes his final journey home from Honolulu to Hilo.

Kahele Motorcade

Sen. Kahele, who passed away suddenly on January 26, 2016, will be honored in a brief tribute as his motorcade passes the Hawai‘i State Capitol at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.  Members and staff of the State Legislature, Governor and Lt. Governor’s office, State Department Offices, State Sheriffs, Hawai‘i National Guard and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be in attendance.  Ke Kahili Nui (Hawaiian feathered standards), kani pu (conch blowers), and the Kanikau (mourning chant) will be performed for the late Senator by members of the Hawaiian community.  Flags will also drop to half-staff upon arrival and raised after the motorcade leaves the Capitol. The motorcade schedule in Honolulu is as follows:

  • 8:50 a.m.         Motorcade will leave Nuuanu Memorial, travel via police escort  from Nuuanu to Punchbowl and onto Beretania St.
  • 9:00 a.m.         Stop in front of State Capitol
  • 9:08 a.m.         Motorcade leaves State Capitol
  • 9:09 a.m.         Bells toll at St. Andrews Cathedral
  • 9:25 a.m.         Arrive at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
  • 9:40 a.m.         Flag Folding Ceremony/Playing of taps by the Hawai‘i National Honor Guard

The Hawai‘i Island community is encouraged to pay their respects when the Senator’s motorcade passes through Hilo. The motorcade will tour many sites that Sen. Kahele was fond of in Hilo town, as well as significant locations throughout his childhood.  The motorcade schedule in Hilo is as follows:

  • 12:45 p.m.       Flight arrives in Hilo
  • 1:00 p.m.         Motorcade departs Hilo airport
  • 1:10 p.m.         Keaukaha Elementary School
  • 1:20 p.m.         Richardsons Ocean Park
  • 1:25 p.m.         Puhi Bay
  • 1:30 p.m.         Banyan Drive
  • 1:35 p.m.         Suisan
  • 1:40 p.m.         County of Hawai‘i Building
  • 1:41 p.m.         Hawai‘i State Building
  • 1:45 p.m.         Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School
  • 1:50 p.m.         Hawai‘i County Fire Department Central Station
  • 1:55 p.m.         Hawai‘i County Police Department
  • 1:57 p.m.         Lanakila Housing
  • 2:00 p.m.         Mohouli & Komohana
  • 2:05 p.m.         Hilo High School
  • 2:06 p.m.         Hilo Intermediate School
  • 2:07 p.m.         Lanakila Learning Center
  • 2:10 p.m.         Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Hilo
  • 2:15 p.m.         Dodo Mortuary

A celebration of Sen. Kahele’s life will be held on Monday, February 8, 2016 at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.  Visitation begins at 4:00 p.m. Services for a final “Evening of Aloha” begins at 5:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 244

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 244:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 1, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  1 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
1 Illness onset 1/23/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
244

Of the confirmed cases, 220 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
199 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/23/16.

As of today, a total of 1059 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Parents Encouraged to Provide Feedback on Their Child’s Public School

​ The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) begins its annual School Quality Survey (SQS) this week to gather important feedback from students, parents/guardians and staff about our public schools. The deadline to complete and return the SQS is March 15, 2016.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

Photo Credit: Department of Education

The survey provides information on how schools are doing with respect to school culture, satisfaction and engagement. The feedback gathered is used to support school planning and improvement efforts, and meet legislative and Board of Education requirements.​

Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will take the survey online at school, as will teachers, administrative office staff, and instructional support staff.

A parent or guardian of the students in the surveyed grades will have the option to take the survey online or via a paper format. Each school communicates to parents on how to complete the SQS whether digital and/or hard copy.

“We’re hoping for more parents to respond this year since last year’s return rate was 24 percent,”said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance. “This feedback is very important to us as we continue to work on ways to improve learning experiences for our children.”

Responses will remain anonymous. The SQS deadline is March 15, 2016.

The public can view the SQS for their community schools and statewide results via the Report Finder on HIDOE’s website: bit.ly/ReportFinder. Search for “School Quality Survey”and add the name of a school for school-level results.

Anyone with questions about the survey is encouraged to contact HIDOE at 808-733-4008 (Neighbor Island toll-free at 855-276-5801), or via email: SQS@notes.k12.hi.us.

 

Video – Aerial Survey of Big Island Forests Shows Rapid Ohia Death Spread

Recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawaii Island forests showed that a fungal infestation of ohia trees is much greater than earlier thought.

ohia deathUsing a helicopter and specialized survey equipment, surveyors from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies flew over 81,000 acres, January 11 – 15, 2016.  Satellite imagery of ohia forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the ohia forest on the Big Island.

Rapid Ohia Death Media Clips 12-23-15 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, the State Resource and Survey Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “We used two surveyors at a time and flew a total of 8 ½ hours over state, federal and private lands covering about two-thirds of the Big Islands’s ohia forests. Our next steps are to cover the rest of the ohia forests with follow-up flights and to ground-truth the aerial operation. One of our priorities will be to double-check the Kohala area, where Rapid Ohia Death may have been detected for the first time by our aerial survey.”

A team of experts from DLNR/DOFAW, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee and the National Park Service/Hawaii Volcanoes National Park conducted the aerial survey. The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service assisted with planning. In 2014 USDA researchers identified the pathogen that causes the disease.

Dr. Flint Hughes, with the USDA Forest Service commented, “Unfortunately Rapid Ohia Death is spreading much quicker than we had hoped.  The aerial surveyors noted ohia trees with no leaves or brown leaves, likely impacted by the disease; as well as ohia trees which have been dead for a longer time and those that have been affected by either drought or VOG. It’s important that we differentiate the causes of tree deaths and continue to carefully and closely monitor the spread of Rapid Ohia Death to aid in reducing its spread on Hawaii Island and around the state.”

Ohia forests cover approximately 865,000 acres of land across the state and are considered the primary species providing habitat for countless plants, animals and invertebrates. These forests  protect watersheds that provide significant agriculture and drinking water across the state.

“It’s sad but not unexpected that we have a confirmed case of Rapid Ohia Death in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are very concerned about the impacts to our cherished ohia that thrives throughout the park, and we will continue to implement the stringent measures developed by our interagency partners to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. We will also continue to sample trees throughout the park,” Orlando said.

Dr. J.B. Friday, the extension forester with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service explained, “We know that the state Department of Agriculture’s moratorium on the transport and shipment of ohia plants and parts is having a positive effect on curbing the spread. It’s impossible to determine whether the ban on ohia shipping is 100% effective and that’s why we are trying to get the word out to all forest users, nurseries, and lei makers that Rapid Ohia Death is fast killing what is considered one of the most important forest trees in Hawaii.”

Research into treatments for the particular fungus that causes Rapid Ohia Death continues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab in Hilo. Investigation into how it spreads is also being conducted with potential culprits being: insects, underground via roots, on small wood or dust particles, on clothing and shoes, and possibly on animals. Ultimately scientists hope that by identifying what is spreading the fungus they’ll be able to mitigate its devastating impacts.