Public Hearings in Kohala on Draft Pakini Nui & Lalamilo Habitat Conservation Plans

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), State of Hawaiʻi, will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the Draft Pakini Nui and Lalamilo Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs).

DLNR

The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2016 at the Hawai‘i Gateway Energy Center, Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i, 73-4485 Kahilihili Street, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island.

Tawhiri Power LLC (Tawhiri), the Pakini Nui project proponent, operates an existing 21-megawatt wind energy facility at South Point with 14 turbines and associated power lines. The facility has not previously operated under an HCP and associated incidental take license (ITL). Tawhiri has now prepared an HCP and is requesting a 20-year ITL.

As of March 2016, two endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) fatalities have been observed at the facility. Tawhiri has determined that the incidental take (a legal term including, but not limited to, any type of harm or harassment) of four endangered species could occur from continued facility operation: Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), Band-rumped storm petrel (Oceanodroma castro), and Hawaiian goose (Nēnē; Branta sandvicensis).

Low wind speed curtailment will be employed as a minimization measure. Mitigation for the Hawaiian hoary bat will consist of habitat improvement at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and associated bat monitoring to evaluate the improvement.

Mitigation for the Hawaiian petrel and Band-rumped storm petrel will consist of a monetary contribution toward maintenance of a cat-proof fence around a petrel nesting colony at HAVO, along with predator control. Mitigation for Nēnē is contribution of funding to DOFAW for recovery of the species. All mitigation measures were developed to provide a net ecological benefit to the species.

Lālāmilo Wind Company LLC (Lalamilo), the project proponent, has prepared an HCP and is requesting an associated 20-year Incidental Take License to operate a wind energy facility. The facility has a net generating capacity of 3.3 megawatts and includes five turbines with associated power lines.

Lālāmilo has determined that incidental take of two endangered species could occur as a result of wind energy operations: Hawaiian hoary bat and Hawaiian petrel. Mitigation for these two species will include the same actions as described above for Pakini Nui, although with a different level of effort commensurate with take.

Copies of the draft HCPs are available for review at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Honolulu and as a link provided in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s June 8, 2016 issue of the Environmental Notice. Copies will also be available at the public hearing.

Anyone who wants to attend the hearing that may require auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter) please contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room
325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to provide testimony, please send comments to the aforementioned address, attention Kate Cullison or send to katherine.cullison@hawaii.gov. Comments should be received by August 8, 2016.

Hawaii Income Qualifications for Free/Reduced Lunch Updated

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced on Wednesday its policy for free and reduced price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Each school has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.

The following household size and income criteria will be used for determining eligibility. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced price meals.

income chart

Applications are now being accepted for the current 2016-2017 school year. Application forms are being sent home with a letter to parent/guardian. To apply for free or reduced price meals, households should submit an electronic application online at EZMEALAPP.COM or complete a paper application. The information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.

For HIDOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member.

Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and last 4 digits of Social Security Number of the household’s primary wage earner or if no adult household members have a Social Security Number, leave this space blank and mark the box labeled “Check if no SSN”; 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Glenna Shim, Director
School Food Services Branch
1106 Koko Head Avenue
Honolulu, HI  96816

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

43 Hawaii Candidates Filed to Use Partial Public Funding

In its latest report released Monday the State Campaign Spending Commission listed 43 individuals who have filed to use partial public funding for their election campaigns. This is about 14% of the 296 candidates who are running for a Hawaii office in 2016.

league of women voters logoThe League of Women Voters is delighted so many candidates have responded to this opportunity. We support effective campaign spending controls, limitations on contributions and expenditures, and indirect and direct public financing of campaigns. All of these are part of Hawaii’s Partial Public Financing program.

Ann Shaver, League President stated, “Hopefully all 43 candidates will follow through to actually participate in this progressive program, and others will also file to use these funds.”

Shaver praised the Campaign Commission, which makes more information about the partial public funding program available to candidates and the general public. “Ballots are currently being mailed to voters in advance of the August 13 election date. We encourage voters to consider how candidates pay their campaign expenses, in order to make a fully-informed election choice.”

The public can view reports about candidate spending to see the source and amount of money being expended by candidates, and take advantage of a visualization app to better understand candidate spending: www.hawaii.gov/campaign/. The League provides other current voter information on our website, including candidate statements.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more election information, visit www.lwv-hawaii.com.

Commentary – Call for State Audits of UH Hilo Campus Center

Former UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) Senator Jen Ruggles met with UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney, UH System Chief Financial Officer Kalbert Young, and Senator Russell Ruderman today, July 28 at 11am at the Hawaii State Building to call for state audits of Campus Center.

UHSU

The meeting came out of Senate Resolution 73, a Hawaii Senate Resolution submitted by Senator Ruderman on March 11, 2016. On March 16 the Hawaii Committee on Higher Education instructed Ruderman to call for a meeting with parties from UH and Ruggles. Hawaii Tribune herald wrote an article on April 11.

Ruggles and members of The Student Union, a registered independent student organization (RISO) at UH Hilo, requested various documents from UH Hilo Campus Center pertaining to how student life was managed by Campus Center at UH Hilo during a 10 year time period.

Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano did not provide requested records of 11 months of student fee financial records as well as records of, “The Campus Center Fee Board” a board of which allocates hundreds of thousands of UH Hilo student fees annually.

“We have discovered that records and student fees are unaccounted for. Students and parents have a right to know how and where the mandatory student fees are being spent.” Ruggles said.

In addition to the financial audit Ruggles will also call for a management audit of Campus Center due to numerous complaints and lawsuits of Campus Center employees. See audit overview here.

Certified Public Accountant Jim Buck will also be in the meeting.

For more information contact Jen Ruggles at: 808-464-2015

Palila Forest Discovery Trail – New Trail Opens Celebrating Mauna Kea’s High-Elevation Dry Forest

The yellow, white-and-gray palila, a highly endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper, is one of the world’s most isolated birds. It lives only in a small patch of māmane forest on the western slope of Mauna Kea volcano on Hawai‘i Island. With the opening today of the new Palila Forest Discovery Trail, visitors will be now able to see palila and other native species that call this distinctive ecosystem home.

Palila

The Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)’s Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) teamed up to build the trail, thanks to the generous support of the Laura Jane Musser Fund Environmental Initiative Program and other community sponsors and volunteers.

The mile-long loop takes hikers through Mauna Kea’s unique, high-elevation dry forest. “This new trail will bring folks closer to a remote and often unfamiliar area of Hawaiʻi,” said Jackson Bauer, the trail’s coordinator. “People will be able to see the critically endangered palila and learn about its māmane forest home.”

Folks working up on Mauna Kea a while back.

Folks working up on Mauna Kea a while back.

Four informational kiosks provide historical, cultural, and ecological information about what makes this forest so special. In addition, 20 small identification signs with QR codes are distributed at key locations along the trail. Hikers can use their smartphones to learn even more about the plants, animals in the area, threats to them, and actions being taken to protect them. That information is also be available online.

Palila Bird

The palila has been loved by Hawaiians since ancient times. The birds, and the rest of the natural world, influenced the development of Hawaii’s unique culture. For instance, when Queen Dowager Emma of Hawai‘i visited Mauna Kea in the early 1880s, a series of mele (songs or chants) commemorated the event, including one from 1882 that describes the melodic song of palila.

Palila used to be found across the state, but habitat loss and invasive species have decimated their numbers. Only about 2,000 of the birds remain, all found on Mauna Kea. “As with many of Hawai‘i’s unique species, not enough people are aware of the palila’s precarious situation and the need for urgent action,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s Hawai‘i Program Director.

Farmer added, “We believe educating people about the importance of this species, and raising awareness about the threats we are managing today, will build local and national support for the actions necessary to preserve this bird for future generations, such as habitat restoration and non-native species control.”

Re-use Hawaii Awarded Hawaiian Electric Grant

A $5,000 grant from the Hawaiian Electric Companies to Re-use Hawaii will help support the non-profit organization’s monthly Community Workshop Program designed to teach basic woodworking and safety skills needed when working with salvaged materials. The two-hour workshops are held on the first Saturday of each month at the Re-use Hawaii retail warehouse located in Kakaako. A registration fee of $20 covers the cost of materials needed for each project.

 Photo credit: Re-use Hawaii

Photo credit: Re-use Hawaii

“By reducing waste and preserving our islands’ natural resources, Re-use Hawaii shares our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Lori Hoo, Hawaiian Electric community relations manager. “The community workshop program will give participants a safe, hands-on experience in building with salvaged materials, and equip the community with the skills and tools to be a part of Oahu’s waste reduction solution.”

Re-use Hawaii was founded in 2007 as a solution to the solid waste problem on Oahu. By diverting construction and demolition debris headed for landfills, Re-use Hawaii is able to make this reusable building material available to the public at affordable prices. The retail warehouse, located at 200 Keawe Street, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the Community Workshop Program, please call 537-2228.

HTDC Awards More Than $3 Million in Grants to Hawaii Companies

The High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) recently awarded $3,273,533 in funding from two grant programs to 13 Hawaii companies to help support development of new products to solve critical issues. In addition to state funding, the federal government awarded nearly $20 million in research and development grants to the same companies.

HTDC

The projects receiving funding include: developing next generation 5G technology; enhancing the immune response of inactivated dengue fever vaccines; developing methods for marine fish that can eat invasive algae; and increasing the efficiencies in the design of aerospace vehicles.

Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research Program (HSBIR)
The Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research program (HSBIR) provides funding to companies developing new technology products. There are four phases to the program, with each progressive phase allowing for more extensive funding. Six companies were awarded Phase 1 grants, which funds projects through the earliest stages of product development; and seven companies were granted Phase 2 funding to accelerate getting their products into market. The companies include:

HSBIR Phase 1 Grants:

  • Diagenetix, Inc. ($49,000)
  • Hawaii Biotech ($30,000)
  • Kampachi Farms, LLC ($30,000)
  • Nalu Scientific, LLC ($74,548)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($40,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($49,985)

HSBIR Phase 2 Grants:

  • Hawaii Evolutionary Development, LLC ($346,750)
  • Hawaii Fish Company ($146,250)
  • HNu Photonics ($350,000)
  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($325,000)
  • Spectrum Photonics ($350,000)
  • Studio Kinection ($320,000)
  • Terasys Technologies ($162,000)

Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) Program

  • In addition to the HSBIR grants, HTDC awarded $1 million in matching funds to three companies through the Hawaii Office of Naval Research (HONR) program, a two-year pilot effort to develop energy projects funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

HONR Grants:

  • Makai Ocean Engineering ($400,000)
  • Navatek, Ltd. ($300,000)
  • Oceanit Laboratories ($300,000)

“In today’s competitive global landscape, these grants help to support our local businesses as they create new and unique products,” said Luis P. Salaveria, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees HTDC and promotes Hawaii’s innovation economy. “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners who help drive Hawaii’s economy.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to support these local companies in their research and development efforts through HTDC’s grant programs,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO of HTDC. “Coupled with federal grants, these companies will have resources to continue to develop their technology from concept into a product. Only 20 percent of companies applying for Federal Small Business Innovation Research grants receive funding. The fact that these companies were awarded Federal SBIR grants is a testament to the important research they are doing.”

Governor Signs New Rule To Designate 10-Year Fishing Rest Period For Ka‘ūpūlehu, West Hawaii

Governor David Ige signed a new rule last week to create a new marine reserve at Ka‘ūpūlehu, on the west coast of Hawaii island. The rule will take effect on Friday, July 29.

Big Island, Hawaii, Paniau at Puako, coastal scenic, Lalamilo

Big Island, Hawaii, Paniau at Puako, coastal scenic, Lalamilo

The new reserve boundaries will encompass the existing Ka‘ūpūlehu Fish Replenishment Area.  The rule establishes a 10-year near shore no take “rest period” —with limited exceptions—to allow for the recovery of reef fish stocks prior to the implementation of a fishery management plan for Ka‘ūpūlehu.

“The establishment of this reserve is largely due to the steadfast commitment and efforts of many community members, including long-time fishermen and native Hawaiians who live and fish in this area.  They worked for more than 17 years to get support for the Ka‘ūpūlehu Reserve,” said Suzanne Case, chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.  “As a result of the rest period, we can expect to see more uhu and other reef fish critical to the health of the coral ecosystem at Ka‘ūpūlehu and surrounding areas.”

“Marine reserves and “rest” areas have proven to be effective in many other areas of Hawai’i and around the world,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator of the Division of Aquatic Resources.  Coral reef ecosystems can recover in just five to 10 years under the right conditions, and the Ka‘ūpūlehu area was a very productive fishery historically. We will monitor the abundance of fish and coral cover annually, and develop a responsible management plan that should allow for at least some types of fishing to resume once the rest area is re-opened,” said Anderson.

The rule prohibits the take or possession of any aquatic life within the reserve boundaries, from the shoreline seaward to the 20-fathom (120-foot) depth contour.   Beyond of the 20-fathom depth contour, hook-and-line fishing is allowed for the following bottom fish, pelagic, and introduced species: ‘opakapaka, kalekale, lehi, gindai, onaga, ehu, hapu‘upu‘u, uku, nabeta, aku, ahi and tombo, a‘u, ono, mahimahi, ta‘ape, toau, and roi; also Kona crab may be taken by Kona crab net.  (See administrative rule for species names.)

The rule also prohibits the possession or use of any fishing gear other than hook-and-line and/or Kona crab net within the reserve; and deploying any fishing gear shoreward of the 20 fathom depth contour.

A map of the area and GPS coordinates of the boundaries can be found at:

In 1998 the Legislature designated the West Hawai‘i Regional Fishery Management Area (FMA) to address declining aquatic resources resulting from improved shoreline access along the Kona coast.  The law, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes chapter 188F, required DLNR to identify and designate areas within the FMA as fish reserves where no fishing of reef-dwelling fish is allowed.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) held a combined public information meeting and formal public rulemaking hearing on February 11, 2016 in West Hawai‘i to amend Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”) Title 13, chapter 60.4, to establish the Ka‘ūpūlehu Marine Reserve.  The rules were approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on May 27, 2016.

The updated regulation will be posted on Friday July 29, 2016 on the Division of Aquatic Resources website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/regulated-areas/regulated-fishing-areas-on-hawaii/

 

Statewide Community Meetings on Improving Public Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and Board of Education (BOE) have scheduled a series of community meetings to provide updates on plans to better public education.  These meetings are part of the ongoing outreach effort in the updating of the Strategic Plan.

Student Success

Student success is at the core of the DOE/BOE Strategic Plan, which sets targets for progress tied to three goals. Earlier this year, the DOE/BOE embarked on a review and extension of the plan.

“We have sought input from students, teachers, school leaders, parents, employers and community members and their feedback is an important component as we move forward,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “Additionally, we are reviewing our student data, and the output of the Governor’s team on the Every Student Succeeds Act. Based on the collective feedback, we will develop new strategies to support student success.”

“A lot of work has been done and we want to share this information with our school communities and education stakeholders,” added BOE Chairman Lance Mizumoto.  “We encourage anyone interested in public education to attend our meetings to learn about our efforts.”

Staff from DOE will be collecting community members’ perspectives on the draft Strategic Plan priorities, which will also be used to inform the Plan’s review and extension.

The Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Team is also sharing information about new opportunities under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Hawaii’s state plan for ESSA will be informed by the Strategic Plan.

For more information about the Strategic Plan or ESSA, please visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.

Hawai‘i Island

AUG. 3, 2016 BOE Community Meeting at Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana,
Hālau Hoʻolako Building, ʻOluʻOlu Room. Address: 65-1043 Hiʻiaka Street, Waimea.
5-6:30 p.m.
AUG. 17, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Kealakehe High School.
Address: 74-5000 Puohulihuli St, Kailua-Kona. 4:30-6:30 p.m.
AUG. 24, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Waiakea High School.
Address: 155 W Kawili Street, Hilo. 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Kaua‘i

AUG. 24, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
Address: 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihue. 4:30-6:30 p.m.
SEPT. 14, 2016 Board of Education Community Meeting, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.
Address: 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihue. 5-6:30 p.m.

O‘ahu

AUG. 2, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
AUG. 10, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Kalani High School.
Address: 4680 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu. 6-8 p.m.
AUG. 16, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
AUG. 22, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Kailua High School library.
Address: 451 Ulumanu Drive, Kailua. 5-6:30 p.m. (tentative)
AUG. 31, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Manoa or Liliha public library.
5-6:30 p.m. (tentative)
SEPT. 6, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor
SEPT. 7, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Castle High School.
Address: 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Kaneohe. 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 14, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Moanalua High School.
Address: 2825 Ala Ilima Street, Honolulu. 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 15, 2016 Board of Education community meeting, Waianae Public Library.
Address: 85-625 Farrington Hwy, Waianae. 5-6:30 p.m.
SEPT. 20, 2016 Board of Education, General Business Meeting, 1390 Miller Street, Boardroom, 4th floor

Maui

AUG. 8, 2016 BOE Community Meeting at the Baldwin High School Library.
Address: 1650 Ka‘ahumanu Hwy, Wailuku.
5-6:30 pm (tentative)
SEPT. 7, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Maui High School.
Address: 660 Lono Avenue, Kahului. 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Moloka‘i

AUG. 27, 2016 Governor’s ESSA Team Town Hall Meeting, Moloka‘i High School.
Address: 2140 Farrington Avenue, Ho’olehua. 1-3 p.m.

 

Hawaii Department of Education Advises on Heat Safety

With the new school year beginning Aug. 1, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) reminds schools and parents about health guidance on preventing heat illness.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii's hottest classrooms.

Portable ACs installed as temporary supplemental cooling in some of Hawaii’s hottest classrooms.

“We have been working hard to cool classrooms across the state, however, with increased heat and humidity, it’s important to revisit tips on preventing heat exhaustion,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “In addressing heat concerns, we met with Principals to discuss options of moving students to cooler areas of their campuses if necessary.”

Next week, letters from HIDOE and the Department of Health will be sent home to parents providing health recommendations, which include helping students prepare for hot days.

A year ago, high temperatures prompted HIDOE to post Heat-Related Guidelines in all classrooms and school offices. Those guidelines are also posted on the Department’s website.

Meanwhile, HIDOE’s heat abatement efforts have resulted in more than 400 portable classrooms with heat reflective materials, 139 classrooms installed with ceiling fans, 109 classrooms equipped with portable ACs, and upgrades to electrical systems at schools across the state.

Work towards the Governor’s goal of installing air conditioning units in 1,000 classrooms is also ongoing. Learn more about the ongoing heat abatement projects.

Kona Tax Office Changes Walk-In Service Hours

Effective August 1, 2016, walk-in service hours at the Department of Taxation’s Kona Office will be changed to 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Telephone calls will continue to be taken from 7:45am to 4:30pm.

tax mission

Due to the small number of staff in the Kona Office, adjusting the walk-in service hours will help the Kona staff provide better overall service to all Kona taxpayers.  Changes to the walk-in service hours are needed to ensure documents received by our Kona Office staff that day can be timely processed.

“We thank the residents of West Hawaii for their flexibility and understanding,” stated Director of Taxation Maria E. Zielinski.

Big Island Restaurant Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak – Confirmed Cases at 93

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed a new case of hepatitis A infection in a food service employee on Hawaii Island.

The employee has a history of exposure on Oahu and worked at the fast food and catering restaurant, Sushi Shiono Waikoloa, located in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace at 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, from July 5 through July 21, 2016 (actual dates: July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21).

Waikoloa SushiThe department is advising persons who consumed any food products from this store during this period that they may have been exposed to the disease.

The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. However, as a precaution, unvaccinated individuals should contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin, which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within the first two weeks after exposure.

Since the outbreak began in mid-June, there have been 93 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, 29 of which have required hospitalization. All cases have been in adults who were on Oahu during their exposure periods. DOH continues to investigate and is working to identify the source of infection for this outbreak.

“Preventing exposure from infected food handlers is difficult because patients with hepatitis A are most contagious one to two weeks before symptoms start,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.“ It is possible that other food service establishments will be affected with additional new cases.”

Affected food service establishments who are unable to notify their customers directly are listed on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/. These businesses are not sources of this outbreak. At this time, no infections have been linked to exposure at these businesses; the list is provided to prevent possible new cases. Hawaii State law requires all unvaccinated food handlers (persons who directly prepare, serve, or handle food) who are contacts of confirmed cases be tested for infection and have a negative hepatitis A IgM test before returning to work. A “contact” with the case is defined as unvaccinated household members, unvaccinated sexual contacts, anyone sharing illicit drugs with a case, anyone sharing food or eating or drinking utensils with a case, anyone consuming ready-to-eat foods prepared by an infectious food handler with diarrhea or poor hygiene.

Once an infected food handler has been identified, DOH staff coordinate directly with the owners and managers of the affected food service establishments to ensure their employees are tested before resuming their work.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

Individuals, including food service employees, exhibiting symptoms of hepatitis A should stay home and contact their healthcare provider.While vaccination provides the best protection, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Additional information about hepatitis A can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

For a statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Blue Jay Wireless to Pay $2Million, Ending Investigation Into Its Tribal Lifeline Reimbursements in Hawaii

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau announced that it has reached a settlement with Blue Jay Wireless to resolve an investigation into whether the company improperly enrolled several thousand Hawaiian customers as eligible for enhanced Tribal support reimbursements from the FCC’s Lifeline program.

blue jay

The Lifeline program provides a discount on phone service so that low-income consumers have access to the communications tools necessary to connect with jobs, family, and emergency services.

Qualifying low-income consumers who reside on Tribal lands, which include Hawaiian Home Lands in the State of Hawaii, are eligible for higher support from the Lifeline program (up to an additional $25 per month).

Under the settlement, Blue Jay will reimburse the Universal Service Fund approximately $2 million and adopt substantial compliance procedures. “The Lifeline program is vital to millions of consumers in cities, rural areas, and tribal lands who rely upon it every day to connect with loved ones, interview for jobs, and contact emergency services,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “This settlement makes clear that no Lifeline provider should turn a blind eye to potential fraud on the program.”

The Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted the investigation of  Blue Jay, which is headquartered in Texas and is eligible to participate in Lifeline in 17 states and Puerto Rico. The investigation found that Blue Jay had incorrectly requested and received Lifeline Tribal reimbursements for enrolled consumers who did not reside on Hawaiian Home Lands.

In 2014, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission staff informed Blue Jay that the number of Tribal consumers it was claiming appeared to exceed the number of households on Hawaiian Home Lands. Despite knowing that Blue Jay could be improperly claiming enhanced Tribal support reimbursements, Blue Jay continued to seek reimbursement for those improper consumers while it sought to gather more accurate information about its Hawaiian Home Lands Tribal consumers.

This settlement ensures a total of $2,002,000 in reimbursements by Blue Jay to the Universal Service Fund, including the company’s forfeiture of $918,010 in Lifeline disbursements that the Commission has already frozen. Blue Jay also will develop and implement a compliance plan to ensure appropriate procedures are incorporated into its business practices to prevent the enrollment of ineligible Tribal consumers, including the use of an approved software tool to identify and verify the accuracy of consumers’ self-certification of their residency on Tribal Lands.

Last year, the Commission sought public comment on whether to require additional evidence of \residency on Tribal lands beyond self-certification and how carriers should provide proof of eligibility to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of enhanced support. More information can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcHNT.

This is the second Lifeline enforcement action this year. In April, the Commission announced that it planned to fine Total Call Mobile $51 million for apparently enrolling tens of thousands of ineligible and duplicate consumers in the Lifeline program. A copy of the Total Call Mobile Notice of Apparent Liability can be found here: http://go.usa.gov/xcH5R.

 

Civil Defense Update on Tropical Storm Darby

This is a Tropical Storm Darby update for Saturday July 23nd at 5:30 AM.
Darby Sat 723
The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Hawaii County. A High Surf Warning for east facing shores is also in effect. A Flash Flood Advisory is in effect for Hawaii County.

As of 5 AM today, Tropical Storm Darby is located about 100 miles southeast of Hilo moving to the west at 9 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds are 50 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Rain and wind from Tropical Storm Darby are affecting the Big Island. Residents are urged to stay off the road if at all possible.

Should power be lost or access be blocked-ensure you have prescription medications, ice, water, oxygen, backup power and fuel if needed.

To keep everyone safe, all State and County park facilities and remote areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are closed until further notice.

Hele-On Bus service is suspended today. Solid waste transfer stations and landfills are closed today.

Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 closed with a detour through Old Mamalahoa Highway.

For a list of County Emergency Shelters and the details of this message, go to hawaiicounty.gov.

Monitor your local radio broadcasts for information updates.

Thank you for listening, this is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

National Weather Service Reports Darby is Here – Not Where I live!

NOTE: I personally can’t see anything going on at this time on the Big Island:

Deep convection associated with Darby has increased once again this morning, with the bulk of this activity now across the system’s southeast semicircle. Outflow remains best within the northeast quadrant, but is restricted throughout the south semicircle, thanks to continued 7 to 10 kt southwest shear.

darby 723 5am

Low cloud swirls east of the LLCC add confidence to the initial position based heavily on satellite fixes. However, Darby continues to defy predictions to gain latitude.

Given the continued messy satellite presentation and the lack of aircraft data for this package, it’s possible that this system is a tenth of a degree or two farther south.

The next forecast package may benefit from land-based weather radar position estimates. Initial intensity is decreased to 45 kt as a compromise between continued 35 kt objective Dvorak satellite intensity estimates and earlier SFMR intensity from reconnaissance aircraft. The next aircraft reconnaissance mission will be later this morning.

Full report here: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/archive/?prod=TCDCP3.EP052016.048.201607231459

National Weather Service 11pm Tropical Storm Darby Update

Darby’s satellite presentation continues to be messy, with deep convection now on the decline and beginning to wrap around the south and southwest quadrants. Cloud tops have warmed over the past six hours and the best outflow continues to be toward the northeast, consistent with southwesterly shear near 10 kt depicted by SHIPS.

Darby 722 11pm

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s WC-130J aircraft did a fine job this evening finding the center of this system, so we are confident we know where Darby is and how it is moving. Based on aircraft SFMR data from the first pass through the center, we will keep an initial intensity of 50 kt for this advisory.

Like before, this is higher than the objective Dvorak satellite intensity estimates from the three satellite analysis centers (HFO, JTWC and SAB). These range from 30 kt to 45 kt. Interestingly, an 0630 UTC ASCAT pass only found 35 kt within the northeast quadrant. The next aircraft reconnaissance mission into Darby will be Saturday morning.

Full report here: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/archive/?prod=TCDCP3.EP052016.047.201607230856

Hawaii Governor Signs Emergency Proclamation for Tropical Storm Darby

Gov. David Ige signed a pre-landfall emergency proclamation as the state prepares for Tropical Storm Darby. The proclamation authorizes the expenditure of state monies for quick, easy and efficient relief of disaster-related damages, losses and suffering resulting from the storm.

Click to read full proclamation and what it covers.

Click to read full proclamation and what it covers.

“Our top priority is to protect the health, safety and welfare of Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors. I urge residents and businesses to follow emergency instructions, prepare for the storm and take steps to protect your families, employees and property. The state is standing by to assist the counties — particularly Hawai‘i and Maui counties — which are expected to be the first to feel the impact of Tropical Storm Darby,” said Gov. Ige.

The disaster emergency relief period begins on July 22 and continues through July 29, 2016.

Hawaii State Closes Areas for Arrival of Tropical Storm Darby

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is closing state forest and park areas on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, in anticipation of the effects of tropical storm Darby this weekend.

Darby Satellite 722DLNR is asking for the public’s cooperation with this announcement of area closures as the storm approaches. Additional closures for Oahu and Kauai may follow over the weekend, and updates will be provided to news media and on the department’s website.

People are advised to avoid forested and coastal areas due to potential for rising streams, flash flooding, falling trees or high surf as well as ocean water surging and sweeping across beaches and rocky coastal benches and lava flows.  High surf may create the potential for impacts to coastal properties and infrastructure, including roadways.  Powerful longshore and rip currents will be present at most beaches.

DLNR areas closing on Friday, July 22:

HAWAII ISLAND

Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will close by 3 p.m. today all forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, forest campgrounds and game management areas, includingKeanakolu cabins, Ainapo hiking trail, Muliwai trail and Waimanu valley campground until further notice.  Camping permits for this weekend are cancelled until further notice. Saturday’s planned cattle hunt will be cancelled.

Division of State Parks is closing its park campgrounds, pavilions and cabins today. All Big Island parks will remain closed on Saturday and will not re-open until conditions warrant.

Persons holding camping and cabin permits for this weekend were notified by staff, and offered a refund or an alternate date.  An email blast to Kealakekua Bay kayak permit holders was issued to inform them of the approaching storm.

Those with reservations continuing on Monday, should check with the Hawaii parks office on Monday morning.

MAUI COUNTY 

Division of Forestry and Wildlife will close by 3 p.m. today all of its managed lands, including forest reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, natural area reserves, Na Ala Hele hiking trails, game management areas; this closure also affects Polipoli State Park (persons with camping permits are being notified).

Division of State Parks –  Parks will remain open Friday.  They will be closed on Saturday and remain closed until conditions warrant re-opening.

OAHU

Forestry and Wildlife – Oahu forest areas and trails will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing.

State Parks – Oahu parks will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing. Due to storm staffing the gates to Makua beach will not be opened today and will remain closed for the weekend. Organizers of a 5-K run at Sand Island State Recreation Area scheduled for Sunday will be notified if the park will be closed.

KAUAI

Forestry and Wildlife — Kauai forest areas and trails will remain open on Friday, and on Saturday also, unless weather conditions warrant closing.

State Parks (and Kalalau trail) – No changes at this time. Storm conditions will be monitored and closures will be announced as required.

DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) does not plan to close any state small boat harbors but is advising boaters to monitor VHF radio for Coast Guard information on port closures and other safety advisories. Large breaking waves and strong currents may impact harbor entrances and channels causing challenging boat handling.  The Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters to secure boats and boating equipment. Owners of large boats are urged to move their vessels to protected marinas where they are less likely to break free of their moorings or be otherwise damaged. It may be advisable for smaller boats to be pulled from the water and stored in a location not prone to high winds or flooding. Regardless of location, all loose items aboard vessels need to be secured or removed.

Tropical storm Darby is an evolving storm system whose track and intensity may be affected by various weather factors. People should heed weather reports and be ready in event of emergency situations, including power or water outages and flooded or blocked roads.

DLNR also urges people to follow instructions of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) and County Civil Defense agencies to prepare for arrival of tropical storm Darby, with forecasts of heavy rain, lightning strikes, flooding, strong winds, large surf and coastal surge in Hawaii as early as Friday. A high surf advisory was in effect for Maui and Hawaii island from 6 p.m. Thursday evening to 6 a.m. Friday. A high surf warning will be in effect for east-facing shores of Maui and Hawaii island from 6 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

Visitors to Hawaii should heed all warnings from lifeguards and public health and safety officials. Although weather conditions may appear favorable, rip tides and high surf often impact beaches far in advance of the actual storm. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to strong storm-generated waves and currents. Swimmers are urged to stay clear of beaches and out of the water until local officials say the water is safe. Near shore waters may become contaminated due to runoff up to several days following a storm.

Civil Defense Update on Tropical Storm Darby – County Announces Closures

This is a Tropical Storm Darby update for Friday July 22nd at 6:00 PM.

Darby 722 633

The National Weather Service has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Hawaii County. A tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected in Hawaii County within 36 hours. A high surf warning for east facing shores is also in effect.

As of 5 PM today, Tropical Storm Darby is located about 205 miles east-southeast of Hilo moving to the west at 12 miles per hour.  Maximum sustained winds are 60 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The public is advised to be storm ready. Heavy rains are expected to begin affecting the Big Island tonight. Residents are urged to complete storm preparations before nightfall, and stay off the road if at all possible.

In anticipation of possible damage to public and private property, an emergency proclamation was signed by Mayor Kenoi at noon today.

Should power be lost or access be blocked – ensure you have prescription medications, ice, water, oxygen, backup power and fuel if needed.

To keep everyone safe as Tropical Storm Darby approaches, all camping and pavilion reservations at County and State parks have been cancelled. Lava viewing and swimming pools are closed through Sunday. All State and County park facilities and remote areas of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are closed until further notice.

Hele-On Bus service will be suspended Saturday until further notice. Resumption of service will depend on road and weather conditions. Solid Waste Transfer Stations and Landfills will also be closed Saturday.

Umauma Bridge on Highway 19 will be closed starting at midnight with a detour through Old Mamalahoa Highway.

If possible and safe, shelter in place or with family and friends. Otherwise, the following pet-friendly emergency shelters are open: Waiakea High, Kalanianaole Elementary, Keaau High, Pahoa High, Honokaa High and Intermediate, Kealakehe High, Konawaena High and Ka’u High. Other shelters that are not able to accommodate pets are open at Hilo High, Laupahoehoe Community Charter School, Mountain View Elementary, Waikoloa Elementary, and Kohala High and Elementary. Bring your own bedding, food, water, medicines and any personal items you may need.

Monitor your local radio broadcasts for information updates and go to hawaiicounty.gov for the details of this message.

~Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Tropical Storm Darby Update: Tropical Storm Strength Through the Weekend

High clouds have been streaming toward the northeast which indicates the cyclone is beginning to feel an approaching upper level trough. One of the later passes through Darby by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s WC-130J helped confirm the center position of the system toward the end of the morning mission though the aircraft had to fly lower to find it. Based on the morning recon mission and the maintenance of deep convection, the initial intensity has been held at 50 kt. Note that this is higher than the subjective Dvorak estimates of 45 kt from PHFO and SAB, and 30 kt from JTWC. The next aircraft mission into Darby is scheduled for this evening.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Darby is estimated to be moving at 280/11 kt to the south of a ridge. This ridge is forecast to weaken due to a low pressure system digging southward to the north of cyclone. This weakness is expected to decrease Darby’s forward motion over the next day, and increase the amount of vertical shear affecting the system this weekend.

The trusted dynamical models have remained largely consistent today, bringing Darby over the Big Island on Saturday. Thus, the current forecast has been nudged southward closer to the dynamical consensus with a landfall on the Big Island, followed by a path over Maui County and near Oahu. The latter part of this path assumes that Darby survives its impact on the Big Island which is not a certainty.

ProbabilityThe intensity forecast rationale remains the same since the last package. The main factors affecting the intensity forecast include marginal sea surface temperatures, the amount and timing of vertical wind shear, and the effects of any potential interactions with the Hawaiian Islands.

Sea surface temperatures will remain marginal near 26.5C over the next couple of days but vertical shear is expected to increase as the previously mentioned upper level trough digs farther south. This shear increase is not expected to become strong until later this weekend.

The forecast calls for only slow weakening with Darby maintaining tropical storm strength through the weekend. This is consistent with the previous package but slightly lower than the intensity consensus. Interactions with the Big Island may cause significant disruptions to Darby so the intensity forecast confidence is not high at this time.