• COMING SOON!

    2016 Big Island Film Festival
  • Breaking News

  • World Botanical Garden
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • RSS Mayor Kenoi’s Blog

  • Say When

    April 2016
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 Creates $151,246,200 in Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo of visitors at Sulphur Banks in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

The park’s 2015 visitation is up 8.25 percent from 2014 (1,693,005 visitors), and reflects a steady trend of rising visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009. The park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year along with the National Park Service, shares two of earth’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiian culture, and native ecosystems with local residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to again report an increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the important economic impact park visitors have by spending money and creating jobs in our local community,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.  “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s clearly a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economist Catherine Cullinane Thomas and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added and output effects by sector for national, state and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: http://go.nps.gov/vse or https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with Hawai‘i communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/hawaii.

Volcanoes National Park Reopens Nāmakanipaio Campground

Nāmakanipaio Campground in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has reopened. Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, which manages the campground under a concession contract for the park, is taking reservations immediately.

Volcano Cabins

The popular campground has been closed since last September for the removal of large, falling and hazardous non-native eucalyptus trees in the area.

“We mahalo the public for their patience while we ensure the campground is safe again,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are delighted to reopen ahead of summer,” she said.

Nāmakanipaio is popular with local residents and visitors, and is nestled near the summit of Kīlauea volcano at 4,000-feet, off Highway 11. Established in the 1960s, today the campground features drive-in campsites for tent camping, restrooms, showers, barbecues, and 10 rustic one-room A-frame cabins. The cabins feature bunk beds and can sleep four.

Campsite rates for tent camping are $15 a night, and the A-frame cabins start at $80 a night ($50/night for Hawai‘i residents). To make reservations for Nāmakanipaio campsites or cabins, contact Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company at (808) 756-9625, or visit http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/cabins-campsites/.  Park entrance fees apply (good for seven days).

Now that the hazardous eucalyptus trees have been removed, native tree species, including ‘ōhi‘a and koa, can flourish. The campground has a fresh light and open look during the day, Mauna Loa is again visible, and at night, campers can enjoy a wider view of the sky, illuminated by stars and the glow from the lava lake in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The Jaggar Museum observation deck, the closest vantage point to this eruption site, is an easy half-mile hike from Nāmakanipaio.

Island Air Adds Kona Service

Island Air today announced it plans to offer interisland air service to Hawai‘i Island with five daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kona, starting June 14, subject to government approval. The airline’s expansion of service to Kona will offer increased seat availability and more interisland travel flight options for local residents and visitors, as well as create job opportunities in West Hawai‘i.

Mayor Kenoi said " "In a state of islands, air travel is not a nicety – it is a necessity to our economy and to our people. Because of this, our administration has long been advocating for increased airlift to Hawai’i Island. We welcome Island Air’s return to Kona, offering another option for our local families and our visitors."

Mayor Kenoi said “In a state of islands, air travel is not a nicety – it is a necessity to our economy and to our people. Because of this, our administration has long been advocating for increased airlift to Hawai’i Island. We welcome Island Air’s return to Kona, offering another option for our local families and our visitors.”

“Both the community and our travel industry partners have reached out to us asking for more support for the West Hawai‘i community,” said Les Murashige, Island Air’s president and CEO. “As we continue to improve our operations and expand our presence in the community, Island Air is proud to once again serve Hawai‘i Island and provide service to support Hawai‘i’s families, local businesses and our visitors so that all may enjoy our Island way.”

Island Air is celebrating its new service to Kona by offering an introductory fare sale from April 14 through April 20, 2016. The special introductory fare for a one-way flight between Honolulu and Kona will start from $69* for travel between June 14 and Sept. 30, 2016. Reservations can be made online at www.islandair.com or by calling (800) 652-6541.

In addition to providing increased seat capacity, Island Air’s Kona service is expected to create approximately 25 airport-related jobs in West Hawai‘i, including customer service agents, ramp agents and station manager.

Island Air’s check-in ticket counter will be located in Terminal 1 and arrivals/departures will be out of Gate 5 at Kona International Airport.

*Subject to availability. Fare includes one (1) federal transportation segment tax and one (1) security fee. Other taxes, fees, and restrictions may apply.

ABOUT ISLAND AIR:

Island Air is the value-leader in the Hawaiian Islands, offering 238 convenient flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. The affordable alternative for interisland travel, Island Air’s 64-seat ATR-72 aircraft are able to provide captivating up-close views of Hawai‘i’s remarkable landscapes. Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been proudly serving the islands of Hawai‘i for more than 35 years.

For more information about Island Air, visit www.islandair.com or call (800) 652-6541. Let us know how we are doing on Yelp or TripAdvisor or just stay connected by liking Island Air on Facebook at www.facebook.com/islandairhawaii, or follow @IslandAirHawaii on Twitter and @IslandAir_Hawaii on Instagram.

 

Friends of NELHA Debuts New Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) offers a new lineup of tours open to the public that can be conveniently booked online.

View the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant and find out how it works.

NEHLA MakaiDiscover how many aquaculture operations are utilizing deep, cold, nutrient-rich water and warm, surface water to farm our food at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)—and taste samples.

Learn about what HOST facilities are working to protect and restore our unique ocean inhabitants and why it’s important.

Morning tours are Mondays through Fridays. All tours start at the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center. The schedule includes:

FON Ocean Matters Tour: Offering an introduction to cutting edge green energy, aquaculture, desalination and research efforts underway at HOST the activity is 10-11:15 am Monday with options to also visit the OTEC tower at Keahole Point, Big Island Abalone and the Kanaloa Octopus Farm.

NEHLA Octopus

FON Ocean Conservation Tour: Fun starts with an overview presentation and continues with a visit to Ke Kai Ola, the monk seal rehabilitation center. Learn about the efforts to revive Hawai‘i’s declining seal population. Next stop is at the world’s first octopus farm to get up-close-and-personal with cephalopods before seeing the nearby OTEC Tower. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

NEHLA Tour

FON Sustainable Aquaculture Tour: Attendees hear about the challenges and successes of producing sustainable food in the ocean during a tour at Kampachi Farms. Next, see how Big Island Abalone produces feed, brood stock and market product before enjoying a delicious, grilled sample of the company’s premium ezo abalone. Stop at the OTEC Tower and overview presentation. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point . Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail Established – Birding Festival in September

Birders and nature lovers will find it easier to locate birds on Hawaii Island later this year thanks to the creation of the Hawaii Island Coast to Coast Birding Trail (HICCBT).

The 90-mile trail will cross Hawaii Island from Kona on the west coast to Hilo on the east coast linking varied habitats from ocean to mountain top, from rainforest to lava plains. The trail, modeled after similar North American trails, follows a route that is a network of sites so users can join or leave the route at any point along the way. While birds will be the focal points, elements of Hawaii Island’s unique plants and trees, geology, history and, of course, scenic view points, will be highlighted.

A team of Hawaii Island volunteers with knowledge of the island’s birdlife and natural history created the trail project. The team also includes travel industry marketing professionals, logistics experts, and interpretive planning specialists. A number of government and nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in the development of the trail and will be included in planning efforts as the volunteer team moves forward.

“Hawaii Island is a worldwide treasure combining both endemic species and introduced birdlife from five continents. We want to make sure people in Hawaii and around the world have the tools and accurate information to experience these wonders in a way that is safe, and culturally and environmentally appropriate,” said Hawaii Forest & Trail owner and HICCBT Steering Committee member Rob Pacheco.

Birding Festival

To open the trail, HICCBT will host the inaugural Hawaii Island Festival of Birds on September 24 and 25 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. The Hawaii Island Festival of Birds program will include expert guest speakers including The Nature Conservancy’s Dr. Sam Gon III, a trade show for outdoor and birding equipment, a children’s corner, bird-themed arts and crafts fair, photography and painting workshops, time to interact with Hawaii Island naturalists and bird experts and guided field trips on land and sea.

Festival sponsors include Hawaii Tourism Authority, County of Hawaii, Audubon Magazine, Hawaii Forest and Trail, Destination Marketing and others.

For more information log on to www.hawaiibirdingtrails.com.

Hawaii Team Attends National Zika Action Plan Summit Held at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today held a Zika Action Plan Summit, bringing together state and local senior officials to provide them with the information and tools needed to improve Zika preparedness and response within their state and jurisdictions. A delegation of leaders from the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) are attending the summit at CDC Headquarters in Atlanta to share their experiences and learn from their counterparts across the country.

This timely opportunity comes as the state is experiencing an uptick in imported Zika cases, among other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and chikungunya.

Attendees were provided with presentations on the latest scientific knowledge about the Zika virus, including effects it can have on pregnant women and best-practices for mosquito control. One of the greatest challenges posed by this disease is that scientists are still learning more about Zika’s symptoms and how the disease can be transmitted.

“The summit provided an excellent opportunity for Hawaii to share our experience and knowledge while learning from other states about specific issues around the science behind Zika. This is especially important for our nation as we head into the summer months, when temperatures will rise and travel into and out of the country will peak,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler.

“It is crucial for Hawaii to have a unified outreach and response plan that is both scalable and flexible, and easily implemented at all levels of government.”

The summit also provided an opportunity to discuss communications challenges and effective strategies for increasing public awareness about Zika virus and precautionary measures that all people should take, especially pregnant women and women planning on becoming pregnant.

microcephaly

Pregnant women need to take special precautions against Zika virus and should avoid travel to areas where Zika is spreading. If a Zika infected mosquito bites a woman that is pregnant or may become pregnant, the Zika virus can be passed to her baby during pregnancy or at the time of birth. Scientists believe the Zika virus may be linked to microcephaly in newborns, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with other babies of the same sex and age.

Scientists also believe that Zika virus can be spread from an infected man to his sexual partners. It is still unknown how long the virus can be spread in this way after the infected male’s symptoms have cleared.

Most people who contract the Zika virus will have mild or no symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika include rash, joint pain and red eyes (conjunctivitis), but can also include muscle pain and headaches. DOH urges people who are showing symptoms and have a recent history of travel to areas experiencing Zika outbreaks, to see their healthcare provider as soon as possible for testing.

For additional information about Zika virus and precautions, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/.

For travel information and advisories, visit CDC’s website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Merrie Monarch Dengue Fever Precautions – Vector Spraying at Venues

With the annual Merrie Monarch Festival just around the corner, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging both residents and travelers to take extra precautions to stay away from and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while they are in Hilo for the event.

Mosquito Bite

Although the number of locally-acquired dengue fever cases have slowed over the past several weeks, the outbreak is not over, and the public should reduce their risk of infection as much as possible.

In the days leading up to one of Hawaii’s most celebrated traditions, Vector Control teams will be taking preventive measures by surveying and treating areas near the venues where the Merrie Monarch Festival will be held: the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium and the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

“People from all over the world come to Hawaii to celebrate the tradition of hula during the Merrie Monarch Festival, so we are doing our due diligence and taking proactive measures now to reduce the risks of both imported and local cases of mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health.

“We continue to work with our county partners to coordinate and implement best practices for mosquito abatement and prevention.”

DOH is advising visitors to be vigilant in their efforts to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during their stay. Recommended precautions include:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors, and always follow directions for using repellants -especially on small children.
  • Wear covered clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks, to help protect skin from mosquito bites.
  • Be aware and avoid activities in areas with lots of mosquitoes.

In addition to these recommendations, DOH advises Hilo residents to take the following steps in their own neighborhoods to help fight the bite:

  • Eliminate standing water in buckets, containers and puddles around your home;
  • Fix leaky faucets and outdoor hoses that may be dripping water;
  • Treat bromeliads and other plants that hold water with a larvicide;
  • Clear storm gutters and other outdoor drains of leaves and lawn cuttings;
  • Repair screens and jalousie windows to keep mosquitoes out; and
  • Dispose of old tires and anything else that may collect and hold standing water.

For further recommendations on how to take precautions against mosquitoes and dengue fever, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dengue-outbreak-2015/ .

DLNR Reopens Muliwai Trail and Waimanu Valley Campground After Waipio Valley Reopens

The Department of Land and Natural Resources yesterday reopened the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its campground in the next valley, Waimanu, following the reopening of the Waipio valley access road yesterday by Hawaii County officials.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That reopening followed an extended period of no new reported cases of dengue fever in Waipio residents. The zigzag climbing Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley can only be accessed via the far slope of Waipio valley.

Hikers interested in obtaining permits to camp in remotve Waimanu valley may again reserve permits on the DLNR Wiki Permit website, effective today at https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html or at the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife district office at 19 E. Kawili St., Hilo, Hawaii 96720.  Phone: (808) 974-4221.

As a precaution to prevent the spread of dengue fever on the island of Hawaii, access to the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area was restricted to in mid-January 2016 to valley residents only until an 8-12 week period of no new cases being reported had passed.

For current information on dengue and preventing its spread, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 261

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 261:

Mosquito Bite

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

IMPORTANT: Infectious mosquitoes may still be present, even if no cases remain infectious to mosquitoes. “Fight the bite” preventative measures remain crucial throughout the Big Island.

Potentially infectious individuals
1 onset 3/4/16
Cases no longer infectious
260 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 2/13/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
261

Of the confirmed cases, 236 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
215 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 3/4/16.

As of today, a total of 1440 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii County’s General Plan and Future Impacts

Join the discussion at this month’s West Hawaii Forum: Hawai’i County’s General Plan and Future Impacts on March 10th from 6 – 8 pm at the West Hawaii Civic Center – County Council Chambers.   Doors will open at 5:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public.

West Hawaii Civic Center

Hawai’i County’s General Plan, approved in 2005 by the County Council represents the County government’s overall plans and policy direction for Hawai’i Island.  Under the General Plan, the County engages in a process of revising and adopting a Community Development Plan (CDP), most recently in 2015 that will affect communities throughout our island home.

Hawai’i County’s CDP provides a strategy for our local government’s budgetary and planning priorities. This forum will feature experts from both inside and outside County government who will assess Hawai’i County’s General Plan and development plans and impacts for 2016 forward.

Hear the experts, ask questions, and get involved:

  • Duane Kanuha – Hawai’I County, Planning Director
  • Mike Matsukawa – Hawai’i Real Estate and Land Use Attorney
  • Bo Kahui – Executive Director, La’i’Opua 2020

West Hawaii Blood Drives Cancelled Due to Dengue Fever Risk

Blood Bank of Hawaii Press Release:

blood bank of Hawaii

As of the latest posting from the State of Hawaii Department of Health, the Captain Cook and Honaunau areas on the Big Island are no longer in the high-risk area for Dengue virus.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

However, the highly populated area of Kailua-Kona, 96740 and 96745 zip codes, are now considered high-risk areas. Due to a high percentage of blood donors in that area we have proactively cancelled the following West Hawaii drives:

  • March 9th – LDS Kona from 11:15am-5:15pm (80 pint goal)
  • March 10th – Mauna Kea Beach from 10-4:15pm (80 pint goal)
  • March 11th – Konawaena High School from 7am-1pm (78 pint goal)

To ensure we meet the patients’ needs and make up the 238-pint deficit, we have increased capacity to existing drives on Oahu and added double-bus drives in the Blood Bank of Hawaii’s headquarters parking lot on Dillingham Boulevard on March 9 and 10 from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and March 11 from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your readers and appreciate your support and effort in keeping the community informed.

Dengue Fever Outbreak Continues – Hookena Beach Park Reopening March 1st

This is a Dengue Fever information update for Friday February 26th at 1:10PM.

The response to the ongoing Dengue Fever outbreak continues.  Although the number and frequency of new confirmed cases appears to be on the decline, the outbreak is not anticipated to be considered over anytime in the near future.  Therefore we need everyone’s help to continue to Fight the Bite.

To prevent mosquito bites, wear clothing that minimizes exposed skin, use mosquito repellent on skin that cannot be covered, and avoid areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

If you suspect you may have dengue, remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes, and contact a health care provider. Community health centers are working with the Department of Health to see patients who suspect they may have dengue regardless of ability to pay.

Help to reduce potential mosquito breeding areas around homes and businesses.

As of 1:00PM today the Department of Health reported no additional confirmed cases since yesterday and the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak is at 260. These cases include 235 residents and 25 visitors.

As there have been no confirmed cases associated with the Hookena Beach Park since November 11th and with the actions taken to include numerous sprayings and treatments of the beach park, County and Department of Health Officials will be reopening the park for normal use to include camping effective Tuesday March 1st.

Everyone is reminded that ensuring the safe and enjoyable use of our park facilities depends on everyone’s help and cooperation.  Please use repellent while visiting and enjoying the park and help to keep it clean.  If feeling ill, avoid visiting parks and public areas and remain home to prevent transmission of any communicable diseases.

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

Below is a map that depicts case locations as of 2/25/2016.

This map will be updated weekly with location data provided by the State Department of Health. Locations may represent multiple cases. For the most up to date case counts and other information from the Department of Health, visit their website at health.hawaii.gov.

Surveying and spraying is being conducted at the residences of all suspect and confirmed cases, in addition to proactive spraying at nearby public facilities.

Dengue Pinpoint 22616

Updated Map Pinpoints 1 Confirmed Case of Dengue Fever on the Big Island of Hawaii

Only 1 confirmed case of Dengue Fever has been reported on the Big Island since 2/18/16.  Below is a map that depicts case locations as of 2/25/16:

Dengue Pinpoint 22616Surveying and spraying is being conducted at the residences of all suspect and confirmed cases, in addition to proactive spraying at nearby public facilities.

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.

Hawaii Department of Health Takes Critical Role in National Efforts to Control Zika Virus

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) State Laboratories Division is taking an active role in national efforts to control the spread of Zika Virus. Hawaii’s State Laboratories recently provided confirmatory testing for samples from American Samoa and the Marshall Islands to support these U. S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions in verifying disease outbreak activity.

A mosquito laying eggs

A mosquito laying eggs

“Hawaii is fortunate to have an experienced and capable public health laboratory that can serve our state with timely and quality testing under emergency conditions,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “That same capability is not available in many other areas of the Pacific, and providing lab support to these areas, when we can, is critical to controlling the spread of diseases and reducing the risk of introduction to Hawaii.”

“With Zika emerging in U.S. island territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, the nation is on alert,” said Dr. Thane Hancock, team leader for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) American Samoa Zika Response.

The timely response by the Hawaii Department of Health’s State Laboratories staff provided critical support for local disease investigations and for monitoring potentially exposed pregnant women.”

This month, DOH began using the CDC developed real-time reverse transcriptase (rRT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Zika virus. With this recently developed capability, DOH provided officials in American Samoa and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Majuro), the first laboratory evidence of Zika transmission in these two U.S. affiliated jurisdictions.

“It’s always a balance to ensure our state needs are met first, but the staff here is more than willing to step up to support national efforts,” said State Laboratories Director Dr. Christian Whelen. “This work helps to better prepare us for potential issues that could arise in our state, and identifying and controlling outbreaks in the Pacific benefits all of us.”

While PCR is the best test during early onset of symptoms, testing for antibody to the viruses is preferred after about a week of illness. CDC is shipping antibody test materials to Hawaii so that the department’s State Laboratories Division can establish these capabilities over the next few weeks.

“The testing is very similar to the methodology our labs use for other RNA viruses such as Chikungunya, dengue, influenza, and measles,” added Whelen. “Our laboratory staff have been thoroughly trained to safely work with high risk specimens.”

DOH continues to work with the healthcare community, state, county, and federal officials to prepare for infectious diseases that threaten Hawaii and the Pacific. The State Laboratories Division administers a statewide laboratories program which conducts and regulates scientific analysis in support of environmental quality, health and safety, and infectious disease monitoring and control activities.

Updated Map Shows Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:
Dengue Risk 22416Of the confirmed cases, 235 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
214 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1313 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy to Participate in the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s 3rd Annual “Hawaii on the Hill” Initiative in Washington D.C.

More Than 50 Hawaii Organizations to Participate in the Two-Day Agenda, June 7-8, 2016

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining, with his Poke recipes, culinary skills and joyful manner, some 1000+ distinguished guests that are anticipated to attend the 3rd Annual Taste of Hawaii event as part of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii’s “Hawaii on the Hill” initiative in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono.

Sam Choy will be featured in Washington DC. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

Celebrity Chef Sam Choy will be entertaining guests in Washington D.C. at the “Hawaii on the Hill” event. Photo by Douglas Peebles Photography

“Sam Choy is a pioneer of Pacific Rim cuisine, and I’m excited to have him as part of our 3rd annual Hawaii on the Hill hosted in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. For decades, Chef Choy has been committed to sharing the culture of our state through its food, and is the latest local celebrity to participate in Hawaii on the Hill, joining Willie K, Amy Hanaialii, and Aidan James. Hawaii on the Hill has grown to be one of the most anticipated state showcase events because of participants like Chef Choy and Tiki Shark Art, who truly bring a slice of the Aloha State to Washington, D.C.,” commented Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker

Sen. Mazie Hirono with Abbas Hassan and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker

“It was an honor for me to get a direct invite from the Senator to attend this event. My cell phone rang and it was Mazie Hirono on the other line…wow!” he exclaimed. “I am so pleased to see that Poke, a true Hawaiian food, is making its way to the mainland in a big way,” he added.

“The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii is very excited and pleased to welcome Chef Sam Choy to this year’s Hawaii on the Hill initiative and, particularly, our Taste of Hawaii on the Hill event, which has grown to over 1,000 attendees,” said Chamber President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara. “Having Chef Choy represent the Aloha State with Tiki Shark Art will add even more stature and a colorful dimension to our line-up of participants. This will be our third year in a row to lead this effort, in partnership with Senator Mazie Hirono and her team, and we’re looking forward to sharing Hawaii’s food, culture, and industries with our nation’s leaders, and other officials and representatives, again.”

More than 50 organizations from Hawaii are participating in the Taste of Hawaii representing made-in-Hawaii products and the tourism, agriculture, innovation and technology, manufacturing and military industries. The Taste of Hawaii is one of several events slated for the two-day Hawaii on the Hill agenda, which also includes a “Talk Story” hosted by Senator Hirono and a Policy Summit with Congressional committee members and other officials.

This year’s Hawaii on the Hill will take place June 7-8. For additional information, please contact Lori Abe with the Chamber at email: labe@cochawaii.org or by calling (808) 380-2605.

Parking on Kamehameha Highway to Be Restricted Near Waimea Bay for the Eddie Aikau Tournament

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is alerting motorists of parking restrictions on Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf tournament. No parking will be allowed on either side of Kamehameha Highway from Iliohu Place to the Saints Peter & Paul Mission beginning Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 at 10 pm through the duration of the tournament.

Eddie contest

Temporary barriers will be placed in the shoulders to prevent parking and allow safe pedestrian access. Honolulu Police officers will be patrolling the area enforcing the parking restriction. Vehicles parked within the restricted area will be cited and/or towed at the owner’s expense. Should the event be cancelled the barriers will be removed as quickly as possible and the parking restriction will be lifted.

HDOT is postponing planned lane closures on Kamehameha Highway along Oahu’s North Shore in anticipation of the crowds of people venturing to Waimea Bay. Previously planned utility installation and repair work on Thursday, Feb. 25 will be postponed.

Electronic message boards will be strategically placed at key decision making points including Wahiawa, Kahaluu and Kahuku to alert motorists of parking restrictions and heavy traffic on the North Shore. Additional signs will be placed on both ends of the designated area near Waimea Bay to notify drivers of the parking restriction.

We ask those travelling to the North Shore to be patient, drive safely, and expect delays. As with past Eddie’s, we expect the number of cars on the road to significantly exceed the capacity. HDOT has been in coordination with the Honolulu Police Department, City & County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation Department, and Department of Transportation Services to mitigate impacts to the best extent possible.

To view a complete list of the scheduled roadwork around the state visit the Hawaii Department of Transportation website by clicking here.

Former OHA Staffer Lukela Ruddle Joins Office of Mauna Kea Management as Cultural Resource Program Manager

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM), charged with the management of approximately 12,000 acres of State-owned land on Maunakea, continues to advance its mission to malama (take care of) Maunakea resources with the recent hiring of Lukela Ruddle as its Cultural Resource Program Manager.

Office of Maunakea Management Logo

In her new position, Ruddle’s responsibilities include assisting Kahu Ku Mauna with project reviews, policy development, community consultation, and implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan, in particular, the Cultural Resources Management Plan. Ruddle will also initiate an educational campaign for cultural landscape preservation and a collection of the traditional, contemporary, and customary cultural practices on Maunakea.

“Lukela’s vast knowledge and problem-solving skills has already made her a key addition to the OMKM team. We are delighted to have her onboard and part of the OMKM team as we move forward with our management of the resources on Maunakea. Lukela will play a key role in providing and implementing high quality solutions and implementation of new programing,” said OMKM’s Director Stephanie Nagata.

“The job of a Cultural Resources Program Manager on Maunakea needs to be done. My desire is to contribute to the ongoing work of integrating a cultural view into meaningful management of the mountain,” said Ruddle. “I look forward to working with lineal descendants and persons having historical ties to Maunakea and developing culturally appropriate procedures and protocols.”

For fourteen years, Lukela served as an Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Aide to Hannah Kihalani Springer and as OHA’s East Hawaii Community Resource Coordinator. She conducted community outreach, advocacy and community coalition building. Her working familiarity with county, state and federal laws enabled her to advise OHA on various matters and boosted the creation, review and implementation of OHA policies and programs. With this understanding of community needs and available public resources, Lukela also collaborated in drafting legislation, securing capital improvements funds and expanding programs to directly advance OHA beneficiaries.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 259

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 259:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 19, 2016*:

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

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 2/9/16 – 2/13/2016
Cases no longer infectious
257 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 2/8/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
259

Of the confirmed cases, 234 are Hawaii Island residents and 25 are visitors.
213 cases have been adults; 46 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 2/13/16.

As of today, a total of 1262 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Updated Map Pinpoints Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever on the Big Island of Hawaii

Below is a map that depicts case locations as of 2/18/16:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Surveying and spraying is being conducted at the residences of all suspect and confirmed cases, in addition to proactive spraying at nearby public facilities.

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.