• Follow on Facebook

  • air-tour-kauai
  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • puako-general-store
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • Say When

    February 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

Hawaii Delegation Introduces Legislation to Protect Drinking Water and Improve Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility

The Hawai‘i congressional delegation introduced legislation to ensure the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet their obligations to the State of Hawai‘i to protect drinking water and improve the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on Oahu.

Inside one of the Red Hill fuel tanks.

“The EPA, the Navy, and the State agree that protecting the aquifer that supplies Oahu’s drinking water is essential,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i). “Our bill firms up that commitment into federal law by making sure the agencies responsible for improving Red Hill have the federal funding they need to implement the actions that are agreed to.”

“Red Hill is critical military infrastructure and we want the Navy to succeed in successfully remediating environmental concerns associated with past fuel leaks above Oahu’s aquifers,” said U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “Working together, this will be a win-win for military readiness and Oahu residents.”

“Completing the necessary infrastructure upgrades at Red Hill Fuel Facility will safeguard our water and environment, while also protecting a critical asset to our national security,” said U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i). “Providing budget flexibility and conducting strict oversight of EPA and DOD’s progress towards meeting their commitments is an appropriate way to stretch a short supply of critical federal dollars.”

“These fuel storage tanks sit above aquifers that provide drinking water for up to 30% of Oahu’s residents,” said U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “It’s essential the Department of Defense commit the necessary resources to eliminate any threat these tanks pose to our most precious resource – water.”

The legislation, written and introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, ensures the Navy, DLA, and other federal agencies charged with protecting Oahu’s drinking water from fuel leaks follow a set of actions the agencies agreed to take following the January 2014 leak of jet fuel from the Red Hill facility. The Navy’s investigation of the January 2014 leak determined that it was the result of contractor error. In September 2015, the Navy, DLA, and EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent/Statement of Work (AOC/SOW) with the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Health (DOH). That agreement establishes a roadmap for how the Navy and DLA will protect Oahu’s drinking water from future fuel leaks by making improvements to Red Hill, including the fuel tanks. The bill requires the Department of Defense, which includes the Navy and DLA, and the EPA to include the necessary funding in their respective budgets to make the improvements identified in the agreement.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Hawaii Senate Committee Passes Medical Aid in Dying Bill

In the hearing today by the Senate Committee on Commerce Consumer Protection (CPH), SB1129 SD1 was passed with amendments that would establish a medical aid in dying act under which a terminally ill adult resident may obtain a prescription for medication to end the patient’s life.

SB1129 SD1 is modeled on the Oregon statute and includes safeguards to protect patients from misuse.  These safeguards include confirmation by two providers (physicians and APRN’s) of the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, mental competence, and voluntariness of the request; multiple requests by the patient: an oral request followed by a signed written request that is witnessed by two people, one of whom must be unrelated to the patient, and a subsequent oral restatement of the request; and two waiting periods between the requests and the writing of the prescription.  At all times the patient retains the right to rescind the request and is under no obligation to fill the prescription or ingest the medication.  Amendments include authorizing APRN as a consulting provider and allowing state identification cards as an acceptable document to prove residency in the State of Hawai‘i.

More than 300 people had signed up to testify on the bill, many which were emotional and thought-provoking both in support and in opposition of the measure.

“This measure is simply one that gives people a choice in end of life care,” said CPH Chair Sen. Rosalyn Baker (Dist. 6 – South and West Maui), “We have wonderful laws on the books with regards to palliative care and setting out their wishes for treatment, resuscitation and the like in an advance healthcare directive. But I think people want that ultimate choice if they have a debilitating, terminal illness and would like to have some control over their last days of life.  This is what SB1129 allows them to do.”

SB1129 SD1 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL).

Hawaii Department of Health Approves Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC to Acquire and Cultivate Medical Marijuana

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today issued a Notice to Proceed to Acquire and Cultivate Marijuana to Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC for their production center on Maui. Pono Life Sciences Maui is the fourth licensee to receive notice from the state and the second Maui licensee to meet all requirements to begin growing marijuana.

Pono Life Sciences Maui is now authorized to acquire and grow marijuana seeds, clones and plants, for the purpose of providing marijuana and marijuana products to qualified patients registered with the department’s Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Program. This month, in addition to Pono Life Sciences Maui, DOH issued Notices to Proceed to Maui Grown Therapies, Aloha Green Holdings, and Manoa Botanicals for production centers on Maui and Oahu.

To receive a Notice to Proceed from DOH, dispensary production centers must comply with statutory and regulatory requirements that include building a secure, enclosed indoor facility; operating a computer software tracking system that interfaces with the state’s system and submits current inventory data of all marijuana seeds, plants and manufactured products in the production center; and authorization from the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Hawaii State Department of Public Safety.

More information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/

A total of eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued in April 2016. Three dispensary licenses for the City and County of Honolulu were issued to Aloha Green Holdings, Inc.; Manoa Botanicals, LLC; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu. Two licenses for the County of Hawaii were issued to Hawaiian Ethos, LLC and Lau Ola, LLC. Two licenses for the County of Maui were issued to Maui Wellness Group, LLC and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. One license for the County of Kauai was issued to Green Aloha, Ltd.

Each dispensary licensee is allowed to operate two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center may grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

Gabbard-Backed Bill to Expedite Veterans Claims Process Passes House

Legislation cosponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) to streamline the veterans claims process unanimously passed the House today. The bipartisan WINGMAN Act (H.R.512), which would allow congressional offices to directly access information on behalf of a constituent without having to go through a middle-man at the VA bureaucracy, now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

In a speech on the House floor, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:

“One of the things I appreciate most about the job that I have to represent Hawaiʻi’s Second District is to be able to respond to and provide assistance to the hundreds of veterans from across my state that contact our office every single year. They call to ask for help with things like compensation and pension issues, healthcare, mileage reimbursement—especially for our veterans who live on the neighboring islands where they don’t have a VA clinic on island—education, home loan benefits, and more. This is a responsibility as a Member of Congress and as a fellow veteran that I take very seriously.

“Right now, if a veteran contacts my office for assistance, we are required to go directly through the Congressional Liaison at the VA. We act as veterans advocates to try to get answers for them on things that they haven’t been able to get answers on and things they haven’t heard back on.

“Too often, we’re faced with bureaucratic layers within the VA and a slow turnaround that leaves congressional staff, like mine and my colleagues’, jumping through hoops to access basic but critical information on behalf of our veterans and their families. At times, we have waited for months to get answers from the VA on behalf of a Hawaiʻi veteran for something that should be a quick turnaround, like a status update.

“This is unacceptable, and it’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the WINGMAN Act, legislation introduced by my friend and colleague Ted Yoho of Florida, which allows us to cut through the red tape and ensure that our certified caseworkers within our offices can provide quicker, more efficient and effective service to our veterans. It would help streamline the veterans claims process by allowing congressional offices, on behalf of our veteran constituents, to directly access the status of pending claims, rating decisions, statement of the case, and more.

“I urge my colleagues to support this common sense legislation, so that all of us working here in the people’s house can better serve our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our communities and our country.”

Background: The WINGMAN Act would streamline the veterans claims process between congressional offices and their constituents by eliminating the requirement to use the VA as a middle-man. Under WINGMAN, certified constituent advocates would be able to directly access the status of pending claims, medical records, rating decisions, statement of the case, supplementary statement of the case, notice of disagreement, and Form-9 files within a reasonable amount of time, without having to go through a middle-man at the VA.

Each year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office helps hundreds of veterans get assistance from the VA and other federal agencies. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “office hours” to help constituents, including veterans, with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

Aloha Grown 2017 Malama Honua Fund to Give Away Five (5) $500 Awards

The Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund is once again giving away five (5) $500 awards to local non-profits, schools, organizations or initiatives on the Big Island that embody Aloha Grown’s philosophy to Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.

Interested groups must complete an application form and write a one-page essay explaining how their organization follows Aloha Grown’s philosophy. Essays must include the organization’s mission and vision, along with the specific project, program and/or effort that the $500 award would be used to fund.

“Aloha Grown is committed to supporting efforts to care for our island, our people and our culture. That is why 2% of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives that embody our philosophy.”­­

Previous award winners have included Kohala Elementary School, Punana Leo o Waimea, Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture, Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, and many more. Their sustainability programs and efforts have included community gardens, aquaponics systems, keiki farm stands, culinary programs, and outdoor educational “classrooms”.

All submissions are due by March 31, 2017. The five (5) selected recipients of the 2017 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund Awards will be contacted by April 28, 2017.

For more information on Aloha Grown or to see previous year’s Malama Honua Fund award winners, visit www.alohagrown.com.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Address U.S. Nursing Shortage

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, joined fellow lawmakers in introducing the bipartisan Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (H.R.959). The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support the nursing workforce in the United States.

“Nurses are the heart of our healthcare system, and one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. As Hawaiʻi and states across the country face serious nursing shortages, it’s critical we support Title VIII nursing programs that help recruit, train and retain our nurses, especially in our rural and underserved communities,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “This bill will help ensure that Hawaiʻi’s nurses and future nurses get the support they need to continue to serve our communities across the state.”

“In Hawaiʻi, nurses are the largest licensed healthcare profession and work in all healthcare settings, from hospitals to home health to school nursing, and work in all areas of the state. As the healthcare needs of the state grow, including the increased demand for primary care, extended care, long term care, and geriatric nursing, nurses can serve to meet these changing demands. Educational pathways, tuition support and loan repayment programs for nurses and nurse faculty, and recruitment and retention programs are critical to ensuring that our nursing workforce in Hawaiʻi is adequate and nimble to the needs of our changing healthcare environment,” said Laura Reichhardt, Director of the Hawaiʻi State Center for Nursing.

Background: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Registered Nurses (RNs) is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. At the same time, the Bureau predicts there will be over 1 million job openings for RNs in 2022 due to the increasing demand for nurses.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has consistently prioritized Title VIII nursing workforce programs in annual appropriations bills. Administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration, Title VIII programs have supported the recruitment, retention, and distribution of highly-educated professionals who comprise our nation’s nursing workforce for more than 50 years. Title VIII programs bolster nursing education at all levels, from entry level preparation through graduate study, and provide support for institutions that educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved communities. These programs are designed to address specific needs within the nursing workforce and America’s patient population, and are, therefore, a direct investment in the nation’s health.

The legislation is endorsed by the American Nurses Association, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing, and more than 50 other national nursing organizations.

Hepatitis A Second Dose Recommended in Coming Months for Those Vaccinated During 2016 Outbreak

In August 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) identified raw scallops imported from the Philippines as the source of the hepatitis A outbreak, which sickened hundreds of Hawaii residents. According to data from the Hawaii Immunization Registry, healthcare providers reported 90,259 hepatitis A vaccinations were administered in the state between July and November 2016. Vaccine manufacturers estimate more than 100,000 doses were distributed to Hawaii providers during the outbreak.

“The response from the community during the outbreak was tremendous,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, played a key role in ensuring hepatitis A vaccine was available for those needing and wanting to be vaccinated. They truly rose to the challenge of vaccinating a large number of people in a relatively short amount of time.”

“Hepatitis A outbreaks will continue to occur worldwide and a local outbreak could occur again,” warned State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “While one dose of hepatitis A vaccine provides good protection, two doses are necessary for nearly 100 percent protection and lasting immunity. We’d like to remind people now, if they received their first dose during the outbreak, to get their second dose at least six months after the first one was administered.”

DOH is recommending those who are due for their second dose of the hepatitis A vaccine contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment. If choosing to be vaccinated at a pharmacy, the public is encouraged to return to the same pharmacy that administered their first dose of vaccine to receive their second dose. This allows the pharmacy to use an existing physician prescription and ensure the vaccine is administered at least six months after the first vaccination. Those not returning to the same location for vaccination should provide documentation of their first dose, if possible, and contact their physician if a prescription is needed. To ensure vaccine availability, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacy in advance.

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy or clinic near you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/where-to-get-your-adult-and-flu-vaccinations/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about hepatitis A is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/hepatitis-a/.

Man Hospitalized After Jump From Rainbow Falls

A guy was injured today in a jump off Rainbow Falls.

Hawaii Fire Department arrived at the scene around 2:52 and found the following situation at the scene:

Male party jumped off waterfall area at Rainbow Falls; found lying on rocks at edge of pond.  Patient extricated via C1 with c-spine precautions and transported to Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room for evaluation.

Remarks:  E4 1st on scene to report of “person in distress, jumped off falls”.  Patient visualized on pond edge, lying supine on rocks motioning to bystanders at look out. Patient extricated without incident and transported to HMC ER.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Cosponsors Bill to Expedite Veterans Claims Process

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced support today for the bipartisan WINGMAN Act (H.R.512), legislation that would streamline the veterans claims process between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and congressional offices that process claims on behalf of veterans and their families.

Tulsi Gabbard at Hawaii County Civil Defense

“It’s my honor to serve the hundreds of Hawaiʻi veterans that contact my office each year for help. However, slow turnaround and thick layers of bureaucracy at the VA too often leave certified congressional staff jumping through tedious hoops to access critical information on behalf of veterans and their families. At times, we have waited for months to get a simple answer from the VA on behalf of a Hawaiʻi veteran. This is unacceptable. The WINGMAN Act would cut through the red tape and allow congressional offices to provide quicker, more efficient service to our veterans,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Background: The WINGMAN Act would streamline the veterans claims process between congressional offices and their constituents by eliminating the requirement to use the VA as a middle-man. Under WINGMAN, certified constituent advocates would be able to directly access the status of pending claims, medical records, rating decisions, statement of the case, supplementary statement of the case, notice of disagreement, and Form-9 files within a reasonable amount of time, without having to go through a middle-man at the VA.

Each year, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office helps hundreds of veterans get assistance from the VA and other federal agencies. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “office hours” to help constituents, including veterans, with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

16th Annual Feed-A-Thon Begins February 8th

Caring for Hawaii Island’s hungry has always been a challenge once the holidays have passed, as food donations slow down.  Fortunately, Kahikina Ching — the founder and organizer of the 16th Annual Food Basket Feed-A-Thon, has scheduled 10 days this month where residents and visitors may continue to help families in need.

Supported each year by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union (HCFCU), this unique food drive will be held at HCFCU branches from Honoka`a to Kealakekua, and at select KTA Superstores around the island.

Food items and monetary donations will be accepted at all HCFCU branches Wednesday, February 8th through Friday, February 17th.  HCFCU staff will also sell special ribbons with all contributions going directly to the Food Basket.  See below for branch locations and hours.  For more information, please contact marketing@hicommfcu.com or 808-930-7700.

“Every day during the Feed-A-Thon we see our members and staff donating money and canned food. Whether it’s just one can or one dollar, every donation helps,” said Tricia Buskirk, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union President  & CEO.  “It’s so uplifting to experience these type of activities that strengthen our community as we show compassion, caring and understanding for one another.”

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching collecting food at the 2014 Annual Feed-A-Thon. The Food Basket photo.

Kahikina Ching will be at every KTA Superstore location during the dates and times below thanking people for their donations. Food and monetary donations are equally welcomed, because money donated is used to purchase food from KTA at wholesale prices.  According to Ching, “I can feed six people for just $2!”  To date, the Feed-A-Thon has provided more than one million pounds of food since the event began in 2002.

According to En Young, The Food Basket’s Executive Director, “Kahikina’s Feed-a-thon has always been a perfect complement to the services of The Food Basket. Through his activities we can continue to provide food for those who aren’t currently in a position to provide for themselves.”

Food and monetary donations may be brought to any HCFCU branch:

  • Kaloko: 73-5611 Olowalu St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Kailua-Kona: 75-159 Hualalai Road, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740; Phone: (808) 930-7700;
  • Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Kealakekua: 81-6631 Mamalahoa Hwy., Kealakekua, HI 96750; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Kohala: 54-396 Union Mill Road, Kapaau, HI 96755; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Honoka’a: 45-690 Pakalana St., Suite A, Honoka’a, HI 96727; Phone: (808) 930-7700; Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

KTA Super Store locations and dates are:

  • February 8-9: KTA – Kailua-Kona  (Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Road, (808) 329-1677).
  • February 10-11: Waikoloa Village Market (Waikoloa Highlands Center, 68-3916 Paniolo Avenue, Waikoloa Village (808) 883-1088).
  • February 12-13: KTA – Waimea Center (65-1158 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, (808) 885-8866).
  • February 14-15: KTA – Puainako (50 East Puainako Street, Hilo, (808) 959-9111).
  • February 16-17: KTA – Keauhou (Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Ali`i Drive, (808) 322-2311).

Aid to Independent-Living Seniors Focus of 2017 Kupuna Caucus Bills

Measures to sustain the ability of frail elderly to age in their homes with support services and caregiving assistance are the top priorities of a House-Senate package of bills submitted this session by the Kupuna Caucus.

The Kupuna Caucus consists of 54 House and Senate members, and a broad range of community organizations, government agencies, and individuals concerned about the well-being of seniors in our communities.

“These measures are aimed at helping seniors with some disabilities live out their lives at home, with help from State-sponsored services and family caregivers.  The vast majority of elderly prefer to age in place instead of entering a nursing home,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, House co-convenor of the Kupuna Caucus (Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades).

“This year’s Kupuna Caucus Legislative package includes bills that advance or expand a wide range and diversity of programs focused on the well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna,” said Sen. Les Ihara, Senate co-convener (Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, St. Louis Heights, Mo’ili’ili, Ala Wai)

A new measure this session proposes a Kupuna Caregivers program to assist community members who are providing care for elders to stay in the workforce by providing a voucher of $70 per day to secure elder care support services, such as adult day care, nursing or transportation.  SB534 is introduced by Sen. Rosalyn Baker, chair of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Health Committee, and HB607 is introduced by Rep. Takayama.

Kupuna Caucus measures:

HB608/SB528 – Supports full funding of $9 million per year for the state’s Kupuna Care program, which provides support services such as delivered meals and transportation to help disabled elders age in place.

HB609/SB529 – Funds permanent full-time positions at the University of Hawaii Center on Aging for an associate professor and associate specialist.

HB610/SB530 – Appropriates $150,000 to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman for staff to monitor older adult care facilities in the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui.

HB615/SB531 – Seeks $550,000 for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, which provides fitness classes and helps chronic disease self-management.

HB611/SB532 – Provides $80,000 for appointment of a state coordinator for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services.

HB612/SB533 – Supports full funding of $3.1 million to operate each county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, which is a one-stop referral center for persons seeking support programs and services.

HB607/SB534 – Establishes the Kupuna Caregivers program (Kupuna Care Plus) to assist community members who are providing elder care to remain in the workforce by providing $70 per day for adult day care, nursing or other services.

HB613/SB535 – Requires health insurance policies and contracts to provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids.

HB614/SB536 – Appropriates $95,000 for a fall prevention and early detection coordinator to promote information that helps reduce serious falls by elderly persons.

HB616/SB537 – Appropriate $25,386 to create a program specialist position to oversee the foster grandparent program and senior companion programs in Maui County.

HB433/SB538 – Appropriates funds to the Health Department for posting of care facility inspection reports on the Department’s website.

HB432/SB539 – Makes financial exploitation of an elderly person by a caregiver a felony.

HB434/SB540 – Converts the long-term care community living specialist in the Executive Office on Aging from exempt to permanent civil service status.

HB431/SB541 – Establishes requirements for licensure of gerontologists beginning on 7/1/2018.

HB435/SB542 – Allows the family court to award a grandparent, upon petition to the court, custody or visitation if it is in the best interest of the child and denial would cause significant harm to the child.

“Sail With The Whales” Fundraisers Slated Benefit for West Hawaii Community Health Center

The 4th Annual benefit whale watching cruise is set to sail on Sunday, February 12 and Sunday, March 12, 2017. Community residents and visitors are invited to “Sail With The Whales” and help support West Hawaii Community Health Center’s mission to make quality, comprehensive and integrated health services accessible to all regardless of income.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hyde watches as a whale swims underneath a Coast Guard Station Honolulu 47-foot Motor Life Boat in waters west of Molokai, Hawaii, U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela

This benefit 2-hour whale watch adventure aboard the Ocean Sports luxury catamaran takes off from Kawaihae Harbor at 12:30 pm, returning at 2:30pm. Check in time is noon. During the cruise, guests will enjoy the sounds of Hawaiian music from award winning slack-key (Kiho`alu) guitarist John Keawe.

With only 60 seats available for each cruise, these tickets will go fast for this exciting ocean adventure! Hurry and purchase tickets before you miss the boat!

Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased by calling Terri at 808-329-0400 or email whchcdevelopment@gmail.com

 

Hawaii Homeless Initiative Would Serve 2200 Households

With a proven track record the coordinated statewide homeless initiative has already provided over an eight-month period, financial assistance to 1,279 households, thereby assisting 3,992 adults and children who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Senator Josh Green provides “Homelessness is Hawaii’s most pressing crisis today and requires a comprehensive, all hands on deck solution, so that we can help our most vulnerable citizens. We need new ideas and the right amount of resources to improve matters immediately.”

“Through the Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative, we have helped over 4,300 individuals – 2,306 adults and 2,012 children – all of whom were homeless or at-risk for becoming homeless” said Norm Baker, COO of Aloha United Way. “For every homeless individual we rapidly rehoused, we helped three others who were on the verge of becoming homeless. Homeless prevention assistance is a critically important strategy to finding sustainable solutions while simultaneously assisting those who are currently homeless.”

Vice Speaker Mizuno adds “There is a myriad of reasons why an individual or family enter into homelessness so there needs to be a myriad of approaches to address homelessness. The coordinated statewide homeless initiative has a proven record of cost-effective prevention and rapid rehousing services that need to continue so that more families do not fall into homelessness.”

Department of Health Cites Island Recycling, Inc. for Water Pollution Violations at Kapolei and Dillingham Facilities

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Island Recycling, Inc. at both its Kapolei and Dillingham facilities located at 91-140 Kaomi Loop in Kapolei and 1803 Dillingham Blvd in Honolulu respectively.

The company has been cited for failing to comply with Hawaii’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for industrial storm water discharges. DOH has ordered Island Recycling to pay a penalty of $25,400, clean the affected drainage ditch on its property in Kapolei, and take corrective actions at both its Kapolei and Dillingham facilities to prevent the facilities’ from discharging polluted storm water to nearby storm drains and state waters. The company may contest the order and request a hearing within 20 days.

Island Recycling has NPDES permit coverage for both its Kapolei and Dillingham facilities under Hawaii’s General Permit authorizing discharges of industrial storm water. However, during inspections performed in June 2014 and subsequent file reviews, DOH found the facilities were not implementing controls to properly prevent polluted storm water discharges. The company had also placed discarded materials and equipment in a drainage ditch that is recognized as a state water body and protected by state and federal regulations. In addition to inadequate storm water controls at the facilities, Island Recycling also failed to submit Discharge Monitoring Reports required by the NPDES General Permit that are vital to determining the safety and quality of the facilities’ storm water discharges.

The Clean Water Act prohibits discharging pollutants through a point source into state waters unless it is allowed by an NPDES permit. The permit contains limits on what can be safely discharged, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure that the discharge does not hurt water quality or people’s health. The permit translates general requirements of the Clean Water Act into specific provisions tailored to the operations of facilities discharging pollutants. For information on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System go to www.epa.gov/npdes/npdes-permit-basics.

The DOH Clean Water Branch regulates, permits, and inspects a variety of industrial facilities ranging from construction sites to landfills and recycling facilities to ensure that these facilities do not pollute Hawaii’s waters especially during rainfall and storm conditions. The Clean Water Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawaii’s residents, visitors, and environment through regulation of high-risk water pollution sources, and education of industrial sectors and the general public. More information about the DOH Clean Water Branch and access to water quality data and files for NPDES permitted facilities is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/cwb/.

Bills to Ban Coral-Killing Sunscreens Move Forward

The House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection today passed House Bill 600, introduced by Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6, Kailua-Kona, Holualoa), which would prohibit the sale of sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone.

The bill was introduced in response to recent studies that have concluded that oxybenzone disrupts coral development and growth.

“Our reefs are an essential economic driver of our tourism industry, they sustain our fish populations for fishermen, and are home to many species found nowhere else in the world. Safe, effective, and affordable alternatives to oxybenzone are available already. How can we, in good conscience, continue to needlessly allow the use of this chemical that we know causes damage to coral?” said Rep. Lowen.

The committee also moved a bill forward that would allow continued sale of oxybenzone products, but impose new labelling requirements. HB 600 will next go to the House Floor and then to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

Hawaii Insurance Consumers Encouraged to Explore Options

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division released its annual premium comparison publications for motor vehicle, homeowner, condominium, and renters insurance.

“These publications help consumers make the right decisions for their insurance needs,” said Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito.  “We encourage people to use these guides as a tool to shop and compare for the appropriate coverage and price.”

The lists of sample premium rates can be used as a guide to see what consumers’ insurers are charging compared to its competitors.  The premium publications help consumers research and explore options and ensure greater competition in the insurance marketplace.

Feel free to download and share the consumer information below. If you have any questions, please contact the Insurance Division at (808) 586-2790 or insurance@dcca.hawaii.gov.

(PDF) Insurance Division Overview

Health Insurance

(PDF) Hawaii Patients’ Bill of Rights

(PDF) 2017 ACA Individual Rates

(PDF) 2016 ACA Small Group Rates

Small Business Health Options (SHOP)

Home Insurance

(PDF) Homeowners Premium Comparison Publication 2017

(PDF) Condominium Unit Owners Premium Comparison Publication 2017

(PDF) Renters Premium Comparison Publication 2017

Prior Home Insurance Premium Comparisons

Motor Vehicle Insurance

(PDF) Motor Vehicle Insurance Premium Comparison & Consumer Complaints Publication 2017

Prior Motor Vehicle Insurance Premium Comparisons

Natural Disasters

(PDF) Lava Flow Informational Brochure

(PDF) Tips for Storm Claims

(PDF) Guide to Hurricane Strengthening for Hawaii Single-Family Residences

Insurance Fraud

(PDF) What is Insurance Fraud?

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

Insure U – Get Smart About Insurance

Injured Pueo Rescued by Trio of Citizens and DOCARE Officer

When 7-year-old Malia Rillamas first spotted the bird, she pointed it out to her dad Jonathan.  The family, from Haleiwa, pulled off the country road on O‘ahu’s north shore on the afternoon of Jan. 15, 2017 to see if they could help.  A short time later Brian Smith of Wahiawa also pulled over.  Together the trio watched as the pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl), hopped across the road and ultimately into a deep roadside ditch. They discussed what to do and who to call and eventually called 9-1-1 which put them in touch with the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said, “When these folks contacted us we dispatched Officer Brent Murphy.  There was a lapse of several hours between the time Jonathan, Brian, and Malia first encountered the pueo and Officer Murphy’s arrival.  Yet, rather than just driving away, they kept watch over this native rare bird (listed as endangered on O‘ahu), and did their best to keep it calm and safe.”  Ultimately they helped Officer Murphy extract the bird from the ditch and put it into a plastic crate.  Officer Murphy then drove it to Aloha Animal Hospital. It’s one of just a few veterinary clinics on the island with a permit to care for endangered or threatened species. Chief Farrell continued, “We can’t protect our natural and cultural resources without the engagement of all of Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors. Our officers can’t be everywhere all the time and we deeply appreciate when folks get involved to the extent they did with this hurt pueo.”

Dr. Douglas Chang is the veterinarian at Aloha Animal Hospital.  For several decades, he and his team have provided care for endemic, endangered and threatened species to Hawaii. As for the condition of the pueo currently under their care, Dr. Chang said, “Radiographs revealed fractured bones in the elbow. Our hope is this pueo will survive and regain full capability to survive back in the wild.”  In the event that doesn’t happen, staff from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) have been in contact with several licensed facilities that are interested in accepting the bird.

Jonathan Rillimas explains that there was little question that he, his daughter, and Brian would wait with the bird until it could be rescued.  He said, “We believe, like many Hawaiians, it’s Hawai‘i culture; it’s an ‘aumakua (family deity). The more that we protect and preserve them and take care of them, they spiritually watch over us.”

At a news conference today, DLNR Chair Suzanne Case presented the Rillimas’, Smith, Dr. Chang & staff with the first DLNR & YOU Citizen Conservationist awards. Case said, “This is our way of recognizing people who go that extra step toward helping us effectively manage and protect Hawai‘i’s precious resources.  In the future we hope to single out many of our citizen partners for the roles they play in making Hawai‘i the special place we all cherish; by helping watch over and care for all creatures great and small.”

The recipients of the DLNR & YOU Citizen Conservationist awards receive a framed certificate. DLNR staff across all divisions are now being encouraged to nominate other people for their contributions to the preservation and protection of our resources.

Health Department Issues Notice of Violation and Order Against Oahu Sushi Restaurant for Intentionally Camouflaging Placard

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp. (dba AFC Sushi @ Safeway #2747) for $6,000 for intentionally camouflaging the posted yellow or conditional pass placard and for food safety violations.  AFC Sushi @ Safeway #2747 is located at 888 Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu within the Safeway Supermarket. The company may contest the notice and has 20 days to request a hearing.

“Tampering with a health inspection placard is a serious violation with substantial consequences because this act compromises the public’s trust and their right to know when violations occur during an inspection,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager. “Fortunately, these types of incidents have been rare since the start of the placarding program and this is only the fourth incident with more than 14,500 inspections completed. Overall compliance with Hawaii’s food industry has been excellent.

”On Jan. 19, DOH conducted a routine inspection of AFC Sushi located in the Kapahulu Safeway and a yellow placard was issued for three major food code violations. AFC Sushi was cited for improper hot holding temperatures, improper cold holding temperatures, and failure to properly label discard times on perishable food items kept at room temperature. On Jan. 23, a health inspector conducted a follow-up inspection and observed the yellow placard was not clearly visible to the public and appeared to have been removed, turned around and reposted. During the inspection, the inspector determined that two major violations were still outstanding and the yellow placard was re-posted.  DOH conducted another follow-up inspection on Jan. 24 and all outstanding major violations were found to be corrected. A green or pass placard was issued and is currently posted at the facility.

Since the start of the state’s Food Safety Placarding Program, DOH has conducted more than 14,500 inspections and issued more than 3,000 yellow placards or conditional passes that require the establishments to address violations. To date, only three have resulted in red or closed placards due to non-compliance. Green placards are issued for those establishments with no more than one critical violation, which must be corrected at the time of inspection; yellow cards are issued to those with two or more critical violations; and red placards are issued to those food establishments that need to be immediately closed because they pose an imminent health hazard to the community.  Major violations are those conditions known to cause foodborne illnesses as recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Only authorized DOH agents may post or remove a color-coded placard indicating the compliance status of a food establishment.

“There has been an impressive 99.8 percent voluntary compliance rate for Hawaii food facilities that are issued a yellow placard, with the time for correction averaging just two to three days,” said Oshiro. “We commend the restaurants, hotels, retail and food manufacturing industry in Hawaii for doing an amazing job in embracing the new Food Safety Placarding Program.”

The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawaii residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine health inspections of food establishments where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed, or sold. The branch also investigates the sources of food borne illnesses and potential adulteration of food products; and is charged with mitigating foodborne outbreaks and/or the prevention of future occurrences. Health inspectors work with business owners, food service workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

The public may access food establishment health inspection results online at http://hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii/. For more information on the department’s restaurant placarding program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/san/.

Food and Drug Administration Issues Warning Letter to Hawaii Company

Following inspections, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter that was recently made public to a Hawaii company that produces tuna sandwiches.

Hawaiian Ono Services Inc., Honolulu has 15 days to respond to FDA the warning letter in writing. FDA has not yet issued a closeout letter for the company as of this post.

Click to read warning letter

In a Jan. 10 warning letter to owner and president, Sung Cha Ku, the FDA cited “serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation” in the Federal Code. An FDA inspection on dec. 8-9, 2016, revealed the problems.

“… your refrigerated ready-to-eat tuna salad sandwiches, containing cooked tuna, are adulterated, in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” according to the warning letter.

Violations included failure to have a HACCP plan to “control the food safety hazards of histamine, pathogen growth, allergens and metal inclusion;” employees’ failure to follow proper hygiene practices while handling food with their bare hands; and using a sanitizer solution that didn’t have any sanitizer in it.

“Similar observations of poor employee hygienic practices have been made during our previous inspections of your facility,” the warning letter states.

“We may take further action if you do not promptly correct these violations. For instance, we may take further action to seize your products and/or enjoin your firm from operating.”

Hawaii Representative Urges Community-Based Measures to Protect Coral Reefs

Napili Bay project to study oxybenzone-pollution prevention

State Representative Angus McKelvey reinforced his commitment to protecting Hawaii’s coral reefs by endorsing the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation’s upcoming study on strategies to manage oxybenzone pollution.

Oxybenzone is a chemical found in many sunscreens, and presents a serious threat to coastal coral reefs. Coral reefs are not just ecologically important; they are also highly valued by the tourism industry and residential communities. Evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of community-based management strategies is therefore important to a variety of stakeholders.

“I am especially happy that the Napili Bay foundation has been selected to conduct this study. This shows that businesses, community groups, and others share in the concern for our coral reefs,” said McKelvey. “Currently, no reliable data regarding oxybenzone-pollution management strategies exists.

Thanks to the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation’s proactive efforts, this critical information will be available to make informed decisions about protecting not only Napili Bay’s coral reefs, but also elsewhere across the globe.”

The study will determine the effectiveness of a multi-pronged public relations campaign to promote alternatives to using sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. It will encompass an environmental and demographic assessment pre- and post-campaign launch. Toxicity assays will be measured against two control sites, where no campaign will occur.

“As one who burns early and often, and is a skin cancer survivor, I know how important it is to protect yourself from the sun,” McKelvey said, “but there are many products that, along with sensible sun habits, can protect your skin and our reefs.”