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Hawaii Update on Mumps: Outbreak Continues with 18 Additional Cases, Including 2 on Hawaii Island and 4 on Kauai

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 18 new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 172. Nine of the new cases of individuals are adults. Twelve of the cases are from Oahu, four are from Kauai and two are from Hawaii Island.

DOH continues to stress the importance of following its recommendations to help prevent the spread of mumps.“The important thing for people to remember is to keep their germs to themselves,” said Ronald Balajadia, Immunization Branch Chief, DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division. “We encourage the public to stay home when sick, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently and make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

DOH urges all adults born in or after 1957 without evidence of immunity to mumps to receive the MMR vaccine which prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. For this reason, being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and your community.

DOH also recommends that all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first of which is routinely given at age 12–15 months and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of four weeks after the first dose).

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

The majority of the 172 confirmed cases are on Oahu, with 13 on Kauai and three from Hawaii Island. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. DOH expects more cases in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

DOH will post the latest mumps cases online at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/ at 12 noon every Thursday. The site offers current information about the state’s ongoing investigation.

Plywood Cup Challenge This Saturday – Proceeds Benefit Local Programs of United Cerebral Palsy

The 2017 Transpacific Yacht Race is holding its Plywood Cup Challenge at the Kaneohe Yacht Club this Saturday, July 22, starting at 9 a.m. The family-friendly event, in its 26th year, benefits the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii (UCPA) and is the ultimate challenge for racing enthusiasts young and old. Participants get the opportunity to build a boat with provided materials and race it against the clock and other competitors.

Teams of up to ten members are supplied with the same materials and tools and have just two hours to construct a boat. Race planning and tactics for the triangular course are allowed one hour. Entrants can participate by either sponsoring a team or forming a team. Space is limited to twenty teams and all entry fees are tax deductible.

Visit www.ucpahi.org to learn more. Register by emailing ucpa@ucpahi.org or calling 808-532-6744.

UH Hilo Adds Australia to List of Countries with Formal Collaborative Ties

Student pharmacists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) are now able to formally expand their educational experiences to the Land Down Under following an agreement with an educational partner in Australia.

UH Hilo has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Blackmores Institute, an academic and research organization headquartered in the northern Sydney suburb of Warriewood, New South Wales.

“We are excited to partner with Blackmores Institute,” said DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma. “This MOU signifies our commitment to giving our students the most competitive education possible while fulfilling our mission to establish a global identity.”

The agreement establishes a program called the “U.S. BI Student Pharmacist Intern Program” that promotes the exchange of international experiences. Students will have the opportunity to get credit through elective Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience courses, which all fourth-year students in the professional program must take before obtaining a Pharm.D.

“Blackmores Institute’s focus on advancing the knowledge and research on complementary medicine dovetails nicely with our own emphasis on natural products,” said Ma.

Blackmores Institute, with regional offices in Singapore and Malaysia, is the academic and professional arm of Blackmores Limited, an Australian natural health company. In addition to UH Hilo, the Institute also collaborates with Taylor’s University in Malaysia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

Leslie Braun, director of Blackmores Institute, said that DKICP’s student pharmacist intern program supports their commitment to developing and delivering education that translates evidence into practical skills relevant to contemporary pharmacy practice and patient-centered care.

“Blackmores Institute welcomes this new MOU with UH Hilo as an opportunity to work with a like-minded body in advancing the quality use of complementary medicine in pharmacy practice,” Braun said. “We look forward to a mutually rewarding and productive collaboration with the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.”

Ma said she looks forward to the possibility of expanding research and clinical practice opportunities among mutual partners.

“We already have in common working relationships with universities in Thailand, such as Chulalongkorn and Rangsit Universities, so we have a good start at developing new and exciting possibilities in the field of natural products health care,” Ma noted.

The first DKICP student pharmacists will travel to Australia for a six-week advanced fourth-year rotation later this fall.

5th Annual Big Island Summer Jam

The Big Island Substance Abuse Council (BISAC) will be celebrating their 5th annual Summer Jam event.  This event is scheduled for July 29, 2017 at Hilo’s Edith Kanaka`ole Multi-purpose Stadium.

The event begins at 8:00 a.m. and finishes at 3:00 p.m.  This year’s event will include a craft fair with over 40 vendors, health fair, keiki activities, Strong Man contest and an Arm Wrestling competition.   The event’s purpose is to provide a free fun-filled event for the whole family.   BISAC will be honoring Judge Greg Nakamura for his years of service in Hawaii County Drug Court.

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

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

Hawaii Department of Health Reminds Food Establishments of Law Prohibiting Use of Latex Gloves

Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) food safety inspectors will begin stepping up enforcement of a State law that bans the use of latex gloves by Hawaii’s food service industry.

Act 180, which took effect Jan. 1, 2017, prohibits the use of latex gloves by personnel working in food establishments. DOH has asked the Hawaii Restaurant Association, Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association, the Hawaii Food Industry Association and the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Associations to remind their members about the latex glove prohibition.

“Enforcing the prohibition will be a routine part of our food safety inspections,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the state’s food safety program. “Our inspectors and field staff will be checking food establishments to ensure that workers are not using latex gloves, and educating management and staff about the new law.”

Non-compliance with the law may result in fines of up to $10,000 for each offense. Violations of the ban will not affect a food establishment’s placard status.

The original measure, SB911 SD2 HD2 CD1, was co-introduced in 2015 by State Sen. Rosalyn Baker and former senator Suzanne Chun-Oakland and signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2016. The purpose of the bill is to prevent the occurrence of severe and potentially life threatening allergic reactions such as impaired breathing and anaphylaxis by those who are sensitive to latex. An estimated three million people in the U.S. are allergic to latex, according to the American Latex Allergy Association.

DOH requires all food-handlers who come into contact with ready-to-eat food products to use gloves to prevent the occurrence of food illnesses. Non-latex and nitrile gloves are readily available and currently used by employees in both the food service and health care industries.

DOH’s Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawaii’s 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 foodborne illnesses and potential adulteration 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 food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

For more information on the department’s food safety program, go to: http://health.hawaii.gov/san/.

Costco Violates Hawaii HI-5 Rule – Ordered to Pay Fine

Costco Wholesale Corporation has paid a fine of $4,799.40 for violating State deposit beverage container (DBC) requirements.On April 24, 2017, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) sent a Request for Information letter to Costco requesting that the company submit sales information for auditing purposes. Despite more than 15 emails and telephone calls, Costco remained non-cooperative in providing the requested information in violation of the DBC Program audit authority specified in Hawaii Revised Statutes §342G-121.

DOH issued a Notice of Violation and Order (NOVO) against the company on June 13, 2017. Costco paid an administrative fine of $4,799.40 on July 12, 2017. Costco also provided the requested sales information and submitted a letter summarizing its procedure for generating sales data, satisfying the compliance requirements set forth in the NOVO.

Darren Park, manager of the department’s Deposit Beverage Container Program, said it is important for wholesalers and distributors to comply with requests from the DOH which administers the “HI-5” recycling program.

“The program relies on self-reported data, so the department conducts audits and inspection activities to ensure accuracy and completeness of information submitted, which helps to prevent fraud and financial harm to the State,” Park said. “Overall, the recycling program reduces litter at our parks and beaches and has kept billions of bottles and cans out of our garbage.”

More than 600 million deposit beverage containers are recycled annually at certified redemption centers that otherwise would be landfilled or end up littering Hawaii’s environment. Since 2005, Hawaii’s residents have recycled nearly 8 billion deposit beverage containers through the DBC Program.

Hawaii Department of Health Confirms 11 New Cases of Mumps – Total Now at 154

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed eleven (11) new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 154. Seven (7) of the new cases of individuals are adults. Ten (10) of the cases are from Oahu and one is from Kauai. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering.  More cases are expected in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

To help prevent the spread of mumps, ensure that your family is fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.  All adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps and who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive one MMR dose.

Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose.  Although it is not ideal, receiving extra doses of the vaccine poses no medical problem.

All children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. The first dose is given at age 12–15 months and the second dose routinely at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of also four weeks after the first dose).

Patients suspected or diagnosed with mumps should remain at home to avoid spreading the disease to others. According to Hawaii State Law, a person with mumps may not attend school, work or travel for nine (9) days after the onset of parotitis (swelling of the salivary glands).Mumps is spread easily through coughing, sneezing and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands.  Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw, tiredness and muscle aches.

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.  More information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

EPA Requires Matheson Tri-Gas Kapolei to Close Illegal Cesspools

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with Matheson Tri-Gas to close three cesspools at its Kapolei facility on Oahu.

Click to read the consent agreement and final order

In May 2016, EPA inspected the Matheson Tri-Gas facility, a commercial gas supply company in the Campbell Industrial Park, and found two large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) in use. EPA regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act required closure of all existing LCCs by April 5, 2005.

Matheson, which acquired the facility in 2015, will close the two LCCs and convert to a septic system. The company will pay a civil penalty of $88,374 for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and spend $50,000 on a supplemental environmental project to close an on-site small-capacity cesspool. Matheson expects to complete the closure of all three cesspools and convert to a septic system by the end of 2017.

“Matheson has agreed to not only close and replace its LCCs with approved systems, but will also close an additional small-capacity cesspool at its facility,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA will continue to focus on closing illegal cesspools to protect Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal water resources.”

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. Groundwater provides 99 percent of all domestic water in Hawaii, where cesspools are used more widely than in any other state. Since EPA banned LCCs in 2005, over 3,000 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance. The ban does not apply to individual cesspools connected to single-family homes.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement visit:

https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#oahu

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

National Accreditation Board Approves Eight-Year Tenure for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) has graduated to the next step in national recognition by attaining full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) for a full eight years for the first time.
ACPE is the national accreditation body that evaluates all colleges of pharmacy in the nation. They sent the results after the June 21-24 Executive Board Meeting in Chicago to Chancellor Donald Straney and DKICP Dean Carolyn Ma.

“This is affirmation of the significance of maintaining excellence in all ways at UH Hilo,” said Chancellor Straney. “As DKICP passes the 10-year anniversary as the only College of Pharmacy in the Pacific Region, we can celebrate with all stakeholders, both at the University level and in the community, to recognize their hard work that has gotten us this far.”

DKICP was found to be “compliant” or “compliant with monitoring” in all 25 standards set by ACPE with no “partial” or “noncompliant” findings. In a prior ACPE evaluation in 2015, DKICP was granted full accreditation for two years with the provision that it was “contingent on continuous progress” and monitored by ACPE.

This year’s positive assessment was determined by a combination of a site visit as well as from a 110-page self-study compiled by faculty, staff, students, preceptors, administrators and community members from the Dean’s Advisory Council.

The ACPE survey team, representing faculty and administration from several notable pharmacy schools, practitioners in the field, and the ACPE accreditation staff, conducted the on-site evaluation in Hilo and Honolulu during the week of March 7-9.

According to their report, particular attention was made to the progress and changes that have occurred since the last focused on-site evaluation in fall 2014. It cited the appointment of a new dean as well as new chairs for each of the College’s departments.

The report to the Board noted that while research is still regarded critical activity for faculty, the College has revisited its mission and vision so that “evaluative expectations have been revised to more realistic levels.”

Other changes noted in the report include progress on construction for the College’s permanent building.

“As we all recall, accreditation was at risk previously when we couldn’t prove support for a permanent building,” Dean Ma said. “This time when the survey team visited, they could see concrete evidence that building has begun, and that we have a clear future. We are forever appreciative to the many members of our College, the community and the legislature who rallied behind us.”

Citing “good support” from the University, the report showed encouragement by future developments in interprofessional education, which includes working with members from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and public health.

The accreditation term granted for the Doctor of Pharmacy program extends until June 30, 2025.

Hospice of Kona’s Royal Tea Fundraiser Set for Sunday August 13th

Raise a pinkie finger as you sip hot tea and cold Champagne at the Hospice of Kona Royal Tea Party. This ninth annual event — which is a fundraiser for Hospice of Kona’s residential hospice home, Nakamaru Hale — will be held on Sunday, August 13 from 11am -1pm at the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort.

Guests will enjoy a traditional high tea with a Hawaiian twist as the chef creates tasty mini sandwiches, pastries, scones and much more with local fruits and vegetables. Tickets are just $55; purchase a commemorative Champagne glass and receive unlimited Champagne or mimosas at the event. Table purchases include commemorative glasses for each guest plus a special gift item for the purchaser.  Discounts available online only at www.HOKRoyalTea.com.

Guests are invited to wear festive hats and outfits as they enjoy live music, performances by Kona Dance & Performing Arts and an extensive silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind jewelry, works by local artists, activities, services, gift certificates and more.

“The community really comes out for this celebration of life, love, friendship — and great hats!” said Laura Varney, Hospice of Kona CEO. “The support we receive goes a long way to ensuring that we can continue to provide our Nakamaru Hale residents and their families with the best hospice and palliative care available.”

To date, the event is sponsored by Ultimate Electric, Altres Staffing, Big Island Honda, ChoiceMART, The Wave@92FM and XpressReprographics.  Additional sponsorships are available online or by contacting alex@pivotalshiftconsulting.com.

Nakamaru Hale provides a comforting and compassionate home-like setting for up to five hospice patients who need an alternative to home care. The hale offers respite, transitional or longer-term care during the final months of life. Hospice of Kona’s health care team works closely with patient, family and doctors as they develop a customized plan to care for physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.

Sewer Spill in Vicinity of Wailuku River, Kaipalaoa Landing

Location of Discharge: Vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Description:  Discharge of untreated wastewater at shoreline in the vicinity of Wailuku River and Kaipalaoa Landing in Hilo, Hawai‘i

Cause of Discharge:  The cause of the discharge was due to wastewater entering the Storm Drain system from a broken sewer lateral at the corner of Waiānuenue Avenue and Kino‘ole St.

Remedial Action Taken:  While the discharge into the Storm Drai n system was small and estimated to be in the order of one (1) gallon per hour; the shoreline area in the vicinity of the Storm Drain discharge has been posted with Warning Signs in accordance with State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health requirements and the sign-posted area is closed to recreational activity until further notice.

The Wastewater Division is testing shoreline waters in the vicinity of the discharge.  Testing will continue until authorization is obtained from the State of Hawai`i, Department of Health to remove Warning Signs posted in the area.  The County is currently in the process of coordinating repair of the broken sewer lateral.

UH Cancer Center Researcher Receives $20,000 Fulbright Award

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD, a researcher in the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center’s Cancer Epidemiology Program, has received a $20,000 Fulbright Award. It will enable her to research the relation of obesity, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer in Caucasian and Asian women.

Gertraud Maskarinec, MD, PhD

The research will address the global health problems of obesity, diabetes and breast cancer. As a nutritional epidemiologist, Maskarinec will perform comparative research using new statistical methods for six weeks at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland; one month at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, U.K.; and six weeks at the Research Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. In addition she will give lectures and seminars in the area of her research, in particular nutritional epidemiology and ethnic differences in disease risk.

“No greater example of the continued importance of international education can be found than in the determination and drive of our 2017-18 grantees. These students, academics and professionals have identified the relevance of intercultural cooperation to their careers,” said Amy Moore, director of the Fulbright Awards Program.

The Fulbright Commission provides awards for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission selects scholars through a rigorous application and interview process, looking for academic excellence alongside a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright program and a plan to give back to the U.S. upon returning.

Landmark Cost of Living Reduction Bill to be Signed Into Law

Gov. David Ige will sign House Bill 209, a landmark cost of living reduction bill, into law on Monday, July 10 in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office.

HB 209 establishes a state earned income tax credit, mirroring the federal earned income tax credit, to help low-income workers retain a larger percentage of their yearly income. The bill also permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit, which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food.

“Creating a state-level earned income tax credit is the most significant anti-poverty measure passed by the Legislature in decades,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

HB 209 is a financially responsible measure that is financed through the restoration of the highest income tax brackets that existed until 2015.

“HB 209 is all about helping working people keep more of what they make. At its core, it’s a compassionate, fair, and responsible reform to tax policy that helps to alleviate Hawaii’s oppressive cost of living,” said Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, author and introducer of the bill.

According to the Department of Taxation, HB 209 will give $130 million back to low-income families in the first six years of the credit. More than 107,000 people claim the federal earned income tax credit and would potentially be able to claim the state credit. Additionally, the Refundable Food/Excise Portion amounts to $110 per exemption per claimant.

New Service for Cancer Patients at North Hawaii Community Hospital

North Hawai’i Community Hospital will host a support group for cancer patients from throughout Hawai’i Island, as well as their families and caregivers, starting on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The meeting will be held at the hospital from 2 to 4 pm; there is no charge and no RVSP is required.

The support group will offer educational presentations on a variety of topics of interest to cancer patients and their families, as well as informal discussion in a relaxed and supportive environment. The group will be facilitated by

Corey McCullough, licensed social worker at North Hawai’i Community Hospital, and Crissy Kuehn, RN, Cancer Center patient navigator, North Hawai’i Community Hospital.

“Being able to provide support to cancer patients and their families is extremely important,” said Dr. Gary Goldberg, Chief Medical Officer at North Hawai’i Community Hospital. “A support group provides a unique opportunity to discuss and share with others in similar circumstances. People often have complex questions – a support group offers time and resources to address those concerns and help reduce anxiety.”

Corey McCullough, LSW, is a licensed social worker at North Hawai’i Community Hospital and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has worked in the hospital, rehab, hospice and home health environments.

Crissy Kuehn, RN, ONN-CG, OCN, is the oncology nurse navigator at North Hawai’i Community Hospital’s Cancer Center. As a patient navigator, Crissy provides education and works as a liaison between the patient and various resources and members of the health care team.

The guest speaker on July 20 will be Angela Wolfenberger, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietician at North Hawai’i Community Hospital, who will talk about healthy eating habits and will be available to answer any questions cancer patients or their caregivers may have.

For more information, please call 881-4417.

10 More Confirmed Cases of Mumps in Hawaii – Total Cases Now Up to 143

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed ten (10) more cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 143. Six (6) of the additional cases of individuals are adults and four (4) are Kauai residents.

None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. Including this week’s reported cases, there have been eight (8) confirmed mumps cases on Kauai this year. More cases are expected in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

Mumps is spread easily through coughing, sneezing and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands. Symptoms include fever, headaches, swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw, tiredness and muscle aches.To prevent the spread of mumps in our community, people who are suspected or diagnosed with mumps are advised to stay at home to avoid exposing others and to contact their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, everyone is asked to review their immunization records to ensure they are fully vaccinated.

All adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps and who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive one MMR dose. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second MMR vaccine dose. The second dose for adults is recommended at a minimum of four weeks after the first vaccine dose.

All children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine which protects against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella. The first dose is given at age 12–15 months and the second dose routinely at 4–6 years of age. However, due to the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of also four weeks after the first dose).

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

More information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

Hawaii Department of Water Supply Apologizes – Special Community Forum July 20th

“The current conditions are critical and we need to act now to prevent a potential catastrophe.”  ~ State Senator Josh Green

Due to the emergency nature of the current and prolonged water restrictions in North Kona and the greater Kona area, we have scheduled this special forum event during the normal West Hawaii Forum series summer break of July-August.   July 20, 2017 at 6pm West Hawaii Community Center

During this forum, we expect officials from DWS to explain the how and why of the current water emergency.

We will also explore, with the help of our community forum audience;

  1. why the agency was not better prepared for critical equipment failures and service disruptions,
  2. why it will take nearly an entire year to fully restore water service to the Kona area,
  3. the lessons learned from this experience and prevention plans to avoid potential future service disruptions and impaired operations.
  4. And we will also explore DWS power dependency and relationship to customer water supply services.

The seriousness of the current area water emergency cannot be emphasized enough.

The Forum’s featured speakers include:

Keith Okamoto, Manager and Chief Engineer of Department of Water Supply along with Kawika Uyehara, DWS Deputy, Kurt Inaba, Head of Engineering, and Clyde Young, DWS Lead Mechanical Engineer.

This forum will feature a new and improved audio listening experience. We look forward to seeing you there.

Continue reading

Newly Enacted Laws Support Women’s Health, Improves Healthcare Access, Protects Children

Members of the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) were on hand as Governor David Ige signed several measures into law which provide greater assurance for families who utilize child care services, supports women’s health and access to healthcare, and addresses the growing opioid abuse epidemic.

The three measures signed into law were part of a package of bills submitted this session by the WLC.  An additional resolution, HCR 158, was adopted by the Legislature. HCR 158 encourages the continuation and expansion of community-based work furlough programs to assist female inmates transition back into society.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bi-partisan organization comprised of women legislators in the House and Senate, as well as the County level, who support an agenda designed to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Hawai‘i.

“I’m pleased the Governor joins us in striving to make our state stronger by supporting women and families,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (S Dist. 6 – South and West Maui) and WLC Co-convener. “It’s a joy to work alongside these women legislators who consider the health, safety and well-being of the women and families of our state as a priority.”

“We are a caucus that is persistent. We not only passed bills, we also passed key resolutions that really build upon the collaboration of state, county and community stakeholders,” said Representative Della Au Bellati (H Dist. 24 – Makiki, Tantalus, McCully, Pawa‘a, Mānoa) and WLC Co-convener. “Signing the bill is just one thing, we now have to implement these measures. So, by partnering with our department agencies and folks within the communities, we make sure these bills actually deliver on the policies we put in place.”

The House and Senate bills signed by the Governor today:

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1 (Act 66) Relating to Health

Requires prescribing healthcare providers to adopt and maintain policies for informed consent to opioid therapy in circumstances that carry elevated risk of dependency. An informed consent process is considered a best practice in tackling over prescriptions of opioids. Establishes limits for concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Clarifies Board of Nursing authority to enforce compliance with Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Repeals 6/30/2023.

SB513 SD1 HD2 CD1 (Act 67) Relating to Contraceptive Supplies

Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements. Enables pharmacists to be reimbursed for prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.

SB514 SD1 HD1 CD1 (Act 68) Relating to Health

Authorizes pharmacists to administer the human papillomavirus, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal, or influenza vaccine to persons between eleven and seventeen years of age. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to administering the human papillomavirus, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal, or influenza vaccine.

Kona Water Restriction Update

This is a Department of Water Supply Water Restriction update for Monday, July 3, at 4:00  p.m.

The Department’s Keahuolū Deepwell is out of service and currently being repaired. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes) only. Cease all irrigation activities.

Work to install the replacement pump and motor continues. Crews will continue to work double shifts and throughout the Fourth of July holiday to complete repairs. Completion is still expected by Sunday, July 9.

DWS appreciates everyone’s assistance and continued cooperation. Due to your help, water service has been maintained to all users.

DWS will continue to monitor for unnecessary water use.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, a water tanker is located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street and a water spigot on a fire hydrant along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School.

Please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org for more information. To report wasteful water use, call the Department of Water Supply. During normal business hours – 961-8060. After-hours and emergencies – 961-8790.

The next update is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, at 4:00 p.m.

Hawaii Department of Water Supply Water Restriction Update

This is a Department of Water Supply Water Restriction update for Sunday, July 2, at 2:00 p.m.

The Department’s Keahuolū Deepwell is out of service and currently being repaired.

ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes) only. Cease all irrigation activities.

Work to install the replacement pump and motor continues. Crews are working double shifts to complete repairs as soon as possible. Based on available information from the field, repairs are anticipated to be completed by Sunday, July 9.

DWS appreciates everyone’s assistance and continued cooperation. Due to your help, water service has been maintained to all users.

DWS will continue to monitor for unnecessary water use.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, a water tanker is located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street and a water spigot on a fire hydrant along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School.

Please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org for more information. To report wasteful water use, call the Department of Water Supply. During normal business hours – 961-8060. After-hours and emergencies – 961-8790.

The next update is scheduled for Monday, July 3, at 4:00 p.m.

Update on Emergency Water Restriction Notice – Store Water in Event of Service Disruptions

This is an update for the Emergency Water Restriction notice. The Department’s Keahuolū Deepwell is out of service and currently being repaired. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking and hygiene purposes) only. Cease all irrigation activities.

Repairs are currently under way. Troubleshooting aboveground equipment yesterday and last night indicated that the problem occurred underground. Contractor is currently on site and the extraction of pump and motor has begun today. There is a spare pump and motor for this well, which is currently on site. Based on this information, the repairs are anticipated to be completed within a week and a half.

More details on completion date will be available as further progress is made. Adjustments were made to the water system to provide customers a minimum level of water service; and thus far, there were no reports of loss of water service. The DWS appreciates everyone’s assistance and asks for everyone’s continued cooperation, because without it, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures. We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

As of this afternoon, DWS has suspended service to all temporary service and irrigation accounts. DWS will be actively restricting specific accounts due to exorbitant water use.

For the community’s use, potable water distribution stations are at the following locations:

  • Ane Keohokalole Hwy., between Kealakehe Parkway and KealakeheHigh School
  • Hina Lani between Anini Street and Manu Merle Street

For information, please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. You can also call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8060 or 961-8790 for more information or to report wasteful water use during normal business hours.

For after-hours emergencies, please call 961-8790.