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Real-Life CSI Coming to Kona

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is offering a class on Introduction to Forensics: Real-Life CSI in Kailua-Kona.

CSI

Classes will be held at Kealakehe Intermediate School (Room TBA) on Tuesdays from 5 – 7 p.m., September 13 to November 22, with no session on November 8. Tuition is $150. The textbook Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science, 8th edition by Richard Saferstein is required.

This non-credit class will introduce participants to the field of forensic science. Evidence collected at a crime scene can often tell the story of a criminal act if properly interpreted. Detection and analysis of DNA traces, fiber, hair, body fluids, fingerprints, footprints, toxic substances and illegal drugs are fundamental to the forensic scientist’s craft.

The instructor is Dr. Kristal Uhl-Blacksmith, an environmental engineering consultant and former mortician, who has taught biology, anatomy and forensics.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.

Oahu Man Indicted on Charges of Possession & Distribution of Child Porn

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Jeffrey P. Bettis has been indicted for criminal charges related to the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Bettis is accused of disseminating eight (8) images of children being sexually exploited. He is also accused of possessing one hundred four (104) images and thirty (30) videos of children being sexually exploited, with at least twenty-nine (29) of the images and seventeen (17) of the videos depicting children under the age of twelve. The investigation was conducted by the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Chin said of the charges: “Possessing and disseminating child pornography is child abuse. Every time someone views these images, the victim suffers more abuse. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force’s mission is to prosecute this sick behavior.”

Bettis is fifty (50) years old. An Oahu grand jury indicted him for two counts of promoting child abuse in the second degree, a class B felony.  Each count is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Bail is set at $11,000 and a bench warrant has been issued for Bettis’ arrest.

Bettis is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Big Island Police Name “Officers of the Month” for July & August

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Puna Patrol Officers Eddie Cardines and Whitman McCallum on Thursday (August 25) as “Officers of the Month” for July and Vice Officer Zenas Pacheco as “Officer of the Month” for August.

Officers of the Month for July: Whitman McCallum and Eddie Cardines

Officers of the Month for July: Whitman McCallum and Eddie Cardines

Officers Cardines and McCallum were honored for their actions that led to the immediate capture of a triple homicide suspect. Officer Pacheco was commended for reducing the supply of methamphetamine in East Hawaiʻi.

In the early hours of May 6, Officers Cardines and McCallum were dispatched to a report of a possible gunshot victim in Leilani Estates. As they were trying to locate the house, McCallum noticed a vehicle leaving the area without its lights on. He alerted his fellow officers and attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver evaded him and drove away. Officer Cardines caught up with the vehicle a block away and made a felony traffic stop. After the suspect was apprehended, Cardines inspected the car, preserved critical evidence in danger of being washed away by a sudden downpour of rain, and made observations that ultimately led to the discovery of a woman’s body in the trunk.

Once the suspect had been secured, McCallum joined another officer to check the suspect’s house, where they discovered the bodies of two young children.

Sergeant Brandon Konanui said the actions of McCallum and Cardines led to the preservation of evidence and the “quick capture of a highly dangerous suspect.”

Officer of the Month for August: Zenas Pacheco

Officer of the Month for August: Zenas Pacheco

Officer Pacheco’s award was for seizing what Acting Lieutenant Brian Miller described as an “unheard of” amount of methamphetamine in East East Hawaiʻi. “Within the past two months, Officer Pacheco has recovered approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine, which was headed to high-level drug suppliers in East Hawaiʻi,” Miller wrote in nomination papers.

In one case, a suspect who was in the custody of Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center had been distributing meth while out on work furlough. Pacheco recovered 11.5 ounces of the drug after executing a search warrant on the inmate’s car in June.

Officer Pacheco developed enough information to conduct a joint operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration in July on the supplier of the man arrested in June. They recovered more than 5 pounds of meth, leading to the arrest of the supplier, who is facing a mandatory 10-year sentence to federal prison.

As “Officer of the Month,” the honored officers are eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.

Avocado Thieves Caught Red Handed

Two men are being held on charges after being arrested for allegedly stealing avocados from an orchard in Puna.

In response to a 4:45 p.m. call Wednesday, Puna District officers learned that the owner of an orchard off Highway 132 in the Kapoho area had confronted two men and a woman in a pickup truck on his property after observing 80 pounds of avocados in the bed of the truck. The owner and a friend had blocked the truck and called the police.

Max Mattos

Max Mattos

The two men, 49-year-old Max Mattos of Keaʻau and 33-year-old Kawika Nobriga of Pāhoa, were arrested and charged with second-degree criminal trespass and second-degree theft. Their bail was set at $2,500 each.

Kawika Nobriga

Kawika Nobriga

The woman, 30-year-old Sabrina Jaeger of Pāhoa, was arrested on a bench warrant and charged with contempt of court. She was released after posting $300 bail.
Sabrina Jaeger
Mattos and Nobriga are being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending their initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (August 25).

Hawaii TSA Worker/Department of Human Services Worker Busted for “Double Dipping”

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Ms. Roselani Wise was sentenced last month after pleading no contest to theft in the second degree for receiving unearned compensation from the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services (DHS) from 2008 through 2012. During that four year period, Wise was employed as an Investigator for DHS. An investigation revealed, however, that while Wise was supposed to be working at her job at DHS, she was simultaneously working for – and being paid by – the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Lihue Airport.

Roselani Wise

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Public employees can hold outside employment as long as it is not legally prohibited. In this case, however, Ms. Wise claimed to be working for DHS during the same exact time she was actually working for TSA. That is theft of state money and that is why she was prosecuted.”

Due in part to her lack of prior criminal history, Wise was granted a deferred acceptance of no contest plea by Judge Randal Valenciano on July 21, 2016. The terms of Wise’s sentencing include five (5) years of probation, restitution to the State of Hawaii in the amount of nine-thousand seven-hundred-one dollars and thirty-two cents ($9,701.32), and 200 hours of community service. Wise is also required to pay eight-hundred ninety-five dollars ($895) to the Crime Victim Compensation Commission.

Theft in the second degree, a violation of section 708-831, Hawaii Revised Statutes is a class C felony.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Volcano Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Volcano girl who was reported missing.

Casey Baker-Fien

Casey Baker-Fien

Casey Baker-Fien was last seen in Volcano on August 4.

She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-3, 140 pounds with blue eyes and dark brown shoulder-length hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 70-Year-Old Honoka’a Woman

UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 70-year-old Eileen Takako Windrath of Honokaʻa, who had been reported missing.

She returned home safely Wednesday morning (August 24).

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EPA Closes Pflueger Stormwater Case After Successful Restoration of Kauai Property

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the successful conclusion of its case against James Pflueger for construction activities that damaged his former property and the beach and coral reefs at Pila’a on Kauai. The consent decree settling the Clean Water Act violations was closed after Pflueger stabilized and restored the slopes and streams.

Pflueger Stormwater Case“Thanks to the work completed under this settlement, this once-degraded land has a healthy population of native trees and shrubs and restored stream channels,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “With continued care by the new owners, these restoration efforts can be sustained for the future.”

EPA initiated its case after Pflueger conducted extensive grading and construction at the 378-acre coastal site without obtaining necessary Clean Water Act permits. Those activities included excavating a hillside to expose a 40-foot vertical road cut, grading a coastal plateau, creating new access roads to the coast, and dumping dirt and rock into three perennial streams. As a result, massive discharges of sediment-laden stormwater flowed to the ocean at Pila’a Bay in November 2001.

The settlement required Pflueger to build a wall to stabilize the road cut adjacent to the shoreline, remove dam material in streams, install erosion controls on roadways and trails, terrace slopes to slow runoff, use native plants to control erosion, and control invasive plants and animals on the property. He was also required to reconstruct natural rock-lined stream beds and reestablish native plants along the banks.

The 2006 stormwater settlement was the largest for federal Clean Water Act violations at a single site, by a single landowner, in the United States. Pflueger paid $2 million in penalties to the State of Hawaii and the United States, and was expected to spend approximately $5.3 million to conduct the required restoration efforts.

The State of Hawaii was a co-plaintiff in EPA’s case against Pflueger, and the settlement was joined by the Limu Coalition and Kilauea neighborhood organizations, which had also filed a lawsuit against Pflueger.

EPA and local community organizations involved in the settlement conducted oversight inspections throughout a ten-year restoration effort that was slowed by funding obstacles and the necessity of adapting the restoration projects to changing field conditions.

Hawaii is 2016’s Best State for Women’s Equality

With Women’s Equality Day just three days away and the U.S. in 28th position on the Global Gender Gap Index — falling eight places since 2014 — the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality.
equalityIn order to determine the most gender-egalitarian states, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across 15 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity between women’s and men’s unemployment rates.

Women’s Equality in Hawaii (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 1st – Earnings Disparity
  • 7th – Executive Positions Disparity
  • 5th – Work Hours Disparity
  • 1st – Educational Attainment Disparity (Among Bachelor’s Degree Holders)
  • 5th – Minimum-Wage Workers Disparity
  • 1st – Unemployment Rate Disparity
  • 8th – Entrepreneurship Rate Disparity
  • 1st – Political Representation Disparity

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-women-equality/5835/

Police Making Two “Active Shooter” Presentations in North Kohala

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make two “active shooter” presentations in North Kohala on Saturday (August 27).
Active Shooter
The presentations, which are open to the public by reservation only, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Kohala Inter-Generational Center located at Kamehameha Park.

The presentations are designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident. Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

Seating is limited. Persons wishing to attend must make a reservation by contacting the Hawaiʻi Community Federal Credit Union at 930-7700 or marketing@hicommfcu.com.

Persons unable to attend may obtain “active shooter” information by viewing the “Active Shooter/Violence Awareness” page on the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s website (www.hawaiipolice.com) under the “Services” tab.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Dissolves UPW Injuction; Maui Hospitals Transition May Proceed

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today issued an order dissolving an injunction that had temporarily barred certain transition activities relating to Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Communty Hospital. Based upon a settlement agreement reached on August 13, 2016 between Governor and the United Public Workers union and a joint request from both parties, the Court dismissed the underlying appeal brought by UPW as moot.

Attorney General Chin said, “During oral arguments before the 9th Circuit, the judges made clear to both UPW and the State that it preferred seeing the parties settle instead of the court making an all or nothing decision. Reaching compromise is not always easy. I thank Governor Ige and the union leadership for finding a forward path.”

Click to read

Click to read

In 2015, the Hawaii state legislature passed a law ending the Hawaii Health System Corporation’s delivery of health care services at the three Maui region facilities and transferring service delivery to a private operator. UPW had sued to stop the transition from taking place. Today’s order means that all transition activities between the State and a new Kaiser entity, Maui Health System, may resume at the three Maui region facilities.

Attorney Filing Lawsuits on Behalf of Hawaii Residents Who Got Hepatitis A

Attorney Wayne Parson will be filing lawsuits on behalf of Hawai‘i residents who got hepatitis A as a result of contaminated scallops eaten at one of the Genki Sushi restaurants in the islands.

Genki Sushi

Lawsuits for people who have contracted hepatitis A in this outbreak will not be part of a “class action”. These will be individual lawsuits for each affected person because the injury suffered by each person is unique to that person. The lawsuits will be filed in state Circuit Court which is the main court for jury trials in Hawai‘i. Since there will be multiple lawsuits, it is not uncommon for the court to assign the cases to a single judge for the purposes of having consistency in rulings by the court on pretrial matters and an orderly setting of cases for trial.

For more detailed questions call his office at 808-845-2211 or his mobile phone at 808-753-0290. There will be no charge for this call. It is most important that people get answers to their health questions so the injuries can be prevented or the harm minimized.

He is currently involved in 30+ lawsuits filed on behalf of Hawai‘i residents who suffered liver damage as a result of another food product. His office has great experience in helping people with injury to their liver get back on their feet. In those other cases, as well as the upcoming cases to be filed in regard to the contaminated scallops, he will be working with Andrews & Thornton, a mainland law firm, which has a long history of success in representing persons who have suffered damage to their liver from food products. In these types of cases he works on a contingency fee which means that the lawyers do not get paid unless and until money is recovered for the injured person. All litigation costs are paid by his firm and Andrews & Thornton. The fact that two law firms are working on the cases together does not mean an increased fee.

The fee will be the same as charged for a single law firm and my firm and Andrews & Thornton divide up the standard fee. The client gets the benefit of two law firms for the price of one. The client also will have him as their local lawyer to be responsible for all aspects of the case. Anne Andrews has developed national prominence in legal circles for representing people who have suffered injuries like those suffered by the patrons of Genki Sushi who ate the contaminated scallops.

Some people have called him over the weekend with questions about what they should do if they ate the scallops at Genki Sushi but have not become ill.  The answer is that they should go to a doctor and get a blood test to see if they have hepatitis A. They should then follow the doctor’s directions going forward.  The incubation period for hepatitis A is 15 – 60 days and people should be alert to the following symptoms according to the CDC:

Some persons, particularly young children, are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present, they usually occur abruptly and can include the following:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

If you ate at Genki Sushi and develop any of these symptoms go to your doctor  or an emergency room and get a blood test to find out  if you have hepatitis A.

Remember  that hepatitis A can be  spread  by human contact  and therefore  is important to find out if  a person has contracted hepatitis A. Since the incubation period can stretch up 60 days the fact that a person does not have symptoms is not completely reassuring. so they don’t spread it to family members and friends. It is equally  important to know that you could  contract hepatitis A even though you didn’t eat  the contaminated scallops but had contact  with someone  who has contracted  hepatitis A from the scallops. The Hawaii  Department of Health  has been outstanding  in  managing this outbreak and getting information to the public  that will allow people to protect themselves.  Following  daily announcements  at the Department of Health website  is the best way  to get the latest information on how to protect you and your family.

Wayne Parsons Law Offices, (808) 845-2211

www.wayneparsons.com

Hawaii Governor Extends Emergency Homeless Proclamation

Gov. David Y. Ige today signed a sixth supplemental proclamation on homelessness, which will remain in effect until Oct. 19. The supplemental proclamation provides 60 additional days in which to further expand the state’s collaborative efforts to house the most visible and chronic homeless individuals.  In the past year, the proclamations have helped more than 4,800 people — representing 1,353 families — move out of homelessness or prevent it altogether.

Click tor read

Click tor read

“The tide is turning,” said the Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige.  “Collectively, our state is moving forward with a unified strategy that addresses three levers of change: affordable housing, health & human services and public safety. All stakeholders are working together in unison across multiple sectors. This coordinated and persistent approach is moving people off the streets,” he said.

Lever One: Affordable Housing

A major priority for the Ige Administration is to increase affordable housing. The proclamations allowed for emergency housing of approximately 300 homeless individuals who were in jeopardy of being displaced after federal budget cuts to seven local organizations.

impact1Additionally, the proclamations reduced the development time of nine different joint projects with the counties by up to a year per project. These housing projects are specifically designed for homeless individuals and families, including the Family Assessment Center in Kaka`ako Makai, which will open in September and house 240 people per year.  Today’s supplemental proclamation adds two additional City & County of Honolulu long-term housing projects, bringing the total to 11.

Lever Two: Health & Human Services

The proclamations allowed faster distribution of financial resources for permanent housing and to prevent homelessness.  Between August 2015 and July 2016, there was a 51 percent increase in the number of individuals and families moving into housing or preserving housing, as compared to the prior 12-month period.   This includes a 55 percent increase on O‘ahu and a 47 percent increase on the neighbor islands.  The following programs received increased funding:

  • The State Homeless Emergency Grant (SHEG) provides one-time assistance for housing, food, medical and other types of expenses arising from emergency needs.
  • Housing Placement Program (HPP) provides first month’s rent or security deposit, as well as temporary case management, for homeless families with minor children.
  • Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative (CSHI) provides homelessness prevention and Rapid Re-Housing statewide, and increases coordination for the statewide telephone navigation service (2-1-1) for homeless individuals.

impact2

Lever Three: Public Safety

By enabling the quick execution of contracts and allocation of dedicated resources, the emergency proclamations supported the reduction in the number of unsheltered persons in the Kaka`ako Makai area.  The population decreased from a high of approximately 300 unsheltered persons in August 2015 to approximately 50 unsheltered persons in August 2016.

Coast Guard Terminates Voyages of 3 Commercial Fishing Vessels for Safety Violations

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) terminated the voyages of the 79-foot Lady Jackie, the 62-foot commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky and the 82-foot Jennifer Lynn for hazardous conditions and safety violations during a boardings off Honolulu since Aug. 8.

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), with an officer from the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources engaged in a professional exchange, conduct a fisheries boarding aboard a commercial vessel off Honolulu Aug. 8, 2016. The boarding team conducted 21 boardings over 6 days and terminated the voyages of the 79-foot Lady Jackie, the 62-foot commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky and the 82-foot Jennifer Lynn for hazardous conditions and safety violations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349/Released)

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), with an officer from the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources engaged in a professional exchange, conduct a fisheries boarding aboard a commercial vessel off Honolulu Aug. 8, 2016. The boarding team conducted 21 boardings over 6 days and terminated the voyages of the 79-foot Lady Jackie, the 62-foot commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky and the 82-foot Jennifer Lynn for hazardous conditions and safety violations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349/Released)

“Our experience shows that hazardous safety conditions like these often lead to marine casualties with loss of life and that is why we take enforcement so seriously and will turn vessels back to the dock,” said Lt. Ryan Ball, commanding officer, Galveston Island. “Mariners need to understand that they must meet the regulations before putting to sea. It is a matter of safety and ultimately we want to see everyone return home after every voyage.”

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), with an officer from the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources engaged in a professional exchange, conduct a fisheries boarding aboard a commercial vessel off Honolulu Aug. 9, 2016. The boarding team conducted 21 boardings over 6 days and terminated the voyages of the 79-foot Lady Jackie, the 62-foot commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky and the 82-foot Jennifer Lynn for hazardous conditions and safety violations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349/Released)

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), with an officer from the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources engaged in a professional exchange, conduct a fisheries boarding aboard a commercial vessel off Honolulu Aug. 9, 2016. The boarding team conducted 21 boardings over 6 days and terminated the voyages of the 79-foot Lady Jackie, the 62-foot commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky and the 82-foot Jennifer Lynn for hazardous conditions and safety violations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349/Released)

All three vessels were escorted by the Galveston Island crew to the pier in Honolulu. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel are attending the vessels to ensure all discrepancies are rectified prior to any new voyages.

The boarding team from the cutter found discrepancies aboard the vessels including inoperable high water alarms, inoperable and/or expired survival craft, expired distress signals, an expired emergency position indicating radio beacon, a lack of or unserviceable life jackets, crews untrained in first aid or emergency procedures and a failure to conduct regular drills. In one case there was excessive fuel in the bilge and in another the vessel’s commercial fishing vessel safety decal and their registration are both expired.

Mandatory dockside safety exams must be completed for all commercial fishing vessels that operate beyond 3 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline. These exams are free and any discrepancies found at the dock are unlikely to result in fines. Fishing vessel that are required to carry National Marine Fisheries Service observers are required to have a valid decal (un-expired). Mariners interested in scheduling commercial fishing vessel safety exams may contact Charlie Medlicott at 808-535-3417 or Charles.J.Medlicott@uscg.mil.

In addition to the two terminations the crew of the Galveston Island boarded 19 other vessels in the area during their six-day patrol. The crew also hosted a marine resources officer, as part of a professional exchange with the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands is a self governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. It comprises 15 islands whose total land area is 92.7 sq. miles. The Cook Islands’ Exclusive Economic Zone, however, covers 690,000 sq. miles of ocean and borders the U.S. EEZ near American Samoa. The professional exchange was conducted to strengthen partnerships and examine both nations’ approach to fisheries enforcement and safety requirements aboard vessels operating in the Pacific.

The Galveston Island is a 110-foot Island class patrol boat homeported in Honolulu. The cutter is a multi-mission platform with a primary operation area of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Body Found in Boat Off Honoli’i Beach

A body was found in a boat floating off the waters of Honoli’i this afternoon.

Honolii incidentSituation Found at Scene: Upon arrival, .7 mi offshore of Honolii Beach RBT-2 personnel found reporting party in a 13′ Boston Whaler with body floating approximately 15′ away in the open ocean.

Remarks: Rescue Boat 2 personnel located, extricated, and transported body to Wailoa Boat Ramp.  Body turned over to HPD and is investigating.

Hawaii Department of Health Orders Embargo of Frozen Imported Scallops and Closure of Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai

Based on evidence gathered and analyzed during an extensive investigation spanning almost two months, the Hawaii State Department of Health has determined a strong association between a majority of the cases in the Hepatitis A outbreak first announced by the department on July 1, 2016. Investigation findings implicate frozen imported scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants as the likely source of Hepatitis A infection.

Genki Sushi“After determining the strong probable link between the majority of cases, the department immediately notified Genki Sushi Restaurants, ordered the embargo of the frozen scallop product, and the closure of all Oahu and Kauai facilities,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The business has complied with all orders, contacted all of their Hawaii restaurants, and is working with the department to ensure the safety of its customers. Our staff is in the field today working with distributors to embargo the product.”

Department of Health has ordered the embargo of all frozen scallop products distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods in Hawaii. An embargo of products restricts their use, sale or distribution. Because Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai had received, handled and served the product, the establishments were ordered to close immediately. Koha Oriental Foods had supplied the product to Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The frozen imported scallop product recently began to be distributed also by True World to Genki Sushi restaurants on Maui and Hawaii Island. Although there have been no cases related to these recent shipments, given the uncertainty of the safety of the product, all scallop products sent to these restaurants were embargoed as the department continues its investigation.

“Genki Sushi in Hawaii has a history of good compliance with food safety regulations which includes good employee hygiene,” said Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch Chief. “We will continue to work with Genki Sushi Restaurants to ensure their safe operation after the investigation is completed.”

Product tracing is being conducted to locate all potentially contaminated products. DOH has also been in contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Hawaii office to investigate the product origin. Food products imported from outside the state are regulated by the U.S. FDA.

“We are gratified to uncover this major piece of the investigation,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, “my staff have been persistent and tireless in their search for clues to prevent new cases and put an end to the outbreak. Our investigation continues, as we work to confirm our findings and ensure contaminated product is no longer in circulation and the risk of transmission is eliminated.”

Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai will remain closed until the Department of Health can ensure their safe operation.  All frozen scallop products from distributors Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods are being restricted and will be destroyed to prevent any further illness.

Anyone who consumed products, specifically scallops, prepared or served at Genki Sushi on Oahu or Kauai should consider contacting their healthcare provider about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). A statewide list of vaccination locations is available at www.health.hawaii.gov. Individuals who ate at these restaurants longer than two weeks ago, should monitor their health for 50 days after their exposure and consult their doctor if they develop symptoms of hepatitis. All persons should practice thorough hand washing.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Hawaii’s Open Primary Elections

In a published opinion issued today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hawaii’s practice of holding open primary elections. The Democratic Party of Hawaii had sued the state office of elections in 2013 and sought to limit participation in the Democratic primary election to registered Democrats only.

Democrat lawsuit

Click to read

The Ninth Circuit ruled that the Democratic Party did not show that the open primary system burdens its associational rights. The Party offered no evidence that the open primary impacted its candidates or messages. The Ninth Circuit noted that Hawaii’s voters may vote in only one party’s primary election.

The case, Democratic Party of Hawaii v. Nago, was originally filed in the federal district court of Hawaii. In November 2013, Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled in the State’s favor, upholding the open primary. The Democratic Party appealed. The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in May 2016.

“The open primary is part of Hawaii’s commitment to make voting easier and to include more persons in the democratic process,” said Attorney General Doug Chin. “This ruling keeps Hawaii’s primary elections open to all registered voters, regardless of their formal party affiliation.”

This ruling has no effect on the 2016 primary or general elections. A copy of the court’s opinion is attached.

Repeat Hawaii Sex Offender Charged With Failing to Register Location

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the Department of the Attorney General has charged Alexander Aipolani, Jr. with four counts of failure to comply with covered offender registration requirements.

Albert Aipolani Jr.

Albert Aipolani Jr.

Aipolani was convicted of kidnapping with intent to commit a sexual offense and sentenced to five years probation in 1984. He was also convicted of sexual assault in the second degree in 1993 in a case involving a minor under the age of 14. Aipolani was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for that crime.

Following his release from prison, Aipolani was required to register as a sex offender. He failed to report to the chief of police in person within thirty days of his birthday in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He also failed to report a new address to the attorney general and the Hawaii criminal justice data center within three days of moving, as required by law.

Attorney General Chin said “My office has been diligent in tracking down and charging sex offenders who do not comply with registration requirements. We have charged almost ten of these offenders since April of this year alone.”

The charges against Aipolani carry a sentence of up to five years in prison for each offense.

Aipolani is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attorney General Chin reminds the public that they can view an online directory of Hawaii registered sex offenders and other covered offenders, and sign-up for email alerts through the Department’s award-winning “Hawaii Sex Offender Search” mobile app. Those without a mobile device can also view an online directory of Hawaii registered sex offenders and other covered offenders, and sign up for email alerts at http://sexoffenders.ehawaii.gov.

Severo Recognized as “Kohala Officer of the Quarter”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association recognized Officer Severo Ines as “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” during a ceremony Friday (August 12).

Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association President Bill King presents a “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” certificate to Officer Severo Ines.

Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association President Bill King presents a “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” certificate to Officer Severo Ines.

Officer Ines was honored for intervening while off duty when a man threatened another driver at a gas station after driving dangerously in a stolen vehicle.

On May 24, Ines was off duty in his personal vehicle when he observed a vehicle illegally passing his vehicle and four others in a no-passing zone, nearly causing a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer. Officer Inez located the driver a short time later at a gas station in Honokaʻa. He saw that the man was acting in a threatening manner toward another man at the gas station and that he punched the window of another vehicle, frightening the driver away from the scene. When the man began to threaten his initial target, Officer Ines identified himself as a police officer and ordered him to stop. The aggressor then charged at Officer Ines. Despite being in plainclothes and without any police gear, Officer Ines subdued the aggressor and held him for more than five minutes while waiting for an on-duty officer to arrive.

Police learned that the man had stolen the vehicle he was driving from the South Kohala District. He was arrested and charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, reckless driving, theft and resisting arrest.

Sergeant Edwin Buyten said in nomination papers that Ines’ peers recommended him for the award because of his “courageous bravery” and exceptional police work. Buyten said the officer’s “selfless act stopped the aggressor from assaulting another citizen” and was “in keeping with the highest traditions of public service.”

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association is an organization of hotel and airport security managers and visitor industry professionals. Its “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding officers from the North Kohala and South Kohala Districts.

Judiciary Hosts Hawaii’s First Veterans Treatment Court Conference

The Big Island Veterans Treatment Court of the Third Circuit hosted the state’s first Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference on August 11, 2016, for professionals who work with veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and substance use disorders (SUDs).

(Left to right) Dr. Brian L. Meyer, PTSD-SUD Specialist at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center; Third Circuit Judge Greg K. Nakamura; Third Circuit Chief Judge and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court Ronald Ibarra; Scott Swain, Justice for Vets Division Director; David Pelletier, J.D., Project Director for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP); and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court at the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference held today at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

(Left to right) Dr. Brian L. Meyer, PTSD-SUD Specialist at H.H. McGuire VA Medical Center; Third Circuit Judge Greg K. Nakamura; Third Circuit Chief Judge and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court Ronald Ibarra; Scott Swain, Justice for Vets Division Director; David Pelletier, J.D., Project Director for the Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP); and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii Supreme Court at the Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference held today at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

Judges, law enforcement officials, probation officers, attorneys, researchers, and substance abuse treatment providers came to learn about the latest evidence-based best practices for effectively dealing with veterans struggling to readjust to life outside the military.

Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrably higher rates of co-occurring PTSD, traumatic brain injury, pain, and SUDs, than the general population.  , Often, these issues are compounded by family strife, unemployment, and homelessness, ultimately leading to incarceration.

The conference focused, in part, on the unique work that Hawaii’s Big Island and Oahu Veterans Treatment Courts, and similar programs across the country, are doing to help restore veterans’ health, families and futures, while also saving taxpayer dollars.

A 2016 study published by the Community Mental Health Journal found that veterans who participate in veterans treatment courts experience significant improvement in housing, relationships and social connection, overall functioning and well-being, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and mental and emotional health.

At the conference, national and local speakers provided information and training on the latest findings in effectively working with veterans and improving the success of Veterans Treatment Court programs.

Sixteen veterans have enrolled in the Hilo and Kona Veterans Treatment Courts since the program’s inception in November 2014.  The Veterans Treatment Court program continues to grow, on both Oahu and the Big Island, as an increasing number of attorneys submit applications for their clients to participate in the program.

“I’d like to thank the Friends of Big Island Drug Court, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the Big Island Drug and Veteran’s Courts, the Hawaii State Bar Association, Hawaii County Bar Association, West Hawaii Bar Association, and the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for their sponsorship of our first Big Island Veterans Treatment Court Conference,” said Chief Judge of the Third Circuit and Presiding Judge of the Veterans Treatment Court, Ronald Ibarra.  “Their support is mission-critical in our efforts to help veterans and their families recover and regain their chance at a successful future.”

For more information on the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Veterans Treatment Court program,visit:  www.courts.state.hi.us/special_projects/veterans_court