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Big Island Police Kill Man Wielding Crossbow

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Saturday (April 29), in Papaʻaloa.

At about 3:35 p.m., police were investigating a disturbance at a residence when they encountered a man wielding a loaded crossbow. One officer fired several shots, resulting in the death of the man.

The man’s name is being withheld pending positive identification.

As is standard practice in any officer-involved shooting, the Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigations Section will conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting, and the Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this incident cal l the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Lieutenant Miles Chong at 961-2252, or via email at miles.chong@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kamokuna Ocean Entry Slowly Building New Lava Delta

The episode 61g Kamokuna ocean entry has been slowly building a new lava delta for a little over a month now.

Click to enlarge

Two large cracks parallel to the coast are visible on the delta (center), with the distal portion slumping slightly seaward—suggesting further instability. Thursday, the ocean entry activity, most of which was located along the western side of the delta and obscured by the thick plume, was producing occasional weak littoral explosions.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on NSA Ending Warrantless Collection of Americans’ Emails

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) announcement to end its collection of Americans’ Internet communications that may include mentions of a foreign intelligence target. The announcement marks a break in years of NSA policy to collect email, texts, and other Internet communication that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as “about” surveillance.

“For years, Americans have been kept in the dark about our government’s unconstitutional collection of their personal communications and data in the name of national security. This change in NSA policy is an important step in the right direction. In order to ensure we do not backtrack on this progress, I will be introducing legislation to permanently codify this policy change to permanently ban this privacy-invading collection.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has long advocated for reforms that address our government’s responsibility to protect civil liberties and ensure a strong national defense. She has actively sought reforms to Section 702, the Patriot Act, introduced legislation to strengthen and expand the functions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and is a founding member of the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Caucus focused on protecting the privacy and security of Americans in the digital

East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April – Thomas Chun-Ming

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized South Hilo Patrol Officer Thomas Chun-Ming on Thursday (April 27) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for April.
On March 27, 2017, Officer Chun-Ming was patrolling the Honomū area following a recent increase in property crimes when he received information about a suspicious vehicle in the garage of a vacant home. Upon further investigation, Officer Chun-Ming arrested a male and female for Criminal Trespass in the first degree. The male suspect received additional charges of Promoting a Dangerous Drug and Drug Paraphernalia.

Later that same evening, while supplementing another shift, Officer Chun-Ming observed a pickup truck without a safety inspection sticker on the rear bumper. As he followed the t ruck onto a side-street in Pepeʻekeo he observed the vehicle to stop suddenly and two males immediately exit from the driver and passenger sides. As he ordered them back into the vehicle and then made further contact with the driver he detected the odor of burnt marijuana and observed drug paraphernalia inside the truck. At this time Officer Chun-Ming arrested the driver for Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the third degree and Driving without a License. The passenger was arrested for a no bail warrant and Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the third degree and the truck was recovered as evidence. The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s VICE section was assigned to continue the investigation and recovered 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and “meth pipe” after serving a narcotics search warrant on the truck. The two males were given additional charges, three counts of Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the third degree and three counts of Drug Paraphernalia.

On March 28, 2017, Officer Chun-Ming spotted a vehicle which had recently been reported stolen to be traveling in the opposite direction of him on Highway 19. After losing sight of the vehicle he continued to make diligent checks of the area and the vehicle was located along a muddy, unpaved road. As Officer Chun-Ming approached, two males immediately fled from the vehicle on foot. After a short foot pursuit, Officer Chun-Ming was able to apprehend one of the males until back-up officers arrived. With the assistance of the Hawaiʻi Police Departments tracking dog, the second suspect was located hiding in the brush and was subsequently also arrested. Both men were arrested for Theft in the second degree and one of them was also arrested for Promotion of a Detrimental Drug.

Chun-Ming was nominated for the award by Sergeant BJ Duarte who stated that he “demonstrates on a daily basis, his attention to detail, superb investigative skills, his dedication to duty and his proactive approach to police wor k.”

As “Officer of the Month,” Chun-Ming is 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.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

PACOM Commander Confirms North Korea’s Threat to Hawaii

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current U.S. missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk.

Admiral Harry Harris

Asked by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi specifically, Admiral Harris stated, “Kim Jong-un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawai’i today…Our ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, but it can be overwhelmed. If Kim Jong-un or someone else launched ballistic missiles—ICBMs—against the United States, we would have to make the decision on which ones to take out or not.”

Following the hearing Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:
“Hawaiʻi is home to the largest concentration of U.S. military strategic assets for well over 3,000 miles, making it a prime target for North Korea’s aggression. As I travelled across Hawai’i during my recent state-wide town hall tour, I heard from my constituents on every island their concern about the threat posed by North Korea’s increased nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities that place Hawaiʻi squarely within North Korea’s crosshairs. It is the people of Hawaiʻi and our way of life that are at risk if North Korea’s missiles turn towards our shores. Admiral Harris’ testimony today affirmed the seriousness of this threat, and highlighted the need to strengthen our current missile defense infrastructure to ensure the defense of Hawai’i. I’m continuing this urgent push to strengthen the protection of Hawaiʻi against the threat that exists today, and the complex threat we know will emerge in the future. I urge my colleagues to take this threat seriously and provide the resources and tools necessary to defend Hawaiʻi against this threat.”

Background: Missile defense has been one of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s top priorities throughout her time in Congress. Last year, she passed two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—one to provide funding to begin the process of bringing an MRDR to Hawaiʻi, and the other to require the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to brief Congress on their short-term plan to enhance missile defense capabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific—and also questioned then SECDEF Carter and Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the need to increase Hawaiʻi’s missile defense. She has had ongoing conversations and meetings with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Vice Admiral James Syring, to discuss possible options for the defense of Hawaiʻi, to deal with short term and long term needs. This includes quickly deployable options that are available to further strengthen the existing defensive assets within the state.

Kohala Officer of the Quarter: Tyler Prokopec

The Hawaiʻi Island Safety and Security Professionals Association has recognized Officer Tyler Prokopec as the “Kohala Officer of the Quarter” for the first quarter of 2017. A ceremony was held on Friday (April 21), at the Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo.

Pictured from left to right: Captain Randall Ishii, Mayor Harry Kim, Officer Tyler Prokopec, Bill King of Securitas, and Wesley Taketa of Royal Kona Resort

Officer Prokopec was honored for his actions while off-duty which resulted in the arrest of a disorderly male at the Waikoloa Queen’s Market Place in February.

On February 15, 2017, at 9:30 p.m., Officer Prokopec, who was off-duty, was driving along Waikoloa Beach Drive when he observed a security guard and a civilian struggling to detain a disorderly male near the Queen’s Market Place. The disorderly male, upon being alerted that Prokopec was a police officer, immediately jumped up and ran to the roadway in an attempt to flee. The male then attempted stopping a moving vehicle before jumping onto the hood of a pickup truck and then shattered it’s windshield by kicking it. Officer Prokopec was then able to remove the suspect from the truck and safely place him under arrest. It was later learned that the suspect had caused damages to two other vehicles in the area.

Sergeant Erich Jackson commented in his nomination papers that “without Officer Prokopec’s immediate and decisive intervention, the suspect may have harmed himself further or committed more crimes. Officer Prokopec exemplified the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s core values of Professionalism, Integrity and Community Satisfaction and is deserving of this award.”

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.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Statement: Rat Lungworm Disease is Very Rare and Easily Preventable in Hawaii

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement to reassure Hawaii’s tourism industry and visitors planning trips to the Hawaiian Islands that rat lungworm disease is very rare and easily preventable.

“Some national media attention has been devoted recently to rat lungworm disease in Hawaii, raising concerns among visitors and groups planning trips to the Hawaiian Islands. It is important that people not overreact and gather reliable information before making any assumptions.

“On the recommendation of the Hawaii State Department of Health, residents and visitors of Hawaii can be assured there is nothing to fear about getting infected as long as they use smart common sense when washing, preparing and storing food.

“The key facts that everyone needs to remember about rat lungworm disease is that it is very rare, it is very uncommon for people to get infected, and the disease is easily preventable by properly washing and storing all food, especially produce, before eating.

“To the visitors already in the Hawaiian Islands or planning a trip here in the coming months, there is no need to be overly concerned. Please patronize our restaurants and enjoy the delicious island cuisine and fresh produce that helps to make Hawaii such a beloved travel experience.

“I would strongly recommend anyone wanting trusted information about rat lungworm disease to visit the Department of Health website (health.hawaii.gov) and learn the facts.

“Hawaii, which has 1.4 million residents and welcomed more than 8.9 million visitors in 2016, typically has between one to 11 cases of rat lungworm disease reported annually, according to the Department of Health.

“Thus far in 2017, 11 people have been infected with the disease, nine residents and two visitors. While the cause of two cases is still being investigated, the Department of Health reports that the remaining nine cases could have been prevented with better hygiene and by properly washing, preparing and storing food.

“We hope knowing this information helps allay concerns about travel to the Hawaiian Islands, which continues to be the cleanest, healthiest, safest and most welcoming destination in the world.”

Big Island Residents Catch Rat Lungworm – Residents Consumed Drink Tainted by Slug

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed two new cases of individuals with rat lungworm illness on Hawaii Island. In addition, four related cases are considered highly probable based on clinical indications, a common discrete exposure, and symptoms consistent with the illness. All six cases are adults who were hospitalized and their illnesses reported to the department over the past weekend.

The adults became infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis at a home in Keaau on Hawaii Island a few weeks after drinking homemade kava which they had left out in uncovered buckets after preparing the drink at the home. The kava was poured into a large bowl and after consuming most of the contents, the individuals noticed a slug at the bottom of the bowl. The department’s investigation determined the source of the infections was likely the homemade kava tainted by slugs.

“The department is continuing to monitor this serious illness spread to individuals by infected slugs and snails,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Cases like this recent cluster are especially concerning because they can be prevented with basic precautions such as storing food in covered containers and properly inspecting and washing food before eating. These healthy habits can protect against food contamination and prevent serious illnesses.”

With the addition of the two illnesses confirmed today, there have been a total of 11 confirmed cases of rat lungworm infection this year in the state.

Earlier this year, four Maui resident cases, two non-resident cases who were visitors to Maui, and three Hawaii Island resident cases were confirmed. The two cases confirmed today were Hawaii Island residents and of the four probable cases, three were Hawaii Island residents and one was a resident of Maui who traveled to Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii Department of Health advises everyone to carefully store, inspect and wash produce, especially leafy greens. Always store food in covered containers, wash all produce thoroughly and supervise young children playing outdoors to prevent them from putting snails or slugs into their mouths. Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease. Take precautions to control slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens. Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

The Department of Health’s Food Safety Program continues to inspect and educate food establishments statewide on safe food handling and preparation to prevent contamination and food borne illness. Food establishments statewide are reminded to use only approved and licensed sources and carefully inspect and wash all produce during food preparation.

The most common symptoms of angiostrongyliasis or rat lungworm include severe headache and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. Seek medical attention for headache, fever, stiff neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain and severe disability. Healthcare providers should monitor and support patients’ symptoms, and report any persons they suspect may be infected. More information on the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm infection are at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2015/07/angio-fact-sheet-20150716.pdf

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Hilo Town Hall Draws Largest Crowd Yet on Statewide Tour With More Than 600 East Hawaii Residents

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) was in Hilo last night to host her fifth Town Hall in a series of seven statewide. More than 600 East Hawaiʻi residents attended the meeting at Waiakea High School—the largest crowd yet on the congresswoman’s Town Hall Tour across the islands. Many brought homemade signs showing their support for peace over escalating wars abroad. They expressed deep concern over the threat of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Hawaii’s preparedness, and also Trump’s recent illegal attack in Syria.

Residents asked Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a variety of questions from healthcare to decriminalizing marijuana to criminal justice reform, and many other issues that affect the people of Hawaiʻi. She was thanked for introducing the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, for cosponsoring “Medicare for All” legislation, and for her work to honor Filipino World War II Veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The next stops on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s statewide Town Hall Tour are below. Second Congressional District residents are encouraged to RSVP at least one day prior to the meeting date at gabbard.house.gov/townhall or by calling the office at (808) 541-1986.

  • Kauaʻi – Tonight, Wednesday, April 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM, Kauaʻi Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Hwy, Līhuʻe, HI 96766
  • Maui – Thursday, April 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului, HI 96732

 

West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii Island’s Wastewater: Problems, Plans, Clean Water?

Hawaii’s coastline is threatened by land-based pollutants, including sewage, which affect water quality, coastal habitats. Recent beach closures in both Hilo and Kona due to water contamination illustrate the scope of water pollution problems facing Hawai’i County.

Join us this Thursday, April 20th, for the West Hawai’i Forum on Wastewater and learn about Hawai’i Island’s options and share your concerns about a growing water pollution problem with ramifications for the Community’s overall growth management and sustainability goals.

  • DATE: April 20th (Thursday)
  • TIME: 6 PM – 8 PM
  • WHERE: West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers

Doors will open at 5:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public. Special thanks and acknowledgements to Scout Troop 79 and Robert Leopoldino of McDonalds for their event support.

The Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kona processes 1.7 million gallons daily of so-called graywater — this beginning point is not the final destination of treated sewage and graywater effluent which sweeps in Hawaii’s pristine marine environment.

Wastewater outlets impact water quality in Hawaii Island’s coastal waters and have consequences for critical habitat areas and marine species. These impacts also extend to the island’s local economy, including; tourism, coastal recreation, fisheries, and property values.

Learn about Hawai’i Island’s options in addressing a water pollution problem with ramifications for the Community’s overall growth management and sustainability goals.

West Hawaii Forum Presenters:

  • William Kucharski – Director, Department of Environmental Management, Hawai’i County
  • Rick Gaffney – President, Rick Gaffney & Associates
  • Karen Eoff – Councilperson, Hawai’i County Council, District 8
  • Maile David – Councilperson, Hawai’i County Council, District 6

Moderator:  Jamie Borromeo Akau Community Enterprises

Join the discussion online at http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/wastewater‐treatment/

Four Meetings on Rat Lungworm Begins Tonight on Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Maui District Health Office jointly announced two community meetings to provide information on safety measures and vector control practices to help prevent Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongyliasis):

  • Haiku Community Center: Monday, April 17, 2017; doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center (Pukalani): Wednesday, April 26, 2017; Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.

At these two town hall-type meetings, presentations will be given on the Rat Lungworm parasite, current research and measures for controlling slugs, rats and snails; a demonstration on how to wash and care for vegetables and fruits; a personal story of one person’s experience with Rat Lungworm Disease; and Q&A.

Dr. Lorrin Pang (center, standing) talks with Sara Routley, DOH Health Educator, in a standing-room-only crowd gathered for the Hana community meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease held April 6th. Credit: Dept. of Health / Maui District Health Office.

Presenters include Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang; Dept. of Health staff; and Adam Radford, Manager, Maui Invasive Species Committee. For more information on these meetings, call ph. 984-8201.

Informational sessions also have been scheduled by the UH Manoa Cooperative Extension for Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Kula Elementary School Cafeteria and on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Univ. of Hawaii-Maui College Community Service Building.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kula Elementary School Cafeteria, Maui at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the UH – Maui College Community Service Building at 5:30 p.m.

These sessions will target growers, landscapers and gardeners and will focus on managing rat, snail and slug populations, as well as inspection and sanitation measures to minimize the spread of Rat Lungworm parasites. Presenters include Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Kylie Wong, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, and Dept. of Health staff. For more information on this meeting, call Kylie or Lynn at ph. 244-3242.

Local and State agencies participating in the above joint outreach efforts include the Maui District Health Office including Public Health, Vector Control and Environmental Health; the County of Maui; the Office of Mayor Alan M. Arakawa; the Maui County Emergency Management Agency (formerly Civil Defense); the State Dept. of Agriculture; Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC); the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension; The Univ. of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Univ. of Hawaii-Hilo; the Maui County Farm Bureau; and the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

For general information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org.

Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) released a joint message April 14, that suspends the use, possession, storage and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.


NORFOLK (April 11, 2017) The use, possession, storage, and charging of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and all associated ENDS components is temporarily prohibited aboard Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy machinery pending completion of further analysis. The temporary prohibition is effective May 14, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary A. Prill/Released)

The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.

The Fleet commanders implemented this policy to protect the safety and welfare of Sailors and to protect the ships, submarines, aircraft and equipment.

The prohibition will be effective 30 days from the release of the policy May 14, and will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis.

This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of ENDS due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

Deployed units may request extensions on device removal until their next port visit. Supervisors should ensure that removable lithium-ion batteries are removed from the units and stored according to the ENDS manufacturer instructions, in plastic wrap, in a plastic bag or any other non-conductive storage container.

Sailors on shore will still be allowed to use ENDS on base, but must do so in designated smoking areas ashore while on military installations.

Sailors are encouraged to use available tobacco cessation resources and programs offered through Navy medical services and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) programs.

Coast Guard Cutter Galvelston Island Returns Home from Patrol Off Main Hawaiian Islands

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349) returned home to Honolulu, Monday, after a five-day patrol throughout the Main Hawaiian Islands.

The crew conducted eight total boardings, issued 23 notices of violation and 22 safety violations.

The Galveston Island’s boarding team also terminated the voyage of the fishing vessel Lady Anne Margaret after a non-U.S. citizen was found to be serving as master of the U.S. documented vessel.

“Although our patrol was short, it was very successful and directly supports our mission under the Ocean Guardian Strategy to protect the nation’s living marine resources, ensure fish for the future and economic stability by employing the right tools in the right place at the right time,” said Lt. Ryan Ball, commanding officer, Galveston Island. “Our goal is to ensure the overall safety of the Hawaii-based commercial fishing fleet, provide presence and enforce the fishing laws and regulations within our Exclusive Economic Zone, which ultimately safeguards fish stock sustainability.”

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB-1329), homeported in Honolulu, conduct a boarding of a fishing vessel off of the Main Hawaiian Islands during a patrol, April 7, 2017. While on patrol with a Samoan shiprider, the crew conducted eight total boardings, issued 23 notices of violation and 22 safety violations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Galveston Island’s crew also embarked a Samoan shiprider, who served as an observer during six of the eight boardings. Coast Guard teams and Pacific Island Nation shipriders routinely conduct professional exchanges and joint boardings within the U.S. and Pacific Island Nation’s EEZs to protect the ocean and the living marine resources.

The Coast Guard’s priorities under the Ocean Guardian Strategy are to: protect the U.S. EEZ from foreign encroachment, enforce domestic living marine resource laws, and ensure compliance with international agreements. The U.S. EEZ is the second largest in the world, comprising 4.38 million sq. miles of ocean.

On the commercial fishing vessel safety front, 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 may not result in fines. Fishing vessels that are required to carry National Marine Fisheries Service observers are required to have a valid decal (not expired). Mariners interested in scheduling commercial fishing vessel safety exams may contact Charlie Medlicott at 808-535-3417 or Charles.J.Medlicott@uscg.mil.

The independent state of Samoa is a self governing island country about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It comprises two main islands and eight small islets whose total land area is 1,097 sq. miles. Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone, however, covers only 46,332 sq. miles of ocean as it does not extend a full 200 nautical miles in any direction and borders the U.S. EEZ via 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 in the main Hawaiian Islands that completes several such patrols annually.

Concerns Grows for Young Monk Seal on Kaua`i

After wildlife biologists and veterinarians relocated a 10-month-old Hawaiian monk seal on March 30th from the Lihi Canal in Kapa‘a, to a beach on the island’s west side they’d hoped she would stay away from the canal.  Two days ago the seal, identified as RH92, returned to the canal along with an adult seal (RK13). Together they’ve been seen feeding on small fish in the manmade waterway along with discarded fish parts. The return of RH92 to Lihi is prompting stepped-up public awareness and outreach and potentially enforcement of littering laws for fishermen who dispose of fish parts in the water.

Jamie Thomton, the Kaua‘i Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explained, “Any time you attract a wild animal into an area where human use is high, you’re increasing the risk of interaction between people and the seal.  You’re also exposing the seal to more risks, such as fishing nets that might be in the water, fishing hooks or strikes by boats.”  The endangered Hawaiian monk seal is protected by both federal and state laws, and injuring or killing a seal carries serious penalties.

The day after RH92 (now carrying a radio transmitter on her back so her movements can be tracked), returned to the canal she rested and basked in the sun on nearby Fuji beach.  As is standard practice with any of Kaua‘i’s population of an estimated 45 Hawaiian monk seals, volunteers posted signs asking people to give her wide berth. “We try to foster the co-existence with public education and outreach,” said Mimi Olry, the Kaua‘i Marine Mammal Response Field Coordinator with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR).  She added, “We depend on people taking up a sense of doing what’s appropriate around these large marine mammals.  We’d like to see people respect them, give them their space, and not to create situations that put both seals and humans at risk.”

The disposal of litter, like fish parts, is not only illegal, they decompose in water that people fish and swim in. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are increasing their visibility and patrols at Lihi. For now they want to be sure captains, crews, and fishers on boats that launch from the canal’s ramp know that disposing of any fish parts in the water is against the law. If one-on-one education doesn’t work DOCARE officers may begin writing citations for littering.

Monk seals frequently explore inland fresh waterways like streams and rivers. The attraction of discarded fish parts in these areas is particularly hazardous for young monk seals. Over the past two and a half years, two yearling seals were found dead in the Lihi Canal. It’s believed they drowned, possibly after getting entangled in fish nets. Neither seal had any sign of disease or obvious trauma.

“The last thing we want is to lose RH92, because she’s come back to Lihi, for the easy food of discarded fish guts, heads, and tails,” Thomton said.  He added, “We’re focusing outreach, education and possible enforcement efforts on boat fishing, as this is where the parts are coming from.”  The law requires that all fish parts be thrown into garbage cans provided at all State of Hawai‘i small boat harbors.

Hawaiian monk seals feed mostly on small reef fish, tako (octopus), and lobsters. Despite beliefs to the contrary, they do not feed on fish like ono, ahi, and mahi mahi.  Extensive scientific studies have shown what species of prey the monk seals prefer, and there’s no evidence that they feed on the large, fast moving pelagic fish that deep sea fishermen prefer.

Moreover, according to DAR’s Mimi Olry, “Top predators like seals and sharks help keep reef fish populations healthy, because just like wolves on the land, they pick out the sick and injured fish to feed on. Marine mammals are part of our ecosystem and the Hawaiian monk seal is a sentinel species, in that the health of its population can provide advance warnings about environmental conditions for people. We can and should co-exist with them”

There are no plans to move RH92 a second time and it’s hoped with increased outreach and education people will stop throwing fish scraps into the water and she’ll move on to safer locales.

Hawaii Public Safety Committee Hearing – Update Shelter Plans in Case of Nuclear Attack from North Korea

The House Public Safety Committee (PBS) is holding a public hearing on SCR169 SD1 HD1. This resolution urges the state Department of Defense to update and modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans, as the current state of geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the United States make Hawaii a vulnerable and strategic target for a nuclear weapons.

Click to read

The resolution is proposed by PBS Vice Chair Rep. Matt LoPresti (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe), changes the way the state deals with future disasters and emergencies.

  • WHO: State Representative Matthew Lopresti
  • WHAT: The House Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1HD1 urging the State Department of Defense to modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans amidst recent actions by North Korea and the Trump Administration.
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: Room 312, House Public Safety Committee State Capitol

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

North Korea Nuclear Threat to Hawaii is REAL

Nuclear arms experts think North Korea already has, or soon will have, the ability to target Hawaii with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile with possibly about the same destructive force as the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Warnings are mounting apace with that growing threat.

“North Korea’s unprecedented level of nuclear testing and ballistic missile development offers a sobering reminder that the United States must remain vigilant against rogue nation-states that are able to threaten the homeland,” Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson, who heads the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told a congressional committee Thursday.

In Hawaii a profusion of four-star military commands — including U.S. Pacific Command, which oversees U.S. military activity over half the globe — makes Oahu a strategic and symbolic target. The threat from an unpredictable North Korea, in turn, is prompting a revisitation of some old Cold War practices that until recently seemed laughable.

Duck and cover? Still there in the form of “shelter in place,” state officials say.

Nuclear fallout shelters? In 1981 Oahu had hundreds of them. The Prince Kuhio Building could hold 14,375 people — not because it has a secret underground bunker, but because its concrete parking structure could be used as shelter.

“Each one of those facilities had to be surveyed for how much concrete density (was present),” said Toby Clairmont, executive officer of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the successor to Civil Defense. “And they had to be equipped, so they put medical kits in them, food, sanitary kits, all that kind of stuff.”

As time went on, funding for those provisions stopped, and the stocks were disposed of because they became too old, Clairmont said. In the majority of cases, existing fallout shelter markings are out of date and no longer applicable.

Alternatively, the U.S. military would try to shoot down an incoming North Korean ICBM with ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, although the $36 billion system was rated by the Pentagon in December as having low reliability.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, ICBMs in the late 1990s came off Hawaii Emergency Management’s threat list of mostly natural hazards. Terrorism was added, and in 2006 the state practiced for a half-kiloton explosion in Honolulu Harbor that resulted in up to 8,000 casualties with injuries or radiation.

A new threat

President Donald Trump, who met last week with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida, has warned that the United States might take unilateral action against North Korea unless China does more to rein in its pugnacious neighbor. He did not mention a pre-emptive first strike per se.

Such a first strike presumably would take out the fixed launch sites at Sohae and Tonghae, but North Korea is also believed to have road-mobile launchers that could survive to retaliate — if they actually work.

With North Korea emerging as a new threat, state Emergency Management Administrator Vern Miyagi said it’s time to update the previous plans.

“If you were to ask me what is the status of North Korea, and is (a missile attack) a high probability, no, it’s a low probability,” said Miyagi, a retired Army two-star general who served at the Pacific Command as senior adviser for military support to civil authorities operations and Reserve and National Guard affairs.

“But then, so, we have to keep a lookout for that (threat). That’s why we’re talking about updating the plan. It’s an awakening. Maybe we should get involved with” fallout shelters again and identify where still-usable shelters are located, he said.

Fallout protection exists to some degree in any building, but it is most effective in heavy concrete buildings and underground structures, he said.

The agency does monthly tests with the Pacific Command using secure communications, Miyagi said. The advice in the event of a missile attack is still to duck and cover and “get into a substantial building,” he said.

“The bottom line in our plan right now is close coordination with Pacific Command, the military side, so that we understand what’s happening, and we can prepare for it with what we have — and what we have right now is very thin,” Miyagi said.

Looking for a solution

During the Cold War the state envisioned moving hundreds of thousands of Oahu residents to the neighbor islands if things heated up with the Soviet Union. However, a North Korean ICBM could reach Hawaii in under 20 minutes with no warning, experts say.

Robinson, the North American Aerospace Defense commander, said 2016 was “one of North Korea’s most active years in terms of nuclear weapon and missile program development in pursuit of weaponizing a nuclear ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.”

Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, is among a growing number of voices calling for “operationalizing” the Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai in emergencies to be able to shoot down North Korean missiles. Right now it’s used for missile defense testing only.

Ellison said the new SM-3 Block IIA missile, which is expected to have ICBM shoot-down capability, is a “critical asset required for the region and Hawaii.”

“For U.S. homeland defense, the emergency operational activation of the Aegis Ashore site, to include the AN/TPY-2 radar at the Pacific Missile Range Facility,” is needed in the short term, Ellison said in a release.

In 2015 Adm. Bill Gortney, then commander of North American Aerospace Defense, said, “Our assessment is that they (North Korea) have the ability to put … a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 (missile) and shoot it at the homeland.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program and founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com, said the road-mobile KN-08 hasn’t been flight-tested yet.

“This is a very important caution because an ICBM that has never been tested is very unreliable,” he said in an email. If it works, it can probably hit targets throughout the U.S., he said.

North Korea claimed that its last nuclear test validated a standardized warhead of at least 10 kilotons for its long-range missiles, but it “may be significantly more than that,” Lewis added. Ellison, with the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, maintains North Korea might have a miniaturized warhead around 20 kilotons.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons, while a 20-kiloton device was detonated over Nagasaki

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

Scientists Evaluate Ways to Save Hawaiian Honeycreeper

A new study evaluates conservation actions that could save the iconic Hawaiian Honeycreeper bird, also known as the “Iiwi,” providing land managers with guidance on how to save this important pollinator. The study demonstrates how the movement of Iiwi across the slopes of Hawaii’s volcanos in search of nectar from flowers can increase their risk of contracting disease and dying.

Iiwi with small radio transmitter attached to help track the bird’s movement through the forest (Credit: Eben Paxton, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Iiwi are highly susceptible to introduced avian malaria, which is transmitted by a tropical mosquito that only occurs at low to mid-elevations of Hawaii. Iiwi breed only in high-elevation forests where the temperatures are too cool for the mosquito to occur, but their flights to find flowering trees can take them to where diseases occur.

“Iiwi evolved over millennia to track flowering trees up and down the slopes of Hawaii’s volcanos. Their flights to seek out blooming flowers allowed them to thrive across the Hawaiian Islands in the past,” said Dr. Eben Paxton, co-author of the study and researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. “Today, however, with avian disease rampant at low and mid-elevations of the islands, these movements could lead to their extinction.”

Warming temperatures are helping mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to move into increasingly higher elevation mountain forests, leading to increased contacts with Iiwi. As a result, Iiwi have gone from being one of the most common native birds in Hawaii over 100 years ago, to now being a species limited to remote forests and in danger of extinction.

Researchers tracked Iiwi movements by attaching small radio transmitters to the birds and followed their signal as they moved across the forests of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge and beyond. These movements were mapped with the current distribution of avian malaria and future disease distributions under climate change. Researchers were then able to evaluate how the current and future distribution of disease are likely to affect Iiwi populations.

The study showed that after the breeding season, Iiwi leave their disease-free breeding areas in search of blooming trees and travel to lower elevations where disease is present. As disease expands into increasingly higher elevation areas because of increasing temperatures, disease-free areas are projected to vanish and Iiwi rapidly decline. The study indicates that Iiwi may go extinct by 2100 if action is not taken to control avian diseases and secure disease-free habitat.

The study evaluated the benefits of increasing habitat and availability of nectar at high elevations, reducing mosquito numbers, and promoting the evolution of disease resistance. Efforts to reduce disease prevalence through mosquito control could help buy time, but far-ranging movements of Iiwi mean a large-scale reduction in disease would likely be required to save the species. Current efforts to reduce or eliminate mosquitos that transmit avian malaria may be the most effective means of preserving the species. Additionally, habitat restoration efforts to increase native flowering trees at high elevations in parallel with mosquito control efforts may be the most effective conservation plan available to managers at this time. While more resistance to malaria is the best outcome for long-term survival of the species, this may be the most difficult option for managers to directly affect.

“There is nothing more spectacular than seeing the elegant profile of a scarlet Iiwi against a deep blue Hawaiian sky as it feeds in the brilliant red blossoms of Lehua in our native forest. The decline of this magnificent and culturally important bird is an irreplaceable loss to our natural heritage in Hawaii. The Iiwi, as our “canary in the coal mine,” provides a clear warning of the threats moving into Hawaii’s last sanctuaries for not only rare bird species, but our entire island ecosystem. Conservation efforts to save Iiwi are urgently needed to ensure that future generations will continue to see the living legacy of our unique island home. Those efforts will benefit not only Iiwi, but all life in our islands.” said Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon, III, Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii.

The journal article “Altitudinal migration and the future of an iconic Hawaiian honeycreeper in response to climate change and management” was published in Ecological Monographs with lead author Alban Guillaumet of the Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Wendy Kuntz of Kapiolani Community College, Michael Samuel with the USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, and Eben Paxton with the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center.