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East Hawaii Officer of the Month: Jared Cabatu

The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Jared Cabatu on Thursday (May 26) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for May.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an 'Officer of the Month' award to Officer Jared Cabatu.

Aloha Exchange Club member Joey Estrella presents an ‘Officer of the Month’ award to Officer Jared Cabatu.

Cabatu was honored for his outstanding accomplishment in patrol operations that led to the recovery of a stolen federal vehicle.

On April 26, three pickup trucks were stolen from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute of Astronomy. In the days that followed, Cabatu worked to solve the case and learned that a vehicle matching the description of the ones stolen had been seen in the upper Hilo area. Following that lead, he located the vehicle in the Waiākea Uka area and determined that its license plate had been stolen from another vehicle. When he attempted to contact the occupants, they fled.

Officer Cabatu immediately communicated information about the vehicle and the suspects to his fellow South Hilo Patrol officers, leading to the recovery of the vehicle and the arrest of two men and a woman. As a result, detectives assigned to the case were able to develop additional leads and information.

Cabatu was previously named “Officer of the Month” In March 2013 and October 2015. As “Officer of the Month,” he 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.

New Lava Flow Map Hints at Direction of New Flows

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the eastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi.

flow 525a

The new breakouts from Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began on May 24 are shown in red, as mapped on May 25. The area of the original June 27th lava flow field is shown in pink, as last mapped in detail on May 9.

Click to enlarge

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent regional land cover map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). The bathymetry is also from NOAA. Click to enlarge

Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. The black box shows the extent of the accompanying large scale map.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The new breakouts from Puʻu ʻŌʻō that began on May 24 are shown in red, as mapped on May 25. The area of the original June 27th lava flow field is shown in pink, as last mapped in detail on May 9. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Free Window Screening Workshop #FightTheBite

Lowes, Habitat For Humanity West Hawaii and the State Health Department have created a “Free Window Screening” workshop day on June 16th from 10-1 in the Lowe’s parking lot near the garden area to help repair people’s screens and teach residents how to do it themselves, as well.

Lowes Fight the Bite

Qualified residents can sign up to have Habitat folks provide the materials to make sure people have homes with screens to avoid contracting mosquito borne illnesses. Perk? A free BBQ from Randy’s BBQ!

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Breakouts Continue – No Significant Advancement

The two breakouts that began at Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday (May 24) are still active.

As of 8:30 a.m., HST, today, May 25, 2016, lava continued to flow from two breakout sites on the flanks of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, which was shrouded by rain and steam during HVO’s morning overflight.

Click to enlarge

This morning, the active portions of both flows remained relatively short, extending no more than 1 km (0.6 miles) from their breakout points. The northern breakout, shown here, changed course slightly overnight, but is still directed towards the northwest in an impressive channel, with lava spreading out at the flow front. Click to enlarge

At the northern breakout (see maps at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/), a new lobe of lava broke out of yesterday’s active channel and was advancing to the northwest. This new lobe of lava had advanced about 950 m (0.6 mi) as of this morning. Yesterday’s channel—now inactive—is visible to the right of today’s flow.

hvo52516b

In this thermal image of the northern breakout, the active lava channel and flow front are clearly revealed as bright yellow and pink colors. The channel that was active yesterday, but now stagnate, is visible as a bluish-purple line to the right of today’s active flow.

This morning (May 25, 2016), the northern breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō was feeding an impressive channel of lava that extended about 950 m (0.6 mi) northwest of the cone. This channel was about 10 m (32 ft) wide as of 8:30 a.m., HST.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The second flow from the eastern breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō—in the area of the “Peace Day” flow that broke out in September 2011—remained active as of this morning, and its total length was about 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This lava flow was slowly spreading laterally, but the flow front had stalled.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Despite heavy rain, which resulted in blurry spots on this photo due to water droplets on the camera lens, HVO scientists were able to do some of the work they hoped to accomplish during this morning’s overflight.

Click to enlarge

Here, an HVO geologist maps the location of active lava from the eastern breakout on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Click to enlarge

Amidst steam created by rain falling on the hot lava, another HVO geologist uses a rock hammer to collect a sample of the active flow.

Analyses of this sample will yield data on the temperature and chemical makeup of the lava, information that is needed to help determine what's happening within the volcano.  Click to enlarge

Analyses of this sample will yield data on the temperature and chemical makeup of the lava, information that is needed to help determine what’s happening within the volcano. Click to enlarge

Map of New Breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This map of two new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which began just before 7:00 a.m., HST, this morning, shows the extent of the lava flows based on aerial photos that were taken at 8:30 a.m.

The new breakouts had not extended beyond the boundary of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time the photos were taken, and neither lava flow currently poses an immediate threat to nearby communities. Click to enlarge

The new breakouts had not extended beyond the boundary of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time the photos were taken, and neither lava flow currently poses an immediate threat to nearby communities. Click to enlarge

At the time, the larger flow from the northern breakout was traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest, and was about 1 km (0.6 miles) long, and the flow from the eastern breakout was about 700 meters (0.4 miles) long. The aerial photos used to map the flows are shown over an older satellite image. The new breakouts had not extended beyond the boundary of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time the photos were taken, and neither lava flow currently poses an immediate threat to nearby communities.

Two New Breakout Lava Flows at Pu’u O’o

Two new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō began this morning just before 7:00 a.m., HST. The larger of the two breakouts, shown here, originated on the northeast flank of the cone, at the site of the vent for the ongoing June 27th lava flow.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This breakout point fed a vigorous channelized flow that extended about 1 km (0.6 miles). This lava flow had not extended beyond the existing Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time this photo was taken (8:30 a.m., HST).

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am.  Click to enlarge

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am. Click to enlarge

Another breakout occurred just east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 500 m (0.3 miles) from the crater, in the area of the “Peace Day” flow that broke out in September 2011.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This second breakout was smaller than the one on the northeast flank, but was still feeding an impressive lava channel. At the time of this photo (8:30 a.m., HST), this flow was about 700 m (0.4 miles) long and traveling towards the southeast.

A video of the larger breakout, flowing northwest.

Hawaii Attorney General Charges Eight Sex Offenders with Violating Registration Requirements

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the Department of the Attorney General has charged eight sex offenders with Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements in the last three months. Most recently the Department has charged Randy Maunakea, Justin Jumawan, Mose Tauaefa, and Thomas Carreira.

Maunakea was charged on May 5, 2016 with four counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of four counts of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree on May 5, 2003. Maunakea failed to personally appear before the chief of police within 30 days of his birthday in 2014, 2015 and 2016, as required by law. Additionally, Maunakea failed to report a change of his address within three working days of the change. A bench warrant in the amount of $10,000 in the aggregate was issued against Mr. Maunakea and is currently outstanding.

Tauaefa was charged on May 6, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of seven counts of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree on October 6, 2000. He failed to report a change of his address within three working days of the change and additionally signed a statement verifying that his registration information was accurate and current when the registration information was not substantially accurate and current. A bench warrant in the amount of $10,000 in the aggregate was issued against Tauaefa and is currently outstanding.

Carreira was charged on May 13, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of Sexual Assault in the Third Degree in 1994. He also has two convictions for Abuse of Family/Household Member two convictions for Burglary in the First Degree, and convictions for Theft in the Third Degree and Theft in the Fourth Degree. Additionally, he has ten arrests for Contempt of Court. Carreira had a pending felony case for Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements and was granted supervised release and required to reside at the Institute for Human Services (“IHS”) as a condition of his release. He left IHS without updating registration information and failed to report in person for his quarterly periodic verification during the first week of January, 2015. Defendant has since be re-incarcerated for violating the terms and conditions of his supervised release and awaiting sentencing.

Jumawan was charged on May 23, 2016 with two counts of Failure to Comply with Covered Offender Registration Requirements. He was previously convicted of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree and Sexual Assault in the Third Degree on October 31, 2007 and is still on probation. He moved from his registered address on February 19, 2016 without notifying the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center within three days of the change, as required by law. Because he has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of his probation, a $20,000 bench warrant has been issued for his arrest. He has not yet been served and his whereabouts are unknown at this time.

The other charged defendants are Steven Young (charged with two counts on March 21, 2016), Justin Gonda (charged with one count on April 1, 2016), Damon Hookano (charged with two counts on April 22, 2016), and Dean Barbadillo (charged with three counts on April 22, 2016). The charges against the eight defendants are brought under section 846E-9(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). A conviction for these charges is a class C felony that carries with it a sentence of up to 5 years imprisonment, pursuant to HRS section 706-660. The minimum term of imprisonment shall be set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority, pursuant to HRS section 706-669.

All eight defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Click to search for sex offenders.

Click to search for sex offenders.

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.

New Imported Case of Dengue Fever Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii

This is a Civil Defense Message. This is a dengue information update for Friday, May 20, 2016.

Mosquito BiteThe State Department of Health has identified a single imported case of dengue on Hawaii Island. Vector control crews have treated the person’s residence and adjacent properties today.

Again, this is a single imported case. There is no evidence to indicate a local transmission has occurred. There have been no reported dengue cases attributed to local transmission since March. Imported cases occur from time to time and remind all of us to always be vigilant and fight the bite.

As the summer approaches and more travel is anticipated, the public is reminded that the most effective method to reduce the spread of dengue or other mosquito borne illnesses is for everyone to avoid and prevent mosquito bites. Fight The Bite by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellent, and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest. If feeling ill and unsure if you may have dengue, remain indoors to avoid getting bitten and infecting mosquitoes and contact your health care provider.

For information on dengue, visit health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001.

Hawaii Department of Health Issues Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses – Posts Merit-Based Scores for Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) began issuing licenses today for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.

Medical MarijuanaThe eight selected licensees have completed the full payment of licensing fees and were given the option of picking up their license or having it delivered by certified mail.

Licensees were selected based on the scoring of 13 merit criteria. The total scores used in the selection of each licensee are provided below and will be posted today at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

City & County of Honolulu Score
Aloha Green Holdings Inc. 475
Manoa Botanicals LLC 470
TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu 470
Hawaii County
Hawaiian Ethos LLC 480
Lau Ola LLC 471.5
Maui County
Maui Wellness Group, LLC 510
Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC 470
Kauai County
Green Aloha, Ltd. 433

DOH is in the process of notifying in writing all unselected applicants of their total score and ranking for their respective group. After all unselected applicants confirm receipt of their written notification from the department, the total scores of all applicants will be posted on the medical marijuana dispensary website.

For more information and updates from the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/ and select “News & Updates.” Questions about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Programs may be emailed to medmarijuana.dispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

Police Arrest 15-Year-Old After Threatening Notes Found at Waiakea High School

Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with threatening notes left at Waiākea High School in Hilo.

Multiple notes threatening violence were left on bathroom walls sometime between 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. Thursday.
School Note
At 9 a.m. Friday, police arrested the suspect at the school. Because he is a minor, no additional details are available about his identity.

He is being held at the South Hilo police station while detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section continue the investigation.

Shark Study Helps Explain Higher Incidence of Encounters Off Maui

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui.  The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).

shark bites in maui

Dr. Carl Meyer, principle investigator for the study, explained that the Maui Nui complex, consisting of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, has more preferred tiger shark habitat than all other main Hawaiian Islands combined.  According to Dr. Meyer, “Tiger sharks captured around Maui spend most of their time on the extensive Maui Nui insular shelf, which is also an attractive habitat for tiger sharks arriving from elsewhere in Hawaii.  The insular shelf extends offshore from the shoreline to depths of 200 meters (600 feet), and is home to a wide variety of tiger shark prey.”

Although tiger shark movement patterns revealed by the latest study are generally similar to those seen in previous studies, the larger area of shelf habitat around Maui may be able to support more tiger sharks than other main Hawaiian Islands.  In addition, the most frequently-visited areas by tiger sharks around Maui include waters adjacent to popular ocean recreation sites.

Meyer noted “This combination of factors may explain why Maui has had more shark bites than other Main Hawaiian Islands, although we cannot completely rule out a higher number of ocean recreation activities on Maui as the primary cause of these differences.  However, despite the routine presence of large tiger sharks in waters off our beaches, the risk of being bitten remains extremely small, suggesting tiger sharks generally avoid interactions with people.”

Dr. Bruce Anderson, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), said, “This study provided us with important new insights into tiger shark movement behavior around Maui, and helps answer some questions about why that island has led the state recently in shark bites.  We agree with the study’s recommendation that the best approach to reducing numbers of these incidents is to raise public awareness of what people can do to reduce their risk of being bitten.  This has been our focus for a long time.  People who enter the ocean have to understand and appreciate that it is essentially a wilderness experience.  It’s the shark’s house, not ours.

DAR will continue to work with other agencies to expand outreach regarding hazards in the ocean, such as drownings, to include shark safety information so people can make well-informed, fact-based decisions.”

As for the 2012-2014 spike in shark bites around Maui, Meyer said the reasons remain unclear.  He noted, “2015 saw only one unprovoked shark bite off Maui.  Shark behavior didn’t change year to year, and there was no shift in human behavior.  These spikes occur all over the world, and are most likely due to chance.”

Citing previous studies, the HIMB team also noted that historical shark culling in Hawaii neither eliminated nor demonstrably reduced shark bite incidents.  Tiger sharks tracked around Maui exhibit a broad spectrum of movement patterns ranging from somewhat resident to highly transient. This ensures a constant turnover of sharks along coastal locations.  Sharks removed by culling are quickly replaced by new ones locally and from distant locations.

Maui Shark Report-Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

PacIOOS makes tiger shark tracks available online and provides funding for ongoing and future tagging efforts. Melissa Iwamoto, Director of PacIOOS explained, “We are pleased to be a partner in this important effort by offering an online platform where you can view the tiger sharks tracks. Providing ocean users, agencies, residents and visitors with relevant ocean data is our priority. While the tracks do not serve as a warning or real-time monitoring system, they are a great way to raise awareness about the ocean environment and to inform long-term decision-making.”

All of the partners agree that the more information people have, the better decisions they can make when entering the ocean.

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking Report: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2016/05/Maui_tiger_shark_spatial_dynamics_final.pdf

Hawaii Tiger Shark Tracking website: http://pacioos.org/projects/sharks

Hawaii Sharks website: www.hawaiisharks.org

Hawaii Police Department Announces Promotions

HPDBadgeChief Harry S. Kubojiri has promoted the following seven sworn officers to the following positions:

Scott J. Kurashige, hired in 1990, was promoted from Area II Juvenile Aid Section detective to lieutenant assigned to Kona Patrol, effective April 1.

Jenny K. L. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

William C. Brown, hired in 2003, was promoted from South Hilo Patrol officer to detective assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigations Section, effective May 16.

Officer Nelson M. Acob, hired in 1999, was promoted from Hāmākua Patrol officer to sergeant assigned to the Communications/Dispatch Section, effective May 16.

Kalaʻe R. Lee, hired in 2004, was promoted from Area II Vice officer to sergeant assigned to the Kaʻū District, effective May 16.

Richard A. Itliong, hired in 2002, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.

Gavin K. Kagimoto, hired in 2004, was promoted from South Hilo Community Policing officer to detective assigned to the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, effective May 16.

Ed Teixeira Appointed Interim Administrator of Hawaii County Civil Defense

After four decades of service at the federal and state government level, former Hawai‘i State Civil Defense vice director Ed Teixeira will be directing the emergency management operations of the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Agency as interim administrator, effective May 16.

Ed Teixeira

Ed Teixeira

Teixeira is a combat veteran who served in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and Germany, retiring from the U.S. Army as a colonel after 26 years of service. He began his emergency management career at State Civil Defense in 1996 and was named vice director in 1999. Teixeira retired from State Civil Defense in 2011. Since then he has worked as an instructor at Chaminade University in Honolulu and as a disaster preparedness and planning consultant.

“Ed Teixeira has worked for many years to keep the people of Hawai‘i Island safe in his role at State Civil Defense. We welcome his expertise and leadership at the helm of Hawai‘i County Civil Defense,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Though he was born and raised on O‘ahu, and spent much of his career away from Hawai‘i Island, Teixeira bought a home in Waimea while stationed at Pōhakuloa Training Area in 1986. His familial ties to the island are in Honohina, where his mother was raised.

“I want to thank Mayor Kenoi for his confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve the good people of Hawaiʻi County, said Teixeira. “As a resident of the Big Island, I am proud to be a member of his Civil Defense team. I extend my thanks and congratulations to Chief Darryl Oliveira for his outstanding work in the Civil Defense Agency, an agency with a history of excellence.”

Previous Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira retired at the beginning of May. Oliveira led Hawai‘i County Civil Defense since 2013. His tenure included preparation for and response to Tropical Storm Iselle, the recent Puna lava flow, and an outbreak of dengue.

Hawaii Files First Lawsuit Against Takata & Honda Relating to Faulty Airbags

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affair’s Office of Consumer Protection, on behalf of the State of Hawai’i, today filed a lawsuit against Takata Corporation, TK Holdings, Inc., Honda Motor Co., American Honda Motor Co, and Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. for making, supplying, and using airbags they knew to be unsafe.  Hawai’i is the first state to file a lawsuit against these companies for their roles in causing millions of cars to be sold with airbags that could explode, posing grave, sometimes fatal, dangers to the cars’ occupants.

Click to view complaint

Click to view complaint

Hawai’i asserts claims under the State’s consumer protection laws for unfair and deceptive conduct.  The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including a meaningful campaign to educate drivers about the need to seek repairs, restitution for car buyers, disgorgement of the companies’ profits from these airbags, and the maximum civil penalties allowed by law of $10,000 per violation.

The State’s complaint alleges that Takata made the decision to switch to cheaper ammonium nitrate to inflate its airbags despite the known risks of ammonium nitrate, a chemical principally used to propel rockets and for mining and demolition.  Though Takata’s own testing showed that the ammonium nitrate propellant was unpredictable and prone to explode, Takata sold its airbags to automakers knowing they would be installed in vehicles and sold to consumers.  The complaint quotes one former Takata engineer, who has testified that, prior to the launch of the new inflators, he warned a manager that ‘if we go forward with [ammonium nitrate], someone will be killed.”  As the complaint lays out, a dozen individuals have been killed when Takata airbags exploded in their cars, sending shrapnel through the vehicle, and more than one hundred have been injured.

The complaint also asserts that Takata hid its findings and doctored its data to hide the dangers of its airbags.  According to publicly available documents and the State’s complaint, even when Honda became aware of the problems, it continued to sell cars equipped with Takata airbags and inadequately pursued recalls—saving money while subjecting consumers to an ongoing risk of serious injury and death.

Hawai’i is one of four states that was the original focus of efforts to recall vehicles with Takata airbags because of the greater risks posed in areas with high humidity and high temperatures.  Roughly 70,000 vehicles with Takata airbags have been sold to Hawaii consumers.  Nationally, according to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only one-third to half of these airbags have been repaired or replaced.

“Companies that supply and market goods to Hawai’i consumers are obligated to deliver products that are safe and to provide consumers with full, accurate, and timely information when dangers become known.  According to the facts alleged in the complaint, Takata and Honda put their own profits and reputations ahead of honesty and their customers’ safety.  We intend to hold them accountable for their conduct,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State Office of Consumer Protection.

The complaint asserts two causes of action against the Takata and Honda companies, but also names anonymous “Doe Defendants.”  The State will consider adding corporate or individual defendants based upon the evidence revealed during the litigation.

Consumers are strongly encouraged to visit http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/ or to contact their car dealer to determine whether their car is subject to a recall, to request required repairs, and to seek a replacement vehicle from the dealer until their airbag can be replaced or repaired.

The State of Hawai’i is also being assisted in this action by the Honolulu law firm of Cronin Fried Sekiya Kekina & Fairbanks and the Washington, DC office of the law firm of Cohen Milstein.

Hawai’i’s complaint is attached and available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2016/05/State-of-Hawaii-v.-Takata-Corporation-Complaint.pdf.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the recall is available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/takata-recall-faqs/.

Two Dozen State, County and Federal Agencies Combine Efforts to Raise Awareness About Hawaii Wildfire and Drought

Government and non-government organizations from across the state today, announced a collaborative effort to raise awareness about the threat of wildfire and drought to Hawaii’s natural resources and to private and public property.  Wildfire & Drought Look Out!, is a continuing campaign to keep people across the state informed of current fire and drought conditions, provide tips on protecting life and property from wildfire, and to provide information and education on how to deal with prolonged drought.

Wildfire and Drought Look Out

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is the lead agency charged with wildfire prevention and suppression on public lands across the state. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We hope this campaign, which has both a public and a media component, will educate and inform everyone living in and visiting Hawaii about the year-around threat of wildfires. While fires here in Hawaii burn smaller acreages than in much larger western states, the percentage of forest land we lose each year to wildfire, based on Hawaii’s actual land mass, is equal to states like California.”

This year already 10,865 acres have burned, over twice the number of acres burned during all of 2015. A recent wildfire on Oahu’s leeward coast, at Nanakuli, destroyed or damaged thousands of acres, including some native forest. Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves commented, “During this fire, flames crept precariously close to homes. The work of county and state fire fighters prevented property loss, and the precautions taken by many homeowners to create defensible space between their houses and surrounding areas prevented serious property loss.  This is exactly the type of activity we hope to encourage during the “Wildfire & Drought Look Out!” campaign.

The campaign has two components. The Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO) is one of the primary partners in the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! project and HWMO Executive Director Elizabeth Pickett explained, “We have set up both a public and a media page on the HWMO website. The public page will have loads of information for home and property owners on how best to prepare for the possibility of wildfire well in advance.  We’ll include water saving information which is really topical during this prolonged drought event in many areas across the state, largely caused by El Nino weather conditions.” HWMO will also maintain and manage a media page, where partners can contribute story ideas and leads for reporters and their news organizations. Pickett added, “We hope media outlets across the state will find this information valuable and topical and join all of us in spreading prevention and preparedness messages widely.”

There was a time when wildfire season in Hawaii typically started in late spring or early summer and lasted until late fall.  “Now with prolonged drought across large regions of the Hawaiian Islands and long-range predictions that show no apparent relief soon, the timing of the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! campaign couldn’t be better,” said Derek Wroe, a forecaster with NOAA’s National Weather Service office in Honolulu, another of the project partners.

Joint Task Force Established to Combat Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor announced today the establishment of a Joint Task Force to assess the threat of rat lungworm disease (Angiostrongyliasis) in Hawaii. The mission of the task force is to share scientific knowledge in the application of diagnostics, treatment, mitigation and public education activities.

rat lungworm

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a nematode, which is a roundworm parasite called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasitic nematode can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. Humans can become infected when they consume, either intentionally or otherwise, infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts.

Although rat lungworm has been found throughout the state, Hawaii Island has a majority of the cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or only have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe, which can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may also be present, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

“Establishing a joint task force with local experts in the medical field and leaders in government will produce a set of best practices that be used to target rat lungworm disease not only on Hawaii Island, but on a statewide scale as well,” said Wil Okabe, East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor. “There is no specific treatment yet identified for this disease, so finding the best ways to prevent its spread and educate the public is crucial.”

The members of the task force are as follows:

  • Wil Okabe (Facilitator), East Hawaii Governor’s Liaison Office
  • Robert Cowie, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Robert Hollingsworth, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Sue Jarvi, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Jerry Kahana, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture
  • Kenton Kramer, Ph.D., Department of Tropical Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)
  • John Martell, M.D., Hilo Medical Center
  • Marian Melish, M.D., Pediatric Infectious Disease, Kapiolani Medical Center
  • Donn Mende, Research and Development, County of Hawaii
  • DeWolfe Miller, Ph.D., Tropical Medicine Microbiology and Pharmacology, JABSOM
  • Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch, DOH
  • Sarah Park, M.D., F.A.A.P., State Epidemiologist, DOH
  • Joanna Seto, Save Drinking Water Branch, DOH
  • Aaron Ueno, Hawaii District Health Office, DOH
  • Chris Whelen, Ph.D., State Laboratories Division, DOH
  • Jonnie Yates, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

Hawaii Ranks Third in Nationwide Access to Justice Study

The Justice Index 2016 Findings, just released by the National Center for Access to Justice, ranks Hawaii among the top three states in the country for practices aimed at making access to justice a reality for all people.  The report measures the accessibility of each state’s justice system in four categories:  attorney access for low-income litigants; support for self-represented litigants; support for litigants with limited language proficiency; and support for people with disabilities.
Judiciary“We are very pleased that we are being recognized for providing Hawaii’s residents with some of the highest levels of service in the country,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald.  “The Justice Index Report not only helps educate the public about the challenges and unmet need for legal assistance that exists in our legal system nationwide, but also raises awareness of the many resources available.  Increasing access to justice requires a collaborative effort.  We are so grateful to all those who are committed and dedicated to making 100% access a reality for all.”

Hawaii was number one in the country for providing support for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).  The State Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts (OEAC) has improved and increased the services available to Hawaii’s growing LEP population.  The Judiciary annually provides interpreting services for LEP clients in as many as 45 different languages.  OEAC also conducts statewide mandatory staff training on language access services for all Judiciary staff, so that the Judiciary can uphold the highest standard of service.

“Language access has always been a priority for us.  These findings are the result of the commitment of our OEAC team and the 382 interpreters who are part of the Judiciary’s Court Interpreter Certification Program,” explained Rodney Maile, Administrative Director of the Hawaii State Judiciary.  “We are continuing to find ways to improve language access, and are currently working on translating court forms from English into the 12 to 14 languages most frequently encountered in our state courts.”

Hawaii ranked in the top five for providing support to self-represented litigants.  The Hawaii State Judiciary together with the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission and various community partners opened Self-Help Centers in every circuit in the state, where parties who cannot afford an attorney for their civil legal cases can get information from volunteer attorneys.  The Judiciary has worked with the Bar organizations on each island to increase the hours of operation and number of volunteers available to assist individuals who cannot afford an attorney.  Since the first Self-Help Center opened in 2011, volunteer attorneys and AmeriCorps Advocates have assisted more than 12,000 people, at almost no cost to the public.

The Hawaii State Judiciary also partnered with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Bar Association to make self-help interactive court forms available online.  Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software.  This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly.  For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide.

Hawaii rankedtop seven in providing support for people with disabilities.  The Hawaii State Judiciary is recognized for providing website information on how to request an accommodation, using only certified sign language interpreters in court, and providing information on how to file a complaint for anyone who has difficulty accessing court facilities or services because of a disability.

Accommodations covered by the courts may include, but are not limited to, modifications to schedules to assist those with disabilities, the cost of providing sign language interpreters or computer assisted real-time transcription for persons who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment.

Chief Justice Recktenwald thanked Access to Justice Commission Chair, Justice Simeon R. Acoba, and his predecessor, Judge Daniel R. Foley, for their leadership on the Commission.  He went on to say, “None of this would be possible without the leadership and hard work of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission as well as our partnerships with the Hawaii State Bar Association, county bar associations, William S. Richardson School of Law, Hawaii Justice Foundation, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, AmeriCorps, and other legal service providers.  I would especially like to acknowledge the work of hundreds of attorneys who have volunteered their time and talents to help those with the greatest need of legal support.”

Big Island Police Week Festivities May 15th to 21st

Police Week festivities on Hawaiʻi Island will be held next week (May 15-21).

HPDBadgePolice Week is a nationally recognized week of activities in support of police work and in recognition of officers who have died or been disabled in the line of duty. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy proclaimed every May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week it falls in as National Police Week. In Hawaiʻi County, Police Week activities this year are scheduled from Monday, May 16, to Friday, May 20.

The public is invited to attend formal Police Week ceremonies on Monday, May 16th, 10:00 a.m., at the Hilo police station and Tuesday, May 17th, 10:00 a.m. at the Kona police station. Both ceremonies include pre-ceremony entertainment and a tribute to Hawaiʻi County police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Police will pay tribute to Officer Manuel Cadinha, who gave his life in 1918, Officer William “Red” Oili, who gave his life in 1936, Officer Ronald “Shige” Jitchaku, who gave his life in 1990 and Officer Kenneth Keliipio, who gave his life in 1997.

During this year’s Hilo event, there will be a dedication ceremony for the new Police Memorial, “Ka Malu Aloha”, which has been erected adjacent to the East Hawaii Detention Facility. The wall will stand forever, in remembrance of these fallen heroes, who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving the residents of the County of Hawaii.

Also during Police Week, station tours for all districts will be offered to the public. Station tours at the Hilo Police station will be on Tuesday, May 17th, with tours being held at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Call Officer Jason Grouns at 961-3066 to schedule an appointment.

USGS Updates Lava Flow Map – Widening and Advancement Since Last Map

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the eastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the flow field on March 25 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow field as mapped on May 9 is shown in red.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. The black box shows the extent of the accompanying large scale map.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent regional land cover map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). The bathymetry is also from NOAA.

Because the flow field is changing very little at the moment, mapping of the lava flow is being conducted relatively infrequently. We will return to more frequent mapping if warranted by an increase in activity.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the flow field on March 25 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow field as mapped on May 9 is shown in red.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The yellow lines show the mapped portion of the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at lower left.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over a 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Hawaii Police Community Satisfaction Survey Results

Chief Harry Kubojiri wishes to thank the 583 members of the public who participated in the Hawai’i Police Department’s 2016 Community Satisfaction Survey during the month of March.

As in previous surveys, Chief Kubojiri said the survey was a tool to assist him in:

  • identifying problem areas the community is experiencing with the Police Department
  • determining if he can rectify those issues through specific training of Police Department personnel
  • making changes to policies and procedures if necessary
  • clarifying misinformation about laws and/or police practices

“Your feedback has been invaluable in providing input into the impressions of the community and visitors to our island,” Kurojiri said. “Your input is one of the many tools we use in our continuing efforts to improve how we provide services to the public.”

The survey results can be viewed here.

Click to see all the results of the survey

Click to see all the results of the survey

The chief encourages the public to continue to provide feedback throughout the year by using the “Feedback” link on the Police Department’s website.