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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Forum’s featured speakers include:

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

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

Continue reading

Residents in Black Sands Sub-Division Evacuated Because of Brush Fire

Situation Found at Scene: Brush fire on Iolani St. spreading both mauka and makai driven by intermittent trade gusts.  Initial visibility less than 10′, no radio or cell phone communication.

Cause: Unknown

Remarks: Fire located on vacant lots bordering structures on all sides. Engine 10 attacked head of fire on Iolani St., Engine 18, VE-10D and BT-8 defended mauka structures along Cook. St. and Engine 5 defended structures makai along Kapiolani St with at times zero visibility.  Near by residents evacuated.  Chopper 1 called in to assist in aerial survey and Tanker 1 and Tanker 10 for water supply.  Fire area extinguished and wet down with booster, forestry lines and foam.  5 structures threatened, no damage incurred.  4 night watch recall personnel called in to monitor and suppress hot spots and flare ups with T-10 and BT-10 throughout the night.

Gall Wasps Invade Hawaii High School Banyan Trees – Replacing with Golden Trumpet Trees

McKinley High School will begin work on Friday, July 7, 2017, to remove six Banyan trees on its front lawn that have been significantly damaged by an island-wide infestation of gall wasps.  Four damaged Banyans were removed previously in early April as a safety precaution, along with seven more since 2006.  All removed Banyan trees will be replaced with Golden Trumpet (Tabebuia Chrysantha) trees.  Tree removal and planting of the first ten Golden Trumpet replacements are expected to be complete by early August.  Further replacement trees will be installed in future phases.

Six damaged Banyans on the front lawn will be removed beginning Friday, 7/7, and be replaced with Golden Trumpet trees. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“After several unsuccessful attempts to eradicate the gall wasp infestation over the past decade, we’ve concluded this is our best option,” said Assistant Superintendent for school facilities, Dann Carlson.  “We have worked closely with our partners at the state Department of Agriculture and determined that the damaged trees need to be removed before they become a safety hazard to our students.”

One of the Banyans marked for removal shows the damage created by the insect infestations. Bark & branches are beginning to break off as the tree’s health continues to decline. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Gall wasps were first identified on the campus in 2005 at the same time as a wider infestation of Banyan and Wiliwili trees around Oahu.  The wasps burrow into branches and lay eggs into young leaf and stem tissue.  Upon hatching, wasp larvae prevent new leaves from growing and cut exit holes upon departing.  Impacted trees quickly suffer a loss of growth and defoliation before dying.

Past attempts to save the impacted Banyans used a different variety of wasp, Eurytoma Erythrinae, a natural predator of gall wasps, and several chemical insecticide treatments.  Neither solution was successful enough to save the impacted trees.  Lobate lac scale insects were also found attacking the same Banyans, creating further damage.  The upcoming tree removals will have impacted 17 of the 34 campus Banyans since 2006.

Artist’s rendering of future Golden Trumpet tree replacements on McKinley High’s front lawn. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“The Banyans will be replaced with Golden Trumpet trees, which are naturally resistant to gall wasps and lobate insects,” said Principal Ron Okamura.  “These trees are will provide similar-sized canopies, shade and a wonderful display of gold blooms every spring on our front lawn, which match McKinley’s school colors.”

During tree removal and replacement work, access to the surrounding areas of the campus will be restricted.  The upcoming removal of the six damaged Banyans will cost approximately $19,000 and the planting of the first ten Golden Trumpet trees will cost approximately $8,500.

North Kona Water Restriction Update – One Well Fixed… Four to Go

This is a Civil Defense Message. This is a Water Restriction update for North Kona customers for Wednesday July 5 at 4 PM.

The Department of Water Supply (DWS) reports that Keahuolu Deepwell, which was out of service since last Thursday causing an emergency restriction limiting water usage to health and safety needs only, has now been repaired and is operational.

Due to your help, water service was maintained to all users during this emergency.

Because four (4) wells are still being repaired, you are reminded that the mandatory water restriction is still in effect for the North Kona area. This means everyone must continue to reduce their normal usage by 25 percent.

DWS will continue to monitor water use.

For more information including schedule of well repairs and ways to reduce water usage, please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org or call the Department of Water Supply. During normal business hours – 961-8060. After-hours and emergencies – 961-8790.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement on North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after North Korea’s recent successful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test:

“North Korea’s latest successful intercontinental ballistic missile test further demonstrates the extremely dangerous and growing threat that North Korea poses to Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and the mainland United States.  For the past fifteen years, our leaders have let the people of Hawaiʻi and our country down, allowing the situation in North Korea to worsen to this point of crisis where we are left with nothing but bad options. We must ensure we are able to defend against North Korea’s threat with cutting-edge missile defense technologies, but this is not enough. We must pursue serious diplomatic efforts to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize North Korea. However, U.S. leaders need to understand that Kim Jong Un maintains a tight grip on North Korea’s nuclear weapons as a deterrent against regime change. The Trump Administration would be far more credible in finding a diplomatic solution with North Korea if we weren’t currently waging a regime change war in Syria, and contemplating a regime change war in Iran.  

“The North Korean regime witnessed the regime change wars the U.S. led in Libya and Iraq and what we’re now doing in Syria, and fear they will become like Gadhafi who, after giving up his nuclear weapons program, was deposed by the United States.

“As long as the U.S. is waging regime change wars, we are far less likely to reach a diplomatic solution in North Korea because they have no reason to believe our promises.  In fact, we are far more likely to see nuclear proliferation by countries like North Korea who see nuclear weapons as their only deterrent against regime change.

“Serious diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula will require an end to our regime change war in Syria and a public statement that the U.S. will not engage in regime change wars and nation-building overseas, including in Iran and North Korea. We should focus our limited resources on rebuilding our own country and seriously commit ourselves to de-escalating this dangerous stand-off with North Korea and negotiate a peaceful diplomatic solution.”

Nation’s Broadest Wildlife Trafficking Ban Takes Effect

As the “endangered species capital of the world,” Hawai‘i knows first-hand the devastating impacts of losing significant and iconic native species. And now state has taken a historic step in helping to prevent the further loss of critically endangered species within its own borders and abroad.

Senate Bill 2647 (Act 125), sponsored by Senator Mike Gabbard, is the most comprehensive U.S. state law targeting the illegal wildlife trade. The bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter for any part or product of any species of elephant, mammoth, rhinoceros, tiger, great ape, shark and ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, hippopotamus, monk seal, lion, pangolin, cheetah, jaguar, and leopard, all identified as threatened with extinction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Endangered Species Act.  This law does not prohibit the mere possession of such items.

While the bill passed in the 2016 legislature, enforcement of the law was delayed until June 30, 2017, to grant individuals and businesses with wildlife products in their possession time to lawfully dispossess of the items. The law also provides continued reasonable exemptions for bona fide antiques, musical instruments, guns and knives, and traditional cultural practices.

“I worked on this issue for a number of years after learning that a 2008 investigation identified Hawai‘i as having the 3rd largest ivory market in the US, only behind New York and California. Many may not be aware that globally, wildlife trafficking falls right behind, and often hand in hand with illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking crimes. Act 125 now serves as a model for other states and nations to emulate,” said Senator Mike Gabbard.

“Wildlife trafficking remains a high priority for enforcement. We support any legislation that recognizes the importance of protecting species that are at risk of exploitation. Hawai’i is doing its part to be globally aware of this issue”, said the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell.

In the past 4 years, a number of states across the U.S. have pushed for stricter laws to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking.  New York, New Jersey, California and most recently Nevada have each passed laws prohibiting the purchase and sale of products made with elephant ivory and rhino horn and other imperiled species.   Washington and Oregon enacted similar measures through ballot initiatives. State measures are a critical tool to complement federal and international efforts to combat transnational wildlife crime.

The Hawai‘i bill was supported by local residents and dozens of grassroots and national conservation and animal protection groups including The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Council for Hawaii, NSEFU Wildlife Foundation and the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Vulcan Inc., International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International (HSI), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Another Fire Happened!

Another fire was reported tonight:

Situation Found at Scene: Fully involved structure fire, 1300 sq.ft. single story single family dwelling. Fire spread to immediate brush/foilage in surrounding area, no other structures threatened.  Light winds 1-2 mph from north.

Cause: under investigation

Remarks: Fire involved 20×40 single story structure, and 25×20 attached carport. Fire was contained to structure of origin and mop-up/overhaul completed. Two occupants, referred to Red Cross for assistance.

Description of Property:  Wooden structure with corrugated metal roof on fee simple land.

Hawaii Governor’s Statement on the Request for Voter Roll Data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Governor Ige’s Statement on the request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The State of Hawai‘i has received no request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  Taking a look at what other states have received, I’m skeptical.  At this point, we have no assurance that personal information would be secured.  It also appears that the commission aims to address voter fraud.  By all accounts, incidents of actual voter fraud are extremely rare.  I’m concerned this type of investigation would lead to a denial of voter access.  When we get the request, I will share my concerns with state and county elections officials.

From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we should share these records.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The House and Senate bills signed by the Governor today:

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1 (Act 66) Relating to Health

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

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

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

SB514 SD1 HD1 CD1 (Act 68) Relating to Health

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

Hawaii Department of Water Supply Water Restriction Update

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

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

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

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

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

DWS will continue to monitor for unnecessary water use.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOAA and DLNR Ask People’s Cooperation to Keep Distance from Mother Seal and Pup on Waikiki Beach

Marine resource protection officials are asking the public’s cooperation to keep their distance and avoid disturbing a Hawaiian monk seal mother and her newborn pup on the popular Kaimana beach at Waikiki.

Some time overnight the female monk seal known as “Rocky” or RH58, gave birth to a seal at the far Diamond Head end of Kaimana beach. She had been seen frequenting that area in recent days. Volunteers from the Hawaii Marine Mammals Alliance Oahu group have set up a safety perimeter with ropes and signage to keep viewers a safe distance away to avoid disturbing the mother seal and her pup. It’s also important for human safety since a mother seal may charge anyone that gets too close on the beach or in the water that might be viewed as a threat.

Volunteers will keep watch in shifts and provide education and outreach information to beachgoers over the approximately 5 to 7 weeks while the pup is weaned and eventually able to forage for food on its own.

According to Angela Amlin, NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program Coordinator, this is the 10th pup for RH58, but the first one to be born on Oahu. The other nine were born on Kauai. She said, “Our first concern is for human safety. People should stay behind the ropes on the beach and avoid swimming near the seals. It’s also important not to attempt to approach or interact with the seals, or try to feed them, which could habituate them to human contact and could lead to future problems.”

NOAA staff are contacting condominium and hotel managers, also Ocean Safety lifeguards in the vicinity for cooperation to mark off the area so the seals may rest undisturbed. Monk seals are protected under state and federal laws.

Kristen Kelly, DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources Marine Wildlife program assistant, says, “It is a really exciting event to have a pup born in such a popular and highly traveled area. It is also a concern for us here at DLNR. It is important to respect these animals especially a mother seal giving protective care to her pup. It is very important to give the pair space and respect in this vulnerable time. Take care to remain behind the barriers and head more to the ‘ewa side of the beach to enter and exit the water while the pair is here. Take special care in the water near the mother seal — there have been several instances of mothers protecting their pups from a perceived threat in the water, and attacking even if their baby is on shore. We advise staying out of the water on that side of the beach until the pair leaves. Try to remain at least 150 feet away in the water.”

She further adds, “We want people to enjoy viewing these special animals but please watch from a respectful distance! When observing these highly endangered species let’s do the right thing: take care and respect the seals, avoid sudden noise or any disturbance that could cause the mom to leave unexpectedly before she should. She needs to stay with the pup until it is ready to go out on its own. We also don’t want these wild animals to become conditioned to humans being nearby or trying to feed them. Please allow a respectful distance from seals so their pups can grow up naturally.”

VIEWING TIPS:

  • Please stay behind any ropes or fencing and follow instructions from personnel stationed on the beach.
  • Enjoy seeing and photographing these magnificent creatures from outside the safety perimeter, clearly marked by signs and ropes.
  • Hawaiian monk seals, even pups, are large powerful animals and can bite if they feel threatened. Keep a safe distance away.
  • Anyone who witnesses someone harassing or harming the seals may make a report to the DLNR Enforcement line at 643-DLNR (643-3567) or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 888-256-9840
  • In addition, harassing these mammals is against both federal and state law.  So please do your part to help our Hawaiian monk seals thrive and survive.

It’s becoming more common for monk seals to haul out on beaches popular with people. After a mother seal and her pup showed up just before Memorial Day 2017 on Mokulua North (Moku Nui) offshore islet, Kailua kayak rental companies began showing a DLNR-produced safety video to customers. Kayak renters are also asked to read a card that lists safe monk seal viewing protocols.

14 More Mumps Cases Reported – First Big Island Case Confirmed

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed fourteen (14) more cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of cases this year to 133. Eleven (11) cases are on Oahu, two (2) are on Kauai and one (1) is on Hawaii Island, representing that island’s first confirmed mumps case this year.

The new cases involved eight (8) adults. None of the cases required hospitalization and all are recovering. DOH officials are investigating the new cases and expect the mumps virus to continue circulating across the state.

DOH urges those who are suspected or diagnosed with mumps to stay at home to avoid exposing others. According to Hawaii State Law, a person with mumps may not attend school, work or travel for nine (9) days after the start of swollen salivary glands.“We continue to see people with mumps being mobile in the community well after the onset of the illness and before they have been diagnosed,” said Dr. Park. “This increases the risk for introduction of the disease on other islands and areas of our state as well as continued spread on Oahu.”

Mumps is highly-contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing and sharing cups and utensils. Symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, fever, tiredness and muscle aches.

To prevent the spread of mumps in our community, persons exhibiting symptoms of the disease should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, everyone is asked to review their immunization records to ensure they are fully vaccinated.

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

All adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps and who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive one MMR dose.

Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second MMR vaccine dose. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

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

Hawaii Department of Education Opens Second Data Center

After seven years of progress towards upgrading its technology infrastructure, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) opened its second data center at Hoʻokele Elementary School earlier this month.  This marks an important milestone in HIDOE’s Converge Infrastructure initiative, which is focused on consolidating the information technology (IT) equipment and services in order to streamline management and support statewide.

The Hookele data center acts as a backup in case the primary fails and will eventually house disaster recovery services for HIDOE’s critical applications and systems.
Photo Credit: Department of Education

“Prior to the opening of these data centers, our IT equipment and services were scattered throughout various locations making management and recovery efforts difficult,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Thanks to the work done through this initiative and legislative support, we have consolidated and enhanced our resources to meet the increasing connectivity demands in our schools.”

Planning for the initiative started in 2010 with the department’s offices of Information Technology Services and School Facilities and Support Services. In Spring 2015, the first data center opened at the former Queen Liliʻuokalani Elementary School in Kaimukī, which now houses department facilities and technology offices. The center is the primary production site with the new center at Hoʻokele serving as the back up and recovery site.

“During the planning process we put a lot of effort into the design of these centers. We incorporated energy efficient strategies and leveraged software that will provide additional flexibility for our systems that will allow us to adjust based on varying demand through the year,” added Clyde Sonobe, assistant superintendent and chief information officer.

The Hoʻokele center will eventually house disaster recovery services for HIDOE’s critical applications and systems.

Earlier this year, HIDOE was recognized as the top ranked school district in K-12 broadband connectivity according to the 2016 State of the States annual report released by Education Superhighway, an advocacy group dedicated to upgrading Internet infrastructure in K-12 public schools. For more information about this award, click here.

Civil Defense Notice on Water Restrictions – Public Potable Water Distribution Stations Set Up

This is a Civil Defense Message. This is an Emergency Water Restriction Notice for North Kona District customers for Thursday, June 29 at 4PM. The Department of Water Supply reports Keahuolu Well located in North Kona District is out of service.

Due to the loss of this pump and to avoid the loss of water pressure and service, the Department of Water Supply is issuing an immediate restriction on water use to health and safety needs of drinking, cooking, and sanitation ONLY.  North Kona customers in the area from Keauhou to Keahole and  Honalo to Makalei must cease all other water use including all irrigation and washing of vehicles and boats.    

Conserve water by flushing toilets less often and taking shorter showers.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water (5-10 gallons) for basic household needs, such as flushing toilets, hygiene and consumption in the event of service disruption.

Until further notice, the Department of Water Supply is suspending temporary service accounts and irrigation accounts in North Kona.

Department of Water Supply will be monitoring water usage and wasteful water use will be subject to further water restrictions and possible water shut off.

In order to help meet general customer demand, Water Supply has established Public Potable Water Distribution Stations at the following locations:

  • Ane Keohokalole Hwy. between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School
  • Hina Lani between Anini St. and Manu Mele St.

 

Community Forum on Kona Water Restrictions – One Year to Fully Restore Water Service

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

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

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

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

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

The Forum’s featured speakers include:

  • Keith Okaomoto, Manager and Chief Engineer of Department of Water Supply

Additional forum presenters will be announced in the coming days.

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

WEST HAWAII FORUM DATE: Thursday, July 20th, 2017

TIME & PLACE: 6 – 8 PM, WHCC

EVENT DETAILS:  http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/department-of-water-supply-apologizes-questions-remain/

Emergency Water Restriction Notice for North Kona – Cease ALL Irrigation Activities

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

Cause of failure is being assessed to determine what needs to be done and how long it will take. Adjustments to the water system have been made to provide customers a minimum level of water service. Without everyone’s cooperation, there will be areas that will experience periodic loss of water service or lower water pressures.

DWS will be suspending service to all temporary service and irrigation accounts as well as actively restricting specific accounts due to exorbitant water use.

Report any observed wasteful use of water to the DWS at 961-8060 or 961-8790.

For information, please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org. You can also call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8060 for more information or to report wasteful water use during normal business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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

Coast Guard Accepts 24th Fast Response Cutter

The Coast Guard accepted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), the 24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards, Tuesday morning in a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) cruises out of Key West, Fla., following the cutter’s delivery to the Coast Guard, June 27, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the 24th Fast Response Cutter to be delivered to the service and will homeport in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll/Released)

The cutter, which is 154-feet long and has a crew complement of 24, will be homeported in Honolulu.

The Oliver Berry is tentatively scheduled for commissioning in October in Honolulu. It is the first Fast Response Cutter to be stationed in the Coast Guard’s 14th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, various Pacific Island nations and parts of Asia.

The cutter’s namesake, Oliver Berry, is the first enlisted helicopter mechanic in naval aviation history and was an instrumental part in pioneering the use of the helicopter for search and rescue after World War II. In September 1946, he successfully disassembled a helicopter in Brooklyn, New York, organized transportation from New York to Newfoundland, Canada, and reassembled the helicopter for use to rescue 18 stranded passengers of a Belgian airliner that crashed near Gander, Newfoundland. He subsequently received the Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II from the Belgian monarchy for his efforts.

The Fast Response Cutter is replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, as well as an over-the-horizon cutter boat. The cutter features advanced seakeeping capabilities, and can achieve speeds of more than 32 mph (28 knots). The cutter has an endurance of five days. The Coast Guard is in the middle of the FRC acquisition program, with plans to procure a total of 58 vessels.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) stand for a photo upon the cutter’s delivery to the Coast Guard in Key West, Fla., June 27, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the 24th Fast Response Cutter to be delivered to the service and will homeport in Honolulu. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll/Released)

Oliver Berry is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, and national defense. For more information about this cutter, please contact 14th District Public Affairs at 808-535-3230 or Oliver Berry’s executive officer at Peter.M.Driscoll@uscg.mil.

Department of Health Announces Zika Preparedness & Response Milestones to Fight the Bite During National Mosquito Awareness Week

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 25–July 1, 2017, is a nationwide annual reminder of the importance of controlling mosquitoes and reducing the serious risks of vector-borne diseases like Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Protecting Hawaii from these diseases is a major undertaking, and the state has recently reached several milestones in mosquito-borne disease prevention and response.

DOH vector control staff treat a large area of residential yard to eliminate adult mosquitoes.

With the support of the Hawaii State Legislature, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been diligently ramping up its vector control capacity by increasing staff positions on all islands, conducting training on mosquito surveillance and disease response protocols, and ensuring sufficient equipment and supplies are available to effectively respond to potential disease outbreaks from mosquitoes, should it be necessary.

While staffing has increased statewide from 25 to 45 positions, the hub of activity has been on Hawaii Island, which now has 15 dedicated vector control staff positions with a range of expertise including inspectors, specialists, and an entomologist. This week, DOH vector control staff are participating in a three-day workshop conference in Kona to evaluate response plans and undergo training on mosquito surveillance and abatement practices.

“Having a well-equipped vector control program year-round is crucial to maintain monitoring and reduction of mosquitoes and other vectors even when we aren’t engaged in an active disease outbreak,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH’s deputy director of the Environmental Health Administration. “Increased staffing means our Vector Control program will be ready to immediately respond to suspect or confirmed cases of mosquito-borne disease and have the resources to control mosquitoes and their breeding areas in order to reduce the risk of diseases spreading. Our Vector Control program is also a key partner in routine control of mosquito populations within the community through ongoing education, source reduction, and larviciding.”

The Hawaii Island District Health Office’s Vector Control Program has taken the lead to develop and implement strategies that will reduce mosquito activity and prevent breeding areas. Efforts include:

  • Collaboration with Hawaii Invasive Species Council’s Mamalu Poepoe project to re-examine monitoring and abatement strategies at points-of-entry (i.e., airports, harbors, etc.) to increase the state’s biosecurity related to introductions of new species of disease carrying mosquitoes.
  • Island-wide mosquito surveillance and mapping to identify present species and their prevalence and assess the risk to residents and visitors alike. Special attention is being paid to Aedes aegypti, which is an extremely efficient carrier of Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
  • Ongoing studies to predict mosquito breeding patterns based on rainfall and other environmental and seasonal influences.
  • Practicing, monitoring, and evaluating the effectiveness of abatement strategies conducted in public and residential areas.

While vector control has been a crucial focal point, other department-wide efforts to better prepare the state to both prevent and respond to the possibility of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks, especially Zika, are underway and making substantial progress.

Statewide Mosquito-borne Disease Response Plan Completed and Tested

Drawing on lessons learned from the 2015–16 dengue outbreak, which was focused on Hawaii Island and sickened 264 people, DOH collaborated with local, state, and federal partners to develop the Joint Hawaii Mosquito-borne Disease Outbreak Emergency Operations Plan so that the state may be better prepared to respond to an outbreak, especially with the threat of Zika growing in regions worldwide. The plan provides essential and evidence-based guidance to state and county emergency management agencies prior to, during, and immediately after a mosquito-borne disease outbreak. Hawaii’s plan is closely aligned with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plan guidance and further tailored for Hawaii’s unique situation. DOH has hosted a series of tabletop exercises to collect feedback from partners and stakeholders. This year, exercises have been completed in Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Counties, and another will take place in Honolulu later this week.

Disease Surveillance and Investigation Capability Improved

DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division (DOCD) has added three staff members to enhance the efficiency of disease surveillance and investigation. Additional staff have improved collaboration between investigators and epidemiologists with partners, such as the State Laboratories Division and the Environmental Health Services Division, which houses the Vector Control Branch. Enhanced integration and coordination among these areas will ensure streamlined processes during emergency outbreak situations.

State Laboratory Capacity Increasing

The DOH State Laboratories Division (SLD) in Pearl City is one of a handful public health laboratories in the nation with the capacity to test for dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. This capacity allows our state to quickly turn around testing results for mosquito-borne diseases in the Pacific. In response to the most recent outbreak, SLD developed and refined its IgM testing (analysis of early antibodies in blood samples) capacity to address rising concerns about Zika infection. SLD is in the process of establishing plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT), a more complex antibody testing process, for dengue and Zika. This will allow the state to better define cross reactive samples, which currently must be sent to CDC, and thus reduce the time to resolve final results.

Birth Defects Surveillance Ongoing

DOH’s Hawaii Birth Defects Program (HBDP) and DOCD have been working together to monitor mothers potentially affected by Zika since January 2016. Since Zika can be passed from a pregnant mother to her baby before or during birth, it is critical to collect data regarding them and their babies through their clinicians. Data are then contributed to the national Zika birth registry with the hope of better understanding congenital Zika infection, including its scope, risk, and incidence.

Education and Outreach Campaign

Public education efforts have been driven by the Fight the Bite program, a statewide campaign that urges Hawaii to collectively prevent, prepare and protect against mosquito-borne diseases. A wide range of educational materials are available to arm the public with knowledge about these diseases and how they can take proactive measures in their communities.

In addition to being made available online at www.fightthebitehawaii.com, DOH is working with health centers and clinics statewide to ensure providers are properly trained on how to use and distribute materials to their patients/clients. Earlier this year, DOH conducted for Hawaii’s clinicians the first ever statewide public health grand rounds webinar, which focused on the clinical management of Zika infection.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease-types/mosquito-transmitted/. To access Fight the Bite educational materials, including print, video, and audio-based resources, visit www.fightthebitehawaii.com.

‘Broncos’ Hold Mile High Training Exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area

Maneuver elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, found invaluable support from mortar, artillery and helicopter gunships during a fire support coordination exercise (FCX), here, June 24-26.

A Soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, scans his sector with an M240B machine as part of a maneuver element during a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The battalions of 3rd BCT went through a series of realistic combat lanes during the three daylong FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The maneuvers were held on the big island of Hawaii at the more than mile high plateau between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Hualalai volcanic mountains.

The purpose of the FCX is to provide realistic training, which includes maximum flexibility during the company-level maneuvers.

Second Lt. Victor Perez, a native of Snyder, Okla., and a fire support officer assigned to 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, said the FCX “allows us to practice with our maneuver element and also be able to de-conflict measures such as coordination and indirect fires.”

Perez said the training with close air support assets such as the AH-64 Apache helicopter provides excellent planning to de-conflict the use of air and indirect fire assets.

“We get down here to really train and focus on for when the next war that happens,” he said. “It’s not exactly being overseas, but allows us to get really good training out here.”

Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, act as a maneuver element during a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The battalions of 3rd BCT went through a series of realistic combat lanes during the three daylong FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Capt. Trent Sutterfield, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., and commander of Blackfoot Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., said it was a great experience for his troops on PTA.

“It’s a chance to not only work with your platoon leaders, which you work with quite a bit, but that external audience such as your FSO, your fire support coordination piece with the artillery and mortars,” Sutterfield said.

He stated the ranges were doable on the island of Oahu, but they’re a great many constraints for training on the highly population island.

“This allows us to build again not just shoot our maneuver elements or normal direct fire systems such as the M2 machine gun and Mark 19 grenade launcher, but also emphasis our fires capabilities and air platforms,” he said. “We have the land and the ability without constricting training of other units on Schofield.”

Spc. William Holt, indirect fire infantrymen, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, applies camouflage face paint prior to the start of a fires coordination exercise (FCX) lane at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, on June 25, 2017. The Soldiers provided indirect fire support during near pitch-black conditions to maneuver elements during the FCX. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

The company-level leadership involved their FSOs during their operational planning.

“We involved them in our planning process, and directly through our fire support officer and fire support NCO,” he said. “They develop the fires plan as we conduct the maneuvers piece, and build that on top in support of us.”

Spc. Matthew Blankenship, a native of Sparta, N.C., and a fire support specialist assigned to 3-4th Cav. Regt., worked directly with the maneuver elements on the simulated battlefield.

Blankenship stated the tight constraints on the ranges on Oahu make it difficult for the M777 150 mm howitzer to fire with full affect during training.

“There’s a lot of wide open places so we can use some of our larger caliber weapon systems,” he said. “You can’t really fire that well Schofield because there isn’t enough range to. So when we come to PTA, we get to actually use the larger caliber weapons in the way it was designed to be used.”

With his second rotation at PTA, Blankenship’s views on the PTA ranges were highly positive.

“I never imagined Hawaii being like this,” he said. “It’s sort of a desert climate, and it’s really different. It’s a really good place to train.”