• Follow on Facebook

  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • puako-general-store
  • air-tour-kauai
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    June 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « May    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

  • Recent Comments

Reptile Skin Grown in Lab for First Time, Helps Study Endangered Turtle Disease

Scientists, including Tina Weatherby with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), published a study wherein they reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the first time that skin of a non-mammal was successfully engineered in a laboratory. In turn, the scientists were able to grow a tumor-associated virus to better understand certain tumor diseases.

Green sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered. Credit: Thierry Work, USGS.

In an international collaboration led by the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists engineered turtle skin in order to grow a virus called chelonid herpesvirus 5 or ChHV5. ChHV5 is associated with fibropapillomatosis, known as FP, a tumor disease affecting green turtles worldwide but particularly those in Hawai‘i, Florida and Brazil. FP in turtles causes disfiguring tumors on the skin, eyes and mouth as well as internal tumors. The virus also harms turtles’ immune systems, leading to secondary infections, emaciation and often death.

Examining how ChHV5 grows in turtle skin brings researchers closer to fighting viral diseases that threaten imperiled species.

“Fibropapillomatosis is the most common infectious disease affecting endangered green turtles,” said Thierry Work, a USGS scientist and the lead author of the study. “Our findings provide a significant advancement in studying FP, and may eventually help scientists better understand other herpes virus-induced tumor diseases, including those of humans.”

Scientists used cells from tumors and normal skin from turtles to reconstruct the complex three-dimensional structure of turtle skin, allowing growth of ChHV5 in the lab. In order to observe virus replication in unprecedented detail, Weatherby, a research associate at the UHM SOEST Pacific Biosciences Research Center, precisely cut ultrathin slices of the skin to a thickness of about 60 to 80 nanometers or about one thousandths of the thickness of a hair. Viewing these slices through a transmission electron microscope, the only one of its kind in the state used for biological studies, revealed bizarre systems such as sun-shaped virus replication centers where the viruses form within cells.

Although the existence of ChHV5 has been known for more than 20 years, the inability to grow the virus in the laboratory hampered understanding of how it causes tumors and the development of blood tests to detect the virus.

“Examining viruses within the complex three-dimensional structure of engineered skin is exciting, because virus replication in such a system is likely much closer to reality than traditional laboratory techniques,” Work said. “This method could be a powerful tool for answering broader questions about virus-induced tumors in reptiles and herpes virus replication in general.”

The U.S Endangered Species Act and International Union for the Conservation of Nature list sea turtles as threatened or endangered throughout their range. Aside from disease, threats to green turtles include loss of nesting habitat, nest destruction and bycatch in commercial fisheries.

The USGS partnered with the University of Hawai‘i, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Zurich on the new study.

For more information about wildlife disease research, please visit the USGS National Wildlife Health Center website.

Firehose Activity Briefly Returns at the Kamokuna Ocean Entry

On Sunday, June 25 between 11:39 and 11:44 HST, firehose activity started at the ocean entry and continued for less than 10 minutes. A USGS time-lapse camera, which takes a photo every 5 minutes, captured this image at 11:44 and by 11:49 the firehose was replaced by a lava channel on the delta.

The cause of the short-lived firehose activity was not visible from the time-lapse camera, but was likely the result of a failure of the 61g tube casing where it exits the old sea cliff.

This photo from June 25 shows the established lava channel at 6:49 pm HST, hours after the firehose activity.

On June 26 HVO observers did not see any active surface breakouts on the delta and the channel has tubed over, but some narrow streams of lava were spilling into the ocean. The delta had lost some small chunks, but there was no evidence seen of a large-scale delta collapse.

15 More Mumps Cases Reported – Total Reported Cases at 119

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed fifteen (15) more cases of Oahu residents with the mumps, raising the total number of cases this year to 119. The new cases involved eight (8) adults and seven (7) children. None of the cases required hospitalization and all are recovering.

DOH is investigating the new cases and expects the mumps virus to continue circulating around 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.Those who are sick are strongly encouraged to stay at home to prevent transmitting their infection to others. DOH also recommends persons without documentation of receiving the MMR vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible, while those who have received one dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second dose. Although not ideal, receiving extra doses of vaccine poses no medical problem.

The MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/…/vaccinesimmuni…/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional 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/.

 

North Kona DeepWell Repair Schedule Status – Temporary Water Conservation

Residents of Kona you are probably all aware of the request to reduce your water use by 25% due to the repairs being done on 4 of our deepwells that service the Kona area.  This is a temporary request to ensure that there will not be any disruption in services while the pumps are being restored.

The Department of Water Supply apologizes for this situation and is doing everything they can to expedite the work and to ensure this will not happen again in the future.  We thank you for your patience, necessary cooperation, and understanding.

Below are the expected repair completion dates for the North Kona Water DeepWells.  During this time, it is vital to conserve water.

  • WAI’AHA DEEPWELL – Pump has been delivered and motor is to arrive in the 3rd week of July, 2017. Repair is on schedule and completion date is July 31, 2017.
  • PALANI DEEPWELL – Electrical materials, pump and motor are expected to arrive in August 2017. Repair is on schedule and completion date is October 30, 2017.
  • HUALĀLAI DEEPWELL – Pump is expected to arrive in August 2017. Repair is on schedule and completion date is November 26, 2017.
  • KEŌPŪ DEEPWELL – Electrical materials and pump and motor are expected to arrive in August and September 2017. Repair is on schedule and completion date is December 20, 2017.

For more information regarding the water restriction, status of the well repairs, and/or ways to conserve water, please visit the Department of Water Supply website at www.hawaiidws.org.  You can also call the Department of Water Supply at 961-8060 for more information, or to report misuse, during normal business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Solo-Sailor in South Pacific

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Thursday for a solo-sailor aboard the 36-foot sailing vessel Celebration last reported 1,800 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.

Richard Carr, 71, remains missing.

“Mr. Carr had a deep passion for sailing and was on a very long and arduous voyage,” said Capt. Robert Hendrickson, chief of response, Coast Guard 14th District. “Our thanks to all our partners and the many mariners who helped us search for this vessel in one of the most remote regions of the world in an attempt to locate Mr. Carr. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends and also to the sailing community.”

Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules and French Falcon Guardian aircrews and the crews of three commercial vessels, two of which searched with embarked helicopters, conducted 17 searches in the region without any sign of the vessel. Search and rescue personnel from Rescue Coordination Centers in Tahiti and China also assisted in communications and planning evolutions.  Fishing fleets from several Pacific nations assisted by making callouts in their areas with no response from Carr. Limited vessel traffic and a lack of land to use as aircraft staging areas reduced the number of available assets and resources.

Weather on scene the day of Carr’s last communication was reportedly 11.5 mph winds, seas to 6-feet with good visibility.

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 59,598 square miles (51,790 square nautical miles), an area the size of Oklahoma, over the 24-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point working out of Tahiti
  • French Falcon Guardian airplane crews out of Tahiti
  • Fishing Vessel American Enterprise: 258-foot U.S.-flagged seiner
  • Motor Vessel Hokuetsu Ibis: 688-foot Panamanian-flagged cargo ship
  • Fishing Vessel El Duque: 259-foot Mexican-flagged seiner

The Coast Guard recommends multiple means of communications and proper emergency equipment and supplies, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) when sailing near and offshore.

May 28, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received notification from Coast Guard 11th District watchstanders reporting Carr had communicated to his spouse via a GPS message device that he was in distress. The spouse forwarded the information to the Coast Guard and based on his last communications strongly suspected her husband was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

Upon notification, JRCC Honolulu issued a SafetyNet alerting vessel crews in the area to keep a sharp lookout for the Celebration and efforts to identify potential response resources began. Carr was reportedly on a voyage from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, and had been at sea for a couple of weeks.

McDonald’s of Hawaii to Start Serving Lobster Rolls for a Limited Time

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii is giving lobster lovers a reason to celebrate. Starting June 28, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be selling the popular Lobster Roll in stores for a limited time. The Lobster Roll is made with 100 percent real North Atlantic lobster, mixed with mayonnaise dressing, and served atop crisp leaf and shredded lettuce on a buttered, toasted roll. A huge hit on the East Coast, McDonald’s of Hawaii is confident local residents will also enjoy the tasty sandwich.

“Hawaii residents are seafood lovers, so when the opportunity to bring the Lobster Roll to Hawaii arose, we knew we had to get onboard,” said Miles Ichinose, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii owner/operator. “This is the first time in our company’s 49-year history of doing business in Hawaii that we will be serving the Lobster Roll and we look forward to sharing this unique sandwich with our customers.”

This summertime special is priced at $9.99 at participating restaurants and will only be here for a limited time, through the end of July or while supplies last. Each Lobster Roll is 290 calories and made with 100 percent all-natural lobster meat, with no additives or preservatives.

“Our lobster meat is a quality artisan product caught by veteran lobster fishermen, and is similar to what you would find at top seafood restaurants around the world,” said Ichinose. “We are constantly listening to what our customers are requesting and then responding by introducing unique quality menu items. We are confident the Lobster Roll will meet their expectations.”

To celebrate the launch of the Lobster Roll, McDonald’s of Hawaii will be hosting a social media contest that will begin at 8 a.m. on July 4. Customers can enter the contest on Facebook or Twitter by simply snapping a photo of themselves eating a Lobster Roll at McDonald’s. The first 10 customers who share their selfies on Facebook and Twitter will win a Lobster Roll prize pack (valued at $30) when they use the hashtags #LovinLobsterRollHawaii and #Sweepstakes. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. on July 10, 2017. They will have seven days, until July 17, 2017 at 5 p.m., to claim their prize. For official rules and store information, please visit any of our 74 McDonald’s of Hawaii Facebook pages, our McDonald’s of Hawaii Twitter account, or: goo.gl/M9nt9Y.

Informational Meeting On Hawaii Coral Reef Bleaching

Senator Will Espero, in cooperation with the Friends of Hanauma Bay, is co-hosting an informational meeting on Wednesday, June 21 in conference room 229 from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the eroding health of Hawai‘i’s coral reefs due to pollution from personal health products such as sunscreen.

During the meeting, Dr. Craig Downs, Executive Director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory will present his latest scientific findings on sunscreen pollution and its damaging impact on Hawai‘i’s coral reefs, including the creation of what researchers call “coral reef zombies.”“The health of our coral reefs is important not only for the protection and preservation of our oceans, but also to our state’s economy and tourism industry,” said Sen. Espero. “Efforts were made to mitigate the toxic effect of pollution from oxybenzone on our coral reefs through a number of bills introduced this past legislative session. Through meetings like this, we’ll continue to work collaboratively with scientists and stakeholders to address the protection of our reefs for future generations.”

  • WHO:  Sen. Will Espero, Friends of Hanauma Bay, Dr. Craig Downs
  • WHAT:  Informational Meeting
  • WHERE:  Conference Room 229, Hawai‘i State Capitol
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon

VIDEO: Battle Against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Includes Top-Notch Technology

With 75,000 acres of Hawai‘i island ʻōhiʻa forest now showing symptoms of the fungal disease known as Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death, federal and state agencies and non-profit partners are using an array of high technology to detect its spread.

“The battle against the two types of Ceratocystis fungus that causes Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death has always been a hugely collaborative effort,” said Rob Hauff, State Protection Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “Now,” Hauff explained, “the collaboration between the agencies and organizations engaged in the fight against this devastating disease not only continues, but is expanding, particularly on the detection front.”  Early detection is considered critical in helping to identify Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death’s spread on the Big Island and to other islands and to provide data and scientific information to aide researchers working hard to find a way to stop it.

During a demonstration today, researchers showed off three of the high-tech survey/detection tools currently involved in mapping and on-site testing for the presence of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.

Dr. Carter Atkinson a Research Microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey based at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, developed what the team from the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BISC) fondly calls a “lab in a suitcase.”  Recently the BISC team collected ʻōhiʻa samples from towering trees in the Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve on the Big Island’s east coast. Prior to the development, earlier this year, of Atkinson’s portable testing laboratory, all samples were sent to the USDA ARS Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.  Since the cause of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death was first discovered in 2014, Dr. Lisa Keith who runs the main testing lab, has been overwhelmed with samples.  Bill Buckley, the Forest Response Program Coordinator for BISC said, “The lab in a suitcase has been really nice.  We can collect our samples in the field, and nearby under a portable tent the testing equipment is set and ready to go.  Within a few hours we get preliminary results. In the remote location’s we often work in, this is really beneficial. If we get a positive result, we then can go immediately back out and do additional sampling to get a better sense of how widespread the infection is. This greatly speeds up management decisions.”  Positive samples are sent to Dr. Keith’s lab for further testing and verification.

On the same day BISC tested samples in the Laupāhoehoe Forest Reserve, another team of researchers prepares to launch an unmanned aerial system (UAS) off the side of Stainback Road, one of the epicenters of the infection. Dr. Ryan Perroy of the Department of Geography & Environmental Science at UH Hilo and his team are now spending about 25% of their time flying the UAS for Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death mapping and detection.

Perroy said the “drone” has been in use in the battle against Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death for about a year and a half.  “It’s very good for monitoring changes in the forest on an individual tree basis, because the resolution of the imagery is so fine that you can see individual leaves and branches,” Perroy explained. That allows researchers not only to see changes over areas already infected by the fungus, but to detect suspected new cases. As valuable as the UAS imagery is, Perroy said it’s very difficult to fly over ʻōhiʻa forests every month and see the rapidity of tree decline. “It’s not the best day when we come back and we see more and more trees down since the last time we flew. Our efforts are one piece of the larger effort to better understand the disease and better protect our forests,” Perroy concluded.

Above, at 8,000 feet, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) is in the process of remapping roughly 650,000 acres of ʻōhiʻa forest on Hawai‘i island. This is the second time this twin-engine aircraft with millions of dollars of highly sophisticated equipment on board has peered into the very structural makeup and chemistry of individual trees to measure forest health.  The first time was in January 2016. This month’s flights will provide additional 3D imaging and data to fuse with ground data and the UAS data to give scientists and resource managers a really clear picture of the scope of spread of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.

Dr. Greg Asner leads the CAO effort. He explained, “Our 3D imaging system means we see the leaves in the forest canopy on individual trees.  We can determine tree heights, the tree’s structure and the chemical make-up.” Utilizing imaging spectrometers, mounted in the rear of the plane, along with laser-based technology, super high resolution GPS, and a high-end, military-grade intertial motion unit (IMU) Asner and his team are about two-thirds finished remapping the Big Island’s ʻōhiʻa forests, in this second round of flight missions.

He added, “Our work provides the whole island view and that interfaces with all the field work and with some of the high-resolution mapping that’s happening locally within some of the canopies.  We give the big picture, landscape scale view, but also with a lot of detail.”

All of the researchers and managers working to combat Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death agree that their collaborative efforts are about the only silver lining to what is a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s most important native tree. Ōhiʻa protect the state’s watersheds by providing a sponge-effect to allow rainwater to slowly seep into underground aquifers.  They also help prevent erosion and the spread of invasive species and they are very culturally significant and prized in lei making.

“I think it’s really encouraging in this daunting threat to our precious native ecosystem, to have a community of natural resource managers and scientists come together to find a solution,” said Philipp LaHaela Walter, State Survey and Resource Forester for DLNR/DOFAW. He added, “I think this experience of having dedicated partners, complete collaboration and the deployment of top-notch technology has greatly improved cross-agency communications and efficiency and we all hope eventually leads to a treatment for Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death.”

Top-Notch Technology in the Fight Against Rapid Ohia Death VNR 7-19-17 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Department of Health – Lead Tests Can Give False Results, Advises Parents About Re-Testing Their Children

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) recommends parents with children less than 6 years old who had a venous blood lead test drawn before May 17, 2017 consult with their health care provider to determine whether their child should be retested. This advisory does not apply if the child was tested with a finger or heel stick. Additionally, pregnant women and nursing mothers who had a venous blood lead test before May 17, 2017 should consult a health care provider about retesting.

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning about Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers used by some Hawaii laboratories. Magellan blood lead tests on blood drawn from a vein may provide falsely low results. The warning does not apply to capillary blood test results collected by finger stick or heel stick.When the warning was issued, DOH contacted local independent testing laboratories using Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzers. The DOH also contacted the chief medical officers of all health care facilities statewide. Working closely with laboratories throughout the state, and as more information became available, it was determined that a substantial number of children’s test results in Hawaii may have been affected. At this time, the exact number of inaccurate blood lead test results received within the state is not known.

“It’s very important to identify children who may have been exposed to lead” said DOH Director, Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The faulty test underestimates low blood lead levels and even low levels of lead exposure may cause adverse health effects such as learning and behavior problems in young children. If your child was tested for lead with blood drawn from a vein from 2014 to May 17, 2017, please contact your health care provider to discuss the need for retesting.”

For further questions on lead exposure contact the Hawaii Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Information on the national safety alert is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/about/blood_lead_test_safety_alert.html

Democratic Party of Hawaii Votes to Accept Former Republican Representative Fukumoto Into Party

On Saturday June 17th, members of the O‘ahu County Committee (OCC) of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) voted unanimously to accept the application of Representative Beth Fukumoto to become a member of the DPH.

The vote comes as the final step in a process required by party bylaws for elected officials switching parties and after several meetings with Rep. Fukumoto, including one-on-one discussions with elected members of the party as well as State Chair Tim Vandeveer, the OCC Executive Committee, and DPH caucus members.

Dr. Rich Halverson, Chair of the O‘ahu County Committee stated “though talk of Rep. Fukumoto’s request to become a Democrat has been ongoing for months, we received her formal application less than one month ago. We were pleased to meet with Rep. Fukumoto and take this vote in a way that we felt was timely and inclusive for everyone involved.”

Of the vote, DPH State Party Chair Tim Vandeveer said “we have maintained from the beginning that we would ensure Rep. Fukumoto a fair process and that should things align and unfold accordingly, we in Democratic leadership would welcome her in. I applaud the O‘ahu County Committee for their work.”

“I firmly believed that our Party should hold Rep. Fukumoto to no stricter an ideological standard than anyone else with a ‘D’ behind their name that currently sits in the big square building” explained Vandeveer. “While I agree with the notion that we should seek to elect better Democrats and not just more Democrats, I also understand that we are a ‘big tent’ party that is welcoming of many different ideas and viewpoints. This is the balance that confronts us.”

Of the process, Rep. Fukumoto said “(Saturday)’s vote was the result of weeks of meetings and conversations with Democratic Party members about our mutual goals, passions, and how we can work together to make a better life for the people of Hawai‘i. I got involved in politics with the goal of making Hawai‘i more affordable for local families, and I’m looking forward to doing that work with the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i.”

8 More Mumps Cases Reported on Oahu – Number of Cases Now at 104

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed eight (8) additional cases this week of Oahu residents with the mumps, pushing the total number of cases this year to 104.

Three new cases were confirmed on Tuesday, June 13, and involved two (2) adults and one (1) child. None of the cases required hospitalization and all three are recovering. An additional five (5) cases were confirmed today, involving one (1) adult and four (4) children, none of whom required hospitalization.

DOH expects the current mumps outbreak to continue and the investigation of new cases is ongoing. Mumps is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing and sharing cups and utensils. Symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches. People who think they have mumps should contact their health care provider and remain at home.  The MMR vaccine provides the best protection against the disease. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated can help protect loved ones, family members, friends, classmates and coworkers.

The MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. 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.

Additional 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/.

Army Soldier Surfing Dies in Hawaii When Fishing Boat Runs Over Him

An accident this morning at Waianae Small Boat Harbor involving a fishing boat and a man on a surfboard resulted in the death of the man. According to the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), sometime between 7 to 7:30, a man staying at the nearby Waianae Rest Camp was on a surfboard just outside the harbor. A 21-foot recreational powerboat exiting the harbor ran over the man. He is in the Army stationed at Fort Shafter.

The man was brought back to shore by the vessel with assistance from a commercial tour boat.

Honolulu Police (HPD) and Fire and DOCARE responded. HPD is taking the lead in the investigation, with assistance from DOCARE.

DLNR extends its deepest sympathy to the man’s family.

Older Women in Hawaii are 57% More Likely to Live in Poverty Than Older Men

A new analysis finds that Social Security benefits are especially crucial for older women in Hawaiʻi, who are more likely to live in poverty and less likely to have access to assets or savings in retirement. The report, released by the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is a first in examining more closely the economic status of older adults in Hawaiʻi by gender and race/ethnicity.

Just over nine percent (9.1 percent) of older women in Hawaiʻi live in poverty, compared with 5.8 percent of older men. Single older women in Hawaiʻi, however, are three times more likely than married older women to be living in poverty (13.0 percent and 4.1 percent poverty rates, respectively). The majority of older women in Hawaiʻi are single, while the majority of older men are married. There are also differences by race/ethnicity: Rates of pension coverage are highest among older Japanese women and lowest among older Filipinas, and rates of marriage also vary, with Filipinas most likely and Native Hawaiian women least likely to be married.

Dr. Colette Browne

“Many of the economic challenges that older women experience stem from inequities that women face earlier in life, including a persistent wage gap, the high cost of child care and a shortage of affordable housing. This builds up over the course of a lifetime and limits women’s ability to lay the foundation for economic security in retirement, especially for the many older single women living without a spouse,” said Dr. Colette Browne, the Richard S. and T. Rose Takasaki Endowed Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Work and author of the report’s recommendations.

The paper finds that Social Security is the most common source of income for both older men and women in Hawaiʻi, and is especially crucial for women. In Hawaiʻi, nearly 40 percent (39.4 percent) of older women’s annual income is from Social Security, compared with 29 percent of older men’s. Still, Social Security benefits received by older women in Hawaiʻi total about 80 percent of the amount older men receive ($12,000, compared with $15,158).

Older men have greater access to pensions, retirement savings and asset income than older women. Nearly half (47 percent) of older men receive income from a pension or retirement savings plan, compared with just over a third (35.5 percent) of older women in the state. Even for those with a pension or retirement savings plan, women’s median annual income is about 60 percent of men’s ($12,596 compared with $21,344).

The report concludes with recommendations for Hawaiʻi policymakers to focus on strategies and programs that alleviate age-, gender- and race-based inequalities and poverty across the lifespan.

Strategies to address inequity and support the health, educational and employment aspirations of women of every age in Hawaiʻi, coupled with policies that support women with child and elder caregiving responsibilities, such as paid sick days, paid family leave and an affordable and secure long-term care funding mechanism, would bolster women’s financial security throughout their life course and especially in their later years.

“Today’s younger woman is tomorrow’s older woman, so improving the economic status of older women in Hawaiʻi must start with addressing inequality at school, work and home,” said Browne. “But, we must also pay attention to the needs of older women today, and this means honoring women’s contributions to family and community, protecting Social Security and committing ourselves to funding for health and long-term care if and when disabilities occur.

The findings are presented in a paper by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work funded the analysis and authored the paper’s recommendations through the school’s Takasaki Endowment.

For more information, visit: https://iwpr.org/publications/economic-security-older-women-men-hawaii/

Commentary – Mayor Kim’s Administration Has Made Me Very Discouraged

Mayor Harry Kim’s administration has been in office roughly six months. The way I’ve been treated over this period of time has been nothing short of abysmal, and made me very discouraged about interacting with his administration about transportation issues. It isn’t very appealing to get a phone call from the mayor directly, who proceeds to yell at you over the phone and state that you don’t have the facts straight.

I would let this go if this was my only issue with Mayor Kim,  but it is not. February 6th, 2017 is a day I’ll remember for a very long time. The new Department of Public  Works director Frank DeMarco issued a sweeping  directive against me that stated I cannot talk to anyone at DPW, and would have submit all inquiries directly to the mayor’s office in writing.

I was able to get this directive somewhat amended, so I could go through the DPW public affairs officer. This made a very difficult situation more palatable, but I still couldn’t talk to the front line engineers that I established relationships with. Some of these engineers I’ve known for 10 years or more. As of a result of this ill-advised directive, I can’t communicate with these engineers going forward.

These actions by Frank DeMarco are a stark example that he intends to ignore public feedback regarding transportation issues. Warren Lee, the previous director, welcomed feedback from the public. He went as so far to take me on a tour of the construction of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass at one point.

I’ve helped DPW advance several West Hawaii transportation projects, which has established a favorable track record with these engineers. However, Frank DeMarco stated at council meeting on April 11th that I was making too many inquiries with DPW staff, which was causing problems for DPW and other county departments. This could be farther from the truth, along with being very hurtful.

I’ve lived in here Kailua-Kona over 41 years, and have had only the community’s best interest at heart.  These issues with Mayor Kim’s administration are far and beyond the biggest challenge that I’ve faced with a government entity. We should be working together to make this a better place as I have a lot to offer, but Mayor Kim’s administration insists on treating me like an enemy of the state instead.

Aaron Stene, Kailua-Kona

Editors note – Clip taken from the DPW Homepage. http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/public-works/

Hawaii Mumps Outbreak Continues – Total Cases Nears 100

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed seven (7) additional cases this week of Oahu residents with the mumps, bringing the total number of cases this year to 96.

One (1) case was confirmed on Tuesday, June 6 and involved an adult who did not require hospitalization and is recovering. The additional six (6) cases confirmed today involve four (4) adults and two (2) children, none of whom required hospitalization.

The DOH expects to see more cases of mumps as the highly-contagious viral disease continues to circulate on Oahu.The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. While some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms, others suffer from fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils,  or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated can help protect loved ones, family members, friends, classmates and coworkers.

State epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park reminds those who are sick to stay home and that the MMR vaccine provides the best protection against the disease.

“All adults born in or after 1957 without evidence of immunity to mumps and those with no documented MMR doses, should get vaccinated now,” she said. “Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second dose.”

Self-reported doses of the MMR vaccine without written documentation should not be accepted as valid. Although not ideal, receiving extra doses of the vaccine poses no medical problems. The MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional 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/.

Hakalau: Woman Falls to Her Death

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an unattended death after receiving a report of a 41-year-old falling to her death and whose body was found at the base of a cliff Thursday morning (June 8) in Hakalau. Her name is being withheld pending notification of her family.
At 10:41 a.m. , the Hawaiʻi Fire Department received a report that the woman fell from a cliff near the old Hakalau Mill, and in an area frequented by fishermen.

The victim was airlifted out of the area by helicopter, then transported by vehicle to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead shortly after 1:30 p.m.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning (June 9) to determine the cause of her death.

Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation. There was someone in the area who reportedly assisted after the fact by seeking help for the victim. Detectives would like to identify and interview this individual.

Police ask anyone who may have information about this incident to contact the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Jesse Kerr of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2377 or Jesse.Kerr@hawaiicountygov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Delegation Calls For Department of Homeland Security to Halt Deportation of Kailua-Kona Farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and the Hawaii congressional delegation today called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to halt their impending action to deport Mr. Andres Magana Ortiz of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In a letter to DHS Secretary Kelly, Hawaii’s congressional delegation requested that the Department reverse its decision to act on a Final Order of Removal to deport Mr. Ortiz based on his attempt to gain legal status through his wife who is a U.S. citizen and his upstanding reputation living in Hawaii for over 28 years as a coffee farmer, business owner, taxpayer, and husband and father.

“Today we call on the Department of Homeland Security to suspend its order to deport Andres Magana Ortiz, and instead allow him to continue on his pathway towards legal status. Mr. Ortiz is an upstanding member of society in Hawaii and embodies the values that we embrace as Americans – hard work, family, and community. The deportation laws facing Mr. Ortiz were designed for dangerous criminals who pose a threat to our society; not law-abiding contributing members of our community. I hope Secretary Kelly will do everything in his power to halt Mr. Ortiz’s deportation proceedings,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

FULL LETTER:

Dear Secretary Kelly:

We are writing to request that your Department exercise its prosecutorial discretion and re-evaluate the request for a stay of removal for Mr. Andres Magana Ortiz of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. We believe the particular circumstances of Mr. Magana Ortiz’ case merits the extraordinary grant of a stay.  Mr. Magana Ortiz is currently in the process of adjusting to legal status on the basis of his wife’s citizenship.  In other words, he is trying to do the right thing. Mr. Magana Ortiz is an upstanding member of our community and does not belong in the category of dangerous individuals who should be prioritized for deportation.  In fact, during his immigration proceedings, the government itself conceded that Mr. Magana Ortiz possesses good moral character.

We agree that persons that pose a threat to national security and public safety should be a priority for deportation proceedings. However, Mr. Magana Ortiz poses no such threat to national security or public safety and therefore should not be a priority for removal. Rather, it is in our national interest for Mr. Magana Ortiz to remain in the United States where he can continue to work, pay taxes, and raise his family.

The Department has the authority under 8 CFR 241.6 to issue an administrative stay of removal—essentially, to decide whether to keep families together or tear them apart—and in 2014 Mr. Magana Ortiz received a stay. At that time, presumably the Department found his arguments compelling and consistent with federal law, which has not changed. He filed subsequent stays, one of which was not acted upon by the Department, and another that was denied in March of this year. As a result of this denial, Mr. Magana Ortiz received a Final Order of Removal and has been ordered to report to ICE for deportation on Thursday, June 8, 2017.

The Department’s most recent denial wastes the government’s time and resources on proceedings for an individual who poses no threat to our nation, while a parallel proceeding that could resolve the issue remains open. In 2015, Mr. Magana Ortiz’s wife filed an I-130 Relative Petition for Alien Relative. According to the District Court’s record, this petition was filed in September of 2015 but receipt had not been acknowledged by the Department until March 29, 2016. Given that this avenue is still open and unresolved and has taken what appears to be an extraordinarily long time, we fail to see the value in the Department’s aggressive approach to Mr. Magana Ortiz’s deportation.

In his concurring opinion to the denial of the motion, Judge Stephen Reinhardt noted that Mr. Magana Ortiz entered the United States from Mexico in 1989, at the age of fifteen, and has since built a house, started his own business, paid taxes, married a U.S. citizen, and had three U.S. citizen children. He wrote that Mr. Magana Ortiz is by all accounts “a pillar of his community and a devoted father and husband.” Judge Reinhardt further stated that deportation would deprive Mr. Magana Ortiz’ children of a parent and source of financial support, and possibly of a home and an opportunity for education, unless they follow him to Mexico, a country where they have never lived, and where they do not speak the language.

The Department has the power to keep this family together, or to break them apart. Given the urgent nature of Mr. Magana Ortiz’ situation, we request that you exercise prosecutorial discretion by granting a stay of relief.  In addition, we ask that you expedite review of his wife’s I-130 petition.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

8 Additional Mumps Cases Reported in Hawaii – Outbreak Continues

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed eight (8) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 89. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all have recovered or are recovering.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu. Information on case numbers is updated regularly at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

The DOH is recommending all adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps, who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive at least one MMR vaccine dose. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose, are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second MMR vaccine dose.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy, go to http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional 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 Mumps Outbreak Explodes – 16 Additional Oahu Cases

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 16 additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 81. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults. Most of the cases are linked to previously confirmed illnesses. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all have recovered or are recovering.

The number of cases continues to steadily increase as today’s number represents test results received over the extended holiday weekend. The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu. Information on case numbers is updated regularly at http://health.hawaii.gov/…/department-of-health-investigat…/.

The DOH is recommending all adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps, who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive at least one MMR vaccine dose. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose, are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second MMR vaccine dose.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies across the state. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/…/vaccines-immun…/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus is also spread by sharing items such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Prevent the spread of mumps in our community by:

  • Ensuring your family is fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine. High vaccination coverage helps to limit the spread of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated can help protect loved ones, family members, friends, classmates and coworkers.
  • Patients suspected or diagnosed with mumps should self-isolate and avoid going out and exposing others for nine (9) days after onset of parotitis (tender, swollen jaw).
  • People who have been exposed to mumps and are not vaccinated should not attend school, work or travel from day 12 through day 25 after exposure.

Additional information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/…/department-of-health-investigat…/.

Radar Studies on Kaua`i Highlight Perilous State of Endangered Seabirds

An analysis of long-term radar studies on Kaua‘i has revealed massive declines in populations of the island’s two endangered seabirds, the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP) announced today.  The study, due to be published online in the scientific journal Condor on June 5th, shows that between 1993 and 2013 populations of the ‘A‘o (Newell’s Shearwater) declined by 94% and Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel)  by 78%.

Newell’s Shearwater chick. Photo by Andre Raine

“The results of this study demonstrate just how poorly these two iconic birds have fared on Kaua‘i over that time period,” said Dr. André Raine, lead author of the paper.  “With the majority of our radar sites showing massive decreases in numbers of these birds over the years, populations of the birds are in a rapid downward trajectory – particularly in the south and east of the island.  The study highlights just how critical recent conservation initiatives for the species on Kaua‘i are if we are to have a hope of reversing the situation.”

The study used truck mounted radar at 15 standard sites around the island.  Radar surveys at these sites were started in 1993 by Robert Day and Brian Cooper of ABR Inc., and were continued near-annually by the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project from 2006 onwards.  Radar is utilized worldwide to study birds and is a key tool to monitor the island’s seabirds as they fly overhead in darkness to and from their breeding colonies and the sea.  The radar allows observers to “see” the birds flying overhead in the darkness as a series of dots passing across the radar screen.  By assessing the speed of movement, the direction of travel, and the time that the event is recorded, birds are identified to species.

“Kaua‘i’s endangered seabirds are under threat from a whole suite of issues, including introduced predators such as feral cats, powerline collisions, light attraction and invasive plants – as well as threats at sea which could include overfishing, by-catch and the effects of climate change.

Kaua‘i holds 90% of the world’s population of ‘A‘o and a significant proportion of the world’s population of Ua‘u, so it is vital that we protect these birds,” continued Dr Raine. “Recent conservation initiatives on the island from a wide range of different organizations, land-owners and entities have shown that people are become more and more aware of the perilous state of these birds.  This gives me hope that we can reverse these spiraling trends.”

Radar work will continue on Kaua‘i in 2017, starting now until the middle of July.  For more information on this critical component of KESRP’s work, please visit the project website at http://kauaiseabirdproject.org/. The Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project is a joint project between the Department of Land & Natural Resources (Division of Forestry & Wildlife) and the University of Hawai‘i (Pacific Co-operative Studies Unit).  Radar surveys are funded via a State Wildlife Grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.