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22 New Cases of Hepatitis A Reported in Hawaii

hepatitis header

As of August 24, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 22 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 58 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eleven (11) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and three visitors have returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
228

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/16/16.

Places of Interest

An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Business Island Location Dates of Service
Chili’s Oahu Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
Hawaiian Airlines Flight list (click here) July 1-26, 2016
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Oahu Honolulu (801 Kaheka Street) July 21-23, 26-30, and August 2-6, 9-11, 2016
Sushi Shiono Hawaii Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016
Taco Bell Oahu Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016
Tamashiro Market Oahu Kalihi (802 N. King Street) July 2, 4, 6–8, 11–13, 15–19, and 23, 2016
Papa John’s Waipahu Oahu Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street) July 23-24, and Aug. 2, 2016
New Lin Fong bakery Oahu Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street) July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Unable to view the table? Try another web browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer).

Hepatitis A — Information and Resources

Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Lava Lake Puts on a Good Show Today

In concert with inflationary tilt, the level of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake rose over the past day and was measured at 28 m (92 ft) below the vent rim this morning.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

With the higher lake level, and between passing heavy fog and rain showers throughout the day, vigorous spattering on the lake surface was visible from the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

Zooming in on the lava lake, a closer camera view of the spattering lake surface late this afternoon.  Click to enlarge

Zooming in on the lava lake, a closer camera view of the spattering lake surface late this afternoon. Click to enlarge

Because of calm winds, noise associated with the spattering could be heard from the Jaggar Overlook—amidst the occasional rumble from weather-related thunder.

Image from this evening:

This image is from a research camera mounted in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

hvo 82316 liveThe camera is looking SSE towards the active vent in Halemaʻumaʻu, 1.9 km (1.2 miles) from the webcam. For scale, the crater wall of Halemaʻumaʻu behind the eruptive vent is about 85 m (~280 ft) high.

 

Coast Guard Tows Disabled Fishing Vessel Back To Honolulu

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Friday.

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them safely to the pier.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a report Wednesday from the crew of fishing vessel Lily Kaileia that they were disabled and adrift approximately 115 miles south of Honolulu Harbor.

Sector Honolulu launched the Kittiwake to tow the Lily Kaileia back to shore due to the fact that the vessel was drifting and there was no commercial or private vessel assistance available.

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Coast Guard safely towed a disabled 46-foot commercial fishing vessel with three persons aboard back to the Port of Honolulu, Aug. 19, 2016. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu relieved the the USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316) in towing the vessel at the entrance of the Port of Honolulu and brought them back safely to the pier. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Mazer/Released)

The Kittiwake is a Marine Protector Class Patrol Boat homeported in Honolulu. As one of Sector Honolulu’s most versatile afloat assets, Kittiwake provides support to over 50,000 square miles around the waters of the Hawaiian Islands conducting law enforcement patrols, search and rescue missions as well as aiding in living marine resources and marine protected species missions.

Hawaiian Stilt Returns Home

A little endangered Hawaiian Stilt chick is all grown up and ready to be on its own after a seven week stay at the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center (HWC).
The Stilt at 2 weeks

The Stilt at 2 weeks

The chick was rescued on O‘ahu and after an unsuccessful attempt to reunite the chick with its parents, it was decided that the young bird would need to be sent to HWC to be raised until it was old enough to be on its own. The successful rescue and release was a team effort by USDA Wildlife Services, Wheels for Wildlife volunteers, Feather and Fur Animal Hospital, the Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center.
The Stilt at 5 Weeks

The Stilt at 5 Weeks

While at HWC, the chick was monitored using a remote camera system and staff took great care to prevent the stilt from becoming accustomed to humans. In addition to minimizing physical contact, HWC staff used a mirror and photos of stilt habitat and Hawaiian Stilt adults in the incubator and aviary to provide some enrichment while the bird was in HWC care.
The Stilt at 7 Weeks before its release

The Stilt at 7 Weeks before its release

The bird’s growth was documented through weekly pictures taken from intake until it was transferred to O‘ahu DOFAW staff for release yesterday.
Stilt Growth
This release is the latest in a busy release week for HWC, including a Hawaiian Duck (Koloa Maoli) from O‘ahu, Wedge-tailed Shearwater (‘Ua‘u kani) from O‘ahu, and a White-tailed Tropicbird (Koa‘e kea) from O‘ahu.

USGS Release – Living with Vog on an Active Volcano: New Resources

New informational products about the health hazards of volcanic air pollution known as “vog,” are available through a new interagency partnership.

With stagnant winds present, the plume from Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon.  Photo taken 8/16/2016

With stagnant winds present, the plume from Halema`uma`u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon. Photo credit: Michael Poland, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Photo taken 8/16/2016

The products include a booklet of frequently asked questions, a brochure and poster about protecting yourself during vog episodes and a web-based “dashboard” that provides comprehensive links to a wide range of vog resources, including vog forecasts and air-quality information.

Communities downwind from Kīlauea Volcano’s active vents frequently experience vog as a visible haze or as a sulfurous smell or taste. People exposed to vog report a variety of symptoms, such as eye irritation, coughing, wheezing, sore throats and headaches. The new products were co-developed by U.S. Geological Survey scientists Tamar Elias and Jeff Sutton at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, John Peard and other officials at the Hawaii Department of Health, and Claire Horwell from Durham University in the United Kingdom, with participation by Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense and other agencies.

Peard, with Hawaii DOH said, “The diverse partnership has allowed us to develop new, consistent products that more fully address the needs of the community.”

“The products offer advice on vog protection measures, such as staying indoors, limiting physical activity, and staying hydrated when vog levels are high. Providing relevant, up-to-date information to a population living with decades of an ongoing volcanic eruption may help people to better cope with the frequent vog conditions,” said Horwell.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geochemist measuring gases released from Kïlauea with a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, an instrument that detects gas compositions on the basis of absorbed infrared light. credit: Janet Babb, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geochemist measuring gases released from Kïlauea with a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, an instrument that detects gas compositions on the basis of absorbed infrared light. credit: Janet Babb, U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

The new, mobile-friendly vog dashboard is hosted by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, a clearinghouse for information on the health impacts of volcanic eruptions. All of the new Hawaiʻi vog products are available online, and are accessible through the dashboard.

Vog, the pollution formed from acidic gases and particles released by active volcanoes, is composed primarily of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and its oxidation products, such as sulfate aerosol.  Sulfur dioxide from Kīlauea Volcano, now in its 34th year of nearly continuous eruption, leads to the vog that challenges communities, agriculture, and infrastructure on the Island of Hawai‘i and across the state. Scientists at USGS HVO regularly monitor the quantity and composition of gases released from Kīlauea. Among other things, HVO data are used as input for vog models that forecast the volcanic plume dispersion and vog locations.

Horwell’s previous study in 2015, investigated how Hawaiian communities perceive vog, how they protect themselves, and their preferences for receiving advice. The results from the study support the need for consistent online advice from all federal, state and local agencies; increased access to web- and non-web-based information on vog exposure and protection; and updated guidance on how to access resources about vog. HVO’s long involvement in vog studies, coupled with the community studies about perception and needs, led to the development of the new vog informational products.

For more information about Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, please visit HVO’s website, or network with others on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook group.

Aerial Video of Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Lava Lake

This aerial video footage, filmed by USGS in late July 2016, features Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

lava lake 817

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, and the adjacent USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, are perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera (foreground of opening footage) just over a mile from the crater, offering spectacular viewing opportunities for Park visitors. Closer to Halemaʻumaʻu, black lava flows on both sides of the summit vent are clearly visible; these flows spilled onto the crater floor when the lava lake overflowed the vent rim in April–May 2015.

At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 22–26 m (72–85 ft) below the vent rim; this morning, it was about 32 m (105 ft) below the vent rim. The summit vent, initially 35 m (115 ft) wide when it first opened in March 2008, has since been enlarged by numerous vent rim collapses and is now about 180 by 250 meters (590 by 820 feet) across.

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Hawaii Climbs to 206 Reported Cases

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is continuing to investigate a cluster of hepatitis A infections in the state.

As of August 17, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 38 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 51 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Nine (9) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
206

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/9/16.

On August 15, 2016, HDOH identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as the likely source of the ongoing outbreak. The product of concern is Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that originated in the Philippines (states “Product of the Philippines” on the box), distributed by Koha Oriental Foods. As a result, HDOH ordered this product embargoed (not to be sold, purchased, or consumed) throughout the state, and the temporary closure of all Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.

scallops

The scallops received by True World Foods have not been distributed to any restaurants in the state, and were embargoed at their warehouse. The scallops served at Genki locations on the Big Island and Maui originated from a different supplier and have not been associated with the outbreak.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing.   It continues to be challenging because of the long incubation period of the disease (15 to 50 days) and the difficulty patients have in accurately recalling the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.

Healthcare providers have been informed and are asked to notify HDOH immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected.

HDOH encourages Hawaii residents to consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A, and advises that they talk to their healthcare provider about hepatitis A if they are interested. Vaccination for hepatitis A is strongly recommended for certain individuals who are especially at risk (see HERE for a CDC list of groups recommended to be vaccinated for hepatitis A).

Hawaii residents are also advised that the demand for the vaccine during the outbreak has led to varied supply levels around the state, so it is recommended that they call ahead to assure the vaccine is available at a particular clinic or pharmacy before going there.

The Hawaii Department of Health is conducting a case control study to determine what food items served at a local restaurant chain might have led to the increase in hepatitis A infections in Hawaii. We are looking for individuals who ate at Genki Sushi after April 23, 2016 and have not been ill with hepatitis A.

Your assistance is extremely important. We are using this survey to obtain contact information for individuals who would be willing to participate in the study.  Selected individuals will be contacted by phone in the next 1-2 weeks and interviewed about particular foods eaten at Genki Sushi restaurant(s). Participation is voluntary and, if selected, should take about 30 minutes.  Your personal information will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside of the investigative team.

Mahalo.

Click here to take the survey

Hazards Associated with the Kamokuna Ocean Entry an Ongoing Concern

People who venture too close to Kīlauea’s Kamokuna ocean entry—by land or by sea—are at risk from multiple hazards associated with lava flowing into the sea.

Hazards

The white plume formed by the interaction of lava and seawater is a corrosive mixture of super-heated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, all of which should be avoided. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) can collapse without warning. Should the lava delta shown here collapse, fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock would be thrown both inland and seaward, potentially impacting people on the cliff above the ocean entry and in the boat in front of the delta.

The beauty of Kīlauea Volcano’s eastern Kamokuna ocean entry can be enjoyed from a safe distance upwind of where lava flows into the sea.

hazards2The eastern entry site (shown here) has created a lava delta that is now about 5 acres in size; as this delta grows larger, so does the risk of a sudden collapse.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

During a special media briefing today, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists (left) and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers (right) talked about the hazards associated with Kīlauea Volcano’s active lava flow and ocean entries, the exciting scientific opportunities posed by flow 61G, and how visitors can safely hike to and view the beauty of lava flowing on land and into the sea.

Hazards4

Body Found in Boat Off Honoli’i Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coast Guard Responds to Vessel Taking on Water Off Maui, Death Off Big Island, Busy Weekend

Coast Guard Station Maui personnel responded to a report of a commercial vessel with 21 people aboard taking on water off Maui Sunday.

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew escorts the commercial passenger vessel Maka Koa back to port five miles south of Maalaea, Maui, Aug. 14, 2016. The Coast Guard responded to a report of the 43-foot vessel, with 21 people aboard, taking on water off Maui. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester/Released)

A Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew arrived on scene five miles south of Maalaea and verified the crew of the 43-foot Maka Koa had the situation in hand before escorting the vessel back to port.

It was determined the vessel was taking on water around their shaft and has since been removed from the water to receive repairs and inspections before returning to service.

Maka Koa

“The Maka Koa crew was very professional and effective in their casualty response,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Lester, a crewman aboard the Station Maui RB-M. “Upon arrival we confirmed the vessel’s installed bilge pumps were keeping up with the leak and provided a standby until they reached port. We applaud the operators quick action identifying the problem and alerting us to what could have become a more severe case.”

Coast Guard crews responded to eight search and rescue and marine safety cases between Friday and Sunday.

Friday, the Coast Guard responded to a possible hoax call resulting from an email sent by a member of the public seeking employment with the Coast Guard. The individual ultimately apologized for the action. No Coast Guard assets were launched for the case. The public is reminded that hoax calls are against the law and can divert resources from necessary search and rescue or other operations. Those found guilty of committing a hoax call may receive fines or jail time.

Also, Friday the crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349) conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Blue Sky a mile south of Honolulu.

USCGC Galveston Island

USCGC Galveston Island

As a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations the Galveston Island crew terminated the crew’s voyage and escorted the vessel to Pier 38 in Honolulu where they were met by personnel from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu to address all discrepancies are ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Coast Guard marine investigators in Maui are responding to the reported death of a diver Friday. The operator of a commercial vessel notified the Coast Guard of the incident involving a middle-aged man who became distressed while conducting a night dive off Big Island. The crew of the vessel recovered the man and contacted emergency medical services who met them at Honokohau Marina. He was transferred to Kona Hospital.

Hawaii is home to 340 small passenger vessels, 139 of which support snorkel and dive operations. Such incidents are reportable marine casualties under the Code of Federal Regulations and after addressing the immediate issue the master is required to notify the Coast Guard.

Saturday crews from Station Maui and the Maui Fire Department responded to a report of an adrift pool toy 200-yards off Kaanapali. The toy was located and recovered. Maui Fire Department resources and a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin crew conducted searches in the area to ensure no one was in distress. The case was closed.

Also, Saturday the crew of the Galveston Island conducted an at-sea boarding of the commercial fishing vessel Jennifer Lynn near Honolulu. The crew’s voyage was terminated and they were escorted back to port as a result of extremely hazardous conditions and safety violations. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu personnel will address all discrepancies and ensure they are rectified prior to the vessel getting underway again.

Sunday crews in Kauai responded to a report of an overdue vessel. It was reported that a 26-yeear-old man had departed Mahaulepa Beach Saturday to fish and failed to return.

Coast Guard Station Kauai, Air Station Barbers Point and the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) were launched to respond. Kauai Fire Department personnel also searched. Shortly after launching assets Kauai police located the man ashore and well in Ahukini Park.

Also Sunday, the Coast Guard received notification of a 60-year-old Japanese citizen who experienced symptoms of a heart attack while snorkeling off a commercial vessel on the west side of Oahu. The man was transferred to shore and met by emergency medical personnel who took him to Queen’s Medical Center. Again, such incidents are not uncommon and the operators of commercial vessels report occurrences to the Coast Guard in line with the requirements for inspected commercial vessels. Coast Guard investigators from Sector Honolulu are reviewing the case.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners to meet and maintain safety requirements and plan ahead for voyages. At the first sign of distress contact the Coast Guard.

New Lava Flow Map Shows Vicinity of Ocean Entries

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field at the coast. The area of the active flow field as of August 2 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 12 is shown in red.

hvo map 81316

The base is a Digital Globe image from January 2016.

Commentary – Former Prosecutor Damerville on Qualifications of Candidate Kagami (Sh*t Just Hit the Fan)

Rick Damerville

TO: Mike Kagami, Candidate for Hawaii County Prosecutor:

  1. You criticize Mr. (Mitch) Roth for what you imply are lenient plea deals. Yet in State v Joseph Amormino, it was you who plead the case down from attempted murder in the first degree and multiple other felony charges to assault in the first degree, two counts of terroistic threatening in the first degree, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Defendant was a drunk with a gun who shot his ex-girlfriend 4 times and shot into the bathroom where the woman’s ex-husband was hiding in an effort to save his own life. Before trial, Mitch approved the plea offer to save the victim from the embarassment of having to testify at trial. But Amormino rejected the offer, the case went to trial and the victim had to testify. At that point there was no longer any reason for the pre trial offer. Yet you offered the same plea offer in the middle of trial without permission from Mitch. Every prosecutor knows that plea offers made before trial are no longer available once trial starts unless you get approval from the Chief Prosecutor or First Deputy. You left the office a short time later.

At the July 25, 2016 Malama O Puna Prosecutor Candidates forum in Pahoa (which was taped), you argued that the Amormino case was not truly an attempted murder case because the defendant shot his victim 4 times at close range – implying that if he intended to kill her, he would have killed her. Really, is this how you will analyze cases to “keep the community safe” ?

At the same forum, you said that according to National Prosecution Standards, you have to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt before charging a criminal case. You are wrong. National Prosecution Standards 4-2.2 states: “A prosecutor should file charges that he or she believes adequately encompass the accused’s criminal activity and which he or she believes can be substantiated by admissible evidence at trial.”

The related ABA Standard 3.43(a) states:

“A prosecutor should seek or file criminal charges only if the prosecutor reasonably believes that the charges are supported by probable cause, that the admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the decision to charge is in the interest of justice.”

These two standards are adequate and the standards of the profession. Your self-imposed higher standard will result in drawers full of cases that should be prosecuted but are not. Is this how you will protect the community ? Prosecutors know that the search for justice does not stop when the police turn over their reports. Investigations continue after charging, during trial, and sometimes after trial.

  1. Not all high profile cases are “tough cases.” In fact, many are easy cases because of the evidence. let’s look at some of your tough cases:
  • You take credit for the conviction in the Malaki McBride case. That case was reversed and is pending retrial because you failed to protect the record 3 times: (a) you failed to ensure that the jury instructions were correctly read to the jury, (b) you failed to ask that the written instructions be made a part of the record, and (c) you failed to ask for permission to supplement the record on appeal. I urge the public to read what is in the public record, particularly footnotes 8, 9, and 10 of the appellate opinion. There are no exceptions to the rule that everyone who does trial work makes mistakes. But when you screw up, own up.
  • Marwan Jackson case: The victim was brutally beaten to death. The Defendant was left to argue “accident.” More than one deputy prosecutor would have loved to have taken this to trial. But you were supervisor. So you got to pick this case for yourself.
  • Lito Mateo case: You were not lead counsel. Defendant shot his wife’s lover 18 times before numerous witnesses in a hotel parking lot at shift change in the afternoon. A tough case for the defense.
  • Richard Damien Serrano case: You were not lead counsel. The deputy, with now more than 30 years of trial experience, and who you now infer was too lenient for pleading down the Nakashima case, was lead counsel.
  • Van Kahumoku case: Really ? A tough case for the defense certainly. Police arrived on the scene. Defendant has a gun to his head and tells the police, “I think I wen kill the wrong guy. I think I wen kill an innocent guy.”
  • Alison Matsuda case: You listed this case in your ad as attempted murder. The jury came back assault in the first degree. Defendant poured acetone on a sleeping victim and tossed a lit match, engulfing the victim in flames. Defendant admitted to the police what he did. Another tough case for the defense.
  • Ryron Pia case: Defendant tried to rape a sleeping woman. When she awoke he stabbed her 2 times in the neck. When her boyfriend heard her screams and ran to help, he was stabbed. The Defendant admitted stabbing the victims.
  • Peter Bailey case: You take credit for this case even though it was reversed on appeal and had to be retried by other deputies years later.
  • Gary Vaughan case: You were not lead counsel.
  • Pierre Apisaloma case: Child sexual assault case. Good job on this one.

Summary: You listed 10 cases in your ad, 7 of which were easy on the facts and 2 of those were reversed on appeal and were either tried again by someone else or likely will be retried by someone else. Only 3 were truly “tough cases” and you were not lead counsel on 2 of them. If the above trial experience over a 22 year career is your selling point on why you should be the new prosecutor, most objective examiners of the record will reject your candidacy.

Why so few “tough cases”? Well maybe in the last 15 years there has been an acute shortage of “tough cases” or maybe the truly tough cases sat in your cold case files waiting for a better prosecutor, including homicide cases, like Jaylin Kema, Peter Kema, Patricia Wong, Alexander Gambsky, Daniel Dejarnette, and Xavier Cortez

As to the case results that you are so quick to criticize:

  • This year, victim Barton Bumatay was robbed, shot to death, and decapitated. Some alleged eyewitnesses with lengthy criminal histories came forward with statements. A defendant was arrested and charged. When all of the alleged witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment rights, the case was dismissed without prejudice. The Prosecuting Attorney will sort it out and charges will be brought against the responsible parties.
  • Xavier Cortez case: This is one of your cold cases. When you got the case in 2011, you had two eyewitnesses and a favorable autopsy of the child victim. By the time your successor deputies got the case almost 3 years later, one eyewitness was gone. After the filing of the indictment, the remaining witness refused to cooperate and the autopsy opinion was weakened because it relied in part on the statements of now unavailable witnesses. Mr. Cortez was allowed to plead to assault in the first degree and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Could a better result have been achieved had you charged the case in 2011? Probably. Unjustifiable delay has consequences. the victim and her family will see some justice rather than no justice at all. The plea agreement was appropriate.
  • Atkinson Nakashima, David Lester Bars, Paul Michael Gibson, and George Curnutt were all defendants initially charged with attempted murder, and all were allowed to plead to other felonies, mostly felony assaults and/or felony terroistic threatening. All were sent to prison. All of those plea agreements were made based on the recommendations of experienced deputies, some with more trial experience than you.
  • Finally, we come to the Alexander Gambsky case. This was a 2008 case that sat in your cold case files for years. You finally assigned it out to me for a second opinion. I concurred with your assessment that the case was not ready for trial but for a very different legal reason. I informed Mr. Roth that I was somewhat confident that because the defendant was known to be a drinker and a player, eventually he would give us a piece of testimonial evidence that we needed. I did not find that evidence. Other deputies in the office did. When there was no helpful forensic evidence establishing exactly how Dawn Gambsky was killed, allowing Alexander Gambsky to plead to manslaughter and the resulting 20 year prison term was appropriate.

Why this letter? I have been practicing criminal law for more than 34 years. I have been a defense attorney and have successfully defended individuals charged with everything from shoplifting through and including capital murder (State of Fla. versus Michael Gainey) before juries. As a deputy prosecutor and a deputy attorney general, I have successfully prosecuted charges ranging from misdemeanor assaults to tax evasion to murder. I have won my share and have lost some along the way. If you prosecute the cases that need to be prosecuted, that happens.

Everyone in this business, but not the public, knows that the number of jury trials or how long it has been since your last one, has virtually nothing to do with how well you will do as the chief prosecuting attorney.

The job of Prosecuting Attorney is to manage an office of 112 employees and a budget in the millions of dollars, oversee the prosecution of cases, try to find solutions for social problems, advocate for change, answer the complaints of the public when an employee is not measuring up to the standards expected of him or her, help to develop crime prevention solutions that work, and get the office, the police department and the community to work as a team – making sure that every victim is heard and treated fairly and every defendant is afforded his or her constitutional rights by an office whose employees maintain the highest professional and ethical standards.

I’m sorry Mr. Kagami, but Mitch is right. We can’t just end the lives of our juvenile offenders with the first mistake of their lives. We can’t just throw everyone in jail and throw away the key. We can and must be smarter about the business of prosecution. Our community and the safety and prosperity of our citizens depend on it.

The race for prosecutor will be decided in the primary election on August 13, 2016. Please vote and re-elect Mitch Roth Hawaii County Prosecutor.

Ricky R. Damerville

California Man Identified in Wailuku River Drowning on the Big Island

A 41-year-old California man apparently drowned Wednesday (August 10) while swimming in the Wailuku River.

Waialae Falls
He has been identified as Alejandro Barrios Sr. of Orange, California.

In response to a 3:45 p.m. call reporting a drowning, South Hilo Patrol officers learned that Barrios has been swimming near the third waterfall of an area in the river accessible from the 2000 block of Waianuenue Avenue when he appeared to be in distress. His family attempted to assist him to shore but were unsuccessful and called 911.

Fire/rescue personnel located his lifeless body and extricated the man to shore with the use of a helicopter. Barrios was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m.
Wainaku DrowningPolice have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Man Drowns in Wailuku River Spot Known as “Narnia”

Hawaii Fire Department Incident Report 14527:
Wainaku DrowningType of Incident: Drowning

Situation Found at Scene: Upon arrival in the Upper Wailuku River area, locally known as “Narnia”, we found three (3) people on the river bank. They stated that a family member jumped into the water and had difficulty swimming. They jumped in to save him, but were unsuccessful with holding onto him.

Remarks: A Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) team member cleared fallen trees using a chainsaw, allowing easier access to the river for HFD and Hawaii Police Department personnel.

With Chopper 1 providing aerial support, two (2) Fire Rescue Specialists conducted a free dive search and found the victim in approximately thirty (30) feet of water on the river bottom.

More Restaurants Tied to Hepatitis Outbreak – 168 Cases – New Survey for Residents

The number of people affected by the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii continues to rise, including two additional cases confirmed in Oahu food service workers today by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH). As a public health precaution, food handlers identified as contacts of a case must be tested for hepatitis A and found negative for the virus before returning to work.

One infected food service worker is an employee at Papa John’s restaurant, located at 94-1021 Waipahu Street, in Waipahu. The employee worked on July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016.

The other infected food service worker is an employee at New Lin Fong bakery, located at 1132 Maunakea Street, in Chinatown. The employee worked on July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and August 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016.

Establishment Island Location Dates of Service
Papa John’s Oahu Waipahu                        (94-1021 Waipahu St.)

 

July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016

 

New Lin Fong Oahu Chinatown                        (1132 Maunakea St.)

 

July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Since DOH began its investigation, a total of 168 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed as part of the outbreak, as of Aug. 10, 2016. DOH investigators have been hard at work to identify the outbreak source, which was likely a product widely distributed primarily on Oahu.

Click to take survey

Click to take survey

As a part of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in our state, we are performing a survey of Hawaii residents to determine how frequently residents eat at restaurants and obtain food from grocery stores in our communities. This survey should take less than 5 minutes. Please limit survey responses to one survey per household/family. Mahalo for your help!

Click here to take the survey

 

As of August 10, 2016*:Since the last update, HDOH has identified 33 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 46 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eight (8) individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
168

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/1/16.

This information is provided to the public as a precaution in an attempt to prevent any new cases, and the likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

“The public’s health is our primary concern, and we feel it is important to provide them with the most up-to-date information so they can work with their healthcare providers to protect themselves and their families,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “At the same time, we also want the public to understand that these businesses and the other previously affected food establishments are not the source of the outbreak.”

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1

Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and before preparing food can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Additionally, appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

Police Investigating Human Remains and Missing Person Case – Jessica Urbina

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case in connection with human remains found in Puna last month and a missing person case for a Canadian woman whose personal items were found nearby.

Jessica Urbina

Jessica Urbina

On July 18, Puna Patrol officers responded to a remote area of the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision for a report of partial human skeletal remains found by local hunters off Beach Road about half a mile on the Pāhoa side of Makuʻu Drive.

After the officers located those remains, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section responded and recovered them, as well as personal items in the area belonging to a Canadian woman named Jessica Urbina.

Investigation revealed that Urbina, from Montreal, Quebec, had come to Hawaiʻi on vacation in November 2000, when she was 21 years old, and that she had been reported missing to the Honolulu Police Department in 2001.

In addition to the coroner’s inquest investigation, Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated a missing person case for Urbina, who was 21 when she was last seen. She was described as 5-foot-1, 100 pounds with long black hair, brown eyes and fair skin.

Police have not yet identified the remains and do not know if there is a link between the remains and Jessica Urbina, who would be 37 years old now.

Police ask anyone who has any information about the human remains or Jessica Urbina to contact Lieutenant Gregory Esteban at 961-2252 or gregory.esteban@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300.

*EDITORS NOTE*

I guess this explains this:

“Hello Mr Tucker,

I’m a reporter from Montreal, Quebec for Le Journal de Montreal. My colleague Frederique Giguere and I are working on the missing of Jessica Urbina, from Quebec, who’s missing in Hawaii since 2001. 

I see that Stephanie P******* said in 2012 on your website that she’s her cousin http://damontucker.com/missing/ I’m trying to reach Stephanie, to talk about Jessica Urbina. Is there any way you help me with that ? 

Do you have her email, by example? 

Thank you very much for your help.”

Urbina

Explosive Event at Kilauea Volcano’s Summit

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, August 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

hvo 8916A light-colored “scar” about 20 m (66 ft) across from this rockfall is visible to the right of the spattering area on the lake surface. Rocks in the vent wall can become unstable when the level of the lava lake drops, as has been going on for the last several days.

The explosive event blanketed the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with a layer of tephra (volcanic rock fragments) up to about 20 cm (8 in) thick. The tephra deposit was thickest to the east of the former visitor overlook on the crater rim (shown here), where it formed a continuous layer.

hvo 8916aBombs were thrown up to 90 m (295 ft) beyond the crater rim at the overlook and were deposited over an area 220 m (720 ft) wide along the rim. Saturday night’s explosive event is a reminder of why this area remains closed. Had anyone been standing in this area when it occurred, that person would have been severely burned or killed by the falling debris.

Tephra blasted from the summit vent on Saturday night included lithic (solid rock) fragments from the vent wall as well as spatter (molten lava fragments) ejected from the lava lake. The light-colored lithic in the center of this photo is about 20 cm (8 in) long—the GPS unit is shown for scale.

Scoria and damage from 6 Aug 2016 @ 2202 explosion triggered by rockfall above and into SE sink of lava lake.

Scoria and damage from 6 Aug 2016 @ 2202 explosion triggered by rockfall above and into SE sink of lava lake.

Tephra, the general term for volcanic rock fragments exploded or carried into the air during an eruption, can range from dust-size particles to fragments more than 1 m (3.2 ft) in diameter.

In areas not completely blanketed by tephra from the explosive event, impact marks were obvious where large fragments of molten lava (spatter) had landed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, then bounced or slid to their current positions.

In this photo, two large pieces of spatter, 45-60 cm (18-24 in) across, can be seen to the upper right and lower left of the GPS unit. The slightly smoother circular features to the right of these fragments show where those bombs initially hit the crater rim.

In this photo, two large pieces of spatter, 45-60 cm (18-24 in) across, can be seen to the upper right and lower left of the GPS unit. The slightly smoother circular features to the right of these fragments show where those bombs initially hit the crater rim.

Volcano monitoring equipment installed on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater was a casualty of Saturday night’s explosive event.

Scoria and damage from 6 Aug 2016 @ 2202 explosion triggered by rockfall above and into SE sink of lava lake.

Scoria and damage from 6 Aug 2016 @ 2202 explosion triggered by rockfall above and into SE sink of lava lake.

This pile of charred wires and metal components, surrounded by melted plastic, is all that remains of the power supply for one of HVO’s gravity instruments located about 24 m (80 ft) from the crater rim.

Hawaiian Petroglyphs Revealed By Shifting Sands – Experts Believe 400+ Years Old

On a warm July evening, visitors Lonnie Watson and Mark Louviere from the Ft. Worth, Texas metro area did what they normally do during their frequent visits to Hawaii.  They wandered out to the coastline to watch the setting sun. On this particular day they spotted something that they say has humbled and blessed them. Watson explained, “For some reason there was a beam of light…just a beam…it landed right on one of them and for some reason I just turned my head. I said, look, it was just a stroke of luck.”

Waiana PetroglyphWhat they saw was a large petroglyph, etched into the sandstone. Upon further investigation, they discovered at least 10 figures, stretching over roughly 60 feet of beach. While it’s likely this series of petroglyphs, created by aboriginal inhabitants of the Waianae coast, have revealed themselves in the past, this is the first time they’ve come to the attention of the DLNR State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) and the U.S. Army. Both agencies have been working together to record and document the petroglyphs; which now number at least 17 figures.

Army archaeologist and Waianae native Alton Exzabe was one of the first officials to arrive at the site. He said, “What’s interesting is the Army in Hawaiʻi manages several thousand archaeological sites, but this is the first one with petroglyphs directly on the shoreline.

What’s exciting for me, is I grew up coming to this beach and now as an archaeologist working for the Army, helping to manage this site, we discovered these petroglyphs that have never been recorded. Some people have said they’ve seen them before, but this is quite a significant find.”

Waianae PetroglyphsGlen Kila is a lineal descendent of the aboriginal families who first settled in Nene’u on the Waianae Coast. His family home is a short ways from the petroglyph field, and he says until now he was unaware of these particular figures. “They record our genealogy and religion. It’s very important to know about the lineal descendants of the area and their understanding of these petroglyphs. The interpretation of these petroglyphs can only be interpreted by the lineal descendants who are familiar with its history and culture,” Kila said.

Several days after the Texas families first saw the petroglyphs, a small group of people stood atop the rocks as sand was washing back in to recover them. Exzabe and fellow archaeologists from the SHPD encourage people to look and not touch. Even the process of scraping sand away by hand or with brushes can damage the integrity of the figures.

Exzabe added, “We can now come up with a plan to further protect and preserve this site.  The ones with the fingers, for me, are pretty unique. I believe there are some elsewhere with fingers, but fingers and hands are pretty distinct, as well as the size of them.  We find a lot of petroglyphs that are a foot or so tall, but this one measures 4-5 feet from head to toe. It’s pretty impressive.”

Waianae Petroglyphs2

The petroglyphs were only viewable for a short time. Since the Texans’ initial reporting, the sand has moved back in to cover them; however, the Army and SHPD are committed to protecting the “new” discovery whether visible or not.

Dr. Alan Downer, the administrator for the SHPD said, “We’re eager to join the Army in developing a protection and preservation plan for these petroglyphs. They are an important part of Hawaii’s culture and while sands have covered them again, in time they will reappear and we want to make sure people know that they are fragile and culturally sensitive and should only be viewed; not touched.”

Hawaii Police Warn of Telephone Tax Scam

A Kailua-Kona resident received a call from someone claiming to be a tax office employee providing the recipient with a new tax identification number. The caller also requested personal information. The recipient did not provide any information and hung up the phone.

scam alert
A check with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation confirmed that a May 5 press release announcement stated that new tax identification numbers will be sent out by mail only beginning August 20. For more information, visit the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation website at tax.hawaii.gov.

Police remind the public to be diligent in protecting their personal information and to protect themselves from identity theft by releasing personal information only to trusted sources. When in doubt, check out the source first. Identity theft can lead to years of problems in clearing the victim’s name from obligations incurred from a thief’s use of the victim’s personal information.