• Follow on Facebook

  • what-to-do-media
  • RSS W2DM

  • puako-general-store
  • 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

    August 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Jul    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  
  • When

  • RSS Pulpconnection

  • Recent Comments

Hawaii Mayor Signs Emergency Proclamation for Homeless Folks – Suspends Some County Laws

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Him signed an emergency proclamation today due to the increasing homeless population in the Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii:

Mayor Harry Kim

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County.

WHEREAS, Chapter 127A Hawaii Revised Statutes and Chapter 7, Articles 1
and 2 of the Hawaii County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the
County of Hawaii and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and
Section 13- 23 of the Hawaii County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, homeless individuals have established an encampment at the
County of Hawaii’s Old Kona Airport Park, District of South Kona, County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, the homeless individuals at the Old Kona Airport Park were removed from the park grounds; and

WHEREAS, these homeless individuals could be temporarily sheltered at the
grounds of the Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona County and State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals are without access to
adequate bathroom, shower and living facilities; and

WHEREAS, these unsheltered homeless individuals require health and social
services in order to maintain themselves safely and in reasonable health; and

WHEREAS, the lack of secure, safe and sanitary shelter, and adequate health
and social services for these homeless people is endangering the health, safety and welfare of these people and pose a threat to the environment and public health, and demands emergency action to prevent or mitigate suffering, injury, loss, or damage to persons and property; and County of Hawaii is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 1) Hawaii Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to relieve hardships and inequities, or obstructions to public health, safety or welfare found by the Mayor to exist in the laws of the County and to result from the operation of federal programs or measures taken under Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, by suspending the county laws, in whole or in part, or by alleviating the provisions of county laws on such terms and conditions the Mayor may impose; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 127A- 13( b)( 2) Hawai’ i Revised Statutes the
Mayor has the authority to suspend any county law that impedes or tends to impede or to be detrimental to the expeditious and efficient execution of, or to conflict with emergency functions, including the laws by which Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, specifically are made applicable to emergency personnel; and

WHEREAS, due to the possibility of threat to the environment and public health to residents of the District of South and North Kona, Hawaii Island, and the need for government agencies and representatives from the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate services to our island residents, a state of emergency is authorized pursuant to Chapter 127A Hawai’ i Revised Statutes, and Chapter 7, Hawaii County Code.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY KIM, Mayor of the County of Hawai’ i, do hereby proclaim and declare that an emergency contemplated by section 127A- 14, Hawaii Revised Statutes has occurred in the County of Hawai’ i and hereby proclaim an emergency for the purposes of implementing the emergency management functions as allowed by law, effective August 1, 2017, and continuing thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

I FURTHER DECLARE, that pursuant to sections 127A- 13( b)( 1) and ( 2) the following County laws are suspended during the emergency period as they relate to the grounds of Hale Kikaha Project located in the District of North Kona, County and State of Hawaii:

  1. Chapter 5 Building Code.
  2. Chapter 25 Zoning Code.
  3. Chapter 26 Fire Code.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawaii to be affixed. Done this 1st day of August, 2017 in Hilo, Hawai’ i.

HARRY KIM
Mayor
County of Hawai’ i

Endangered ‘Io Released After Recovering From Severe Wing Injury

An endangered ʻIo, Hawaiian hawk, has been returned to the wild after six months of extensive rehabilitation following a severe wing injury back in January. The ʻIo, a young female, was found with a fractured wing by a concerned citizen. The bird’s rescuer contacted the Division of Forestry and Wildlife who then sought out a local veterinary clinic to provide emergency care to stabilize the injured bird. Once stabilized, the ʻIo was transferred to the care of the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center in Kapaʻau in the hopes that she could be rehabilitated for a second chance at life in the wild.

“Initially we were concerned about the location of the fracture and questioned the likelihood of her regaining the ability to fly and survive in the wild,” said Samantha Christie, Wildlife Rehabiltation Manager at the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center. Fortunately, the ʻIo demonstrated a tenacious fighting spirit and overcame all obstacles between her and a triumphant return to the skies of Hawai‘i island. In total, the ʻIo spent six months in captivity as professional rehabilitators and veterinarians examined her case and prepared her for release.

The ʻIo was housed in large raptor aviary at HWC which allowed her to stretch her newly healed wing and exercise. “We were able to monitor her activity thanks to a remote camera in the enclosure. This way, we could minimize her contact with humans and still observe her progress,” said Christie. It seems the techniques were successful as the ʻIo exhibited a healthy fear and distrust of her caretakers throughout her captivity. “While I’m sure she appreciates the free mouse dinner, there’s no question of us being friends. This is a wild animal and she resists human contact and handling with all of her strength.”

Radiographs showed a severe fracture near the ‘Io’s shoulder.

The ʻIo was provided with a varied diet of mice, rats, and birds, but she took it upon herself to supplement her menu with something a bit more exciting. “Each raptor that we treat is presented with live prey before they are released to ensure that they have retained the ability to hunt. Not only did this ʻIo pass mouse prey-testing with flying colors, she was also seen on camera catching and eating large centipedes on several occasions,” said Alexis Wessels, Wildlife Rehabilitation Technician at HWC.

HWC consulted with experts regarding the timing and location of the ʻIo’s release. Her flight, hunting skills, body condition, feathers, and bloodwork were each evaluated to ensure that the young hunter was adequately prepared to return to a life in the wild. She was also banded by Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife before her release. The tenacious ʻIo flew quickly and easily upon release outside the HWC facility in Kapaʻau. She came to rest in a nearby tree, seemily taking in her new surroundings and showing great interest in the small birds arriving to investigate the newcomer. Then, with surprising stealth and confidence, she took off to resume the mysterious life of a wild bird. Six months of hard work, collaboration, and dedication lead to this moment—a hard-fought success for an endangered species and a victory for Hawaiʻi’s native wildlife.  

Inadequate Housing in Hawaii Plays a Large Role in Unnecessary Hospitalizations

Homelessness and inadequate housing are major causes of unnecessary hospitalizations, according to a study by University of Hawai‘i researchers.

The finding is from an ongoing project to understand and reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations for diabetes and heart disease in Hawaiʻi under Principal Investigator Tetine Sentell, an associate professor in the UH Office of Public Health Studies. Said Sentell, “We were interested in patient perspectives on the role of housing as contributing to their potentially preventable hospitalization.”

Tetine Sentell and Michelle Quensell

Reported lead author of the study, Michelle Quensell, a UH public health graduate, “We talked to 90 patients, and almost 25% reported a housing-related issue as a major factor in hospitalization. About half of these patients were homeless, noting the high cost of housing in Hawai‘i.”

Added Sentell, “Patients said it was hard to care for their diabetes or heart disease when they were living without amenities such as refrigeration, running water, a stove or a safe place to store medications. Patients also mentioned the challenges of following diet plans when canned goods were the only available foods at the shelters and food banks.”

Several major health providers in Hawaiʻi have recently created innovative new programs to address social determinants, including housing, within the health-care setting to improve health-care quality and reduce health-care costs. This research strongly supports these efforts.

Quensell is a 2015 graduate of the Health Policy and Management programs within Public Health. Other investigators included Kathryn Braun from Public Health; Deborah Taira at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, University of Hawai’i at Hilo; and Todd Seto at the Queen’s Medical Center.

For more information, visit: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/publichealth/

Rescued Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl Killed In Auto Collision

A young Pueo, or Hawaiian Short-eared Owl, rescued in late March, was killed by a car on the highway between Waimea and Hanapepe two months after it had been released. The owl was originally spotted on March 22, 2017 by Dr. André Raine of the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), who found it on the side of the road in Ele ele where it had also been struck by a car. He took the injured Pueo to the Save our Shearwaters (SOS) facility at the Kaua‘i Humane Society for treatment and rehabilitation.

Raine said, “This is a sad end to a successful rehabilitation story, which involved the hard work of the dedicated staff at SOS and the Hawaii Wildlife Center who were successful in returning this young bird to health and releasing it back into the wild in late April. Tragically, as with so many of our endangered native birds, the Pueo was struck again by an automobile – this time fatally. This serves as yet another reminder for all of us who drive on Kauai’s roads, that we need to slow down and be aware of owls, Nene, fledgling seabirds and other birds that may be feeding or flying alongside or near roads and highways.”

Tracy Anderson of SOS, who examined the dead owl, said that the injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle. The bird was found 6 miles (as the bird flies) from the release location and was in good body condition which meant that she had been hunting and feeding successfully post-release. Owls are often attracted to roadsides by rats and mice, which in turn are attracted by the easy pickings of food scraps and rubbish discarded by people. Anderson reminds people, “The act of throwing trash out your car window not only impacts the environment visually, but can have direct and detrimental effects on wild birds like pueo and nene.”

Over the past few months a public education campaign was initiated by DLNR and other partners to encourage people to watch for nene (native Hawaiian goose and Hawai‘i State Bird) alongside roadways. This included a public service announcement (PSA) that aired repeatedly on Kaua‘i’s cable television system, news releases and videos, and additional roadside signage in areas where nene are frequently spotted.

This is not the only Pueo found dead on the roads – two more dead Pueo were found on the same day as the rehabilitated bird in other parts of the island.

Another Pueo, also likely hurt in a car-bird collision on O‘ahu’s North Shore earlier this year could not be rehabilitated and had to be put to sleep. An entire family of nene depicted in a DLNR video, resting and feeding near the Hanalei River Bridge on Kaua‘i were also killed by a car.

Raine, Anderson, and others who work with native, wild birds agree that if drivers slow down and pay close attention in areas populated by birds, this will help reduce the number of deadly collisions between birds and cars.

Heroes of Hope Save Native Plant Species From Brink of Extinction

A team of biologists has accomplished two herculean feats in Hawaiian plant conservation: the successful reintroduction of the endangered Ka‘ū silversword (Argyroxiphium kauense) and Pele lobeliad (Clermontia peleana) on Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Park ecologist David Benitez and Rob Robichaux collecting pollen from a Ka‘ū silversword. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

In an article recently published in the leading science journal, Biological Conservation, the biologists describe their 20-year efforts on Hawai‘i Island to rescue the plants from the edge of extinction.

“It’s been two decades of painstaking efforts by devoted individuals from federal, state and private agencies and institutions to save these plants,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park botanist Sierra McDaniel. “The team used technical rope systems to produce cuttings from Pele lobeliads in the rainforest canopy, flew by helicopter to remote volcanic slopes to rescue Ka‘ū silverswords, and worked long hours in the field and greenhouses to save them. It’s impossible to describe the joy we feel to see these plants thrive in the wild again,” she said.

The 11-page article describes the efforts and plants in detail, with color photographs that illustrate the nature of the efforts and convey the exceptional beauty of the plants. The article celebrates the centennial anniversary of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which was established Aug. 1, 1916 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pele lobeliad flowers with nectar droplet. The abundant nectar serves as a food reward for native honeycreepers. Photo courtesy of Rob Robichaux, taken in the Volcano Rare Planet Facility greenhouse.

The Pele lobeliad nearly went extinct. Only five remnant plants are known in the wild, but now, more than 1,000 Pele lobeliads have been reintroduced in protected areas in the national park. The effort with the Ka‘ū silversword has been similarly successful, with more than 21,000 plants having been reintroduced in the park. Furthermore, the Ka‘ū silversword has now produced offspring of its own  – a key factor for long-term recovery.

An important aspect of the work has been linking the reintroduction efforts to landscape restoration at large scales in the park and in adjacent state and private lands, thereby providing opportunities for future growth and expansion of the silversword and lobeliad populations.

“The highly collaborative nature of the work has been the key to its success,” said Rob Robichaux, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and coordinator of the silversword and lobeliad recovery efforts. “Daunting challenges remain. Yet the story of the Ka‘ū silversword and Pele lobeliad offers hope for a brighter future in which the landscapes of Hawai‘i are once again replenished with its many native plant species, which are true marvels of evolution,” he said.

Hawaii Update on Mumps: Outbreak Continues with 18 Additional Cases, Including 2 on Hawaii Island and 4 on Kauai

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 18 new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 172. Nine of the new cases of individuals are adults. Twelve of the cases are from Oahu, four are from Kauai and two are from Hawaii Island.

DOH continues to stress the importance of following its recommendations to help prevent the spread of mumps.“The important thing for people to remember is to keep their germs to themselves,” said Ronald Balajadia, Immunization Branch Chief, DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division. “We encourage the public to stay home when sick, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands frequently and make sure they are fully vaccinated.”

DOH urges all adults born in or after 1957 without evidence of immunity to mumps to receive the MMR vaccine which prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. For this reason, being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and your community.

DOH also recommends that all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first of which is routinely given at age 12–15 months and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of four weeks after the first dose).

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

The majority of the 172 confirmed cases are on Oahu, with 13 on Kauai and three from Hawaii Island. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. DOH expects more cases in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

DOH will post the latest mumps cases online at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/ at 12 noon every Thursday. The site offers current information about the state’s ongoing investigation.

PISCES and Honeybee Robotics Receive $119K Grant From NASA

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) and Honeybee Robotics, Ltd. have received a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to jointly develop an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology that could launch the future of space settlement.

ISRU takes raw, natively sourced materials and converts them into usable resources. On places like the Moon and Mars, ISRU can transform regolith (or surface soil) into critical necessities like oxygen, water, rocket fuel and construction materials.PISCES and Honeybee Robotics have partnered on the 12-month ISRU project to design and develop an automated construction process that creates building blocks made entirely of sintered Hawaiian basalt. Since Hawaii’s basalt closely resembles Martian and lunar regolith in chemical composition and appearance, the blocks will have applications both on Earth and in space. ISRU basalt materials could enable the construction of habitats, tools, shelters, roads, landing pads and other critical infrastructure required for space settlement. Basalt building blocks could also provide a sustainable new construction material for the State of Hawaii in place of imported cement.

Through the STTR grant, PISCES is currently investigating the ideal sintering temperature to create these building blocks with an optimal balance of strength and volume. Honeybee Robotics is designing a robotic process for creating and/or deploying the blocks to automate the ISRU construction process. The Brooklyn-based company designs, builds and integrates technologies for a range of challenging environments including space exploration. It has contributed sample acquisition and processing tools for NASA rovers currently exploring Mars.

“We are excited to be working with Honeybee Robotics again on this NASA STTR project,” said PISCES Program Manager, Rodrigo Romo. “Honeybee was a key partner in our robotically built launch and landing pad that we constructed using only local basalt materials. This grant award will take the process a step further, allowing us to optimize the building block design and construction materials to allow for both vertical and horizontal construction applications that can be used both on Earth and on other celestial bodies for space settlement.”

A Honeybee Rover

“Hawaiian basalt is a great analog to the challenging environments we are likely to find on Mars or the Moon, where autonomous ISRU systems will need to work reliably and autonomously in tough conditions,” said Kris Zacny, vice president of the Exploration Technology Group at Honeybee Robotics. “Using local resources will be critical to enable new mission architectures by harvesting materials from the planet as needed. Also, approaches we develop for ISRU can also have applications in space mining, opening doors for both exploration and commercial missions. That’s why we’re so excited to be working with PISCES to advance our experience and robotic technologies.”

The STTR-funded project is Phase I in the development for planetary building blocks. If successful, PISCES and Honeybee Robotics will solicit a proposal for a Phase II STTR award which provides funding awards up to $1 million over two years.

The joint PISCES-Honeybee Robotics project was selected among 1,621 proposals submitted to NASA’s 2017 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and STTR programs. Of those, NASA selected 61 STTR Phase I proposals to negotiate contracts for funding. NASA’s STTR Program funds businesses and research institutions developing technologies that can support the space agency’s missions into deep space.

Azure, Winner of Division 7, Transpac Hero Assisting Distressed Team at Sea Costing Them 7 Hours in Race

At 11:39pm last night the winner of Division 7, Azure crossed Diamond Head Finish line, finally.  Azure will be remembered in this Transpac as Incredible Heroe’s. They went out of their way to help a fellow team, Medusa, costing them 7 hours out of the race, to assist, the first calling of sailors at sea, regardless of a race or not.

Team Azure

During the past 12 hours we welcomed the only Russian boat to ever enter and race in Transpac, Weddel, skippered by  Avanasy Isaev, in his Grand Mistral Italian Made One Design boat; a Lord from England who sailed ALL THE WAY through the Panama Canal from Great Britan to Long Beach, to race in Transpac, and many “kids” with their dads, boys and girls alike, as young as 12 years old.

With all Hawaii affiliated boats having crossed the finish line at Diamond Head safely we now give our final 4 boats the traditional ALOHA WELCOME, during the next 24-30 hours in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor at Hawaii Yacht club, including  our “Tail End Charlie”, the final boat to cross the finish line, projected to arrive late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, Kastor Pollux.  Yes, Transpac is a very prestigious race, started in the late 1800’s by King Kalakaua, but nothing says race orgainzers don’t have tons of fun and throw the best parties for sailors the world knows, in fact our Welcome Parties greeting sailors from across the globe are legendary. And this has been done the same way for over 100 years.

Read more about it here:

We are about 800 miles away from Honolulu and all is well on board. We are still in first place for our division so far. Today the sun finally came out and Tony saw his favorite albatross to start the day. Our next challenge will be to determine our gibe mark to head for Hawaii. You do not want to wait too early or too late, so we are doing a bunch of calculations to determine the correct time.

We received a distress call from the Santa Cruise 52 Medusa at about 11:30am this morning. They reported their fuel was contaminated with water, they were out of power, and were requesting assistance. We measured the fuel we had and offered 5 gallons, and we converged for the transfer at about 4:30 pm – I am sure the yellow brick must show us stopped for some time. Transferring fuel in the middle of the pacific in 18 knots of wind with big swells is not easy. Then we had to figure out how to get the fuel out of our tank. Luckily Medusa had and electric transfer pump and some empty containers. They put everything in a big drybag with a fender attached and sailed by to toss in on Azure. We successfully transferred at least 5 gallons of diesel, in milk containers, OJ containers, and spent motor oil containers. We were able to set everything afloat and they were able to swing by and pick it up. Medusa radioed us later to say every thing was ok, the engine was running and batteries were charging.

The clouds out here in the middle of the ocean are really nice. You can see under them forever, so they make for great sunsets and create some unusual shapes. Jim cracked me up this morning looking at one strange cloud – “Angry Birds” he yelled.

University of Hawaii Research Uses Satellites to Predict End of Volcanic Eruptions

Researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) recently discovered that infrared satellite data could be used to predict when lava flow-forming eruptions will end.

Map of 34 volcanoes used to test hypothesis. Modified from Google Maps.

Using NASA satellite data, Estelle Bonny, a graduate student in the SOEST Department of Geology and Geophysics, and her mentor, Hawai‘i Institute for Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) researcher Robert Wright, tested a hypothesis first published in 1981 that detailed how lava flow rate changes during a typical effusive volcanic eruption. The model predicted that once a lava flow-forming eruption begins, the rate at which lava exits the vent quickly rises to a peak and then reduces to zero over a much longer period of time—when the rate reaches zero, the eruption has ended.

HIGP faculty developed a system that uses infrared measurements made by NASA’s MODIS sensors to detect and measure the heat emissions from erupting volcanoes—heat is used to retrieve the rate of lava flow.

Mt. Etna from space. Credit: NASA & US/Japan ASTER Science Team.

“The system has been monitoring every square kilometer of Earth’s surface up to four times per day, every day, since 2000,” said Bonny. “During that time, we have detected eruptions at more than 100 different volcanoes around the globe. The database for this project contains 104 lava flow-forming eruptions from 34 volcanoes with which we could test this hypothesis.”

Once peak flow was reached, the researchers determined where the volcano was along the predicted curve of decreasing flow and therefore predict when the eruption will end. While the model has been around for decades, this is the first time satellite data was used with it to test how useful this approach is for predicting the end of an effusive eruption. The test was successful.

Erupting Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

“Being able to predict the end of a lava flow-forming eruption is really important, because it will greatly reduce the disturbance caused to those affected by the eruption, for example, those who live close to the volcano and have been evacuated,” said Bonny.

“This study is potentially relevant for the Hawai’i island and its active volcanoes,” said Wright. “A future eruption of Mauna Loa may be expected to display the kind of pattern of lava discharge rate that would allow us to use this method to try to predict the end of eruption from space.”

In the future, the researchers plan to use this approach during an ongoing eruption as a near-real time predictive tool.

Hawaii Department of Health Confirms 11 New Cases of Mumps – Total Now at 154

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed eleven (11) new cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 154. Seven (7) of the new cases of individuals are adults. Ten (10) of the cases are from Oahu and one is from Kauai. None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering.  More cases are expected in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

To help prevent the spread of mumps, ensure that your family is fully vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.  All adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps and who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive one MMR dose.

Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second vaccine dose at a minimum of four weeks after the first dose.  Although it is not ideal, receiving extra doses of the vaccine poses no medical problem.

All children should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. The first dose is given at age 12–15 months and the second dose routinely at 4–6 years of age. However, because of the continued circulation of mumps in Hawaii, children between 1–4 years of age should receive their second dose now (a minimum of also four weeks after the first dose).

Patients suspected or diagnosed with mumps should remain at home to avoid spreading the disease to others. According to Hawaii State Law, a person with mumps may not attend school, work or travel for nine (9) days after the onset of parotitis (swelling of the salivary glands).Mumps is spread easily through coughing, sneezing and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands.  Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw, tiredness and muscle aches.

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.  More information about mumps and the ongoing investigation can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/department-of-health-investigating-mumps-cases/.

UH Study: Underwater Plate Size Spiders Breathes Through Its Legs

Sea spiders, a bizarre and ancient group of marine arthropods in the class Pycnogonida, breathe in a way not previously known to science, according to a study involving University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Amy Moran and Zoology PhD student Caitlin Shishido.

A dinner-plate-sized Antarctic sea spider. Photo by C. Shishido

The study, published in the July 10 issue of Current Biology, was performed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, while Moran and her team were there in the fall of 2016. Sea spiders in Antarctica can reach the size of dinner plates, part of a phenomenon known as “polar gigantism.” Most animals extract oxygen from the environment using specialized structures like gills and lungs, and distribute oxygen through their bodies using hearts and blood vessels. Sea spiders, distant marine relatives of land spiders, have no specialized structures to take up oxygen and their hearts are weak. Moran and her colleagues showed that sea spiders get oxygen through the surface of their legs and move it around their bodies while digesting their food with peristaltic contractions of the gut, which extends out to the end of all of the animal’s 8 to 12 legs.

UH Mānoa researcher Amy Moran dives with sea spiders in Antarctica. Photo by R. Robbins

“We are really excited about these results because they show that sea spiders solve one of life’s biggest challenges—getting oxygen into the body and taking it where it needs to go—in a way that is new to science,” said Moran. “The next thing we would love to know is if this is unique to sea spiders, or if other animals also move oxygen with their guts and we just never knew about it.”

Jon Harrison, a professor of biology at Arizona State University not involved in the project, says “This study beautifully demonstrates that sea spiders use their legs like gills and their guts like hearts, illustrating the important role of basic research in revealing very fundamental attributes of animal function.”

This work was funded by grants from the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation.

Volcanoes National Park Identifies Man Who Jumped in Caldera

Park officials have identified the 38-year-old man recovered early Sunday morning near the bottom of Kīlauea caldera as Gregory Michael Ure, also known as Leo Michael Adonis, of California. His last known address was La Mesa, CA.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park officials confirm the finding of a note in the backpack belonging to the victim. Details concerning the note and circumstances of the death will not be publicly discussed until the National Park Service has concluded its investigation and the county pathologist has ruled on the cause of death.

On Sat., July 8, two visitors discovered a backpack on Crater Rim Trail at approximately 7 p.m. Park dispatch was notified, and rangers searched the caldera rim and floor on foot, but were unable to locate its owner. The search was suspended due to unsafe conditions at night, and resumed at dawn on Sun., July 9.

Rangers aboard a helicopter found the victim about 250 feet below the caldera rim, in an area that is not currently erupting, around 5:35 a.m. Sunday.

Body Found in Kilauea Caldera

The body of a 38-year-old man was recovered by park rangers early Sunday morning near the bottom of Kīlauea caldera.

NPS Photo

On Sat., July 8, two visitors discovered a backpack on Crater Rim Trail at approximately 7 p.m. Park dispatch was notified, and rangers searched the caldera rim and floor on foot, but were unable to locate the owner. The search was suspended due to unsafe conditions at night, and resumed at first light yesterday morning, Sun., July 9.

Rangers aboard a helicopter found the victim about 250 feet below the caldera rim, in an area that is not currently erupting, around 5:35 a.m.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. An investigation is underway.

Hawaii County Affordable Housing Projects to be Built on Former Unexploded Ordinance Sites

In a June 22, 2017 letter that Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim sent to J.C. King, Director of Munitions and Chemical Matters, ODASA(ESOH) he is asking the Army to “…change the direction of its Unexploded Ordinance Clearance Schedule and parcel out specific sites that are designated for affordable housing projects.”

Full Letter:

On behalf of the residents of Hawai’i Island, I would like to request the U.S. Army to change the direction of its Unexploded Ordinance Clearance Schedule and parcel out specific sites that are designated for affordable housing projects.

The State of Hawai’i is mandated to build 22,000 affordable housing units by the year 2025 and the County of Hawai’i has been actively seeking ways to meet its part of this mandate.  Approximately two (2) years ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was made aware of concerns of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the Former Waikoloa Maneuver Area.

Since this notification, HUD has placed restrictions on new funding into this area, effectively stopping the development of four (4) multi-family, affordable housing projects that would provide desperately, needed housing for 1,564 families.  In addition, there are two (2) existing affordable housing projects (consisting of 108 families), that need to have their properties surveyed and cleared to eliminate any danger from unexploded ordinances. These are:

Proposed:

  • Kamakoa Nui (County of Hawai’i) 1,200 units
  • Plumeria at Waikoloa (JSM Enterprises) 200 units
  • Waikoloa Family Affordable (Gary Furuta) 104 units
  • Kaialulu O Waikoloa (Urban Housing) 60 units

Existing:

  • Waikoloa Gardens (Jack Hall Waikoloa) 24 units
  • Ke Kumu Ekaki (State Hawai’i Housing) 94 units

Again, I strongly urge your agency to parcel out these projects and schedule them for Ordinance Clearance work at the earliest date possible.  I cannot emphasize the importance of clearing these subject parcels so as we can help our citizens make this island a better place to live.

Please contact Neil Gyotoku of my staff at (808) 961-8379 if we can be of any assistance in resolving this important issue.

Sincerely,

Harry Kim, Mayor

Big Island Police Looking for Witnesses to Start of Brush Fire that Continues to Burn

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating witnesses to the start of a brush fire (July 7) in Kamuela.

The fire started at approximately 11:58 a.m. in a dry grassy area of a residential property in the 64-700 block of Paeli Alanui Street. The fire spread quickly through the dry brush causing damage to an uninhabited structure and a vehicle and continues to burn.

There have been no reported injuries and the extent of the damages incurred by this fire have yet to be determined as Hawaiʻi Fire Department personnel continue their efforts to contain the fire.

This investigation is being continued by the Area II Criminal Investigation Section and police ask that anyone with any information about this incident to contact D etective Dominic Uyetake at 326-4646, extension 228, or via email at Dominic.Uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Callers who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hawaii Attorney General Chin Joins 18 States to Protect Students Cheated by for-Profit Colleges

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined a coalition of 18 states in suing the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos for abandoning critical federal protections that were set to go into effect on July 1, 2017.

Click to view full document

The complaint, filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in U.S. District Court in D.C. alleges that the Department of Education violated federal law by abruptly rescinding its Borrower Defense Rule. This rule was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The rule was finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016 after nearly two years of negotiations, following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, a national for-profit chain.

Attorney General Chin said, “More than 2,400 students in Hawaii were hurt by the actions of Heald College, the local brand name of Corinthian Colleges. Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins and I joined 18 states last month asking the federal government to act quickly to protect them. Secretary DeVos refused and is instead bending over backwards to help for-profit colleges.”

In May 2017, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department was reevaluating the Borrower Defense Rule. On June 14, the Department announced its intent to delay large portions of the Borrower Defense Rule without soliciting, receiving, or responding to any comments from any stakeholders or members of the public, and without engaging in a public deliberative process. The Department simultaneously announced its intent to issue a new regulation to replace the Borrower Defense Rule.

In a short notice published in the Federal Register, the Department cited pending litigation in the case California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) v. Betsy DeVos as an excuse for delaying implementation of the Borrower Defense Rule. State attorneys general argue in their new lawsuit that “the Department’s reference to the pending litigation is a mere pretext for repealing the Rule and replacing it with a new rule that will remove or dilute student rights and protections.”

Additionally, without the protections of the current Borrower Defense Rule, many students who are harmed by the misconduct of for-profit schools are unable to seek a remedy in court. The Borrower Defense Rule limits the ability of schools to require students to sign mandatory arbitration agreements and class action waivers, which are commonly used by for-profit schools to avoid negative publicity and to thwart legal actions by students who have been harmed by schools’ abusive conduct.

Today’s complaint asks the Court to declare the Department’s delay notice unlawful and to order the Department to implement the Borrower Defense Rule.

The Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee helped develop the Borrower Defense Rule, in large part as a result of state and federal investigations into for-profit schools such as Heald College. Under the rule, a successful enforcement action against a school by a state attorney general entitles borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness, and enables the Department of Education to seek repayment of any amounts forgiven from the school.

The coalition involved in today’s lawsuit, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Healey, include the attorneys general of Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the complaint is attached.

10 More Confirmed Cases of Mumps in Hawaii – Total Cases Now Up to 143

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed ten (10) more cases of residents with the mumps, raising the total number of statewide cases this year to 143. Six (6) of the additional cases of individuals are adults and four (4) are Kauai residents.

None of the individuals required hospitalization and all are recovering. Including this week’s reported cases, there have been eight (8) confirmed mumps cases on Kauai this year. More cases are expected in the coming weeks as mumps is a highly-contagious disease.

Mumps is spread easily through coughing, sneezing and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands. Symptoms include fever, headaches, swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw, tiredness and muscle aches.To prevent the spread of mumps in our community, people who are suspected or diagnosed with mumps are advised to stay at home to avoid exposing others and to contact their healthcare provider immediately. Additionally, everyone is asked to review their immunization records to ensure they are fully vaccinated.

All adults born in or after 1957, without evidence of immunity to mumps and who cannot verify previous MMR vaccination, should receive one MMR dose. Individuals with only one documented MMR dose are strongly encouraged to consider receiving a second MMR vaccine dose. The second dose for adults is recommended at a minimum of four weeks after the first vaccine dose.

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

To locate a vaccinating pharmacy nearest you, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccinesimmunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Forum’s featured speakers include:

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10,000 Attend Waikiki 4th of July Floatilla – Rep. Ing Response

The Coast Guard and local authorities wrapped up a busy Fourth of July holiday handling multiple incidents off Waikiki, Tuesday.

Coast Guard crews partnering with Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and the Honolulu Police Department, rescued more than 30 persons in the water.

The Coast Guard and local authorities wrapped up a busy Fourth of July holiday handling multiple incidents off Waikiki, July 4, 2017. Coast Guard crews partnering with Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and the Honolulu Police Department, rescued more than 30 persons in the water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Ito/Released)

“Our overall objective yesterday was to ensure everyone was safe on the water and to deter possible violations of federal, state and local law,” said Lt. j.g. Brian Waters, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Enforcement. “Our crews worked closely with HPD, DLNR and Ocean Safety to assist in the rescue of over 30 persons in the water, which included multiple intoxicated and underage youths.”

It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state. Penalties for violating BUI/BWI laws can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges and jail terms.

An estimated 10,000 people were in attendance for the floatilla celebration, which included numerous personnel in various types of watercraft from motorized boats, kayaks, canoes, dinghies to inflatable floats.

Coast Guard crews also recovered over 100 inflatable floats to prevent future unnecessary search and rescue cases.

Sector Honolulu crews dispatched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Station Honolulu and four 25-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrews from Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu (91107) to conduct safety and security patrols throughout the day.

“We want to thank our state partners for their close coordination and assistance with the floatilla,” said Waters. “The joint effort highlights the importance of our partnership for these large holiday events.”

Representative Kaniela Ing, Chair of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, responds to the July 4 Floatilla event:

Rep. Kaniela Ing

“Reports of yesterday’s ‘Floatilla’ event are alarming. I know that the Department of Land and Natural Resources and city officials have attempted to address this issue in the past, but it has taken a turn for the worse,” said Rep. Kaniela Ing (D-11, Kihei, Wailea, Makena). “Organizers have had numerous chances to clean it up and keep attendees safe, but nothing has changed for the better. We are talking about public underage drinking, trash on our beaches and in our waters, 10 young people being rushed to the hospital, one 19-year-old woman in critical condition, and lifeguards having to rescue over 100 event goers, all during one party. Look, I’m young, and am all for having fun responsibly, but this has crossed way over the line.”

Ing believes that certain legal loopholes might make enforcement by city officials or DLNR impossible, and it is up to the legislature to amend the law. He plans to explore the issue by introducing and hearing a bill led by the committee he leads.