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Hawaii Mumps Outbreak Continues – Three New Cases Reported Today

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed three (3) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 58. The recently confirmed cases involve two (2) children and one (1) adult. All three of the new cases are linked to previously confirmed cases on Oahu. None of the individuals required hospitalization and no schools were affected.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu.The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

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

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

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

Hawaii Department of Health Confirms Four Additional Mumps Cases on Oahu

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed four (4) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 51. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults. Two of the cases are linked to other cases on Oahu. None of the cases required hospitalization.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu.

The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

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

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

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

An Analysis of Consumer Debt: How Does Hawaii Compare with the Nation?

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released a report today, “An Analysis of Consumer Debt: How does Hawaii Compare with the Nation?” The report examined various consumer debt categories.

The report highlights why our per capita debt is high, which is due to high housing prices in Hawaii, with 77 percent of our debt from mortgage debt.

Hawaii’s home ownership increased 10 percentage points from 46.9 percent in 1970 to 56.9 percent in 2015 while the U.S. home ownership increased less than one percentage point from 62.9 percent to 63.8 percent during the same time period.

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian noted that the high mortgage debt may also have negative impacts, including less consumers spending on other goods and services by home owners, increasing rental payment for renters, and the leakage of mortgage payment to out-of-state financial institutions.

Following are some of the highlights of the report:

  • Hawaii’s total consumer debt per capita increased from $51,810 in 2005 to $67,010 in 2015, ranking it second highest in the nation.
  • For mortgage debt per capita, Hawaii has been steadily increasing in the state rankings, from the sixth highest state in 2005 to the highest state in 2015.
  • Hawaii ranks low among states for auto loans per capita, while defaults for those with auto loans are close to U.S. average.
  • Hawaii residents have relatively high credit card debt. Hawaii ranked fourth in the nation in 2010 and 2015 for credit card debt per capita.
  • Hawaii ranks the lowest in the nation for per capita student debt.
  • For the other debt category (home equity lines of credit, consumer cards, and consumer-financed debt), Hawaii leads the nation for the average amount per capita at $5,300. This partially reflects Hawaii’s high residential real estate values and the home equity loan balances supported by these high values.

The report is available at: http://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/consumer_debt_final.pdf

MUMPS OUTBREAK – Hawaii Department of Health Confirms FIVE ADDITIONAL Mumps Cases

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed five (5) additional cases of Oahu residents with mumps bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 47. The recently confirmed cases include children and adults whose infection is linked to other cases on Oahu. None of the cases required hospitalization.

The department expects to see more cases of mumps in Hawaii as the viral disease is highly contagious and circulating on Oahu.

The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be spread by sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

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

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

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

12 New Cases of Mumps Reported in Hawaii in Last Two Days

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today (May 16, 2017: DOH has confirmed three (3) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.) confirmed three (3) additional cases of mumps in Hawaii residents, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 42.

Yesterday, Department of Health confirmed 9 new cases. Of the cases confirmed yesterday, eight (8) of the cases live on Oahu and one (1) case resides on Kauai. Thus far, no cases have required hospitalization. This ongoing investigation represents the largest number of mumps cases seen in Hawaii since 2001.The recently confirmed cases include children and adults at Central Middle School and the Job Corps Center in Waimanalo. The remaining cases are made up of individuals whose source of exposure is still under investigation. DOH is working closely with both the Department of Education and Job Corps Center to contact and notify those individuals who may have come into contact with confirmed cases during their infectious periods.

At this point in the investigation, the confirmed adult resident from Kauai cannot be linked to the clusters identified on Oahu. The case has no known travel history and investigation is ongoing to determine if this case is a new introduction or part of the larger Oahu outbreak.

“Mumps is a highly contagious disease and we expect to see more cases as this outbreak continues,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “We have alerted healthcare providers and ask them for vigilance in controlling the disease and its spread with careful, early diagnosis. If people think they may have mumps, seek medical attention immediately as this illness is most contagious in the several days before and after the onset of parotitis, which is the swelling of the salivary glands in front of the ears.”

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. The classic mumps symptom of parotitis often results in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. Being fully vaccinated is important in helping to protect the public’s health across the state.

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

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

Timeline:

  • May 16, 2017: DOH has confirmed three (3) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.
  • May 15, 2017: DOH today confirmed nine (9) additional cases of mumps in Hawaii residents, bringing the total number of cases in 2017 to 39.  Of the cases confirmed today, eight (8) of the cases live on Oahu and one (1) case resides on Kauai.  This ongoing investigation represents the largest number of mumps cases seen in Hawaii since 2001.
  • May 12, 2017: DOH today confirmed three (3) additional cases of mumps in residents in East Oahu.  This brings the total number of cases in 2017 to 30. The Department is investigating a cluster of cases exposed at the Job Corps Center in Waimanalo.  Those who came in contact with the individuals during their infectious period are being notified.  The Department of Health is working closely with the Job Corps Center to monitor all program participants and staff to identify, control, or prevent additional cases.
  • May 11, 2017: DOH has confirmed four (4) additional cases of adults with mumps on Oahu.  As of May 11, there are a total of 27 cases reported for 2017.  Mumps is currently circulating not only in Hawaii, but also nationwide and in international areas.  The Centers For Disease Control’s (CDC) webpage at: (https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html) shows many mumps outbreaks and clusters, some of which have been on-going since last year.  Nationwide from Jan. 1 to April 22, 2017, a total of 42 states and the District of Columbia reported mumps infections in 2,570 people.  DOH’s investigation of reported cases is continuing.
  • May 8, 2017: DOH continues to investigate an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide.  The number of confirmed cases of mumps for 2017 is 23.  The disease has been confirmed in children and adults, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.  As the numbers of cases investigated related to the initial two clusters increases, the identification of new isolated (i.e., no travel and no relation to those clusters) cases grows.  To date, none of the infected individuals have required hospitalization for mumps.
  • April 28, 2017: DOH has been investigating an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide. Since March 2017, DOH has become aware of two clusters of cases, together involving at least nine (9) individuals on Oahu, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide this year to fourteen (14).

Mortality Thought to be Caused by Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Increases By 50% – No Evidence Fungus Has Spread to Other Islands

The most recent aerial surveys of ohia forests on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i,and Lāna‘i paint a good-news, bad-news picture. The good news is there are no confirmed cases of this fast-spreading fungal infection in ʻōhiʻa forests on any island other than the Big Island. The bad news is, the area of mortality thought to be caused by ROD has increased 50% on Hawai‘i island compared to DLNR’s previous survey in 2016.

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) State Resource and Survey Forester Philipp LaHeala Walter explained, “Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death continues to spread at an alarming speed. It appears the original outbreaks are increasing in size and the disease is moving north along the Hamakua coast of Hawai‘i Island.” He added, “The aerial surveys we conducted across the state over the past couple of months, give us the first indications of the presence of this disease, but until we do ground surveys and sample the trees showing symptoms of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, we can’t positively confirm it, as there are numerous diseases that can damage or kill ʻōhiʻa.”

Specially trained surveyors assessed over 82% (over 780,000 acres) of the state’s ʻōhiʻa forest for the most recent helicopter surveys. On the Big Island they spotted an additional 26,000 acres of forest where ʻōhiʻa trees had brown leaves or were devoid of leaves. That’s added to more than 48,000 acres identified in the July 2016 survey, giving Hawai‘i island a potential Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death infestation of some 75,000 acres.

Survey technology continues to become more sophisticated and survey teams on all islands are using standardized methodologies both from the air and on the ground in follow-up confirmation surveys. The state legislature has provided $1.5 million dollars for the next two fiscal years for the continuation of surveys and other Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death initiatives to try and identify its cause and stop its spread. DOFAW Protection Forester Rob Hauff said, “The quarantine imposed by the State Dept. of Agriculture, on the movement of ʻōhiʻa wood and plant materials between islands, is helping prevent the spread of this fungal disease off of Hawai‘i Island. We continue to encourage everyone to become aware of the quarantine rules and to practice the appropriate protocols when working or playing in any of Hawai‘i’s forests.”

Rapid Ohia Death Statewide Survey Results from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Global Survey Lands to Development of Hawaii Coral Plan

Two successive summers of serious coral bleaching in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands and in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands has led to the development of the first-ever Hawai‘i Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan.

According to DLNR Division of Aquatics (DAR) administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “Recent coral bleaching events around the Hawaiian Islands have been a major cause for concern, as healthy corals are key to our nearshore ecosystems and are the very foundations for the overall and long-term health of the ocean.  After serious and unprecedented bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, we sought advice from leading experts around the world on what types of management interventions might be most successful in minimizing long-term reef degradation resulting from bleaching.”

A steering committee, made up of representatives from DLNR/DAR, the University of Hawai‘i, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), surveyed opinions and best practices from experts around the and analyzed peer-reviewed literature related to coral bleaching and recovery.  The committee then held a workshop with local coral researchers and included their recommendations in the plan.

The report notes that “establishing a network of permanent no-take Marine Protected Areas and establishing a network of Herbivore Fishery Management Areas were the top-ranked actions arising from the expert judgment assessments and the literature analysis.”

“We set out to identify specific management actions we can take to mitigate the effects of coral bleaching and we succeeded in doing that,” said Anderson.  “Our goals now may include establishing protected areas around reefs that have naturally higher resiliency to bleaching, controlling algal overgrowth in selected locations by protecting herbivores, and replacing corals killed by bleaching events with new coral from another location. Anderson noted that “This is going to be a huge challenge, but we need to give it our best shot.  We’re extremely grateful to the experts here in Hawai‘i and around the world who helped make this recovery plan a reality.”

The Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan is available for download from the home page of DAR’s web site http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar under the “Notices” section.

Kamokuna Lava Delta Collapses Into Ocean

On May 3, Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna lava delta, which had been growing since late March, collapsed.

This image shows the lava delta at 7:50 a.m. HST, a couple of hours before the collapse.

An HVO time-lapse camera captured the sequence of events in five-minute intervals.

Between 9:35 and 9:40 a.m., a large steam plume appeared in the middle of Kamokuna lava delta in the area of large cracks noted in our April 27 image.

Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra is visible in the steaming area, but that activity ended by 9:40 a.m.

Images captured over the next 25 minutes show that the steam plume in the middle of the delta weakened, and the delta surface surrounding the steaming area subsided.

Within five minutes, between 9:55 and 10:00 a.m. HST, nearly the entire delta disappeared, collapsing into the sea.

In this image, captured at 10:05 a.m., the seawater is brown and turbulent. Large blocks of steaming rocks are visible on top of a narrow slice of the remaining delta (center). These rocks were likely washed ashore by a small, localized tsunami generated by the collapse. During the next few hours, small pieces of the remnant delta continued to flake off and disappear into the ocean.

The collapsed area cut back toward the sea cliff, past the largest crack on the delta.

This morning (May 4), the Kamokuna ocean entry was obscured by a thick steam plume at the base of the cliff.

Click images to enlarge

Sparse littoral bursts, occasionally visible through the plume, were the source of the floating, steaming lava fragments that can be seen in the ocean near the entry.

Big Island Police Seek Information About 1987 Murder

Big Island police are renewing their request for information regarding an unsolved murder investigation from 1987.

Today marks 30 years since the murder of 26-year-old Lynn Ebisuzaki. On May 1, 1987, at approximately 10:00 p.m., Hilo patrol officers responded to a home in the 500 block of Kanoelehua Avenue to look for a missing female. They learned that 26-year-old Lynn Ebisuzaki was last seen exiting the residence at 9:15 p.m. and failed to return. Officers conducted a search of the property and adjoining properties and eventually located the lifeless body of the young female.

An autopsy determined that Ebisuzaki died as a result of a stab wound. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Police ask anyone with inform ation of the murder to contact Detective Derek Morimoto of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2380 or Derek.Morimoto@hawaiicounty.gov.

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

Hawaii Department of Health Investigating Increase in Mumps Cases

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide. Since March 2017, DOH has become aware of two clusters of cases, together involving at least nine (9) individuals on Oahu, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide this year to fourteen (14). To date, none of the infected individuals have required hospitalization.“Healthcare providers have been notified, and because this disease is easily spread, we expect additional cases to be reported in the coming weeks,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “There is no specific treatment for mumps infection and while most people will recover completely, mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. Cases have been reported in vaccinated individuals, but vaccination is still the best protection against this disease. We encourage everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about mumps vaccination.”

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. 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 accinated is important in helping to protect the public’s health across the state.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. A classic symptom of mumps is arotitis (swelling of the salivary glands in front of the ears) resulting in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. Persons should seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms.

People with mumps are most infectious in the several days before and after the onset of parotitis. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Transmission can also occur when sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Persons with mumps should stay home from school or work for nine (9) days after the onset of parotitis to keep from spreading the disease to others.

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

Additional information about mumps can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/mumps/.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Opposes Attack on Net Neutrality

In a speech on the House floor today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke out strongly against the FCC’s recent announcement of plans to unravel net neutrality:

“Yesterday, the new Trump-appointed FCC Chair announced his mission to undermine the net neutrality rules we fought so hard to put in place. In 2015, over 4 million people submitted comments, calling on the FCC to keep the internet open and fair.

“However, the FCC’s new Chairman, who used to work as counsel for Verizon, wants to turn the internet into a system of pay-to-play fast lanes for big money and those who can afford it, leaving everyone else behind in the slow lane.

“This hands the levers of access over to big ISPs at the expense of students, small businesses, entrepreneurs, independent content creators, and millions more.

“In today’s digital age, maintaining open and equal internet access is essential to breaking down barriers in education, media, expanding access to jobs and employment, driving innovation in healthcare, and so much more.

“We must stand strong in opposition to the FCC’s attack on fairness, equality, and net neutrality.”

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has strongly supported net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

Japan Tsunami Gift Fund Supported Removal and Detection – How Was Hawaii’s $250,000 Spent?

After the devastating tsunami generated by the 9.0 earthquake that struck the coastal areas of Japan’s Tōhoku Region on March 11, 2011, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment estimated that 1.5 million tons of floating debris had been swept into the ocean. This unprecedented single pulse of marine debris drifted offshore and was eventually swept out to sea by oceanic currents to enter circulation in the North Pacific Ocean. This debris impacted western shores of the continental U.S., Canada, as well as Hawaii.

In 2013, the State of Hawaii received a portion of a $5 million diplomatic monetary gift offered to the United States by the Government of Japan. The gift was intended to help the affected U.S. states address Japan tsunami marine debris or “JTMD”. An initial distribution of $250,000 was made to each of the affected states: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. In Hawaii, the Department of Health (DOH) represented the State in a Memorandum of Agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had been designated as administrator of the JTMD Gift Fund. The Department of Land and Natural Resources was designated as the expending agency, so in November 2013 the funds were transferred from DOH to DLNR and subsequently used to support projects in three general areas:  removal, aquatic invasive species monitoring, and detection.

REMOVAL PROJECTS:  $91,712.66

DLNR staff routinely removes and disposes of marine debris.  When an item exceeds in-house capabilities, contracted services by qualified commercial entities are procured.

  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of the side of a shipping container on Kauai  $3,875.51
  • Landfill fee for disposal of damaged JTMD vessel on Oahu $219.90
  • Contract for services: Removal of damaged JTMD vessel on Kauai $8,000.00
  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of 20-ft diameter mooring buoy on Hawaii Island  $28,500.00
  • Purchase of a utility task vehicle for transporting heavy items out of areas inaccessible to larger vehicles and that would otherwise require access on foot    $12,321.79
  • Small equipment for removal of a JTMD boat by sea from a Maui beach site inaccessible to truck and trailer required for street transport  $1,438.22
  • Marine Debris Cleanup Project for a beach at Kanapou, Kahoolawe that included transporting staff and volunteers by boat, camping for four days, transporting the collected marine debris by helicopter to Maui for final disposal at the landfill, and bringing communications staff to Maui to document the activity  $24,716.12
  • Reimbursement for staff time for various JTMD removal activities during 2013-2015   $12,641.12

 AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES MONITORING PROJECTS:  $44,902.05

Marine debris can carry alien species hitchhikers attached to the debris and travel great distances via oceanic currents and wind. If successful at colonizing in new locations, some species have the potential to become invasive and disrupt local marine ecosystems. Researchers have identified over 70 non-native species associated with JTMD landing on Hawai‘i shorelines.  In response to the concern of establishment of non-native species via JTMD, monitoring was conducted to investigate JTMD biofouling species in 2015.  The first deployed a small team of biologists to do visual in-water surveys of nine landing sites on Kauai that were previously known to have been exposed to JTMD-transported alien species. The second project utilized advanced techniques in collaboration with other scientists monitoring JTMD landing sites in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

  • AIS Monitoring Project on Kauai        $3,345.87
  • AIS Monitoring Project on Oahu         $41,556.18

DETECTION PROJECTS:  $69,165.46

DLNR conducted the first state-wide shoreline marine debris survey to census the number and type of marine debris and identify debris accumulation sites.  Aerial survey techniques and analysis were used to estimate the number and type of marine debris distributed throughout the main Hawaiian Islands In early 2015 DLNR biologists applied for a grant to conduct aerial surveys, and received partial funding ($65,000) from a collaborative international group of researchers, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (“PICES”).  The JTMD Gift Fund was used to supplement the PICES grant, enabling complete coverage of all shorelines of the main Hawaiian Islands. In the fall of 2015, the high resolution aerial images were successfully collected, the first such effort in the State of Hawai‘i. Analysis of the images followed through a contract with the University of Hawai‘i.

  • Contract for Aerial Survey of Main Hawaiian Islands $37,994.76
  • Aerial Survey Post-Image Processing Contract         $31,170.70

MARINE DEBRIS COORDINATOR:  $44,219.83

Since marine debris response activities are conducted by various DLNR staff with many other duties, a dedicated marine debris coordinator position was created through a seven month contract with the University of Hawaii.  This position contributed support for all of the project areas as well as database management and outreach activities related to JTMD.

After the initial distribution of $250K to each of the five Pacific states, the remainder of the $5 million gift fund was held in reserve for specific subsequent requests. This diplomatic monetary gift was unprecedented in U.S. history. Managing it at national and state levels required adapting existing protocols for accounting and expenditures, and sometimes processing could be a bit challenging. In the end, however, the diplomatic gift helped fill a gap for the previously unfunded liability of marine debris and through the projects it supported, bring more public awareness to this international problem.

Hawaii Lawmakers Approve State Budget

House and Senate conferees met today to approve a final version of HB100 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The committee agreed on funding for pesticide regulation and studies and three Department of Agriculture positions for pesticides compliance; special funds for an enhanced 911 dispatch software upgrade; general funds for the Hawaii Promise Program to provide college tuition support; and general funds to support housing, outreach and legal services for homeless people.

The committee also decided to add $1 million to the budget for the Department of Health to fight Rat Lungworm Disease citing the need to act quickly in preventing the spread of the disease.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means conference committee met several times to iron out the differences between the two budget versions which must be completed by April 28, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.

The final conference draft will be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, sent to the governor for his signature.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (Dist. 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), said the conference committee was able to come up with a successful budget because of the hard choices made initially by both the Senate and the House.

“When we first received the budget from Governor David Ige, we were looking at a very different financial picture,” said Luke, the House Finance Committee Chair. “As it became clear that the state would have less revenue, we needed cut millions of dollars from the governor’s request. We were able to do that because of the hard work of the committee members.”

“Our ability to reach agreement on the budget reflects a shared belief that as resources are constrained, we must focus on priority needs that can be sustained. Even as fixed costs and unfunded liabilities rise, our communities look to us to provide support for the most basic and essential programs and services from homeless and health care to protecting the environment and resources for our keiki and kupuna,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kaneohe, Kaneohe MCAB, Kailua, Heeia, Ahuimanu), chair of the Senate committee on Ways and Means.

At today’s meeting, the committee highlighted many budget items upon which the House and Senate reached agreement.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Agricultural Loan Revolving Fund (AGR101/GA).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (1) position and $115,772 in general funds in each FY for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance (AGR846/EE).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for pesticide regulation expenses and studies (AGR846/EE).

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • Add (1) permanent position and $39,000 in FY18 and $77,000 in FY19 in general funds for contract audits (AGS104/BA).
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission (AGS871/NA).
  • Add $7,800,000 in special funds in FY18 for Enhanced 911 Board Computer Aided Dispatch Software Upgrade (AGS891/PA).

DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Litigation Fund (ATG100/AA).
  • Add $70,000 in special funds in each FY for maintenance of internet based registration systems and charity registration databases (ATG100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

  • Add (1) permanent position and $25,386 in FY18 and $50,772 in FY19 in general funds for compliance with decisions and orders of Land Use Commission (BED103/DA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for feasibility and benefits study for establishing a small satellite launch and processing facility in the State (BED128).
  • Add $200,000 in general funds in FY18 for a market assessment and feasibility study for the development of a basalt fiber manufacturing plant in Hawaii (BED128).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,584 in FY18 and $57,168 in FY19 in general funds for economic research (BED130/FA).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Excelerator Program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for manufacturing grant program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for small business innovation research program (BED143).
  • Add (1) temporary position and $27,618 in FY18 and $55,236 in FY19 in general funds for Special Action Team on Affordable Rental Housing (BED144/PL).

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Add $34,625,428 in FY18 and $70,673,178 in FY19 in general funds for additional retirement benefit payments funding for the State to reflect phase-in of employer contribution rate increases.
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,116 in FY18 and $51,432 in FY19 in general funds for the Administrative and Research Office’s Information and Technology staff (BUF101/BA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $55,671 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in funds for Hawaii Domestic Relations Orders implementation (BUF141/FA).
  • Add $9,700,000 in each FY for statewide centralized vacation payout (BUF103/VP).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $148,930 in trust funds in FY19 for investment analysis (BUF143/EU).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $445,768 in general funds in each FY for Community Court Outreach Program (BUF151).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

  • Add (1) permanent position and $51,000 in FY18 and $84,000 in FY19 in trust funds for condominium education (CCA105/GA).
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training (CCA901/MA).

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • Add $325,000 in general funds in FY18 for Diamond Head Sewer Lift Station Emergency Generator (DEF110/AA).
  • Add $768,000 in general funds in FY18 for tree trimming and removal at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery (DEF112/VA).
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $27,556 in FY18 and $54,112 in FY19 in general funds for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning maintenance (DEF110/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative (EDN100/BX).
  • Add $2,027,645 in general funds in FY18 for Office of Hawaiian Education (EDN100/CJ).
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in FY18 for Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn program (EDN100/BX).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (EDN200).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $703,980 in general funds in each FY for Homeless Concerns Liaisons (EDN200/GQ).
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in FY18 for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion (EDN300/UA).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $135,216 in FY18 and $270,432 in FY19 in general funds for Workers’ Compensation Program (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in FY18 for Alternative Teacher Route Programs (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $293,557 in general funds in FY18 for Community Engagement Office (EDN300/KD).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance Capacity (EDN300/KH).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for student transportation services statewide (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $100,000 in general funds in FY18 for athletic travel to and from Molokai and Hana (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for environmental health services (EDN400/OC).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for utilities (EDN400/OE).
  • Add $283,403 in FY18 and $207,445 in FY19 in general funds for personal services and food provisions for School Food Service programs (EDN400/MD).

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

  • Add (3) permanent positions and $50,592 in FY18 and $101,184 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library (EDN407/QD).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in FY18 for repair and maintenance backlog (EDN407/QB).

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Add $9,797,069 in FY18 and $10,668,406 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment (EDN600/JA).

EARLY LEARNING

  • Add $136,688 in FY18 and (10) permanent positions and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program (EDN700/PK).

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations (GOV100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Housing First Program (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for homeless outreach services (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for legal services for homeless persons (HMS224/HS).
  • Add (29) permanent positions and $1,828,585 in FY18 and $2,510,996 in FY19 in general funds for multi-skilled worker pilot program (HMS229/HA).
  • Add $1,553,559 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in each FY for nursing facility inflation factor (HMS401/PE).
  • Add $240,000 in general funds in FY18 for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention (JJDP) (HMS501/YA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

  • Add $3,274,000 in FY18 and $3,524,000 in FY19 in general funds for worker’s compensation claims (HRD102/SA).

HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION

  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions (HTH212/LS).
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for working capital or region operating subsidy (HTH212).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).
  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for employee separation benefits related to the transfer of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Maui Region.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges (HTH420/HO).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in FY18 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders (HTH440/HO).
  • Add $1,340,000 in FY18 and $1,613,000 in FY19 in general funds for purchase of service contracts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (HTH460/HO).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $422,540 in general funds in each FY for vector control (HTH610/FN).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for Rat Lung-worm Disease (HTH610).
  • Add $799,833 in general funds in FY18 for statewide emergency ambulance services (HTH730/MQ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $46,638 in FY18 and $93,276 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources (HTH849/FD).
  • Add $4,145,695 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Care (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in FY18 for Aging and Disability Resource Center (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $157,168 in general funds in each FY for long term care ombudsman program (HTH904/AJ).

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for enrichment programs of the advisory boards for health care, agriculture, and STEM (LBR111).
  • Add $450,000 in general funds in each FY for transition to the federal workforce innovation and opportunity act (LBR135).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $24,966 in FY18 and $48,280 in FY19 in general funds for labor law enforcement (LBR152/CA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for legal support (LBR153/RA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,530 in each FY for grants management (LBR903/NA).

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Add (3) temporary positions and $152,520 in general funds in each FY for ocean resources management plan support (LNR401/CA).
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Invasive Species Council (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for Rapid Ohia Death response (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for fire protection program (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in FY18 for second phase of new integrated information management system and digitization of reports, records, and files (LNR802/HP).
  • Add (15) temporary positions and $1,065,147 in FY18 and $1,097,047 in FY19 in general funds for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of Kahoolawe Island Reserve (LNR906/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for malpractice insurance (PSD421/HC).
  • Add $92,500 in general funds in FY18 for psychological testing for deputy sheriffs (PSD900/EA).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for lease rent for Department of Public Safety Administration building and moving costs (PSD900/EA).

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • Add $93,860 in general funds in each FY for security for medical marijuana tax collections (TAX107/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office (TRN102/BC).
  • Add $300,000 in each FY for custodial and janitorial supplies for Custodial Services Unit (TRN102/BC).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station (TRN114/BE).
  • Add $400,000 in each FY for Automated Passport Control Kiosk Maintenance Statewide (TRN195/BB).
  • Add $200,000 in each FY for underwater and superstructure pier inspections (TRN395/CB).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $101,809 in FY18 and $203,618 in FY19 for H-3 Tunnel Management Center (TRN501/DC).
  • Add (10) permanent positions and $679,152 in special funds in FY18 and $1,243,998 in special funds and $216,000 in federal funds in FY19 for Intelligent Technology Systems Branch (TRN595/DB).
  • Add $800,000 in FY19 for trash reduction plan implementation (TRN501/DC).
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 for information technology projects (TRN995).

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for concussion awareness (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2.64) permanent positions and $240,800 in general funds in each FY for Heeia Reserve (UOH100/AA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Investigator for UH Manoa (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2) permanent position and $150,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Educator/Advocate for UH Hilo (UOH210).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $70,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX for UH West Oahu (UOH700).
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Promise Program (UOH800).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Coordinators, Confidential Advocates, and Legal Support (UOH800).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $375,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX System-wide Legal Support (UOH900).

Budget worksheets detailing the appropriations in the overall Executive, Judiciary and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2017budget.aspx.

Sea Floor Erodes, Reefs Can’t Keep Up – Coastal Communities Losing Storm Protection

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawai’i, U.S. Geological Survey researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

Elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) near Buck Island, U.S. Virgin Islands have died and collapsed into rubble. As coral reef structure degrades, habitat for marine life is lost and nearby coastlines become more susceptible to storms, waves and erosion.  Photo: Curt Storlazzi, USGS. Public domain.

In the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Maui, coral reef degradation has caused sea floor depths to increase as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades, the USGS study found. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated.

As sea levels rise worldwide due to climate change, each of these ecologically and economically important reef ecosystems is projected to be affected by increasing water depths. The question of whether coral colonies can grow fast enough to keep up with rising seas is the subject of intense scientific research.

But the USGS study, published April 20, 2017 in the journal Biogeosciences, found the combined effect of rising seas and sea floor erosion has already increased water depths more than what most scientists expected to occur many decades from now. Other studies that do not factor in sea floor erosion have predicted seas will rise by between 0.5 and 1 meter, or between 19 inches and 3 feet 3 inches, by 2100.

“Our measurements show that seafloor erosion has already caused water depths to increase to levels not predicted to occur until near the year 2100,” said biogeochemist Kimberly Yates of the USGS’ St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the study’s lead author. “At current rates, by 2100 sea floor erosion could increase water depths by two to eight times more than what has been predicted from sea level rise alone.”

The study included areas of the reef tract in Florida’s Upper Keys and Lower Keys; looked at two reef ecosystems, St. Thomas and Buck Island, in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and also included the waters surrounding Maui. The researchers did not determine specific causes for the sea floor erosion in these coral reef ecosystems. But the authors pointed out that coral reefs worldwide are declining due to a combination of forces, including natural processes, coastal development, overfishing, pollution, coral bleaching, diseases and ocean acidification (a change in seawater chemistry linked to the oceans’ absorption of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).

For each of the five coral reef ecosystems, the team gathered detailed sea floor measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken between 1934 and 1982, and also used surveys done from the late 1990s to the 2000s by the USGS Lidar Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Until about the 1960s sea floor measurements were done by hand, using lead-weighted lines or sounding poles with depth markings. From approximately the 1960s on, most measurements were based on the time it takes an acoustic pulse to reach the sea floor and return. The USGS researchers converted the old measurements to a format comparable to recent lidar data.

They compared the old and new sets of measurements to find the mean elevation changes at each site. The method has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track other kinds of sea floor changes, such as shifts in shipping channels. This is the first time it has been applied to whole coral reef ecosystems. Next the researchers developed a computer model that used the elevation changes to calculate the volume of sea floor material lost.

They found that overall, sea floor elevation has decreased at all five sites, in amounts ranging from 0.09 meters (about 3 ½ inches) to 0.8 meters (more than 2 ½ feet). All five reef tracts also lost large amounts of coral, sand, and other sea floor materials to erosion.

“We saw lower rates of erosion—and even some localized increases in seafloor elevation—in areas that were protected, near refuges, or distant from human population centers,” Yates said. “But these were not significant enough to offset the ecosystem-wide pattern of erosion at each of our study sites.”

Worldwide, more than 200 million people live in coastal communities protected by coral reefs, which serve as natural barriers against storms, waves and erosion. These ecosystems also support jobs, provide about one-quarter of all fish harvests in the tropical oceans, and are important recreation and tourism sites.

“Coral reef systems have long been recognized for their important economic and ecological value,” said John Haines, Program Coordinator of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program. “This study tells us that they have a critical role in building and sustaining the physical structure of the coastal seafloor, which supports healthy ecosystems and protects coastal communities. These important ecosystem services may be lost by the end of this century, and nearby communities may need to find ways to compensate for these losses.”

The study brought together ecosystem scientists and coastal engineers, who plan to use the results to assess the risks to coastal communities that rely on coral reefs for protection from storms and other hazards.

The study is available at www.biogeosciences.net/14/1739/2017.

Big Island Residents Catch Rat Lungworm – Residents Consumed Drink Tainted by Slug

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed two new cases of individuals with rat lungworm illness on Hawaii Island. In addition, four related cases are considered highly probable based on clinical indications, a common discrete exposure, and symptoms consistent with the illness. All six cases are adults who were hospitalized and their illnesses reported to the department over the past weekend.

The adults became infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis at a home in Keaau on Hawaii Island a few weeks after drinking homemade kava which they had left out in uncovered buckets after preparing the drink at the home. The kava was poured into a large bowl and after consuming most of the contents, the individuals noticed a slug at the bottom of the bowl. The department’s investigation determined the source of the infections was likely the homemade kava tainted by slugs.

“The department is continuing to monitor this serious illness spread to individuals by infected slugs and snails,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Cases like this recent cluster are especially concerning because they can be prevented with basic precautions such as storing food in covered containers and properly inspecting and washing food before eating. These healthy habits can protect against food contamination and prevent serious illnesses.”

With the addition of the two illnesses confirmed today, there have been a total of 11 confirmed cases of rat lungworm infection this year in the state.

Earlier this year, four Maui resident cases, two non-resident cases who were visitors to Maui, and three Hawaii Island resident cases were confirmed. The two cases confirmed today were Hawaii Island residents and of the four probable cases, three were Hawaii Island residents and one was a resident of Maui who traveled to Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii Department of Health advises everyone to carefully store, inspect and wash produce, especially leafy greens. Always store food in covered containers, wash all produce thoroughly and supervise young children playing outdoors to prevent them from putting snails or slugs into their mouths. Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease. Take precautions to control slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens. Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

The Department of Health’s Food Safety Program continues to inspect and educate food establishments statewide on safe food handling and preparation to prevent contamination and food borne illness. Food establishments statewide are reminded to use only approved and licensed sources and carefully inspect and wash all produce during food preparation.

The most common symptoms of angiostrongyliasis or rat lungworm include severe headache and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. Seek medical attention for headache, fever, stiff neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain and severe disability. Healthcare providers should monitor and support patients’ symptoms, and report any persons they suspect may be infected. More information on the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm infection are at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2015/07/angio-fact-sheet-20150716.pdf

Four Meetings on Rat Lungworm Begins Tonight on Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Maui District Health Office jointly announced two community meetings to provide information on safety measures and vector control practices to help prevent Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongyliasis):

  • Haiku Community Center: Monday, April 17, 2017; doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center (Pukalani): Wednesday, April 26, 2017; Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.

At these two town hall-type meetings, presentations will be given on the Rat Lungworm parasite, current research and measures for controlling slugs, rats and snails; a demonstration on how to wash and care for vegetables and fruits; a personal story of one person’s experience with Rat Lungworm Disease; and Q&A.

Dr. Lorrin Pang (center, standing) talks with Sara Routley, DOH Health Educator, in a standing-room-only crowd gathered for the Hana community meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease held April 6th. Credit: Dept. of Health / Maui District Health Office.

Presenters include Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang; Dept. of Health staff; and Adam Radford, Manager, Maui Invasive Species Committee. For more information on these meetings, call ph. 984-8201.

Informational sessions also have been scheduled by the UH Manoa Cooperative Extension for Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Kula Elementary School Cafeteria and on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Univ. of Hawaii-Maui College Community Service Building.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kula Elementary School Cafeteria, Maui at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the UH – Maui College Community Service Building at 5:30 p.m.

These sessions will target growers, landscapers and gardeners and will focus on managing rat, snail and slug populations, as well as inspection and sanitation measures to minimize the spread of Rat Lungworm parasites. Presenters include Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Kylie Wong, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, and Dept. of Health staff. For more information on this meeting, call Kylie or Lynn at ph. 244-3242.

Local and State agencies participating in the above joint outreach efforts include the Maui District Health Office including Public Health, Vector Control and Environmental Health; the County of Maui; the Office of Mayor Alan M. Arakawa; the Maui County Emergency Management Agency (formerly Civil Defense); the State Dept. of Agriculture; Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC); the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension; The Univ. of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Univ. of Hawaii-Hilo; the Maui County Farm Bureau; and the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

For general information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org.

Horror Movie Filmed in Puna Now Available Online – “Green Lake”

An award winning film that was filmed at “Green Lake” in the Puna District of the Big Island of Hawaii is now available online:

(Release) Industry hasn’t destroyed all the sacred spaces in the world. In Hawai’i pockets of magic still exist. And so do those that protect them.

GREEN LAKE draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawaii, but also from B-horror/monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It’s a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – Derek Frey
I am fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island: The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicted the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.

I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai’i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rainforest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the larger of only two lakes in Hawaii. Allegedly Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake is almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people who live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though the land manager is very inviting and enthusiastic about the lake and its surrounding land.

My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. The water is dark and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below.

From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.

A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies provide songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep”!

GREEN LAKE – Directed by Derek Frey (HD) from Derek Frey on Vimeo.

-FESTIVALS

American Grindhouse Film Festival
Best Cult Creature

Big Island Film Festival

Bloodstained Indie Film Festival

Crimson Screen Film Festival
Nom: Best Short, Director

Dazed 4 Horror
Best Short

Best Shorts Competition
Merit Award

Diabolical Horror Film Festival

F.A.S.H.
Nom: Best Short

FEARnyc

Fright Night Film Festival

Grindhouse Planet Film Festival

Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival

Hollywood & Beyond Film Festival
Best Short Film

Hollywood Horror Fest

Hollywood Intl Moving Pictures Film Festival
Best Director, Short, Score, Editing, Sound
Nom: Song

Honolulu Film Awards
Gold Kahuna Award: Best Short

Horror Hotel Film Festival
Honorable Mention

Hot Springs Intl Horror Film Festival

IndieFEST
Best Short, Score, Sound, Editing, Leading Actress, Song, Makeup, Cinematography

The Indie Horror Film Festival

Lake View Intl Film Festival
Best Director

LA Shorts Awards
Best of the Fest, Director, Cinematography, Actress, Makeup, Screenplay, Lighting

LA CineFest
Best Poster
Nom: Best Score, Song

LA Horror Comp.
Best Short, Director, Score, Actress, Lighting, Cinematography

LA Independent Film Festival Awards
Best Horror, Original Song

Motor City Nightmares Intl Film Festival

NEPA Horror Film Festival

NYC Indie Film Awards
Best Short, Director, Actress, Cinematography, Score, Editing

Prague Independent Film Festival
Best Score
Nom: Best Short, Horror

RIP Horror Film Festival
Nom: Best Short, Cinematography, Score

Roswell Film Festival
Nom: Best Cinematography

Russian Intl Horror Film Awards

Scare-A-Con Film Festival

Shiver Intl Film Festival
Best Cult/Weird/Experimental Film, Creature

Spotlight Horror Film Awards
Gold Award

StarGate Galactic Intl Sci-Fi Fantasy & Horror Film Festival

Swapping Dead Film Festival

Taupo Halloween Film Festival

Terror Film Festival
Best Cinematography
Nom: Score, Editing, Screenplay

United Intl Film Festival
Award of Merit

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

Climate Change Research at UH Hilo: Monitoring the Coasts for Signs of Erosion

Climate change is affecting more than just plants and animals—it is changing coasts and sea levels. Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo are monitoring these changes and the impact on local communities by gathering data that will help officials make sound predictions about, and decisions for, the future.

Graduate student and researcher Rose Hart holds an unmanned aerial vehicle used to survey coastal areas.

Rose Hart, a first-year graduate student in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program at UH Hilo, has teamed up with faculty member Ryan Perroy, an assistant professor of geography and environmental science at UH Hilo, to begin monitoring shorelines using an exciting and innovative technique.

The researchers are using small unmanned aerial vehicles to capture images of coastal areas across hundreds of acres. The images are used to create 3D data sets to observe past and present changes. A variety of coastal environments are being used for the study including sea cliffs (honoliʻi), low-lying and subsiding coastal lava fields (kapoho) and calcareous beaches (hapuna).

The project has a number of aspects and goals—one is to determine from a historical point of view how these coasts and regions have changed over time to present day. Another aspect is more short term, meaning that data collection occurs every couple of months to every few weeks to see how the coasts are currently changing.

The overall goal is to try to make accurate predictions on how the rise in sea level will affect the coast and what that entails for communities and the county in regard to planning. For example, setback regulations from the coastline may need to be adjusted. How the community will respond to the rising sea level is an important factor to consider especially in the long-term sense things will be dramatically different in the next 50 to 100 years.

For more on Hart and Perroy and their research, read the full article at UH Hilo Stories.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/