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Hawaii DLNR Supporting Feds Rule Prohibiting Swimming With Dolphins

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is supporting a proposed rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which would prohibit approaching a Hawaiian spinner dolphin within 50 yards by any means.  This would include commercial swim- with-dolphins programs.

swim with dolphin

Bruce Anderson, administrator of DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), said “We believe NOAA’s preferred option is reasonable.  Two of the five initial alternatives involved closing off entire areas designated as essential daytime habitats.  We felt that was going a little too far, but we can support approach rules and eliminating swim-with-dolphins activities.”

Anderson noted that the public comment period for the proposed rule ends October 23, 2016.  “We intend to comment,” he said.  “The proposed regulations would be in effect within two nautical miles of the main Hawaiian Islands, and within certain designated waters between Maui, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.  We will recommend NOAA expand that beyond two miles, all the way out to the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone, which is 200 miles from shore.  We don’t see a rationale for a two-mile limit.”

Anderson also hopes NOAA will develop a plan to monitor the effectiveness of the proposed rule, once it goes into effect.

Hawaii TSA Worker/Department of Human Services Worker Busted for “Double Dipping”

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Ms. Roselani Wise was sentenced last month after pleading no contest to theft in the second degree for receiving unearned compensation from the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services (DHS) from 2008 through 2012. During that four year period, Wise was employed as an Investigator for DHS. An investigation revealed, however, that while Wise was supposed to be working at her job at DHS, she was simultaneously working for – and being paid by – the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Lihue Airport.

Roselani Wise

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Public employees can hold outside employment as long as it is not legally prohibited. In this case, however, Ms. Wise claimed to be working for DHS during the same exact time she was actually working for TSA. That is theft of state money and that is why she was prosecuted.”

Due in part to her lack of prior criminal history, Wise was granted a deferred acceptance of no contest plea by Judge Randal Valenciano on July 21, 2016. The terms of Wise’s sentencing include five (5) years of probation, restitution to the State of Hawaii in the amount of nine-thousand seven-hundred-one dollars and thirty-two cents ($9,701.32), and 200 hours of community service. Wise is also required to pay eight-hundred ninety-five dollars ($895) to the Crime Victim Compensation Commission.

Theft in the second degree, a violation of section 708-831, Hawaii Revised Statutes is a class C felony.

North Hawaii Community Hospital Celebrates 20 Years Delivering Babies and Receives Certificate of Approval

North Hawaii Community Hospital is celebrating 20 years of service to the community by inviting everyone born at the hospital since its opening in 1996 to a birthday celebration on Friday, August 26 at 3 pm.

North Hawaii Community Hospital FrontAttendees will be treated to birthday cake and party favors, and are asked to bring their baby photo to display.

The hospital will also be celebrating Baby Friendly Day.  North Hawaii Community Hospital was designated a Baby Friendly hospital by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund for offering an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies, and is one of only three in the state with this special designation.

And

North Hawaii Community Hospital Women’s Health CenteringPregnancy® program recently received their certificate of approval from the Centering Healthcare Institute.  After a thorough site visit and program review, Centering officials determined that North Hawaii Community Hospital’s program has demonstrated fidelity to the Centering model and is on track for sustainability.

Centering officials, who visited from Massachusetts, noted that Women’s Health is implementing the Centering model while integrating important cultural practices and traditions, making it unique and very special to the participants. “The staff and participants have created a sacred space that forges strong bonds and a sense of pride. This is a model site and should be encouraged to share their experiences,” said Centering officials.

Officials also noted the program’s excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction, good average group size, strong administrative support, and an effective and engaged steering committee.

CenteringPregnancy offers a group approach to prenatal care, combining three essential elements of care- health assessment, education, and support.  Approximately 10 to 12 expectant moms meet for 10 two-hour sessions starting in the first trimester of pregnancy.  Moms-to-be share stories and learn from one another and talk about health issues.  Each two-hour session is led by a Women’s Health certified nurse midwife and childbirth facilitator.  In the past year, CenteringPregnancy participants reported 100% satisfaction and exceeded goals for low birth weight and premature births.

For questions about the CenteringPregnancy program, contact Women’s Health at North Hawaii Community Hospital at 885-9606.

Big Island Police Searching for 16-Year-Old Volcano Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Volcano girl who was reported missing.

Casey Baker-Fien

Casey Baker-Fien

Casey Baker-Fien was last seen in Volcano on August 4.

She is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-3, 140 pounds with blue eyes and dark brown shoulder-length hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

USS Port Royal and USS Hopper to Deploy Tomorrow

Guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), with an embarked detachment from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37), and guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) will depart their homeport of Pearl Harbor for an independent deployment to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation, Aug. 25.

USS Port Royal (CG 73)  U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johnnie R. Robbins.  (RELEASED)

USS Port Royal (CG 73) U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Johnnie R. Robbins. (RELEASED)

“The warriors aboard USS Port Royal and USS Hopper have been working together diligently to prepare for this deployment to the 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet AOR,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37)

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37)

While deployed, Port Royal and Hopper will transit through the western Pacific to enter the 5th Fleet area of operation supporting maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts.

USS Hopper (DDG 70)  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

USS Hopper (DDG 70) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jon Dasbach/Released)

“Port Royal and Hopper crews are trained and ready to execute higher headquarters tasking. We join their friends and families in wishing them a safe and successful deployment,” said Fuller.

Port Royal and Hopper help provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the seas and humanitarian/disaster response as well as supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

Sustaining Healthy Forested Watersheds For Hawaii’s Communities

As global climate change progresses, what will happen to Hawai‘i’s aquifers and the ecosystem services which healthy forest watersheds provide? Will we be able to meet our future fresh water needs for drinking and agriculture?

Watershed fence

A report just issued by the Hawai‘i Environmental Funders Group, “He Lono Moku: The State of the Environment,” says “Hawai‘i consumes water at almost double the national average, with residents and non-agricultural businesses using an average 144 gallons of water per day, or 4,320 gallons per month, due in part to the impact of 7 million tourists a year.” The report was issued in advance of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress meeting in Honolulu, Sept. 1-10, and highlights the need to protect and more efficiently use our fresh water supply.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages a little more than one million acres of public land.  Approximately 900,000 acres fall within a Watershed Partnership boundary.

One way that DOFAW seeks to protect priority watersheds is by supporting Watershed Partnerships. These are voluntary alliances between public and private landowners who recognize that cooperating across landscapes and landowner boundaries is the most cost-effective way to maximize watershed protection.  Watershed Partnerships play an important role in protecting and preventing the loss of more native forest by: combating the main threats of ungulates (hooved animals such as goats, deer, sheep, pigs, cattle); controlling invasive species; and outplanting native forest species.

These management actions also benefit our coastal and coral reef areas by reducing erosion and sedimentation effects in streams and during heavy rains.

Watershed Partnerships help secure grant funding and in-kind services matching state dollars to achieve broad scale conservation goals. DLNR is currently going through its annual process of awarding $2.5 million in state funding to Watershed Partnerships and other groups engaged in watershed protection and management.

To formally recognize the state’s dedication to watershed protection, the Hawai‘i Association of Watershed Partnerships* (HAWP) was established in 2003 to build public and private support for watershed protection.  Division of Forestry and Wildlife Watershed Partnerships planner Katie Ersbak says, “Over the last 25 years they’ve grown to encompass 10 active partnerships across the state, covering about 2.2 million acres; roughly half the land in the entire state. These are areas that are the most critical for water recharge. They also have the highest percentage of biodiversity, unique flora and fauna, and rare and endangered plants.”

The Watershed Partnerships involve over 74 public and private landowners and partners. The benefits of collaborative management practiced under Watershed Partnerships are many:

  1. Cooperative management actions address large landscapes and threats affecting multiple habitats and species;
  2. Leverage available funding for maximum benefits and allow the pooling of resources as well as expertise to reduce redundancy efforts;
  3. Allow operational infrastructure to fill gaps and work on both public and private land
  4. Develop long-term relationships with communities and hire locally to help train the next generation of conservation leaders.

DLNR & YOU-Sustaining Healthy Forested Watersheds for Hawaii's Communities from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Genki Sushi Updates Customers On Status of Reopening of Restaurants

Genki Sushi today issued an update on the status of its efforts to reopen its restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Since being notified by the Department of Health (DOH) of its decision to temporarily close 10 Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and one on Kauai on Aug. 15, the company has been working cooperatively with the department to take the required steps to comply with health standards and resume business.

Genki Sushi

“While our goal is to reopen our restaurants as soon as possible, Genki Sushi’s top priority is the health and safety of our customers, employees and the community,” said Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer, Genki Sushi USA. “Since the Department of Health announced the source of the illness was a food product that was received from a distributor, we have been working closely with state health officials to take the necessary actions to ensure all of our restaurants meet or exceed DOH guidelines and requirements.”

In addition to discarding produce, open packages of food, and single-serve equipment and utensils, as well as thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the restaurants according to DOH standards, the company has been focused on ensuring all of its employees in the impacted restaurants are screened and vaccinated.

The testing and vaccination results of the 358 employees will be compiled and provided to the DOH for their review and certification. The company hopes to have all of the employee screenings and vaccinations completed as soon as possible subject to the logistics of screening such a large number of employees at once.

“We appreciate our customers’ understanding and support as we continue to focus on preparing our restaurants to reopen so that customers can have confidence in the safety and quality of the food we serve,” said Hansen.

Armed Services YMCA Receives $12,000 Grant From Hawaiian Electric Companies

Armed Services YMCA has received a generous $12,000 grant from the Hawaiian Electric Companies in support of the Early Learning Readiness (ELR) program.  The ELR program serves toddlers and preschoolers providing the educational structure for these young children to acquire the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills necessary for future learning, and to prevent these military dependent children from falling behind academically in elementary school and beyond.

Landon Romero joins other children in thanking Hawaiian Electric and Ron Cox for their generous grant of $12,000 in support of the Early Learning Readiness Program.

Landon Romero joins other children in thanking Hawaiian Electric and Ron Cox for their generous grant of $12,000 in support of the Early Learning Readiness Program.

“The ELR program equips caregivers with resources that enable them to be their child’s first teacher and is specifically designed to serve young military families who are new to parenting and far from home, family and support. Many of these families have recently been stationed in Hawaii , and this program provides a high quality early learning environment, while providing parents with the support network to manage the stresses associated with military life,” said Laurie Moore, Armed Services YMCA Executive Director.

Participation in the ELR program ensures that children develop the skills necessary to successfully transition to one of Hawaii’s preschools or kindergarten programs, not only knowing their letters and numbers, but with competency in social skills. Through the ELR program, caregivers learn to teach their own children as they participate alongside them.

The financial investment provided by Hawaiian Electric Companies will be used to purchase developmentally appropriate furnishings and curriculum, which will enhance teaching by further providing ELR instructors with research-based strategies and curriculum resources.  “We are so thankful for the investment that the Hawaiian Electric Companies has provided. This will enable ASYMCA of Honolulu to continue providing outstanding early childhood programs for the families of our young men and women who serve our country,” added Moore.

“We are deeply appreciative of the men and women of the armed services for their valor and service to Hawaii and the nation, and to their families who sacrifice so much,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian  Electric vice president – power supply. “It is gratifying to hear that our donation will help enhance the preschool learning environment at ASYMCA sites so young military families stationed in Hawaii can raise their children with confidence while they serve their country.”

Armed Services YMCA of Honolulu focuses programs and services in the areas of education and child care; financial support and assistance; and services that reduce military members and families’ feelings of isolation and loneliness.  As a private non-profit organization serving Hawaiʻi’s military community since 1917, ASYMCA has touched more military lives than any other organization in Hawaii. Please contact the Armed Services YMCA for more information at (808) 473-3398 or visit the website at www.asymcahi.org.

22 New Cases of Hepatitis A Reported in Hawaii

hepatitis header

As of August 24, 2016*:

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

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

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
228

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

Places of Interest

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

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

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

Hepatitis A — Information and Resources

Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder Offered

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is offering Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with Dr. Stephanie Dodge.

UH Hilo MonikerClasses will be held on Tuesdays from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., September 20 – October 18, at UH Hilo’s Sciences and Technology Building (STB) 225. Cost is $75.

The series is open to anyone who would like to learn more about ASD, including parents, caregivers, educators and practitioners. It will provide an overview of diagnosis, prevalence and etiology of ASD, as well as an introduction to interventions. Also included is information about behavioral assessments and programs, assistive technology and advocacy for services.

Dodge received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UH Manoa. She specializes in helping young children who have problems with attention, focus, following instructions, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and disobedience. She also specializes in autism treatment and is trained to administer two gold-standard evaluation tools.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/ccecs/.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 70-Year-Old Honoka’a Woman

UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 70-year-old Eileen Takako Windrath of Honokaʻa, who had been reported missing.

She returned home safely Wednesday morning (August 24).

Continue reading

New Case of Hepatitis A Identified in Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is continuing its investigation of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak on the island of Oahu, and today confirmed a new case in a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

scallopsThe flight attendant served inflight food and beverages to passengers on the following flights:

  • July 31, 2016 – Flight HA22 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Seattle, WA (SEA)
  • August 1, 2016 – Flight HA21 from Seattle, WA (SEA) to Honolulu, HI (HNL) August 10, 2016
  • Flight HA18 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • August 12, 2016 – Flight HA17 from Las Vegas, NV (LAS) to Honolulu, HI (HNL)

The public is being alerted only as a precaution; the risk of transmission is extremely low and Hawaiian Airlines is not the source of the ongoing outbreak. DOH has identified imported frozen scallops as the likely source and embargoed the product statewide on August 15, 2016.

Subsequent laboratory testing by the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of hepatitis A in the scallops.

“This case is a reminder that hepatitis A symptoms can appear up to 50 days after exposure,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.  “This is why we expect to continue to see cases in coming weeks, and why we need to remain vigilant to prevent further transmission, even though the product has been pulled off the market.”

As of August 17, 2016, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation.

Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any individuals who may have been exposed to the disease are recommended to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.

A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf , or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Hawaiian Airlines customers may go to www.hawaiianairlines.com/hepatitisA for detailed information on the affected flights and other support available.

EPA Closes Pflueger Stormwater Case After Successful Restoration of Kauai Property

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the successful conclusion of its case against James Pflueger for construction activities that damaged his former property and the beach and coral reefs at Pila’a on Kauai. The consent decree settling the Clean Water Act violations was closed after Pflueger stabilized and restored the slopes and streams.

Pflueger Stormwater Case“Thanks to the work completed under this settlement, this once-degraded land has a healthy population of native trees and shrubs and restored stream channels,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “With continued care by the new owners, these restoration efforts can be sustained for the future.”

EPA initiated its case after Pflueger conducted extensive grading and construction at the 378-acre coastal site without obtaining necessary Clean Water Act permits. Those activities included excavating a hillside to expose a 40-foot vertical road cut, grading a coastal plateau, creating new access roads to the coast, and dumping dirt and rock into three perennial streams. As a result, massive discharges of sediment-laden stormwater flowed to the ocean at Pila’a Bay in November 2001.

The settlement required Pflueger to build a wall to stabilize the road cut adjacent to the shoreline, remove dam material in streams, install erosion controls on roadways and trails, terrace slopes to slow runoff, use native plants to control erosion, and control invasive plants and animals on the property. He was also required to reconstruct natural rock-lined stream beds and reestablish native plants along the banks.

The 2006 stormwater settlement was the largest for federal Clean Water Act violations at a single site, by a single landowner, in the United States. Pflueger paid $2 million in penalties to the State of Hawaii and the United States, and was expected to spend approximately $5.3 million to conduct the required restoration efforts.

The State of Hawaii was a co-plaintiff in EPA’s case against Pflueger, and the settlement was joined by the Limu Coalition and Kilauea neighborhood organizations, which had also filed a lawsuit against Pflueger.

EPA and local community organizations involved in the settlement conducted oversight inspections throughout a ten-year restoration effort that was slowed by funding obstacles and the necessity of adapting the restoration projects to changing field conditions.

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

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

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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

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

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

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

Image from this evening:

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

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

 

Hawaii is 2016’s Best State for Women’s Equality

With Women’s Equality Day just three days away and the U.S. in 28th position on the Global Gender Gap Index — falling eight places since 2014 — the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best & Worst States for Women’s Equality.
equalityIn order to determine the most gender-egalitarian states, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across 15 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity between women’s and men’s unemployment rates.

Women’s Equality in Hawaii (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 1st – Earnings Disparity
  • 7th – Executive Positions Disparity
  • 5th – Work Hours Disparity
  • 1st – Educational Attainment Disparity (Among Bachelor’s Degree Holders)
  • 5th – Minimum-Wage Workers Disparity
  • 1st – Unemployment Rate Disparity
  • 8th – Entrepreneurship Rate Disparity
  • 1st – Political Representation Disparity

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-women-equality/5835/

Family Fun Day at Kahilu Theatre

Saturday, August 27, 10AM – 2PM, the Kahilu Theatre will be hosting a Family Fun Day event called Animal Fun! to celebrate the launch of the Theatre’s 2016/2017 Presenting Season. The event will be full of family fun and entertainment, inside and surrounding the Theatre. Animal Fun! is free and open to the public.
Arts Ed @ Kahilu students performing at the Circus Camp Finale. Photo by Andrew Hara

Arts Ed @ Kahilu students performing at the Circus Camp Finale. Photo by Andrew Richard Hara

Young stars from the recent Kahilu Circus Camp and Kahilu Performance Arts Classes (KPAC) will perform at Animal Fun!. Performances will feature aerial arts, juggling, unicycling, hooping, clowning, and magic. In addition to student performances, there will be live music, face painting, and balloon sculptures from Ari the Clown.
Tickets for Kahilu Theatre’s 36th Season will also go on sale to the general public during the event.
This will be the first of three Family Fun Days planned for Kahilu Theatre’s 2016/17 Season. The next Family Fun Day is slated for Saturday, February 4, in celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Call the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 808.885.6868 for more information about upcoming events, memberships, and Arts Ed @ Kahilu programs.

Police Making Two “Active Shooter” Presentations in North Kohala

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make two “active shooter” presentations in North Kohala on Saturday (August 27).
Active Shooter
The presentations, which are open to the public by reservation only, will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Kohala Inter-Generational Center located at Kamehameha Park.

The presentations are designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident. Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

Seating is limited. Persons wishing to attend must make a reservation by contacting the Hawaiʻi Community Federal Credit Union at 930-7700 or marketing@hicommfcu.com.

Persons unable to attend may obtain “active shooter” information by viewing the “Active Shooter/Violence Awareness” page on the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s website (www.hawaiipolice.com) under the “Services” tab.

Hawaii State Highway Bonds Sale Secures $247 Million, Saves State More Than $22 Million

On Aug. 10, 2016, the State of Hawai‘i successfully sold $204.485 million in Highway Revenue Bonds at the lowest interest rate in the history of the state’s Highway Revenue Bond Program. The sale raised $247.581 million.

Highways DivisionApproximately $120 million of the bond sale proceeds will be used to fund various highway projects throughout the state and about $127 million of the proceeds will be used to refinance existing state bonds. The refinancing will reduce debt service payments and save more than $22 million in interest costs.

“This financing is a tremendous success for the state, enabling continued investment in our infrastructure at a very affordable borrowing cost,” said Gov. David Ige. The low interest rates achieved demonstrate bond investors’ confidence in Hawai‘i’s economic strength and its continued practice of sound fiscal management. This is the result of years of discipline and conservative fiscal management.”

Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service and Fitch Ratings affirmed the state’s strong bond ratings of “Aa2”, “AA+” and “AA,” respectively. Each rating agency also attached “stable” outlooks on their ratings, indicating secure future economic and financial trends for Hawai‘i. Rating agencies cited the stability and diversity of revenue streams that are pledged as security for the bonds, as one of the key strengths of the credit.  Other strengths cited include strong legal provisions, high debt service coverage, and stable revenue trends, particularly in those sectors that are less reliant on economic activity.

The marketing plan for the bonds included investor presentations, both in-person in Hawai‘i and on the mainland, as well as internet-based presentations and conference calls. The extended marketing generated strong demand for the bonds from institutional investors.

There was very strong demand for the bonds by both Hawai‘i and national investors. Orders for the bonds amounted to 4.5 times the amount available for sale. The strong demand resulted in net interest rates on the bonds that ranged from 0.50 to 2.50 percent, with the average net interest rate less than 2.25 percent. This is the lowest rate the state has achieved since starting the Highway Revenue Bond Program in 1993.

“The success of the recent bond sale and the low interest rate on the offering is due in no small part to the hard work of the Highways Division in adhering to its sound fiscal and debt management policies,” said Ford Fuchigami, director, Hawai‘i  Department of Transportation. “We are extremely pleased with the demand for the bonds and the needed infusion of capital the Highways Division will receive from the sale.”

The bonds were sold by a financing team led by Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, serving as book-running senior manager and Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Securities, serving as co-senior managers.

Free ‘Imiloa Membership for All UH Hilo Students

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has announced an exciting new benefit for its students. For the very first time, the University’s ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is offering a complimentary individual membership to every student with a valid I.D. who is registered for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Free Imiloa
“Very few universities can boast an on-campus resource like the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, which showcases Mauna Kea and its cultural and scientific value, especially way-finding and astronomy,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “We greatly appreciate this gesture and encourage all of our students to take advantage of the benefits ‘Imiloa has to offer throughout the academic year.”

‘Imiloa is located on the upper campus, and housed in a striking titanium-clad conical structure. The Center is open to the public six days a week (Tuesday-Sunday). Student members will be able to enjoy four free daily shows in the full-dome planetarium, full access to the interactive exhibit hall, plus discounts on special events and purchases at ‘Imiloa’s award-winning Sky Garden Restaurant and on-site store.

For Astronomy majors Shelby Wood and Micah English, an ‘Imiloa membership is something they’ll make extensive use of.

“I’m from New Mexico, and have never been to ‘Imiloa, so I appreciate the opportunity to check it out,” Wood said. “I think it’s really great that they are doing this, because I have been to the planetarium and it was really cool,” English added.

Hawaiian Studies Major Kehaulani Esteban sees ‘Imiloa as a valuable resource for learning more about the Hawaiian culture.

“I’m really looking forward to the Mauna Kea show because we get to learn about how the Hawaiian Islands were created,” Esteban said.

`Imiloa Executive Director Ka’iu Kimura sees the memberships as an effective avenue for advancing ‘Imiloa’s mission to inspire exploration through the sharing of Hawaiian culture and science.

“One of the goals ‘Imiloa has set for our second decade is to take our programming across the island, the state and beyond. At the same time, however, we are committed to amplifying our impact here at home,” Kimura said. “What better way to inspire the next generation than to deepen our ties to UH Hilo and the community of students at our doorstep?”

Students can activate their free membership by visiting: http://blog.imiloahawaii.org/general-information/free-imiloa-membership-for-all-uh-hilo-students/.

FDA Warns Hawaii Seafood Processor About Handling of Tuna

A seafood-processing facility in Honolulu was found to have “serious violations” of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations during a May 17 and 20 inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Click to read the warning letter

Click to read the warning letter

The resulting warning letter, dated July 27 and sent from the agency’s San Francisco District Office, informed Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC that its “fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish products, including Ahi tuna, mahi mahi, and skipjack tuna” are therefore adulterated, meaning that “they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”

FDA acknowledged the company’s June 13 response to the inspection results, but found that it did not adequately address all the problems observed by inspectors.

The warning letter states that Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC “must conduct a hazard analysis to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur and have a HACCP plan that, at a minimum, lists the critical control points” to comply with federal law.

FDA noted that the company’s HACCP plan for fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish, including tuna, does not list the critical control point of refrigerated storage for controlling the food safety hazard of scombrotoxin (histamine) formation.

An agency investigator observed refrigerated product storage to be at 44 degrees F and the internal temperature of two Ahi tuna in the room to be at 42 degrees F. However, FDA’s letter stated that refrigerated, not frozen, storage or processing of raw product is to be held at a cooler temperature of 40 degrees F or below.

Or, if the fish are stored under ice, the product must be completely and continuously surrounded by ice throughout the storage time, according to the warning letter.

FDA also pointed out that the firm’s HACCP plan for fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish such as tuna does not list the food safety hazard of pathogenic bacteria growth for fish intended for raw consumption. The company responded that pathogenic bacteria growth was not considered a potential hazard because it uses potable water in the facility.

“Your response is not adequate and your hazards analysis is incorrect,” the warning letter states. “FDA has identified pathogenic bacteria growth and toxin formation as a food safety hazard in finfish, i.e. tuna, intended for raw consumption and control of this significant hazard must be included in your HACCP plan in the event of time and temperature abuse.”

FDA’s letter also mentioned that the firm was observed monitoring the surface temperature of fish at receiving with an infrared thermometer.

“Your response received on June 13 stated that you have now resumed taking the internal temperature of the fish with a probe thermometer. We will verify the adequacy of your corrective action during our next scheduled inspection,” the letter stated.

Other problems cited at the facility involved current good manufacturing practice requirements. These included not monitoring for the prevention of cross-contamination, insufficient cleaning of food contact surfaces, and inadequate control of employee health conditions.

Specifically, the letter states that an investigator observed unprocessed Ahi tuna intended for raw consumption being stored on a concrete floor and then dragged across the floor onto a pallet by an employee.

The company responded that the employee had received a written warning and was counseled, extra pallets were added for storage, and that plastic platform trucks were ordered to help move products.

FDA called that response “not completely adequate because you have not addressed the steps you have taken to ensure prevention of other employees from engaging in the same practice.”

Recipients of FDA warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to respond with details of the procedures they have taken, or will take, to correct the current violations and prevent them from recurring.