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BREAKING NEWS – Dengue Fever Case Reported on Maui

The Hawaii State Department of Health sent out a memo on January 29th to Maui residents notifying them that a Dengue Fever case has been confirmed on the Island of Maui.
Dengue Fever Case in MauiAs of today on the Big Island of Hawaii… we currently have 244 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever with no end in site.

Hawaiian Aha Convention Does Not Represent the Public

Despite a Supreme Court injunction that halted the race-based election sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, government contractor Na’i Aupuni unilaterally transformed the election into an “everybody wins” scenario, seating everyone who had been on the ballot.  The resulting convention–the stated intent of which is to formulate a government for Native Hawaiians–begins today amid continued controversy over the actions of Na’i Apuni and OHA and whether any tribal entity developed from the meeting will be able to pass legal muster.

Hawaiian Activist Walter Ritte escorted out of a meeting.

Hawaiian Activist Walter Ritte escorted out of a meeting.  Click to view video

The lawsuit against the election is still ongoing and currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Native Hawaiian activists continue to protest the political aims of Na’i Apuni and OHA, questioning OHA’s management of funds intended for the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

“The Aha convention clearly does not represent the voices of Hawaii’s citizens in general nor of Native Hawaiians in particular,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and a plaintiff in the case against the election. “Whatever document or governing organization the delegates come up with will have no more force of law or moral authority than a wish list put together by any group of 150 or so individuals.  The participants in this convention have been misled by organizers if they believe that they are able to start a viable race based government. Their efforts are also at risk as the status of the Na!I Aupuni  process is still an open case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals”

Dr. Akina continued, “The more than 6.5 million dollars of public funds that have been wasted on the Native Hawaiian roll and Aha convention have robbed Hawaiians of money that should have been spent on housing, education, jobs, and health services.”

A list of documents and filing associated with the case of Akina v. Hawaii can be viewed at:  http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2015/10/akina-v-hawaii-the-documents/

Click here to watch a video of Walter Ritte protesting the process.

Hawaii 9th Least Dependent State on the Gun Industry

According to a recent study, Hawaii is the 9th least dependent state on the gun industry.

With President Barack Obama’s executive orders on gun control and recent changes to state gun legislations, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s States Most Dependent on the Gun Industry.

Gun Industry

To determine which states depend most on the arms and ammunitions industry both directly for jobs and political contributions and indirectly through firearm ownership, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across eight key metrics.

Hawaii’s Dependence on the Gun Industry (1=Most Dependent; 25=Avg.)

  • 47th – Number of Firearms-Industry Jobs per Capita
  • 50th – Average Wages & Benefits in the Firearms Industry
  • 51st – Total Firearms Industry Output per Capita
  • 49th – NICS Background Checks per Capita
  • 29th – Gun-Control Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita
  • 46th – Gun-Rights Contributions to Congressional Members per Capita

For the full report, please visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-dependent-on-the-gun-industry/18719/

Source: WalletHub

Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks Announces February Flight Plans

Volcano Rainbow

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following flight plans for February 2016:

  • February 4, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., for faya tree surveys between 4,000- and 6,500-ft. elevation
  • February 8 and 9 for fountain grass monitoring and control from Ka‘aha to the Great Crack, between sea level and 3,000-ft. elevation
  • February 9, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., to haul out fencing material and equipment from Kahuku-Kapāpala boundary between 7,000- and 9,000-ft. elevation
  • February 16 and 17 , between 8 a.m. and noon, for mullein surveys on Mauna Loa between 6,000- and 8,500-ft. elevation
  • February 17, between noon and 1 p.m., short haul recertification flight training at Escape Road near the Mauna Ulu parking lot
  • February 18, 19, and 29, between 7 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew, camp supplies, fencing material and equipment to Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Hokulea Departs Fernando de Noronha for Natal

After a four-day stop at Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago off the Brazilian coast, Hokulea departed the UNESCO Marine World Heritage site yesterday at 11:00 a.m. Brazil time (3:00 a.m. HST) and is now headed to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. Note: Fernando de Noronha is eight hours ahead of Hawaii Time. During their stay, crewmembers were able to learn about efforts to protect the marine life and other natural resources of the pristine island.

Hokulea21a

The Hokulea crew is now sailing approximately 241 miles to reach Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, located in northeastern Brazil. The arrival to the coastal city will mark Hokulea’s first visit to the South America continent. The leg will take approximately two days.

Hokulea21c

After stopping in Brazil, Hokulea will continue the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and stop in several ports in the Caribbean before sailing north and visiting cities along the East Coast of the United States. She is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016 to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Hokulea21b

Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokulea has sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles and made stops in 11 countries and 46 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. Along the way, more than 160 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hokulea accompanied by escort vessel Gershon II to spread the message of malama honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited.

Hokulea21d

So far, crew members have connected with over 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius and South Africa. For a midway recap of the Worldwide Voyage, please view http://www.hokulea.com/2015-worldwide-voyage-recap/

Hokulea first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1975. Since then, she has traveled to multiple countries across the globe, reawakening a Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the process through reviving the traditional art of wayfinding – navigating the sea through means of using natural resources like ocean swells, stars, and wind.

Hilo Trap and Skeet Range Closing February 13- 14 to Host Statewide Tournament

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announces that the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range will be closed to public shooting on Saturday, February 13, and Sunday, February 14, to accommodate a statewide tournament.

PITA

The Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA) will hold its 2016 State Championship February 12 through February 15 at the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range. PITA welcomes spectators to watch the competition free of charge.

For more information about the Hilo Trap and Skeet Range, plase contact John Kushi at 961-8733.

Asian Fest at Queens’ MarketPlace Celebrates Year of the Monkey

Sound, color, tasty food and the feeling of excitement celebrate the Year of the Monkey at Queens’ MarketPlace, Friday, February 5. The free event kicks off at 5 p.m. with the thundering drums of Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (RMD), and continues until 8 p.m., with 14 different food sample booths, Filipino dancers, a dynamic Lion Dance, and much more.

Asian Fest2

A natural prelude to Saturday’s 23rd Annual Waimea Heritage Cherry Blossom Festival, Asian Fest is a unique way to experience and enjoy the music, cuisine and customs of China, Japan, Okinawa, Philippines, Thailand and other Asian cultures.

Taiko drum fans will have a chance to feel the rhythm of three different styles of the booming drummers. RMD’s style combines traditional Eisa and Karate forms with contemporary music and movement, performed by chapters across Hawai’i and around the world. Kona Daifukuji Taiko is a youth group which started in 1988 and now has 17 members of multi-ethnic backgrounds. From Hilo, Taishoji Taiko’s home base is a Zen Temple founded in 1915, and with a new and young energectic leader they have developed their own style of drumming.

Asian Fest

A centuries-old tradition with a flashy, upbeat energy, the Chinese Lion Dancers perform acrobatic feats and leaps, interacting with the audience and parading through Queens’ MarketPlace from door to door. Participants young and old can “feed” the Lion small donations in red envelopes called lycee (provided) to bring good fortune in the year ahead.

Throughout the shopping center, food samples will be available (while they last) from Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Hilton Waikoloa Village, Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ, Island Gourmet Markets, Lemongrass Express, Marble Slab Creamery and Paradise Pizza & Grill, Sansei Seafood, Steak and Sushi Bar, Starbucks, Sushi Shiono’s, Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Roy’s Waikoloa, Mai Grille, Tropics Ale House and Dairy Queen.

Asian Fest is a complimentary event provided by Queens’ MarketPlace and its businesses as a celebratory start to the new lunar year. For more information, please call 886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.net

Asian Fest Entertainment Schedule:

  • 5:00     Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko
  • 5:55     Hawaii Lion Dance Association
  • 6:30     Kona Daifukuji Taiko
  • 7:00     Visayan Dance Group, Filipino Dancers from University of Hilo
  • 7:20     Lion Dance begins at Island Gourmet Markets and proceeds door to door
  • 7:30     Taishoji Taiko

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Open Application Period Begins Today for Preschool Open Doors Program 2017 Assistance

The Department of Human Services encourages families to apply for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program between Monday, February 1 and March 31, 2016.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Patch HawaiiThis program, which is currently serving more than 1,100 children statewide, provides child care subsidies to eligible low- and moderate-income families to pay preschool tuition. POD aims to provide children whose families might otherwise not be able to afford preschool the opportunity to gain essential skills to be successful in school and in life.

To qualify for the program, children must be eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2017-2018 school year (born between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012). Families are reminded that a child must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Families may choose any one of the 438 state-licensed preschools. Underserved or at-risk children receive priority consideration for the POD program, and funds are limited.

Interested families may request an application beginning February 1, 2016 from the Department’s POD contractor, PATCH, by visiting www.patchhawaii.org or calling 791-2130 or toll free 1-800-746-5620.  PATCH can also help families locate a preschool convenient for them.

Applications must be received by March 31, 2016 to be considered for the July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 program period. Applications should be dropped off, mailed or faxed to the following:

PATCH – POD
560 N. Nimitz Hwy, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI 96817
Fax: (808) 694-3066

Eligibility and priorities for POD program selection are detailed online in HAR §17-799, which is available online at humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs.  For more information about other DHS programs and services, visit humanservices.hawaii.gov

UH Hilo Celebrates International Nights February 19th & 20th

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo International Student Association presents International Nights 2016 on Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, at 7:30 pm in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center. This annual event features performances from around the world and is a favorite among students, the community, and visitors.

International Night 2016

This year’s shows feature 18 different performances spanning Asia, the Pacific, Europe and the Americas. Crowd favorites such as Tupulaga O Samoa Mo a Taeao representing Samoa, and Taishoji taiko drumming representing Japan, are back. Other performances showcase the cultures of the Philippines, Burma, France, Micronesia, Ireland, Kiribati, Okinawa, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the USA. There will also be a unique “Tour de France” performance.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $5 for students, children, and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased with cash or checks at the PAC Box Office from 9 am – 1 pm, Tuesday through Friday, or at the door if tickets are still available the night of the shows. Advance ticket purchase is recommended as tickets typically sell out.

For ticket information, contact the PAC Box Office at 932-7490.

For more information, visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/international/IN.php.

Diocese of Honolulu Discloses Settlement of Dozens of Child Sexual Abuse Cases Involving Abuse by Hawaii Priests and Teachers

On January 14, 2016, the Diocese of Honolulu filed a lawsuit naming First Insurance as a defendant and releasing information pertaining to ongoing negotiations in a court-ordered mediation between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and the Diocese of Honolulu and other parties. This suit disclosed that dozens of lawsuits have been settled since the mediation process began in September 2015.

Rev. Gerald Funcheon was just one of the priests named.

Rev. Gerald Funcheon was just one of the priests named.

Mark Gallagher of Kailua, working in conjunction with Jeff Anderson & Associates, a national clergy abuse law firm based in Minnesota, has represented 36 survivors in this process and been involved in a majority of the resolved cases disclosed by the diocese. These cases involve various priests, teachers and other religious figures who worked in the Diocese of Honolulu.

“We have been working with a large number of plaintiffs to bring resolution to sexual abuse survivors under the supervision of the court and with complete cooperation of the diocese and religious order defendants,” said Mark Gallagher. “The process is completely confidential. We can confirm there have been a number of successful resolutions, but we must refrain from commenting further upon the status of the mediation or any particular settlements. We will continue to work hard with the survivors and the parties, including the diocese, to bring resolution and reconciliation.”

In 2012, the Hawaii legislature passed the Child Victims Act allowing survivors of sexual abuse in Hawaii a two-year window in which to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and institutions that may have allowed the abuse. The window was extended in 2014 for an additional two years and is set to expire on April 24, 2016. We encourage other sexual abuse survivors to come forward before this important deadline.

More information can be found at www.abusedinhawaii.com.

 

Motorcade Tribute for Late Sen. Gilbert Kahele – Schedule for Final Tribute in Honolulu & Hilo

The public is invited to pay their respects to the late State Senator Gilbert Kahele as he makes his final journey home from Honolulu to Hilo.

Kahele Motorcade

Sen. Kahele, who passed away suddenly on January 26, 2016, will be honored in a brief tribute as his motorcade passes the Hawai‘i State Capitol at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 2, 2016.  Members and staff of the State Legislature, Governor and Lt. Governor’s office, State Department Offices, State Sheriffs, Hawai‘i National Guard and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be in attendance.  Ke Kahili Nui (Hawaiian feathered standards), kani pu (conch blowers), and the Kanikau (mourning chant) will be performed for the late Senator by members of the Hawaiian community.  Flags will also drop to half-staff upon arrival and raised after the motorcade leaves the Capitol. The motorcade schedule in Honolulu is as follows:

  • 8:50 a.m.         Motorcade will leave Nuuanu Memorial, travel via police escort  from Nuuanu to Punchbowl and onto Beretania St.
  • 9:00 a.m.         Stop in front of State Capitol
  • 9:08 a.m.         Motorcade leaves State Capitol
  • 9:09 a.m.         Bells toll at St. Andrews Cathedral
  • 9:25 a.m.         Arrive at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
  • 9:40 a.m.         Flag Folding Ceremony/Playing of taps by the Hawai‘i National Honor Guard

The Hawai‘i Island community is encouraged to pay their respects when the Senator’s motorcade passes through Hilo. The motorcade will tour many sites that Sen. Kahele was fond of in Hilo town, as well as significant locations throughout his childhood.  The motorcade schedule in Hilo is as follows:

  • 12:45 p.m.       Flight arrives in Hilo
  • 1:00 p.m.         Motorcade departs Hilo airport
  • 1:10 p.m.         Keaukaha Elementary School
  • 1:20 p.m.         Richardsons Ocean Park
  • 1:25 p.m.         Puhi Bay
  • 1:30 p.m.         Banyan Drive
  • 1:35 p.m.         Suisan
  • 1:40 p.m.         County of Hawai‘i Building
  • 1:41 p.m.         Hawai‘i State Building
  • 1:45 p.m.         Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School
  • 1:50 p.m.         Hawai‘i County Fire Department Central Station
  • 1:55 p.m.         Hawai‘i County Police Department
  • 1:57 p.m.         Lanakila Housing
  • 2:00 p.m.         Mohouli & Komohana
  • 2:05 p.m.         Hilo High School
  • 2:06 p.m.         Hilo Intermediate School
  • 2:07 p.m.         Lanakila Learning Center
  • 2:10 p.m.         Federal Building, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Hilo
  • 2:15 p.m.         Dodo Mortuary

A celebration of Sen. Kahele’s life will be held on Monday, February 8, 2016 at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.  Visitation begins at 4:00 p.m. Services for a final “Evening of Aloha” begins at 5:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 244

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 244:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 1, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  1 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
1 Illness onset 1/23/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
244

Of the confirmed cases, 220 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
199 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/23/16.

As of today, a total of 1059 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Big Island Police Investigating Shooting at Popular Surf Spot

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an early morning shooting in Hilo that left a man hospitalized.

At about 4:35 a.m. Sunday (January 31), police responded to several reports of gunshots in the Honoliʻi lookout area. Responding officers observed evidence of a shooting and closed off Kahoa Road to await detectives and crime scene specialists to process the scene.

Honoli'iAt around the same time, patrol officers at Hilo Medical Center on an unrelated call were informed by hospital staff that a shooting victim had arrived at the emergency room. They learned that a 31-year-old Kona man had been taken to the hospital by a private vehicle following the shooting at the lookout.

The victim underwent surgery and was later transferred to an Oahu hospital in guarded condition for further treatment.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a second-degree attempted murder.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the shooting to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2383 or clarence.davies@hawaiicounty.gov or Detective Todd Pataray at 961-2382 or todd.pataray@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 subscribed to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Coast Guard Responds to Report of Flares Off Maui – Rescues Mariner

The Coast Guard rescued a mariner aboard a disabled 18-foot recreational vessel following a report of four red flares off Maui Thursday night.

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship's waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

Cadets and crew aboard Coast Guard Cutter Eagle fire pencil flares off the fantail of the ship as part of a pyrotechnics training session Saturday, July 4, 2009. In recognition of the national holiday, everyone aboard also participated in the Square-Rigger Olympics, pyrotechnics training, and karaoke on the ship’s waist later that night. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Etta Smith)

A Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew located the mariner during a search 5 miles west of Kihei and towed the vessel back to Maui.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a report of three red flares off Kihei around 9:23 p.m. A fourth flare was sighted by Maui Fire Department personnel from the shoreline shortly after.

The watchstanders launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point and the RBM crew from Maui to respond. The RBM crew sighted the mariner and confirmed he launched the flares before towing him back to Kihei.

“This mariner did everything right with his flares and the case illustrates the importance of having proper emergency gear aboard your vessel,” said Charles Turner, of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “In addition to required flares and flotation we recommend mariners have multiple forms of communication with them including a handheld VHF-FM radio, charged cellular devices and a properly registered personal locator beacon if possible. It’s State law to have a VHF radio on your boat if you’re more than a mile offshore. Communications can be a challenge around the islands and not all devices may have consistent coverage. It’s also a good idea to leave word with friends or family about your voyage and when you intend to return so they can alert responders if you are overdue.”

Flares should never be used as fireworks as they may prompt a Coast Guard search. If you are conducting flare training please contact the Coast Guard to advise them of the location and time of the training to deconflict any search and rescue calls. Flares are especially useful at night and burn red or white. Mariners who choose to further mark their location and signal with chemical lights are asked to use red colored lights as the typical yellow and green and very hard for rescue crews to detect with night vision goggles.

Parents Encouraged to Provide Feedback on Their Child’s Public School

​ The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) begins its annual School Quality Survey (SQS) this week to gather important feedback from students, parents/guardians and staff about our public schools. The deadline to complete and return the SQS is March 15, 2016.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

Photo Credit: Department of Education

The survey provides information on how schools are doing with respect to school culture, satisfaction and engagement. The feedback gathered is used to support school planning and improvement efforts, and meet legislative and Board of Education requirements.​

Students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 will take the survey online at school, as will teachers, administrative office staff, and instructional support staff.

A parent or guardian of the students in the surveyed grades will have the option to take the survey online or via a paper format. Each school communicates to parents on how to complete the SQS whether digital and/or hard copy.

“We’re hoping for more parents to respond this year since last year’s return rate was 24 percent,”said Tammi Chun, assistant superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance. “This feedback is very important to us as we continue to work on ways to improve learning experiences for our children.”

Responses will remain anonymous. The SQS deadline is March 15, 2016.

The public can view the SQS for their community schools and statewide results via the Report Finder on HIDOE’s website: bit.ly/ReportFinder. Search for “School Quality Survey”and add the name of a school for school-level results.

Anyone with questions about the survey is encouraged to contact HIDOE at 808-733-4008 (Neighbor Island toll-free at 855-276-5801), or via email: SQS@notes.k12.hi.us.

 

Video – Aerial Survey of Big Island Forests Shows Rapid Ohia Death Spread

Recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawaii Island forests showed that a fungal infestation of ohia trees is much greater than earlier thought.

ohia deathUsing a helicopter and specialized survey equipment, surveyors from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies flew over 81,000 acres, January 11 – 15, 2016.  Satellite imagery of ohia forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the ohia forest on the Big Island.

Rapid Ohia Death Media Clips 12-23-15 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, the State Resource and Survey Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “We used two surveyors at a time and flew a total of 8 ½ hours over state, federal and private lands covering about two-thirds of the Big Islands’s ohia forests. Our next steps are to cover the rest of the ohia forests with follow-up flights and to ground-truth the aerial operation. One of our priorities will be to double-check the Kohala area, where Rapid Ohia Death may have been detected for the first time by our aerial survey.”

A team of experts from DLNR/DOFAW, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee and the National Park Service/Hawaii Volcanoes National Park conducted the aerial survey. The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service assisted with planning. In 2014 USDA researchers identified the pathogen that causes the disease.

Dr. Flint Hughes, with the USDA Forest Service commented, “Unfortunately Rapid Ohia Death is spreading much quicker than we had hoped.  The aerial surveyors noted ohia trees with no leaves or brown leaves, likely impacted by the disease; as well as ohia trees which have been dead for a longer time and those that have been affected by either drought or VOG. It’s important that we differentiate the causes of tree deaths and continue to carefully and closely monitor the spread of Rapid Ohia Death to aid in reducing its spread on Hawaii Island and around the state.”

Ohia forests cover approximately 865,000 acres of land across the state and are considered the primary species providing habitat for countless plants, animals and invertebrates. These forests  protect watersheds that provide significant agriculture and drinking water across the state.

“It’s sad but not unexpected that we have a confirmed case of Rapid Ohia Death in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are very concerned about the impacts to our cherished ohia that thrives throughout the park, and we will continue to implement the stringent measures developed by our interagency partners to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. We will also continue to sample trees throughout the park,” Orlando said.

Dr. J.B. Friday, the extension forester with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service explained, “We know that the state Department of Agriculture’s moratorium on the transport and shipment of ohia plants and parts is having a positive effect on curbing the spread. It’s impossible to determine whether the ban on ohia shipping is 100% effective and that’s why we are trying to get the word out to all forest users, nurseries, and lei makers that Rapid Ohia Death is fast killing what is considered one of the most important forest trees in Hawaii.”

Research into treatments for the particular fungus that causes Rapid Ohia Death continues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab in Hilo. Investigation into how it spreads is also being conducted with potential culprits being: insects, underground via roots, on small wood or dust particles, on clothing and shoes, and possibly on animals. Ultimately scientists hope that by identifying what is spreading the fungus they’ll be able to mitigate its devastating impacts.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Seeking Candidates to Replace Late Senator Gilbert Kahele

Democratic Party of Hawaii

The Hawaii County Democratic Party is seeking candidates who are interested in an appointment to serve as the Senator of Senate District 1. I’m sure you are all aware of the recent passing of Senator Gil Kahele who served so honorably in this seat. Our party will hold a process to determine 3 names that we will forward to the Governor for his appointment to the seat.

You can send me an email at micahalameda@gmail.com and I will forward you a copy of our county’s process for filling mid term vacancies. To be eligible an individual must be a member in good standing of the Democratic Party for a minimum of 6 months. The candidate can not currently be under reprimand pursuant to Article 1 of the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. There will be a mandatory meeting of all candidates seeking the seat at the Keaukaha Elementary School Cafeteria on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

At the meeting candidates will present a 3 minute introduction and then will be interviewed by officers of the nine precincts who comprise Senate District 1. At the completion of the interview process the precinct and district officers will vote to determine the top three candidates to forward to the governor. The process will be under my leadership as the Democratic Party Chair of House District 2 which is located entirely within Senate District 1.

Prospective candidates are to provide to the County Chair, Phil Barnes, for dissemination to the appropriate selection body a written application including the following:

1. Credentials and reasons for consideration for the position
2. Evidence of party participation
3. Verified signatures of at least five (5) party members within Senate District 1.

Items 1 and 2 above should be sent to Chair Barnes by email, preferably as PDF files, for electronic distribution to selectors. His email address is greenhi3@yahoo.com. Your signatures to complete #3 need to be on a form from the Hawaii County Democratic Party which you can easily get by emailing Chair Barnes and need to be delivered by mail to Chair Barnes at 64 Amauulu Road Hilo, HI 96720.

The Deadline for applications to be in Chair Barnes possession is 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday February 10, 2016.

For further inquiries please contact micahalameda@gmail.com or at (808) 319-3371.

Aloha nui,
Micah Alameda, Chair
District 2

Senator Gilbert Kahele Big Island Celebration of Life – Process to Nominate Replacement at Legislature

On January 26th, Hawaii Senator Gilbert Kahele passed away.  A celebration of life for Senator Kahele will be held on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the Hilo Civic Auditorium.  A private burial at sea will be held at Kapua Bay.

Kahele Motorcade
The process to nominate a replacement for him at the State Legislature was explained by Big Island Senator Lorraine Inouye as following:

The process will be that the Hawaii County Party Chair, Phil Barnes, will be notifying the precinct presidents of senate District 1.

A meeting must be held to have precinct members cast votes for their person, instructions to be determined.

It goes to several rounds, a vote cast for candidates by precincts, until such time a final three, who survived, their names will be sent to the State Party Chair, who then forwards those 3 names to the governor.

The meeting will be somewhere in Hilo, at a date picked by the Party chair and his officers.  I understand it will be sometime this month.
Please continue to search on the Hawaii County website as, I am sure information will be posted, or contact your precinct president.

I am sure there will be a deadline and must be a Democrat.

Candidates must be a democrat in the Senate District 1 only. Candidates may not only be elected official.  The election area will be cordoned off to keep candidates and precinct members who will participate in the voting process in a secured section of the place to be determined, but cannot close such meeting from other democrats who would like to observe in another section of the event.

That is the democratic process.

I see nothing in the current statute in the HRS of Hawaii to deny observers.  But they cannot participate in this election process.

All instructions must be clear at the day of the voting and conducted by the County Party Chair and the State Party President.

Lorraine R Inouye
Senator – District 4

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Governor David Ige to Declare Hawaiʻi Island Dengue Fever Outbreak a State of Emergency

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today called on Governor David Ige to declare the Hawaiʻi Island dengue fever outbreak a state of emergency and deploy State resources, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing, and providing completely free testing for those with suspected symptoms of this incurable disease.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

“The dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island continues to worsen.  We cannot afford to wait any longer for the aggressive action necessary to combat the spread of this serious disease.  An emergency proclamation from the Governor is long overdue,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the people of Hawaiʻi Island.  “There have already been 242 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever on Hawaiʻi Island, creating a public health emergency affecting our residents and visitors, and Hawaii Island’s economy.  They deserve our state’s full attention and resources to do what it takes to put an end to this outbreak, and prevent it from becoming endemic and spreading to other parts of the island and state.”

On October 21, 2015 the Dengue exposure rate on Hawaiʻi Island was 1 in 185,079.  As of today, 1 out of every 849 residents and approximately 3 out of every 50,000 visitors has contracted dengue fever.  This constitutes an average infection rate of 67 residents and 7 visitors every month since this outbreak began.  Additionally, the same mosquito that carries Dengue Fever is also a carrier of the Zika virus, which is “spreading explosively” according to UN health officials, who are currently considering declaring an international health emergency.

In speaking with Governor Ige and by written correspondence, the congresswoman called for the following action items to be addressed immediately:

1. Completely free and accessible testingfor those who suspect they have symptoms of Dengue Fever. While the cost of the test may be free, residents and visitors are still charged for visits to a physician, nurse, or clinic in order for their blood to be drawn.  This could easily be solved by ensuring there are free access points island-wide, and by deploying state or National Guard medical personnel as a mobile testing unit that can travel to both populated and remote locations across the island, draw blood, and get samples to the lab for expedited results.

2. Allocate resources to the Department of Health for development and execution of a comprehensive public information and public engagement campaign with quality review measures.  Current “Fight the Bite” efforts fall far short of providing residents and visitors with the information they need.

3. Provide a full-time entomologist on Hawaiʻi Islanddedicated to eradication, reduction, and prevention of further spread of the Dengue virus.

4. Allocate resources to hire vector control personnel,purchase more sprayers and other necessary equipment and supplies.

5. Provide free supply and distribution of Ovitraps throughout the community to empower local residents to help prevent the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. World Health Organization report studies have shown that population densities can be reduced below disease-transmission thresholds with sufficiently large numbers of frequently serviced traps.

6. Appoint a Dengue Czarwho can act as the coordinator of efforts with all parties within the state, county, federal, private sector, and community to ensure the objectives are being met.

More than a third of the world’s population live in areas at risk for infection from the Dengue virus, which is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected annually.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been meeting with state leaders, Hawaiʻi County officials and Civil Defense, military personnel, experts in the private sector and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and listening to concerned citizens of the Big Island, working to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from Dengue Fever, a debilitating disease that has no vaccine, treatment, or cure, so that the Aloha State does not remain a part of this worldwide epidemic.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 242

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 242:

Mosquito Bite

As of January 29, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 1/20/16 to 1/21/16
Cases no longer infectious
240 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/18/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
242

Of the confirmed cases, 218 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
197 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/21/16.

As of today, a total of 1018 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.