Good Outdoor Ethics Encouraged as “POKEMON GO” Craze Impacts Hawaii

A DLNR Division of State Parks employee reports that two people searching for virtual reality Pokemon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway.

Pokemon Hawaii

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokemon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”

In the first week since the release of Pokemon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app.  This increases the potential of increasing public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into our state parks, onto our trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.

This phenomenon provides a good opportunity to remind people to practice good outdoor ethics.  Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator reminds folks heading into the outdoors:

  • Be safe.  Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.
  • Stay on designated trails.  Follow all signs and closures.  Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.
  • Carry out what you carry in.  Leave no trace.

“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources  Hawai’i has to offer.  Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case concluded.

Meet 90-Year-Old Dancer Dorothy Williams from America’s Got Talent #AGTDorothy

Hawaii has a new celebrity on their hands and she is 90-year-old Dorothy Williams.

Dorothy

90-year-old Dorothy Williams in her home in the Kaumana area of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Williams gained international fame last week as the 90-year-old stripper on America’s Got Talent that was awarded the “Golden Buzzer Award” from Nick Cannon and is now moving on to the “LIVE” show.

Williams is also known around the Big Island as "Yummy the Clown".

Williams is also known around the Big Island as “Yummy the Clown”.

Today, I had the chance to ask her a few questions over a few interviews and without revealing too much about her next appearance, this is what I’m able to release at this time.

Part I:

Part II:

Dorothy Williams 059

Williams can still be seen driving this car around town!

Williams leaves again for Hollywood this Sunday and she is scheduled to appear on the live show on NBC on Tuesday, July 26th at 7:00 pm.

It will be up to the audience and judges to decide if she goes on further but we all know that no matter how she does on the show… she will always be a part of our “Welcome Wagon” here on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Draws Over a Thousand Participants

Gov. David Ige and the Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Team hosted more than a thousand participants at the team’s first public conference today.

Governor Ige ProfileThe governor and ESSA Team invited students, teachers, principals, parents, education, business and community leaders as well as other interested stakeholders to the one-day summit at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

The conference offered opportunities to learn about ESSA and current best practices from inspiring thought leaders, policy experts and education leaders.

Participants also had the opportunity to engage in a variety of forums on key education topics and issues, as well as collaborate with others on innovative possibilities for a future-focused education system in Hawai‘i.

“As other states begin to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, they are looking to Hawai‘i as Gov. Ige gives every citizen a voice to help determine the future of their education system. The Governor’s ESSA Summit is a first step for Hawai‘i’s students, principals, parents and teachers to accelerate education innovation in every classroom,” said Stephen Parker, Legislative Director, National Governors Association.

The ESSA Team hoped the summit lead to a shared vision for Hawai‘i’s public education, a deeper understanding of ESSA and a wide range of ideas and possibilities for a future focused public education system. The team also collected valuable input and feedback for preliminary design ideas as the team creates a blueprint for Hawai‘i’s education system.


AGENDA:

7:00     Registration

7:50     Opening

8:00     Welcome by Jade Raquel, Grade 11, McKinley High School

8:05     Welcome Message – DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi

8:10     Welcome Message –  BOE Chairperson Lance Mizumoto

8:15     ESSA Presentation –  U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Peter Oppenheim, Education Policy Director, and Lindsay Fryer, Education Policy

Counsel

8:25     Summit Keynote – Governor David Ige

8:55     Summit Keynote – Ken Kay, EdLeader 21

9:55     ESSA Presentation – Lee Posey, National Conference of State Legislatures

10:10   BREAK

10:30   Concurrent Session #1 (choice of breakout session)

11:25   Concurrent Session #2 (choice of breakout session)

12:20   LUNCH

12:50   Concurrent Session #3 – Listening and Learning Session – collecting input and feedback

2:45     ESSA Message – Stephen Parker, National Governors Association

3:05     Closing Message –  First Lady Dawn Ige

3:20     EVALUATION AND CLOSING

Hawaii Relaunches “Fight the Bite” to Battle All Mosquito-Borne Diseases

As summer brings to Hawaii increased travel to and from the state, top state and local officials, including Governor Ige and Mayors Arakawa, Caldwell, Carvalho, and Kenoi stood together today to demonstrate a concerted statewide effort to “Fight the Bite” and keep Hawaii free of diseases spread by mosquitoes.

Fight the Bite at Capital

The public education campaign has been relaunched by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week and expanded to include all mosquito-borne diseases that pose a threat to Hawaii, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Zika at the highest level of activation following action by the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern over the Zika virus and the health problems it can cause.

In April, a team from Hawaii attended the CDC’s Zika Action Plan Summit, and this month, DOH requested federal funds totaling approximately $4 million to support statewide Zika-related control, monitoring, and prevention efforts. Federal funds are being made available through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement; Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grant; and Hawaii Birth Defects Surveillance, Intervention, and Follow-up for Zika Virus Grant.

Last week, Hawaii also participated as one of a few selected states in a Zika response exercise in Washington D.C. “Hawaii is fortunate none of these diseases are endemic or native to our state, and we need to work together to make sure it stays this way,” said Gov. David Ige. “We are part of a nationwide effort to combat diseases spread by mosquitoes, and with the Department of Health leading the charge to bring partners together to raise awareness about mosquito prevention, I’m confident that communities will come together, as our state and county leadership have done, to ensure the safety of our islands.”

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler added, “Mosquito season in Hawaii is year-round, but with increased travel and more outdoor activities during the summer months, we need to be on our guard and keep residents and visitors well-informed about mosquito-borne diseases and how to reduce the chances of outbreaks in our state. Hawaii has been identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of the Zika virus so we hope people will keep mosquito prevention and control top-of-mind all year long.”

The revamped “Fight the Bite” campaign has two key components. The first comes on the heels of the recent Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak, which began in October 2015 and continued through the spring of this year. As a follow up to the intense response to 264 cases of dengue fever, that likely began as a result of an infected traveler, DOH coordinated with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management/civil defense agencies to develop a response plan specifically for mosquito-borne diseases. It outlines ongoing preparedness activities to take place when there are no cases, as well as response measures for all imported cases and measures in the event of infected mosquitoes transmitting a disease locally.

The second component includes a research-based public education campaign that leverages numerous broadcast and social media channels to build awareness about mosquito-borne disease prevention. Starting in early July, Hawaii residents can expect to hear “Fight the Bite” messages on local radio and television stations statewide, and see graphics in malls and shopping centers. The $250,000 media campaign is being funded by the state and will include community engagement activities to spearhead and encourage grassroots efforts to reduce mosquito breeding areas across the state. All resources will be made available to the public at the redesigned campaign website at www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

DOH is coordinating closely with tourism officials to ensure the “Fight the Bite” message reaches visitors to Hawaii. With the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and State Department of Transportation, people can also expect to see updated “Fight the Bite” information this year in key points-of-entry, such as airports and harbors.

“We are working together with our travel industry partners to educate their workers, guests and customers,” said George D. Szigeti Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO. “We all need to do our part to protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne illnesses.” Educational outreach to youth is also an important piece of the campaign. “Many educators working at the Department of Education already offer information about mosquito-borne disease prevention to students,” said Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. “DOH and DOE are working to identify new opportunities and to train staff so that they may better educate Hawaii’s students.”

For more information about the education campaign, response plan, and mosquito-borne diseases and how to prevent them, visit www.FightTheBiteHawaii.com.

 

Hawaii is 2016’s 6th Most Patriotic State

Hilton Fireworks

With the Fourth of July just days away, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its list of 2016’s Most Patriotic States as a follow-up to its recent look at the Best & Worst Fourth of July Destinations.

Hawaii ranked 6th in patriotism.

To identify the country’s patriotic hotspots, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 12 key metrics such as military engagement, voting habits and civic education.

Patriotism in Hawaii (1=Most; 25=Avg.):

  • 10th – Percent of Residents Who Enlisted in the Military
  • 1st – Number of Active-Duty Military Personnel per Capita
  • 28th – Number of Peace Corps Volunteers per Capita
  • 9th – Number of Veterans per Capita
  • 22nd – Civics Education Requirement
  • 9th – Number of Americorps Volunteers per Capita

For the full report, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-patriotic-states/13680/

Hawaii Becomes First State in Nation to Enroll Firearms Owners in Centralized Information System

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. The service notifies the agencies when a firearm owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. This will allow county police departments in Hawai‘i to evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms. The law also authorizes the Hawai‘i Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.

“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Gov. David Ige.

Gov. Ige also signed HB 625 (ACT 109) and HB 2632 (ACT 110) Relating to Firearms.

HB 625 specifies that harassment by stalking and sexual assault are among the offenses that disqualify a person from owning, possessing or controlling any firearm or ammunition.

HB 2632 requires firearms owners to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police if they have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition for the following reasons: Diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility. This measure authorizes the Chief of Police to seize firearms and ammunition if a disqualified firearms owner fails to surrender the items after receiving written notice.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

International Space Station

It will be visible beginning tonight, Thursday, May 26, at 8:02 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a Maximum Height of 61 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the Southwest part of the sky and disappear 11 degrees above the North Northeast part of the sky.

Joint Task Force Established to Combat Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor announced today the establishment of a Joint Task Force to assess the threat of rat lungworm disease (Angiostrongyliasis) in Hawaii. The mission of the task force is to share scientific knowledge in the application of diagnostics, treatment, mitigation and public education activities.

rat lungworm

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a nematode, which is a roundworm parasite called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasitic nematode can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. Humans can become infected when they consume, either intentionally or otherwise, infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts.

Although rat lungworm has been found throughout the state, Hawaii Island has a majority of the cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or only have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe, which can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may also be present, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

“Establishing a joint task force with local experts in the medical field and leaders in government will produce a set of best practices that be used to target rat lungworm disease not only on Hawaii Island, but on a statewide scale as well,” said Wil Okabe, East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor. “There is no specific treatment yet identified for this disease, so finding the best ways to prevent its spread and educate the public is crucial.”

The members of the task force are as follows:

  • Wil Okabe (Facilitator), East Hawaii Governor’s Liaison Office
  • Robert Cowie, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Robert Hollingsworth, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Sue Jarvi, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Jerry Kahana, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture
  • Kenton Kramer, Ph.D., Department of Tropical Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)
  • John Martell, M.D., Hilo Medical Center
  • Marian Melish, M.D., Pediatric Infectious Disease, Kapiolani Medical Center
  • Donn Mende, Research and Development, County of Hawaii
  • DeWolfe Miller, Ph.D., Tropical Medicine Microbiology and Pharmacology, JABSOM
  • Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch, DOH
  • Sarah Park, M.D., F.A.A.P., State Epidemiologist, DOH
  • Joanna Seto, Save Drinking Water Branch, DOH
  • Aaron Ueno, Hawaii District Health Office, DOH
  • Chris Whelen, Ph.D., State Laboratories Division, DOH
  • Jonnie Yates, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

High Rates of Hepatitis C Found Among Hawaii’s Kupuna

Hawaii’s kupuna — baby boomers between the ages of 51 and 71 — are among those most at risk for hepatitis C, which can lead to liver disease or liver cancer. The Hawaii State Department of Health is partnering with CVS Minute Clinics and Hep Free Hawaii to protect kupuna and others by offering convenient hepatitis C point-of-care testing, on an ongoing basis starting on Thursday, May 19, 2016, which is National Hepatitis Testing Day.

clinic locator

All nine CVS Minute Clinics, located within selected Longs Drugs stores on Oahu, will offer a finger-prick test (instead of a blood draw) to check for hepatitis C in persons at risk, especially baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965. Results from the rapid hepatitis C antibody test are available in 20 minutes. This preventive health service is fully covered by most insurance plans with no out-of-pocket costs for members.

Hepatitis C and Liver Cancer

Hawaii is the state with the highest rate of liver cancer in the U.S., and the majority of liver cancer cases in Hawaii are caused by viral hepatitis types B and C. An estimated 23,000 persons in Hawaii are currently living with chronic hepatitis C, which can lead to liver disease and cancer.

Hepatitis C is spread by blood-to-blood exposure (such as sharing injection equipment), but there are also high rates among baby boomers (born 1945-1965), regardless of any known blood exposure. More than one out of four people in Hawaii are baby boomers and should be tested at least once for hepatitis C infection.

Early Detection is Critical
“Most people with hepatitis C don’t know that they have it,” stated Thaddeus Pham, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator with the Hawaii State Department of Health.  “If undetected, hepatitis C can lead to liver disease, liver cancer, or even death. Since hepatitis C is manageable and, in some cases, even curable, people can prevent liver cancer through early detection. We encourage all baby boomers, as well as other Hawaii residents at risk for hepatitis C, to get tested right away. Getting tested is the first step in liver cancer prevention.”

CVS Minute Clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners who not only can administer the test, but also offer other services such as immunizations and non-urgent medical care. They are also committed to ensuring the patients get connected back their primary care providers. The CVS Minute Clinics are currently at 9 select locations on Oahu.  See http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinics/Hawaii for exact locations and times.  Appointments are first come, first serve, although you can hold a place in line using the Minute Clinic location website.

Partnering with Community

“We’re partnering with local CVS Minute Clinics because we recognize the increasing importance of non-traditional healthcare delivery models,” Pham said. “Many of us often go to our local pharmacy or drug store more often than we go to our doctor. It’s important to use every opportunity to increase awareness and screening for our ohana. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get tested to prevent liver disease and cancer.”

For list of participating sites, go to http://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/clinics/Hawaii or www.hepfreehawaii.org.

Hawaii Department of Health Announces the Selection of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has selected eight applicants to receive Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai as allowed in Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Medical Marijuana

While the announcement of the selected applicants is being made today, selected applicants are required to pay a licensing fee of $75,000 to the Department of Health within seven days of receiving their written notice of selection to be awarded a dispensary license. If the application fee is not timely paid by close of business on the seventh day, the selected applicant will be disqualified, and the Department shall select the next highest scoring applicant for the county, pursuant to section 329D-4(c) HRS, and section 11-850-21(b), HAR.

The applicants that have been selected for dispensary licenses are:

City and County of Honolulu

  • Aloha Green Holdings Inc.
  • Manoa Botanicals LLC
  • TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu

County of Hawaii

  • Hawaiian Ethos LLC
  • Lau Ola LLC

County of Maui

  • Maui Wellness Group, LLC
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC

County of Kauai

  • Green Aloha, Ltd.

“Upon the completion of the selection process and the awarding of licenses, the Department of Health will begin working with the selected licensees to ensure the safety of their products, and the safety of patients and the public,” said State Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We look forward to improving access to marijuana for registered patients who have medical needs, and increasing educational opportunities for healthcare professionals.”

After receiving more than 60 applications in January, the department conducted a rigorous review and selection process. A four-member selection panel reviewed and scored applications based on thirteen merit criteria, some of which include the ability to operate a business, a plan and timeline for operations, proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements, and capacity to meet patient needs.

A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing marijuana no sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health. Each dispensary licensee may operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations within the county they are licensed to serve. Margaret Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, explained that, “There are many steps the dispensaries will need to take in order to actually start production and dispensing, so we can’t say exactly when the dispensing will begin. But we are excited to start working with the selected licensees on the next steps.”

Pursuant to section 11-850-20, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Department is holding unselected applications in reserve to offer a license to the next highest scoring applicant if the selected applicants fail to timely pay the required licensing fee. When all available licenses have been issued, the unselected applications will be removed from the list of reserved applications and the Department will notify all applicants of their status, at which time they will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The department will post a list of the total scores received by applicants upon completion of the awarding of licenses, which is anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks. The scores will be posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/.

More information about both the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program are located at the website.

Hawaii Department of Health Delays Announcement of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees to April 29

The Hawaii State Department of Health is reviewing the criminal history records of applicants for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary licenses after announcing last week that applicants were given notice to provide consents and submit fingerprints.

Medical Marijuana“The applicants have been very responsive and a majority of applicants were able to submit their fingerprints and consents by Tuesday,” according to Peggy Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “A small number of applicants are traveling abroad and unable to respond as quickly as we had hoped. In addition, it also came to our attention that many business entities, such as limited liability corporations, corporations and trusts failed to submit the consents and fingerprints of the individuals involved in the entities. The department sent an email to all applicants clarifying the requirements of who is subject to a background check.”

“Given the situation, and in order to provide all applicants a fair opportunity to comply with the statutory requirements, we may not be able to obtain and review the remaining information until the last week of April,” Leong added.

Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We have requested that applicants submit the remaining consents and fingerprints no later than April 25 and we will be pushing hard to complete our review and announce the licensees by Friday, April 29. While we regret the delay, we believe the priority is to do this the right way, and that includes being fair to the applicants by providing this additional time.”

Leong said the applicants have all been very cooperative and understanding, despite the challenges of establishing a brand new and complex program, “We really appreciate their patience and willingness to work through this with us.”

More information about the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program can be found on the website: https://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary

Hawaii Team Attends National Zika Action Plan Summit Held at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today held a Zika Action Plan Summit, bringing together state and local senior officials to provide them with the information and tools needed to improve Zika preparedness and response within their state and jurisdictions. A delegation of leaders from the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) are attending the summit at CDC Headquarters in Atlanta to share their experiences and learn from their counterparts across the country.

This timely opportunity comes as the state is experiencing an uptick in imported Zika cases, among other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and chikungunya.

Attendees were provided with presentations on the latest scientific knowledge about the Zika virus, including effects it can have on pregnant women and best-practices for mosquito control. One of the greatest challenges posed by this disease is that scientists are still learning more about Zika’s symptoms and how the disease can be transmitted.

“The summit provided an excellent opportunity for Hawaii to share our experience and knowledge while learning from other states about specific issues around the science behind Zika. This is especially important for our nation as we head into the summer months, when temperatures will rise and travel into and out of the country will peak,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler.

“It is crucial for Hawaii to have a unified outreach and response plan that is both scalable and flexible, and easily implemented at all levels of government.”

The summit also provided an opportunity to discuss communications challenges and effective strategies for increasing public awareness about Zika virus and precautionary measures that all people should take, especially pregnant women and women planning on becoming pregnant.

microcephaly

Pregnant women need to take special precautions against Zika virus and should avoid travel to areas where Zika is spreading. If a Zika infected mosquito bites a woman that is pregnant or may become pregnant, the Zika virus can be passed to her baby during pregnancy or at the time of birth. Scientists believe the Zika virus may be linked to microcephaly in newborns, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared with other babies of the same sex and age.

Scientists also believe that Zika virus can be spread from an infected man to his sexual partners. It is still unknown how long the virus can be spread in this way after the infected male’s symptoms have cleared.

Most people who contract the Zika virus will have mild or no symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika include rash, joint pain and red eyes (conjunctivitis), but can also include muscle pain and headaches. DOH urges people who are showing symptoms and have a recent history of travel to areas experiencing Zika outbreaks, to see their healthcare provider as soon as possible for testing.

For additional information about Zika virus and precautions, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/zika_virus/.

For travel information and advisories, visit CDC’s website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

Hawaii Democratic Party Selects Bernie Sanders

The 2016 Hawaii Democratic Caucus results are in and Bernie Sanders has won the State of Hawaii.

Hawaii Bernie

Total ballots cast: 32,096.

Representing 88% of all precincts.

22,661 ballots were cast for Bernie Sanders, representing 71% of the partial results.

9,377 ballots were cast for Hillary Rodham Clinton, representing 29% of the partial results.

Rocky De La Fuente had 12 votes, Martin O’Malley had 6, and 40 were uncommitted. All counting for 0%.

The tabulating is continuing for the remaining 12%. These precincts are all on Oahu

Funds Received to Pilot an Innovative Resources Enforcement Educating Fishers (REEF) Project

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) has received grant funding to pilot an innovative Resources Enforcement Educating Fishers (REEF) project, starting this spring. The funding is provided by the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation.

Hawaii Reef

Across the island, the most common coastal interaction for DOCARE is with fishermen.  Often this interaction is a punitive measure like a citation.

DOCARE, the enforcement arm of DLNR, has long recognized the importance of building relationships with the public. The goal of the REEF project is to provide opportunities for officers and fishers to engage in activities together, such as site visits to walk shorelines and clarify state rules and regulations.

Studies have shown that when an officer takes the time to participate in something that is important to a certain segment of the community, this shows that they really care about people, not just about writing citations.

“Many fishers have asked for trainings to understand the “western science” behind rules and regulations…” said Luna Kekoa, Makai Watch coordinator for DOCARE, “…but fishers feel a lot of current training lacks cultural sensitivity.”

To address this concern, a component of the REEF project will include a newly developed `Ike Kai curriculum that incorporates relevant cultural knowledge and sensitivities, while covering rules and regulations from the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR).

DOCARE Chief Tommy Friel says, “Education is a critical component to help people understand why it is important to comply with the rules and regulations our officers enforce. Building this relationship is the means by which education is best achieved.”

For more information on the `Ike Kai curriculum visit the Makai Watch website: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/makaiwatch

Governor Ige Applauds White House Decision to Select Hawai‘i’s High Technology Development Corporation for TechHire Program

The White House announced today the next round of 15 new TechHire regions, which includes Hawai‘i. President Obama selected the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), an attached agency to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, to participate in the program.  HTDC has led the effort to demonstrate Hawai‘i’s ability to respond quickly to its growing technology workforce.

tech jobs

Obama launched the bold multi-sector TechHire initiative one year ago, to empower Americans with the skills they need through universities, community colleges and nontraditional approaches that offer rapid or flexible paths to tech training.

To kick off TechHire, 21 regions, with more than 120,000 open technology jobs and more than 300 employer partners are announcing plans to work together to find new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their actual skills and to create more fast track tech training opportunities.

“We fully support the president’s TechHire program, which will enable our residents to access accelerated job training opportunities and compete for higher wage earning jobs,” said Gov. David Ige. “The president’s selection of Hawai‘i as a TechHire region is a step in the right direction and supports our 80/80 initiative to create 80,000 new technology jobs earning more than $80,000 annually by 2030.”

HTDC has created a coalition of workforce organizations, employers and state and local government to develop and align training to meet the demands of employers.

“HTDC is committed to matchmaking employers and high-potential candidates by working with stakeholders to develop innovative training programs such as “coding boot camps,” virtual classrooms and high-quality online courses to rapidly train workers for high-paying tech jobs,” said Robbie Melton, executive director and CEO at HTDC.

“TechHire is an invaluable program to the training and development of Hawai‘i’s technology workforce,” says Matthew Sasaki, director, Strategic Business initiatives at ‘ike, a partner in the TechHire Hawaii Coalition. “Over the next few years the industries that we are in will see increased demand for technology trained professionals. TechHire, in partnership with HTDC, is key to meeting this demand.”

To learn more about TechHire visit:  www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire

About HTDC (High Technology Development Corporation)

HTDC is a state agency, attached to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). The agency was established by the Hawaii State Legislature in 1983 to facilitate the development and growth of Hawaii’s commercial high technology industry. The state views high technology as an important driver in the diversification of Hawaii’s economy and one that provides quality, high-paying jobs for Hawaii residents.

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism)

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

3.5 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Volcano Area of the Big Island of Hawaii

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake shook the Volcano area of the Big Island this afternoon:

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Notice – Attorneys Interested in Providing Legal Services to DLNR as Hearing Officer in Thirty Meter Telescope CDUP PERMIT Contested Case

In anticipation of the need for the Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a  contested case hearing on In Re Petitions Requesting a Contested Case Hearing Re Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Kaohe Mauka, Hamakua District, Island of Hawaiʻi, TMK (3) 4-4-015:009, the Department of Land and Natural Resources now seeks qualified applicants to provide professional legal services as a hearing officer in this potential case which is pending a remand to the Board by the Third Circuit Court of the State.

TMT laser

Qualifications

An applicant must possess the following basic qualifications:

  • Being an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi and in good standing;
  • Being able to serve with strict impartiality and no conflicts of interest or appearance of conflict;
  • Being available to devote a substantial amount of time in the next six to twelve months; and
  • Willing to accept the prevailing charge rate relevant to the professional service as a hearing officer, as determined by the Department.

Other desirable qualifications include civil litigation experience, practice in administrative law and process, familiarity with government proceedings and procedures, and knowledge of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and Hawaii Administrative Rules administered by the Department.

Submittal Requirements

Qualified parties interested in being considered for selection are invited to submit a letter of interest with a curriculum vitae or resume to:

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Attn: Administrative Proceedings Office
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Facsimile: (808) 587-0390
E-Mail: DLNR.CO.APO@HAWAII.GOV

Applicants from the same company or law firm must submit separate applications to the Department.  Applications may be submitted by mail, facsimile or electronic mail.  The Department will not be responsible for lost or misdirected mails.

All submittals must be received by the Department or postmarked by Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 4:30 p.m. to be considered.

New Sea Cucumber Rules Signed Into Law By Hawaii Governor – Bans All Large-Scale Commercial Harvesting

Following on the heels of a 120-day emergency rule, which had temporarily banned all harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaii, today Governor David Ige signed a measure which severely limits collection of sea cucumbers.  Governor Ige stated, “The DLNR worked quickly to stop the mass harvesting of sea cucumbers, and then to develop and propose permanent rules.  This action is expected to protect and sustain critically important sea cucumber populations in our near-shore waters.”

Sea Cucumber

The permanent rule bans any large-scale commercial harvesting of sea cucumbers.  It will take effect on January 10, 2016.  Harvesting spiked earlier this year when collectors virtually cleared some near-shore waters on Maui and Oahu of the creatures which are considered the “vacuum cleaners of the ocean.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Under the law, now in effect, licensed aquarium collectors are allowed to harvest two species of sea cucumbers from Oahu waters only, with a 20-per-day maximum and an annual take of no more than 3600 for the entire commercial fishery.  These numbers are based on data collected over many years and is expected to be sustainable.”  Case added, “The rules allow a small level of take for personal, non-commercial use.  We will continue to monitor the sea cucumber population over the next few years to determine whether we’ve correctly set the harvest at sustainable levels, and if not whether we need to make adjustments in the future.”

Sea cucumber populations across the Pacific and elsewhere have been decimated by large-scale commercial harvesting. These rules were approved by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on Dec. 11, 2015, after a series of statewide hearings. Prior to the implementation of the 120-day emergency rule, Hawaii did not have any regulations regarding sea cucumber harvesting.  This year was the first time that mass harvesting happened in Hawaiian waters and once the state became aware of the issue, it acted swiftly to investigate and to get permanent rules into place.

Dr. Bruce Anderson, the Administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) commented, “I’m very proud of the work DAR and the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) did to address this issue so quickly. Without this prompt action the short-lived, mass harvest of sea cucumbers could have been an ecological disaster for the sea cucumber and its role in the health of Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Rises to 160 on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 160.

Mosquito BiteAs of December 17, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 4 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 7 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
5 Illness onset 12/7/15 to 12/9/15
Cases no longer infectious
155 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/06/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
160

Of the confirmed cases, 143 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
126 cases have been adults; 34 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/9/15.

As of today, a total of 627 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 16, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Ranked in Bottom Five States for Economic Freedom

An extensive survey of economic freedom in the United States, Canada, and Mexico shows Hawaii as one of the five worst performing U.S. states, tied for 46th place with New Mexico. The report, Economic Freedom of North America, is published by the Fraser Institute and co-published by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the Aloha state’s free market think-tank.
economic freedomThe comparative survey of economic freedom is based on ten different factors in the areas of government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom. Overall, the report notes that economic freedom has been declining in North America as further constraints are added to the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere. The localities with the best scores on the Index are Canadian, with New Hampshire coming in as the most economically free state.

Placement on the Index not only indicates comparative economic freedom in a region, but also economic success. The report notes a positive correlation between economic freedom and economic growth, per-capital size of the economy, and entrepreneurial activity. Per capita income also reflected the position on the Index, with the least free quartile having a average per-capita income nearly 8% below the national average, while the most-free quartile was almost 7% above it.

“Hawaii’s abysmal showing as one of the least economically free states in the U.S. is no surprise to those of us who have been advocating for change in the state,” said Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “It is well-known that the burdensome regulation and taxation schemes of our state discourage investment and entrepreneurship–and are especially unwelcoming to small business.”

“With the legislative session nearly upon us, it is critical that we address the lack of economic freedom with new policies based on best practices and a focus on real reform,” Dr. Akina continued. “In the next month, the Grassroot Institute will be hosting a panel where we will discuss the necessary steps to making our state more economically free and in which we will release a special Hawaii supplement to the EFNA report. We will, of course, be inviting all legislators to join us for that event and we hope they will take advantage to learn more about the policies that can turn around the state’s economic performance.”

The Economic Freedom of North America can be viewed at:  http://www.freetheworld.com/efna.html