Live Skunk Found at Honolulu Harbor

A live skunk was captured early this morning at Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor. Plant Quarantine inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) were called by agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at about 7:15 a.m. today and were informed that a skunk was captured by stevedores at the pier. The stevedores used plastic traffic barriers to contain the animal until HDOA inspectors arrived. Inspectors then transported the skunk to HDOA’s Animal Industry Division where samples are being prepared for testing for the rabies virus at a Mainland laboratory. Results will take several days.

State veterinarians tentatively identified it as a striped skunk and appears to be a young adult weighing 3.5 pounds. The gender has not yet been determined as veterinarians minimize handling of the animal until a negative rabies test result is received.

It is not known exactly when or how the skunk got onto the pier, but CBP reports that stevedores saw the animal running around in the harbor yard with its head in an empty yogurt cup.

Skunks are prohibited in Hawaii and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo. Skunks inhabit the U.S., Canada, South America, Mexico and other parts of the world. They are also one of the four wild animals considered to be the primary carriers of the rabies virus, a fatal viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free.

The Plant Quarantine Branch records indicate that this is the first skunk captured in the state.

Sightings or captures of illegal and invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).

Hakalau Stream Bridge Repairs

Repair work on the Hakalau Stream Bridge located on the road leading to Hakalau Beach Park which is currently closed, not the bridge on State Highway 19, will begin on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, and is expected to be completed by Tuesday, April 17, 2018, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company was awarded the contract to repair the northern abutment that has been undermined due to scouring from the Hakalau Stream. The bridge repairs will meet Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.

The County conducted an assessment of the bridge and found the bridge’s northern abutment (foundation) has been undermined due to scouring from Hakalau Stream. A plan of action is in process to repair the bridge that will meet the National Bridge Inspection standards and ensure the public’s safety at this stream crossing.
The Hakalau Beach Park will also be closed until further notice due to the closing of the bridge.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this closure has caused and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

All State and Federal approvals, certifications, and environmental permits required by the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) have been secured. 80% of the $1,644,000 project cost will be funded by federal funds and the county will contribute the remaining 20%.

If there are any questions or concerns regarding the bridge repair work, call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Sen. Hirono Votes to Protect Dreamers

Sen. Mazie Hirono

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement today, Feb. 15, 2018, after voting to protect Dreamers:

“I have consistently supported a clean DREAM Act, and voted in favor of the Coons-McCain amendment today that came very close to it. And while it earned the support of a bipartisan group of 52 senators, the vast majority of Republicans blocked this effort.

“Unfortunately, we were left with only one option to protect the 800,000 current DACA recipients and an additional one million Dreamers who the President has threatened with deportation. It’s for them that I voted for the Rounds-King amendment.

“The Rounds-King amendment included a number of provisions I strongly oppose, including $25 billion for Trump’s wall. The Republicans also sought to dismantle our legal, family-based immigration system. Democrats fought hard to limit the damage.

“President Trump created this crisis when he cancelled DACA and threw 800,000 young people under the bus. And with his recent veto threat, he has made it abundantly clear that protecting Dreamers is the farthest thing from his mind.

“With this threat, the President made it clear that he wanted all of us to stand with him against the Rounds-King amendment. That, I would not do.”

HPD Searching for Missing Man

The Hawai‘i Police Department is searching for 48-year-old Gerald Ragsdale.  He is reported to be 5-feet-1, 150 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Gerald Ragsdale. HPD Photo.

He was last possibly seen at Walmart in Hilo on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 at 10 p.m.