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Hawaii’s Senate Ways and Means Committee Visits Puna

Today, as part of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means‘ (WAM) two day visit to Hawai’i Island, Senator Ruderman hosted the group on a tour of sites in Puna.

Puna Community Medical Center

Puna Community Medical Center

The Senators visited the Puna Community Medical Center, Pahoa Public Library, and Pohoiki Boat Ramp. The need for emergency medical facilities, a new library and safe swim area in Puna were discussed. The Senators also experienced the drive from Hilo to Pahoa along perilous State Highway 130 and visited the site of the proposed Pahoa roundabout.

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

Rene Siracusa (Far Right) explains how the center is funded and talks to the Senators about getting more funding

The purview of this committee includes those programs relating to overall state financing policies, including revenue enhancement, taxation, other revenues, and cash and debt management; statewide implementation of planning, programming, budgeting and evaluation; and government structure and finance.

Senators got a tour of the facility

Senators got a tour of the facility

Leading the group is Chairman of the committee, Senator David Ige, and Vice Chair, Senator Michelle Kidani. Senate President, Donna Mercado Kim, also joined the WAM committee on this trip.

Senate WAM

The visits on Hawai’i Island included facility tours of State facilities and briefings to update the Senators on programs, projects, and concerns on Hawai`i Island.

Only one of the events, a community information briefing on Grant in Aid funding at Waimea Middle School cafeteria was open to the public.

The itinerary for their Hawai’i Island Site Visit was:

Tuesday, August 20

8:15am ‐ 8:45am Kona Airport
9:30am ‐ 11:15am Judiciary Courthouse
11:30am ‐ 12:45pm Kona Community Hospital
1:15pm ‐ 2:15pm Palamanui Community College
4:30pm ‐ 5:30pm Waimea Middle School
5:30pm ‐ 6:30pm Community Meeting Waimea Middle School

Wednesday, August 21

9:30am ‐ 10:00am Puna Community Medical Center
10:15am ‐ 10:45am Pahoa Public Library
11:00am ‐ 11:30am Pohoiki Swim Area and Boat Ramp Isaac Hale Park
1:00pm ‐ 1:45pm Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Research Labs
2:00pm ‐ 2:45pm Hale Ala Honua, University of Hawai`i at Hilo
3:00pm ‐ 3:15pm Old Hilo Memorial Hospital
3:30pm ‐ 5:00pm University of Hawai`i at Hilo briefing

At the Pahoa Public Library, the committee was met by Branch Manager, Gaila Vidunas, who talked about the need for more parking and the fact that the facility was used by such a wide diverse group of folks.

WAM at Pahoa Public LibrarySenator Ruderman mentioned the fact that they are looking at the possibility of creating a Puna “Regional” Library somewhere in the Puna District but thoughts are just being tossed around at the moment.
Senate WAM at Pahoa Library
After leaving the library, the Senators then cruised down to Pohoiki Bay where they checked out the harbor and talked with local residents about how things could be improved in the area.

Senate WAM

(Left to Right) Sen. Laura Thielen, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Sen. J. Kalani English, Sen. Donna Mercado-Kim, Sen. David Ige, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, and Sen. Russell Ruderman

I reminded a couple of the Senators that this is where “Ulu Boy” got attacked by a shark a few days ago and they were kind of shocked to realize that!

Senators at Pohoiki

They were treated to a lunch down at Pohoiki by a local family and then after that they got into their cars and headed back into Hilo for the rest of their itinerary.

Puna Community Medical Center Seeing Rise in Flu-Like Illnesses… Swine Flu?

Two weeks ago I mentioned a possible Swine Flu exposure at Montessori Schools in Pahoa.

The following was posted today on Punaweb by Dan Domizio of the Puna Community Medical Center.

Aloha!

In the past 3 weeks, we have seen many adults and children with a “FLU-LIKE” illness with the following characteristics; rapid onset, high fever (ADULTS with temps of 103 and 104!); adults more knocked down than children; gradual waning of temp (over 2-3-4 days) to “low grade”; shifting to more typical picture of a cold with runny nose and cough. Some folks have had nausea, some with vomiting, gradually shifting to loose stools or frank diarrhea for a day or so.

MOST folks go through the entire process in 7-10 days; back to school or work in 3-4 days. NO SPECIFIC TREATMENT (antibiotic) is available to stop this process; you deal with the headache and fever, with the cold symptoms and the cough, you rest, eat lightly, drink a lot of water or tea or juice, and get well. Only people with asthma, or smokers, have needed additional management.

Could this be H1N1 (“swine flu”)? Yes, it could be, but that does not change anything about how it is managed. Influenza is viral and self limited; only those with previous respiratory disease, the frail elderly, pregnant women, and infants are at increased risk of SECONDARY problems.

Dan

Tomorrow: Puna Community Medical Center Health Fair

First Annual Puna Health Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 4, 2009 at the Puna Community Medical Center.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi (left) applauds as Puna Community Medical Center office manager Maraiah Newte-Yamamoto (center) and Hawaii County Councilwoman Emily Naeole (facing the door), untie the maile lei to open the new medical center in Pahoa on Sunday.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi (left) applauds as Puna Community Medical Center office manager Maraiah Newte-Yamamoto (center) and Hawaii County Councilwoman Emily Naeole (facing the door), untie the maile lei to open the new medical center in Pahoa.

* free testing for various conditions such as blood pressure and cholesterol will be among the fair’s highlights.