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Monday, February 29, 2016
February 29, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:35 PM :: 3697 Views

Dengue Here, Zika Coming but 75% of South Kona Properties Go Unsprayed due to Anti-Pesticide Fanaticism

AP: On a farm (overgrown yard) in the heart of Hawaii's ongoing dengue outbreak, coffee grows wild among the ferns, and vanilla vines climb guava trees. It's hard to know where nature ends and the farm begins, and that's the way organic fantasy pretend farmers there like it.

But state efforts to combat the outbreak — and prevent the related Zika virus from making inroads on the island — could put these farmers out of business (if they actually had a business, which they don’t). Posting "no spray" signs on their properties, they're pushing back on the use of pesticides to kill the mosquitoes that transmit both infections.

Global health officials have identified mosquito eradication as the key to curtailing the Zika outbreak that has taken hold in Latin America and been linked to birth defects in Brazil, as well as preventing it from taking hold in other areas where the Aedes aegypti mosquito is prevalent, including the southern U.S.

"Any place a dengue outbreak can occur, a Zika outbreak could occur," Lyle Peterson, director of CDC's division of vector-borne diseases, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Given the fact that many affected travelers could be coming to Hawaii as outbreaks occur around the Pacific, there is always the possibility of infecting local mosquitoes." …

Hawaii has had four cases of Zika, all in travelers to countries with ongoing transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But local mosquitoes have infected 260 on the Big Island with dengue fever. And the CDC reported active local Zika transmissions in Pacific islands that have a fair amount of traffic to Hawaii, including Samoa, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands and Tonga….

On Old Ways Farm, organic farmer (of 3 acres) Steve Mann tends to his herbs with mosquito netting dangling from his straw hat. Neighbors have been infected with dengue, but Mann wouldn't allow his home or farm to be sprayed with pesticides.

"It's not organic, and that would cancel our certification for a period of three years," Mann said. "That might well put us out of business."

Organic farmers aren't the only ones pushing back. Hundreds of residents flock to the Legislature annually decrying their use….

Steve Okoji, supervising sanitarian for the state Department of Health, said his teams ask permission before spraying at homes and work with farmers on possible alternatives. But they have reached only a quarter of households in dengue-affected areas, instead of the recommended 90 percent, the CDC report said. Okoji says repeated visits have helped improve that number….

…dumping out buckets of water that had been set out for feral cats…. (by cat obsessives)….

"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when Zika comes here to this island, and we have a very unique opportunity right now to squash it," said Karen Anderson, a Big Island resident who started a Facebook page to share information about the outbreak….

Dengue victim BreeLyn DuPertuis, a South Kona massage therapist and organic farmer, allowed crews to spray her property with pesticide to reduce the threat for others. 

(Now we know what it takes to convert a chemophobe.)

AP: Correction: Hawaii-Zika Fears Story

read … Battling Outbreak, Hawaii Faces Pesticide Fears

SB2478: Massive GE Tax Hike on Agenda Today

AP: A bill to create a (1% GE Tax hike) state tax to fund long-term care (a pathetic $70/day for a year) is up for a decision in the Senate Ways and Means Committee today….

(Also SB2599--a massive GE Tax hike to lard the DoE coffers backed by HSTA.)

read … Tax Hike

HB2388: Build Many New Prisons to Give Jobs to UPW

SA: Hawaii legislators are exploring ways to bring back more than 1,300 inmates housed in an Arizona prison operated by the Corrections Corp. of America. They’re also looking to re-energize efforts to relocate Maui Community Correctional Center from Wailuku to Puunene.

Earlier this year Gov. David Ige introduced a more modest plan, outlined in House Bill 2388, that would relocate Oahu Community Correctional Center, Oahu’s largest prison, from Kalihi to the grounds of the existing Halawa prison. Rebuilding OCCC would address the facility’s severe overcrowding and also allow the Kalihi land, which sits near a planned Honolulu rail station, to be redeveloped.

But House members have taken those plans further in the hope of better addressing the shortage of space throughout the state’s jail and prison systems.

HB 2388, which was passed by its third and final House committee last week, has been amended to require the state to explore rebuilding OCCC at its current site in Kalihi while also looking to build a new facility on the grounds of Halawa Correctional Facility.

read … UPW Prisons, Incorporated

Term Limits Bill Gets Hearing

CB: The Hawaii Senate Judiciary committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday at the Capitol on Senate Bill 2753, which … “Proposes a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of members of the legislature to a maximum of twelve consecutive years in the house of representatives and twelve consecutive years in the senate, for terms beginning on the day of the general election of 2020.”

read … Term Limits

Hawaii lawmakers looking into 'Work for a Day' program for homeless

HNN: In Albuquerque, NM, a van driver offers homeless people $9 an hour to work for a day. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry started the campaign called 'A Better Way.'

"I just happened to see a gentleman holding a sign one day that said, 'I need a job.' I said, 'Okay, I'm going to take you up on it. Our city needs some trash picked up. Our city needs some weeds pulled," Berry said.

Now Hawaii lawmakers want the state to fund a Work for a Day pilot program in Honolulu.

"So if we replicate that and basically go around and figure out who these people are and offer them the opportunity to work for a day to earn a few bucks, to get some services and good meal and a shower, I can't see that as anything but a blessing for everybody involved, " Rep. Chris Lee said….

Next Step Shelter puts homeless to work in it's job training program. Work for a Day would be a bigger operation state lawmakers want the city to run….

"And we've cleaned 96 city blocks and 41,000 pounds of trash and debris have been cleaned up," Berry said. Honolulu's homeless count is a lot higher than Albuquerque's.

read … Work?  What’s That?

Maui Harassed by Homeless Demanding Money for Malt Liquor

MN: … Many Maui residents and visitors have been faced with increasingly aggressive panhandling on our streets. Giving them money makes the problem worse. I've personally seen them get a "donation" on the corner at Wal-Mart, and promptly go across the street to the mini-mart by Home Depot, emerging with a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor ….

read … Ask The Mayor

Hawaii has one of lowest Food Stamp Participation Rates in USA 

WHT: The state of Hawaii has long had one of the lowest participation rates in the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, a statistic that local legislators and agencies are trying to change.

According to legislation introduced by Sen. Josh Green, a Kona Democrat, Hawaii secures more than $500,000 annually for SNAP, known commonly as food stamps. But a 2012 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture ranked the state 46th in the country in terms of eligible people who were actually participating in the program.

Senate Bill 3039 would authorize health care providers to ask clients who are enrolled in the federal Medicaid program if they are participating in SNAP. Both federal programs are income-based.

read … Legislation urges more to use food stamps

Proposed Assistant HPD Chief kept Second Domestic Violence Case secret

CB: …In 1989, Borges was investigated by his colleagues for abuse of a family member after a woman who was living with him was admitted to Castle Medical Center in Kailua with bruised ribs and bleeding in her inner ear cavity.

The incident, however, was not revealed by HPD Chief Louis Kealoha or other police officials as part of the public discussion over whether Borges was an appropriate choice for a promotion to one of the highest ranking positions at HPD, given his 1993 arrest and conviction for domestic violence.

Borges himself did not reference the case when he asked friends and colleagues to write him letters of support for what he deemed to be a “spiritual attack” against him.

Kealoha also did not acknowledge the 1989 case when he defended his decision to promote Borges in a statement released to the press, which suggested the 1993 assault on his wife was Borges’ only domestic violence incident….

read … Second Case

Maui County Employee Gets Months of Paid Vacation after Caught Stealing $73K in Tires

KHON: …About $73,000 in tires was paid for by the county but nowhere to be found on county vehicles. This was all traced to a worker the county has now moved to fire after months of paid leave.

Maui police say “we recently received the case from corporation counsel. A detective was assigned to review the case regarding any criminal misconduct.”

Police are pretty busy with similar referrals from the administration, including another one from the same county baseyard where tens of thousands on a commercial kitchen that housed a side catering business; and alleged wrongdoing related to automotive spending by parks staff at the war memorial stadium fix-it shop….

read … Paid Leave

ADA: Tulsi just an Opportunist

CB: Tulsi’s rightist and pro-military politics and Bernie’s progressive positions make exceedingly strange bedfellows

The only conclusion can be that Tulsi either:

A. Has seen the light and has suddenly become a progressive; or

B. She’s the opportunist many of her detractors think she is.

read … Take your pick.

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