The National Weather Service has continued the HIGH SURF ADVISORY for NORTH FACING SHORES of MAUI and MOLOKAI, in effect until 6:00 a.m. Thursday.
A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the advisory area, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion.
EFFECTS: A northwest swell will continue to produce advisory-level surf through tonight. Surf along north facing shores of Molokai and Maui will be 12 to 16 feet.
Forecast surf heights are estimates of the height of the face or front of waves.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: EXPECT STRONG BREAKING WAVES, SHORE BREAK, AND STRONG LONGSHORE AND RIP CURRENTS, MAKING SWIMMING DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS. BEACHGOERS, SWIMMERS, AND SURFERS SHOULD HEED ALL ADVICE GIVEN BY OCEAN SAFETY OFFICIALS AND EXERCISE CAUTION. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. WHEN IN DOUBT…DON’T GO OUT.
INFORMATION: Maui Civil Defense Agency will continue to monitor the situation. Please listen to your local radio and TV stations or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts for any updates. NOAA Weather Broadcasts can be reached by calling 1-866-944-5025. NOAA Weather Internet services can be found at www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.
Pre-recorded advisories and notifications are available 24-hours a day on the Maui County Automated Information System (AIS) by calling 986-1200.
WAILUKU – Maui Memorial Medical Center’s (MMMC) emergency room, or ER, treated over 45,000 patients in 2014 – a 3.37 percent increase over 2013 and a 25 percent increase over the past five years.
The increase has resulted in longer wait times and shortage of available beds for admitted patients, a problem many other hospitals across the state, and nation, are facing.
In recent weeks, the increase in emergency department (ED) admissions mirrors other hospitals in the state with increased influenza cases. According to Ramona Chapman, RN, Infection Prevention and Control Coordinator at MMMC, there have been 50 confirmed influenza cases from January 1 through 23, 2015, compared to 27 for the entire month of December 2014.
In response to the influx of patients seeking emergency care, MMMC is evaluating ED best practices to improve treatment flow and wait times. Additionally, officials encourage Maui residents and visitors to seek medical attention or advice from their primary care physicians during normal business hours at the onset of worrisome symptoms.
“While we are absolutely not discouraging people from seeking medical help at our Emergency Department, statistically speaking we do see a lot of patients that either did not require immediate attention, could have been safely cared for in a primary care setting, or could have avoided the ED visit with proper and timely primary care,” said Julius Montehermoso, MMMC ED Nurse Manager.
Hospital officials also remind public that whether the ED is busy or not, the intake process puts priority on medical need versus a first-come, first-serve basis.
“It is our responsibility to serve based on need. We use an emergency severity index, or ESI, which helps determine severity of condition, what kind of care the patient needs and how long they can wait for treatment,” Montehermoso said. “The majority of U.S. hospitals use it.”
“It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your life,” said Montehermoso. “But we do believe that taking care of your health in a timely manner, and not waiting until you feel the ED is your only option, is better for you all around.”
Maui Memorial Medical Center is Maui’s only full-service, acute medical care facility. Located in central Maui in Wailuku, the center has 1,500 employees and is licensed for 213 acute care beds, and provides comprehensive healthcare for Maui County, including Lanai and Molokai. MMMC is the fourth largest hospital in the state and the only hospital outside of Oahu also providing comprehensive cardiac services, including open-heart surgery and angioplasty. For more information about MMMC, visit www.mauimemorialmedical.org<http://www.mauimemorialmedical.org/>.
On January 16, 2015, David Silva was promoted to the Rank of Captain and assigned as the Commander of Criminal Investigation Division. He succeeds Former Lt. John Jacubczak in that position, who has been promoted to Assistant Chief.
David Silva began his career with the Maui Police Department in 1987. After graduating from the Police Recruit Academy, for a short stint he was assigned to the Lahaina Patrol Division. He was then assigned to Hana Patrol Division. After completing his year in Hana, he was again assigned to Lahaina Patrol where he stayed for six years. While in Lahaina he served as a Field Training Officer. In 1995 Silva transferred to the Juvenile Division as an investigator.
In 1996 Silva was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to the Molokai Patrol District. After a year, in 1997, Silva was assigned to Wailuku Patrol Division. As a Sergeant/Detective, Silva served in Internal Affairs, the Criminal Investigation and the Juvenile Divisions.
In 2011 Silva was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned to the Traffic Division. A year later, he transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division-Lahaina and then to the Criminal Investigation Division-Kihei.
During his career, David Silva has been awarded several honors including, the Silver Medal of Valor in 1991 and the Hawaii State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year – Maui in 2009.
David Silva has served as a member of the Special Response Team, the Crisis Negotiation Unit and served as an Instructor for Arrest and Defense Tactics.
Silva is married to Debbie and has two daughters Celeste and Tiffany. He also has a granddaughter Mahina.
By Sgt. Nick Krau, MPD DUI Task Force
The Maui Police Department’s Traffic Division is advising the public that we will be participating in the National “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk Campaign”.
The “Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk” campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Driving impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road.
Starting today and throughout the weekend the Maui Police Department Traffic Division will be on the lookout for alcohol & drug impaired drivers. Anyone choosing to drive impaired will be arrested. Maui Police Traffic Division will also be increasing our enforcement efforts for those speeding, utilizing a mobile electronic device while driving and those not properly restrained with a seatbelt.
The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st, there will be lots of game day socializing. Because of this the Maui County Police Department is once again teaming up with the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to urge football fans to choose sides now: if you’re going to drink DONT drive. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, please don’t commit a party foul, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.
Don’t become a tragic Super Bowl statistic. Impaired driving is completely preventable. All it takes is a little planning. We want our community to remember that it’s a choice. Drinking and driving can and does have deadly consequences. Make your game plan for Super Bowl Sunday now: If you’re going to drink don’t drive.
For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, or public transportation. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life.
A federal court has ruled that Maui County is violating the Clean Water Act for the second time in less than a year. And they didn’t change their practices when ruled against in that earlier case.
The violation is a result of millions of gallons of wastewater being illegally discharged daily into wells at the Lāhainā Wastewater Reclamation Facility. The wastewater is reportedly polluting Kahekili Beach Park in West Maui, killing coral reef and triggering outbreaks of invasive algae.
Four Hawaii community groups recently filed suit under the national Clean Water Act, asking the federal district court to direct Maui County to secure a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit that would set limits on the pollutants that can be discharged from injection wells at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
Earthjustice filed the complaint last month on behalf of Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Surfrider Foundation, West Maui Preservation Association and Sierra Club-Maui Group.
The action follows years of unsuccessful efforts to resolve the issue out of court, the groups reported.
County Communications Director Rod Antone said the administration cannot comment on pending legal issues.
Each day, millions of gallons of treated wastewater are sent into the ground through injection wells at the Honokowai facility.
The groups contend that the wastewater contains pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorous, bacteria and other pathogens in violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
They believe the treated wastewater surfaces in the ocean makai of the plant, killing the coral reef and triggering outbreaks of invasive algae.
“We notified Maui County last June that its Lahaina facility was damaging the reef and operating illegally in hope that the county would voluntarily seek the required permit for wastewater discharges from the injection wells,” said Earthjustice attorney Caroline Ishida.
“Unfortunately, it apparently takes an enforcement action to get the county to do anything, which is why we’re now seeking relief from the court.”
Maui County has been discharging partially treated sewage into injection wells at the West Side plant for 30 years. Currently, three to five million gallons are sent down the wells each day.
In August 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it determined that the wastewater discharged into the underground injection wells at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility contains levels of coliform bacteria that could exceed federal standards protecting the drinking water aquifer.
EPA issued a compliance order requiring Maui County to monitor its injected effluent, improve disinfection of the treated wastewater within 30 days and install and operate an approved non-chlorine disinfection system by Dec. 31, 2013.
After December 2013, the injected wastewater may not exceed the R-1 level for fecal coliform. (R1 is the highest quality of reclaimed water specified in Hawaii State Regulations.)
Dean Higuchi, EPA’s Hawaii-Pacific press officer, said a tracer study at the plant is underway, and “the county is meeting the requirements of complying with our consent order for disinfection at the Lahaina facility.”
“While disinfection is a step in the right direction, it won’t remove nitrogen and phosphorous from the wastewater, so it won’t get rid of the harmful algae growth at Kahekili (Beach),” said Hannah Bernard of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
“Algae smother the coral and upset the ecosystem, because fish and other marine animals depend on the reef for food and need the crevices within the reef for shelter.”
According to the community groups, researchers from the University of Hawaii (U.H.) analyzed the specific type of nitrogen found in the algae growing in the waters offshore of Kahekili Beach and were able to positively identify it as the same type of nitrogen being pumped into the injection wells.
The ongoing tracer dye study conducted by EPA and U.H. scientists has further confirmed the connection between the wells and the ocean, the groups contend, and that pollutants injected into the wells make their way into the nearshore waters of Kahekili Beach Park via freshwater seeps.
“Algae growth and infectious diseases aren’t the only problems the injection wells cause,” explained Tim Lara, chair of Surfrider Foundation-Maui Chapter.
“Studies have shown that chemicals like pharmaceuticals and fire retardants also travel from the injection wells into nearshore waters, posing additional threats to the delicate ecosystem and to local residents and tourists swimming and surfing at Kahekili Beach.”
Lance D. Collins of the West Maui Preservation Association commented, “The Lahaina wastewater facility must cease using the public nearshore waters to dispose of its waste. In the face of the scientific evidence, continuing to pretend the injected effluent magically disappears is no longer acceptable.”
Chris Taylor of Sierra Club-Maui Group added, “The county should be treating and reusing the millions of gallons of wastewater for irrigation at resorts, golf courses and other areas of West Maui, not dumping it onto the reef. Reusing the water would not only save the reef but also address West Maui’s increasingly severe water shortages.”
Last Friday, Judge Susan Oki Mollway again ruled that current discharges in two wells are illegally violating the Clean Water Act. The ruling dictates that the county must pay civil penalties up to $37,500 per violation of the act. Multiple violations occur every day that the county operates the facility. The penalties will be imposed following a trial set for August 11, 2015. Maximum penalties in this case have already exceeded $100 million, and fines of over $100,000 are being incurred each day. Judge Mollway ruled in a similar case last June.
(AP, Environmental News Service and Earthjustice contributed to this story)
By Jeff King
That potentially historic winter blast known as Winter Storm Juno sweeping the northeast is living up to the pre-dawn hype in Boston and Rhode Island – but has essentially spared New York and Philadelphia. If you have relatives there or anywhere in the seven-state area that is home to 52 million people, we thought you might like to take a look at how things look right now.
Earthcam images of New York and Boston show a very different perspective of the storm. The images shown were captured at 9 a.m. HST (2 p.m. EST) and show very different experiences from Juno. Click the city names to see a live Earthcam image of each. New York airports have lifted the storm-driven travel ban. Those planning to fly east today have been encouraged to check with the airlines to be sure their plane will make it. Understandably, the volumes of cancelled flights (7,000 as of 6 a.m. today HST) to and from the northeast are having a trickle-down effect across the nation.
Meanwhile other parts of Massachusetts have received more than 30 inches of snow already – propelled by winds up to 70 mph. The “Rhodes” in Rhode Island are almost all closed.
It’s a definite “snow day” for folks in that part of the world. To send them a webcam link to Maui would be…well…just cold.
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