HONOLULU – A Coast Guard helicopter crew was targeted by an individual with a laser pointer while flying in the vicinity of Waimanolo Bay on Oahu, Saturday.
The lased MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was conducting a search in response to an unrelated distress call when the incident occurred. Four crewmembers observed the laser sweeping the aircraft and one of the pilots was directly struck.
This is the fifth lasing incident within the last year at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.
The Coast Guard is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Honolulu Police Department to investigate the incident.
“We were searching off Waimanalo following a received mayday call when we were hit by a green laser,” said Lt. Cmdr. Roger Barr, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot at Air Station Barbers Point. “We protected our eyes quickly enough to avoid being blinded, reported the incident, and were able to continue the mission. This was the air station’s first East Oahu lasing incident in recent years. The frequency of incidents locally and nationally is increasing at a dangerous rate and the public needs to know that when we are hit by a laser, we are no longer effective at finding that lost family member or friend.”
Laser pointers can cause glare, afterimage, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision, all causing a great danger to the crew. If any aircrew member’s vision is compromised during a flight, Coast Guard flight rules dictate that the aircraft must abort their mission. If an aircrew member is lased it severely compromises their ability to fly the aircraft and complete the mission safely. In order to ensure their health, aircrew members are taken off flight duty until cleared by a flight surgeon before flying again. This hinders the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to people in distress, training, and homeland security missions.
It is a federal crime, as well as violation of most states’ laws to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. If an individual is caught purposefully lasing an aircraft, punishment ranges from being arrested or having to pay a civil penalty of $11,000 for a single offense, to more than $30,000 if the individual has multiple offenses. People witnessing this crime are strongly encouraged to immediately call 911 to report the incident. The FAA tracks laser incidents by city, state and nationality and initiated about 95 civil penalty cases in 2011 nationwide.
HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is notifying all retailers that have embargoed OxyELITE Pro product in their possession that DOH will begin collecting and destroying the product. Retailers storing the embargoed product are asked to voluntarily surrender all supplies to DOH today for proper destruction and disposal. This action follows a voluntary recall issued by USPLabs in cooperation with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and an ongoing DOH disease investigation identifying OxyELITE Pro as the only common factor in multiple cases of liver damage and acute hepatitis in Hawaii. Surrendered products will be taken to H-Power for documented destruction and disposal witnessed by health inspectors.
“The department’s ongoing disease investigation has associated OxyELITE Pro with 36 cases of liver damage and acute hepatitis in Hawaii,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “Voluntary cooperation by retailers is the first step in safely destroying and disposing of products that may pose a threat to the public’s health. The department is taking this step to prevent further illness and protect Hawaii residents and visitors, and may take more stringent legal action if needed. We will continue to work with our federal partners at CDC and FDA on this issue.”
DOH began an investigation of multiple cases of liver failure and acute hepatitis occurring in individuals using dietary or nutritional supplements on Sept. 24 after consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Oct. 8, DOH requested Hawaii retailers and distributors voluntarily pull OxyELITE Pro products from sale. After receiving several indications that the product would not be voluntarily pulled from shelves, the department issued a mandatory embargo the next day. During the embargo process, DOH inspectors visited more than 160 retailers statewide and inventoried 329,509 capsules and 8,342 ounces of powder which were pulled from sale. The product has an estimated retail value of more than $250,000.
An ongoing DOH investigation has identified 36 cases of liver failure and acute hepatitis with the use of OxyELITE Pro products as the only common factor. “The department found that many of the individuals who became ill used the product and took dosages as directed by the package instructions,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.
DOH continues to urge people who use dietary or nutritional supplements for weight loss and/or muscle gain to talk with their doctor or health care provider. Persons using dietary or nutritional supplements who develop symptoms, such as abdominal pain or discomfort, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting, and yellow skin or eyes, should consult their health care provider immediately.
HONOLULU — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing kayaker near Makaleha Beach Park on O’ahu, Sunday.
“The decision to suspend our active search efforts is always a difficult decision, but one that had to be made at this point in time,” said Capt. Shannon Gilreath, commanding officer for Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Our hearts ache at the loss of this promising young man and our thoughts are with both the family and community that have shown how much he meant to them.”
The Coast Guard searched more than 720 square miles with Honolulu Fire Department boats and dive teams, the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, a Coast Guard Station Honolulu 45-foot Response Boat-Medium , an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew and an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point .
Dayne Ortiz was last seen when his kayak had overturned at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday. His brother attempted to swim out to assist in righting the kayak but was unable to reach him and returned to shore. He was not wearing a life jacket.
The Coast Guard would like to remind mariners that maritime accidents can occur quickly and without warning. This tragic case reiterates the need for all mariners to understand the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times. For more information on types of life jackets and boating safety individuals can visit www.uscgboating.org .
For more information, contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Public Affairs Officer at (808) 842 2657
HONOLULU – Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA are monitoring the drift direction of a 30-40 foot sperm whale carcass reported to DLNR last night by fishermen. It’s believed to now be about 4-5 miles off the windward Oahu coast. DLNR is preparing contingency plans in the event the carcass can be handled while at sea or if it should reach land. DLNR requests the public’s help to notify the department of timely sightings of the carcass by calling the numbers above.
Each year, approximately one to four sperm whale carcasses drift ashore in Hawaii, particularly in May and August. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are asking boaters to notify authorities immediately if they see a dead whale floating at sea.
Data also suggests they are coming in to Hawaiian waters from east and north directions, which results in most carcasses landing on the windward side of islands.
“Early reporting allows us to locate, then tow a floating carcass away from the islands,” said David Schofield, NOAA’s Regional Marine Mammal Health and Response Program manager. “This is often much easier and less expensive than removing it once it comes aground on a shoreline or reef.”
“It is critical that we do our best to keep these whales out at sea to avoid attracting large tiger sharks close to shore,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.
“Fishing is also good around these carcasses, and by notifying DLNR and NOAA early we can take the necessary steps to tow the carcass back out to sea, which can extend these opportunities and benefit public safety,” added Aila.
“We know that sperm whales are the deepest diving and one of the largest ranging of all cetaceans, but we still don’t know why we see these stranding peaks in the summer,” said Schofield. “It could have something to do with migration patterns, but scientists still have a lot to learn.”
“Although summer is peak season for sperm whale carcasses, other large whale carcasses, like humpbacks, make their way to shore throughout the year,” added Aila.
To report a floating whale or any marine mammal incident, call USCG channel 16 or the NOAA marine mammal hotline at: 1-888-256-9840.
HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources is now accepting applications for a workshop series designed for forestry and natural resource consultants interested in writing forest management plans in conjunction with the Hawaii Forest Stewardship Program (FSP). The first of these two-day workshops will be held on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii during the first week in November.
The Hawai‘i Forest Stewardship Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and land managers committed to the stewardship, conservation and restoration of important forest resources across the state.
Through the support of natural resource consultants, the program is able to guide private landowners in the sustainable management and stewardship of Hawaii’s forest resources. These private properties provide a variety of public benefits for the residents of Hawaii, including but not limited to: groundwater production, decreased soil erosion, wildlife habitat, timber production, recreational and educational opportunities, and local jobs.
The assistance provided by the Forest Stewardship Program enables private landowners to develop and implement long-term, multi-resource management plans to conserve, restore and maintain forested areas on their property.
Workshop participants can expect to gain knowledge on important forestry management topics; access to pertinent references for planning for a variety of natural resources concerns or objectives; training on and access to the U.S. Forest Service’s SMART planning and mapping software; guidance on how to assist landowners that are participating in the Forest Stewardship Program and other financial assistance programs; and introduction to becoming a Technical Service Provider under U.S. Department of Agriculture; among other topics.
All forestry and natural resource consultants interested in writing Forest Stewardship management plans are strongly encouraged to participate in the workshop series.
To reserve your space, contact Malia Nanbara with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife at (808) 587-4176 or email@example.com, with name, company (if applicable), the workshop(s) location of interest, and education background before Oct. 21, 2013.
Participation in the Forest Management Plan Workshops is limited to 20 people per workshop, and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. For a complete agenda, please contact Ms. Nanbara.
For participants from Kauai, Molokai, Lanai or Maui, travel awards may be available. If interested in a travel award, please include the requested amount, and justification of need when contacting Ms. Nanbara.
Kapolei, Hawai‘i – U.S.VETS – Barbers Point (U.S.VETS-BP), based in Kapolei, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Department of Labor under the department’s Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Program (HFVVWF) program. The grant will expand current service in Oahu in addition to bringing much needed employment services to female veterans and veteran families living on the neighbor islands of Maui, Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i. The grant targets enrollment of 120 veteran households with a yearly employment placement goal of 84 veterans.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service awarded a total of 22 grants, totaling more than $5 million, to provide about 1,900 homeless female veterans and veterans with families with job training to help them succeed in civilian careers.
U.S.VETS-BP recently completed its 10th year of serving veterans experiencing homelessness in Hawaii. The agency has operated transitional and permanent housing programs in Barbers Point (Kalealoa) for disabled, homeless veterans since 2003 as well as the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP) since 2005 which provides employment assistance and training to homeless, unemployed veterans in the rural areas on the island of O‘ahu.
The agency’s new Women-focus employment grant will provide services which include job placement, on-the-job and classroom training, career counseling, life skills and money management mentoring to homeless female veterans and veteran families. With its 8 years of experience providing workforce development assistance to veterans in need, U.S.VETS-BP is eager to expand its services on the island of O‘ahu and neighboring islands.
Since 2009 when President Obama and Secretary Shinseki announced the federal government’s goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015, U.S.VETS – Barbers Point has made a concerted effort to diversify its programs in order to serve the greatest number of veterans. This HVRP HFVVWF grant, along with the newly awarded $1.0 million SSVF grant, allows U.S.VETS to expand its effort and impact in Hawaii.
For more information about HVRP or any of the programs operated by U.S.VETS – Barbers Point, please contact Kim Cook, Psy.D. at (808) 682-9010 or the local U.S.VETS site at (808) 672-2977 or visit the website at www.usvetsinc.org.
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