By Jeff King
Here they come again.
President Barack Obama and the First Family left Washington D.C. Friday evening for their annual two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Dogs, too.
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha, boarded Air Force One at a chilly Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland just before 6 p.m. EST (1 p.m.HST) for the roughly 10-hour flight to Oahu.
Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at about 11 p.m. tonight.
“And now I’m going to go on vacation,” President Obama said at his last scheduled press conference of the year. “Mele Kalikimaka, everybody. Mahalo.”
As they have in the past, the Obamas are expected to stay for two weeks in Kailua, with no public events planned.
Christmas in Hawaii has been a family tradition for the Obamas since before he took office. However, since being elected the visits now bring occasional road closures for the president’s motorcade and intensive security in the Kailua beachfront neighborhood where the Obamas stay.
The Coast Guard is again enforcing a temporary security zone in waters off Kailua Bay during this visit. The security zone is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Jan. 5. It includes a portion of Kailua Bay, beginning at Kapoho Point and extending westward to the shoreline near Kailuana Loop. The zone also includes the adjacent canal beginning near Kapoho Point to a point extending the canal way to about 150 yards south of the North Kalaheo Avenue Road Bridge.
No person or vessel may enter the restricted zone without authorization. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $40,000 in fines and up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The Coast Guard’s security efforts are being coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and other federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies on patrols of the area under the direction of the Secret Service.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)
HONOLULU — Coast Guard law enforcement officers will enforce a temporary security zone in waters off Kailua Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. The temporary security zone is necessary to ensure the safety of the President of the United States.
The security zone will be in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Jan. 5 unless canceled earlier by Captain Shannon Gilreath, U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port.
The Coast Guard is coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and other federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies on patrols of the area under the direction of the Secret Service.
The maritime security zone includes a portion of Kailua Bay, beginning at Kapoho Point and extending westward to the shoreline near Kailuana Loop. The zone also includes the adjacent canal beginning near Kapoho Point to a point extending the canal way to approximately 150 yards south of the North Kalaheo Avenue Road Bridge.
A marker will be placed on Kailua Beach, a yellow buoy will be placed on the water and an orange marker will be placed in the canal for visual references of the zone.
Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 165.33), the temporary law prohibits any unauthorized person or vessel from entering or remaining in this security zone. Any person entering the zone without the permission of the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port is subject to a penalty of not more than $40,000 for each violation or a criminal penalty resulting in imprisonment of not more than 10 years.
HONOLULU – Three months after President Barack Obama approved supplemental federal aid to help local government agencies and eligible non-profit organizations recover from Tropical Storm Iselle, state and federal disaster recovery employees have:
•Conducted a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment;
•Held four Applicant Briefings on Hawaii Island, Maui, and Oahu;
•Received requests for FEMA public assistance from 16 applicants who were impacted during Tropical Storm Iselle, which affected the Hawaiian Islands Aug. 7-9, 2014;
•Processed and gained approval for 42 projects ranging from repair and replacement of damaged public facilities, debris removal, and actions taken for emergency protective measures prior to Iselle’s landfall;
•Conducted four meetings with state and local government and nonprofit organizations eligible to apply for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The purpose of the HMGP is to eliminate or reduce long-term risk to life and property from future hazards.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly State Civil Defense, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continue to work together on recovery from Tropical Storm Iselle.
HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, one on Maui and two on Kauai. The cases on the two islands are not related to each other and have separate travel histories, but all cases are unvaccinated young adults with recent travel either to the Philippines or Indonesia and Malaysia.
“Measles is highly contagious, spreading through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and infecting 90 percent of the contacts who are not immune” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, state epidemiologist. “Measles outbreaks continue to occur both internationally and on the mainland, especially in areas where vaccination is declining. As travel increases during the holiday season, so does our chance of seeing more cases.”
Since January, there have been 594 cases of measles reported in 22 states according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including two cases in Hawaii reported earlier this year in February. With the additional recently confirmed cases, Hawaii now has a total of five confirmed cases reported in the state this year.
The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. DOH is urging everyone to check their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider if they need to be vaccinated.
The symptoms of measles generally begin about 14 days (range 7 to 21 days) after a person is infected and may include:
People who suspect they have measles should call their doctor right away and isolate themselves from others to help contain the spread of illness.
DOH staff continue to work closely with healthcare providers and facilities as well as CDC’s Honolulu Quarantine Station to identify and notify persons who may have been exposed.
For more information, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/home/imm/.
For a list of pharmacies vaccinating adults, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf.
For most of us – this is as close to a hurricane we hope to ever be.
As of 10 a.m. today, Hurricane Ana is about 200 miles southwest of Kahului, moving toward the northwest at 13 miles per hour.
The Tropical Storm Watch has been lifted for Maui County and the Big Island, but remains for O’ahu, Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. However, there are still several watches and warnings in effect:
From the wind profiler image, Ana is a “textbook” case hurricane. While the strongest winds are in the upper half of the storm, the area just beyond that range (about 60 miles from the storm center) is surprisingly calm. The wake of the storm, though, is sending a legion of large swells our way and exposed south shores will take a pretty intense battering throughout the day.
WAILUKU – The state Department of Health has scheduled public informational meetings in Maui County to discuss proposed administrative rules on cesspools and wastewater systems, Council Chair Gladys Baisa announced today.
DOH will conduct an informational meeting on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Baisa said.
The proposed amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules would prohibit new cesspools and phase out existing ones through a mandatory upgrade to a septic system or other wastewater system upon sale of property. A document with the proposed revisions is available at mauicounty.us/cesspools.
A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow on Oahu at 10:30 a.m., with videoconferencing to the Neighbor Islands. Maui residents can monitor the meeting at the Wailuku Health Center at 121 Mahalani St.
Baisa requested that DOH conduct a live meeting on Maui because of the rules’ potential impact here. In a press release, DOH estimated there are more than 12,000 cesspools on this island.
“I know a lot of residents, especially Upcountry, will be affected by the proposed cesspool regulations,” Baisa said. “I urge affected residents to attend the Oct. 15 meeting, as the rule change may cause a significant financial burden to homeowners.”
On Sept. 26, Baisa submitted a letter to state Health Director Linda Rosen to offer comments on the draft rule amendments. Baisa urged the department to allow homeowners at least a year to complete any mandatory conversion to a new wastewater system. The DOH has proposed a 180-day time frame. “Providing for an extended time frame to complete the required upgrades would impose less of a burden on Maui County’s homeowners and promote compliance with the rule,” Baisa said.
Baisa suggested exempting low-risk cesspools from the upgrade requirement and urged state officials to consider factors like a cesspool’s proximity to the ocean and drinking water sources, soil condition and lot size.
“I support the intent to protect the quality of Hawaii’s nearshore waters and drinking water supplies,” Baisa said. “However, there is no justification to require elimination of cesspools that present little to no risk of contaminating our water supply or the ocean.”
In her letter, Baisa noted the cesspool upgrade requirement should not apply to transfers between family members and that the state should provide funding support to homeowners when upgrades are required. The cost of each cesspool upgrade is estimated at $20,000.
“I urge the state to consider ways to mitigate financial hardship,” Baisa said. “I understand the state’s intent to upgrade our wastewater systems, but invite them to strongly take a look at the unintended impacts this would cause across the state, especially in rural districts.” An informational meeting will also be held on Molokai on Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. at the Kaunakakai Gymnasium. There are 1,400 cesspools on Molokai.
Written comments will be accepted by DOH at the informational meetings.
Baisa, Mayor Alan Arakawa, Planning Director Will Spence and Water Director Dave Taylor met with Environmental Health Administrator Gary Gill and other state health officials at the County Building last month. Baisa stressed the importance of meetings in Maui County and approved DOH’s use of the Council Chamber.
For more information on the meetings, contact DOH’s Wastewater Branch in Honolulu at (808) 586-4294.
Copyright © 2015 - Island News Technologies, LLC - All rights reserved