Announcements: June 4, 2021

  • Finkey

  • Amaral

  • Kahalewai

  • Kurashiga

HPD officers receive promotions

Hawaii Police Department Chief Paul Ferreira recently promoted four officers to the rank of captain.

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Capt. Scott Kurashige, a 31-year veteran of the department, is now assigned to command North Kohala patrol. He most recently served as a lieutenant in the Area II (Kona) Juvenile Aid Section, previously working as a lieutenant in Kona patrol, a detective in Area II (Kona) Juvenile Aid Section, and as a patrol officer assigned to the Kona district.

Capt. Reynold Kahalewai, a 21-year veteran, is now assigned to command Hamakua patrol. He most recently served as a lieutenant in the Area II (Kona) VICE section, and previously as a sergeant in administration, community policing officer in Kona, and patrol officer in the Kona and South Kohala districts.

Capt. Scott Amaral, a 20-year veteran, is now assigned to command Puna patrol. He most recently served as a lieutenant in records, and previously worked as a lieutenant in South Hilo Patrol, detective in the Office of Professional Standards, detective in the Area I (Hilo) Criminal Investigation Section, detective in the Area I (Hilo) Juvenile Aid Section, Community Policing Officer in Puna, with patrol officer assignments in the Puna and Ka‘u districts, and an initial cellblock assignment in Kona.

Capt. Sandor Finkey, a 19-year veteran is assigned to command South Hilo patrol. He most recently served as a lieutenant in the Area I (Hilo) Juvenile Aid Section, and previously worked as a sergeant in Puna Patrol, detective in the Area I (Hilo) and Area II (Kona) Criminal Investigation Sections, Community Policing Officer in Puna, with a patrol officer assignment in Puna, and an initial cellblock assignment in South Hilo.

These promotions were effective Tuesday.

New hotline to report derelict fishing gear

The state and four nonprofit organizations have teamed up to create a new statewide number to report marine debris. Derelict fishing gear, like nets, is responsible for entangling marine life like turtles and humpback whales.

“The idea is to have people call in hazardous nets immediately. We can mount a rapid response to remove these nets from our shorelines as quickly as possible and before they drift back into the open ocean,” Kristen Kelly with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Protected Species Program explained.

The hotline has a distinct Hawaii flavor with a bit of pidgin thrown in: 833-4-Da-Nets (833-432-6387).

The hotline, which can be reached by calling (833) 4-Da-Nets (432-6387) is a collaboration between DAR and Sustainable Coastlines on Oahu, the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute, Surfrider Foundation on Kauai, and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund on Hawaii Island.

Many of the reported and collected ghost nets will go to a second good cause: for use in a research study by Hawaii Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research, which is trying to source the debris back to its origin in hopes of working with fisheries to prevent them in the first place.

“We rely on people to report large marine debris sightings so that we can obtain samples for this important research study. The hotline is a huge help,” said co-director of CMDR Jennifer Lynch.

County seeks comment on CDBG-DR Action Plan

Hawaii County is accepting public comment on a draft Substantial Amendment to its Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Action Plan. The public comment period runs through July 1.

The plan addresses how the county spends CDBG-DR grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist with recovery from the 2018 Kilauea eruption. In October, HUD accepted the county’s initial action plan, which identified a Voluntary Housing Buyout Program and Housing Relocation Services Program to be supported by an $83.84 million CDBG-DR grant.

This substantial amendment addresses a separate $23.72 million CDBG-DR grant that HUD allocated to the county in January. The county proposes to use the additional funds to continue supporting the Voluntary Housing Buyout Program.

“The ongoing intake of housing buyout applications and data from our recent Kilauea Recovery Housing Survey have shown that the need for the program and interest from the public will exceed the initial CDBG-DR grant,” said Douglas Le, the County’s Disaster Recovery Officer. “By allocating these additional resources, we will ensure that we assist as many impacted Puna residents as possible.”

The four-month eruption destroyed 612 residences, including 294 primary homes. Buyout program applications are currently being accepted for property owners whose primary residence was destroyed or impacted by the eruption. As of June 1, 243 applications had been received. Additionally, survey results showed 79% of respondents were interested in a housing buyout.

HUD requires CDBG-DR grantees to address unmet housing recovery needs before spending the funds on otherwise eligible uses, such as infrastructure or economic development.

To view the draft CDBG-DR Action Plan substantial amendment, visit https://recovery.hawaiicounty.gov/funding/cdbg-dr/action-plan. Comments can be submitted by email to kilauearecovery@hawaiicounty.gov or by mail to 25 Aupuni St., Room 1301, Hilo, HI 96720.

Renovation of Hyperbaric Treatment Center has been delayed

Renovations to the University of Hawaii Hyperbaric Treatment Center at the Kuakini Medical Center on Oahu, originally scheduled for June 28 through Aug. 13, have been delayed. Normal operations will resume throughout the summer. UH was notified by contractors on Wednesday, that renovations will not begin until mid-October.

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The HTC facility at Kuakini Medical Center will undergo a $1.6-million renovation funded by the state. The renovation includes a complete overhaul of the hyperbaric chamber control station, patient monitoring and system upgrades to improve medical care.

When the renovations begin, Queen’s Medical Center has agreed to provide limited emergency hyperbaric services during the HTC renovations. Due to limited capacity, QMC will only be able to admit emergency patients who are stable and without need for other medical interventions. The University of California, San Diego multiplace hyperbaric chamber in San Diego, California will serve as a potential back-up for hyperbaric emergencies that cannot be accommodated at QMC.

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