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Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, September 2, 2004


State targets virus
carried by mosquitoes


Question: There is an old fountain on Kapiolani Boulevard near Yanagi Sushi. It is now a breeding ground for bugs and mosquitoes and garbage thrown in there. With the concern over West Nile virus, shouldn't the owner be responsible for tearing it down or at least maintaining it properly?

Answer: For concerns like this, call the state Department of Health's Vector Control Branch at 483-5235.

You're asked to provide a specific address or location, but if that's not possible, identifying nearby landmarks or streets does help.

"We regularly assign inspectors to handle complaints of mosquito-breeding areas on both public and private property," said Greg Olmsted, manager of the Vector Control Branch.

Inspectors will "determine the best way to eliminate mosquitoes that could carry potentially serious diseases," he said.

The branch's biggest concern now is keeping the West Nile virus, which is spread via mosquito bites, out of Hawaii. To that end, vector control inspectors, aided by Department of Health volunteers, plan to scour entry ports where the virus could enter via a mosquito.

That effort is to start "within a few days," we were told Monday.

So far, there have been no reported cases in the islands.

West Nile virus, which can be fatal, can infect horses, many types of birds and some other animals, as well as humans. It is not transmitted from person to person or from birds to people.

Olmsted said the public can help prevent the virus from taking hold here by emptying or removing water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

The public also is asked to turn in any dead birds for testing. Dead birds might indicate the presence of the virus in a certain area. Call 211 for details on how to collect and where to take bird remains.

Q: What is the name of the organization that collects school supplies for school kids? I have two new backpacks that I'd like to donate.

A: Helping Hands Hawaii is accepting donations for the Ready to Learn program, which provides school supplies to needy children.

You can take donations to Helping Hands Hawaii (Community Clearinghouse), 2100 N. Nimitz Highway, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 841-4593 for more information.

The collection and mass distribution period is over, but donations are still welcomed.

Auwe

To the people who park at the Kaneohe District Park lot during football games and take up two stalls or cone them off on purpose. When I went to the park last weekend to watch my son play, I noticed one stall coned off and four vehicles parked in the middle of two stalls. Because of your inconsideration, families have to park across the street and walk with their children. If this continues, we will call 911 to have your cars ticketed. This is a public park, not "your park." Have some aloha for others! -- Angry Parents

City officials say you should call police at 911 in a situation like this.


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