WIC Program limits juice, cheese
Certain types of juice and cheese are no longer allowed for purchase for those enrolled in the state Department of Health's Women, Infants and Children Program.
The change is a result of rapid rising food costs and a surge in program enrollment.
"The nutritional value of the package is not compromised by these changes," Dr. Chiyome Fukino, state health director, said in a news release. "Food costs have increased and statewide participation in the WIC Program has gone up over 1,100 participants from June to July to an all-time high of 35,447 low-income women, infants and children. In order to continue serving all eligible families, some choices had to be limited."
Bottled juices and shredded or 8-ounce packages of cheese are no longer allowed under the WIC Program. Only economic frozen concentrate juices and 1-pound blocks or balls of cheese will be allowed.
The price difference between bottled and frozen concentrate juice is estimated at $2. Based on recent use of 143,000 bottles per month, the WIC Program estimates a savings of $3.4 million a year. Fukino said the savings are expected to be offset by rising food costs next year.
For more information, call the WIC Program at 586-8080.
Kalaupapa patients given apology
KALAUPAPA, Molokai » Former leprosy patients forcibly confined to the remote Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai received a long-awaited apology Tuesday from the state Legislature.
State Sen. J. Kalani English read aloud a resolution including the apology Tuesday to about a dozen former patients with the ailment now called Hansen's disease at a Kalaupapa meeting hall.
The resolution included words of thanks to the patients for their sacrifices, noting they were often torn from their families when they were sent to the remote peninsula.
The state Senate and House both passed the resolution in April.
Former patient Gloria Marks told English, who represents Molokai, the apology was way overdue but that she appreciated it.
Big Isle power plant in the works
HAMAKUA, Hawaii » Hamakua might soon have a 30-megawatt power plant that will burn eucalyptus trees growing along the coast.
A partnership of wind-farm developers from Maui and Kauai is firming up plans to build a biomass combustion power plant and hopes to have it running by the end of 2010.
Hamakua Biomass Energy is close to closing a deal with Hancock Timber Resource Group that will get them 20,000 acres of eucalyptus.
Chief executive officer for Hamakua Biomass Guy Gilliland says the power plant will be located in Paauilo and produce enough energy to power 30,000 homes. The power plant could create about 40 new jobs.
The Public Utilities Commission has approved negotiations between Hamakua Biomass and Hawaii Electric Light Co. for a power purchase agreement.
Ohana Fund aids laid-off workers
A $10,000 pledge from a North Hawaii Community Hospital board member kicked off an Ohana Fund established to assist employees laid off during a financial crisis.
A total of 59 employee were laid off from the hospital, Kohala Home Health and Waimea Women's Center, and nine were taken back.
Assistance will be provided for critical, short-term needs through the fund, organized by NHCH and Community Action Committee.
Funds are being collected and distributed by Mana Christian Ohana Church, a tax-exempt organization.
Donations may be made payable to the church with the notation "NHCH Ohana Fund" on checks. They can be mailed to the church, P.O. Box 437478, Kamuela, HI 96743.
Applications for assistance are available at the NHCH human resources office or the Mana Christian Ohana Church office located in the Parker Ranch Center, Suite H-145.
For more information, call (808) 885-9581.
$2M boosts native Hawaiian care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded a $2 million grant to address native Hawaiian health care needs on Kauai.
Hoola Lahui Hawaii will use the money to provide a number of services. They include primary health and dental care, substance-abuse counseling and chronic-disease management.
Police, Fire, Courts
Kihei man killed in Lahaina crash
A 37-year-old Kihei man died in a single-vehicle crash in Lahaina yesterday, a Maui police news release said.
At 2:38 p.m., Rodolfo Cabanting Jr. was driving a silver 2005 Toyota pickup truck Maalaea-bound on Honoapiilani Highway near Olowalu Store when the truck crossed the center line, slid across the roadway onto the shoulder and crashed into a tree.
Cabanting is the 13th traffic fatality on Maui. There were 15 Maui traffic fatalities at this time last year.
Hilo pedestrian dies of injuries
A Hilo pedestrian who was critically injured in a traffic accident last week on the Big Island died Friday, police said.
Steven H. Kepano, 54, died at 6:20 p.m. at the Queen's Medical Center.
Kepano was hit Tuesday on Kamehameha Avenue, south of Kumu Street.
He was the 14th traffic fatality on the Big Island, compared with 23 at this time last year.
Stab wound killed Kona woman
A 57-year-old woman who was found dead Tuesday in a South Kona residence died of a stab wound to her upper left torso, an autopsy found.
An autopsy on the woman, Victoria Vickers, was done Thursday at the Kona Community Hospital, a Big Island police news release said.
James Abernethy, 60, who lived with Vickers and another woman, Linda Vickers, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing, which took place after an argument in the Kaohe-area residence.
Linda Vickers, 61, also received minor injuries to her hand during the stabbing and was treated at the hospital.
Fire destroys Big Island home
Big Island firefighters battled a blaze that destroyed a Hawaiian Ocean View Estates home Friday night.
Firefighters responded to the fire at 11:55 p.m. and found the singe-story home engulfed in flames.
The residents were not home at the time.
The fire was under control by 1:10 a.m. yesterday. It was extinguished by 4:37 a.m.
Fire investigators estimated about $230,000 in damage, and a cause has yet to be determined.
Fight sends man to hospital
Police arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly beating a man, causing critical injuries Friday night in Kailua.
The suspect and a 20-year-old man argued on Maluniu Avenue at about 11:40 p.m., when the victim head-butted the suspect, police said.
The 19-year-old suspect responded by punching the victim until he became unconscious, police said. The 20-year-old man went to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition, and the suspect was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault.
Ewa man caught with plastic jewelry
Police arrested an 18-year-old Ewa man who allegedly was caught with stolen plastic jewelry in his pocket, allegedly taken from a burglarized home.
Police said that about 2:05 a.m. Wednesday, someone found a purse at an Ewa Beach 7-Eleven store and turned it over to police.
The officer then tried to find the owner, went to the owner's house and discovered it had just been burglarized, police said.
Other officers found the suspect on a nearby street, police said.
Police said that when the man emptied his pockets to show he had no weapons, he pulled out a chunky piece of plastic jewelry, which he said he found on the roadway.
The item was identified by the owner of the burglarized home.
Man arrested in knife threat
Police arrested a 51-year-old man who allegedly assaulted and threatened a woman with a knife.
Police said that about 7 a.m. Tuesday, the two were arguing and the man began hitting the woman in the face. The man then allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and threatened to kill the woman, police said.
The woman fled and called police who arrested the man for investigation of first-degree terroristic threatening and abuse of a household member.
Self Storage fire cause accidental
A fire investigator determined that a fire at Metro Self Storage in Waipio was accidental.
The fire began in a storage unit due to heat built up in an extension cord plugged into a light fixture inside the unit, fire officials said.
The fire caused an estimated $15,000 damage to the storage unit and $2,000 to its contents.