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POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

Boaters at Bay should beware

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will be monitoring boating safety in Kaneohe Bay during the Labor Day weekend.

State enforcement officers will be working with the Coast Guard in and around the bay to enforce safety zone and drinking regulations, the department said in a news release.

“;Once again, over the last major summer holiday weekend, the department wants to raise public awareness of boating regulations to ensure everyone's safety,”; said Laura Thielen, department director.

There will also be an educational and safety information booth set up at Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor, which will loan vests for children and whistles for boaters who need a sound device to legally operate in state waters.

On Sunday and Monday, staff will also be available to re-register vessels, provide replacement registration cards and issue ramp stickers.

Fire weather watch for isles' Leeward areas

Leeward areas of all islands will be under a fire weather watch today, the National Weather Service said yesterday.

A fire weather watch means that conditions conducive to brush fires, including low humidity and sustained winds, are expected.

“;Breezy and gusty tradewinds combined with warm and dry weather will create the potential for critical fire weather conditions across Leeward portions of all islands Friday morning through Friday afternoon,”; the advisory said.

The weather service started issuing fire weather watches and the more serious “;red flag warnings”; in August 2008. The program is meant to alert land managers, emergency response agencies and the public of the increased dangers.

State gets $780,000 from Pfizer settlement

Hawaii will get about $780,000 as its share of a record $2.3 billion settlement with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. for illegally marketing prescription drugs, which were reimbursed by Medicaid.

Justice Department officials announced the agreement Wednesday to settle civil and criminal allegations that Pfizer promoted four prescription drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, for so-called “;off-label”; treatments not approved by the federal government.

Bextra, for instance, was approved for arthritis, but Pfizer promoted it for acute pain and surgical pain, and in dosages above the approved maximum.

The other drugs were Geodon, an antipsychotic; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, which treats nerve pain.

The federal government and state attorneys general said Pfizer gave kickbacks to doctors and plied them with free golf, massages and resort junkets to market the drugs.

Mike Parrish, director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the state attorney general's office, said the money will reimburse the state for improper costs to the Medicaid program.

The money will go into the state general fund to be used for the state's share of Medicaid costs and to support the Medicaid fraud unit, Parrish said.

Kauai hosts health fair at civic center

The third annual Kauai County Health and Wellness fair will offer free blood pressure screening, body fat analysis, massage chairs, health assessments and information on Sept. 25, the county said in a news release.

The fair will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lihue Civic Center and is sponsored by the county Anti-Drug Office.

“;It's a time for us to come together as a community and learn more about healing ourselves,”; Anti-Drug Coordinator Theresa Koki said in a written news release. “;My hope is the fair will help provide a way to further the idea of residential treatment and recovery centers in Kauai's anti-drug dialogue.”;

For more information about the fair or how to become a vendor at the fair, please contact the Anti-Drug Office no later than Sept. 18 via e-mail to antidrugprogram@ kauai.gov or phone at 241-4924.

Anyone needing an American Sign Language interpreter, materials in an alternate format or an auxiliary aid should contact Jodie Fujimoto at 241-4924.