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POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parents must OK swine flu shot

Public schools in Hawaii have begun sending home parental consent forms for the upcoming swine flu vaccination clinics.

The consent forms for the free program are due back to schools by Oct. 30. The voluntary vaccinations are being offered to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

State Department of Health Director Chiyome Fukino said parents are being urged to take advantage of the opportunity to get their children vaccinated.

She said it is the best protection parents can offer their children to prevent complications from flu.

Fukino said yesterday that the department would like children and their families to get both the H1N1 and seasonal vaccines to get maximum protection against both known flu strains circulating this year.

Aid needed to find honeybee hives

University of Hawaii researchers are asking for the public's help in finding wild honeybee hives on Oahu.

The UH Honeybee Varroa Project is studying the viruses in honeybees transmitted by the varroa mite. The number of wild honeybee colonies has decreased dramatically because of the spread of the varroa mite and the viruses.

Bees in Hawaii had been relatively free of pests and diseases that have spread throughout the mainland. But in March 2007 the varroa mite was discovered on Oahu, and the pest was detected on the Big Island in August of last year.

The varroa mite feeds on the blood of developing larvae and adult bees and appear to spread diseases and viruses.

Anyone seeing a wild honeybee colony on Oahu is asked to contact the UH Honeybee Varroa Project at 956-2445 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). For more information, visit hsblinks.com/13j or hsblinks.com/13k.

American Samoa gets $24.8M grant

American Samoa received a $24.8 million federal emergency grant to assist in recovery efforts caused by last month's destructive tsunami.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the funds to American Samoa's Department of Human Resources to create more temporary jobs to assist in recovery efforts.

In a news release, Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye said the grant will help rebuild and restore property that was damaged and destroyed in the natural disaster.

Isle senior receives federal honor

Kailua resident Charles L. Clark was one of 10 people from among 10,000 Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers nationwide to receive a Volunteer Excellence Award from the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Clark, who is retired from the Navy, and other Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers act as community educators to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to the state Executive Office on Aging.

He was unable to attend an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The award was presented at a recent meeting of the Policy Advisory Board on Elder Affairs in Honolulu.