POSTED: Thursday, December 24, 2009

State allocated 517,200 swine flu vaccine doses

The state Department of Health reports 517,200 doses of the swine flu vaccine have been allocated to Hawaii.

The department said in a media update yesterday that as of this week, 77,460 doses have been set aside for school clinics and 48,304 students have been vaccinated.

An estimated 351,940 doses have either been shipped or are in transit to Hawaii for health care providers, such as private physicians, hospitals and community health centers.

Health officials say the remaining 87,800 doses have either been ordered and are awaiting federal approval or will be ordered for health care providers.


Homeless projects get $9.7 million

Thirty-five homeless assistance projects in Hawaii are receiving $9.7 million in grants from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.

The money is part of nearly $1.4 billion in grants nationwide, the department announced yesterday.

The largest single grant in Hawaii was just under $2 million to Honolulu's New Beginnings project. Other recipients included the state Public Housing Authority, Steadfast Housing Development Corp. and Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.


Wie to donate gifts to ailing children

Isle-born pro golfer Michelle Wie will stop by Kapiolani Medical Center today to donate $9,500 worth of toys and gift cards to hospitalized children and their parents. The gift, in concert with Walmart, will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Wie will be at Kapiolani's Ronald McDonald House Family Room at 10:30 to visit children who will spend Christmas in the hospital.

Wie, the 10th-ranked women's golfer in the world, last month won her first professional individual tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.


Toys for Tots reaches its goal

Tens of thousands of Hawaii's needy children will each get a toy this Christmas—many more than one—thanks to a last-minute surge in donations to the Toys for Tots program.

More than 20,000 destitute children registered for a Christmas gift through the program, said Chuck Little, spokesman for the Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

On Tuesday, the program announced it was running 15,000 toys short of its goal of 45,000 by yesterday's deadline.

After the call for help, about 8,000 toy donations poured in, plus a $7,500 donation from First Hawaiian Bank for more toys, Little said. By 7:30 p.m. yesterday, officials had 41,000 toys and expected to reach their goal after all the toys were counted.

The Marine Corps organizes Toys for Tots every year to give a new toy to less fortunate children as a message of hope for a better future.

The program collects extra toys to ensure no child is empty-handed since some toys may not match a child's gender or age. Little said officials also try to give children more than one toy.


Obama family tells Bo: 'Stay!'

One member of the first family will be left behind when the Obamas escape the cold weather in Washington for some sun in Hawaii this Christmas.

Bo, a year-old Portuguese water dog, will not be part of the first family's vacation, a military liaison told Hawaii's Department of Agriculture.

Last week, the liaison contacted the state to ask about rules for pets entering Hawaii. When State Veterinarian James Foppoli later asked by e-mail if the first dog would be coming, “;they said 'no,'”; said Janelle Saneishi, spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department.

Hawaii has strict rules for cats and dogs entering the islands, meant to preserve the state's status as the only rabies-free state in the nation.

Pets arriving in Hawaii must stay in quarantine for 120 days at a cost of $1,080 if they have not met rabies vaccination requirements ahead of time.

Owners quarantining animals at home are required to send in paperwork at least 10 days prior to arrival. Saneishi said the state didn't receive any paperwork from the White House.

Hawaii is one of a few rabies-free areas in the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Guam. Travelers from those areas do not need to have their dogs or cats quarantined when entering Hawaii.

In the year ending June 30, some 9,453 dogs and cats came into Hawaii.



Water rates on Kauai rise Jan. 1

The new year will bring higher water rates on Kauai.

Kauai County's Department of Water said earlier this week that the fourth in a series of five annual 8.5 percent rate increases will go into effect Jan. 1

For residential customers, the rate will increase to $3.20 per 1,000 gallons of water from $2.90 for the first 20,000 gallons used in the bi-monthly billing period.

The rate goes up for consumers who use between 20,000 and 40,000 gallons of water. The rate in that category increases to $4 per 1,000 gallons used, up from $3.70.

Residential customers who use more than 40,000 gallons will pay the highest rate at $6 per 1,000 gallons.

The increases were the result of a study done in 2005.

For more information, go to www.kauaiwater.org.