Thursday | September 21, 2017
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State 4/17

Hawaii Legislature approves infant protections

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Legislature wants child care facilities in the state to do more to protect infants from sudden death.

The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday to require child care facilities to adopt policies that ensure infants sleep safely. The bill was one of several that the Senate moved forward Tuesday. The measures now go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.

Michelle Rho, from the nonprofit organization Child and Family Service, said suffocation is the leading cause of death for Hawaii children under the age of 1.

Hawaii is one of seven states that don’t regulate how infants and toddlers sleep in child care centers, Rho said.

Makiki resident Nancy Kern also advocated for the bill to pass.

Kern, who works at the Department of Health, said the issue is personal. She lost her 4-month-old daughter Colleen to sudden infant death syndrome in 1977.

Kern said educating caretakers on the importance of proper sleeping positions is a meaningful way to prevent more tragedies.

The Department of Human Services supported the proposal, which would require care homes to abide by the department’s rules about infant sleep safety.

The bill says that more than 4,500 infants die unexpectedly in the U.S. every year.

Lawmakers also passed a bill that would change the licensing requirements for health insurance providers to help Hawaii comply with national health care reform.

The Senate also passed a measure that gives youth undergoing informal adjustment by the courts the option of participating in a restorative justice program.

Both measures will now be sent to the governor along with the child safety proposal. Abercrombie has the option to sign, ignore or veto each bill.

Dead whale calf washes up on Oahu’s North Shore

HONOLULU — A dead whale calf has washed up on Oahu’s North Shore.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Mammal Response Coordinator David Schofield said Tuesday the whale is in a hard-to-reach area of sharp, dense lava just east of Turtle Bay.

Schofield and others are working out how to get to the whale and remove it. The whale is partially in the water and may be attracting sharks. Schofield says tiger sharks have been seen nearby.

A fisherman reported the whale at about 6:30 a.m. Schofield says the body is severely decomposed.

This is the fifth dead whale calf to wash ashore in Hawaii this year. Normally one to two dead whale calves come ashore annually. Schofield says it’s not clear why there have been more this year.

1 pool reopens but many others closed

HONOLULU — Honolulu’s McCully swimming pool has been reopened after seven years.

But Hawaii News Now reports that there are still several other communities around the island where pools remain closed for repairs. It says of the 21 pools, nearly a third are either closed or in need of repairs. Those pools include ones in Pearl City and Wahiawa.

The McCully pool was first shut down in 2005 because of cracks and structural damage. It reopened Monday afternoon after $3 million was spent on repairs.

Honolulu mayor touts road repairs

HONOLULU — The mayor of Honolulu is touting work done to repave roads since he took office in January.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday that city contractors have repaved 77 lane-miles of deteriorated roads.

KITV-TV Caldwell’s first quarterly status update indicates that the city should meet the mayor’s goal of repaving 300 lane-miles in the current fiscal year. The administration has put 14 major road projects worth a total of $106 million out to bid since February, in addition to the 17 projects that are currently underway.

The mayor also has designated $153 million for road repair work in his proposed budget for the new fiscal year.