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Hawaii NewsNewswatch

Hawaii joins state coalition in letter to DeVos

Hawaii joined a coalition of states on Tuesday demanding U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stop the rollback of critical protections for student loan borrowers.

“The U.S. Department of Education is supposed to be helping American students obtain a legitimate education that won’t financially cripple them,” said Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin and Steve Levins, executive director of the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection, in a joint statement. “Instead, inexplicably, its actions are punishing students and benefiting predatory lenders. This must stop.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro took the lead on the letter to DeVos and was joined by 18 other states and the District of Columbia, challenging the department’s August decision to end two memoranda of understanding it had with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Joining Hawaii and Pennsylvania in Tuesday’s letter were California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.


Infant contracts lungworm

State Department of Health officials reported the latest case of rat lungworm disease is an infant from the Puna district of Hawaii island.

It is the 10th laboratory-confirmed case of the disease contracted on Hawaii island this year, bringing the statewide total to 17 for the year.

Following an investigation, the department learned that the infant likely became infected after accidentally consuming a slug or snail, officials said.

“This is an extremely unfortunate incident, with the infant currently hospitalized and receiving care,” Aaron Ueno, Hawaii island district health officer, said in a news release. “While the department is unable to provide specific information on this individual case, we can take this time to remind parents and caregivers about the importance of preventing infants and young children from putting slugs, snails or other items in their mouths. We know that slugs, snails, and rats in all counties carry the parasite that can cause rat lungworm disease, so watching over young children is especially important.”

The department recommends parents and caregivers of children take the following precautions:

>> Watch infants, toddlers and children carefully while they are playing and make sure they are not picking up slugs, snails, or other objects from the ground and putting them into their mouths.

>> Help children properly wash their hands after playing using running water and soap.

>> When consuming food and drinks, close and seal containers when not in use to prevent slugs and snails from crawling inside, especially when left on or near the ground.

More tips are available at health.hawaii.gov.

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