Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Monday, April 25, 2005

State updates its plan for drought mitigation

The state recently updated its official plan to guide the state and counties in planning for a drought.

"The plan is based on the idea that with foresight, commitment, technology, and citizen and government collaboration, more can be done to reduce the effects of drought," said Peter Young, chairman of the state Water Commission and director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The department completed the plan in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which addresses water needs in Western states. Having the plan makes Hawaii eligible to apply for certain federal drought-aid funds.

"The Hawaii Drought Plan is essential for Hawaii farmers and ranchers to survive through a prolonged drought by establishing mitigation strategies before drought conditions occur," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, director of the state Department of Agriculture.

As part of the plan, County Drought Committees have been formed in each county, and there is a Web site, www.hawaiidrought.com.

Hawaii is still recovering from a multiyear drought. The drought plan intends to reduce the impact of human suffering and minimize property losses because of drought.

"Drought will continue to affect our islands. It is not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when drought will strike again," commented Young.

During the extended drought period from 2000 to 2003, about $380,000 was secured by the Water Commission for emergency drought assistance to farmers and ranchers.

Fashion-show lunch celebrates volunteers

The Assistance League of Hawaii will host a luncheon and fashion show at Washington Place on Saturday to celebrate 37 years of volunteer service in the islands.

The event starts at 11 a.m. with a luncheon and fashion show emceed by KHON-TV reporter Tina Shelton. A tour of Washington Place will start at 2 p.m.

The deadline to purchase $45 tickets for the event is tomorrow. For reservations, contact Wanda Sagum at 523-0982 or by e-mail at sagumw001@hawaii.rr.com.

The assistance league, which has no paid staff, was organized in 1968 and is dedicated to philanthropic programs and education, with an emphasis on children, women and seniors.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Motorcyclist injured in crash on Nimitz

A 37-year-old man was taken to the Queen's Medical Center yesterday after he suffered critical head injuries in a single motorcycle crash.

Police said the man was traveling eastbound on North Nimitz Highway on a black 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle near Pier 18 about 2:12 a.m. when he failed to negotiate a bend in the roadway and crashed into a median.

He was transferred to Queen's after he sustained head injuries. Police said the man was not wearing a helmet.

A curious neighbor tried yesterday afternoon to get a better look at the 14th-floor Date Street unit where a small fire was supressed by the building's sprinkler system.

Sprinkler inhibits blaze on Date Street

A fire in a 1200 Date St. apartment caused $5,000 in damage yesterday and was likely caused by a hair dryer, Fire Capt. Emmit Kane said.

The fire was in Unit 1402, and it started about 2 p.m., Kane said. No one was in the apartment when the blaze started.

Kane said the building's sprinkler system inhibited the fire's spread.

"One of the sprinklers discharged," he said. "Had that not been the case ... we might have been dealing with a fully involved unit."

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