MCC student center gets $6.7M for face lift
Gov. Linda Lingle has released $6,775,000 to Maui Community College for the renovation of the Student Center Building.
Built in 1973, the facility, now vacant, has been deteriorating due to the constant sea breeze from the adjacent Kahului Harbor. The renovation includes improvements for health and safety, removing corroded railings and hazardous materials, reroofing, refurbishing the air-conditioning system, and bringing the facility into accessibility compliance.
In March the governor released $225,000 to finance the design costs, bringing the total cost of the project to $7,589,000.
Medical charity seeks laptop computers
Medicorps, a Honolulu-based international medical relief organization, is seeking laptop computers and digital cameras to assist poor countries with medical training and specialty skills.
The tax-deductible donations can include any working Pentium-based laptop with USB ports and even low-end digital cameras, Medicorps said.
Medicorps was founded by Honolulu surgeon Gunther Hintz in 1984 to assist doctors in poor countries and address humanitarian emergencies.
The organization sends medical students and residents from the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine and other universities to Cambodia to assist local doctors in writing up patient cases. They send them by e-mail to volunteer American specialists for advice.
"In this quick, cost-effective way, local doctors benefit from the expertise of Western physicians while Western-educated residents and medical students get first-hand experience with kinds of cases rarely seen in the industrialized world," Medicorps said.
Cambodian doctors assisted by the organization need computers to use the Internet, which they can't afford on a monthly salary of about $50, Hintz said. "They also need digital cameras and download devices to send us pictures of the patients' pathology, x-rays and other significant findings."
For more information or to donate items or money to help purchase them, call Dr. Reynold Feldman, Medicorps' executive director, at (808) 988-4191.
Volunteers get ready to clean Big Isle's south coast
A series of volunteer marine debris cleanups this winter aim to give the Big Island's southern Waiohinu-Ka La'e coast a facelift.
The Hawaii Wildlife Fund will lead the cleanups, which begin Nov. 19 and continue Dec. 17, Jan. 21, and Feb. 18 and 19. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has dedicated funding for the project.
"We plan to conduct a full cleaning of the coastline, educate the community about the problem (of marine debris) and organize a consortium of interested community groups and individuals to begin a regular cleanup schedule," said Bill Gilmartin, Hawaii Wildlife Fund president.
During a two-day cleanup of the coast in 2003, volunteers removed 50 tons of debris from two miles of shoreline.
Items like fishing nets, tires, bottles and other debris litter the coastline and pose a danger to marine animals.
For more information, contact project coordinator Linda Schubert on the Big Island at 756-1808 or Carey Morishige on Oahu at 397-2651, ext. 256, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant for UH will fight human trafficking
The Globalization Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has received a $350,774 federal grant to establish a task force to help battle human trafficking, a form of modern-day slavery.
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the grant to the state Department of the Attorney General last month.
The task force will be the coordinator between federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as service providers who are the first to encounter victims, to intervene in severe cases of involuntary servitude.
Attorney General Mark Bennett said, "As the United State's gateway to the Asia/Pacific region, Hawaii is well-situated to work to stem the increasing worldwide traffic in human beings."
The AG's office also subgranted funds to train Honolulu police to identify and respond to the crime.
Nancie Caraway, the center's director of women's human rights projects, is the task force project director. She emphasized the importance of educating the public and local organizations to identify the violation of human rights.
"Trafficking victims are among the most vulnerable people in society, often ... immigrants who don't speak English, whose documents are held, and who are forced to work in unsafe conditions," she said.
Many victims are involved in prostitution or sex entertainment. Other forms of labor abuse might occur in the "invisible" and often unregulated realms of domestic service, restaurant work, sweatshop factory work or migrant agricultural work.
Anti-trafficking hot lines, multilingual and confidential, are (888) 373-7888, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and (888) 428-7581, U.S. Department of Labor.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Man arrested in theft from soda machine
Police arrested a 26-year-old man after he allegedly stole a coin box from a soda machine at Ilima Intermediate School in Ewa Beach yesterday.
About 6:12 a.m., police said the suspect broke into the school's administrative office, where he broke into the soda machine.
District 8 patrol officers located the suspect as he was leaving the office.
The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary. Charges are pending.
Police investigating Makiki infant's death
Police are investigating the death of a 3-month-old boy who was found unresponsive in his Makiki apartment Saturday.
Police said the infant was found about 11:35 p.m. and taken to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, where he was pronounced dead at 12:24 a.m. yesterday.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.