HIS FINAL DESCENT
COURTESY OF MARY STANKIEWICZ
With smoke trailing from his boots, paraglider Jake Kilfoyle dropped toward the sea off Haleiwa yesterday, carrying the ashes of adventurer Jimmy Hall. Hall's ashes were scattered at sea during a ceremony that drew dozens of vessels and about 250 mourners. Kilfoyle was with Hall when he died May 9 while cliff-jumping on Baffin Island, Canada. Hall, owner of Hawaii Shark Encounters, was making a documentary when his parachute failed to open in time. People wishing to make donations to continue Hall's cause of shark education and research can send donations to Shark Allies Fund, First Hawaiian Bank, 66-135 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, HI 96712.
Lingle OKs funds for quake relief
Despite reservations, Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law a bill that appropriates $24.9 million for disaster recovery efforts associated with the Oct. 15 earthquake off the Big Island.
The measure approved Friday appropriates $900,000 to help cover Department of Defense operational expenses for support provided in assisting the victims of the 6.7-magnitude quake.
The remaining $24 million is required to obtain federal emergency funds for structural and nonstructural earthquake-mitigation projects, and for repairing irrigation systems, school facilities, hospitals and health care facilities damaged by the temblor.
Lingle said the bill has some significant flaws. Most notably, she said, it uses almost half of the state's so-called rainy day fund to pay the state's share of Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.
"The fund is already too low, according to nationally recognized agencies such as Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch," Lingle said.
"Using the (fund) is not fiscally prudent, and my administration will seek legislation in 2008 to change the matching funds back to the state's general fund where we have enjoyed surpluses," Lingle said.
In addition, the bill uses some of the reserve funds for projects that might not meet the FEMA disaster assistance criteria, state officials said.
State Budget and Finance Director Georgina Kawamura pledged to work to find state funds that could be available to assist projects that otherwise would not qualify for assistance.
Museum gets climate study grant
Bishop Museum is one of eight institutions worldwide to receive funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study the impact of climate change on species and habitats.
The foundation awarded $290,000 to the museum over 18 months as part of a $5 million research program to help stem threats of global warming, according to a museum news release.
The grant will be used to assess the vulnerability of biodiversity and island ecosystems in Melanesia to climate change, said Allen Allison, museum vice president of science.
He said the data will be organized in an environmental information system for climate change in Melanesia and posted on the Internet for access to conservation groups worldwide.
The work will be done with the Pacific Regional Environmental Program in Apia, Samoa, and the Honolulu-based Pacific Science Association and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance.
Allison said, "The tropics offer some of the most biologically diverse environments in the world and are also among the most vulnerable to climate changes."
He said the work in Melanesia "will help identify the level of threat and support steps need to adapt to the impact of climate change in the region."
Also under study will be increasing acidity of the oceans from absorption of man-made carbon dioxide, said John Burke Burnett, executive director of the Pacific Science Association and Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance.
"This is going to be an additional stress on marine species and ecosystems," he said.
Bishop Museum scientists have done field research in Melanesia for more than 50 years. In their work in recent years, Allison and Fred Kraus have discovered more than 130 new species of frogs, lizards and snakes.
Melanesia is important, the scientists said, because it is the gateway to Polynesia's colonization by plants, animals and people.
Lee is elected state GOP chief
GOP delegates meeting in Wailea, Maui, selected Willes Lee, chairman of the Hawaii State Boxing Commission, yesterday as chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. He will succeed Sam Aiona.
"The Lingle-Aiona administration has led our state through unprecedented economic times," Lee said in a prepared statement. "However, Hawaii has yet to see the true benefits of a two-party system. I am committing 100 percent of my time to doing that."
A West Point graduate, Lee served in the Army for 22 years as an airborne and Ranger officer. He has degrees in engineering and public administration.
He managed City Councilman Charles Djou's re-election campaign in 2006 and was director of coalitions for the campaign of Gov. Linda Lingle.
"Willes brings the commitment, discipline and experience of grass-roots campaigning that helped my campaign be as successful as it was to the party," Lingle said.
Psychologists issue service awards
The Hawaii Psychological Association recently presented Garret H. Yanagi
and Thomas A. Glass
with 2006 Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Yanagi, a psychology pioneer in Hawaii, served primarily with the state Department of Health. Glass was recognized in part for his contributions as a practitioner and teacher, with adjunct faculty positions at Argosy and Chaminade universities and the University of Hawaii.
Other recipients were Donald Kopf, chairman of HPA's legislative and healthy-workplace committees, distinguished service award; Katie Young, media award, for her MidWeek column; state Rep. Brian Schatz, legislator of the year; Kelly B. Vitousek, significant professional contribution award for advancing the understanding of anorexia nervosa; Fahy Bailey, provision of psychological services to rural communities award, for work on Kauai; Jeff Brooks-Harris, outstanding-teacher award for work at University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu Advertiser President Michael Fisch, Daniel K. Inouye Award for advancement of psychology by a nonpsychologist; and Nicole Masukawa, outstanding-student award.
Police, Fire, Courts
Copter plucks man from cliff
Firefighters airlifted a man to safety yesterday who was stranded on a hiking trail below the Makapuu lighthouse.
The man, in his 30s, was hiking with four of his friends when he felt he could not make it back to the top, said Honolulu Fire Capt. Frank Johnson. One of his friends called for help at about 11 a.m.
Fire helicopter Air One responded and lifted the man to the parking lot. The man refused treatment and drove off in his car, Johnson said.
Parents allegedly ram each other
A couple was arrested Saturday night after allegedly ramming their cars against each other with children as passengers.
At about 8 p.m. Saturday, witnesses reported two vehicles ramming each other in the parking lot of a Saddle City Road home in Waimanalo.
The drivers, a 23-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, are in a relationship, and the couple's two children were in the back seat of the woman's car. No injuries were reported, and the cars suffered minor damage. Both were arrested on charges of first-degree criminal property damage.
Victim of burglary also has car stolen
Big Island police charged a Kailua-Kona man Friday on suspicion of burglary after he allegedly stole a car and other items from a Kololia Street home in Kailua-Kona.
Ryan Jeffries-Hamar, 25, is being held at the Kealakehe police cellblock in lieu of $38,000 bail.
Police responded Wednesday to a 6:30 p.m. call reporting that a thief broke into a home and took some items, put them in the owner's car and drove off.
A Kona police officer saw the stolen vehicle and identified Jeffries-Hamar, who allegedly fled from police. He was later arrested at a Kona apartment complex.
Police charged him with first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, third-degree criminal property damage and vehicle theft. Jeffries-Hamar was also charged with abuse of a household member, second-degree terroristic threatening and unlawful imprisonment for allegedly choking a woman and threatening her with an object.
Police request that anyone with information on either incident call Detective Sharlotte Bird at 326-4646, ext. 275; police at 935-3311; or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 or 329-8181.