State's bees free of virus so far
A mysterious disorder that has been killing off millions of bees on the mainland has not yet reached Hawaii, but the state might not remain safe forever, a spokeswoman for the state Agriculture Department said yesterday.
A groundbreaking study released Friday found that a foreign virus -- the Israeli acute paralysis virus -- could be linked to colony collapse disorder, in which honeybee colonies abruptly lose all their worker bees. The report, based on a study that used healthy Hawaii bees, was published by the journal Science.
Colony collapse disorder has ruined more than half of the beekeeping operations across the U.S., which threatens honey production and crop pollination, according to the report by Columbia University and Penn State researchers.
"We haven't seen evidence of it here," said Janelle Saneishi, state Agriculture Department spokeswoman. "We have restrictions on bees coming to Hawaii, so that's helped us."
But that does not mean Hawaii will be immune forever. In April, Oahu beekeepers discovered some colonies were infected with the harmful varroa mite despite the state's efforts to keep out the pest.
The varroa mite is a conduit for the virus suspected in colony collapse, which is why researchers chose to study Hawaii bees, infected with varroa but not the virus, according to the Environmental News Service.
Saiki leads Giuliani campaign
Former U.S. Rep. Patricia Saiki will head Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign in Hawaii, Giuliani's Presidential Committee announced yesterday.
Saiki will be joined by Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou and former Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Sam Aiona as vice chairmen.
At a press conference yesterday, the team praised Giuliani, New York's former mayor, as a strong and competent leader.
"We're on the eve of the sixth anniversary of 9/11, when the terrorists attacked us," Saiki said. "When that happened, you saw on TV Rudy Giuliani standing strong. ... We would feel very safe if Rudy Giuliani is leading the country."
Since Hawaii does not hold a primary election, the group said it will focus efforts -- including fundraisers and rallies -- on the general election if Giuliani is the Republican nominee.
Saiki acknowledged that there will be challenges ahead, since Hawaii is a largely Democratic state, with many backing Democratic hopeful and Punahou graduate Barack Obama.
East-West Center funds advance
The U.S. Senate has approved an appropriation of $20 million for the East-West Center for fiscal year 2008, a news release from the office of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said.
The funding is part of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act. The Senate passed the act with a vote of 81-12 last week.
The bill now moves to a House-Senate conference committee to smooth out differences with the House version of the funding measure.
"For nearly 50 years, the Honolulu-based East-West Center has been one of the world's premier education and research centers, and it has played a crucial role in strengthening relations and understanding in the Asia-Pacific region," Inouye said in the release.
Police, Fire, Courts
Driver dies in crash in Hana
A man died in a single-car crash in Hana on Maui yesterday morning.
Police said Douglas Simmons overturned his Honda sedan at about 3:55 a.m. as he was heading north on Ulaino Road, about a mile north of Hana Highway.
Simmons lost control and went off the roadway, then was ejected from the vehicle as it overturned, police said. He died at the scene.
Police do not know if Simmons was wearing a seat belt.
Simmons is Maui's 17th traffic fatality this year, compared with 14 at this time last year.
Crash victim was Waipahu man, 47
The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified yesterday the 47-year-old driver who died after crashing his car on the Punchbowl Street onramp of the H-1 freeway Friday night as Kenneth Yamada of Waipahu.
Police said that around 10:36 p.m., the man was driving north on Punchbowl Street past Lusitana Street when his car crossed over the southbound lanes, went up the dirt embankment and hit the concrete side of the overpass.
Woman accused in vehicle attack
A 25-year-old Pearl City woman was arrested after she allegedly drove her vehicle at two people early yesterday.
Police said a 28-year-old man and 47-year-old woman were talking outside Miki's restaurant on Lehua Avenue in Pearl City at about 2:20 a.m. when the suspect, the man's ex-girlfriend, drove at them at high speed. The two jumped out of the way. This happened twice more, police said.
The woman was arrested at home on Akalakala Street on suspicion of attempted murder and second-degree assault.
Cyclist critically hurt making turn
A 37-year-old Kaneohe man was in critical condition with head injuries yesterday morning after he lost control of his motorcycle and fell on Kaneohe Bay Drive.
Around 2:10 a.m., police said, the motorcyclist was traveling south when he tried to make a sharp left turn and lost control. The motorcycle veered to the right shoulder, clipped a low rock wall and the man fell to the ground. He landed near Malukai Place.
He was transported to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition. Police said excessive speed did not appear to be a factor.
Diesel oil spill dirties harbor
Honolulu Fire Department and Coast Guard crews spent several hours cleaning up a diesel oil spill yesterday at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor.
"The spill will have a definite negative impact on the environment," Honolulu Fire Capt. Robert Main said.
A woman fishing in the area reported the spill at 2:18 p.m.
Main said there was a "substantial amount" of oil between the rocks in the jetty, but it was hard to determine how much. Firefighters used a boom to contain the spill inside a 100-by-20-foot area, and a fire hazardous materials company applied absorbent towels.
Firefighters called a contractor to assist with the cleanup.
Main said the oil was in a breakwater area of the harbor near Ko Olina Marina. The Coast Guard assisted, and state Department of Health officials were called in to investigate.