COURTESY PHOTO BY ENSIGN JEFF WEST / U.S. COAST GUARD
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration technicians Graylon Spiers, left, and Shane Mitchel, put the finishing touches on a buoy used for surf and weather forecasts in Hawaii. Coast Guard cutter Kukui helped put it back in place.
Busted buoy put back in service
A National Weather Service buoy that had been adrift for months is back on track, thanks to the Coast Guard.
The cutter Kukui retrieved Buoy 51003, brought it to Honolulu for repairs and repositioned it 205 miles southwest of Oahu last month, the Coast Guard said in a news release.
The 6-meter-long, 5.7-ton aluminum hull NOMAD buoy is operated by the National Data Buoy Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It took an entire day to anchor the buoy to the sea floor with a 3-ton anchor and steel chain, the Coast Guard said.
It "is in a strategic location for swells originating in the southern hemisphere near New Zealand and from typhoon-generated swells in the Western Pacific," Weather Service forecaster Ray Tanabe said in the release.
Weather buoys provide data that is used in conjunction with forecast models.
The four NOAA weather buoys that encircle the main Hawaiian islands are well known to local surfers, who use them to determine where and when the next big swell will break.
Group is funded for biodiesel
A Big Island nonprofit group has been awarded $677,000 in federal funds for developing Jatropha curcas plant seedlings as a crop to sell for the production of biodiesel, Sen. Daniel Akaka's office announced.
The Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council will use the grant money for "cloning and mass cultivation" of the seeds, Akaka's office said in a news release.
Akaka said the project would create about 70 jobs.
"This project is an important step forward in our vision for a self-sustaining energy future for Hawaii and our goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Akaka said in the release.
Jatropha curcas, also known as the Barbados nut, is native to tropical America and naturalized throughout tropical and subtropical parts of Asia and Africa, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The seeds can be used in the production of biodiesel, an organic fuel derived from agricultural products that can be used as a substitute in diesel vehicles.
Adopt-a-Sculpture project starts
Adopt-a-Pet. Adopt-a-Highway. Adopt-a-Stream. Now, there's Adopt-a-Sculpture.
The city is encouraging organizations to adopt about 80 public monuments on the island since October is Honolulu's National Arts and Humanities Month, according to a news release yesterday.
"Public sculptures beautify and enhance our community," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in a statement. "Becoming involved in the Adopt-a-Sculpture program is an opportunity for organizations to express their civic pride, be actively involved in the preservation of public art and embrace the arts."
Organizations would have to help with routine maintenance for five years, with the Office of Culture and Arts providing art preservation techniques training. General maintenance can fall monthly, quarterly, semiannually, annually, biennially or every five years depending on the sculpture's type, condition and material.
Contact the Culture and Arts Office at 523-4674 for more information.
Peace Day art is put on display
The public can view almost 400 Peace Day art and literature contest entries on the chamber level of the state Capitol until Oct. 22.
The exhibit includes 20 winning student and adult projects selected in the "Expressions of Peace" contest, which was held to mark Hawaii's inaugural celebration of Sept. 21 as Peace Day, a release said.
Eight literature and 12 art awards were given to residents of all ages throughout the state, and other entries were given honorable-mention awards.
The gallery will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
On Sept. 21 Hawaii became one of more than 200 countries to first celebrate the annual Peace Day, a holiday to improve international relations and increase educational awareness of peace, a release said.
Police, Fire, Courts
House fire blamed on power strip
Fire investigators determined that a Hauula house fire Wednesday was accidental and caused by an electrical malfunction of a power strip, a fire official said.
Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha said the fire began in the living room of the home, located at 54-285 Hauula Homestead Road.
Damage to the structure and contents was estimated at $550,000 and $50,000, respectively, he said.
Three teenagers who were asleep in the home at the time of the 2:14 p.m. blaze escaped without injury.
Man accused of sex assault
Police are investigating a case in which a Mililani man in his 60s allegedly sexually assaulted an 18-year-old man hired to do housecleaning.
The 18-year-old told police he was hired by the older man to clean his house. The older man allegedly sexually assaulted the 18-year-old at about 7:45 a.m. yesterday, police said.
Man allegedly took truck to buy beer
Police arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly stole a 19-year-old man's truck in Wahiawa yesterday, purportedly to buy beer.
Police said the 19-year-old man stood next to his truck while talking to his girlfriend at about 5:30 p.m. yesterday when the 21-year-old, who is not known to him, approached him and asked to use his truck to go and buy beer.
The truck owner would not give him permission, but the older man allegedly got into the truck anyway and tried to drive away.
The 21-year-old reportedly hit three parked cars and got stuck in a nearby fence, police said.
Police arrest the 21-year-old on suspicion of drunken driving and auto theft.
Table game ends with man's arrest
Police arrested a 48-year-old man who allegedly assaulted a woman with whom he was playing a table game.
Police said that at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect and a 38-year-old woman were playing an unspecified table game at the suspect's Liliha Street home. Police said the victim dropped some game pieces on the ground, and when she tried to pick them up, the suspect pushed the table and hit her in the head.
Police later arrested the man on suspicion of second-degree assault.
Motorcycle driver in crash identified
The Medical Examiner's Office identified the operator of the motorcycle that crashed Tuesday in Kahala as Steven Schneibolk, 21, of Honolulu.
Schneibolk died of multiple internal injuries, as did his passenger, Satoko Aihara, 30, of Kanagawa prefecture in Japan, who was identified earlier.
The two were in critical condition and died at the Queen's Medical Center.
The motorcycle was speeding when it crashed into a parked vehicle at about 10:35 p.m. Tuesday as it was heading toward Diamond Head on Kahala Avenue, police said.
Woman uses car to block robbers in
Bold moves by a Nuuanu woman prevented two burglars from driving away with her belongings, according to police.
Police said the woman drove home at about 2 p.m. Wednesday and found a vehicle parked in her garage. Police said that after the woman saw two men loading items from her house into the vehicle, she blocked the driveway with her car.
The men got into their car and rammed hers in an effort to escape, police said.
One of the men got out and ran, while the other, 18, got out, approached the woman's car and punched the window while demanding that she move.
When she refused, he ran away as well but was arrested a short time later on suspicion of first-degree burglary. Police were looking for the other suspect. The woman was not hurt.
Man, 88, arrested in alleged attack
Police arrested an 88-year-old Honolulu man at 1 a.m. yesterday for allegedly assaulting an 88-year-old woman.
Police said the man allegedly used a dangerous instrument to assault the woman at about 12:15 a.m. yesterday.
The man, who uses a wheelchair, was arrested yesterday at his Maunalani Circle home. He was released on $25,000 bail. The prosecutor's office said the man has not yet been charged.
Neighbor stops apartment robbery
Police arrested a 53-year-old man who was seen by a neighbor allegedly breaking into a Waikiki apartment.
Police said that at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, a 28-year-old man watched the suspect loiter around the windows of a nearby Waikiki apartment and then break into the apartment.
The witness called police, who arrested the suspect on suspicion of attempted first-degree burglary.