Local health expert on U.S. panel
Hawaii Pacific Health executive Virginia Pressler has been appointed to a federal advisory panel responsible for implementing one of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye recommended the former state Health Department deputy director for the panel, which must recommend ways to improve communications between emergency personnel and public health care facilities.
He said she will be a valuable member of the Joint Advisory Committee on Communications Capabilities of Emergency Medical and Public Health Care Facilities.
"She has a wealth of experience as a medical professional -- from surgeon to health care administrator -- and she is very well versed on how health care systems work," Inouye said.
Pressler is executive vice president for strategic business development for Hawaii Pacific Health, which comprises four hospitals. She was deputy director for the state Health Resources Administration from 1999 to 2002.
The national panel must submit a report to Congress by Feb. 4 on communications capabilities and needs of emergency medical and public health care facilities and means of improving integration of the communications systems.
HPU promotes Winn and Sykes
Hawaii Pacific University has announced the promotion of Chris Winn to associate dean of Marine Science Programs in HPU's College of Natural Science.
Also, Martha Sykes has been promoted to assistant vice president for research and grants administration.
Sykes will help faculty members receive outside funding and support with grant writing. She joined HPU in 1998 as associate professor of geology and environmental science. Formerly, she was physical science chair and assistant dean of the College of Natural Science.
Winn will help with fundraising and developing HPU's marine campus, the Oceanic Institute in Makapuu. He also is responsible for supervising public relations for the undergraduate and graduate marine science programs.
Winn joined HPU in 1999 as associate professor of oceanography and director of Marine and Environmental Science Programs.
Police, Fire, Courts
Broken main sends flames in air
Firefighters responded to a gas main rupture yesterday in Kaimuki, which nearly burned a construction worker.
At about 10 a.m., a construction worker at the new Safeway on Kapahulu Avenue ruptured a gas line while welding, fire spokesman Capt. Robert Main said.
The gas ignited into a flame that was about 8 feet high and 4 feet wide.
The worker was not burned but was hospitalized as a precautionary measure, Main said. The area was evacuated, the gas turned off and firefighters extinguished the fire at 10:34 a.m.
Crews seek boy off Kaaawa
Rescue officials were looking for a missing teenage swimmer last night.
At about 3:30 p.m., four teenage boys were swimming and diving off of Kaaawa Beach Park when one of the boys, 16, got caught in the waves. Fire spokesman Capt. Robert Main said the three remaining boys tried to help but lost their friend, and called emergency officials around 4 p.m.
Two engines, a JetSki, rescue boat and a helicopter joined the search, with assistance from the Coast Guard. Main said rescue officials found a fin and a snorkel, but have yet to find the boy.