6 schools get vog safety visits
HILO » State officials will visit six Big Island schools next week to see how well they're prepared to deal with volcanic emissions.
The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division team will check vog safety plans and offer pointers and training in Kau, Keaau and Pahoa.
James Hardway of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations wouldn't say what schools the team will visit.
But Mountain View Elementary School is a likely stop, along with Pahala High and Elementary.
Both schools have dealt numerous times with choking clouds of emissions.
Mountain View has safe rooms in its cafeteria, health room and counselor's office that can be sealed and stocked with filters when the air becomes toxic.
Shark sighted at Hanalei Bay
Kauai officials closed Hanalei Bay yesterday on the North Shore after a shark was seen in the area, a county news release said.
The bay will remain closed until at least this morning.
Officials have posted signs warning of the sighting and are advising beach-goers to stay out of the bay.
For more information, ask a county lifeguard or visit www.kauaiexplorer.com.
Big Isle police put off new cars
KAILUA-KONA » Budget cuts are forcing the Hawaii County Police Department to delay buying new police cars by one year.
Mayor Harry Kim recently told county department and agency heads to spend carefully at least until October, when the county should have better revenue estimates for this fiscal year.
Decreasing revenues could force the county to cut spending by 4 percent across all departments. That's equivalent to about $4 million.
Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna says not buying the police cruisers will save the department about $1 million.
The department is also reduce trips to training sessions on other islands on the mainland to save money.
Mahuna says it's not cutting back on patrols or the police work force.
UH students move into new dorm
About 800 students moved in to the brand new $71 million Frear Hall dorm at the University of Hawaii at Manoa yesterday.
They are the first to occupy the recently completed building.
A sprinkler system in the dorm malfunctioned last week and caused some water damage. But the contractor fixed the damage last week before students moved in, a UH Manoa spokesman said.
Residents also moved in to Gateway House, Hale Laulima, Hale Kahawai and Hale Anuenue dorms yesterday. Freshmen moved in earlier last week.
Class begin at UH Manoa and the other UH campuses tomorrow.
Bottom-fishing ban extended
The state has expanded a bottom-fishing ban from the end of this month to Nov. 14, a Department of Land and Natural Resources news release said.
The bottom-fishing ban covers seven bottomfish species at risk - ehu, gindai, hapuupuu, kalekale, lehi, onaga and opakapaka.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources board extended the ban in state waters, which are up to three miles from land, yesterday to match an extended federal bottom-fishing ban around the main Hawaiian Islands.
The release said the state extended the ban to make fishing rules in state and federal waters consistent, lessen confusion to the public and reduce the problem of overfishing.
Police, Fire, Courts
2 accused of trying to steal light pole
Police arrested two women who apparently tried to steal a street light pole in Pearl City Friday night.
Officers, responding to the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Waihona Street at about 10 p.m., saw a 40-year-old woman allegedly sawing a portion of an aluminum street light pole. A 48-year-old woman was sitting inside a pickup truck, which had another portion of the pole in the bed.
Police said the pole was knocked down after a motor vehicle accident in July and had been moved off the road.
Teen investigated in alleged assault
Police began investigating Thursday the sexual assault earlier this year of a 4-year-old girl in Moiliili.
Police said a 15-year-old boy allegedly sexually assaulted the girl in May.
Crews fight fire into night on Maui
KIHEI » Firefighters were battling a brush fire last night that kept residents from returning to at least seven homes at Makamae Place in Maui Meadows in south Maui.
The fire had burned 10 acres of land but was not close enough to pose a threat to the homes, said county spokesperson Mahina Martin.
Martin said a house on a separate street makai of the brush fire had suffered minor damage from falling embers.
Martin said fire officials received the initial call at 4:24 p.m. yesterday and shut off Makamae Place after 6:10 p.m.
Officials also closed Piilani Highway between Keonekai Road and Mapu Place during the fire.
As of 9 p.m. last night, the fire was still not under control. There were no injuries.
Twelve fire companies and two county helicopters were dispatched to the scene to fight the blaze.