Ferry improves whale protection
KAHULUI » The Hawaii Superferry is planning to use night-vision technology to prevent its ferry from striking humpback whales.
The company plans to install a new night-vision, infrared-thermal imaging system onboard the Alakai high-speed ferry.
Two lookouts on board will be equipped with night-vision goggles to help them spot the marine mammals.
The move comes in response to recommendations made by a state task force charged with overseeing the Superferry until the state conducts an environmental impact statement for the service.
Maui task force representative Randy Awo said he thinks the company can do even more. For example, he said the Superferry could install a frontal radar system - which is still being tested - to help detect whales at night.
Schools chief to discuss cuts
Schools Superintendent Pat Hamamoto will speak in a live broadcast Wednesday afternoon about possible budget cuts that could amount to nearly $70 million in the next academic year.
Her address will be aired at 2 p.m. on Oceanic Cable Channel 56.
The state Budget and Finance Department has asked state departments to submit ways of trimming 10 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent of their budgets for the 2009-11 biennium to avoid a $903 million deficit by fiscal 2011.
For the Education Department, whose budget is about $2.4 billion, the cuts could range from $30.7 million to $68.9 million.
A draft on proposed budget reductions for public schools will be posted on the Education Department's Web site at www.doe.k12.hi.us following Hamamoto's broadcast. Public comment on the budget proposal will be accepted online until 5 p.m. on Sept. 29.
A budget recommendation will be posted on the Education Department's Web site on Oct. 2, when it is presented to the Board of Education.
Pulmonary disease group meets
The Hawaii COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) Coalition's annual COPD Education Day will feature a variety of activities, including speakers and panel discussions, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Queen's Conference Center.
Key speaker at the free event will be Dr. Roger Yim, pulmonologist, sleep- and critical-care specialist and director of the Sleep Center and Pulmonary Function Laboratory at the Queen's Medical Center.
A panel discussion moderated by Beth-Ann Kozlovich of the American Lung Association of Hawaii and Hawaii Public Radio will include dietitians Kourtney Inoue, John Cheung and pharmacist Cindy Minakami. Exercise, nutrition and medications also will be discussed in talks by Cheung, Inoue and Minakami.
A lung disease that makes breathing difficult, COPD is reported to be the second-leading cause of disability in the United States. It is the fourth-leading cause of death and expected to be the third-leading cause of death by 2020, according to the COPD coalition. People over age 40 with a history of smoking are particularly at risk but one in six people with the disease have never smoked, the group says.
Valerie Chang, executive director of the Hawaii COPD Coalition, said an estimated 59,000 Hawaii patients have been diagnosed with COPD in Hawaii.
Registration is required because of limited space. E-mail email@example.com or call the coalition at 699-9839. Brochures are available at http://hawaiicopd.org and at many Oahu pharmacies and doctor's offices.
State gets $2.5M to fight DUI
Hawaii is set to receive a $2.5 million federal grant to combat drunken driving, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.
"This grant will strengthen our ongoing efforts to curb alcohol-impaired driving," Inouye said.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will disburse the $2,491,330 grant to Hawaii as part of an existing nationwide program. The funds can only be used to deter drunk driving and promote alcohol-free traffic safety.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man dies after arrest in Kapolei
A 47-year-old man died Friday night at Hawaii Medical Center West following a trespassing arrest in Kapolei.
Police arrested the man for investigation of trespassing on commercial property in Kapolei Friday night. He was taken into police custody at the police station in Kapolei. While there, police said he complained of pain and was taken to Hawaii Medical Center West.
Police said the man became unresponsive at the hospital and could not be revived. He died at 7:31 p.m. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to determine the cause of death.
The case is classified as an unattended death.
The Medical Examiner's Office is withholding his identification pending notification of next of kin.
Police seek man in Waialua robbery
Police are looking for a man in his 30s who robbed at gunpoint a 75-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman at their Waialua home Friday night.
Police said the unknown man, wearing a bandanna around his face, went to a Waialua house and knocked on the door, and when the residents came to the door, he held out a shotgun and demanded money.
The man took an undisclosed amount of money froim the victims and fled, police said. The man is described as 5-foot 8, and 200 pounds.
Police said the robbery occurred sometime between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. at a makeshift house in the old plantation camp area behind the old Waialua Sugar Mill.
Suspect accused of sexual assault
Police arrested a 22-year-old Waikiki man who allegedly sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman at his home.
The woman accompanied her roommate, who knew the man, to his home. While there, the man allegedly sexually assaulted the woman about 4 a.m. Friday.
The man was arrested on three counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault.