POSTED: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Food Stamp Program renamed

Beginning today, Hawaii's Food Stamp Program will be known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

State Department of Human Services officials said the change is in keeping with the new federal name for the U.S. Department of Agriculture program, required by the 2008 Farm Bill. They said the new name reflects the importance of making healthy meals available to low-income households.

The new name also reflects the fact that food “;stamps”; have not been issued in Hawaii since 1998. Instead, clients purchase groceries using an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, which looks like a credit or debit card. About 101,655 island residents are enrolled in SNAP.


Forum on rail system scheduled

A forum called “;Rail-No Rail Options”; will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kalani High School cafeteria, 4680 Kalanianaole Highway.

The discussion by panelists is intended to help voters decide about the proposed rail transit system question on the Nov. 4 ballot. The forum is sponsored by the campaign committee for Mike Abe, Democratic candidate for the state House for the 19th District (Kaimuki-Waialae-Kahala).


Second Superferry nearly done

MOBILE, Ala. » Hawaii Superferry's second catamaran is nearing completion in Mobile, Ala.

The new vessel destined to link Honolulu and the Big Island next year left Austal USA's ship shed on the Mobile River into floating dry dock Monday.

The vessel, which has not yet been named, will head back to Austal for final work before sea trials begin later this year. Austal officials report the company is ahead of schedule on its contracted March delivery date, and on budget for “;the largest aluminum catamaran vessel delivered in the U.S.”;

The vessel is about 20 feet longer than the 350-foot Alakai because of a stern ramp added for military use.


BOE to review budget cuts

The state Board of Education will meet at McKinley High School on Monday to consider a plan to cut $31.5 million from public schools.

The 3 p.m. school board committee meeting, originally scheduled to be held at the Queen Liliuokalani building on Punchbowl Street, was moved to McKinley's Hirata Hall because officials expect a high turnout.

The school board's general business meeting on Oct. 9, which will also address budget cuts, will be held at McKinley's cafeteria, with public testimony beginning at 7 p.m.


Feds discuss marine protection

The federal government will hold an open house in Honolulu on Oct. 16 to discuss the best ways to protect and coordinate management of various marine areas of the Pacific.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park. It is a round-table discussion, not a formal hearing, hosted by several agencies including the Department of the Interior and the Council on Environmental Quality. Areas under review in the central Pacific include coral reefs, pinnacles, sea mounts, islands and surrounding waters of Johnston Atoll, Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands, Kingman Reef, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island.

Comments can be e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or mailed to Chairman, Council on Environmental Quality, 722 Jackson Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20503. The deadline to comment is Oct. 26.

For information, visit http://ocean.ceq.gov/pacific_assessment/welcome.html