POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2009

Federal grant to pay new firefighters

KAPAA, Kauai » The Kauai Fire Department has received a $1.625 million federal grant for the hiring of firefighters, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's office announced.

The award, as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, provides funds for the hiring of professional firefighters and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters, officials added.


Big Isle group works to hire doctors

HILO » A group that hopes to launch a Hilo-based medical residency program is hoping to raise $50,000 from the public for its effort to lure doctors to the Big Island.

The program is designed to boost the number of doctors in rural Hawaii by training them in rural settings.

Dr. Jim Donovan is the program's first faculty member.

He says the program will die in June without funding. Another $500,000 will be needed in 2010, and $525,000 in 2011.

The program expected to receive funds state lawmakers appropriated to help the University of Hawaii expand its residency program, but Gov. Linda Lingle is not releasing the money because of the state's budget deficit.


Native Hawaiians turn to Obama

Anxious for help in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, native Hawaiians are calling on President Barack Obama for help. The 28-member Hawaiian caucus of the state Legislature and two lawyers groups have sent letters asking the president to withdraw his administration's support of the state's position that it can sell former Hawaiian monarchy lands.

The groups believe leftover appointees of former President George W. Bush will make oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday that are inconsistent with Hawaii-born Obama's views.

“;The fact that the president grew up here and is aware of the issues ... leads us to believe that he would be interested and that he cares enough to respond to leaders in the community,”; said state Rep. Lyla Berg (D, Hahaione Valley-Aina Haina), who wrote the Hawaiian caucus' letter.