POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duckworth nomination looking good

The U.S. Senate is expected this week to approve the nomination of 1985 McKinley High School and University of Hawaii graduate Tammy Duckworth as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved Duckworth for the post Monday night.

Duckworth's nomination was held up this month by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who said he had questions concerning paperwork Duckworth submitted to the committee. A spokesman for Burr said at the time the senator was just doing his “;due diligence.”;

Duckworth, 41, lost both of her legs when she was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while piloting a helicopter in Iraq in 2004. In her VA post, she would be in charge of public and intergovernmental affairs.

District 3 mail-in ballots due tomorrow

Tomorrow is the deadline for Windward Oahu voters to return their ballots in the special mail-in election for the District 3 City Council vacancy.

Ballots must be received by the City Clerk's Office by 6 p.m.

Acting City Clerk Bernice Mau says a first printout with 95 to 98 percent of the vote total is expected shortly thereafter.

About 54,000 ballots were mailed to registered voters in the district on April 1.

District 3 includes parts of Kaneohe, Kailua and Waimanalo. The special election is being held to fill the vacancy left by Barbara Marshall, who died Feb. 22 of colon cancer.

Quake shakes up parts of Big Isle

Big Island residents were jolted yesterday by a magnitude-4.2 earthquake centered about 27 miles south of Hilo near the source of a 5.0-magnitude tremor a week earlier.

Big Island police said a small landslide at Malua Gulch near Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua Coast may have been caused by the 4:58 p.m. temblor. Officers closed one lane of Route 19 until road crews could clear the scene.

More than 150 residents of the northern and eastern areas of the Big Island reported feeling the quake, said Janet Babb, a geologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The earthquake was centered at a depth of 5.7 miles about 6.2 miles east of the April 14 earthquake, Babb said.

Neighbor Island Watch

PUHI » The Kauai Literature Festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Performing Arts Center at Kauai Community College. The public is invited to live readings by guest authors. The event is free.

HILO » A clogged fuel filter caused the crash-landing of a home-built experimental single-engine biplane near the Hilo drag racing strip on Jan. 18, the National Transportation Safety Board reported. Police reported that pilot Thomas Downey, 79, lost power at 2,500 feet. Downey suffered minor injuries.

WAILUKU » State and federal officials plan to spend $907,100 to help in the conservation and recovery of 10 diminishing species in Hawaii, including the Maui parrotbill. “;This funding gives us a chance to save our native Maui parrotbill and other endangered bird species that exist nowhere else in the world,”; said U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. The federal government is contributing $500,300, and the state, $406,800.