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POSTED: Friday, May 01, 2009

Bill to protect mantas moves ahead

Legislation to bar the knowing capture or killing of manta rays in Hawaii state waters is moving toward final passage.

House Bill 366 would allow the rays to be captured only for educational, scientific, management and propagation purposes. A special permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources would be required.

Measure helps Valley families

State lawmakers have agreed on a proposal that would aid six families being evicted from Kahana Valley State Park.

House Bill 1552 allows the Department of Land and Natural Resources to issue long-term residential leases to qualified individuals living in state parks.

Families were scheduled to be evicted in October, but the department delayed the move pending legislative action.

The families have ancestral ties to the land but do not have leases.

The state had said the families without leases must leave Kahana Valley because the state cannot create more residential parcels, which would turn the park into a residential subdivision.

2 finalists for UH presidency to visit

The University of Hawaii has revealed two of three finalists vying to become the new president of the 10-campus system.

They are M.R.C. Greenwood, a longtime leader in the University of California system who resigned amid an investigation into hiring practices, and Robert J. Jones, who serves as a senior academic and chief operating officer for the University of Minnesota system. The two were scheduled to visit campuses statewide this month and participate in public forums.

"Both candidates offer strong leadership, a strong commitment to academic values and a deep appreciation of shared governance with the faculty and the importance of building effective working relationships with elected leaders and the community," said Donna Tanoue, chairwoman of the advisory selection committee.

However, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly was not as enthusiastic.

"I'm not blown away," said J.N. Musto, the faculty union's executive director. "I don't know what I expected. I guess I expected something different."

A third finalist, whose name was not disclosed, is also being considered but has not yet scheduled a visit. The three finalists are vying to succeed President David McClain, who has led UH since 2004. His term ends July 31.

Volunteer lawyers give tips at clinics

Volunteer attorneys will offer free legal guidance and referrals at clinics being held at six locations tomorrow on Oahu, as well as on the Big Island and Maui.

The Young Lawyers Division of the Hawaii State Bar Association is holding the legal clinics to celebrate Law Week, which runs through tomorrow. Those who cannot make it to one of the clinics may call the free Legal Line at 537-1868 from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays year-round. Here is the Law Week clinic schedule:

Oahu:

» Don Quijote, 801 Kaheka St., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

» Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, 545 Queen Street, 9 a.m.-noon, by appointment only, 528-7046

» Don Quijote, 94-144 Farrington Highway, Waipahu, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

» Don Quijote, 850 Kamehameha Highway, Pearl Ridge, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

» Mililani Town Square, 95-1249 Meheula Parkway, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

» Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, 85-165 Plantation Road, Waianae, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Big Island:

» Puainako Center-Sack 'n' Save, 2100 Kanoelehua Ave., Hilo, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

» Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5586 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Maui:

» Longs, Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Highway, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Neighbor island watch

Lihue » The state and Hoku Solar dedicated a photovoltaic, or solar-power, system at Lihue Airport yesterday. The system is one of seven at state transportation facilities in the islands. The state said the public-private partnership will provide long-term savings with no upfront cost to taxpayers.

Kulani » Air purifiers were installed at Kulani Prison south of Hilo to help inmates and prison employees breathe easier when vog rolls in, according to the Department of Public Safety. The $58,000 project was recommended by state health and safety officials.

Kealia » Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge will get $7.3 million in federal stimulus money, according to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. The money will be used to design and build an administrative and visitors building to replace one destroyed by fire.