POSTED: Monday, May 25, 2009

UH, EWC seek closer link

The University of Hawaii and the East-West Center are looking for an even closer relationship than they already enjoy.

UH President David McClain and East-West Center President Charles E. Morrison announced this month that a joint committee for institutional collaboration will examine steps the two institutions can take to reduce or share expenses and to better complement each other's activities.

The East-West Center was established by Congress in 1960 to strengthen understanding and relations between the U.S. and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Its principal buildings, including Burns Hall and Jefferson Hall, home of the Hawaii Imin International Conference Center, stand along East-West Road on the eastern flank of the Manoa campus.


Funds released for 2 Oahu harbors

Gov. Linda Lingle has released $1.5 million for security improvements at two Oahu harbors.

Honolulu Harbor will receive a perimeter fence, 14 new gates and three portable guard shacks. At Kalaeloa-Barbers Point Harbor, improvements will include installing a permanent guard shack at the main entry, as well as a portable guard shack.

The project is part of the $1.8 billion public infrastructure construction plan Lingle announced last year to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

The improvements were needed to comply with Coast Guard port security requirements during heightened security periods. Construction is scheduled to begin in July and be completed in April.


Ex-union head picked for Dem post

Hawaii Democrats selected retired union leader Russell Okata as the national committeeman for the state party by a vote of 42-15.

Some Maui Democrats, favoring former Maui County Chairman Jonathan Starr, opposed Okata's nomination, but the state Central Committee selected him May 16 to represent the party on the Democratic National Committee.

“;He (Okata) brings a lot to the table,”; said Brian Schatz, state party chairman. “;I think everyone is going to be able to move on from here united and focused on recovering the governor's seat in 2010.”;

Okata, a former leader of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, replaces former Gov. George Ariyoshi, who is stepping down in the middle of his term.



Big Island's projects will begin soon

Capital improvement projects worth $28 million are approaching their start dates on the Big Island, according to the county Department of Water Supply.

Bids are expected to open June 18 on a $7 million project to replace Piihounua Reservoir No. 2 in Hilo, the Hawaii Tribune Herald newspaper reported yesterday. The project, which has a completion date of January 2011, is expected to improve water service to Hilo, particularly Hilo Medical Center.

The new reservoir will be about twice as big—2 million gallons—and will be able to meet future demand while maintaining fire protection requirements.

A winning bid is expected in August on the $15.7 million Palani Road pipeline.

On tap for South Kohala is a $5.5 million project for Ahualoa that includes outfitting a production well and construction of a concrete reservoir, control building and support facilities.