POSTED: Thursday, June 04, 2009

2 new hiking trails to open Saturday

Two new hiking trails in Moanalua Valley are slated to open Saturday.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Na Ala Hele Oahu Trail Advisory Council will hold a grand opening at 9 a.m. at the end of Ala Aolani Road. New trail signs will be installed following the ceremony. Volunteers are invited to join staff and volunteers for trail improvement work until 3 p.m. Saturday.

The two new trails—Kamananui Valley Road and Kulanaahane trail—bring the total of forest trails managed statewide by the Na Ala Hele Oahu Trail program to 42.

Moanalua Valley, which is split into two valleys, Kamananui and Kamanaiki, is owned and managed by the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Hiking will be allowed from sunrise to sunset.


Young parents offered job training

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will provide education and occupational skills training for underprivileged young parents, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said yesterday.

Parents and expectant mothers, between 16 and 24 years old, are eligible for the job training, Inouye said.


Putzulu chosen acting HPD chief

The Honolulu Police Commission has named Senior Deputy Chief Paul Putzulu as acting chief upon the retirement of Chief Boisse Correa while the search for a new chief continues.

The commission was bound by statute to appoint the department's highest-ranking officer as acting chief.

Putzulu, who joined the department in 1972, was appointed deputy chief in 2002.

The commission did not renew Correa's five-year contract, which expires at the end of August.

Commission Chairwoman Christine Camp said she expects the selection process for a new chief to take as long, if not longer, than the 4 1/2 months it took for the last search for a new chief.

The commission will choose members of the community to serve on a selection committee.

It also will hire a consultant to assist in the selection, whose services may run about $40,000.


Army's EIS for Makua due this week

The Army said yesterday it plans to release its final environmental study on the resumption of live-fire training in Makua Valley this week.

The environmental-impact statement is expected to be available online and at state libraries starting tomorrow, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii said. It was conducted in response to a lawsuit filed in 1998 by a Waianae Coast community group, Hui Malama O Makua.

The group demanded, and a judge agreed, that the Army must conduct an environmental-impact statement if it wants to continue live-fire training in the remote Oahu valley, which is considered sacred by native Hawaiians.

The Army said it needs Makua Military Reservation because it's the only place in Hawaii where a company-size group can exercise with live ammunition. But native Hawaiian and environmental groups argue training there destroys ancient cultural sites and threatens endangered plant species.

The Army's preferred alternative is to conduct live-fire training but restrict some weapons use.

“;The Army has recommended several mitigation measures that would reduce the overall impacts associated with the training,”; the Army said.


No rat poison detected in dead fish

Dead fish that washed up on Niihau show no signs of rat poison, the state says.

The remote island's residents say hundreds of dead fish washed ashore from mid- to late-January, shortly after the state used rodenticide to eliminate invasive rodents on nearby Lehua island.

But the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said it tested samples taken from the dead fish in February and also from freshly caught fish in April.

The tests didn't find rat poison in either batch.

Officials will continue to investigate the cause of the fish kill, said department Director Laura Thielen.



U.S. park fees to be waived to lift tourism

Several locations at national parks in Hawaii will be waiving their admission fee for three weekends to boost tourism during the summer.

Entry fees will be waived during the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19 and Aug.15-16, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said yesterday.

On the Big Island, the $10-per-vehicle fee will be waived at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the $5-per-vehicle fee for Puuhonua o Honaunau.

On Maui, the $10-per-vehicle fee will be waived at Haleakala National Park at Haleakala and at Kipahulu.

Meanwhile, many park partners, including tour operators, hotels, restaurants, gift shops and other vendors, will offer additional discounts and special promotions on those dates, park officials said.

The sites in Hawaii are among the 147 national parks across the United States where admission fees are being eliminated during the three weekends.