POSTED: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pybus takes special-operations post

Rear Adm. Sean Pybus assumed command of the U.S. Special Operations Pacific based at Camp Smith yesterday.

He relieved Maj. Gen. Salvatore F. Cambria, the next deputy director of the Center for Special Operations at the U.S. Special Operations Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

As the head of Pacific Command's special operations, Pybus will oversee nearly 50,000 Green Berets, Navy SEALs, air commandos and special-operations Marines assigned to the Asia-Pacific region.

Pybus was commissioned through the University of Rochester's NROTC program in 1979 and underwent SEAL training in San Diego.

He has participated in SEAL operations in Panama and the Philippines. Pybus commanded Naval Special Warfare Unit 2 in Stuttgart, Germany, in July 1998 and participated in special operations in Sierra Leone, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The command also deployed to support Allied Force operations against the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999.

He commanded Naval Special Warfare Group 1 in Coronado, Calif., in July 2005.

Mental health official to speak

Dr. David L. Shern, president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America, will discuss mental health services, research and reforms from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Argosy University, 1001 Bishop St.

His talk , hosted by Mental Health America of Hawaii, will be in the Hawaii Room, fourth floor, ASB Tower.

Considered one of the nation's top mental health experts, Shern has been principal or co-principal investigator on many mental health research projects.

He has written more than 100 publications in the field. He was founding director of the National Center for the Study of Issues in Public Mental Health, a federally funded research center in the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Reservations are required. Call 521-1846 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Validated parking will cost $1 at the Bishop Square parking lot on Alakea Street.

Monthly airport parking available

The Department of Transportation now offers monthly parking passes at Honolulu Airport.

Fifty Gold Parking Monthly Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $300 a month. The parking stalls will be in the Interisland Terminal and be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, call the Department of Transportation parking office at 861-1260.

Big Island tightens spending

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi signed his first budget, a $387 million spending plan that is 4.1 percent less than this year's budget, according to a news release.

It is the first time the Hawaii County budget has been less than the previous year since 2001, the release said.

The budget did not raise property tax rates despite the prediction that revenue from the county's primary source of funding will decline by $15 million, or 6.5 percent.

The county will continue to fund its free islandwide bus service, and it maintains $1.5 million in funding for nonprofits.

The budget did not fund 55 vacant positions, the most ever left unbudgeted in county history, the release said.

Appointed county personnel will take one furlough day per month in the next fiscal year, saving the county $41,714, the release said.

The budget was approved by the Hawaii County Council on June 2.

Photovoltaic panels installed

The city will install a 100-kilowatt photovoltaic system on three buildings that will save the city $40,000 a year, Mayor Mufi Hannemann announced yesterday.

The panels will be installed on the roofs of three buildings at Halawa Corporation Yard, which houses the Department of Facility Maintenance and Department of Environmental Services.

The system is set to be completed in January and will generate 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, or one-third of the buildings' energy consumption, according to the news release.

“;The city is succeeding in reaching energy and sustainability goals that are both practical and achievable,”; said Hannemann.