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POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

3 islands under flood advisory

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch yesterday for Oahu, Kauai and Niihau through this afternoon.

Forecasters say an upper-level low-pressure system near Kauai is creating instability over the west end of the state, causing locally heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms to form.

A flash flood watch means that conditions could develop that lead to flash flooding.

Meanwhile, a high-surf advisory is in effect for the east-facing shores of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, the windward shores of Maui and the Hilo-Hamakua Coast.

The National Weather Service said a large east-northeast swell generated by Tropical Storm Guillermo will build rapidly along exposed windward shores through today. Surf of 6 to 9 feet is expected.

Guillermo was weakening as it moved far north of the islands yesterday, the weather service said.

Kona Airport to add screening lane

A new passenger security screening lane will open at Kona Airport next month to improve peak-hour service, the state Department of Transportation said yesterday.

There are two security lanes at the North Terminal, and a third will open between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, and Saturday evenings, the department said.

The Transportation Security Administration estimates that more than 2,200 passengers go through the North Terminal daily, with more than 900 of them checking in at midday.

Additional improvements to the North Terminal include connecting the two roofs between the existing security lanes and retail area, widening the walkway and installing new screening equipment. The department expects these renovations to be completed by the end of this month.

Army to push animals from Pohakuloa

HILO » The Army will not be shooting wild sheep, goats and pigs that roam in a newly fenced 5,300 acres of the Pohakuloa Training Area.

Instead, the Army plans to form a group of volunteers to drive the animals out of the region.

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii says the animals will disperse to adjacent hunting areas, where they will be available as game.

But the project means the end of hunting for hoofed animals within the Kipuka Kalawamauna North Fence Unit, located in the northwest portion Pohakuloa. Hunting for birds and public access to the fenced unit will continue.

In 2003 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mandated fencing units and removing the feral animals.

New general to lead Pacific Air Forces

Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary L. North will become the next commander of Pacific Air Forces this morning, replacing Gen. Carrol H. “;Howie”; Chandler.

Chandler will become the Air Force's vice chief of staff at the Pentagon. North is coming to Hickam Air Force Base after serving as commander of 9th Air Force, Air Combat Command and U.S. Central Command Air Forces at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

North will be promoted to general and receive his fourth star before this morning's change-of-command ceremony. He is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, primarily in the F-4 Phantom, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon combat jets.

He flew 54 combat missions during Operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch.

As the head of Pacific Air Forces, North also will serve as the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and executive director of the Pacific Air Combat operations staff at Hickam.

North will command 45,000 military and civilian personnel serving in nine installations in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Guam and South Korea.

There are about 300 fighter and attack aircraft assigned to PACAF in the 5th Air Force at Yokota Air Base in Japan; 7th Air Force at Osan Air Base in South Korea; the 11th Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; and 13th Air Force at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

Events restart after raceway vandalism

PUUNENE, Maui » Maui Raceway Park is set to stage drag races this coming weekend, just two weeks after vandals wrecked and tore down structures.

Ken Sylva is president of the Valley Isle Timing Association, which uses the drag strip. He initially said drag racing might have to be canceled for the rest of the year.

He is praising the efforts of volunteers, donors, unions and businesses for getting Maui Raceway Park back in shape so quickly.

Police say a tractor stolen from a nearby field was used to knock down the structures at the track.