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POSTED: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Storm should go south of isles

The National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Hilda, which formed in the eastern Pacific yesterday, is expected to pass south of the islands on Thursday.

The storm was still a long way from Hawaii last night—1,175 miles east-southeast of Hilo—and was moving west at 9 miles per hour.

Hilda had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph yesterday and will most likely remain a tropical storm, although there is a small chance of it becoming a hurricane by Thursday or Friday.

Chafee headed back to isles

The Pearl Harbor-based guided missile destroyer USS Chafee is on its way home from deployment to the western Pacific.

Navy officials say the Chafee is due to arrive tomorrow.

It departed Feb. 24 and operated with the USS John C. Stennis, USS Blue Ridge, USS Harpers Ferry and the Royal Thai navy's aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Narubet.

During its deployment, the Chafee participated in a number of exercises, including Malabar 2009 off Sasebo, Japan. It was a multilateral exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Indian navy.

The Navy says another exercise, CARAT 2009, gave the Chafee an opportunity to train with Southeast Asian navies, including those of the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

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Grant will help house foster kids

A $1 million federal grant has been awarded to Hawaii to help provide housing for 18-year-old foster kids aging out of the system on Oahu.

State Human Services Director Lillian Koller said the money will be used for Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers so foster children turning 18 without a permanent family do not become homeless.

“;These youth on Oahu will now have a better chance of getting stable housing and be much more likely to avoid homelessness,”; she said in a news release.

About 150 youths leave the foster care system every year when they turn 18.

The Human Services Department and Hawaii Public Housing Authority worked with county mayors to apply for the funds.

Job program aids 4 with disabilities

A statewide summer employment program for students with disabilities resulted in permanent jobs for four participants, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division announced.

The Human Services Department division had 68 summer employment participants with disabilities such as learning disorders, autism, mental retardation and blindness.

Two were hired as on-call food service workers at Good News Hawaii; one was employed as a maintenance worker at Koolau Farmers; and another was hired as a warehouse clerk at Hawaiian Island Solar, the division reported.

More than $132,000 in funding under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 was provided for the six-week program.

The state Department of Education's Special Education Section collaborated with the program to help students shift from school into the job market.

Most participants received at least minimum wage and worked a minimum of 12 hours a week for 30 days or more in jobs such as clerical, food service, gardening, farming, landscaping, auto detailing, warehousing, custodial services and security.