POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

Hurricane to hit northwest atoll

Hurricane Neki remained on target and was expected to hit French Frigate Shoals of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at 2 a.m. today, National Weather Service forecaster Henry Lau said last night.

On Wednesday a Coast Guard C-130 plane and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship evacuated 17 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers and volunteers, construction workers and three monk seal researchers from Tern Island in the French Frigate Shoals and Laysan Island.

Neki was expected to have sustained winds of 100 mph with higher gusts at French Frigate Shoals. Last night Neki was a Category 2 hurricane. Earlier in the day it was a Category 3 hurricane.

Forecasters expected the storm to continue weakening as it moves toward the north-northeast and then northeast over the next two days.

Inouye now third longest serving

Hawaii's Sen. Daniel Inouye received congratulations from the president and the entire U.S. Senate for becoming the third-longest-serving senator in the nation's history.

President Barack Obama called Inouye yesterday, and the senator also was lauded by both his fellow Democrats and Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Inouye is an American hero for his service to the country in the military and in Washington.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky calls Inouye “;an inspiration”; to senators and everyday Americans.

Hawaii's other U.S. senator, Daniel Akaka, praised Inouye's dedication to public service.

Only West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd and the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond have had longer Senate careers than Inouye.

Airline pilot to challenge Hirono

A commercial airline pilot and retired Navy officer has announced his candidacy for the Republican Party's nomination for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District.

John Willoughby hopes to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat.

The 51-year-old Willoughby was born in Missouri and joined the Navy out of high school. He later attended the University of Utah and rejoined the military, serving in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines.

He has been a United Airlines pilot since 1998.

Willoughby lives in Honolulu with his wife, Yong Hui, and two sons.

His Web site advocates lower taxes and smaller government.

The 2nd Congressional District includes rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Resort makes deal in Kauai land transfer

LIHUE » The Kauai County Council has unanimously approved a plan that would transfer 138 acres of beachfront land to the county at no cost to taxpayers.

In exchange for the land, the Kauai Lagoons Resort would be granted four land use amendments to expand its development project.

Council Chairman Bill “;Kaipo”; Asing described the parcel Wednesday as a “;unique coastal resource”; and called the deal “;a win-win situation.”;

Former Mayor JoAnn Yukimura says the land will likely be used one day for Phase 6 of Ke Ala Hele Makalae multiuse coastal path, between Ahukini and Nawiliwili.

She says the land will go along with the idea of forming a so-called “;lei of green”; around the island as a buffer between development and the ocean.