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POSTED: Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nacino elevated to circuit judge

The state Senate unanimously confirmed District Judge Edwin Nacino on Friday as a circuit judge for Oahu.

Nacino, a former Honolulu police officer and deputy prosecutor, serves as “;an inspiration to others,”; said Attorney General Mark Bennett.

“;He grew up in a sugar plantation camp on Kauai and in public housing on Oahu,”; Bennett said. “;He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii while working full time as a police officer.”;

The nomination by Gov. Linda Lingle did spark some controversy. Hawaii Women Lawyers noted that of the 17 judicial appointments made by Lingle, only five have been women.

“;We are concerned that in terms of judicial gender equity, we are moving backward instead of forward and fear that the great strides made in the past are becoming undone,”; the group's president, Joanne Grimes, said in testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

$1M gift to be used for visiting professorship

An anonymous $1 million gift will be used to establish an endowment to fund a visiting professorship at the College of Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The Board of Regents on Thursday approved the acceptance of the gift and the naming of the endowment as the Dr. Alfred A. Yee Visiting Professorship in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Yee, president of the Applied Technology Corp., organized an early precast/prestressed concrete mass-production facility in the U.S. and developed structural concepts and construction techniques widely used in the construction of high-rises, bridges and marine concrete vessels.

The endowment will fund the visits of distinguished professors to teach undergraduate students in the civil and environmental engineering programs.

UH to add new degree in computer engineering

The University of Hawaii at Manoa will offer a new degree next fall after the Board of Regents gave approval to add a bachelor's degree in computer engineering.

The program will train graduates in designing, analyzing, and integrating computer hardware and software.

The regents also confirmed two other degrees that had been offered on a provisional basis by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The bachelor's in tropical plant and soil sciences was provisionally approved in 2001 and currently has 45 majors. The degree emphasizes modern plant production strategies and the adaptation and application of biotechnology that is environmentally and economically sustainable.

The natural resources and environmental management bachelor's was first offered in 2001 and now has 50 students enrolled in studying the physical, chemical, biological, economic, social and policy elements of natural resources management.

According to its Web site, UH-Manoa offers bachelor's degrees in 87 fields.

Astronomy party to be held at Hamilton Library

Residents are invited to drink hot chocolate and view the sky from 6 to 8 tonight on the Hamilton Library lawn at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The Institute for Astronomy and the library are sponsoring the International Year of Astronomy 2009 star party.

Telescopes will be trained on stars, the planet Jupiter and waxing crescent moon, weather permitting. Visitors also can see the exhibit “;The Universe: Yours to Discover”; in the Hamilton Library Bridge Gallery.

Campus parking is free.

Kauai Coffee balks again at landfill

KALAHEO, KAUAI » Kauai Coffee Co. has renewed its objections to locating a proposed landfill on a section of land it cultivates in Kalaheo.

In choosing the 127-acre site in August, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. followed the recommendation of an advisory panel composed of community members. It ranked the site owned by Alexander & Baldwin No. 1 among seven location options.

Kauai Coffee President Wayne Katayama says a landfill shouldn't be located on property in agricultural production.

Katayama says an additional 100 acres could be needed to serve as a buffer to protect coffee crops from what he called “;fugitive trash.”;

He says yet another 100 acres could be pulled out of production because the landfill would cut off access to roads and water.