POSTED: Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gonzales will not lead USS Chafee

The Navy has reassigned the executive officer of a Pearl Harbor destroyer who was to take over the USS Chafee's command.

A Navy statement yesterday said Cmdr. Larry Gonzales has been “;detached for cause.”;

The move came Friday, the same day Gonzales was to take command of the Chafee.

The statement said that as a result of an investigation by Destroyer Squadron 31, commanders have “;lost confidence”; in Gonzales' ability to lead and command. It did not elaborate.

The statement said Gonzales is being temporarily reassigned to a shore command pending further administrative actions.

The Chafee's current captain, Cmdr. Heedong Choi, will retain command until his replacement arrives in early spring.


Grant will go to train PUC workers

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission employees will receive training to understand and oversee electricity-related projects under a $782,834 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The award is part of the $44 million being distributed to state public utility commissions under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The money will supplement state appropriations for hiring temporary staff and training employees to ensure effective oversight in areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, transmission lines, energy storage and demand response equipment.

The money “;will provide our staff with the opportunity to increase their knowledge in the rapidly evolving electric industry, further facilitating our ability to make efficient and sound regulatory decisions,”; said Carlito Caliboso, PUC chairman, in a news release.


Kailua company awarded $150,000

Makai Ocean Engineering has been awarded $149,993 by the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Announcing the grant, U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye said the Kailua company's ocean thermal energy conversion project was one of 12 selected from 950 applicants for advanced water power technology development.

Companies demonstrating successful results will be eligible for a second phase of grants next summer.

Akaka said the funding “;will help test new techniques that could reduce costs and broaden the market for this promising technology.”;

Inouye added: “;We must continue to expand our use of renewable, sustainable sources of energy that take advantage of Hawaii's unique access to the ocean. These funds will help research needed to diminish our use of imported oil.”;



Tobacco sting on Kauai nets no violations

Kauai businesses targeted by trained minors trying to buy cigarettes passed the test with flying colors, according to a news release from Kauai County.

The underage sting operators tried to buy tobacco products at 40 businesses last week, and none of them were successful, the news release said.

“;We are extremely pleased that many local businesses are complying with the law prohibiting tobacco sales to minors,”; said Kauai Police Assistant Chief Roy Asher.

The so-called compliance check was conducted by the department's Youth Services Section with funding from the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii.