POSTED: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Japanese translators needed for marathon

The Honolulu Marathon is looking for 150 Japanese translators to volunteer at the event's medical stations.

Translators for the 26.2-mile race on Dec. 13 will work closely with doctors and nurses, marathon officials said.

Last year 14,407 Japanese runners entered the race, but officials expect between 14,500 and 15,000 this year.

Officials are looking for college and prep school students to serve as volunteers. Translators will work from 4 to 9:30 a.m. and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call Michelle Hashimoto at 741-5854.

State's warning sirens will sound this morning

The state's monthly test of its siren and emergency alert system will be held at 11:45 a.m. today.

The two tests are conducted simultaneously on the first working day of each month.

Both are used to alert the public to any emergency that is a potential threat to life and property.

Hawaii places third in ethics requirements

A government watchdog group gives Hawaii an A grade for financial disclosure requirements for state legislators.

The Center for Public Integrity surveyed states about what lawmakers are required to make public about their income and assets.

The States of Disclosure report, released earlier this year, ranks Hawaii third in the nation for its ethics laws.

Hawaii dropped from second in the nation in the last survey in 2006. Louisiana passed Hawaii to take the top spot after Gov. Bobby Jindal, who ran on a clean-government platform, pushed for passage of new financial disclosure laws.

Dan Mollway, director of the state Ethics Commission, said Hawaii has been a leader in this area since the commission was established in 1967. Hawaii was the first state to have an ethics commission, Mollway said.

Most other states established ethics commission in the 1970s, after the Watergate scandal, he said.

Financial disclosure is “;an extremely effective enforcement tool”; to prevent conflicts of interests by lawmakers, Mollway said.

People can see and decide for themselves whether lawmakers are acting in the public interest or their own, he said.

Filing a false form is also a crime, Mollway noted.

The center's report noted that while Louisiana jumped from 44th place to first, 20 states still received failing grades, and three states—Idaho, Michigan and Vermont—have no disclosure requirements at all.

Big Isle farms will receive federal help

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the Big Island a primary natural disaster area because of losses farmers suffered from volcanic emissions this year.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said yesterday that he and President Barack Obama understand the emissions from Kilauea volcano caused serious harm to farms.

Vilsack says the designation will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses in the cut flower and fresh produce industries.

The Big Island was designated a natural disaster area last Tuesday.

The action makes qualified farm operators eligible for low-interest emergency loans.