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POSTED: Sunday, December 27, 2009

State to close some parks early on Dec. 31

The state plans to close several state parks early on New Year's Eve to prevent people from using them to set off fireworks.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says it will close the Puu Ualakaa State Park off Round Top Drive in Makiki at 4 p.m. It normally closes at 6:45 p.m.

The park will reopen at 7 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The state is also closing Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park on the Big Island at 5:30 p.m. The parks usually are open until 8 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

Fireworks are prohibited in state parks.

Input sought on plans for disaster mitigation

The city is asking for comments on a disaster mitigation plan that identifies possible disasters, such as flash flooding, high winds, tsunamis and hurricanes, on Oahu.

Comments are needed to complete the plan, called the Cities Multi-Hazard Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan, to receive federal disaster assistance funding, a city news release said.

To comment, visit the Department of Emergency Management Web site at http://www.oahudem.org and click on the “;disaster preparedness survey”; link. The survey will end in February.

Literacy rate dropping in Honolulu, study says

A study by Central Connecticut State University says Honolulu isn't as literate as it was last year.

It slipped six places to 28th among the nation's 75 largest cities. Seattle topped the list, while El Paso, Texas, trailed in the study. The study uses six indicators to measure literacy.

Honolulu was 68th in bookstores per 10,000 population; 12th in high school diplomas and four-year college degrees; and tied for 34th in Web resources.

The city was also 29th in libraries and utilization; tied for 33rd in newspaper circulation; and 18th in periodicals published.

State seeking opinions on transportation

A state-sponsored telephone survey about transportation statewide continues through February.

The survey is expected to gather opinions about the state's transportation system and incorporate the information into an updated Hawaii Statewide Transportation Plan in the fall.

State transportation director Brennon Morioka said officials hope residents will take the time to answer the survey questions.

Consultant SMS Research is conducting the 1,200 telephone surveys as well as 25 in-depth interviews with under-represented groups that may not be reached through the survey, such as the homeless and the handicapped, the state said.