Hurricane Dora close to being downgradedHurricane Dora appears to be going the way of Hurricane Eugene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday.
Hans Rosendal, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, said this morning that Dora is nearing the point of being downgraded, but is still packing winds of 80 mph with gusts to 100 mph.
Dora at 5 a.m. was about 764 miles east-southeast of Hilo. It is expected to pass about 120 miles south of South Point.
Eugene, in the meantime, is south of the Big Island and is "just hanging onto its tropical storm intensity," he said.
The storms brought some showers to parts of the state yesterday, especially Maui, where some areas had 2 inches of rain, Rosendal said.
For drought-stricken areas, "it was a million-dollar rain," he said.
He said today should be "sunny and bright."
Night work might clog Kapiolani-Ward areaMotorists may want to avoid Kapiolani Boulevard near the Ward Avenue intersection as a nighttime route while a Hawaiian Electric Co. project gets under way.
Construction crews will be excavating along the makai side of the street to install a duct line between Kamakee Street and Chapin Lane.
Work will be under way from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
The project will continue through the end of January.
Two lanes will remain open in each direction, according to the utility.
Arts agency director will speak at meetingA town hall meeting on federal initiatives to foster the arts and broaden public access to creative and cultural activities will be held 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Edward Dickey, state and regional director of the National Endowment for the Arts, will speak at the event, sponsored by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
He will discuss the work and plans of the grant-making agency, which was created to support the visual, literary, design and performing arts in America.
MIT professor featured at planning conferenceLawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute pf Technology, will speak at a conference on "Empowering Community: When Values Collide."
The conference, sponsored by the University of Hawaii Department of Urban and Regional Planning, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 28 in the Architecture Auditorium on the UH-Manoa campus.
The conference also will feature a panel of local speakers.
Registration includes lunch and costs $17 for community members and $32 for professionals.
Call 956-7381 for details, or check the Web site at www.durp.hawaii.edu/empower.
Soroptimists donate $10,000 to help womenThe Soroptimist Foundation has given a $10,000 grant to Soroptimist International of Waikiki Inc. to help support the Women's Resource Center.
The center opened in May 1997 and provides a central place where women in transition can get information, training and referrals.
Each month, the center serves more than 300 women who need help with affordable housing, job searches, legal advice and health counseling.
The center, at the Richards Street YWCA, was founded by the Waikiki service club, the YWCA and the Junior League of Honolulu
The Waikiki Soroptimist club was one of 43 clubs to receive a grant from the foundation.
About $250,000 was awarded, in sums ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for projects that benefit women.
Police, Fire, Courts
By Star-Bulletin staff
Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers
House fire in Waianae believed set by arsonistFire investigators have determined that arson was the cause of a house fire in Waianae yesterday.
A girl was upstairs at her Paheehee Road home when she smelled smoke at 12:45 p.m., police said. When she saw the fire, she attempted to put it out with a garden hose before fire crews arrived.
About $4,000 damage was reported. No arrests have been made.
Rescuers to search for missing biker todayA mountain biker had to spend the night in the hills mauka of Mililani Memorial Park last night.
Mililani fire Capt. Michael Jewett said the bicyclist had a cellular phone and called 911.
"Unfortunately, his battery died before we got a location on him," Jewett said.
Plans were to look for the missing man at first light today. He took his mountain bike on trails behind the cemetery and went further back than he expected to get, Jewett said.
Four arrested during drug raids on Big IsleHILO -- Big Island police have seized a total of 9,484 marijuana plants in the Puna and south Hilo districts as part of an eradication program, Hawaii County announced yesterday.
Also helping in the seizures were police from Honolulu and Maui and officials from the state conservation enforcement division and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Police on Wednesday also seized 543 marijuana plants, after executing a search warrant of a Paradise Park residence. Arrested and released pending further investigation were a man and woman, both 38, a 17-year-old male and a 15-year-old female.
During the search of the residence, police also seized .6 grams of crystal methamphetamine, more than two ounces of dried marijuana, and marijuana seeds, police said.
Bank robbery suspect strikes another bankThe FBI and Honolulu police are searching for a man who robbed the Kapiolani branch of First Hawaiian Bank yesterday afternoon.
The suspect is the same person who robbed the Kapiolani branch of City Bank on Tuesday, according to the FBI.
He entered First Hawaiian Bank at 5:47 p.m., gave the teller a demand note and bag, pointed a gun and left the 1580 Kapiolani Blvd. location with an undisclosed sum.
The suspect is described as a Caucasian male in his mid-30s, about 5-feet-8 and 180 pounds.
Friday's holdup was the 24th bank robbery in Hawaii this year.