POSTED: Monday, June 08, 2009

Public health grants offered

Applications for grants for public health education and research projects will be accepted through Friday by the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

Nonprofit organizations related to public health in Oahu may apply.

The chamber's Public Health Fund committee will give preference to projects that are collaborative, a release said.

The fund has its roots in the bubonic plague epidemic that closed Honolulu Harbor in 1899. In an effort to exterminate disease-spreading rats from the wharfs, a committee of shipping company representatives and importers chipped in 10 cents per imported ton for pest control.

Recent grants have been awarded for AIDS education, mental health programs and cholesterol and diabetes screening.

To receive an application packet, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit the chamber's Web site at


Manta rays win protection from state

Gov. Linda Lingle has signed a measure that establishes criminal penalties and administrative fines for knowingly killing or capturing manta rays within state waters.

House Bill 366 allows capture of the marine animals only for educational, scientific, management and propagation purposes. A special state permit will be required.

There is no immediate threat to manta rays in Hawaii waters, but there is growing demand in some Asian countries for their gill rakers, which are dried and used to produce traditional Asian medicine. They also are hunted for food and are being captured for display in aquariums.


Plastic pollution in seas topic of talk

Anthony Andrady, one of the world's leading authorities on plastic pollution in the oceans, will discuss the persistent problem in a presentation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today in the state Capitol auditorium.

The Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii invites the public to the free event in celebration of World Ocean Day.

Andrady is senior research scientist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina and adjunct professor of chemical engineering at North Carolina State University.

He serves on the United Nations Environmental Program Committee. He has more than 100 published papers and has edited and written three books, including “;Plastics and the Environment.”; He will discuss the problems of sea life ingesting micro-plastic particles, the concentration of toxic pollutants from sea water in plastic and how toxins are accumulating in the food chain.


Colombian ship open for tours

The Colombian navy training ship Arc Gloria will make its fifth visit to the islands when it docks at Honolulu Harbor's Pier 8 this morning. The 249-foot, three-masted vessel has a crew of 170. It will be here until Thursday, when it leaves for Japan. The ship will be open for public tours from 9 to 11 a.m. today, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday, and 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday.


State still investigating tower collapse

State labor safety officials are continuing their investigation of the collapse of a cooling tower at Campbell Industrial Park that killed a demolition worker last month.

“;The job site is closed off, and we're currently investigating the situation,”; said Ryan Markham, spokesman for the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division, last week.

Juan Jose Navarro, 54, of El Monte, Calif., was buried under the structure. His co-worker managed to escape in time. Both men worked for AG Transport of California and were contracted by Hawaiian Cement Co.

It is uncertain when the investigation will be completed, said Markham, but a federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration official has been sent from Washington, D.C., to help with the investigation.

Hearing in Kaloko case is delayed

A hearing to determine whether the state attorney general's office should be disqualified from prosecuting landowner James Pflueger has been delayed until tomorrow.

A Kauai grand jury indicted Pflueger, a retired car dealer, in November on seven counts of manslaughter in the deaths of seven people who were killed when the Kaloko dam broke in March 2006.

Pflueger has pleaded not guilty. Lawyer William McCorriston has said the state is trying to make Pflueger a scapegoat and escape its own liability for the break.



Kekaha gets input on use of $650,000

Kekaha residents will be surveyed on how to use $650,000 appropriated last year by the Kauai County Council as compensation for effects of the upcoming expansion of the Kekaha Landfill.

Residents and property owners can expect to receive the survey sometime this month either by mail or house-to-house distribution.

Jose Bulatao, vice chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Kekaha Host Community Benefits program, said residents are invited to an organizational meeting Wednesday.

The meeting, which includes a potluck dinner, will be held be at 6 p.m. at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center prior to a regularly scheduled E Ola Mau na Leo o Kekaha meeting.

“;This is a great opportunity for community building,”; Bulatao said.

For more information, contact Beth Tokioka at 241-4900 or via e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).