POSTED: Friday, October 16, 2009

Johnson joins Education rally

Musician Jack Johnson will perform at a rally next Friday at the state Capitol organized by parents opposed to the state's decision to shut Hawaii's public schools on “;Furlough Fridays.”;

The rally will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and feature speakers as well as musicians including Johnson, said Jennifer Moy, volunteer coordinator for Hawaii Education Matters, which is planning the event. Participants will also deliver a petition to state officials that day, the first scheduled “;Furlough Friday.”; The group is organizing buses to bring parents and children from across the island to the rally.

“;We're still actively recruiting volunteers,”; Moy said. “;We need a lot of parents to pull off the rally. There is a place on our Web site where they can e-mail us to help.”;

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3,700 acres on Oahu bought for conservation

A local family and a Hawaii island landowner have teamed up to buy a large tract of land on Oahu from the Joseph Campbell Co. for conservation use.

The Gill-Olson joint venture bought about 3,700 acres of ranch, agricultural and preservation land for $15 million, said Tony Gill, son of the late Lt. Gov. Tom Gill. The sale closed on Sept. 30.

The land stretches from Camp Timberline near Kahe power plant in Nanakuli along Nanakuli Valley and Mauna Kapu toward Makakilo. It includes Kahe Ranch and Palehua Ranch.

Edmund Olson is chairman of A-American Storage Management Co., the seventh-largest storage company in the country.

“;One of the goals we have for the land is to transition back to native species as much as possible,”; Gill said. “;It's precious mountainside. It has a variety of potentials that are consistent with pre-existing land use and agricultural land use.”;

The land purchase was made in conjunction with the Trust for Public Land, which bought 3,578 acres adjacent to the Gill-Olson property, running along the Waianae Range to Schofield Barracks.


State to get $29 million for energy, flood work

Energy and flood projects in Hawaii will receive more than $29 million in federal funding.

The funds are proposed in the final fiscal year 2010 energy and water appropriations measure that the U.S. Senate approved yesterday.

The legislation would spend $6 million each on a renewable-energy development venture, a biomass energy program and an effort to produce at least 70 percent of Hawaii's energy from renewable sources by 2030.

It also would provide $2 million to rehabilitate the Waiahole and Kokee irrigation systems and lesser amounts for storm surge, hurricane evacuation, flood control and other water-related studies and programs.

The spending provisions were sponsored by Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye.


Coast Guard cutter back in Hilo after repairs

The 110-foot Coast Guard cutter Kiska is back its home port in Hilo after nearly six months in dry dock at the Marisco Shipyard in Kapolei.

Lt. Charlotte Mundy, the Kiska's commanding officer, said, “;The entire crew worked hard to get the work done and the ship into good shape. Now we're looking forward to patrols again from Hilo and resuming our ties in the community.”;

The 20-member Kiska crew left Hilo March 25 for Oahu for dry-docking preparations. The maintenance period was originally scheduled for two months but was significantly extended to replace portions of the hull that were severely degraded.

Other work projects included maintenance and repair of mechanical systems and preservation of storage tanks. In addition, both of the ship's service diesel generators were replaced by Coast Guard personnel.



Farm infested with Maui's first fire ants

Fire ants, an invasive species, have been found on Maui for the first time.

The state Department of Agriculture says the little ant was spotted at a farm in Waihee earlier this month. So far, the infestation is confined to a half-acre area on the farm.

The department said yesterday it is developing an eradication program.

The tiny pale-orange ants are native to South America and have been on Hawaii island since 1999.

Experts believe the ants may have been brought in from southern Florida, where they are common, traveling on infested potted plants.

The ants wipe out other ant species and ground bugs in the area they colonize.