POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009

Defense bill nets isles $200 million

The construction of low-Earth-orbit satellites is among defense projects that will bring in nearly $200 million to Hawaii from a House-Senate funding bill compromise, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said.

The projects, which also include improvements at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and tactical weapon systems development, are in the military spending measure for fiscal year 2010, Inouye said in a statement Saturday.

The last of the appropriations bills passed the Senate by a vote of 88-10 with Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Daniel Akaka voting in favor.

The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his expected signature. The measure includes $199.45 million in federal funds for Hawaii, Inouye said.

Details on the satellite project were not immediately available.


Security exercise to involve fighter jets near Kaneohe

F-15 Falcon fighter jets from the Hawaii Air National Guard will fly with Coast Guard H-65 Dolphin helicopters and Civil Air Patrol Cessnas today and tomorrow in a homeland security exercise north of Kaneohe Bay.

An Air Force announcement said the drill is aimed at improving coordination between the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The exercises will take place in early afternoons, said a 13th Air Force spokesman.

The spokesman could not confirm that the exercises relate to the anticipated arrival Wednesday of President Barack Obama and his family. On their previous visit, the Obamas stayed at a private house in Kailua, not far from the Marine Corps Base.


Hawaii freeways ranked 5th worst system in U.S.

Hawaii has the fifth-worst performing highway systems among the 50 states, according to a new report from a libertarian policy organization.

The Reason Foundation's annual highway report found Hawaii state highways in generally poor condition, bridges obsolete and spending on maintenance and administration high.

The report ranked states in 11 performance categories. Hawaii also ranked 46th out of 50 states last year.

North Dakota was rated as having the nation's most cost-effective state highways, followed by New Mexico, Kansas, South Carolina and Montana. Alaska, Rhode Island, California and New Jersey highways were rated worse than Hawaii.


Ceremony to remember those who died homeless

A candlelight ceremony will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. today at Thomas Square Park to honor people who have died homeless in Hawaii.

The event has been organized on National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day by Street Beat, a nonprofit monthly publication with news and information about dealing with homelessness, and its community partners.

Participants may write notes in remembrance of those who have died and they will be tied to a memorial tree. The program will include a light dinner and activities for the children.

For more information, contact Eileen Joyce at 351-7759 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


UH seeking faculty leader for native Hawaiian health

The University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine has launched an international search to find a senior faculty member for the Department of Native Hawaiian Health.

A spokeswoman said Friday that the person selected may also be eligible to be appointed chair of the department.

Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of the medical school, says it is expected the successful candidate will lead the school in addressing the health needs of the native Hawaiian community.

The medical school says the department is the only medical school department in the U.S. dedicated to the health of a native population. The department educates students to become physicians who will work in communities in Hawaii and the Pacific region where medical services are lacking.


Stadium licensing facilities closed on Christmas Eve

Facilities near Aloha Stadium for commercial and motorcycle drivers licensing will be closed on Thursday, Christmas Eve.

The parking lot for operators skills testing will be used for parking for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl football game, state officials said. The office and facilities will reopen for business on Dec. 28.



Army looking into defiling of isle facility

The Army says it is investigating recent acts of vandalism, theft and destruction of government property at its Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island.

The U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, says that it has found it necessary to temporarily prohibit all public hunting in the training area until further notice.

The Army regrets the inconvenience the shutdown will cause wild game hunters.

Officials say they expect to complete their investigation in a timely manner.

Once the investigation is concluded, the Army says a final determination will be made concerning continued use of the area's hunting grounds.