POSTED: Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New deputy fire chief assumes post

Rolland Harvest was sworn in yesterday as deputy fire chief, succeeding recently retired Alvin Tomita.

The new deputy chief will be managing and supervising the Honolulu Fire Department's executive staff and will serve as the department's liaison with other agencies.

The 27-year Fire Department veteran was promoted from assistant chief of fire operations. He held that position, in which he oversaw the daily field and emergency operations, for three years.

Harvest has worked in Leeward Oahu for the majority of his career and served as a battalion chief for four years.


Greenwood open to talks with faculty

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood says she is willing to talk with the faculty union to break an impasse over a 6.7 percent pay cut being imposed in the next faculty paycheck on Jan. 15.

But Greenwood, in a letter to faculty posted on the UH Web site, said she believes UH has the legal authority to reduce salaries and impose a new contract and declined to rescind the salary cuts.

On Monday the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly filed a class grievance with Greenwood, demanding she stop implementing the pay cuts, pending arbitration.

“;I prefer to settle, rather than to litigate, and if you feel the same, please let me know,”; Greenwood said in a letter yesterday to J.N. Musto, UHPA's executive director.

Because the class grievance is a legal issue, Greenwood said the university's attorneys are sending a separate response to it.


Aiona calls for new elections position

Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona Jr. is pushing for Hawaii to establish a secretary of state position in charge of elections.

Aiona said yesterday he will propose a constitutional amendment during this year's legislative session for an elected, nonpartisan secretary of state.

He said a secretary of state would be more accountable to voters, help improve voter turnout and restore confidence in the election system. Voters elect secretaries of state in charge of elections in 38 other states.

Aiona said voters should have more control over how elections are run.

The Elections Commission currently is made up of individuals selected by legislators. The commission appoints the chief election officer, who runs the Office of Elections.

Aiona, a Republican, is running for governor this year.


OHA to air TV specials on Akaka Bill

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is continuing its support of the so-called Akaka Bill with two live television specials this month.

The first will air tomorrow on KITV. It will feature community leaders discussing the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009.

The second, also on KITV, is set for Jan. 14, with experts addressing the legal implications of the bill, which would let native Hawaiians establish their own government.

OHA Chief Executive Officer Clyde Namuo said Monday that the bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is complicated, and OHA wants to help Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians understand what it means.



Coqui frog researcher joins UH-Hilo

A coqui frog expert who developed a Prozac-like drug to combat the alien pests' annoying chirps has joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Gary Ten Eyck, from New York University, will continue his research at the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy, the university said yesterday in an announcement.

Ten Eyck said he hopes his research will aid in the understanding of the reproductive biology of the frogs.

“;Some people love them, some people hate them,”; he said. “;As a biologist, I just find them very interesting.”;

Studies in Ten Eyck's laboratories have linked the noises that male coquis make at night to territorial or aggressive behavior.

“;We have also found that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, such as Prozac, has profound effects on the development of male social and aggressive behavior,”; Ten Eyck said. “;Frogs that are given this drug in our laboratory study typically do not develop calling or aggressive behaviors.”;