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For Friday, September 17, 2010

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Traffic advisory

The state Department of Transportation advises motorists that the right west-bound lane on Ala Moana Boulevard between Atkinson Drive and Piikoi Street will be closed from 9 p.m. tomorrow through 7 a.m. Sunday, for concrete pavement work.

2 plead guilty in sex-trafficking case

The last two defendants accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution and advertising her services on Craigslist have agreed to plea deals with federal prosecutors.

Anthony T. Fuller, 21, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court yesterday to one count of sex trafficking of a minor. He faces a maximum life prison term with a mandatory minimum of 10 years when a federal judge sentences him in January.

The last defendant, Marcus Xavier Arrington, was scheduled to plead guilty this morning.

Three others have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

The victim told police the defendants, all in their early 20s, prostituted her in December 2008 after she ran away from home.

Gas leak prompts school evacuation

Keaau High School was temporarily evacuated yesterday because of a propane gas leak that left one student ill, Big Island firefighters said.

Firefighters responded to a report of a gas smell about 9:30 a.m. and found students and staff already evacuated from Building H.

School staff shut off the gas valve to Building H, which still had a strong odor of propane gas when firefighters arrived, firefighters said.

A 16-year-old girl who complained of nausea and vomiting was taken to the Hilo Medical Center, firefighters said.

A fire hazmat crew and the Gas Co. determined the area was safe and the students were allowed back into the building, firefighters said.

The cause of the leak was not determined.

UH awarded $9.2M grant

The University of Hawaii at Manoa said Wednesday that it was awarded a $9.2 million federal grant to help build a biomedical research base and to support early-career researchers trying to become independent scientists.

The three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will support researchers and programs at UH-Manoa, Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University, as well as several community colleges within the UH system.

Gary Ostrander, UH-Manoa vice chancellor for research and graduate education, called it an "exciting chance" for Hawaii institutions to bring their talent together.

In addition, researchers at the new University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy will work with researchers on Oahu to give the college a jump-start as it builds research capabilities and infrastructure, UH-Manoa said in a news release.

The IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence grant "also provides educational and training opportunities for undergraduates to be part of a pipeline of students interested in pursuing careers in the health sciences," it said.

Teacher gets research funds

The National Science Foundation has awarded a University of Hawaii physics professor nearly $220,000 to develop a new type of particle detector.

The funds will support the first year of assistant professor Sven Vahsen's three-year project.

The University of Hawaii said in a news release Monday the particle detector would record the trajectories of electrically charged particles in three dimensions, with unprecedented precision.

The same underlying technology may also enable the directional detection of neutral particles -- such as dark matter particles left over from the Big Bang.

UH recently hired Vahsen from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Vahsen received his doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 2003.

Health records aid granted

Hawaii and three other states are receiving federal matching funds for the electronic health record incentives program.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday that Hawaii's Medicaid program will receive about $836,000 for planning activities necessary to implement the program.

North Dakota is to get $226,000, Ohio nearly $2.3 million and Massachusetts some $3.5 million under the electronic health record incentives program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The program is designed to make health care more efficient.

Officials say the records make it easier for the many providers who may be treating a Medicaid patient to coordinate care.

Magic Island open today

Magic Island, which was to be closed yesterday afternoon through tomorrow morning, will remain open, city officials said.

Filming for the $200 million Universal Studios feature film "Battleship" was to take place at the beach, but was postponed.

Filming at the site will be rescheduled, officials said yesterday morning.

Chef named to travel group

Hawaii restaurateur and chef Roy Yamaguchi has been named to the board of directors of the Corporation for Travel Promotion.

The founder of Roy's Restaurant was one of 11 travel and tourism industry leaders appointed to the board last Friday by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

The group is a new nonprofit corporation charged with promoting travel to the U.S. and improving the entry process so visitors want to return.

Bands vie for 'Five-0' fame

Marching bands from the University of Hawaii and 40 other colleges have signed up to enter a contest for the best "Hawaii Five-0" song.

CBS Television Network is sponsoring the competition. The winner will receive $25,000 and have their winning performance broadcast on CBS.

Bands must upload a video of their performance at the CBS College Sports site by Sunday.

Starting Monday, the public will be allowed to view the videos and vote for the best one. Votes will be counted through Oct. 4.

The winning band's video clip is due to be broadcast during a break of the Oct. 11 episode of the TV series.

The competing bands are from colleges in 33 states.

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