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For Sunday, September 26, 2010

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


GOP hopefuls at forum

The Republican candidates for the state's top two posts are set to meet voters today in Mililani. Gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona and lieutenant governor contender Lynn Finnegan will hold the gathering at 6 p.m. at Mililani High School. Aiona is the incumbent lieutenant governor and Finnegan is a state representative.

Center earns grant for climate study

A federal agency has awarded $3.8 million to the East-West Center to help Hawaii and several Pacific island nations cope with the effects of climate changes.

The five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be used to bring together scientists and decision-makers to help Pacific communities respond to changing climates, East-West spokesman Derek Ferrar said.

The areas included in the Pacific Regional Integrated Science and Assessment program are the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau and American Samoa.

Boat grounded outside Keehi Lagoon

A 52-foot sailboat ran aground on the reef in front of Keehi Lagoon near the entrance to Keehi Harbor about 10:22 a.m. yesterday, a fire official said.

Three people aboard the boat swam ashore and were not injured, said Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha.

The Coast Guard said there did not appear to be an oil leak caused by the grounding.

6 islands under high-surf advisory

The National Weather Service yesterday issued a high-surf advisory for the north and west shores of Kauai and Niihau and the north shores of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island.

Waves of 12 to 15 feet are expected -- the product of a strong low-pressure system in the North Pacific, the weather service said.

The advisory was to begin at midnight last night and expire at 6 a.m. tomorrow. High surf will produce rip currents and localized beach erosion, the agency warned.

Navy argues against Jones Act repeal

The Navy is opposing legislation in Congress that would scrap the 90-year-old Jones Act.

The law requires vessels transporting goods between states to have been built in the United States, be crewed and owned by U.S. citizens, and fly the U.S. flag.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's measure would abolish those rules, which he says raise prices for consumers and farmers.

But the Navy says the act's repeal will erode the U.S. shipbuilding industry and hamper the service's ability to meet strategic ocean transport requirements and Navy shipbuilding.

U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican from Hawaii, also supports ending the Jones Act. But Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye and Rep. Mazie Hirono back it.

Agriculture agents breed ohelo berry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with public and private partners, has released the first selectively bred variety of the traditionally difficult-to-harvest ohelo berry.

Ohelo, part of the cranberry family, is a popular ingredient in jams, jellies and pies. However, collecting the coveted shrub berry has typically required a jaunt into the upper elevations of Maui and the Big Island.

In an effort to minimize disruption to the fragile environments in which ohelo grows, horticulturist Francis Zee of the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center worked with other scientists and representatives from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Big Island Candies and the Big Island Association of Nurserymen to develop a ohelo variety suitable for small farm production and ornamental use.

The new variety or cultivar, dubbed "Kilauea," was derived from seed-grown plants.

Zee and his team found that some seedlings flowered just 10 months after germination and 16-month-old plants transplanted from the greenhouse to the field produced berries a year later.

High court reinstates Maui attorney

A Maui attorney can practice law again after being reinstated by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

The Maui News reported that the court issued an order of reinstatement for Thomas LePage, 60, on Sept. 14. LePage was suspended in 2001 and later disbarred for a felony drug conviction.

LePage, a graduate of California Western School of Law, was admitted to the Hawaii bar in October 1985.

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