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Newswatch

For Sunday, April 10, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:

Tsunami aid offered

People whose property was damaged in the March 11 tsunami can meet with representatives of more than a dozen federal, state and county agencies at a Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center open tomorrow and Tuesday at Keehi Small Boat Harbor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Officials can provide information on loans, insurance, tax relief and other assistance. Call Hawaii State Civil Defense at 733-4300.

Flight turns around after bird strike

An Alaska Airlines jet from California heading to Maui turned around yesterday morning after a bird flew into the engine, a company spokesman said.

Flight 869, a full flight with 157 passengers and six crew members, took off from Sacramento about 10 a.m. California time, but turned around shortly thereafter.

"As it was climbing from the airport, the aircraft did strike a bird, which was ingested into the left port engine," said Paul McElroy, an airline spokesman in Seattle. Following standard procedure, the plane returned to the airport and landed normally, he said.

No one was hurt. Mechanics were inspecting the Boeing 737-800 and will make any repairs.

Alaska Air brought in another aircraft to fly the passengers to Kahului. That plane arrived at 4:40 p.m., more than four hours late.

"We take this very seriously," McElroy said. "It's just one of those things that happens from time to time."

Officials view damage to key road

Lawmakers and representatives from state and county agencies were given a firsthand look at heavily damaged Kolekole Pass Road yesterday as part of the Navy's attempt to work with government agencies to find funds to restore the emergency evacuation route.

The Navy closed the road in January after heavy rain and rock slides rendered it unsafe for vehicular travel.

Capt. Richard Kitchens, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, hosted the group and emphasized the need for major repairs, particularly to the roadway and embankment of an existing slide area.

Attending the tour were state Rep. Karen Awana, Hono­lulu City Councilman Tom Berg and city Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka, as well as representatives from the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board, state Civil Defense and Sen. Maile Shimabukuro's office.

Kolekole Pass has served as an alternative route to Farrington Highway.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

State wants to let fungus battle beetle

The state Department of Agriculture is proposing to make it easier to import a fungus used to control a type of beetle that is a major threat to Kona’s coffee bean farms.

The Department of Agriculture said in a news release Thursday that the proposal seeks to remove the fungus from the list of restricted microorganisms.

Agriculture officials in February approved using pesticides that contain the fungus only with a permit. The department is proposing to remove the permit requirement but the pesticide would still need to be registered with the state.

The fungus is contained in pesticides Kona coffee farms use to control an infestation of small beetles known as coffee berry borers. The beetle has destroyed 60 percent to 70 percent of coffee crops at some farms.






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