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For Sunday, December 23, 2012

By Star-Advertiser staff


State and feds both put in $50K toward marine debris cleanup

Officials in Hawaii are making plans to spend $100,000 on marine debris cleanup.

That figure includes $50,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a $50,000 matching grant from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

NOAA provided grants of $50,000 to each of the five Western states expected to be affected by debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Laura McIntyre, with the state Health Department, said officials are finalizing a solicitation to beach cleanup groups and nonprofits. The solicitation is expected to go out in February, with hopes of funding at least four groups.

McIntyre said Hawaii usually sees an increase in marine debris reaching its shores during the winter. The goal is to spend the money on cleanup activities by the end of this summer.

Meanwhile Saturday, a team of experts was trying to confirm that a dock with Japanese writing that washed up on a Washington state beach was debris from the tsunami.

Kenoi approves rules for ban on plastic bags

New rules for phasing out plastic checkout bags on Hawaii island were approved last week by Mayor Billy Kenoi.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the county Department of Environmental Management spent most of this year finalizing the rules.

Retailers have one year, beginning Jan. 17, to phase out their supply of single-use plastic bags. During the first year, retailers may offer plastic bags at a cost to customers.

Reusable bags, including plastic ones that are at least a thousandth of an inch thick, and paper bags are allowed. Also allowed will be bags without handles offered to prevent contamination of food, such as raw meat, frozen food, deli items and unpackaged bakery items; bags without handles for pro- duce, nuts, grains, cereal, flour, rice and candy; bags for protecting garments at a laundry or formalwear retailer; bags without handles for small retail items, including jewelry, buttons, beads, ribbon and hardware items; and bags for prescription drugs.

Kenoi said nonprofit organizations are exempt from the rules.

Fines range from $250 for an initial violation notice to up to $1,000 per day.

Bag bans are already in effect in Maui County and on Kauai.

Abandoned house burns on Valley Isle

The cause of a fire that started in a 4,800-square-foot abandoned home early Saturday morning in Lahaina is undetermined, Maui Fire Department officials said.

The fire started just after 1 a.m. and extensively damaged the three-bedroom, single-story home at an estimated cost of $200,000.

Officials said it was brought under control 25 minutes after the first firefighters arrived at 233 Lahaina­luna Road to find 50 percent of the structure ablaze.

No injuries were reported, and the fire was out at 6:19 a.m.

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