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Flood maps will alter rates

Emergency management officials are urging Oahu property owners to buy flood insurance at current rates before new flood maps — and resulting higher prices — kick in this month. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says new National Flood Insurance Program rate maps are set to be implemented on Jan. 19. Areas affected by the map changes include Hawaii Kai, Ala Moana-Kakaako, Ewa Beach and Makaha.

Obamas hit Pyramid Rock Beach

President Barack Obama spent New Year’s Day at the beach and playing tennis on Windward Oahu.

The president began his day with a workout at the Semper Fit gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Just before noon, the president, his family and friends took a short motorcade ride from Kailua, where they are staying, to Pyramid Rock Beach at the edge of the base.

News reporters and photographers traveling with the president were kept away and weren’t able to see whether the president went in the water. The Obamas spent part of Christmas Eve at the same white sandy beach.

Pyramid Rock has been dubbed "one of Oahu’s bodysurfing jewels" by Midweek. The Marine Corps sponsors an annual bodysurfing contest there.

The first family left the beach at about 3 p.m. and then went to play tennis at the Kailua Racquet Club, a private tennis club.

They were back in their compound at 5:30 p.m.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said yesterday that lawmakers must return to Washington this week prepared to make serious decisions about how to grow the economy in the short run and stay competitive in the future.

"I’m willing to work with anyone of either party who’s got a good idea and the commitment to see it through," Obama said in his address, taped in Kailua. "And we should all expect you to hold us accountable for our progress or our failure to deliver."

Obama said his New Year’s resolution is to do everything he can to grow the economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class, though he warned that the economic recovery is still fragile.


Trusts merge into statewide organization

Four land conservation trusts from across Hawaii are merging to create a statewide organization dedicated to protecting land from development.

The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust officially began operation yesterday.

It was formed by the merger of the Kauai Public Land Trust, Oahu Land Trust, Maui Coastal Land Trust and Hawaii Island Land Trust.

The groups said in a statement Friday the merger puts them in a better position to attract broad financial support and save more land.

The headquarters of the combined organizations will initially be based on Maui. Existing offices will be maintained on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island. All employees are being retained, giving the combined group a staff of 10.

Aircraft rolls after landing near Poipu

A light aircraft rolled over during an emergency landing Dec. 22 on a golf course near Poipu, Kauai, the National Transportation Safety Board reported last week. The pilot and passenger escaped injury, but the aircraft was badly damaged, the agency said.

The weight-shift-control Apollo AS-III aircraft operated by Blue Sky Kauai took off from Port Allen Airfield in Hanapepe about 7:45 a.m. and cruised with another aircraft at an altitude of about 3,000 feet.

The pilot noticed unusual resistance on the flight controls and also that the trailing edge of the wing was fluttering, the NTSB said. Rather than return to Port Allen, the pilot opted to land on the golf course, which was wet and uneven.

During the incident at 8:30 a.m., the craft tipped onto its left wing , the NTSB said Thursday in a preliminary report.


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