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Nearby storm brings surge in surf

A hurricane-force storm to the northwest of Hawaii is generating large surf that will reach the islands tonight and could affect coastal residents with possibly destructive run-up, the National Weather Service said.

The weather service issued a high-surf warning for north- and west-facing shores of Kauai and Oahu from 6 p.m. today through noon Monday.

Surf was expected to reach 20 to 30 feet along north- and west-facing shores on Oahu and up to 35 feet on Kauai.

The incoming swell has a strong westerly component that will make surf along west-facing shores larger than usual, the Weather Service said.

The run-up might affect Farrington Highway along Leeward Oahu, and coastal residents need to make preparations to protect life and property from large waves and resulting coastal flooding, the Weather Service said.

"Damaging surf is expected," the Weather Service said. "Battering waves will pound the shoreline."

The weather service issued a high-surf advisory for north- and west-facing shores on Maui from 6 tonight through noon Monday.

Surf was predicted to be 12 to 18 feet along north-facing shores and 6 to 12 feet along west-facing shores of Maui.

On the Big Island, surf was expected to reach 10 to 20 feet beginning tomorrow morning. The weather service issued a high surf warning for west-facing shores from 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday.

"The large breaking waves will impact Alii Drive and beachfront properties in Kailua-Kona," the weather service said.


School suspends dress code change

A Big Island intermediate school is shelving a uniform policy that would have prevented students from wearing jackets.

The School Community Council unanimously voted Thursday to have further debate before enacting the Hilo Intermediate School policy, which prompted concern from parents that their children would not be able to keep warm during Hawaii’s current cold snap.

The policy passed last month required students to wear a school uniform short-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve shirt or sweat shirt that would always be the outermost layer of clothing.

Council Chairman Ken Kukushima said the policy was meant to ensure kids’ safety and keep out high-schoolers.


Rare albatross hatches at Midway

Federal wildlife officials say an endangered seabird has hatched at Midway Atoll, the first time the species has done so outside Japan in recorded history.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said a short-tailed albatross hatched yesterday at Eastern Island, one of three small flat coral islands in Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu.

Refuge staff and volunteers have been monitoring the bird’s nest remotely with a video camera.

Until now the short-tailed albatross has been known to have reproduced at only two sites: Torishima island in Japan and islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.


Koller lands South Carolina post

Former Hawaii Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller has been chosen to lead South Carolina’s cash-strapped Department of Social Services.

Gov. Nikki Haley announced Thursday that she nominated Koller to lead the agency that oversees children’s welfare.

Koller, 55, served as human services director since 2003 under former Gov. Linda Lingle.



Ethics panel sets hearing on complaint

HILO » The Hawaii County Board of Ethics will take more time to determine whether two County Council members committed ethics violations.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday that the board will hold a formal hearing Feb. 9 investigating whether Councilwoman Brenda Ford failed to treat a member of the public in a "courteous, fair and impartial manner" as required by law.

W.H. Shipman Ltd. Development Director James "Kimo" Lee claims Ford called him a liar when he appeared before the Council for confirmation to the county’s Fire Commission.

The board also will consider a complaint questioning whether Council Chairman Dominic Yagong violated financial disclosure requirements related to a developer’s request for an extension to finish Pahoa’s Woodland Center.


Tap water OK in some areas of Valley Isle

The Maui County Department of Water Supply says tap water is safe to drink for Upper Kula residents of Waiakoa, Alae, Naalae Road, Waipoli, Polipoli, Waiohuli and Keokea.

Recent bacteriological tests after a waterline break earlier this week show no positive results for coliform for those areas only.

But the department is continuing to advise Ulupalakua and Kanaio residents and businesses to boil water as a precaution. The waterlines for those areas have yet to be flushed and tested.

Those residents are advised to bring all water to a boil for one minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and preparing food.


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