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UH to offer new pharmacy degrees

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents has approved two new pharmacy degrees.

The board voted Thursday to allow the College of Pharmacy in Hilo to offer a Bachelor of Arts in pharmacy studies and a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences beginning this fall.

The college currently offers a doctorate in pharmacy. The first class of students in this program is due to graduate in May. The school says the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences will expose students to new career prospects.

It says the Bachelor of Arts degree is designed for students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program. A bachelor’s is not a prerequisite for this program, but the university says students would have an opportunity to have their academic achievements properly recognized if they earned one.

Fresh repairs set for Diamond Head

A new phase of repairs to Diamond Head is beginning, including fixes to a lookout area and a narrow ledge at the summit, as well as construction of a new summit loop trail.

The Diamond Head State Monument summit trail resumed normal hours last week after the state finished a months-long trail repair project.

The trail is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily as additional upgrades are set to start. No trail closings are scheduled.

Previous improvements repaired sections of the trail and vertical rock faces following deterioration caused by erosion and heavy use by more than 2,500 daily visitors. The project’s cost was $1 million.

Punchbowl memorial adds chairlifts

Four chairlifts are due to be installed at the memorial inside Punchbowl cemetery to improve access for people with disabilities.

The chairlifts will allow visitors to reach all five levels of the white stone structure, officially known as the American Battle Monuments Commission Honolulu Memorial.

The chairlifts will help the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that it awarded the $945,000 contract for the project to TOP Pacific Builders LLC of Aiea.

The memorial was built in 1966 to honor the sacrifices and achievements of U.S. forces in World War II and the Korean War. It was expanded in 1980 to encompass missing troops from the Vietnam War.

Whale count reaches 1,607 on Valley Isle

Volunteers and researchers on Maui tallied 1,607 sightings of humpback whales on Saturday, the Pacific Whale Foundation announced.

The numbers indicate that the humpback whale population in the North Pacific is growing at a rate of 7 percent to 8 percent per year, said Greg Kaufman, founder and president of the foundation. Last year’s counters recorded 1,208 sightings, up from 1,010 in 2009.

Kaufman called the viewing conditions "fantastic, the best I recall in the last decade."

Kaufman was also the site leader for the counting station atop Puu Olai, the cinder cone at Makena State Park.

"The seas were calm, the winds were light … it was perfect," he said in an e-mailed statement.

The annual Great Maui Whale Count took place between 8:30 and 11:55 a.m.

Groups seek $1.7M more than available

HILO » Officials with the Hawaii County Council are set to begin the process of determining how to divide $1.5 million among dozens of nonprofit groups asking for more than double that amount.

The Tribune-Herald reports the Council’s Human Services, Social Services and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow to consider requests from 60 nonprofits that are asking for a combined $3.2 million for the budget year beginning July 1.

Several organizations are asking for more than $100,000 each, with Hale Aloha o Hilo Habitat for Humanity Inc. topping the list with a request for $155,855.

The group says it would use the money to build three affordable homes in East Hawaii.


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