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Pair swims from Kahoolawe to Maui

Australian marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey and her husband, Chris, swam the Alalakeiki Channel, from Kahoolawe to Maui, a distance of seven miles, Saturday in just more than five hours.

"Starting from Ule Point on the northeast side of Kahoolawe, we were greeted by schools of pelagic fish next to a sheer 200-foot-wall drop-off, making for a spectacular start with a backdrop of the massive rugged cliffs of Kahoolawe," Chris Palfrey said in a news release. "Conditions were calm at the start, with surprisingly warm 25 Celsius degree (77 degrees F) water — ideal for swimming."

As with Penny’s most recent Hawaiian swim, Portuguese men-of-war were a problem, and the two said they were regularly stung throughout the swim, which ended at Makena Beach.

The couple was back in Waikiki yesterday.

Next up for Penny Palfrey: a solo swim from Oahu across the 26-mile Kaiwi Channel to Molokai later in the week. The couple also plans to swim from Kauai to Niihau on March 16, weather permitting.

In November, Penny Palfrey attempted to swim from Oahu to Kauai but was forced to quit when she ran into Portuguese men-of-war.

Hawaiian hoary bat is denied honor

The movement to make the Hawaiian hoary bat the official land mammal for the state of Hawaii has stalled.

A bill to recognize the endangered bat wasn’t scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee before last week’s deadline for nonbudget legislation to clear committees in its originating chamber.

Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican representing Hawaii Kai, said he will renew the effort to honor the bat next year.

The Hawaiian hoary bat is the only land mammal whose subspecies is found exclusively in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian monk seal would remain the state mammal regardless of whether the Hawaiian hoary bat is eventually named the state land mammal.

Volunteers bag rubbish on Kona Coast

More than 150 people devoted several hours Saturday to cleaning up beaches on the Kona side of Hawaii island.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald quoted volunteers as saying the No. 1 item of opala was cigarette butts, followed by bottle caps, cans and paper.

"It’s very important that we keep our beaches clean for now and the future," said Jerome Kanuha, who took part in the cleanup project on the Kona Coast.

"Multiple truckloads of bagged garbage" were collected by volunteers at beaches between Wawaloli, near the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, and Honaunau Bay in South Kona, Kanuha said.

Police will keep barracks in operation

Continued use of police barracks in Captain Cook will be necessary even after the long-promised South Kona Police Station opens, Councilwoman Brenda Ford told West Hawaii Today on Friday.

Ford said the barracks provide officers who must commute from East Hawaii to their assigned district in West Hawaii a place to recuperate between shifts.

"It’s absolutely necessary," Ford said. "We need police officers in West Hawaii. Anything that will help us get officers over here we need to do. We’re doing everything we can to get officers over here with the hope that these officers will fall in love with West Hawaii and want to stay here permanently."

Ford said she couldn’t explain exactly why more police recruits come from East Hawaii than West Hawaii, but noted that all the department’s training is conducted in Hilo.

Cultural celebration

Kapiolani Community College will hold its 23rd annual International Festival March 14 to 17. Music, art and dance of more than a dozen cultures will be featured each day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. There is no admission fee and the public is invited. Parking is available behind Diamond Head Theatre.

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