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Injured newspaperman ‘doing better’

A 62-year-old newspaper vendor’s condition continued to improve after he was struck by a pickup truck this week in Kailua.

Doctors at the Queen’s Medical Center upgraded George Ligman’s condition yesterday from critical to stable. He was also able to speak for the first time since the accident occurred. "He is doing better," said his wife, Jane Ligman. "He wants to go back to work already."

Ligman suffered broken ribs, a bump on the right side of his head and cuts and bruises Monday afternoon near Castle Medical Center.

A 2006 Nissan Titan pickup truck driven by a 31-year-old man was traveling on Kalanianaole Highway in the left lane when it hit Ligman. The truck then jumped the center median, crossed the highway into shrubbery and overturned near Kailua Road.

A fund has been set up at American Savings Bank and First Hawaiian Bank to assist Ligman with medical expenses. Those interested can go to any branch and make a donation to "Friends of George Ligman."

Luau to aid robotics team

Dole Plantation is hosting a benefit luau for the Wai­alua High School robotics team, which has won regional and national awards. The luau is May 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Dole Plantation, 64-1550 Kame­ha­meha Highway. There will be a silent auction and a robotics demonstration. Tickets are $40 and on sale through next Saturday at Dole Plantation or the school. Call 637-8200.


Native plants recovering on Big Isle

The Nature Conservancy says rare native plants are once again thriving in a Big Island forest preserve now that a fence is keeping out pigs and mouflon sheep.

The animals, which are not native to Hawaii, destroy native plants and habitats by trampling on vegetation. The animals accelerate erosion and pollute the water supply with feces and diseases.

The nonprofit organization installed an animal-proof fence around its Kai­ho­lena Preserve in Kau in late 2007. It took the conservancy and local hunters another year to remove all the pigs from the 1,200-acre lowland forest preserve.

The Nature Conservancy said Tuesday the nuku iiwi, a native vine traditionally found in Kai­ho­lena, is among the plants that has returned. The vine’s reddish-orange flower resembles the curved bill of the iiwi honeycreeper.

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