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Big Island-born WWII liaison is honored for elder advocacy

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has honored a 97-year-old woman who once acted as a liaison between Japanese civilians and the U.S. military.

He named Shimeji "Shim" Kanazawa a lifetime honorary kupuna and a permanent member of the Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs.

Kanazawa was picked for her decades of pushing for policies that help Hawaii’s elders and their caregivers, according to Abercrombie’s office.

"Shim is a living expression of what it means to live with aloha," Abercrombie said in a statement Friday. "She has spent her life in service to others, especially as an advocate for youth and the aged."

Kanazawa was born in 1915 on the Big Island and grew up on Parker Ranch.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, Gustav Olson, the Queen’s Hospital administrator, hired Kanazawa as administrative secretary in his capacity as vice consul of Sweden. She functioned as the liaison between the Japanese civilian population and the U.S. military.

She inspected living conditions of the Japanese prisoners of war and the internees in the Hawaii camps, and she accompanied Japanese families on their journey to internment camps on the mainland.

Groups sign telescope plan


Scientific organizations have signed a master agreement for the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

The document, signed Friday, sets the project goals, establishes a governing structure, and defines members’ rights, obligations and benefits.

The project is a collaboration among institutions in the United States, Canada, China, India and Japan, with major funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The next step will be for the financial authorities of the partners to sign the document and finalize the funding plan. Construction is scheduled to begin in April and end by 2022.

Ruling favors Kauai bus driver

It was wrong to throw out a Kauai bus driver’s gender discrimination lawsuit because she didn’t disclose the suit when she filed for bankruptcy protection, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Kathleen Ah Quin’s lawsuit against the Kauai County transportation department must return to District Court. The lower court applied the wrong legal standard in determining whether her omission was "mistaken" or "inadvertent," the opinion said.

Ah Quin sued the county, claiming her work hours were reduced and she was denied full-time status because of her gender.

She was required to disclose the lawsuit as an asset when she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after her husband lost his job.

That is because if she prevailed, she could have won enough money to cover her debts of about $75,000.

The District Court ruled in favor of the county, finding that she had a motive to conceal the discrimination claim and keep potential proceeds from her creditors.

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