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State / In Brief

August 24, 2012
The Associated Press

Wildfire burns 3,000 acres, contained

KEKAHA, Kauai - A wildfire that burned 3,000 acres on Kauai is now fully contained.

The state says Department of Land and Natural Resources firefighters contained the nearly weeklong blaze Wednesday.

Officials reopened Waimea Canyon Drive on Wednesday, but Kokee Road remains closed until further notice.

As the fire approached a high-voltage power line Saturday, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative officials began a voluntary power outage as a precaution. Electricity was restored Wednesday. On Thursday, the county Department of Water lifted a request for Kekaha and Waimea residents to converse water while power was being restored to water tanks in the area.


Whale carcass attracting tiger sharks

PAHOA, Hawaii - The state is warning the public to stay out of the waters off Pahoa where a decomposing whale carcass is attracting tiger sharks.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is posting shark warning signs within a mile of where the carcass was found Wednesday on the rocky shoreline in front of the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision.

Numerous sharks are actively feeding on the 50-foot-long sperm whale carcass in nearshore waters.

State and federal agencies are working with a private marine salvage company to remove the foul-smelling carcass. The public is warned to stay out of the water until three days after the carcass is removed.

Disturbing or tampering with the carcass is prohibited. Sperm whales are protected under federal and state law.


State to regain control of natatorium

HONOLULU - Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration is evaluating the fate of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

The 100-meter ocean pool was opened in 1927 as a tribute to servicemen from Hawaii who fought and died in World War I. It's owned by the state but controlled by the city.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday that the governor's spokeswoman says he believes that it's time for the deteriorating memorial to be fixed or to make better use of the area.

Abercrombie previously told Hawaii News Now that a beach volleyball stadium would be a good idea.

An attorney for the Kaimana Beach Coalition said Abercrombie's intentions buck a 2009 task force recommendation to demolish the natatorium for a memorial beach.

Whether to restore it or tear it down has been a decadeslong debate.


Honolulu zoning board backs Kyo-ya plan

HONOLULU - Honolulu's zoning board has approved a plan by the owner of Waikiki's Moana Surfrider Hotel to replace an eight-story wing of the hotel with a 26-story tower.

The Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday upheld a decision by the city's Department of Planning and Permitting to give Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts a variance that would allow the new building to be set 50 feet from Waikiki's shoreline instead of a hundred.

Hawaii News Now reports that Kyo-ya said the decision affirms the company's belief that redeveloping the tower is the right thing to do for the Waikiki community.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Linda Paul, an attorney representing a coalition of project opponents, is vowing to appeal the case in Circuit Court.


Oahu campus gets accreditation warning

KAPOLEI, Oahu - The Western Association of Schools and Colleges is raising concerns about accreditation of the University of Hawaii's brand-new campus in Kapolei.

The association sent the university a notice-of-concern letter last month saying a visit to the West Oahu campus left its team with concerns about the school's inability to recruit and retain experienced senior academic leadership.

Classes began Monday at the $175 million campus, hailed as needed for a rapidly growing area. Some students were shocked to learn the school is in danger of not complying with national standards.

In a response letter, UH-West Oahu Chancellor Gene Awakuni acknowledged that being underfunded and temporary facilities have made it tough to attract and retain leadership.

University officials said current accreditation is valid through 2014.



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