More help needed to keep snakes at bay
HONOLULU - The manager of a state department said more help is needed to try and keep snakes out of Hawaii.
Carol Okada is the manager of the Department of Agriculture Quarantine Branch. She told Hawaii News Now that more inspectors are needed to intercept snakes coming into Hawaii. She said detection dogs also need to be reinstated to patrol entry points to the islands.
The snakes arrive in shipping packages, and are sometimes hidden in luggage or sent through the mail.
With no natural predators in Hawaii, escaped snakes could wreak havoc on endangered birds and plants.
Since 2000, the state has confiscated and collected about 100 snakes. Thirteen snakes were confiscated last year. Violators can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $200,000.
NTSB: Copter lost power before landing
HONOLULU - The National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report on a helicopter's crash-landing in downtown Honolulu says the engine suddenly lost power.
The NTSB report released this week said the engine lost power while the helicopter was over the Punchbowl area on May 8 so that the passenger could take aerial photographs. The report said that in response to the engine failure, the pilot maneuvered to land on a one-way street that had no wires in the flight path. The helicopter skidded into a parked car. No one was badly injured.
The NTSB continues to investigate.
Big Isle police: Woman strangled to death
HONOLULU - Police from the Big Island said a Caucasian woman whose body was found Tuesday was strangled.
Police reclassified the death as a homicide after conducting an autopsy Wednesday. Detectives are investigating the case and ask anyone who may have information to come forward or call Crime Stoppers.
Police haven't yet identified the woman who may have been in her late 20s or early 30s. They describe her as slim and between 5 feet 4 inches tall and 5 feet 8 inches tall.
The woman also had short brown hair and a tattoo of "Veritas" on her lower back.
Oahu Royal Court applicants being sought
HONOLULU - Applications are being accepted for the 2013 Aloha Festivals Oahu Royal Court.
Organizers said Wednesday that applicants must be of Native Hawaiian ancestry and are expected to make various appearances during the reigning year, from September 2013 to August 2014.
King and queen applicants must be at least 35 years old. Prince and princess applicants must be 16 to 18 years old. Those who are chosen as prince and princess will receive post-high school scholarships.
Completed applications must be received by June 30. A head shot, full-length photo and proof of Hawaiian ancestry are required.
Big Island bay reopens; permit necessary
KAILUA-KONA - A popular bay on the Big Island is once again open to the public.
West Hawaii Today reported that people hoping to use Kealakekua Bay will have to apply for a special use permit and promise not to land at Kaawaloa.
The bay was closed almost six months ago to all recreational activities because of illegal kayak vending and concerns about damage to cultural and historical sites at Kaawaloa.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Wednesday that the special use permits now are available. Recreational kayakers, standup paddlers and paddlers in one-man canoes will have to email the department at Jacqueline.M.Velasco@hawaii.gov to request a permit.
$570K to help homeless Hawaii veterans
HONOLULU - About $570,000 in federal funding is heading to Hawaii to help veterans who are struggling with homelessness.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday that they will give $60 million to local public housing agencies nationwide.
The money will fund permanent housing for about 9,000 homeless veterans across the nation.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii says the country has an obligation to support veterans who are transitioning to civilian life. She says it is a tragedy to see military service members become homeless after returning from war.