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State / In Brief

October 27, 2013
The Maui News

Crews begin removal of whale carcass

HONOLULU - Crews have started the process of removing a carcass of a sperm whale found floating off Oahu.

Workers on Saturday morning began the disposal of the 30- to 40-foot carcass near He'eia Kea Pier, and the removal has drawn several dozen onlookers.

Fishermen first spotted the carcass Wednesday 4 to 5 miles off the windward side of the island.

Officials say lifeguards are warning people to stay away from the water because the carcass is attractive to sharks. Lifeguards have already reported three sightings.

The shark warning was expected to be in place for the rest of the day.

Marine mammal officials said that towing a floating carcass away from the islands is easier and less expensive than removal from a beach.


Coffee bean beetle spreads across isle

HILO - A tiny beetle that damages coffee beans continues its destructive march across the island of Hawaii, home to the famous Kona brew.

State agriculture officials said at least one Hilo-area coffee farm is infested with the destructive coffee berry borer. The bug from Africa first was discovered across the island from Hilo near Kona in September 2010.

Andrea Kawabata of the University of Hawaii said the discovery of a new infestation was confirmed by the state Department of Agriculture.

The females burrow into the fruit to lay their eggs, causing damage that can make the beans worthless. The beetles are dark brown and about the size of a sesame seed.

The insect is native to Angola. So far no infestations have been found on any other Hawaiian islands.


Flight nixed after engine emits smoke

HONOLULU - A United Airlines flight from Honolulu to San Francisco was abruptly canceled after passengers reported seeing smoke from an engine.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Flight 724 had just started going down the runway Friday afternoon in Honolulu when passengers reported hearing a loud bang and seeing smoke.

The aircraft returned to the terminal and all 325 passengers exited the plane. No injuries were reported.

United Airlines staff helped passengers make alternate arrangements to get to San Francisco.


Army OK'd license for uranium in Hawaii

HILO - The Army has been granted a license to possess depleted uranium at two Hawaii training areas.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday issued the license for the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island and Schofield Barracks on Oahu, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The Army six years ago revealed that rounds used as part of the Davy Crockett weapons program were fired at the locations about 50 years ago.

Fragments were found first at Schofield Barracks. A review of Army records indicated their use at Pohakuloa.

The Army had operated with a license to manufacture and distribute the spotting rounds. The Atomic Energy Commission license expired in 1978.

The NRC determined that enough depleted uranium had been used to warrant a new license for possession. The license authorizes possession of 275 pounds of depleted uranium and puts in place regulations to address contamination.

No additional use of depleted uranium is authorized.

The license requires air and plant sampling plans within 90 days.


Power restored for Honolulu residents

HONOLULU - Officials said more than 1,000 residents in Honolulu have power again after an outage caused by a car crashing into a utility pole.

Hawaiian Electric Co. officials say crews restored electricity Saturday afternoon to customers in the Kuliouou area.

The utility initially had only restored power to 600 earlier in the day.

Authorities said a car hit a pole Saturday around 3:30 a.m. on Kuliouou Road. The crash resulted in three other poles falling.



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