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State/In Brief

December 10, 2013
The Associated Press

Gabbard will give keynote address at HPU graduation

HONOLULU - Hawaii Pacific University has invited U.S Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to give the keynote address at graduation ceremonies Dec. 18.

Gabbard will give her remarks at the event that begins at 5 p.m. Dec. 18.

The 32-year-old Gabbard is a 2009 graduate of Hawaii Pacific. She earned a degree in international business. She was elected to Congress last year.

Hawaii Pacific University will honor Gabbard with a Fellow of the Pacific award, given to community leaders for contributions to Hawaii, the Pacific Rim and the university.


Protesters against plan to close beach parking lot

HONOLULU - The Department of Transportation's plan to install concrete barriers to shut down the parking lot at Oahu's Laniakea Beach has drawn the ire of beach access advocates.

KITV reported the Department of Transportation plans to install the concrete barriers and block off the parking area for a month to see whether they will improve pedestrian safety in the area.

Residents have complained that buses loaded with tourists, and others have been parking in the lot and walking across the highway to see turtles at the beach.

However, protesters worry the barriers may become permanent. They suggest less drastic solutions, such as new crosswalks, pedestrian control devices and other traffic-calming measures.


Kauai surfers rescue woman from rough waters off Kauai

LIHUE - Two surfers in their 60s saved the life of a 20-year-old woman off Kauai.

The Garden Island reported that 66-year-old Don Brown and 63-year-old Steve Childers pulled the woman to safety at Polihale Beach on the island's west side.

Brown and Childers were about to conclude surfing Thursday when two men drove up and said a woman was in trouble.

They drove a quarter-mile to where a crowd had assembled. The woman was in rough water and strong current 100 yards offshore.

They paddled about four minutes and Childers reached the woman first. She was pulled onto his board.

Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane says firefighters arrived at 3:05 p.m.

The woman was treated and released at Kauai Veterans Medical Hospital.

Seventeen people have drowned off Kauai this year.


State lawmaker from Big Isle will resign for family reasons

KAILUA-KONA - A Big Island member of the state House of Representatives is resigning for personal reasons.

Rep. Denny Coffman announced Monday that he's resigning from his seat serving Naalehu, Ocean View, Captain Cook, Kealakekua and Kailua-Kona.

A news release from the state House says Coffman plans to spend time with his family as his daughter faces a medical issue.

The Democrat was first elected in 2008 and served three terms in the Legislature.

The governor's office says the Democratic Party has 30 days to submit three names for his replacement to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has 60 days from the date of the vacancy to select a name.

His resignation is effective Dec. 20.


Polynesian Voyaging Society receives $500,000 donation

HONOLULU - The Polynesian Voyaging Society is getting a half-million-dollar donation from a hotel operator and a hotel owner.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii and Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts are presenting the gift in support of the voyaging society's upcoming worldwide expedition.

The gift consists of $250,000 in cash and $250,000 of in-kind support and fundraising efforts. Starwood will help the society with several fundraising initiatives. It will also incorporate their education elements into children's programs and in-room educational materials at all 11 Starwood Hawaii properties.

Starwood and Kyo-ya said recently that the gift will be made over the next five years through 2018.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973. It seeks to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging.



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