In Brief | State | 11-21-13


Inspectors find slugs in Christmas trees

HONOLULU — Hawaii agriculture inspectors said Christmas trees are arriving in the state infested with slugs.

Sixty shipping containers were inspected over the weekend and slugs were found in six of containers.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported 50 percent of containers last year were found with slugs or other invasive pests.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture said in an announcement that Oregon Department of Agriculture inspectors are watching the Hawaii inspections.

Hawaii officials said Oregon this year increased monitoring of the harvesting and shipping of Christmas trees to Hawaii.

Two Hawaii inspectors are back from watching harvesting and packing of some of the trees that arrived over the weekend.

The department said trees with pests will be treated with hot water.

2 nene geese killed by speeding motorists

HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK, Maui — The National Park Service said two endangered nene geese were recently killed by speeding motorists on the road to Haleakala’s summit on Maui.

Park service spokeswoman Polly Angelakis said Wednesday officials found the first dead goose near mile marker 9 on Crater Road on Nov. 12.

A ranger reporting for sunrise duty last Friday morning found the second one at the intersection of Hosmer Grove inside the park.

The park service said traffic cones and caution signs remind drivers to slow down.

It also has posters in six languages explaining it’s important to slow down to protect the endangered birds. The posters feature Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish in addition to English.

Hawaiian stone altar marking land damaged

LIHUE, Kauai — A stone altar marking culturally significant Hawaiian land has been damaged on Kauai.

The Garden Island reported Wednesday that it’s unclear whether the marker protected by state law was damaged on purpose or on accident.

Kauai County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said there’s no evidence suggesting criminal intent. She says someone may have backed their vehicle into the altar — known as an ahu in Hawaiian.

The ahu is significant to Hawaiian nationals because it marks the land as being controlled by federal and state government, rather than by a Hawaiian government.

Markers were built as part of a project to mark lands after a 1993 resolution from U.S. Congress acknowledged and apologized for overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

The United States annexed Hawaii in 1898.

Alexander & Baldwin to buy Kailua land

HONOLULU — Major Hawaii landowner Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. is buying millions of dollars of commercial property in Kailua on Oahu’s windward side.

The company said in a statement Wednesday the $373 million deal is expected to close late next month.

The Kaneohe Ranch and the Harold Castle Foundation properties include land under grocery and drug stores, strip malls and light industrial areas. Some of it is in urban Honolulu.

Alexander & Baldwin said it’s selling several commercial properties on the mainland to help pay for the properties.

CEO Stanley Kuriyama says the purchase is a rare opportunity. He says it reflects the company’s confidence in and its commitment to Hawaii’s future.

Earlier this year, A&B bought dozens of residential properties in Kahala from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto.

Lawmaker ends shopping cart campaign

HONOLULU — A Hawaii legislator said he’s putting down the sledgehammer he carried to destroy stolen shopping carts used by homeless people to carry belongings in Waikiki.

State Rep. Tom Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he has made his point and raised the profile of the issue. He said the question is now whether something will be done to address the eyesores.

Brower earlier this week estimated he smashed up to 30 unmarked shopping carts and returned a half-dozen marked carts to stores.

His actions were strongly criticized by homeless advocates who said smashing carts was disrespectful, possibly illegal and likely to incite violent reaction.

Mental Health America of Hawaii Director Marya Grambs said Brower likely ended his cart destruction after a flurry of criticism locally and nationally.

By wire sources