Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hurricane Felicia expected to weaken, but Hawaii residents urged to be prepared

Hurricane Felicia continues to maintain Category 4 storm status this morning as it follows its westward trek across the Pacific.

From the Big Island to Kauai, residents are beginning to buy emergency items as Hurricane Felicia strengthens and moves northwest and closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

While forecasters keep watch over Hurricane Felicia as it grows in strength, it has been nearly two decades since Hawaii has seen a hurricane that caused significant damage.

Felicia maintaining strength but expected to weaken later today. The center of Felicia is located a little over 1,500 miles from Hilo. It is moving northwest at 9 mph.

If Hurricane Felicia stays on course and remains predictable, it should arrive in Hawaii on Sunday night or Monday morning but as a much weaker tropical storm or depression, said Glenn James, senior weather analyst at the Pacific Disaster Center in Kihei.

Senate President Colleen Hanabusa is expected to announce this month that she will run for the urban Honolulu congressional seat to be left vacant by U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who is running for governor.

It took the Hawaii County Council less than 20 minutes Tuesday to undo a reorganization that earlier this summer took almost an entire day to create and spurred a lawsuit on Sunshine Law violations.

The County Council wrapped up a months-long discussion about the role of democratic principles in county policy by promising Wednesday to work together going forward, but two resolutions to change the body’s rules were rejected by 4-3 votes.

Hawai'i's state and county workers who regularly order the same prescription drug are being required to get their refills from a Florida pharmacy, prompting complaints from workers and some of the pharmacies they previously used.

Faced with Native Hawaiians claiming an interest in the land, Hawaii County Council members Tuesday unanimously postponed acting on county administration's plan to sell thousands of acres in Hamakua to help balance the budget.

Separate measures supporting Hawaii County-owned dog parks and modifying the process of registering a mo-ped were advanced by County Council committees Tuesday.

Charles Vidinha, a 78-year-old Kaua‘i resident, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on charges that on May 21 he killed an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.