Monday, December 7, 2009

Surf's up -- way up, humpback whale freed, funeral operator going under, counties struggle with budgets

Officials say the big surf has so far caused no major problems on Oahu's North Shore. Wave heights are upwards of 30 feet to 40 feet, with occasional 50-foot sets on outer reefs.

Surfers and surf watchers are expected to flood the north and west shores of O'ahu and Maui today in what is being called epic surf that may be the biggest in 40 years.

As high surf approaches Oahu, evacuation shelters in Sunset Beach, Haleiwa and Waianae are ready to take in people who live in the danger zones. But on Sunday, not many people were taking advantage of the facilities.

Marine experts cut loose a yearling humpback whale yesterday that had been entangled in heavy plastic rope near the Hawaiian Islands.

Suspending executives' raises, imposing a hiring freeze and furloughing workers are among the measures being considered by Hawaii County leaders facing a possible $45 million budget deficit.

The economy may be in the doldrums, but that's not stopping Mayor Billy Kenoi's administration from hiring new employees.

A raging stream that caused a Hau'ula home to fall into its waters is cutting a new channel to Kamehameha Highway, threatening the stability of the only thoroughfare through that area of Windward O'ahu.

The assets of RightStar, Hawaii's biggest cemetery and funeral operator, will be auctioned Dec. 21 at the state's First Circuit Court in Honolulu.

Now, finally, the Maui County Council will get into the nitty-gritty part of Maui's long-awaited master planning process.

A 48-year-old male visitor from Apple Valley, Calif., drowned Sunday afternoon at Kipu Falls, a county news release states.

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