Wednesday | September 20, 2017
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State briefs for September 12

School bus routes back in service

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — The state Department of Education is making up ground in its shortage of school bus drivers on Kauai and Maui.

The department says two Iao Intermediate bus routes were restored last week on Maui.

School bus contractors have not had enough drivers with commercial licenses.

Maui’s shortage of qualified school bus drivers is currently at seven, down from 11 three weeks ago. Routes at Lahainaluna High School were fully restored.

Kauai’s shortage of qualified school bus drivers is at seven, down from eight three weeks ago. School bus routes were consolidated to adjust for staffing shortages and all schools are still being serviced.

The department says several candidates are in the licensing process and routes will be restored when they enter service.

Shearwaters begin laying eggs in simulated colony

HONOLULU (TNS) — Endangered Newell’s shearwaters started laying eggs in an artificial colony in West Maui.

The two 4.5-acre, predator-free enclosures were built near the Makamakaole Stream basin in 2012 and 2013 to offset accidental deaths of native seabirds at the Kaheawa wind energy facilities above Maalaea.

But this is the first sign of eggs.

Biologists confirmed four of the 100 man-made burrow boxes — three with eggs — are being occupied by the seabirds this season.

A 6-foot-high mesh fence protects the enclosures from cats, rats and mongooses.

The goal was to attract the shearwater and the endangered Hawaiian petrel to an area where both species had been absent for more than a decade.

Disaster center still assists with natural hazards

HONOLULU (TNS) — The Maui-based Pacific Disaster Center, born from the aftermath of 1992’s Hurricane Iniki, continues to help disaster planners around the world cope with the likes of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye drove the creation of the Pacific Disaster Center, which is an applied research center under the University of Hawaii, following Iniki’s devastating hit on Kauai. The center opened four years later, in 1996, at Maui’s technology park in Kihei.

For 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, the center worked with officials in the Bahamas to estimate the financial cost, map the path of the storm and make disaster plans.

More recently, the center provided similar data about Hurricane Harvey to officials including FEMA, Texas National Guard and Texas’ emergency managers. The information was shared with counterparts in Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas.

Now, the center is working on data related to hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia.

 

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