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State roundup for April 2

Beach smoking ban seems likely

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he will sign a bill into law that bans smoking at some of Oahu’s most popular beaches, but it first must pass legal review.

Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang wants to outlaw smoking at some of the island’s most popular beach parks. Those include beaches and parks in Waikiki, Ala Moana and Sandy Beach Park.

Kaneohe resident Norman Soderberg says he’s in favor of the ban because his kids find discarded cigarette butts on the beach. But resident Randy Kapu says places to smoke are already limited.

With the mayor’s support, the bill likely will become law.

Sports center may cost $45M

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — A consultant says a proposed sports complex on Kauai would cost more than $45 million.

On top of the initial cost, there would be annual maintenance fees of $380,000 for the proposed Waimea Sports Complex.

Project consultants presented their findings last week to the Kauai County Council. Plans for the sports center include facilities for baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, football and basketball.

The project received mixed reaction from council members. Some were concerned that a single project would cost nearly the same as the county’s entire proposed budget for capital improvement projects in fiscal year 2014.

Currents force beach closures

HONOLULU (AP) — Several beaches on Kauai have been closed due to strong currents.

Ocean Safety Bureau officials say Kalihiwai, Kee, Haena and Hanalei beaches were closed Monday.

Battalion Chief Albert Kaui says firefighters responded three times to swimmers being swept out of Kalihisai Bay and all were rescued successfully. He says everyone should exercise extreme caution given the conditions.

Whale count finishes for year

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — Dozens of volunteers on Kauai joined this weekend in a state-wide effort to collect data on humpback whales.

The volunteers have been seeing a lot of humpback whales. Volunteers on Saturday saw the highest average of whales two months in a row since the count was begun in 2005 — four whales every 15 minutes.

On Saturday, more than 120 Kauai volunteers joined the 600 volunteers from across the state in gathering data from the shores of Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island during the annual Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.

The count is a yearly shore-based census which provides snapshot data on humpback whales. Saturday’s count marked the final count for this year.


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