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State roundup for August 16

Urchins control alien seaweed

HONOLULU (AP) — Seaweed that could smother the life out of a Hawaii reef will be targeted again this year with a biological control — sea urchins.

Officials plan to release thousands of native sea urchins — a round, spiny underwater species — to control three seaweeds that were introduced in the 1970s in Kaneohe Bay with commercial development in mind.

The seaweed species from the Philippines and Indonesia were thought to have possibilities as an emulsifier. The commercial potential fizzled, but the seaweed stuck around.

“They didn’t think they would grow pretty well here, but they did,” said David Cohen, a hatchery manager at the state’s Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on Sand Island, which is developing the sea urchins.

The biologist has grown clams and oysters commercially. Under contract with the state Division of Aquatic Resources, he started sea urchin work four years ago.

Woman gets 10 years in crash

HONOLULU (AP) — A 25-year-old woman with a checkered driving history was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for a crash that killed a passenger in her car.

Brittany Poole was convicted of negligent homicide and driving without a license in the 2010 death of Unique Murry, 21, of Aiea.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins allowed Poole to return immediately to a residential substance abuse treatment program. He said he would check on her progress in November.

Poole had already been convicted in July 2009 of driving under the influence and had four speeding convictions over two years. She also had been cited in 2010 for driving without a license and for driving unaccompanied by a licensed driver while holding only an instructional permit.

On the day of the crash, another case of driving without a license was pending.

Poole was driving a car with four passengers on Nov. 21, 2010, when the car crossed the center line of Kamehameha Highway in Pupukea. Investigators said she hit a rock wall, a parked vehicle and two fences. The car flipped and slammed into a carport.

Murry was riding in the back seat. He was ejected and killed.

Prosecutors said Poole lost control of the vehicle while arguing with a front-seat passenger about how fast she was driving.

Investigators estimated she was driving 70 mph in a 25 mph zone.

Investigators said her blood alcohol content was 0.09 percent, above the 0.08 percent threshold at which a driver is presumed to be intoxicated. She had also smoked marijuana, according to prosecutors.

She pleaded guilty in May without a plea arrangement with prosecutors.


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