State roundup for December 3
Debris from airplane found
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Coast Guard officials say a debris field that appears to be from an aircraft has been found in the area where a small plane disappeared from radar.
Officials say the debris field has been located about two miles north of Maui.
The discovery comes after a Cessna 172, a single-engine plane, dropped off of radar and lost radio contact after taking off from Kahului Airport for Molokai about 7 p.m. Saturday.
Record number of seabirds hatch
HONOLULU (AP) — State officials are crediting predator-proof fencing with a record number of wedge-tailed shearwater seabirds hatching at Oahu’s Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve.
Marigold Zoll of the Department of Land and Natural Resources calls the fence’s success “astonishing.”
Pacific Rim Conservation biologist Lindsay Young says the 2012 hatching population is nearly 3,300, more than double the number seen in 2007.
The Laysan Albatross, which also nests at Kaena Point, has also increased in numbers, up by 15 percent to 400 birds.
The shearwaters are particularly vulnerable to non-native predators like dogs and cats because they nest in the ground.
Thief targets Christmas lights
HONOLULU (AP) — The holiday spirit has dimmed in one Honolulu neighborhood where a resident says a thief tried to make off with his outdoor Christmas lights.
Police say they arrested a 43-year-old man accused of yanking the lights from the home Thursday. Hoku Garza said he saw the man after he heard his dog “barking uncontrollably” early Thursday morning and yelled at him to leave.
Garza says he called police who chased the suspect down the street and arrested him.
Bank of Hawaii closing branches
HONOLULU (AP) — The Bank of Hawaii says it will close down its two branches in American Samoa early next year.
The bank says it has operated in American Samoa since 1969 and has 30 employees in the territory. American Samoa Vice President and District Manager Hobbs Lowson said in a statement Friday the decision wasn’t made lightly.
He says it’s become increasingly difficult to deliver an appropriate level of service to American Samoa because of the territory’s geographic isolation from its other markets.
The company says it’s cooperating with the territorial government to provide for a smooth transition. The bank says customers will have ample time to transfer their accounts.
Employees will be paid severance benefits and offered opportunities to work at other bank locations outside American Samoa.
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