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State roundup for July 24

Interim leader selected for UH

HONOLULU (AP) — University of Hawaii officials say its regents have picked Chief information Officer David Lassner as interim president of the university.

The university said Tuesday that Lassner would replace M.R.C. Greenwood if approved by regents during a vote at a special meeting next week.

Lassner would begin as interim president on Sept. 1 if approved.

University officials say Lassner would be paid $325,000 annually.

Board of Regents Chairman John Holzman says the choice was unanimous among board members.

Lassner said in a statement that he’s honored to be considered.

Greenwood announced her retirement in May, saying she wanted to deal with health problems and spend more time with her family. She is expected to take leave for a year and return to a tenured faculty position.

Smoking to be banned at parks

HONOLULU (AP) — Smoking at parks and bus stops on Oahu will be prohibited next year.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two bills Sunday at Waikiki Beach that ban smoking starting Jan. 1 at the island’s 4,000 bus stops and nearly 300 parks, which include beaches, playgrounds, swimming pools and athletic fields.

Before the bans take effect, city officials will be posting signs and informing residents and tourists. The bills were initially scheduled to take effect when the mayor signed them, but more time was needed for public education.

Penalties range from $100 for a first violation to $500 for three or more violations. The City Council unanimously passed the bills July 10.

Because the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over state waters, some are raising questions about the challenges of enforcing the bans. DLNR has given the city permission to enforce the rules in the water at Kuhio Beach Park.

Espero to seek U.S. House seat

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero says he plans to run for a U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

The Democrat made his announcement on Sunday before a crowd of supporters.

Espero, who represents Ewa and Ewa Beach, is the second candidate to fully enter the race. Stanley Chang, a Honolulu city councilman, has also declared himself as a candidate. Chang had $162,000 in campaign funds as of June 30.

Another Democratic councilman, Ikaika Anderson, has formed a campaign committee but has not said whether he’s fully committed to the race.

Hanabusa is leaving her seat to challenge U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in a primary. Schatz was appointed to the Senate seat in December after longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye died.


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