State roundup for October 15


Disease outbreak hits Kauai coral

HONOLULU (AP) — University of Hawaii scientists say a disease outbreak at Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s north shore is killing coral at an alarming rate.

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology coral expert Greta Aeby and her team are trying to stop the spread by covering coral with marine putty, to cut the disease off from healthy coral.

She says the underlying cause includes overfishing, pollution and sewage spills. Aeby says coral is the “foundation” for the ocean ecosystem, and without it the ecosystem will fail.

Fire damages Kahaluu home

KAHALUU, Maui (AP) — Fire officials estimate a blaze has caused $450,000 in damage to a Kahaluu home.

One person was at home when the fire erupted before noon Friday, but managed to escape unharmed. Brian Sanders said he was sleeping when the fire started. He says when he awoke, there was smoke throughout the house.

One neighbor who saw the blaze down the road described it as a “big ball of black smoke coming.”

Fire officials believe the flames started at the back of the house. They were investigating Saturday to work out what sparked the fire that has displaced four people.

Annual whale count recognized

HONOLULU (AP) — The Take Pride in America program is naming an annual whale count organized by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary an Outstanding Federal Volunteer Program.

The project began in 1996 when 150 volunteers counted humpback whales and documented their behavior in the ocean off Oahu. Now, more than 2,300 volunteers participate on Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii islands.

The Pacific Whale Foundation started the state’s first such count on Maui in 1991. The private organization still runs an annual whale count on Maui.

Sanctuary Superintendent Malia Chow said Thursday the whale survey engages local communities and visitors in ocean conservation. She says the award recognizes the work of thousands of volunteers

The U.S. Department of the Interior administers the Take Pride in America program.

 

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