Library heals in decade after flood

Nearly a decade ago, water rushing down Manoa Stream jumped the banks and surged downhill at the edge of the University of Hawaii, slamming “like a tsunami” into the main campus library, said Lynn Davis, who heads its preservation department.

Hamilton Library’s basement quickly filled with water, damaging thousands of materials.

Staff members quickly gathered up many irreplaceable items such as rare Hawaii and Pacific region maps and aerial photographs, which would later be frozen to prevent mold growth.

Today, while restoration efforts are still wrapping up, Davis is prepping for two exhibits that commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Oct. 30, 2004, flood. One details salvaging and the other showcases recovered rare maps.

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Drivers now allowed to use phones while engine is off

Question: Whatever happened to proposed changes in state law on the use of cellphones while driving?

Answer: As of July 1 under an amended law, drivers are now able to use their mobile electronic devices while their vehicles are at a complete stop, out of traffic and the engine is off.

“We made necessary changes to a law that will better serve the public and ultimately remind people to not text or use the phone while driving, which in the end can save lives,”said Sen. J. Kalani English (D, East Maui-Upcountry Maui-Molokai-Lanai-Kahoolawe), one of the lawmakers who pushed for amendments at this year’s Legislature.

The changes were needed to address typical situations in Hawaii, he said.

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Oahu surfers undaunted as Iselle makes its pass

Even as Tropical Storm Iselle passed south of Oahu, surfers Friday morning braved the conditions and headed out to the breaks at Kewalo Basin, Ala Moana and Ala Moana Bowls.

“I don’t think the guys are really worried about (the storm),” said Bud Kracher, who was watching the surfers through binoculars at Ala Moana Beach Park.

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UH-West Oahu dorm space for Tokai still under study

Question: Whatever happened to the student dormitories that the University of Hawaii-West Oahu agreed to provide for Hawaii Tokai International College’s adjacent campus in the Kapolei area?

Answer: The UH-West Oahu campus put out a call for offers in March for private financing, development, construction and operation of student housing that can accommodate students from both campuses.

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‘It’s like having family come home’

A small wooden canoe accompanied by a pair of red, black and yellow kahili carried the remains of St. Marianne Cope — nestled in a zinc-coated box — into the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace on Thursday morning.

Cope, known as Mother Marianne, led the first contingent of sister-nurses to care for Hansen’s disease patients on Oahu and in Kalaupapa, Molokai, for three decades beginning in the late 1880s.

During Cope’s 35 years of caring for patients, she and her Franciscan sisters never contracted the disease, which was chronic and contagious at that time.

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Restaurants’ health inspection statuses go public

Restaurant patrons can find out the results of a restaurant’s health inspection in real time under a new color-coded grading system the state Department of Health started this week.

Once an establishment has been reviewed, health inspectors will place a green, yellow or red placard on the outside wall that is easily visible to patrons.

“One thing it will do is it will increase transparency so that the public (will be) informed of the status on a restaurant in a very simple green is good, yellow is caution and red means the restaurant is closed,” said Gary Gill, deputy director for environmental health. “Hopefully, it will inspire greater responsiveness and responsibility on the part of the restaurant owners to take care of any problems that they may have.”

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Lack of funding stalled bid to give all students, teachers digital devices

Question: Whatever happened to the Department of Education’s plans to provide laptops for all Hawaii public school students and teachers?

Answer: The department just completed the first year of its Access Learning pilot program, which provided eight schools with nearly 7,000 digital devices, and is in the process of reviewing the lessons learned to develop a statewide implementation plan.

But because the state Legislature did not provide additional funding for more laptops, tablets, training and support this year, the program will not be expanding beyond the original eight schools in the 2014-15 year.

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