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State roundup for May 17

Missile launch will test shield

HONOLULU (AP) — A missile launch next week from Kauai will test the readiness of a planned ballistic missile defense shield for Europe.

The launch will take place from the Aegis Ashore site at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

The equipment and procedures will be replicated for the European defense system scheduled to become operational in Romania in 2015 and Poland in 2018.

Riki Ellison is chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. The organization supports a strong missile defense for the United States and allies.

Disease affects Oahu’s urchins

HONOLULU (AP) — Officials are investigating a disease affecting a native species of sea urchin that’s being used to control invasive seaweed at Kaneohe Bay.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Friday the disease is affecting collector urchin called hawae. The disease is affecting hawae in Maunalua Bay as well.

The department says Nature Conservancy biologists first reported the disease in February after observing sick urchins on an artificial reef in Kaneohe Bay.

An initial assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey indicates the disease causes progressive spine loss. Lab tests to identify the disease are ongoing.

$5,000 offered in cat killings

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — The Kauai Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States are offering a reward in response to reports of cat killings across the island.

The $5,000 reward is for information leading to an arrest.

Kauai Community Cat Project Managing Director Robyn Botkin says they have received calls from people reporting late-night cat shootings.

Kauai Humane Society Director Penny Cistaro says they are seeking solid information because they have nothing concrete to go on.

Whale council needs members

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary needs to fill two primary and four alternate seats on its advisory council.

The sanctuary said Thursday the two primary seats are for people representing the business and tourism sectors.

The alternate seats are for people representing Native Hawaiian constituencies, Hawaii County, Honolulu County and commercial shipping.

Alternates attend meetings when primary members aren’t available and assume a seat if a primary member resigns.

The council offers recommendations on how to manage and protect the sanctuary.

Its 53 members serve on a volunteer basis. They represent a variety of user groups, the general public and government agencies.

Applications are due June 30.


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