State briefs for August 4

Building built out of plastic Lego-like blocks

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — A Hawaii school building has been built entirely out of plastic Lego-like blocks composed of marine debris and household waste, a report said.

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The New Zealand-based ByFusion Company constructed the plastic blocks that now make up the athletics pavilion near the soccer field at Island School in Lihue.

The 20-foot building was revealed to the public Wednesday and is the first of its kind to be built on Kauai and in the United States using the ByFusion products, officials said.

“This demonstrates to the world how to combat the plastic crisis that’s plagued our oceans,” said Heidi Kujawa, ByFusion chief executive officer.

Each block is made of shredded, cleaned plastic waste compressed into a rectangle at the processing facility in New Zealand, company officials said.

The blocks were used to construct the building walls while the spaces in between were filled with traditional materials, officials said. Stucco was then used to seal and stabilize the blocks.

The long-term goal is to bring a ByFusion facility to Hawaii that would bring manufacturing of the blocks closer to home and present a real potential for recycling marine debris in the state, said Carl Berg, senior science adviser for Surfrider Kauai.

“We want to leave a legacy behind,” Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said. “One thing we don’t want to leave behind is our opala (trash).”

Message in bottle from Hawaii found in California

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A message in a bottle from Hawaii was discovered floating in a California river after traveling for more than a decade across the Pacific, a newspaper reported.

Eric McDermott, 30, said he found the message, dated 2006, in April with the names of three siblings, ages 4, 7 and 10, and an Oklahoma street address, The Press Democrat reported Friday.

McDermott was volunteering his time cleaning up the Russian River about 77 miles north of San Francisco when he spotted the bottle in the water, he said.

He spent months searching for the family in the note and finally tracked them down a few miles from where he discovered the note, he said.

“The world works in mysterious ways,” McDermott said. “What are the odds?”

The family was originally from Santa Rosa, California, and returned after living in Oklahoma for a few years.

Brian Bricker and his ex-wife Alicia Bricker were shocked to learn of the discovery. Their children — now 17, 20 and 23 — have grown a lot over the years.

One just finished college and one is married, Alicia Bricker said.

The family threw the bottle into the ocean during a Hawaii vacation, McDermott said.

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It likely floated south from Hawaii toward the Philippines and Asia before possibly taking a counterclockwise swing through the Gulf of Alaska before heading down the California coast, said John Largier, professor of oceanography at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay.

“If only it could talk,” Largier said.

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