Military Families May Evacuate Here; Soetoro-Ng Book Set for Release; Drilling to Center of Earth?

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Hawaii could receive some of the military family members being evacuated from Japan.

Stars and Stripes is reporting the Pentagon will allow some family members to travel to any of the 50 states after initially saying evacuees could only fly to the Mainland.


It said the change could affect the relocation plans of many of the 10,000 family members who registered for voluntary departures following the March 10 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent radiation worries in Japan.

“Due to proximity and the presence of mature military installations, I also wish to inform you that the (Defense) Department intends to authorize Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories and Possessions, as non-foreign overseas alternate safe havens for Defense Department [eligible family members] departing Japan,” said Lynn Simpson, chief of staff for the deputy undersecretary of defense, in a letter obtained by Stars and Stripes.

The newspaper reported thousands of military family members have already flown to the continental United States under the military’s plan. It said the program pays for free airplane tickets and an allowance based on the cost of living where the family relocates. Families may relocate for up to 30 days under the order.

Ladder to the Moon

Soetoro-Ng’s Book to go on Sale April 12

“Ladder to the Moon,” a book by Honolulu resident and Pres. Barack Obama’s half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, will go on sale April 12.

According to publisher Random House, the novel is “a lyrical story relaying the loving wisdom of their late mother to a young granddaughter she never met.”

The 48-page children’s book is illustrated by Yuyi Morales and lists for $16.99. Random House says the book is a rich and deeply personal narrative.

“ Maya Soetoro-Ng draws inspiration from her mother’s love for family, her empathy for others, and her ethic of service to imagine this remarkable meeting. Evoking fantasy and folklore, the story touches on events that have affected people across the world in our time and reaffirms our common humanity. “

No Jules Verne Tale: Scientists Want to Drill to Mantle

An area off of the coast of Hawaii is one of three possible spots for a group of geologists hoping to bore all the way to the earth’s mantle to retrieve samples.

One of the group, writing in the journal Nature, said technology is evolving, making the effort possible. Damon Teagle, a geologist at the University of Southampton in the U.K., told National Geographic News the drilling could begin by 2020 and that a team will begin exploratory missions soon.

Besides Hawaii, the team is also considering sites off of Baja California and Costa Rica.

Teagle told National Geographic the project would give scientists information about the earth’s mantle and also reveal the nature of a transitional layer at the base of the crust known as the Moho layer.

Japanese Passenger Arrivals Fall for 20th Consecutive Day

The passenger count on flights arriving from Japan fell for a 20th consecutive day as the tourism from the country continues to plummet.

The passenger arrival numbers are a rough proxy for the Japanese visitor market in the state, which last year accounted for 17 percent of tourists coming to Hawaii. But Japanese are dramatically cutting back on their traveling following because of this month’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant tragedies.

During the past four days the visitor arrival numbers are off by more than 30 percent compared to a year earlier.

But We’d Win in a Plate Lunch Survey

Honolulu does poorly when it comes to pizza, at least that’s per a Travel + Leisure ranking of the tomato pie in 35 cities.

It came in 33rd in the ranking, beating out Santa Fe and Memphis and causing the magazine to remark there was no magic being linked to a pizza type – Hawaiian. Honolulu’s poor showing implies “that the pineapple-and-Canadian-bacon pizza has lost its island magic. “

Chicago came in first in the survey, with New York coming in second.

Council Chairman Garcia to Declare Conflict of Interest on Rail

KITV4 News reports that Honolulu City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia will declare he has a conflict of interest on the rail transit issue when it comes up for votes in the council.

The station reported Garcia has a $60,000 part-time job as executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce, a position mostly funded by pro-rail developers and landowners.

KITV4 Reporter Daryl Huff noted that although the chamber job was properly reported on his annual personal financial disclosures to the city Ethics Commission, Garcia had not publicly announced a conflict when rail came up at council. From now on, after KITV4’s inquiries, he said that will change.

“Should there be a vote again on rail, I will make my disclosure,” Garcia told the station.

HMAA, Ceridian in Cross-Marketing Agreement

The Hawaii Medical Assurance Association, Hawaii’s second-largest preferred provider organization, and Ceridian Corporation, a leading global business services company, have signed a joint services agreement that will allow the cross-marketing of services to customers and members.

The agreement will make a set of HMAA and Ceridian services and products available to the companies’ clients. In Hawaii, Ceridian serves more than 3,000 employers representing 220,000 employees, while HMAA serves more than 3,450 employers with more than 42,000 members.

“HMAA is always looking for innovative ways to add value and better serve the needs of our members, especially in challenging economic times like these,” said John Henry Felix, chairman, president and CEO of HMAA.