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State briefs for May 18

Admiral: NKorea’s actions are ‘recipe for disaster’

TOKYO (AP) — The top American military officer in the Pacific said Wednesday that North Korea’s recent military actions are “a recipe for a disaster” and warned against a sense of complacency in the face of increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Adm. Harry Harris Jr. made the remarks during a lecture for a Tokyo think tank after meeting with Japanese leaders that he said focused on North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

North Korea test-launched a missile Sunday that many experts think could be its most advanced yet, flying higher and longer than any previous missile.

“Combining nuclear warheads with ballistic technology in the hands of a volatile leader like Kim Jong Un is a recipe for a disaster,” Harris said. “Kim Jong Un is not afraid to fail in public, and every test he makes is a success because it takes North Korea one step closer to being able to deliver a nuclear-equipped missile anywhere in the world.”

Harris, leader of the U.S. Pacific Command based in Hawaii, called for further coordination between the U.S., Japan and South Korea to deal with the threat.

He also obliquely criticized China for throwing up obstacles to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Chemical odor from house demolition shuts down Hawaii school

HONOLULU (AP) — An elementary school in Honolulu was closed Tuesday after the demolition of a nearby house released a noxious chemical odor.

Kahala Elementary School students and faculty were instructed to shelter in place in climate-controlled classrooms while fire crews investigated, Honolulu Fire Capt. David Jenkins said. School officials then called parents to pick up their children.

First responders assessed 17 students and three adults at the school for complaints of headaches, nausea and dizziness.

No patients had to be taken to the hospital.

“No one was actually poisoned by the chemical, it’s just the fumes are noxious and they make you feel like upset stomach and a little dizzy,” Battalion Chief Geoffrey Chang said.

Class were expected to resume Wednesday.

“The demolition company should have asked first if the homeowner was aware of anything,” said Chris Forbes of Island Construction and Demolition. “They can come out, check for any contaminants and file a report prior to demolition.”

Teen becomes first girl in Hawaii history to go Airborne

KAHULUI, Maui (AP) — A Hawaii high school junior has become the first woman in state history to enlist and receive an Airborne infantry contract.

Baldwin High School junior Cassidy Matschke will report to basic training and advanced individual training next year at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“I didn’t even know it and it didn’t prompt me to make a particular decision, but I think it’s great to be the first one because I’ve always tried to be an advocate for women to do anything they want,” Matschke said.

Matschke is the third female from Hawaii to enlist as an infantry soldier since frontline combat branches opened up to woman last year.

Airborne infantry soldiers are able to drop from airplanes into battle.

“I’m definitely nervous and scared, but what person in their right mind wouldn’t be,” Metschke said, adding that she would rather jump out of planes than sit at a desk.

“I really love the adrenaline rush and I think jumping out of a plane definitely constitutes as an adrenaline rush.”

Matschke scored above average on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery test and passed physical exams before landing the Airborne infantry contract last week.

Recruiting Center Leader Sfc. Jesse Anthony Santos said Matschke’s determination stood out to him.

“What’s most gratifying for me is to see someone starting a career and knowing we were able to help them start a life of their own,” Santos said.

Matschke hopes to stay in the military for as long as possible, she said.


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