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Big Island News, 13 August 2009


The National Hurricane Center has issued a public advisory for Tropical Storm Guillermo, which is expected to reach hurricane strength shortly. Guillermo is about 860 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. If the
storm continues on this track, it would cross
140 degrees west longitude early next
week. For details, consult our website and click on the hurricane tracking icon. You can also get updated information from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and National Hurricane Center Websites.

A state senate ad hoc committee is conducting two public meetings on the closure of the Kulani Correctional Facility and the possible elimination of the plant quarantine branch on the Big Island. The first meeting is today, 5 pm, at the Aupuni Center Conference Room. A Friday meeting is set for 5 pm at the Kealakehe High School Cafeteria.

After years of promises and delays, Pahoa High and Intermediate School has broken ground for a new school gym–the first the school has ever had. The new gym will be named in honor of Helene Hale, who represented Puna in the state legislature from 2000 to 2006 and fought to get the gym built years earlier when she served on the county council.

During the week of August 4th through August 10th, police arrested 21 motorists for drunken driving. Six drivers were involved in traffic accidents. One was under the age of 21. So far this year, there have been 840 DUI arrests compared with 853 for the same period last year.

Two County Council representatives on Mayor Billy Kenoi’s “Green Team” have been laid off, leaving both the administration and the council a bit embarrassed. An administration official told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that removing the two council aides from the volunteer group was don for expediency, not politics. Councilman Pete Hoffman said he was “flabber-
gasted by the dismissal of his aide because of rumors that he would run for mayor in the future.

All Big Island police stations will be drop-off points during August and September during a drive to collect used backpacks for needy school children. The backpacks will be distributed to children at women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and transitional housing facilities. Police Chief Harry Kubojiri added that you may continue to drop off backpacks after the drive ends and police will pass them along to the appropriate non-profit agency.

The number of Big Island residents signing up food stamps is increasing. Toni Schwartz, the public relations officer for the state Department of Human Resources, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that more than 10,000 people signed up statewide since January. DHS plans to raise the income limit to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning that more people on the Big Island would qualify for the federal nutrition program.

Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island’s popular high school Company Program is ramping up again. Interested returning “Achievers” as well as East Hawaii high school students who have not previously participated, are encouraged to attend the application night on Tuesday, September 1st, at Waiakea High School Cafeteria, starting at 6:30 pm. To receive an invitation to attend the application night, students should see their social studies teachers or their school’s main office.