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Big Island News, 19 August 2009


(AP).  The Army is seeking volunteers to drive wild sheep, goats, and pigs out of a newly fenced 5,300 acre site at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island.  U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii says the animals will disperse to adjacent hunting areas, where they will be available as game.

(AP).  U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye defended his use of targeted spending for pet projects know as “earmarks” before a gathering of business leaders on the Big Island.  Inouye said his earmarks are transparent and benefit Hawaii and federal agencies.

Big Island State Senator Josh Green and West Hawaii State Representative Denny Coffman have called for a joint community meeting to discuss NELHA’s decision to permanently lock the gate to the coastal jeep trail that provides public access to the sufing beach at Kohanaiki or “Pine Trees”. The meetining will be held Friday, 6 pm, at the Kealakehe High School Cafeteria.  For details, call Rebecca at 960-2805.

A new stretch of the Saddle Road was dedicated and opened to traffic on Tuesday.  The ceremony was held near Mauna Kea Park, the site of the original ground breaking for the highway improvement project.  Presently, about 23 miles or half of Route 200 are widened, graded, and straightened.  Work on a new road segment will begin in the next several days.

Kikala Loop in the Kikala-Keokea Subdivision will be closed from Friday eventing until 5 pm on Saturday for the 2nd Annual Kalapana Cultural Day.  Kikala Loop is located off Highway 127, the Kalapana-Kapoho Road, between mile markers 20 and 21.

The recently released Hawaii Island Traffic Safety Report contains both bad and good news about Big Island roads.  The rate of traffic fatalities in Hawaii County is three times that of Oahu and twice the rate of Kauai and Maui Counties.  The positive side of the report indicates that the number of fatal accidents is going down since 2004–thanks in part to police efforts to get drunken drivers off the road.

The Hawaii County Council’s finance committee has decided not to endorse Mayor Billy Kenoi’s plan to sell off Hamakua land to help balance the county budget.  South Kona councilwoman Brenda Ford told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the committee backed off because it was not satisfied with testimony given by Deputy Corporation Counsel Gerald Takase.  North Kona coucilman said quote “there is an awful lot of injustice which has occurred as far as ownership…enough is enough.”

The Buying Local First Group is sponsoring a Ball at the Waikoloa Marriott Hotel this Saturday to help raise funds which will be used to teach residents how to obtain state, county, and defense department grants.  For details,  call Uniserv Tech at 969-7500.

The state Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration will implement a new passenger security screening lane which will begin operating in September at the North Terminal of the Kona International Airport.  The new lane will provide improved service to passengers between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm and also Saturday evening–the busiest times of day.