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Hawaii Island News, 14 September 2009


The Volcano House will get $2.5 million to $3 million in seismic retrofitting and fire supression upgrades when the hotel shuts down in January.  While the National Park Service will cover the cost, the operator of the lodge will also be required to improve the interior of the hotel at its own cost.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park superintendent Cindy Orlando told “West Hawaii Today” that she couldn’t say what improvements will be required until a prospectus is released.

Alternating single-lane closures in both directions are expected to be in effect on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway this week between Henry and Malulani streets.  The shut down is for electrical work.  Multiple lane closures are also planned in both directions of the highway between Lako and Henry streets for road resurfacing work.

Two men and a toddler escaped injury when their 12-foot Boston Whaler capsized Saturday morning in rough waters off Keahole Point.  Responding to the 10:50 am report of an overturned boat about 50 yards off shore, fire rescue personnel with the Kailua Fire Station, assisted by Chopper 2, found the boat with two men clinging to it.  Kailua fire station Captain Richard Fong told “West Hawaii Today” that a young child had been handed off to a small passing boat which was unable to pick up the men.  Captain Fong said the boat was apparently hit by a large wave and began to fill with water before it capsized.

A 44-year old Kona man believed to have been picking opihi near Keahole Point apparently drowned after being carried out by high surf on Saturday. Responding to a 2:07 pm report of a swimmer in distress, fire rescue personnel from the Kailua Fire Station, assisted by Chopper 2, found a body floating face down about 25 yards off shore from Keahole Point.  The body was taken to the North Hawaii Community Hospital.

“The Honolulu Advertiser” says corrections officials are preparing for an influx of requests for inmate labor as state departments look for ways to get work done cheaper during the current budget crunch.  Already, the state si in the midst of a $1 million contract to purchase 13 sets of playground equipment and build them using largely inmate labor.  The Department of Education is also in talks for a second contract to put in 32 playgrounds constructed by inmates.  Matthew Kaneshiro, the  administrator for the Hawaii Correctional Industries Division, says the use of inmate labor will help the state realize a huge cost saving.

(AP).  Two legislative committees today will focus on almost four dozen potential layoffs whith the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.  The House Committee on  Economic Revitalization, Business and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology will examine planned layoffs of employees who work in the film, enterprise zone and other offices.  The hearing will be held at the State Capitol. 

(AP).  Officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in  a string of suspected arson fires on Oahu.  Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman joined police and fire officials in announcing the reward late Saturday.  The reward is in addition to the Honolulu CrimeStoppers reward for tips.  A dozen suspicious fires have broken out since August.