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Hawaii Island News, 17 September 2009


Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has announced a package of proposed reforms to the Hawaii County Code of Ethics, including one that would ban county employees from contracting with county departments.  Another proposal in the package would tighten certain restrictions on lobbying County boards and agencies.

The tax delinquency rate for Hawaii Island has risen to 7.5 percent, an indication that the financial squeeze is beginning to grip just about everyone here.  Tax administrator Stan Sitko tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the non-payment rate is nearly double, which “is pretty consistent with what’s been happening around the country.”  Sitko says Hawaii County is better off than most areas of the country.  So far this year, Hawaii County has collected 92.5 percent of what is due.

The Hawaii County Council is testing a new security procedure aimed at restoring calm between council members and the public.  County Clerk Kenny Goodenow tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that an off-duty uniformed police officer is now stationed outside the council’s Hilo meeting room whenever council members meet. Goodenow says cutting back on overtime and not spending sister city funds will help defray the $10,000 cost of hiring a security officer.

Hilo teacher Lynn Dionise is scheduled to be sentenced on October 13th i Honolulu for her role in an “ice” distribution ring.  U.S. District Judge David Ezra could sentence Dionise to life in prison and levy a fine of $4 million.  Dionise pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to distribute crystal methamphetamine and to two counts of using the telephone to conspire to possess “ice” with intent to distribute.

(AP).  Hawaii County police say a 77-year old Missouri man apparently drowned while he was snorkeling off the Big Island.  Police say David Ebersole of Liberty, Missouri was snorkeling with a tour group Wednesday when he was seen motionless in the water off the Kailua-Kona coast.  He was taken to Honokohau Harbor and then to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

(AP).  A Board of Education panel has rejected a proposal to raise public school bus fares to help make $227 million in budget cuts.  Board members who opposed the proposal said they were concerned about the effect the higher fares would have on families.

According to “Pacific Business News”, a Big Island technology start-up company says it’s on track to complete its manufacturing plant that will begin turning macadamia nut shells into premium-grade carbon by the end of next year.  Big Island Carbon, which broke ground on the $20 million plant in March, is looking to hire approximately 100 workers to build the facility over the next 10 months.  The project site is located in the Kaie’ Hana Industrial Park in Kawaihae.