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Hawaii Island News, 18-19 September 2009


Fire, Hazmat, medical, and police units from Kona, Keauhou, and Waikoloa responded to a report of a suspicious package in the parking lot of Wal-Mart Kona late Thursday morning.  Hazmat personnel on site tested for the presence of both radiological and nerve agent compounds or substances.  Police Sgt. Brad Freitas told “West Hawaii Today” that everything worked out fine and that the package contained no explosive device or hazardous material.

(AP).  An award-winning Univerity of Hawaii-Manoa math professor suspected of multiple sexual assaults remains in police custody as authorities consider charges .  Authorities say 63-year old David Stegenga was arrested Thursday on the Manoa campus shortly after he finished a math class.  Police have not said whether the alleged victim or victims were students.

The first group of tenents has begun moving into a new affordable rental housing project on the Big Island that is slated to have 306 units built over the next year.  Pacific Housing Advisors is developing the $65 million project called Lokahi Apartments in Kailua-Kona.  The first building opened with 30 units.  The developer expects to finish about one building a month and complete construction by the end of 2010.

Aquaculture farmers in Hawaii are now able to apply for federal stimulus money to help offset high feed prices experienced by the industry last year. The state Department of Agriculture last week said the U.S. Department of  Agriculture has allocated $150,000 as Hawaii’s portion of $50 million feed stimulus funding.  State officials tell the “Honolulu Advertiser” that reimbursement amounts are limited to available funds.

The County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation invites all interested persons to attend an informational meeting on the status of the Boat Ramp at Laupahoehoe Point and the County’s efforts to restore the facility to safe public use.  The meeting will be held at the Laupahoehoe Library’s Humanities Room on the Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School campus on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 6  pm.

The Kawaihae Local Resource Council will meet Sunday, October 4th, at 4 pm at the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company building in Kawaihae.  Rick Vidgen of Big Island Carbon LLC will provide community members with an update on the construction of a facility to convert macadamia nut shells into high quality carbon products.  State Representative Cindy Evans will provide a legislative update.  For details, call Sara Peck at 329-2861.

(AP).  The state’s 93 deputy public defenders spent their first furlough day on Friday.  State Public Defender Jack Tonaki said he’s sceduled all of his deputies to take off the same three furlough days per month and arranged to move court hearings and conferences.  Tonaki says the attorneys will lose from $700 to $1,200 per month.

(AP).  Hawaii tourism officials are hoping to cash in on Japan’s so-called “Silver Week.”  It’s a series of national holidays that provide a five-day respite starting this weekend.  However, Japanese vacationers who travel to Hawaii are spending less this year, resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue for cash-strapped Hawaii.