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Hawaii Island News, 23 September 2009


(AP).  Hawaii’s public school teachers have ratified a new two-year contract with the state.  The Hawaii State Teachers Association’s 13,000 members voted Tuesday at more than two dozen sites around the state.  Association president Wil Okabe told the Associated Press that this was not a happy day, because the contract will require teachers on a 10-month schedule to take 17 unpaid days off each year.  Teachers on year-round schedules will be furloughed 23 days a year.  That equals a 7.9 percent pay cut.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has hired Environment, Inc. to remove unexploded artillery shells, grenades, and other World War II ordnance from old training sites near Waimea.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the Honolulu-based company will have five years to clear 3,950 acres of private and state-owned property.  The clean up area includes 2,500 acres belonging to the Parker Ranch near the Waimea-Kohala Airport

Hawaii Pacific University professor Leroy Laney and UH-Manoa business professor Jack Suyderhoud addressed key Hawaii economic concerns at the 35th Annual Hawaii County Business and Outlook Forum sposored by the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and First Hawaiian Bank.  Both men said economic recovery for Hawaii Island will be slow, and wil depend on mainland visitors feeling confident enought to return and spend money.  Both business experts agreed that the Big Island is feeling the recession more severly than Oahu because the here is less diversified.

In  a wide-ranging speech at the Lyman Museum, UH-Hilo geography professor James Juvik discussed the impact of climate change on Hawaii’s watersheds and what can be done to save them.  Juvik told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that water bills should be higher and the extra money used to offset our impact on the watershed.  Juvik said, that while water may be free, water pumping costs are enourmous, with the Department of Water Supply spending about one million dollars a year for electricity.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has suspended Hilo attorney Curtis Narimatsu. According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the court ruled in favor of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, finding that Narimatsu may have violated teh Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct and poses substantial threat of serious harm to the public.  The ODC reportedly received 26 complaints against Narimatsu in the last two years.

(AP).  Scientists say it’s only a matter of time before a mite that destroys honeybees spreads throughout the Big Island.  University of Hawaii entomologist Ethel Villalobos says the meit seems to be resistant to chemicals.  The mite first appeared on the Big Island near Hilo Bay in August of last year.

Notice to motorists:  There will be a traffic pattern change in Hilo on Kapiolani Sstreet between Hualalai and Wailoa Streets on Saturday, October 3rd, from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, for the St. Joseph School Country Fair.  Both lanes will flow in the Puna direction only.