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Hawaii Island News, 29-30 September 2009

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Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has vetoed a bill that would allow eligibile Puna landowners to live in tents for up to two years while building their homes.  Kenoi told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the temporary dwellings would stigmatize the community and depress property values.   Kenoi also felt the disparate treatment of county residents in the bill could be challenged in court.

Architects and enginners met Monday in Hilo with the Thirty Meter Telescope Team in the first step toward the building of the project’s support buildings.  Monday’s meeting did not cover the telescope itself or the support builidng–both of which would be built on the northwest slope of Mauna Kea.  Project Manager Gary Sanders told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he preferred to hire a local architectural firm for the initial work on the summit.  Sanders said the final environmental impact statement for the instrument would be released in the last week of this year.

A swimming spot in Hilo’s Keaukaha area would officially become Lalakea Pond Beach Park under a bill before the Hawaii County Council.  Located between Lokoaka and Kioea streets, the site is part of Leleiwi Beach Park.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, longtime Keaukaha residents and beachgoers have traditionally called the area Lalakea Pond. The council’s Public Safety and Parks and Recreation Committee will discuss the bill at its October 6th meeting in Keauhou.

(Pacific Business News).  Hawaii’s National Parks saw a 4.2 percent decrease in visitors in August.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island saw a decrease in visitors by 6.6 percent from 119,564 visitors in 2008 compared to 111, 729 visitors this year.  Year to date, Hawaii National Parks have seen 5.2 percent fewer visitors this year.

(AP).  Hawaii’s attempt to save seniors money by shipping cheap prescription drugs from Canada never really got off the ground.  Governor Linda Lingle’s administration didn’t act on the law because of fears that it’s illegal.  The law was passed las tyear when the state’s majority Democrats overrode the Republican governor’s veto.

(AP)>  University of Hawaii researchers say the native Hawaiian tree snail population is plunging thanks to rats.  The tree snail’s numbers have dropped by 85 percent on Molokai since 1995.  Reserachers blame rats for eating up the snails.  Hawaii once had 750 species of land snails found nowhere else, but roughly 90 percent are now extincto.

(AP).  A state Senate committee will hold a hearing 5 pm Wednesday at the State Capitor to examine budget cuts to the state Foundation on Culture and the Arts.  Ten employees of the foundation, or about one third of its staff, have received layoff notices from Governor Linda Lingle’s office.  The foundation layoffs would save the state about $500,000 a year.

Talk about bag limits and minimum size restrictions for three popular reef species is building on the mistrust between segments of the fishing community and scientists.  While no rules have been drafted yet by the Department of Land and Natural resources, DLNR Director Laura Thielen tells the Associated Press that it’s likely new regulations will go forward for parrot fish, goatfish, and jacks.  DLNR says the new rules are being considered because the targeted fish may be at risk for overharvesting.

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