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Hawaii Island News, 04-05 October 2009

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According to data released by the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, Parker Ranch is selling 3,500 acres of its North Kohala land following two straight years of multimillion dollar losses by the non-profit Parker Ranch Foundation Trust.  The trust has reported a loss of $18 million last year, following a $2.6 million shortfall in 2007.  In a letter dated August 31st, William Maris, the CEO of Parker Ranch Inc., said the Parker Ranch Land Trust has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of land for $50 million.

Third Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra says the Hawaii County Council is free to reorganize now that it has undone a June 16th leadership change which “West Hawaii Today” claimed violated the state’s “sunshine law”.  That lawsuit continues, but, for all practical purposes, the reoganization will be the top agenda item when the council meets this Wednesday morning at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort.  Council chairman J. Yoshimoto tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he’s pleased the reorganization can move forward, because the council wants to do what is appropriate.

Hawaii County Police bicycle patrols are beginning to be noticed by the public, which now sees community and bike patrol officers pedaling streets from Richardson Beach Park to Honolii Beach Park.  Bike Patrol officer Bill Derr tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that officers get to observe more and get around easier and more quickly in local neighborhoods.  Derr says people are more willing to talk with officers and share what they’ve seen.  Presently, the bike patrols are part time and foucs on beaches, parks, schools, and special events.

(AP).  The Maui County Council has unanimously banned gentically modified taro, citing the crop’s cultural and spiritual significance to Native Hawaiians.  The measure bars testing, propagating, growing or introducing bioengineered taro, or kalo, in Maui County.

Despite some optimistic ecomonic news, the number of jobs on Hawaii Island keeps falling.   According to a report released by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Hawaii Island lost an additional 700 jobs from last July.  The county’s unemployment rate stands at 10.3 percent.  The state’s unemployment rate is 7.2 percent.

Kona REhab, LLC, formerly known as Rehab at Kailua-Kona, announces its Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, October 16th, 2 pm, at 75-1029 Henry Street in the building above Safeway.  Pupus and entertainment will be provided.

Construction has started on Zip Isle, a new zip line adventure at the World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls along the Hamakua Coast.  The new zip line adventure ride allows visitors to fly through the rainforest canopy on long cables.  The new ride is set to pen in mid-November.  For details on this new attraction, call Dr. Lanny Neel at 963-5427.

(AP).  Hawaii is clearing the way for homeowners and businesses to put solar panels on their rooftops and get paid for their contributions to the power grid.  A recent ruling by state regulators starts a program allowing small and midsize energy projects to easily sell renewable electricity for use by Hawaii’s island power companies.

Police have arrested 51-year old James McCown of Kailua-Kona for allegedly trying to smuggle $25,000 worth of drugs from California.  McCown was detained when vice officers received information alleging that he was smuggling crystal methamphetamine.  Police obtained a search warrant last Thursday and recovered several ounces of crystal meth, almostfour grams of marijuana, and nearly two grams of powdered cocaine.

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