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Hawaii Island News, 05 October 2009

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A  Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through 6:00 PM.  Expect heavy showers and a chance of thunderstorms by late this afternoon.  Civil Defense advisories will be aired over this radio station at frequent intervals.

A bill under consideration by the Hawaii County Council would extend an amnesty period to allow farms and ranches offering ag-tours to continue that practice until the county revises a 2008 ordinance requiring those operations to get permits.  County Planning Director Bobbie Jean Leithead-Todd told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that she’s concerned about the effects the law would have on existing farms and ranches that should be grandfathered in instead of made illegal by the new ordinance.

The volunteer board responsible for recommending changes to the way Hawaii County operates will hold its next public meeting in Hilo this Friday.  The Charter Commission is set to meet at 1:30 pm in the County Council’s chambers on the second floor of the Ben Franklin Building.  Under consideration are several proposals that would appear on the 2010 election ballot.

(AP).  Belgian royals and government officials have joined Larry Silva, the bishop of Honolulu, at a Mass in the Belgian city of Tremelo to honor Father Damien, days before he will become a saint for his work with leprosy patients on Molokai.  Pope  Benedict XVI will declare Damien a saint at a Mass scheduled to be held in St. Peter’s Square the morning of October 11th, or the night of October 10th Hawaii Time.

(AP).  The Maui County Council has unanimously banned genetically 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 the county.

(AP).  Members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly will bote on a contract offer from administrators beginning today.  The assembly represents professors in the 10-campus system.  Members have until Wednesday to vote on the proposal, which union leaders oppose.  The proposal calls for a 5 percent salary cut for most union members.

The state Department of Transportation advises Big Island motorists of various construction activities on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway taking place this week.  Single lane closures in both directions will affect  Palani Road, Henry Street, and Malulani Street intersections while electrical work is being done.  There will be multiple lane closures in both directions between Lako Street and Henry Street for road resurfacing work.  Other road projects include remedial road resurfacing work on Volcano Road between the Keaau Bypass Road and the Panaewa Bridge in the Volcano-bound direction.  Motorists are advised to use caution while they are driving through these work areas and to allow for extra travel time.  All roadwork is weather permitting.

The Big Island Auto Club presents the season finale drag race at the Hilo Drag Strip this Saturday and Sunday (10-11 October).  As  a special thank you for race fans, adult admission will be $5.00 and keiki 6-12 will get in for $1.00.  Gates open at 7:00 am both days.  The tech shed closes at 11:00 am.

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