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Hawaii Island News, 07 October 2009


The Hawaii County Council’s Finance Committee has created a new program manager position to control underage drinking.  Funding for the position is unclear.  Managaing Director William Takaba told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” the creation of the position is required to apply for a $1 million grant.  The grant is coming from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division  of the state Department of Health.  The county has received a portion of the grant for planning and implementation.  County officials remain confident that the remainder of the funding will become available once the program is better defined.

Police are reminding drivers that those caught using electronic mobile devices while they are driving could be ticketed starting January 1st.  In August, the county council and Mayor Billy Kenoi signed into law a measure that will make it illegal to use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while driving–except with a hand-free device.  Certain drivers, such as police, fire, public safety, and amateur radio operators, are exempt from the rule.

The Puna Fresh Foods grocery store in Keaau will close for about a week in mid-November and reopen as Foodland Keaau.  Officials of Sure Save Super Market, Ltd tell the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that it would transfer the lease to Honolulu based Foodland Super Market, Ltd.  Sure Save President Carl Okuyama hinted that economic pressures contributed to the lease transfer.

Hawaii County Council members meeting as the Human Services and Development Committee have voted against mandatory flu vaccinations and have supported tighter restrictions on alcohol use at Isaac Hale Beach Park in the Puna District.  Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole tod the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the “flu vaccine is neither adequately tested, proven safe, or effective.  The council committee also endorsed a measure to require permits for consumming alcoholic beverages at Isaac Hale Beach Park.  Councilwoman Naeole said alcohol contributes to fights and lawlessness at the park.

Pay cuts will not be enough to help UH-Hilo deal with increased enrollment and reduced state funding.  Even if faculty members approve a contract with a 5 percent pay cut, the university still faces a $1.7 million budget shorfall for the current fiscal year.  Noreen Yamane, the vice chancellor for academic affairs, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that UH-Hilo is still filling faculty positions to teach a rising number of students.  Mike Leialoha, the vice chancellor for administrative affairs, says more cuts may be in the future if additional resources can’t be found.

The Department of Water Supply has announced a reduction in its Power Cost Charge on consumer bills from $1.83 to $1.68 per 1,000 gallons of water used.  For an average customer using 20,000 gallons of water in a two-month period, the change will save $3.00 over the two-month billing cycle, or $1.50 per month.

(AP).  Governor Linda Lingle says a new contract with Hawaii’s largest state employee union is being held up because none of the four island mayors has signed on.  A deal between the state and the Hawaii Government Employees Association is close, but state law requires at least one mayor to agree to a new contract before union members can vote on it.

The Kealakehe Transfer Station and Recycling Center will be closed on Saturday, October 10th, due to road closures for the Ford Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kailua-Kona.  This closure will affect all services including residential rubbish disposal, HI5 redemption, 2-Bin recyling, green waste recycling, and scrap metal recycling.  Alternative services for recycling and rubbish disposal are available at the Keauhou Transfer Station and Recycling Center.