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Hawaii Island News, 09-10 October 2009


(AP).  The surprise choice of President Barack Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize is drawing praise from much of the world.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, says Obama’s award shows great things are expected from him in the coming years.

(AP).  It’s long been said that it takes a lot of heart to tackle the Ironman World Championship.  Kyle Garlett is the first triathlete to try it with someone else’s heart.  On Saturday, three years to the day since he received his heart transplant, Garlett will be among nearly 1,800 triathletes lined up along Kailua Bay.  The endurance race totals 140.6 miles.

(AP).  On Thursday, about 400 triathletes showed off some of their best stuff during the Underpants Run.  The fun event began as a way to poke fun at European triathletes strolling around town in speedos, but the 12th annual charitable event has grown into a much anticipated pre-race spectacle on the Big Island.  Thursday’s run raised more than $5,000 for charity.

(AP).  University of Hawaii professors have rejected a contract offer from university administrators that would have included a5 percent pay cut.  Union Executive Director J.N. Musto says he wants a federal mediator to participate in future contract negotiations.  There was no immediate comment from the university system.

Supported by a federal grant, the Laupahoehoe community is making progress on efforts to convert its school into a public charter school.  Federal money will support 12-18 months of planning and 18-24 months of implementation.  This month, members of the Laupahoehoe community will fly to Washington, D.C. to attend a mandatory workshop before the grant is released.  The goal of the effort is to create a project-based curriculum where part of the day is devoted to understandings that give students hands-on application of what they’ve learned.

According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, Homelani Memoria Park’s new policy of banning most graveside decorations is angering some bereaved family members.  Cemetery staff posted signs at the Hilo cemetery in August, telling families of the ban on almost everything except fresh flowers and approved vases.  Unauthorized items were removed and stored at the south corner of the cemetery.  Homelani spokesman Steve Hawley said the main issue was providing for maintenance of the grounds.

Public Works Director Warren Lee tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that people who/ve applied for construction permits are being asked to share their experiences as part of ongoing efforts to improve operations.  Lee says people have complained that getting a permit is too difficult and takes too long.  A 16-question survey is available to those seeking permits.  The survey is also available on the county’s web site.

As you know, the recent disasters in Samoa and the Philippines have left thousands of people homeless and in need of all the basics for life–shelter, food, and clothing.  You can help by stopping by KTA Puainako this Saturday from 10 am to noon.  The American Red Cross will be there to accept your donation.  Please give what you can.

The Big Island Auto Club presents the season finale drag race at the Hilo Drag Strip on Saturday and Sunday.  Gates open at 7 am.  Admission for adults is $5.00.  Admission for children 6-12 is $1.00.  Those under age 5 get in free.

Hospice of Hilo will join thousands of people from 80 countries around the world to observe World Hospice and Palliative Care Day this Saturday.  Hospice of Hilo invites you to share your story with the world by going to  You can also learn how to support a petition for hospice and palliative care to be a human right.