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Hawaii Island News, 13 October 2009


Hawaii Island residents will have a chance to venerate a relic of St. Damien.  The relic, a bone from his right foot, will arrive in Kailua-Kona on Saturday, 3:52 pm, and will visit every Big Island parish over the next week before it tours the rest of the state.  Following a November 1st ceremony at Iolani Palace,  the relic will go to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu where it will be on permanent public display.

County tax administrator Stan Sitko tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that 29 individuals, businesses, and at least one trust collectively owe $2.1 million in unpaid property taxes, interest, and penalties.  California Cove LLC is the leading debtor, owing a combined tax of $332,850 on four properties.  Sitko says he was unsure if any of the delinquent properties were on the list of items to be sold at a foreclosure auction set for Thursday at 9 am in Hilo.

The County Council has suspended its new policy of hiring off-duty police officers to maintain order at its meetings.  Council Chairman J. Yoshimoto told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” the trial program has been put on hold for several reasons.  Yoshimoto said the main reason is the possible  conflict with Mayor Billy Kenoi’s pending proposal for reforming county ethics laws.  Also, some people have complained that having a uniformed police officer at council meeting could intimidate the public.

Reservations are now being accepted for a tour of the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday.  The public is invited to hike through the Pua Akala Tract which contains a high-elevation rainforest, many native birds, and significant numbers of endangered species.  Participants must arrange their own transportation.  For details, call 443-2300.

Preliminary hearing have been set for four Puna residents arrested Thursday in a drug bust at a home in Hawaiian Paradise Park.  In the Puna case, Kelli Stroud, Abraham Cortes-Kaleopaa, Margaret Lai, and Shannon Souza have already appeared before District Judge Barbara Takase.  All face a variety of drug-related charges, including possession and promotion of a dangerous drug.

(AP)  China’s Hainan Airlines has received approval to begin service from Beijing to Hawaii.  The U.S. Department of Transportation approved the flights, which initially will be once-a-week, but the trips likely won’t start until early next year.  State statistics show that Hawaii welcomed nearly 60,000 visitors from China last year, up from 10,000 in the 1990s.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo Education Department has announced the start of a new Master of Education Cohort for the spring 2010 semester. The M.ED is a 30 to 33 semester program designed to foster professional growth and renewal of licensed teachers.  The cohort program requires five semesters and two summers to complete, with courses offered on Wednesday evenings and specail summer sessions.  Application deadline is October 15th.

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