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Hawaii Island News, 27 October 2009


(Honolulu Star-Bulletin).  George Naope, the co-founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival, died Monday in Hilo after a long illness.  He was 81.  An accalimed scholar of ancient hula, Naope taught in Japan, Guam, Australia, Germany, England, the mainland and South America in addition to the Hawaiian Islands.  In the early ’60s, Naope dreamed up the Merrie Monarch Festival as a toursit draw for Hilo.  In 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded its highest honor for the folk arts to Naope.

The Berry Company will recognize St. Joseph Elementary School with a check for $700 for its first place standing the inthis year’s “Think Yellow, Go Green Telephone Directory Recycling Contest”.  The prize money will b eused to fund the school’s extracurricular robotics club.  The presentation will take place Friday, 1:15 pm, at the St. Joseph Elementary School.

(AP).  Hawaiian Airlines pilots say their contract negotiations with the company have reached an impasse.  The announcement by the pilots’ union could start the clock for a future strike by Hawaiian’s 400 pilots.  The airline says it remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with its pilots.

In response to increasing demand for financial and scholarship assistance, Hawaii Preparatory Academy has estblished “The Kulia Fund”, an endowment to support igh school students who are seeking the opportunity to excel in a unique secondary school environment.  Keawe Liu, HPA’s director of advancement and an alumnus of the school, said the Kulia Fund has already received a one million dollar gift from an HPA parent who believes deeply in the goals of the scholarship program.  For details on the program, go to

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is proposing to extend the “Kokua Zone” program to provide free, island-wide bus service on the Island of Hawaii for another year.  The free bus fares will expire December 31st unless the County Council takes aciton to extend the program.  In his media release, the Mayor said the “free county bus fares are helping our resident to weather these challenging economic times, and are also providing a benefit to the business community by helping to connect workers with employers.”

(AP).  Honolulu police have ticketed nearly 500 drivers after a campaign to enforce a ban on hand-held cell phones and other electronic devices began in late September.  Violators face a fine of $67 for the firs toffense and up to $500 for repeated offenses.  The Big Island will begin banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving on January 1st, 2010.

A new medical clinic and training center for health professionas held a “soft” opening in Hilo this past Saturday.  The Hawaii Island Family Health Center, a partnership between the Hilo Medical Center and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, will treat patients and be a teaching facility for faculty from the medical school’s family medicine, nursing, dental hygiene, and pharmacy programs.  The 4,350 square foot center is located at 45 Mohouli Street.

(AP)>  Hawaii’s public schools won’t fall below minimum accrediting standards, even after chopping 17 days from the calendar to have the fewest number of instructional days in the country.  The Western Association of Schools and Colleges oversees acrreditation for Hawaii’s public schools, and does not set a minimum number of required school days.