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Hawaii Island News, 29 October 2009


The state Department of Transportation, Airports Division, Hawaii district, will be participating in the Keaukaha Tsunami Evacuation Exercise at the Hilo International Airport on Monday, November 2nd, from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm.  The realistic exercise will test tsunami evacuation procedures for the Keaukaha Community.  Approximately 700 community volunteers will simulate a mass evacuation, entering the airport through perimeter access gates.  Evacuees will then be escorted across the main runway to the main terminals and board Hawaii County mass transit buses for evacuation  inland.

(Honolulu Advertiser).  Just when parents though things in Hawaii’s public schools couldn’t get much worse, Department of Education officials warned yesterday that thousands of DOE employees will be laid off if a federal judge blocks teacher furloughs.  Schools superintendent Pat Hamamoto and other education officials told Board of Education members yesterday that if the furloughs are overturned, the layoffs will be in the multiple thousands and center on probationary teachers, administrators, and others.  Tenured and special education teachers would not be laid off.  Hamamoto added that layoffs would probably be the first option–ahead of ending the school year early.

Hawaii County Civil Defense authorities tell the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the trailhead of the Kalapana viewing area appears safe from a tongue of lava from erupting Kilauea volcano.  Scientists say the front of the flow has come to within 100 yards of the start of the trail, which is several feet above the level of the flow.

(AP).  Hawaii health officials are warning of an upswing in swine flu cases in the next few weeks.  The state has experienced relatively few cases so far.  But state epidemiologist Sarah Park says “it’s a matter of time” before a rash of new cases appear.  There have been 11 Hawaii deaths associated with H1N1 since the firs confirmed cases on May 5th.

(Honolulu Star-Bulletin).  Costco Wholesale Corp. said yesterday that it would start accepting food stamps from the 36 million Americans that use them at its warehouse clubs nationwide.  This is a reflection that food stamps use has hit new heights.  In Hawaii, food stamp recipients grew in number by 23 percent in the year ending in June compared to the previous year and included more than 125,000 residents.  The company said it hopes to accept food stamps in about half of its 407 U.S. stores by Thanksgiving.

According to Stephens Media, More than 1,000 Hawaii County employees have agreed to upaid furloughs next year and possibly this year as well.  For the first time this year, the mayors of the four counties, acting as the Hawaii Council of Mayors, presented their own package for collective bargaining, instead of lumping all state and county employees together.  Human Resources Director Michael Ben said the county retains the option of imposing furloughs this year, although there are no plans to do so.

The Kohala Center continues its series of meetings on a  plan for food self-sufficency tonight from 6-8 at the Pauilo School cafeteria and November 4th, 6-8 pm, at the Pahoa Community Center.