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Hawaii Island News, 15-16 November 2009


An expected $100 million deficit is forcing county administrators to examine each department to see where cuts in personnel and services can be made.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the anticipated shortfall for the period ending June 30th, 2011 is based on economic forecasts and indications that the state will not share revenues from the tourist accommodation tax.  Hawaii County Managing Director Bill Takaba said that county departments are being evaluated by the county Department of Human Resources to determine which jobs are essential, which positions can be combined, and which jobs can be eliminated.

Hawaii County Councilman Donald Ikeda tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that it costs too much to hold County Council meetings in Kailua-Kona.  He wants those meetings to be reduced to the legal minimum.  Ikeda will introduce a resolution Wednesday to cut back council and committee hearings in Kailua-Kona to just one pser quarter–the minimum required by the county charter.

(AP).  Big Island police are warning against the dangers of car surfing, where people ride on the roof of moving car or pickup truck.  St. Nancy Haitsuka says at least five incidents of car surfing have occurred  in the Kailua-Kona area since last October.  In one case, a neighborhood watch group reported that two teenage girls held onto luggage racks atop a sports utility vehicle while a 17-year old girl drove slowly.  No one was injured and no charges were filed.  The Centers for Disease Cosntrol and Prevention says there were 58 car surfing deaths and 41 injuries reported in newspapers nationwide from 1990 to 2008.

(AP).  The Army launched an effort this past weekendto drive 1,500 wild goats and sheep out of parts of the Pohakuloa Training Area.  The goat and sheep drive is designed to remove the two invasive species that are home to endangered native plants.  More than 75 volunteer paniolo signed up for the roundup.  The Army organized the effort to comply with a 2003 order from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The agency says sport hunting of sheep and goats alone hasn’t been enough to remove the animals that are threatening native plants.  The Army will install fences around the cleared areas afterward.  Bird hunting will still be allowed inside the fencing, while orther hunting will be allowed outside the fences.

Ka’u residents are invited to take part in a collaborative workshop that will create the first draft of the Ka’u Development Plan.  The week-long community gathering will run from Monday through Saturday at the Naalehu Community Center.  For details, call Nalani at 217-6893.

Speaking before a community meeting in Honokaa, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is committed to making 1,799 acres of county-owned land at Kapulena available for community-based agriculture.  Mayor Kenoi also outlined efforts by his administration to partner with the Hamakua County Farm Bureau and other farming experts to develop a sustainable plan for agriculture on the land.

A five-year dispute over a defective and unusable $1.9 million water tank has resulted in a lawsuit filed the county Department of Water Supply and the design consultant, who in turn has sued the construction contractor.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, all three parties have asked a judge to require the other parties to pay their attorney fees.  The two-million gallon water tank has sat unused on the corner of Komohana and Kawailani Streets.  The Deparment of Water Suppl claims the concrete roof is defective and is cracked and sagging because of deficient stell reinforcement and poor design.

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