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Hawaii Island News, 25 November 2009


The University of Hawaii at Hilo has received a National Science Foundation grant to fund major research instrumentation for the University’s Hoku Kea Telescope atop Mauna Kea.  The award totals $141,664 over a three year period, effective this past September 15th.  Teh project involves the design, construction, and commission of a new digital optical camera and a spectrograph which will be used to analyze the light from faint stars.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Ross tells “West Hawaii Today” that a Hawaiian Ocean View Estates man will not be charged following last week’s home invasion and shooting.  Ross says John Fitzsimmons appeared to be acting in self defense when he shot Richard Justin McNeely late last Thursday night.  Fitzsimmons, who is paraplegic, said he was asleep in bed when McNeely broke into his home and roughed him up.  When McNeely left, Fitzsimmons said he grabbed his handgun and got into his wheelchair.  McNeely trid to re-enter the house, where upon Fitzsimmons shot him in the leg.

North Kohala has inched closer to its goal of becoming 50 percent food self-sufficient by 2018 with the County Council’s approval of a planning grant for an agricultural processing center.  According to “West Hawaii Today”, the community facility projected for an area just past Halaula will allow small farmers to process their taro into poi and other vegetables into value added products such as jams, jellies, and salsa.

A Kailua-Kona based surfing group is preparing to file a lawsuit and to request a cease an desist order against Hawaii County and a condominium complex for work on a seawall in Kailua-Kona.  The president of the Kona Bali Kai, which is sheltered by the seawall, tells “West Hawaii Today” he is surprised by the position taken by the West Hawaii Surfing Association, since the condominium has proper authorization and permits to reconstruct the badly damage seawall.  Kevin Seiter, who represents the surfers, says the issue is why the county authorized such significant work in a shoreline setback area when the state DLNR oversees shoreline areas.

(AP).  Hawaii’s teachers union and the state government are beginning negotiations on ways to reopen schools on 17 planned furlough days this year and next.  The union, Governor Linda Lingle, the Department of Education, and Board of Education met for the first time Tuesday to discuss the governor’s plan to end the furloughs.  The governor has proposed that the state spend $50 million from a rainy day fund and asked teachers to give up planning days.

County motorists are strongly urged to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol this holiday season.  Hawaii County is bringing back its free Holiday Shared Ride Taxi program this year to make Big Island roads safer.  Now through January 1s, 2010, selected establishments in East and West Hawaii will be offering inebriated patrons free shared ride taxi coupons as an alternative to driving away from the bar while under the influence.