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Hawaii Island News, 13-14 December 2009


(AP).  An extreme drought parlty caused by El Nino has prompted the federal government to declare the Big Island and Maui agricultural disaster areas.  Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka say the declaration paves the way for federal financial assistance to drought-wracked farming regions.

An estimated 300 gallons of sewage leaked into the storm drain system near Ponahawai Street and Kilauea Avenue in Hilo around 9 a.m. on Friday.  According to a press release from the Department of Environmental Management’s Wastewater Divsion, the spillage went from the storm drains system into the Alenaio Stream.  The department posted signs signs along the stream canal warning residents of possible contamination.  The deparmtne sealed the sewage leak and disinfected the storm drain system.

Hilo native BK Penn retained his UFC lightweight championship title Saturday night with a fifth-round TKO of challenger Diego Sanchez in the main event of UFC 107.  Penn, who is undefeated at 155 pounds for the past eight years, attacked Sanchez through the first four rounds, before a gash above Sanchez’s left eye closed out the fight.

Keaau High School will hold an off-campus evacuation drill between 1 and 2 p.m. Thursday, December 17th, the last day fo the semester.  According to a press release from the school, student and faculty will walk to the nearby Nawahi Campus.  The drill should take less than one hour.  Parents and guardians should make sure students wear comfortable walking shoes, use sunscreen, and bring umbrellas.

Three men have been cited for allegedly renting kayaks illegally on state and county land near Kealakekua Bay.  Officer Calvin DeLaries told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that three men, ages 21, 28, and 44 were tickeded  for soliciting business on state property and tresspassing, as well as commercial use of a county street.

Part of the parking lot at Hapuna Beach and parts of Puako Road will be paved after the park closes at 7 Monday night.  The work is being done in conjunction with improvements to the park water system.  According to DLNR, Willocks Construction will begin paving at &:30 p.m. Monday and work will be done by 6:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Hawaii Correctional Industries will hold another public meeting to inform residents about its plans for expanding HCI services on Hawaii Island.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 22nd, 5 p.m., at the First United Prostestant Church on Waianuenue Avenue in Hilo.  HCI is negotiating with the county to lease part of the old Hilo Memorial Hospital on Rainbow Drive.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he has a plan “B” if the county cannot balance the budget by selling Paauilo land for $8.2 million.  The mayor says he will look at other cut in operations, including overtime expeditures by the fire and police departments and by adopting a “revenue neutral tax policy”, meaning that property owners’ taxes would not change from current levels, even if property values decreased.

In an effort to control the spread of gorse on Mauna Kea, Parker Ranch is assisting the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands with a controll agricultural burn on Mauna Kea.  The agricultural burn will take place sometime between Monday, December 14th to Monday, December 21st, weather permitting.