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Hawaii Island News, 16 December 2009


Hawaii County has received a $945,000 grant from the legacy Land Conservation Commission that will help buy one of the mose desirable, undeveloped shoreline access areas of the Big Island. The oceanfront property consists of 10.61 acres within the Pa’o’o Aupua’a in North Kohala and will be purchased by the County with matching funds from the County’s Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.  The property is designated for preservation in the North Kohala Community Development Plan.

Those attending the update meeting for the “Kawaihae Harbor 2035 Master Plan” found that traffic at the Kohala Coast facility is steadily increasing.  Harold Westerman of Moffat and Nicol told “West Hawaii Today” that officials believe the number of container arrivals could reach between 240,000 and 313,000 by the year 2035.  Westerman said the harbor will need up to 20 acres of storage in the yard to meet anticipated shipping traffic.

A large monkeypod tree at the St. Michael the Archangel Church along Alii Drive was cut down Monday, much to the distress of numerous residents who wanted to know why the more than 100-year old tree was removed.  Dick Leander, the chairman of the church’s Parish Planning and Building Committee, told “West Hawaii Today” that two monkeypods in the backyard, as well as three monkeypods and a banyan tree in the front yard must be removed to make room for the new church parking lot, a community/administration building, and a covered pavilion and social service building.

Police are reminding motorists that a new law banning the use of cell phones while driving takes effect on January 1st.  The new law is designed to reduce driver distraction and make the county’s roads safer.  Penalties will not apply to emergency responders, to drivers drivers using two-way radios for work-related duties, and to drivers holding a valid FCC amateur radio license and using half-duplex two-way radios.

Big Island police are investigating a robbery that happened Friday night at the Shell service station on Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona.  An unidentified man armed with a handgun entered the gas station’s convenience store with his face obscured and demanded money.  He then fled the area on foot and headed southeast toward Kopiko Plaza with an undisclosed amount of cash.  He is described as caucasian, possibly in his 20s, about 6-feet tall, slim and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.  If you have any leads in this case, call police.

(AP).  Two congressional committees are poised to pass legislation this week that would eventually let native Hawaiians establish their own government, much like those organized by Indian tribes.  The legislation would provide a road map for gradually setting up a Native Hawaiian government.  A House committee hearing is scheduled for this morning.

(AP).  Talks will resume today on ways to restore 27 school days scheduled to be lost due to furloughs.  No agreement was reached yesterday, but Hawaii’s public school system and its teachers union say they made progress on a plan that would eleiminate some of the 34 furlough days called for in the recently ratified two-year contract with the union.

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