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Hawaii Island News, 18 December 2009


A flier and petition being handed out to students who ride school buses in Hawaii County have many parents angry and confused.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the documents state that all school bus service in the state would come to an end by March 2010.  After she received calls from parents this week, State Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto issued a press release assuring parents that bus service would continue.  Hamamoto also criticized the Hawaii School Bus Association, which is comprised of companies that contract to provide bus service to the state.

The “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” is terminating the bargaining contract of their union workers three days before Christmas.  Earlier this month, Publisher Ted Dixon told the Hawaii Newspaper Guild Local 39117 that effective December 22nd, the company would no longer honor the written Extension Agreement to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.  According to Guild spokesman Wayne Cahill, the company has shied away from an overall impasse.  Cahill said appropriate action would be taken if an impasse is declared.

The Dowtown Improvement  Association will install two new interpretive signs at Kalakaua Park in Hilo and at the Naha/Pinao stones in front of the Hilo Public Library on Saturday, December 19th, to celebrate the rich history of community place in Historic Downtown Hilo.

Police have identified a Puna man who was killed Wednesday afternoon after a 10-hour armed standoff in Kehena as Daniel Hiedt.  Neighbors told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that Heidt had been ranting and raving  and shooting a firearm in his home since about midnight Wednesday.  Police said the Puna patrol responded to a call shortly before 3  The neighborhood was evacuated while police secured the area and eventually shot Heidt some ten hours later.  One Neighbor said the man was slowly going downhill after his divorce a year and a half ago.

Despite facing a budget shortfall that will force deep spending cuts in the county, Mayor Billy Kenoi has missed the deadline to appoint a cost commission tasked with saving money.  Mayor Kenoi told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the effort to get volunteers for the nine-member panel started last month.  The mayor said efforts to get representatives from every district have not been successful.  Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said he has asked former members to serve on the new board and three have agreed to do so.

Governor Linda Lingle has ordered the Hawaii state flag to fly at half-staff at state and county buildings throughout Hawaii on Saturday from sunrise to sunset in honor of former state Senator Stanley Hara who died on December 1st.  Services for Hara will take place in Hilo on Saturday.

(AP).  Swine flu vaccine supplies are gradually catching up with demand in Hawaii.  The state Department of Health annouced on Thursday that island vaccination providers can now use nasal spray vaccine to vaccinate health individuals 2 through 49 years of age, as long as they aren’t pregnant.  As for shots, providers are being urged to contine following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.