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Hawaii Island News, 19 December 2009


As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, the Hawaii Fire Department reports that the brush fire located approximately 6 miles above Konawaena High School is nearly contained.  The brush fire that started Thursday has burned approximately 1,400 acres.  No communiteis are threatened and all roads are open.  Expect smoke  from the fire to affect the North and South Kona areas.

Kaumana Drive in Hilo will be closed until 12 Noon today because of a downed HELCO power pole.

According to an opinion issued by the Office of Information Practices, most Hawaii County Council members held illegal leadership talks before their June 16th reorganization meeting.  OIP attorney Jennifer Brooks told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that “a majority of Hawaii County Council members discussed leadership through a series of interconnected conversations…the serial discussion was not permitted by law, and thus violated the sunshine law.”  Council Chairman J. Yosimoto said he will ask the Corporation Counsel to offer more Sunshine Law training.

Furloughs have come to the state library system.  Wednesday was the first of 15 days during which libraries across the state will shut down in an attempt to save $700,000 in operating costs.  Residents interviewed by the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” said they understood the need for furloughs in this tough economic climate.  Hilo Resident Russell Brown said “we all need to share the burden.”

Hawaii Police have confirmed that the man killed by police following a 10-hour standoff in Kehena was shot twice by officers using rifles.  Police Major Sam Thomas told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that Daniel Heidt was shot by Special Resonse Team officers armed with .223 caliber semiautomatic rifles.  Thomas said three officers have been placed on paid adminsitrative leave while the incident is being investigated by Internal Affairs and the Criminal Investigation Section.  Police said Heidt was shot and killed after coming out of his house branishing a machette and a concealed .22 caliber revolver.  Heidt fired at least one shot before he was killed.

(AP).  The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is making ohia timber and firewoood harvested on the Big Island available to the public for free.  The timber was cleared from the Saddle Road project and stockpiled in a forest clearing located about 250 feet north of the road at milepost 16.  Wood may be removed from the stockpile only between today and January 3rd.

Hunter and all recreational users of Pohakuloa Training Area have been informed by military officials that the area is closed until further notice.  Jon Sabati of the Volcano chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation says there was a fence enclosure that was damaged and cut.  Also, a generator was stolen.  The amount of the damage and theft is high enough to warrant a Federal investigation, thus causing the closure of PTA.  Dick Hoeflinger of the Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group says that “if PTA does not reopen for the balance of the game bird hunting season, 44 percent of the available hunting season will be lost.”

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

The Hilo Downtown Improvement Association will install two new interpretive signs at Kalakaua Park and at the Naha/Pinao stones in front of the Hilo Public Library today in celebration of community places in Historic Downtown Hilo.  The Kalakaua Park sign will be unveiled at 11:45 a.m.  The Naha stone sign will be dedicated at 5:00 p.m.