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Hawaii Island News, 20-21 December 2009


(AP).  The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is making ohia timber and firewood 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 locate 250 feet north of the road at milepost 16.  Wood may only be removed from the stockpile through January 3rd.

Hunters and all recreational users of Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) 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 reports that “there was a fence enclosure that was damaged and cut.  Also, a generator was stolen.  The amouont of the damage and theft is high enough to warrant a Federal Investigation, thus causing the closure of PTA. ”  The Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group has contacted state and federal officials on reopening public access to  PTA.

(AP).  Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle will unveil a supplemental state budge for the fiscal year that begins July 1st at a press conference Monday.  The state operates on a biennial budget, but the governor is required to submit a supplemental spending plan for the second of the two fiscal years.

Furloughs have come to the state library system.  Wednesday was the first of 15 days during which libraries across the state will shlut down in an attempt to save $750,000 in operational costs.  Hilo resident Russell Brown tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the state has a serious budget problem and that “we all need to share the burden.”

The Office of Information Practices says most Hawaii County Council members held illegal leadership talks ahead of their June 16th reorganization meeting.  OIP attorney Jennifer Brooks told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that this series of interconnected conversations was not permitted and thus violated the sunshine law.  Hawaii County Council Chairman J. Yoshimoto said he will ask the Corporation Counsel to offer more sunshine law training.

(AP).  Hawaii’s teachers union and education officials plan to keep discussing ways this week to return children to school on furlough Fridays, even without representatives from Governor Lingle’s office present.  Negotiations on the governor’s $50 million plan to reopen schools on 27 furlough days this year and next collapsed last week after the Hawaii State Teachers Association rejected her proposal and her team didn’t make a counter offer.

The Hawaii Electric Light Company reports that its crews continue to work long hours to restore power to all customers that have been affected by the lightning storm that began Friday night, December 18th.  The storm caused several wide spread power interruptions in the Hilo and Puna areas Friday through Saturday, as well as numerous isolated and momentary power interruptions island-wide.  HELCO asks you to avoid downed or dangling wires.  Customers who continue to experience power problems and have not yet reported them should call HELCO’s trouble desk at 969-6666.