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Hawaii Island News, Christmas Day, 2009


(AP).  President Barack Obama is spending his holiday vacation in Hawaii, where he was born and lived as a child.  The First Family has no public schedule and is expected to celebrate the holidays in private at a rented compound in Kailua, Oahu.  The President left the White House on Christmas Eve after the U.S. Senate passed health care legislation.

(AP).  Big Island police have identified the victim of an apparent drowning as a 72-year old man from Washington State.  Officers say Clarence Bolt of Prosser died while snorkeling Wednesday in waters off Kealakekua Bay in South Kona.  Police don’t suspect foul play.

The Hawaii County Council is returning legislation that would prohibit businesses from handing out plastic bags at point of sale.  Councilman Pete Hoffman tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that proposed legislation is not an out right ban, but an effort to reduce plastic bag distribution.  If the proposed bill is approved, it would become law on January 11th, 2011.  Businesses would be prohibitied from giving plastic checkout bags to their customers.  Paper and reusable bags would not be affected.

The former Kulani Prison is being converted into a vocational school for teens at risk.  State officials tell the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that there are plans to hire staff members early next year and to enroll the first class in 2011.  Brigadier General Gary Ishikawa says he wants to expedite the mandatory training time by getting help from employees at the Kalaeloa, Oahu academy that opened 15 years ago.  Ishikawa believes hiring can start in February or March, with most of the new staff being recruited from the Hilo area.

Hawaii Police are warning residents about an e-mail and identity theft scam.  A Hamakua man said he received an e-mail from what he believed to be a family friend who was stranded in London without her passport and purse.  The e-mail asked for $700 through Western Union.  The man thought he had confirmed the identity of the friend and sent the money to London.  Police are asking you to exercise caution when replying to suspicious e-mails and that you check with the requester or family prior to sending money.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will close the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and Kaohe Game Management Area on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 to conduct animal control activities, specifically serial shooting from helicopters for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybirds.  These grazing animals cause soil erosion and degrade the environment for mamane trees, which nourish the endemic Palila Bird.  Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available for salvage by permit only.  To secure a permit, call 974-4221 or 887-6063.

To accommodate large volumes of rubbish normally disposed of on the day after Christmas and New Year’s all County of Hawaii solid waste recycling and transfer stations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 26th and Saturday, January 2nd.  These special hours will apply to these two days only, and normal Saturday hours will resume on Saturday, January 9th, 2010.  All other solid waste rules and regulations apply.  For details, call the County Solid Waste Division at 961-8515.

Have a safe and joyous holiday.

Russ Roberts, News Director, Pacific Radio Group (Hawaii Island)