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Hawaii Island News update 28 December 2009


It’s time to hele on to the post office with a money order or cashier’s check to order your tickets for the Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition, set for April 8th-10th, at the Edith Kanakaole Stadium in Hilo.  Ticket requests are only accepted as of December 26th and thereafter since the Stadium has limited seating capacity.  Anyone who does not get their orders in within a few days of deadline is unlikely to score a set among the 5,000 available seats (of which about 3,000 are reserved for hula halau, VIPs, judges, and tour groups).  For details, call 935-9168 or go to

Hawaii Island fire crews have contained a Christmas blaze that burned around 25 acres of land at the Yee Hop Ranch in the Kau District.  The fire has been confined to a kipuka surrounded on three sides by lava flows.  According to a Fire Department press release, the ranch is about five miles above the 90-mile marker on Highway 11.  There have been no reported injuries or structural damage.

The renovation of the Keaukaha Military Reservation continues, with completion set for January 2011.  Lt. Colonel Chuck Anthony of the state of Hawaii Department of Defense tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the project is about 40% complete.  Anthony says the final work will be a challenge because it’s time consuming putting up walls and doors.  The construction project is an outgrowth of efforts to consolidate Army and Air Force National Guard activities under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will close Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park early on New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31st, 2009.  Hpuna Beach SRA, including the Waialea Bay section, and Kekaha Kai State Park, including the Kua Bay section, will both close at 5:30 p.m.  DLNR chairperson, Laura Thielen, says “we are closing the park early to discourage use of fireworks, which is prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area.”  Normal park hours will resume on Friday, January 1st, 2010.

(AP).  The state Elections Commission will hold a meeting Wednesday via videoconference to select an interim replacement for Chief Elections Officer Kevin Cronin.  Cronin is resigning the following day.  Commissioners and the public can access the meeting from state videoconferencing centers in Honolulu, Hilo, Lihue, Wailuku, and Kailua-Kona.

(AP).  A Chinese company is now a majority owner of a Hawaii-based supplier of silicon for solar panels.  Hoku Scientific, Inc. of Honolulu said it has  issued more than 33 million shares to Tianwei New Energy Holdings Company of Chenghu, giving the Chinese cojpany control of 60 percent of Hoku’s outstanding shares.  In return, Tianwei has cancelled $50 million in debt owed to it by Hoku.  Tianwei has also agreed to help Hoku obtain additonal financing to build and operate its Pocatello, Idaho facility.