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Hawaii Island News, 06 January 2010


Tradewinds Forest Products has announced its plans to begin the first phase of construction of its $62 million veneer manufacturing plant at O’okala along the Hamakua Coast.  Groundbreaking is planned for the first quarter of the year.  Phase two of construction entails the building of a small cogeneration biomass power plant that will burn mill residue, provide steam for veneer drying machinery, and generate power for the HELCO grid.  Tradewinds Forest Products president Don Bryan says permanent employment will begin in the spring of 2011.  More than 100 permanent new jobs will be created upon project completion.

The Hawaii County Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee has rejected a resolution asking the state legislature to decriminalize marijuana.  Councilman Kelly Greenwill’s nonbinding resolution doesn’t decriminalize marijuana, because the drug is regulated by federal and state law.  Greenwell told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” he hoped a positive vote by the council would apply pressure to the state legislature to ease regulation of the drug.  The resolution now goes to the full coucil with a negative recommendation.

Approximately 35 buisness owners and community leaders met Tuesday in Hilo with the aim of forming a message to President Obama on how the government can aid the economic recovery of Hawaii Island.  According to the  “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, recommended courses of action include support for renewable energy, eco-friendly businesses, self-sustaining agriculture, and unemployment costs.

An $8 million, 100-unit apartment complex proposed for the center of downtown Hilo received a preliminary endorsement Tuesday from the Hawaii County Council.  Gianpahio Boschetti wants to build a multiple family complex on 5.1 acres of land on the maka side of Kapiolani Street, directly across from the Hilo Police Station.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the family units would be sold at market prices or kept as long-term rentals that could be marketed to university students.

A 25-year old Hilo man with three prior DUI convictions has pleaded no contest to negligent homicide for one-car accident that killed his friend two years ago.  Nivan Agres will be sentenced March 9th before Hilo Judge Glenn Hara.  Police said Agres was the driver of a 4-door sedan that crashed on Kalanianaole Avenue in Keaukaha at about 11.30 p.m. on January 27th, 2008.  Agres failed to negotiate a turn, ran off the road, and hit a utility pole near the corener of Kolea Street.  David Young, a passenger in the car, died the following morning.

Big Island State Representative Mark Nakashima and Big Island State Senator Dwight Takamine wrap up a series of pre-legislative community meetings with a session tonight at 7 in the Honokaa School Cafeteria and Thursday evening at 6 in the Laupahoehoe High School Humanities Room.  Mark and Dwight will share information about issues facing the state legislature during these challenging economic times.

Komohana Street, between Kukuau Street and Ponahawai Street in Hilo will be closed for five nights starting Sunday, January 10th, from 7 p.m. to 5 a..m.  The road will be closed for night time construction work.  For details, call Kyle at 960-2828.

The state Department of Transportation advises Big Island motorists of single lane closures on Queen Kaahumanu Highway from Lako Street to Henry Street now through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for pavement marking and guardrail installation.  One lane of traffic in each direction will be open at all times.