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Hawaii Island News, 08 January 2010


Hawaii Island State Senator Russell Kokubun and State Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Donna Mercado Kim tell the “Honolulu Advertiser” they support giving the counties the authority to impose a sales tax to compensate for a possible loss of the Transit Accommodations Tax.  Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi  says the TAT is needed to fund county road, water, and sewer projects.  State Senator Kokubun, a former Hawai Island County Council member,  says the sales tax proposal would give local government more revenue tools, provide for some property tax relief, and give counties a way to tailor taxes to fit specific programs.

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee has recognized police officer Jeremy Lewis as “Officer of the Month” for January.  At a Wednesday luncheon ceremony at the Paddlers Restaurant at King Kamehameha’s  Kona Beach Hotel, Lewis was honored for developing information that led to the arrest of a 19-year old Kona man who went on a crime spree during October and November.  Because of Lewis’s investigation, police were able to recover many stolen items, including missing cars, mopeds, and keys to cars and condominiums.

Trial for a Pahoa woman accused of running an indoor marijuana growing operation has been set for May 17th.  According to court records, Bridget Boyd was arraingned Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty before Judge Glenn Hara.

The State Department of Health is asking Hawaii County residents to take precautionary measures due to particulate matter added to the air by recent brush fires in West Hawaii.  Health Department officials tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that levels of pollutants caused by the brush fires have exceeded federal air quality standards.  The department recommends that people stay indoors during smokey periods, avoid smoking, and drink plenty of liquids.

Hawaii County Council members collecting testimony on marijuana eradication efforts by police got an earful when a Puna family related how  police allegedly terrorized family members during the execution of a search warrant three years ago at their Fern Acres home.  Wendy and David Tatum and their son Kian testified that officers drew their weapons, used profanity, and confiscated cash and iPods.  Councilmembers Kelly Greenwell and Emily Naole-Beason told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that they were moved by the alleged allegations.  Assistant Police Chief Marshall Kanehailua said all allegations of police misconduct are thoroughly investigated.

(AP).  The labor union that represents University of Hawaii professors is asking a state court to halt planned pay cuts that UH President M.R.C. Greenwood wants to impose.  The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly filed a request for a temporary restraining order with the First Circuit Court yesterday.

(AP).  A state Board of Education member is calling for the chair’s resignation, arguing he failed to promptly inform other board members of the state schools superintendent’s resignation.  Breene Harimoto told the board yesterday that it wasn’t in the best interests of the board or the public education system for Garrett Toguchi to continue as chairman.

Notice to motorists:  Komohana Street in Hilo, between Kukuau Street and Ponahawai Street, will be closed for 5 nights, beginning Sunday, January 10th.  For details, call Kyle at 960-2828.  Also, the state Department of Transportation advises Big Island motorists of single lane closures on Queen Kaahumanu Highway from Lako Street to Henry Street for pavement marking and guardrail installation.  One lane of traffic in each direction will be open at all times.