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Hawaii Island News, 14 January 2010


The chairman of the Hawaii County Police Commission tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that ambiguous wording in the “peaceful sky” law needs to be corrected because it is hampering the work of the commission.  The voter-approved law requires police to give the lowest enforcement priority to people at least 21 years old who grow, possess, or smoke marijuana on private propety.  Despite the law, police continue to conduct marijuana raids, citing overriding federal and state anti-marijuana laws.  Police Commission chairman Tom Whitemore says he has asked Hawaii County Council chairman J. Yoshimoto to clarify the language of the law, because it has generated complaints that police are breaking the law.

During a videoconference lasting more than  five hours, four Hawaii residents, including three from Hawaii Island, urged the Nuclear Regulatory Agency to force the Army to clean up its depleted uranium lands.  Admitting that there was no way of knowing how many rounds of depleted uranium were fired at Pohakuloa Training Area and that at least 714 rounds were sent to Hawaii in the past, Army officials argued that the petitioners had no right to bring a complaint, and that even if they did have standing, they did not have any admissible complaints.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the NRC’s attorneys supported the Army’s arguments.

Concessionaires wanting to assume the lease of the Volcano House took a guided tour of the facility on Wednesday.  Ken Fujiyama, the current operator of the Volcano House, told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he would not bid to continue operations.

A hearing has been set to determine if a man accused of raping and killing his live-in girlfriend’s 5-year old daughter is fit to stand trial.  Hilo Circuit Court Judge Glen Hara has ordered Anthony Poulin to appear February 19th at 10 a.m.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, a psychiatrist and two psychologists have filed written reports with the court finding Poulin fit to stand trial.

Approximately 100 people attended a public legislative hearing Wednesday evening at UH-Hilo to voice their concerns to East Hawaii legislators.  State Senators Dwight Takamine and Russell Kokubun joined State Representatives Jerry Chang and Clifton Tsuji in hearing voter questions ranging from medical marijuana to the varroa mite.  Noelie Rodriguez, a sociology professor at UH-Hilo, urged legislators to restore funding to the state’s Fair Election Act, a pilot program on the Big Island to explore public funding of elections.  Rodriguez told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that government is not as democratic as it pretends to be.

State Senator Josh Green and State Representatives Cindy Evans and Denny Coffman addressed community concerns at a recent Kona Town Meeting.  Among the top concerns discussed by the West Hawaii legislative delegation was the possible loss of TAT funds, which supply around $18 million to Hawaii County.  Representative Evans told “Hawaii 24/7” one possibility is to give counties some of the money, but not the full amount.  Representative Coffman said he wants to keep TAT money at the state level, because the counties haven’t been doing their job in providing core county services.

(AP).  The Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team says it will be ready to respond if asked to help in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.  The 70-member team of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other personnel is part of the National Disaster Medical System.  Team commander Toby Clairmont has alerted members that they are on call for January and may be asked to provide emergency assistance.