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Hawaii Island News, 16 January 2010


(AP).  A task force has found a public school on the Big Island should remain open, rather than closing it and sending its students to another campus.  The Kohala Complex Schools Task Force says in a recently completed draft report that there are more reasons to keep Kohala Middle School open than to close it and have students attend Kohala High and Elementary School.  The task force found the cost per student was roughly the same at the middle and high school, and that middle school students benefit socially and academically from having their own campus.

Notice to motorists.  The Department of Public Works will complete resurfacing of the last mile and a half of Mamalahoa Highway in North Kona starting Monday evening, January 18th, with completion completion Friday morning, January 22nd.  The Mamalahoa Bypass will be closed to southbound travel on Monday, Dr. Martin Luthier King, Jr. Day, and February  15th, Presidents’ Day.  Closing the Bypass on holidays is a condition of the easement between Oceanside 1250 Partners and the County of Hawaii for southbound travel from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, excluding holidays.

Now that he has convinced the Hawaii County Council to suspend payments to the open space land fund, Mayhor Billy Kenoi tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he wants to raise funds for land purchases by selling more county property near Paauilo.  That sale would return 900 acres of idled land to agricultural production, generate tax revenue, and provide money for the county to buy up shore line property.

A 35-year old Kailua-Kona man has been arrested for numerous sex assault charges.  Ka’u police picked up John Christian Jackson at Kahuku Park Thursday night on a bench warrant.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, Jackson was indicted by a Hilo Grand Jury on December 16th on four counts of first-degree sexual assault.  Police reports indicate that the offenses took place in December 2007 and involved a victim less than 14 years old.

Police have identified the man who died Thursday after losing control of his motorcycle on Akaka Falls Road.  Police said 62-year old Herman Dietrich of Denver, Colorado was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle east on Akaka Falls Road when he lost control and ran off the road near the 1-mile marker.  Dietrich’s wife, Patricia, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.  She was later flown to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

(AP).  University of Hawaii professors say they have received paychecks that were reduced by almost 7 percent.  The union representing professors said members reported the lower paychecks.  President M.R.C. Greenwood had said that pay cuts would be imposed in order to help the institution stablilize its finances.

A church investment group tells “West Hawaii Today” it wants to renovate three buildings on a Keauhou site it owns, turning one of them into a parsonage, one into housing for Ministerial interns, and the other into a meeting facility.  Neighbors of the Paradise Point Investment Group contend that the scope of the work goes beyond a simple renovation and that at least one of the buildings is an illegal structure.  John Dagras and Judith Fitzgerald believe the project should require a major special management area permit and formal notification of neighboring landowners.

Hawaii Island is the one bright spot in the state’s expanding foreclosure crisis.  Century 21 broker Marty Kimball tells “West Hawaii Today” that Hawaii County has seen a slowdown in home foreclosures.  Kimball says the foreclosure slowdown in West Hawaii may be attributed to banks being ordered to work things out with homeowners.  Kimball says the number of  foreclosures coming to his office has been down to one or two a week, compared with as many as 10 a week a few months ago.

Kohala High School will host its annual Homecoming Parade today.  The parade will begin at Kamehameha Park at 10:30 a.m. and move onto the Akoni Pule Highway to the Kohala High School parking lot where the parade will end.  The stretch of road between the park and the high school will be closed from 10:20 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.