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Hawaii Island News, 18 January 2010

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Hawaii Island state senator Russell Kokubun tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that balancing the budget will be the legislature’s top priority when lawmakers convee on Wednesday.  Kokuabun says “we’re in such a deep hole, I think that’s going to take all of our attention.”  The state government is facin a $1.2 billion shortfall during the next 18-month period.  Hawaii Island state representative Jerry Chang says “nothing’s more important that finding $1.2 billion to cover our deficit.”

(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 that to close it and have students attend Kohala High and Elementary School.  The taks 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.

The county commission responsible for recommending land purchases has selected eight properties it believes should be bought this year with money from the county’s 2 percent land fund.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the Hawaii County Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission names the 551 acre Kawa property along the Ka’u coastline as its top priority.  County land manager Kenneth VanBergen says the commission is making good progress and is contacting property owners in the area.  The Kawa property includes a prized surfing beach and a nesting ground for endangered turtles.

Keep an eye on Hualalai.  That’s the word from Jim Kauahikaua, the scientist in charge of Hawaii Volcano Observatory.  Kauahikaua told a group of Kailua-Kona residents that the sleeping volcano could awaken in the future.  According to HVO, Hualalai has erupted three times during the past 1,000 years, while Mauna Loa and Kilauea have erupted more than 150 times during the same period.  Hualalai’s last eruptions in the late 1700s and in 1801 sent lava flows into areas now occupied by the Kona International Airport.

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 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.

The Department of Water Supply wil be conducting a fire hydrant flow test along Mamalahoa Highway, between Rodney Yano Hall and Captain Cook Post Office Center on Thursday, January 28th, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.  The affected area may experience slight discolored and turbid water for several hours after the test.  For details, call 322-0600.

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