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Hawaii Island News, 08 February 2010

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The Hawaii State Senate will discuss a bill today to privatize the Hawaii Health System Corporation.  HHSC representative and Big Island state senator Josh Green tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the bill would save Hawaii’s hospitals millions as they continue to struggle financially.  Green believes the privatization would prevent future hosptial closings.  A recent news poll conducted by this station showed overwhelming support for the privatization initiative.  Another poll is included at the end of this news summary.

The state Department of Human Services tells the “Honolulu Advertiser” that insurance companies have been warned that the state may not make payments for the Quest Medical Plan for the last quarter of the fiscal year.  That would leave insurers to absorb over $300 million in medical expenses until at least July.  The possible delay in payments has stunned insurers and alarmed health care providers, who worry that a delay could jeopardize the ability of insurers to cover claims.

Several hundred Hawaii Island residents left the TV and the Superbowl Sunday to enjoy the second annual Bob Fest and Agricultural Fair held at Hilo’s Mooheau Bandstand.  The event was held in honor of the late reggie star Bob Marley.  Kona farmer Randly Rupar told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the excellent weather and mellow crowd were preferable to sitting before the TV and having a beer.

Looking to cut government waste, the Hawaii State Senate is coming close to its goal of reducing paperwork in this legislative session.  According to the Associated Press, the state senate has saved more than $1.2 million, 8 million pages, and the equivalent of more than 800 trees since the project began.  In the two years since the conversion to nearly paperless operations, less paper has been used and fewer temporary staff has been hired to run copy machines.

Tatau Entertainment presents:  “Big Island Love”, a benefit for the People of Haiti, on Sunday, February 14th, at the Mixx Bistro in Kailua-Kona.  The event is for those 21 and over and begins at 7 p.m.  Checks should be made payable to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.

The Hilo March for Babies is set for March 21st at Wailoa State Park.  For details, call Eden at 969-1206.

The Big Island Auto Club presents the season opening drag race at the Hilo Drag Strip on February 20th and February 21st.  Gates open at 7 a.m. both days.

The U.S. Census Bureau wants to hire more than 450 Hawaii Island residents to help with door-to-door census taking in May.  Hawaii Media Specialist Roberta Wong tells “West Hawaii Today” that teh 2000 census got only a 60 percent response rate from Hawaii.  Wong wants that rate to improve by more than 20 percent.  To apply for a census taker position, call toll-free at 1-866-861-2010.

Notice to motorists:  There will be single lane closures from Lako Street to Henry Street along the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, beginning today and lasting through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  One lane of traffic will be open at all times.  Traffic will be contraflowed on the Maulua Stream Bridge between Middle Road and Ninole Town, beginning today and lasting through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for bridge maintenance.

Today’s news poll is listed below:[polldaddy poll=2668363]

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