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Hawaii Island News, 09 February 2010


(AP).  Advocates for the poor are worried that a proposal to close welfare offices statewide to save money would cause hundreds of additional layoffs and reduce access to food stamps, cash assistance, and medical benefits. The Department of Human Services’s plan would consolidate some 50 welfare eligibility offices into two large processing centers.

The Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council is seeking low-income residents for free solar water heaters.  Interested individuals should call or visit HCEOC for an application.  To qualify, you must complete an application and own your home or obtain your landlord’s consent to install a solar water heater.  For details, call Lester Seto at 961-2681, extension 414.  Call now, since supplies of solar water heaters are limited.

Those wishing to visit the area around the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay will soon have to apply for a free permit from the state to land their kayaks.  The Department of Land and Natural Resources tells the “Hawaii Tribune-HErald” that beginning February 23rd, visitors to the Ka’awaloa shoreline wihtout permits may be fined $30 or more.  The system is aimed at illegal commercial kayak operators who have been using Kealakekua Bay as a base of operations.

Councilmember Dominic Yagong has updated the resource list for pig trappers on the Big Island.  The list was compiled to help residents who are experiencing feral pig problems on their property.  If you would like a copy of the list, call Yagong’s office at  961-8538.

The state is delaying the release of 2009 income tax refunds until July 1st.  According to Stephens Media, the action is being taken to mitigate the state’s projected $721 million dollar revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year, ending June 30th.  Delaying the tax refund will provide an estimated $275 million, which will go toward balncing the state budget.

A Kailua-Kona woman accused of causing a collision that killed a 17-month old child and seriously injured her mother has been indicted by a Kona Grand Jury.  Valereen Kaleohano-Knittle was charged with manslaughter, second degree assault, DUI, open container of liquor in a motor vehicle, and other offenses.  The victim’s father, Wayne Braden, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” he is relieved by the action, saying he was surprised the indictment took so long.

A 54-year old man died Monday afternoon after his motorcycle left Highway 180 and crashed into a coffee field in Kona.  The bike left the road and landed about 20 feet down an embankment.  Fire-rescue crews said the man suffered massive head injuries.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

Notice to motorists:  Kalakaua Street in Hilo will be closed this Friday at 11 p.m. until Saturday at 5 p.m. to accommodate vendors and pedestrians participating in the Hilo Chinese New Year Festival.  ADA accessible parking spaces on Kalakaua will be available to those with a special permit from the security officers at the barricades.  The free cultural festival takes place in Kalakaua Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.  For details, call 935-8850.

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