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Hawaii Island News, 06 March 2010


(AP).  The National Weather Service says the South Kohala and leeward North Kohala areas of the Big Island have reached the highest level of drought since the service  began monitoring in 1999.  Less severe drought conditions plague other parts of the state.  Forecasters are prediciting below normal rainfall for Hawaii through spring.

Hilo Medical Center’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Daniel Belcher, has received the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  He was nominated by his peer, Dr. Lynda Dolan, who is also a former hospital Chief of Staff.  Dr. Robert Irvine, Chair of the East Hawaii Regional Board, said “Dr. Belcher is a consummate physician leader in our community.  His recognition is well-deserved.”

(AP).A bill moving through the Hawaii Legislature would create California-style medical marijuana dispensaries, where smokers may be alble to buy the islands’ well-known varieties such as “Maui Wowie” and “Kona Gold.”  Licensed medical marijuana users in Hawaii are allowed to smoke and even grow the plant, but they can’t buy it unless they do so illegally.

A new $4.5 million dollar police substation is being built in Pahoa.  Police Captain Steven Guillermo tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the new facility will improve efficiency, lower certain response times, and provide greater convenience to the public.  The new sub-station shares pace with the $5.3 million fire station built last year on 19.4 acres of land on Highway 130.

The Kope Kope Espresso Cafe in the Hilo Shopping Center has closed.  Manager Jerry Clarke didn’t elaborate, saying the shutdown was not something that was not foreseen.  The cafe employed between 10 and 17 people.  It had been open for approximately seven years, after starting out as the Hilo Coffee Mill in the Prince Kuhio Plaza.  Clarke says he is now working with East Hawii Coffee farmers to establish a market for their beans.

(AP)>  Legislators are pressing state elections officials to delay the May 22nd special election to fill the seat of former Congressman Neil Abercrombie.  At a legislative hearing yesterday, they said the state is facing substantial budget pressure and can’t afford the nearly $1 million election.

According to “West Hawaii Today”, the northern portion of the Mamalahoa Bypass will soon be open both ways 13 hours a day, thanks to a tentative agreement between Hokulia Developer Oceanside 1250 and Hawaii County.  It’s not known when the new schedule will be implemented.  County officials still must meet with residents of the Keauhou and Halekii Street neighborhoods to make sure a series of improvements has reduced traffic congestion in the area.

Pahoa defeated Kapaa, 52-36, Friday night to advance to the finals of the Division II state boys basketball tournament.  That game will be aired today at 5 p.m. over ESPN Radio, AM-850 (Hilo) and AM-790 (Kealakekua).  In the consolation game, St. Joseph beat Seabury Hall, 72-64.  In Division I games, Moanalua swept past Hilo, 64-60.  In the consolation bracket, Kamehameha-Maui beat Waiakea, 53-43.

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