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Hawaii Island News, 21 March 2010


(AP).  “Auntie Dottie” Thompson, who helped found and direct the Merrie Monarch Festival, Hawaii’s most prestigious showcase for hula, has died.  She was 88.  She died in Hilo just weeks after community members organized a celebration in her honor attended by Mayor Billy Kenoi, family, and friends.

(AP).  The state Department of Education is proposing that Hawaii’s first “school impact district” should be located on the Big Island.  Creation of the district will result in school impact fees being paid by developers to the DOE to help cover land and construction costs for new schools.  Currently, developers provide “fair-share contributions” of land and cash to the DOE.  The proposed school impact district would encompass nearly all of North Kona and South Kohala.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi tells the “Honolulu Star-Bulletin” that he is against imposing an impact fee that requires residential builders to contribute money to develop schools in West Hawaii.  Kenoi says the fee plan is “absolutely the worst place at the worst time/”  Kenoi says the proposed impact fee for building schools is worth, but discriminates against West Hawaii homebuyers.\

A temporary agreement between the County of Hawaii and Oceanside 1250 Partners, the developer of Hokulia, will open the Hokulia bypass road southbound from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for one week, beginning this Monday, March 22nd, through Friday, March 26th.  The new agreement is to ease traffic congestion resulting from tree trimming currently being conducted on the Mamalahoa Highway near Kainaliu.  This new agreement is separate from the tentative plan announced earlier to open the bypass in both directions 13 hours a day, seven days a week.  That plan is still being formulated.  After next week, the bypass road will resume its schedule of being open for three hours on week days (closed on weekends) until a new agreement is put into effedt.

The Hawaii Counts 2010 Census Road tour will visit the following areas today (Sunday):  Makuu Makeke (7 a.m.), Kalani Honua (10 a.m.), Pohoiki Boat Ramp (2 p.m.), LuQuin’s Pahoa (4 p.m.), Kalapana Lava Flow (6 p.m.), and Keliiohoomalu Enterprises (8 p.m.).  On Monday, the van will visit Baker Tom’s at 8 a.m., the Waipio Lookout at 10 a.m.), and Tex’s Drive-in (Honokaa) at 2 p.m. 

Notice to motorists:  Work continues near Ookala on roadway approaches to the new Kealakaha Bridge replacement.  One lane will be closed 24-hours a day through this month.  Temporary traffic signals will control traffic through this lane closure.

Ntoice to motorists:  Tree trimming begins Monday along the Mamalahoa Highway in Kainaliu.  Work will continue through Thursday, March 25th.  Personnel will close one lane between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Motorists should plan for delays of up to 30 minutes.

(AP).  Hawaii County Council Chairman J. Yoshimoto expects Monday night’s budget hearing will be crowded, as Mayor Billy Kenoi proposes to eliminate the Hilo – based Hawaii County Band and the West Hawaii Band.  The move would save $347,000 by eliminating 34 positions in Hilo and 11 more in  Kailua-Kona.