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Hawaii Island News, 28 March 2010


(AP).  County administrators are defending the decision to buy $400,000 worth of new furniture and window treatments after already spending $24.9 million to renovate the Hawaii County Building in Hilo.  They say funding for the furniture and treatments came from money that was approved in 2008, but not spent.

Puna councilwoman Emily Naole-Beason has introduced a bill that would delay implementation of the modified 2006 national Energy Conservation Code until January 11th, 2011.  Naeole-Beason tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the bill will be expensive, possibly unnecessary, and may prohibit common home desingns used in Hawaii.  Kohala councilman Pete Hoffman, who authored the original bill, says he can’t understand why people feel energy-efficient construction would cost more money, saying the “payback on this is almost immediate”.  Hoffman feels delaying the law would disqualify Hawaii getting “green” stimulus money from the federal government.

The National Park Service tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that it has extended the deadline for interested concessioners to submit bids to operate the Volcano House.  NPS commercial services specialist Kim Gagliolo says the original March 16th deadline has been advanced to June 30th.  The extension means that the Volcano House will most likely be closed four to five months longer than originally planned.

After more than three years of extensive repairs, the historic Hulihee Palace has been reopened to the public.  Palace administrator Fanny Au Hoy told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that all of the museum’s artifacts have been repaired, shined, and put on display.  The palace was damaged extensively by two strong earthquakes in October 2006.

(AP). Mauna Kea’s summit is sacred to Native Hawaiians and beloved by astronmers for the high-quality star-viewing it offers.  The University of Hawaii now has a new plan for managing its natural and cultural resources.  The state land board last week unanimously approved the plan.  The 6-0 vote by the Board of Land and Natural Resources clears the way for organizations to seek the board’s approval for plans to build new telescopes at the summit.  One such group would be a consortium of California and Canadian universities that hopes to build the world’s largest observatory–the Thirty Meter Telescope–atop Mauna Kea.  The board voted Thursday after a four-hour-meeting during whick supporters greatly outnumbered opponents.

The Hawaii County Council begins its budget review process Monday morning at 9.  Mayor Billy Kenoi is expected to defend his $375.4 million dollar budget at the council room today.  Public testimony will be accepted at the council room or through videoconference connections from the Kailua-Kona or Waimea council offices.

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