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Hawaii Island News, 31 March 2010


U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye returned briefly to Hawaii Island yesterday to make several public appearances.  He helped dedicate a new fleet of Hawaii County buses and helped dedicate new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Hawaii National Guard Armonry at the Hilo International Airport.  The senior Hawaii Senator wrapped up the day with the groundbreaking of the Ane Keohokalole Highway near Kealakehe High School.

Department of Human Services representative Toni Schwartz tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that no Big Island jobs will be lost for now under a plan to cut 228 jobs from her department.  Schwartz says all of the department’s 97 eligibility workers will be reassigned to a new Hilo office to be located in the state office building on Aupuni street.  Schwartz adds that 14 positions will be transferred from Oahu to Hawaii Island.

Police Chief Harry Kubojiri has proposed a 1 percent increase in the $53.1 million budget he presented Tuesday to the County Council’s Finance Committee.  Meanwhile, County Prosecutor Jay Kimura has cut his budget by 12 percent.  Despite a rise in juvenile drug use and crime, Kimura tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement, saying “it’s the perfect time for the county to pull together, work together.”  Council hearings continue this morning at 9.

Notice to motorists:  The Mamalahoa Highway Bypass will remain open to alleviate congestion in Honalo for the duration of tree trimming.  That work should be done by late this afternoon.  The Bypass road will be open to southbound travel between the hours of  8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Expect traffic delays while the tree trimming work is being done.

(AP).  Hawaii lawmakers are killing a resolution that would have recognized the cultural merits of illegal cockfighting.  The Hawaii House of Representatives scuttled the proposal Tuesday by sending it back to its committee.  Tourism, Culture, and International Affairs Committee Chairman Joey Manahan says there weren’t enough votes in the full House to keep the measure alive after it had been approved on a 4-2 vote in his committee.  Manahan says he will consider reviving the issue next year.

(AP).  A 28-year old Big Island man has been sentenced to 46 years in prison for trafficking crystal methamphetamine.  In sentencing Darren Ching on Monday, Court Judge Elizabeth Strance said he must serve a minimum of six years behind bars.  Ching and his wife, Cherlynne, were initially indicted on two dozen felony and misdemeanor charges.  She was sentenced March 22nd to two years in prison and 16 years probation.  Their 2-year old son has been surrendered to the Child Protective Service.

The Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii is joining with the Merrie Monarch Festival to offer four days of hula-related workshops and demonstrations for guests to enjoy during the popula week-long festival and competition.  Special programs will be offered in both Hawaiian and English.  From April 6th to April 9th, Imiloa will provide hula-related programming each morning from 10:00 to 11:30 and each afternoon from 1:00 to 2:30.  For details, call 969-9700.

Hawaii Island police have arrested 30 drivers for suspected drunken driving between March 22nd and this past Monday.  Police have made 381 suspected DUI arrests this year, compared to 309 during the same period last year.  There have been 325 major accidents this year, compared to 411 during the same time last year.  Eight people have died on Big Island roads this year, compared to five during the same period last year.

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