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Hawaii Island News, 02 April 2010


The Merrie Monarch Festival is NOT cancelled despite an April Fool’s prank played by Honolulu radio station KUMU-FM.  Luana Kawelu, the daughter of the late Dottie Thompson, tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that the joke was distasteful in light of her mother’s recent passing.  Kawelu says people who called her were very angry over the hoax.  Once again, the Merrie Monarch Festival is ON.

Hawaii County’s Department of Environmental Management has changed the operating hours on nine transfer stations to balance cost and convenience.  According to a press release from the department, the new 6 p.m. closing applies only one day a week and that day varies among the affected facilities, which include Glenwood, Kalapana, Pahoa, Honokaa, and Laupahoehoe transfer stations.

Between now and April 22nd, the state Department of Education is giving assessment tests to approximately 12,000 Big Island students.  The test results will be used to measure student and teacher progress. Underperforming school can face sanctions under the federal “No Child Left Behind Act”.  The tests are given to students in grades three throuh eight and grade 10.  Besides tests in reading and mathematics, students in fourth, sixth, and tenth grades will be tested in science.

(AP).  A proposal to create medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii has gone up in smoke.  The measure stalled after the House Judiciary Committee refused to consider it before a legislative deadline on Thursday.  Medical marijuana patients argue that Hawaii needs to reform its decade-old law allowing them to smoke and even grow the plant, but prohibiting them from buying it.

(Honolulu Advertiser).  Hawaii County police said a 22-year old New Jersey man reported missing in the area of Kehena Beach in lower Puna has been found unharmed.  Joel Elliott Collins was found in Keaau at 10:37 a.m. Wednesday.  Collins had been last contacted by family members on March 25th, when he told them he was at a beach park.  Police said Collins’ backpack was found on the side of a road near Kehena Beach Park on Monday and turned in as found property.

According to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office, recent news articles in Hawaii Island newspapers incorrectly described county plans to spend $400,000 in connection with the County Building renovations.  The articles indicated the money would be spent on “furniture and window treatments” at the new County office building….this report is incorrect.  More than two-thirds of the $400,000 allotment described in the news articles will fund required work in connection with the renovations of the building.  The work will include work to resist hurricanes, improve the elevator system,  and convert former storage areas into office space.  Public Works Director Warren Lee said “these changes and additions were necessary for safe and efficient use of the renovated County building for employees and visitors alike.”  Any additional requests for new furnishings will be carefully scrutinized in light of the difficult economic envrionement

Community News:  The Exchange Club of Hilo will be at KTA Puainako this Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to support its Blue Ribbon Campaign for the prevention of Child Abuse.  April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Exchange Clubs around the country are doing events to raise awareness of this important issue.

Notice to motorists:  For those traveling in the Ookala area, please be aware of alternating single lane closures for construction of roadway approaches to the new Kealakaha Bridge replacement.  Work will be done from Monday, April 5th, through Friday, April 9th, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm. daily.  On Monday, road paving will be done on the Hilo side of the bridge.  During non-working hours, both lanes will be open to traffic.

Notice to motorists:  Road work continues along the Hamakua Coast on the Mamalahoa Highway between mile markers 16 and 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Police will assit the flow of traffic because of the lane closures.  Traffic is being delayed because of work on the Umauma Bridge.