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Hawaii Island News, 10 April 2010


The 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival enters its final phase today.  The Royal Parade through downtown Hilo begins at 10:30 a.m.   At noon today, Merahi, Tiffany Dela Cruz will perform at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.  At 6:30 p.m, the Hula Auana Competition will be held at the Edith Kanakaole Multipurpose Stadium.  Presentation of awards will follow the hula performance.

(AP).  Big Island police have charged three men with running a marijuana-growing operation.  Police say the three men were arrested Tuesday at a marijuana patch in the Kiholo area.  Police confiscated nearly 600 marijuana plants.  The investigation began after a pot farm was spotted from the air.

Mayor Billy Kenoi says he is working with visitor industry leaders in a coordinated strategy that combines the efforts of the County, the state, teh Hawaii Tourism Authority, and a variety of other stakeholders in the visitor industry to preserve Japan Airlines’ direct flights to Kailua-Kona.  The mayor acknowledges that Japan Airlines is considering the elimination of its flights to Kailua-Kona as part of a restructuring move.  The mayor says he is asking the company and the industry for some quick, viable near-term steps that can be taken to boost the load and profitability of the route.  Japanese arrivals to Hawaii County have been a bright spot in insland tourism, with arrivals up 5.3 percent in February 2010 over arrivals in February 2009.

The Hawaii Electric Light Company says approximately 28,000 customers in various parts of the Big Island experienced a power interruption at 4:40 Friday afternoon.  The utility says a HELCO generator tripped off-line unexpectedly.  Other HELCO generating units in reserve were started immediately and service to all affected customers was restored by 5:02 p.m.  The exact cause of the power loss is still being investigated.

The Hawaii County Council has approved a settlement to resolve the 2007 complaint former aide Melissa Chang filed agains the county.  According to the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald”, the settlement will cost taxpayers around $22,000.  Chang, who worked for former Hilo Councilman Stacy Higa, claimed she was sexually harrassed by Higa, and then threatened with retaliation by former Councilman James Arakakai if she tried to do anything about it.

The Hawaii County Council has approved a rezoning request to allow the construction of a 100 unit Hilo apartment complex near the Hilo Police Station.  According to the “Hawaiii Tribune-Herald”,  council members voted 6-3 for the request after deciding that landowner Giampaolo “Paul” Boschetti must build 60 percent more off-street parking than the county’s Zoning Code requires.

Community News:  The 2010 Hawaii National Guard Youth Programs Workshop will be held at the Kilauea Military Camp from April 12th through April 14th.  Local educators, students, staff, and community leaders from around the state will share in the “best practice” methods and procedures that have been used over nearly six years to deliver the highly successful Education and Health Programs of the Hawaii Department of  Defense.  For details, call Pam Ellison at 982-7959.

Community News:  In celebration of Earth Day, the Lyman Museum is presenting two programs.  On Monday, April 12th, Coleen Cole, the coordinator of the Three Mountain Alliance, will discuss watershed protection and natural resource management across Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai.  On Monday, April 19th, Dr. John Barnes, with NOAA’s Laboratory and the Mauna Loa Observatory, will present “Predicting Climate Change”, a program that will focus on the natural variations in the earth’s climate and some of the measurements that go into the computer models that are used to predict climate change.  For details, call Linda at 935-5021.

Community News:  Celebrate National Park Week from April 17th-April 25th with FREE admission to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando says the National Park Service sets aside several days of free admission so the public can enjoy the majesty of the great outdoors and understand how the park service preserves and protects public lands.  For details,  call 985-6018.

Community News:  Do you know someone who is struggling with hearing on the telephone?  You can find out about the new devices available by attending a free hands on workshop and learn about the CapTel system. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 17th, from 10:00 a.m to noon, at the Aging & Disability Resource Center on Kinoole Street.  For details, call Raelene Souza at 935-3777.

The Kona Motor Vehicle Registration, Driver License, and Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection offices will not on Tuesday, April 13th, until 9 a.m.  The office staff will be attending a training session from 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  All other offices will remain open at their regularly scheduled times.  For details, call 327-3580.