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Hawaii Island News, 27 June 2010

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A transparent tracking system for building permit applications is still eluding Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.  That was one of the promises the mayor made when he took office almost 19 months ago.  The mayor tells the  “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he’s confident the system will be in place by the end of the year. Mayor Kenoi attibutes part of the delay in getting the permit system underway to his desire to balance the county budget, which faced a shortfall of millions of dollars.  Public Works Director  Warren Lee says the operating budget contains $500,000 to buy a computerized tracking system.

According to Stephens Media, the Hawaii County Council and legislative staff have joined the county administration in taking twice-monthly unpaid furloughs.  Last week, the council approved furloughs for appointed staff and those otherwise excluded from bargaining units.  The Hawaii Government Employees Union and the United Public Workers have already agreed to the furloughs which start July 3nd.

The  Volcano Community can breath a sigh of relief now that 61-year old Vera Matsuda Brownlea has returned safely to her family.  Her husband, Steven, told the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that she called home from a borrowed cell phone Friday morning to say she became disoriented after a trip to the dentist on Wednesday and became lost while she was taking a shortcut through the woods during her regular walk.

Scuba divers have recovered what they believe to be the remains of an ophihi picker who disappeared in waters near King’s Landing.  Fire department officials called off the search for 41-year old Joseph Pacheco, Jr. Friday morning.  According to a Fire Department press release, the remains were found at a depth of 25-feet and about 20-feet off shore.

(AP).  Astronomers from India plan to join a project to build the world’s largest telescope on Mauna Kea.  The Thirty Meter Telescope said in a news release Friday that India’s Department of Science and Technology is due to become an observer, the first step on the way to becoming a partner.  Teh telescope is being bult by the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy.  Astronomers in China and Japan also are participating.  The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents is due to vote on the project Monday.  It must give its approval because it owns the lease on the land where the telescop is to be built.

County of Hawaii Office of Housing and Community Development and its partners will celebrate the groundbreaking of the Kaloko Housing Project at the project site on Hina Lani Street at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 28th.  The Kaloko Housing Project will be 96-unit complex, and will replace the Ka Hale O Kawaihae Transitional Housing Program.  The initial phases of the Kaloko complex will include 12 transitional housing apartments and 28 apartments for low-income residents.

The County of Hawaii in collaboration with the State of Hawaii and private organizations are coordinating efforts for this year’s Fourth of July Celebration.  The “2010 Hilo Bay Blast” will feature activities for families throughout the day at the Hilo Bayfront areas.  Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and will end with the traditional Lehua Jaycees Fireworks Exhibition.  Mass Transit will provide a free shuttle service to various activity sites from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Parking will be available at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium and at the Hawaii County Aupuni Center.

The Kona Community Hospital ahs received the Pualu Business Innovation Award from the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.  The hospital was selected for its excellence in enhancing patient care, employee development, marketing, and customer service.

Notice to motorists:  The Department of Public Works has converted the Middle Ke’ei Road/Painted Church Road Intersection to a three-way stop. This is being done because of the limited sight distance at this location in South Kona.  Drivers are asked to exercise caution at this intersection.  Motorists using MIddle Ke’ei Road must now come to a complete stop at the intersection..

Notice to motorists:  Honokaa area–There will be alternating single lane closures on the Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19) in both directions from Pakalana Street to Paauhau Road on Monday, June 28th, through Friday, July 2nd, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm, for guardrail installations.

Notice to motorists:  Kamuela area–There will be alternating single lane closures on the Kohala Mountain Road (Route 250) in both directions from Kawaihae Road (Route 19) near Waiaka Stream Bridge to Kohala Ranch Road on Monday, June 28th, through Firday, July 2nd, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., for road pavement work.

Notice to motorists:  Ka’u District–There will be alternating single lane closures on the Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11) in both directions from Kamaoa Road to Kiolakaa Homestead Road on Monday, June 28th, through Friday, July 2nd, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for road pavement work.

Community news:  Arts of Kona presents “Kona Music Sampler, Vol 2” on Saturday, July 10th, 7 p.m., at the Aloha Theatre in Kainaliu.  Featured artists include Grammy Award winning classical guitarists Charles Michael Brotman and Charlie Recaido.  For ticket information, visit www.ArtsofKona.org or call 329-2699.

Community news:  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will hold a community meeting as part of its regular Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 14th, 6:30 p.m., at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s Mokuola Room.  For details, visit www.oha.org or call  808-920-6418.

Community news:  The Hilo Medical Center Foundation presents its 3rd Annual “Golf Challenge” fundraiser on Saturday, July 31st, at the Waikoloa Kings’ Course.  Registration deadline is July 232rd.   For details, call HMCF Trustee Marcella at 961-7992.

Please submit your community news items at least two weeks before your event.  Notices will be aired on our radio station and in this news blog as time and space allow.  Send your notes to our fax line at 935-0396 or to by e-mail to rroberts@pacificradiogroup.com.

Russ Roberts, News Director

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