Here are some of the top local stories being tracked by “Hawaii Island News” through Tuesday, 21 February 2012:
Student housing fees a good deal; weather closes access to summits, and hospitals strive for energy efficiency.
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). UH-Hilo students who live on campus tell reporter Colin Stewart that they would be willing to pay higher housing fees. While the dorms are aging and could do with some much-needed renovations, they said, on-campus living provides a number of benefits that are worth the increases UH-Hilo has proposed. The UH Board of Regents will meet Thursday on UH-Hilo’s proposal to increase on- campus housing rates 28 percent by 2016. This would be the first increase since 2007. The plan would see rates at each of UH-Hilo’s three dormitories rise by 5 percent each year beginning in the fall of 2012 and running through the fall of 2016. School officials say the increase is needed, in part, to offset the costs of building the new University Village housing facility, which is expected to provide 300 new beds beginning in the fall of 2013. That facility’s rates would also increase by 5 percent each year until 2016.
CANDIDATES MEET VOTERS IN KAILUA-KONA
(Stephens Media). Congresswoman Mazie Hirono spent about 25 minutes Sunday visiting Alii Drive, where she looked at merchandise, met residents, poses for pictures, and talked story with vendors at the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll. She was among several candidates with ready smiles and firm handshakes spotted pressing the flesh at the monthly festive event, which is designed to rally support for local merchants and restaurants. Hirono, a former Hawaii lieutenant governor and state lawmaker, was elected to the 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, in 2006. She is running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Daniel Akaka. Kona painter Alden Heglund said it was “pretty awesome of her” to attend the event, as well as share how she’s addressing issues specific to Hawaii’s tourism industry and the business community.
SNOW AND ICE FORCE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF SUMMIT ROADS
(Stephens Media). Moisture and sub-freezing temperatures brought a wintery mix of snow and rain to the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, causing delight along with danger, as officials closed access roads until snow and ice were removed. The Mauna Kea Access Road closed early Sunday morning at the Visitor Information Station. The road is usually closed when the pavement has ice or snow and while snow removal equipment is in operation. Mauna Kea rangers said the access road would “probably be closed” today depending on the weather. For the lates information on summit access, please call 935-6268.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
An Oahu hospital is receiving nearly $650,000 to partially cover the cost of installing energy efficient air conditioning equipment and lighting. Hawaii Energy presented Castle Medical Center in Kailua with a check last week. The money covers more than 25 percent of the $2.3 million Castle spent to install the new equipment. Castle CEO Kathryn Raethel says the hospital wouldn’t have been able to complete the project as quickly if it hadn’t received the incentive funds.
Some residents of a former Kauai sugar plantation are vowing to barricade themselves in their homes when they are evicted to make way for a development project. Developer Peter Savio has offered to buy the property to help the tenants remain in their homes but he says the landowner rejected his offer. Landowner Grove Farm Company issued eviction notices to 13 tenants to vacate by 08 March to make way for a 50-unite development. Grove Farm Vice President Marissa Sandblom says tenants have been paying below-market rents for years and they’ll be given priority for the new homes.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAWAII ISLAND FORECAST THROUGH TUESDAY, 21 February 2012:
Hilo and vicinity–Variable cloudiness with frequent showers. Mostly cloudy with showers at night.
Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with the possibility of early morning and late afternoon showers.
HIghs near 78. Lows near 65. Winds shifting to the southeast by Tuesday, 6 to 12 mph. Sunrise Tuesday–6:46 a.m. Sunset Tuesday–6:22 p.m. Total hours of daylight–11 hours, 36 minutes, and 39 seconds. Hilo tides: High tide (Tuesday)–3:04 a.m./3:06 p.m. Low tide (Tuesday)–9:25 a.m./9:03 p.m.
KBIG-FM/NATIVE-FM/KAPA RADIO/ESPNHAWAII SURF FORECAST THROUGH TUESDAY, 21 February 2012:
Hapuna Beach breaks–1 to 2 feet. Kona and Banyans–2 to 4 feet. Ka’u and Pohoiki–1 to 3 feet. Hamakua–4 to 6 feet. Hilo and Honolii–3 to 4 feet.
For the latest community news, sports updates, and entertainment news, visit kbigfm.com, nativefm.com, kaparadio.com, and espnhawaii.com.
Thanks for joining us today!
Russ Roberts, editor
Laupahoehoe, Hawaii–along the beautiful Hamakua Coast