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Big Island of Hawaii News, 28 June 2012 through 29 June 2012


“Big Island of Hawaii News” is following these Hawaii Island stories through Friday, 29 June 2012:

1.  More money appropriated to fight coffee pest.

2.  Man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend

3.  Self-help legal center opens Monday.

4.  Man found guilty of killing niece.

These are the headlines.  Here are the details with sources cited:


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  More than half-a-million dollars have been allocated to fight the coffee berry borer on Hawaii Island.  The small beetle, which was found on the island two years ago, is now responsible for the damage or destruction of up to 50 percent of some farmers’ coffee yields in the Ka’u and Kona regions of Hawaii Island.  Tom Greenwell, the owner and operator of Greenwell Farms tells reporter Colin Stewart that more than 90 percent of the farms he works with have been affected by the pest.  Greenwell adds ,”I’d say that…by the end of the year, what our mill saw was a 21 to 22 percent increase infestation by weighted average.”  Governor Neil Abercrombie says the $500,000 to battle the pest will come from two sources–$200,000 will come from the state’s “barrel tax” funds, collected through taxes on petroleum products.  In addition to the barrel tax funds, a relatively new nonprofit trade organization announced this month that it had been awarded a $330,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service to control and contain the berry borer.  The Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council is a group of three separate agricultural organizations that represent  543 businesses across the state .  Grant proposal writer Rod  Yonemura  says the money will be used partly to treat farms with a fungus that has been shown effective in controlling the berry borers.  Yonemura’s proposal outlined a goal of reducing beetle infestation on Hawaii Island farms to 2 to 5 percent within three years.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).   On Wednesday, a 47-year-old man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death last year at a South Kohala resort pleaded guilty to the crime.  According to reporter John Burnett, Philip Howard Zimmerman faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the  possibility of parole for the murder of Susan Brockert when he is sentenced on 27 September before 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra in Kona.  In exchange for Zimmerman’s guilty plea to charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping, and criminal property damage, prosecutors agreed not to pursue a possible sentence of life without the possibility of parole.  A grand jury called Brockert’s murder “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.”  That decision allowed the state to seek a no-parole life sentence for  Zimmerman.  Deputy Prosecutor Kauanoe Jackson said she didn’t know yet if she would ask for consecutive sentences on the three charges.  Zimmerman remains in custody without bail at the Oahu Community Correctional Center.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  A 38-year-old Waimea man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the January death of a hanai niece and three domestic abuse charges.  On 08 June, 3rd Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra  set sentencing for Ezekiel R. H. Wakinekona for 24 August at 2 p.m. in Hilo.  At a preliminary hearing on 21 January, police Officer Scott Kurashige testified that he had been told by a pathologist that 3-year-old Marley Makanani died 15 January of “brain damage due to a near drowning and a traumatic head injury due to child abuse.”  Kurashige added that an autopsy also showed that the girl had suffered “blunt force trauma to the lliver and intestines.”  Two the domestic abuse charges stem from injuries suffered by Makanani’s sisters, Journey, then 6, and Taimani, then 2.  Wakinekona remains in custody at the Hawaii Community Correctional Cente in lieu of $510,000 bail.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  A new self-help center for those who represent themselves in court will open Monday on the first floor of the state courthouse in Hilo.  According to reporter John Burnett, the center is the result of a joint effort involving the Hawaii Judiciary, state and county Bar Associations, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.  The center will be staffed by volunteer attorneys and will be open on Mondays and Fridays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., except for holidays.  The volunteer attorneys will provide legal information at no charge.  The telephone number is 961-0609.  Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata, the president of the Hawaii County Bar Association, said “the focus will be on District Court and Family Court.  It will not be on criminal law.”  Third Circuit Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra said the volunteer attorneys can’t give legal advice, but can help those dealing with divorces, small claims, and landlord-tenant issues.  The volunteers can help residents get the proper forms for their court proceedings and help them to complete and file the forms.


Hilo and vicinity–Mostly cloudy with frequent showers.  Rain at night.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with afternoon and evening showers.

Highs near 80.  Lows near 66.  Winds shifting to the east northeast, 8 t 16 mph, by Friday.  Sunrise Friday–5:45 a.m.  Sunset Friday–7:03 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Friday–13 hours, 18 minutes, and 08 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–12:34 p.m./11:17 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–5:02 a.m./7:01 p.m.

Kailua-Kona High Tide–1:12 p.m./11:55 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–5:39 a.m./7:38 p.m.


Hapuna Beach breaks–flat to 1 foot.  Kona and Banyans–flat to 1 foot.  Ka’u and Pohoiki–3 to 4 feet.  Hamakua–3 to 4 feet.  Hilo and Honolii–2 to 3 feet.

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Russ Roberts, administrator, PRG HAWAII NEWS WITH RUSS ROBERTS

Laupahoehoe, Hawaii–along the beautiful Hamakua Coast

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