1. Absentee and walk-in voting signal a trend in Hawaii Island voting habits.
2. Hawaii Island cattle ranchers reduce herds because of prolonged drought.
3. Palamanui Campus gets additional funding.
DETAILS (with sources cited):
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). A review of voter turnout data for Hawaii Island between the 21 September 2002 primary election and last Saturday’s primary election indicates that voting habits for local voters are changing. Voting by mail-in absentee and walk-in is steadily growing in popularity over the past ten years. In the 2002 primary, Hawaii County saw a precinct turnout of 24.5 percent of all registered voters, compared with a mail-in and walk-in absentee ballot turnout of 12.6 percent. In last week’s primary election, the percentage of precinct voters had fallen to 20 percent, while 22.7 percent of the island’s registered voters decided to vote absentee.
Todd Belt, an associate professor and chariman of UH-Hilo‘s Political Science Department, tells reporter Colin Stewart that the trend to absentee voting will likely continue. Belt says “it (early voting) is catching on…number one because it’s convenient…it’s becoming more popular because people are just busier…people don’t want to give up a weekend day when they could be doing something else.” Belt added that mail-in voting is popular because people can do it on their own time without the hassle of finding time to visit the polling place.” Although this may be the direction Hawaii is heading, it probably won’t make everyone happy, noting that “for some people, myself included, it’s a fun thing to go and vote. Some people feel that it’s their patriotic duty…there’s something to be said for the physical activity of democracy.” Belt concluded his analysis by saying, “there’s also budgetary realism that must be taken into account. it’s hard to staff precincts…and you have all the machinery.”
(Associated Press). A prolonged drought in parts of Hawaii County is forcing some ranchers to reduce their herds as they struggle to feed cattle. An added threat is the encroachment of invasive axis deer which feed on crops as the they search for water. Ponoholo Ranch manager Sabrina White tells AP reporter Jennifer Sinco Kelleher that the North Kohala ranch is now entering its eighth year of drought conditions. White says “it’s our biggest challenge now…it’s too dry. We don’t have the grass to feed the cows.” The ranch has reduced its herd by about 2,000 head to compensate for the loss of water and pasture. Tim Richards, the president of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, estimates that Hawaii Island cattle herds have been reduced by 25 to 30 percent over the last six years. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 54 percent of Hawaii is in a drought now, compared with 21 percent a year ago. The areas most affected by the dry spell include leeward sections of Hawaii Island, Maui, and Molokai. Ponoholo Ranch manager Sabrina White says “the bottom of the ranch, toward the ocean, it’s total desert…it’s just one more year of drought…each year, it just gets worse and worse.”
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). On Wednesday, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie announced the release of $7.5 million in general obligation bonds to finance construction of the Palamanui Campus in West Hawaii. That, combined with the $9.68 million donated to the university in January 2012 by Palamanui LLC, brings total fundind available to $17.2 million for West Hawaii’s first permanent campus. The university expects to solicit bids for Phase 1A, the Culinary ARts Building, and Phase 1B, the Health Science and Student Services Building, by the end of this month or early in September. In his news release, Governor Abercrombie said “the expansion of UH in West Hawaii fulfills a need for its growing community…Palamanui will not only create new jobs but unique academic opportunities in the science and agricultural fields.”
HAWAII ISLAND WEATHER THROUGH FRIDAY, 17 August 2012:
Hilo and vicinity–Partially sunny with a few windward showers.
Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Mostly sunny with a few upslope showers. A few evening showers are possible near Naalehu.
Highs near 84. Lows near 67.
Winds shifting to the northeast, 6 to 12 mph, by Friday.
Sunrise Friday–6:01 a.m. Sunset Friday–6:47 p.m. Total hours of daylight Friday–12 hours, 45 minutes, and 15 seconds.
HAWAII ISLAND TIDES FOR FRIDAY, 17 August 2012:
Hilo High Tide–2:41 a.m./3:21 p.m. Hilo Low Tide–8:40 a.m./9:44 p.m.
Kailua-Kona High Tide–3:19 a.m./3:59 p.m. Kailua-Kona Low Tide–9:17 a.m./10:21 p.m.
HAWAII ISLAND SURF FORECAST THROUGH FRIDAY, 17 August 2012:
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 NEWS HAWAII WITH RUSS ROBERTS