Big Island of Hawaii News is tracking these Hawaii Island news stories through Saturday, 17 November 2012:
H E A D L I N E S (Opinions expressed in this news summary are my own unless otherwise stated):
Hawaii Island jobless rate is falling.
YWCA tries to save its saltwater swimming pool.
Volunteers needed for Game Management Commission.
Kohala Councilwoman pushes Community Development Plan committees.
D E T A I L S (with sources cited):
(Stephens Media). According to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Hawaii Island’s unemployment rate in October dropped for the fourth straight month, with the rate going to 7.5 percent in October, down from 7.9 percent in September. Reporter Chelsea Jensen says, while the figures are encouraging, Hawaii County still has the highest rate of unemployment among the state’s four counties.
DLIR spokesman Bill Kunstman tells reporter Jensen that those figures most likely don’t inclued the 112 jobs lost with the 31 October 2012 shut down of the Keauhou Beach Hotel. Kunstman says those lost jobs will be reflected in the November job report.
Statewide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in September. Educational and health services experienced the most job lost at 200 followed by financial activities, which lost 100 positions. According to DLIR data, “a robust visitor industry continued to fuel employment in leisure and hospitality, while strong hiring in employment services provided a boost to professional and business services.”
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). The Hilo YWCA has begun an effort to save its solar-heated, saltwater swimming pool. According to reporter Hunter Bishop an anonymous donor who’s “passionate about keeping the pool open”, has donated $30,000 to the Hilo YWCA to keep the pool operational through 2013. Bishop says the gift came with one proviso–the YWCA must raise $30,000 on its own to match the anonymous donation. YWCA Interim CEO Lorraine Davis says her staff is “rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. To supplement what the organization has already raised, Davis says the YWCA has launched its “Holiday Challenge” fundraising effort to reach the goal.
Davis adds that without needed repairs and improvements, the pool could close. Davis notes that “we’ve been running a deficit for several years.” Without an infusion of cash and more swimmers, Davis believes the 32-year-old pool will shut down next year.
Meanwhile, Clayton Honma, the deputy director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, tells reporter Bishop that he is looking at the possibility of the county helping operate the pool after being approached by a YWCA board member. Honma believes the YWCA pool could help the county by providing an alternative to the NAS pool by the old Hilo airport if that needed be to closed for maintenance. Donations to the YWCA fundraiser can be sent to YWCA, 145 AUlulani Street, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720.
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). One of the major additions voters added to the Hawaii County Charter during the General Election was the establishment of a Game Management Advisory Commission charged with advising “County, State, and Federal agencies on matters related to the preservation of subsistence hunting and fishing, as well as protecting traditional and cultural gathering rights.” According to reporter Peter Sur, the nine-member commission will include one person from each of the nine council districts. Mayor Billy Kenoi will appoint commission members and the County Council will approve them.
Char Shigemura, one of the mayor’s executive assistants, told reporter Sur that she wasn’t aware of any applications that have been filed for the board, but she knows several people from the hunting community that have expressed interest in the new commission.
Pat Pacheco and Tony Sylvester, well-known local hunters, will meet with Mayor Billy Kenoi next Monday to review some of the names that are being circulated to be on the commission. Pacheco has also been told by several council members that the confirmation process of commission members is usually a routine matter for the County Council.
(Stephens Media). Hawaiian Airlines has lost a bid to establish an air route between Kailua-Kona and Tokyo, Japan. According to reporter Erin Miller, the U.S. Department of Transportation has given preliminary approval to Delta Air Lines for a Seattle to Tokyo route. Seattle is the largest West Coast city without a direct flight to the Honeda airport.
Although she expressed disappointment in the decision, Ann Botticelli, Hawaiian Airlines Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, thanked Hawaii Island residents for voicing their support of the Kailua-Kona to Tokyo route. Botticelli noted “we believe our application was extremely strong, and did the best job of outlining the public benefit provided to Hawaii and the United States of (a) new Tokyo-Kona service.”
(Stephens Media). Reporter Nancy Cook Lauer says newly-elected Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille is ready to put her 6 years of testifying before the Hawaii County Council to good use. Lauer says Wille’s top priority is getting the Community Development Plan committees the respect they deserve. The CDPs were made to give the public more input in how their communities would look in the future. Unfortunately, CDP action committees has encountered resistance fro m the Planning Department because of what Wille calls “misunderstandings between the two bodies over how much power the CDP committees acutally have. Wille notes that “they’re the most quasi-local government these communities have.”
In Wille’s view, the CDP action committees should resemble the neighborhood boards on Oahu. On Oahu, the neighborhood boards vet and provide input to the Honolulu City Council on proposed developments. Wille doesn’t believe the county ordinance needs to be changed as much as there “needs to be an educational process for communities and the administration…I feel that the legislation is there, but they’re not being given their due…right now, I don’t think we need another law, but we need to more effectively use the one we have.”
HAWAII ISLAND WEATHER THROUGH SATURDAY, 17 November 2012:]
Hilo and vicinity–Partly cloudy with showers.
Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with a few upslope showers.
Highs near 78. Lows near 66. Winds shifting to the north northeast, 6 to 12 mph, by Saturday. Sunrise Saturday–6:30 a.m. Sunset Saturday–5:40 p.m. Total hours of daylight Saturday–11 hours, 10 minutes, and 10 seconds.
HAWAII ISLAND TIDES FOR SATURDAY, 17 November 2012:
Hilo High Tide–6:01 a.m./5:34 p.m. Hilo Low Tide–12:57 p.m./11:29 p.m.
Kailua-Kona High Tide–6:39 a.m./6:12 p.m. Kailua-Kona Low Tide–1:34 p.m. (only one low tide).
HAWAII ISLAND SURF FORECAST THROUGH SATURDAY, 17 November 2012:
Hapuna Beach breaks–flat. Kona and Banyans–1 to 2 feet. Ka’u and Pohoiki–3 to 4 feet. Hamakua–3 to 5 feet. Hilo and Honolii–1 to 3 feet.
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Russ Roberts, administrator
PRG HAWAII NEWS WITH RUSS ROBERTS