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Big Island of Hawaii News, 03 December 2012 through 04 December 2012, post #1232

Author:

Big Island of Hawaii News is tracking these Hawaii Island news stories through Tuesday, 04 December 2012:

The views expressed in this news summary are mine unless otherwise stated>

H E A D L I N E S:

Costs delay Kapoho sewage upgrade.

Woman injured in house fire.

DUI arrests increase over last year.

New Hawaii County Council takes office Monday, 03 December 2012.

D E T A I L S (with sources cited):

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Almost three years after Hawaii County finished a sewage treatment study for homes in the Kapoho Beach Lots and Kapoho Vacationland Estates, nothing much has been done to upgrade residential cesspools to septic systems.  The proximity of those cesspools to the Wai Opae Tide pools and Champagne Pond has forced the state Department of Health to conduct weekly tests of swimming areas at those sites.

Dora Beck, the acting director of the county’s Environmental Management Agency, told reporter Tom Callis that the recommended solutions, which included centralized treatment facilities, were rejected by Kapoho area residents.  Beck said the anticipated costs of the sewage upgrades ranged from $2.85 million to almost $8 million.  Beck added that residents “wanted to know what the cost was per home owner…they weren’t very interested after that.”

Roger Meeker, a Kapoho Beach Lots Community member,  told reporter Callis that many in the area want something done about sewage, but that, when it came to cost and no legal requirement that anything be done, residents began to resist the findings of the study.  Meeker said the sewage disposal solution would pave the way for an expensive improvement district–“the logic of that seems very prohibitive here…you’re trying to impose this on existing subdivisions that have down here for 50-some years.”  Meeker doesn’t expect any change soon in the sewer issue, noting that “nothing has passed and nothing is being done.”

So, until the financial log jam is cleared, be prepared to thoroughly clean yourself after taking a dip in the Wai Oae Tide pool and the Champagne Pond.  Watson Okubo, DOH’s monitoring and analysis section chief, tells reporter Callis that “anyone swimming in the area should cover up cuts or wounds and shower afterward…right now our tests indicate it’s not an immediate issue…but it should be in the back of everyone’s mind that these houses are on cesspools.”

(Hawaii Fire Department).  According to a press release from the Hawaii Fire Department, a fire badly damaged a home on Friday and injured a woman who escaped the blaze.  Fire officials said the home at 10 Manaolan Street in Hilo was about 60 percent on fire when crews arrived at 7:52 p.m.  The occupant, Ellen Okimura, was injured but her status was unclear.  The fire is under investigation.

(Hawaii Police Department/Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  During the week of 19-25 November 2013, police arrested 30 drivers for drunken driving.  Three of the drivers were involved in traffic accidents and three were under the age of 21.  So far this year, there have been 1,335 DUI arrestes compared to 1,319 during the same period last year–an increase of  1.2 percent.  To date, 23 traffic fatalities have been connected to impaired driving; nine were related to drug use; four to alcohol; and 10 to a combination of alcohol and drugs.  DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide during the holiday season.

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Accoding to reporter John Burnett, a Hilo grand jury has indicted a Hilo woman accused of stealing more than $3,000 from a booster club for Hilo High School’s boys’  basketball program and a Mountain View man accused of dealing crystal methamphetamine.

In the first case, 21-year-old Tysha L. Vesperas-Saniatan was charged with second-degree theft, second-degree forgery, fourth-degree theft, and attempted third-degree theft.  The indictment names the victims in both the second-degree theft case and the attempted third-degree theft case as the “Friends of Vikings Boys Basketball.”

In the second indictment, 42-year-old Benny William Gordon IV faces charges of attempted first-degree methamphetamine trafficing, second-degree promotion of  a dangerous drug, promotion of a detrimental drug, two drug paraphernalia charges, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and/or ammunition.  Reporter Burnett says a search of court records “turned up 24 convictions for Gordon, including nine felonies.”

EDITORIAL OPINION:

On Monday, 03 December 2012, a new Hawaii County Council takes office, with its  first official meeting set for 3 p.m. in the council chambers.  Let’s hope that new council members will work with Mayor Billy Kenoi to address some pressing issues on Hawaii Island:

Disposal of solid waste.  Isn’t it time something is done about the growing mountain of trash at the Hilo landfill?  Are county officials going to close the aging facility or expand it somewhere else?  What about trucking all of that garbage to the West Hawaii landfill at Puuanahulu?  West Hawaii residents have serious reservations about this project.  During Mayor Harry Kim’s administration, a costly sorting  facility was built near the Hilo landfill, but, at present, it is underutilized.  A solution must be found before “Mt. Hilo” becomes a permanent landmark in East Hawaii.

Energy.  Hawaii County depends heavily on imported petroleum products to fuel its power plants.  Prices of imported crude oil and refined petroleum products are subject to the whims of OPEC, Middle East political instability, and shortage of refineries.  Although HELCO has made a good effort to exploit alternative energy sources, more must be done to make the island more energy independent.  Of course, any energy source has drawbacks–geothermal has noise and pollution issues; solar and wind power are intermittent; and hydropower is limited.  There is nothing that can’t be solved with a little less talk, more creativity, and, yes, conservation.  The time for talking the issue to death is over.  It’s time to get ourselves in gear and do something about this problem.  Biodiesel may be a promising energy source.  If it is, let’s go forward.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a little tired of paying off despots for oil.  As for Hawaii Island, there is no excuse for importing ethanol from Brazil and Jamaica if we can produce it ourselves.  Not to long ago, our sugar plantations could have produced this fuel for us.  Now, the sugar fields are gone and we are paying others for a fuel we once had.

Food .   Most of the food we consume is imported.  Like all imports, food is subject to climatic shifts, fuel costs (Matson will raise its container costs again next year), labor problems (the Los Angeles Docks are having a labor dispute), and other transportation issues.  Why not support more farmers markets and turn vacant county land into community gardens?  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to see more home gardens.  Make more county land available to farmers and ranchers, who would in turn sell their produce to local supermarkets and stores.  Some of this is being done now.  This practice should be intensified.  What would you do if sea transport was cut off or delayed by some natural or man-made disaster?  Every home should have an emergency supply of food on hand.

Legislative responsibility.  I would hope council members would take a firm stand on community issues.  That means attending regular meetings, voting on council days, listening to the public, and learning to deal with the media.  Council members are paid to make the hard decisions.  I expect them to show up for meetings.  Afterall, it’s our tax money that runs the county.   Finally, I would ask council members to be honest with the electorate.  If you don’t know how to resolve a problem, say so and ask the public to submit its ideas.  It’s no crime to admit you made a mistake or misjudged an issue–we all do this now and then.  The real problem is covering ignorance with bluster and delaying tactics.  Do the right thing, do your research, and vote your conscience.

What do you think the council should do?  How would you tackle some of these problems?

HAWAII ISLAND WEATHER THROUGH TUESDAY, 04 December 2012:

Hilo and vicinity–Overcast with a few showers.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with a few showers west of Waikoloa and south of Captain Cook.

Highs near 83.  Lows near 68.  Winds shifting to the southeast, 6 to 12 mph, by Tuesday.

Sunrise Tuesday–6:41 a.m.  Sunset Tuesday–5:41 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Tuesday–11 hours, 00 minutes, and 05 seconds.

HAWAII ISLAND TIDES FOR TUESDAY, 04 December 2012:

Hilo High Tides–6:51 a.m./7:14 p.m.  Hilo Low Tides–2:06 p.m. (only one low tide on Tuesday).

Kailua-Kona High Tides–7:29 a.m./7:52 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tides–12:06 a.m./2:43 p.m.

HAWAII ISLAND SURF FORECAST THROUGH TUESDAY, 04 December 2012:

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

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Russ Roberts, administrator

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