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Big Island of Hawaii News, 11 May 2013 through 12 May 2013, post #1875


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

Big Island of Hawaii News is covering these Hawaii news stories through Sunday, 12 May 2013:


Welcome to the Pleistocene Era as more carbon dioxide is dumped into the atmosphere.

UH-College of Pharmacy needs help now.

Public input sought on property tax increase.

Mountain View man will spend 20 years in prison.

Ground breaking for the Hawaii Community College at Palamanui set for 28 May 2013.

DETAILS (with sources cited):

(Associated Press).  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman Pieter Tans tells AP reporter Seth Borenstein that worldwide levels of carbon dioxide have hit a new record, “reaching an amount never before encountered by humans.”  Tans says carbon dioxide was measured at 400 parts per million at the oldest monitoring site on the slopes of Mauna Loa and “sets the global benchmark.  The last time this happened was during the Pleistocene Era, which ran from 2,588,000 million to 11,700 years ago.

Tans says the earth was much warmer then, adding that “there were forests in Greenland” and sea levels were much higher, “between 10 and 20 meters (33 to 66 feet).”

Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said “physically, we are no worse off at 400 ppm than we were at 399 ppm…but as a symbol of the painfully slow pace of measures to avoid a dangerous level of warming, it’s somewhat unnerving.”

Tans tells the AP that “what we see today is 100 percent due to human activity…” Scientists believe the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, “has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy dean John Pezzuto met with students on Friday to explain how the Pharmacy program will cope with the loss of state funds needed to build a permanent facility in Hilo.  Failure to build a permanent building for the program could lead to accreditation problems in the future.

Pezzuto told about 300 members of the College of Pharmacy community that “obviously, we have experienced a little adversity, but that has strengthened our shared vision of building a world-class program.”  In his 45 minute give and take question period, he drew attention to the old wooden bleachers that most students used for seating, adding that those structures were “a testament to the fact that we need a new building.”

Pezzuto said he couldn’t explain why a well-coordinated campaign to inform legislators of the college’s needs never produced funds to carry out the building plan.  Pezzuto called the legislators’ concerns about health and safety of a new building “disingenuous” in light of state funding for “other buildings with lower priorities.”

Pezzuto told those at the meeting that college administrators are”working to find alternative options for funding a building, including public/private partnerships and charitable giving.”

(Stephens Media).  On Monday and Tuesday, those residents concerned about proposed hikes in real property taxes will get their chance to express their opinions when Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proposed budget and its suggested 10 percent property tax increase are presented to the Hawaii County Council.

According to reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, Mayor Kenoi submitted a revised $394.3 million budget last week that’s about 7.4 percent higher than this year’s spending plan.  The budget is based on tax increases of 10.2 to 10.8 percent, depending on the type of property taxed.  Besides the proposed property tax hike, the revised county budget requires a boost in bus fares, park fees, and vehicle registration and weight taxes.

Hawaii County Council Chairman J. Yoshimoto told reporter Lauer that he hasn’t made up his mind on whether he’ll support the tax increase or not.  Yoshimoto noted that “the biggest concern seems to be what would the money be going toward.”  Yoshimoto hopes people will offer testimony before the council, adding “it will be interesting to hear the testimony from the people…that will be a factor in the decision-making process.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  On Friday, Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura sentenced Mountain View resident Walter Boyd Bremmer to 20 years in prison for manslaughter and the use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, plus one year for domestic abuse.

According to reporter John Burnett, Bremmer originally faced second-degree murder and first-degree robbery charges stemming from the death of a neighbor in the Eden Roc subdivision.  The murder charge was later reduced to manslaughter adn the robber charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

According to court records, Bremmer shot and strangled 52-year-old Robert John “Johnny” Leong in late January 2012.  Leong’s body was found 28 January 2012 in the backyard of his Palinui Avenue home.

(Stephens Media).  It’s a done deal.  According to reporter Chelsea Jensen, the long-awaited Hawaii Community College at Palamanui will break ground on Tuesday, 28 May 2013.

The ceremony is set for noon at the site located off the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, near mile-post 91, in North Kona.  University of Hawaii marketing and communications director Susan Lee tells reporter Jensen that several important officials will be present to kick off construction.  Among them are:  Hawaii Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane, UH Vice President for Colleges John Morton, UH President M.R. C. Greenwood, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Lee told reporter Jensen that the groundbreaking is for phase 1A and 1B, which includes classrooms, laboratories, and “support spaces for  700 students in the culinary arts, nursing and health programs, and student services administration.  Construction will take between 15 and 18 months.

Lee said funding is in place for the $22.7 million contract awarded to F & H Construction of Maui and California.


Hilo and vicinity–Mostly cloudy with a few passing showers.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with a few upslope showers.

Highs near 81.  Lows near 67.  Winds shifting to the east, 6 to 12 mph, by Sunday.

Sunrise Sunday–5:46 a.m.  Sunset Sunday–5:48 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Sunday–13 hours, 02 minutes, and 03 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–3:47 a.m./5:06 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–9:51 a.m./11:50 p.m.

Kailua-Kona High Tide–4:25 a.m./5:44 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–10:28 a.m. (only one low tide on Sunday).


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


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I would like to thank the staff of Pacific Media Group stations (KBIG-FM, Native-FM, KAPA Radio, and ESPN Hawaii)  for inviting Janice and me to the 30th Annual Salute to the Graduates Ceremony at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel this Saturday morning.  The event was outstanding. Mahalo plenty.

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Russ Roberts, site administrator



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