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Big Island of Hawaii News, 14 June 2013 through 15 June 2013. Post #2163


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

Big Island of Hawaii News is following these Hawaii stories through Saturday evening, 15 June 2013:


Guilty as charged.

County contract raises concerns.

Murky future for the Hawaii Volcano Circus.

PTA open for bow hunting of mammals.

DETAILS (with sources cited).

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  On Thursday, 13 June 2013, a Hilo Circuit Court jury found former Hawaii Island mortician Robert Diego guilty of attempted murder and first-degree robbery for the 13 June 2011 attack on 67-year-old Donald Nigro at the victim’s Hualalai Street residence.

According to reporter John Burnett, sentencing before Judge Greg Nakamura is set for 09 August 2013 at 9:30 a.m.  The 70-year-old Diego faces a mandatory sentence of life with the possibility of  parole on the attempted murder conviction and up to 20 years for robbery.  The jury ruled that since the victim was over 60-years-old at the time of the hammer attack, Diego must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years on the murder charges.

Nigro, who was in the courtroom following the trial told reporter Burnett that “I’m very happy.”  The jury  was shown police photographs of Nigro “lying in a pool of blood on the floor of his apartment, following the beating.”  Nigro spent three nights at the Hilo Medical Center recovering from a fractured skull.

(Stephens Media).  An expensive county contract given to a sole bidder has left one would-be contractor upset.  According to reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, a county project to install new air conditioning equipment for the Department of Environmental Management and Information Technology offices at the Puainako shopping center in Hilo far exceeded the original bid of $50,000.  Lauer says the eventual cost of the air conditioning work amounted to $146,913.  Lauer also adds that the sole bidder, Hawaii Sheetmetal & Mechanical Inc., contributed $500 to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s re-election campaign.

Mayor Kenoi rebuffed any idea that campaign supporters or friends of his administration “are more likely to win contracts.”  Kenoi added that he wasn’t aware of the contract details until someone pointed out the issue after the contract was granted.  Mayor Kenoi noted that “there’s no connection between contributions and contracts.”  He stated that the county has given more than $246 million in contracts in his first five years in office, remarking that “the best qualified bidders get contracts…our contracts have been issued with integrity and that’s the bottom line.”

However, contractor Rick Fuller of Pacific Air Supply, Inc. told reporter Lauer that he didn’t bid on the project because he knew his company ” couldn’t do it anywhere near the $50,000 estimate provided by a consulting engineer.”  Fuller also mentioned that several off-island contractors declined to submit bids “because of the low estimate.”

Department of Public Works Director Warren Lee said the project was put out to bid two times with only one response.  Lee also said the project estimate was off “because the consulting engineer estimated the project for equipment and materials only, and inadvertently neglected to add labor costs.”  Consultant Engineering Projects, Inc. submitted a revised cost estimate of $191.766.40 on 19 April 2013, nearly a month after Hawaii Sheetmetal’s bid was accepted.

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Time is running out for the Hawaii Volcano Circus six months after the Windward Planning Commission tabled the issue of revoking a permit for its location in Kalapana Seaview Estates.  According to reporter Tom Callis, the Hawaii County Planning Department began revocation proceedings in April 2012 after the Hawaii Volcano Circus was cited for “hosting activities that exceeded a special use permit authorizing a performing arts educational center on the 2.5-acre site.”

Responding to the revocation action, the HVC officials filed an application for an amended permit that would allow for the “expanded use of the property while agreeing to trim back its operations.”

Hawaii County planning program manager Darren Arai told reporter Callis that the first application was incomplete and that the Planning Department is waiting for additional information from the HVC.

HVC attorney Ted Hong said his client had held a community meeting on the proposed changes in May and is “working to address some of the requests from the county.”

Arai indicated that once the application is complete, it will take about three months before a hearing is held before the Planning Commission.  That gap will allow time for agency review and perhaps more community meetings.

While the permitting process is moving ahead, the HVC farmers market will be allowed to continue.  One performance by charter school students per month has been granted.  Despite the schedule cutback, some residents of the Kalapana Seaview Estates Community Association remain concerned about noise and traffic issues.  David Snover, the vice president of the Kalapana Seaview Estates Community Association, says he hopes these issues can be resolved soon, ” because residents remain concerned that the proposed amendments would allow for too many events.”

(Pohakuloa Training Area Press Release).  U.S. Army officials have opened several training area for bow hunting at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Training Areas 1-4 and 10-11 will be open for bow hunting of mammals only.  Hunters will be permitted to kill one sheep, one goat, and one pig per day, in keeping with state bag limits.  Shooting of sheep with blue collars will be prohibited.

For more information, call the PTA hunters hotline at 969-3474.


Hilo and vicinity–Mostly cloudy with a few showers.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly sunny near Waikoloa.  Mostly cloudy with a few showers below Captain Cook.

Highs near 80.  Lows near 68. Winds shifting to the east northeast, 12 to 25 mph.

Sunrise Saturday–5:41 a.m.  Sunset Saturday–7:00 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Saturday–13 hours, 19 minutes, and 00 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–8:16 a.m./7:53 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–2:23 a.m./1:08 p.m.

Kailua-Kona High Tide–8:54 a.m./8:31 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–4:00 a.m./1:45 p.m.


Hapuna Beach breaks–flat.  Kona and Banyans–1 to 2 feet.  Ka’u and Pohoiki–3 to 4 feet.  Hamakua, including Kolekole Beach Park–4 to 6 feet.  Hilo and Honolii–2 to 3 feet.


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