According to “West Hawaii Today”, Hawaii County residents are subsidizing cell phones used in the re-election campaigns of five of the nine County Council members. Council members Emily Naeole-Beason, Guy Enriques, Donald Ikeda, J. Yoshimoto, and Dennis Onishi listed their county-subsidized cell phones as the contact numbers when they filed election papers. Taxpayers chip in around $8,000 a year for the phones. County Clerk Ken Goodenow says council members are required to estimate the percentage of their total bill that’s used for county business when they file for reimbursement. Corporation Counsel Linclom Ashida says he can’t talk about specific cases, but he said the county considers the cell phones to be owned by council members, but county use is subsidized by the county.
Registered voters may vote early for the primary election now through Thursday, September 16th. The Hilo absentee walk in site is now back in the Hawaii County Council Building on the first floor. In Kona, the elections office isin the Alii Plaza building. You may vote absentee at these sites Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Waimea, Pahala, and North Kohala sites and hours of operation remain the same. For details, call 961-8277.
A stubborn brush fire continues to burn near the Pohakuloa Training Area and the Mauna Kea Recreation Area. Army Public Relations Officer Mike Egami tells “West Hawaii Today” that approximately 1,367 acres have been scorched by the fire. Egami says the fire is about 70 percent contained. Fire engines continue to mop up and patrol flat areas along the Saddle Road. Saddle Road is open with detours. Speed limint in the detour area is 35 mph.
A community meeting will be held today, 6 p.m., at the Pahoa Community Center to discuss the ongoing mangrove eradication project at several public and private properties on Hawaii Island, including the Wai’ Opae Marine Life Conservation District, Isaac Hale Park at Pohoiki, and Onehakakaha Beach Park in Hilo. Mayor Billy Kenoi has called the meeting to allow residents to make any comments they may have regarding this project. For details, call the Mayor’s Office at 961-8565.
The Malu ‘ Aina Center for Non-vilent Education & Action will hold a press conference outside the Pohakuloa Training Area Main Gate today at 1:15 p.m. The press conference will raise questions about the “By Invitation Only” meeting inside PTA at 2 p.m. Malu ‘Aina spokesman Jim Alterini says he wants to know why the meeting on depleted uranium was not held in Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Albertini also wants to know what kind of air monitoring was done during the recent brush fire around KTA to detect possible airborne particles of depleted uranium.
(AP). Federal officials say a rare deep diving whale rescued from Maui has died. Marine mammal response coordinator David Scholfield of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the male Blainville’s beaked whale was very sick. A necropsy performed after animal’s death Sunday showed it had moderate pneumonia, a severe gastronintestinal problem, and kidney disease. It was found stranded on August 16th. The mammal treatment facility is located at UH-Hilo.
The state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Kealakehe High School cafeteria to discuss the continuing widening project along the Queen Kaahumanu Highway. Goodfellow Brothers, Incorporated won the $76 million contract to widen 5.2 miles of highway from the Kealakehe Parkway to the Kona International Airport. The project will take about two years to finish.
(AP). Efforts are underway to have Barack Obama select his native Hawaii as the home of his presidential library. State lawmakers supported the proposal this past legislative session. An now University of Hawaii officials are pressing ahead with creating working groups to sutdy such issues as where a suitable site would be located. Some Obama supporters on the mainland want the library located in Chicago.
(AP). Governor Linda Lingle is calling on supporters of the Waipio Little League baseball team to help cover the travel expenses of player families. Lingle noted that player families have each reportedly spent more than $10,000 for weeks of travel, lodging, and meals as the team made its way through the initial rounds of the Little League World Series. Waipio lost to Japan in the championship game, 4-1.
(AP). The state Department of Health has launched this year’s Protect Hawaii’s Keiki: Stop flu at School program. It offers free flu vaccines to 333 public, private, and charter schools this fall. Now in its fourth year, the voluntary statewide program is designed to prevent the spread of flu among school children and their families. Parent and guardian information packets and consent forms are being sent home with children attending participating schools.
Community news: Give the “Gift of Life” at the Kohala High School Blood Drive on Monday, September 6th, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, at the school cafeteria. The event is an Eagle Scout project of Albert Santiago III. Participants at this blood drive will receive a coupon for a free pint of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream. To reserve your time, call Albert at 889-5218.
Community news: The Akaka Falls Lions Club is sponsoring a Diabetes Conference at Hilo High School on September 4th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Registration and free health screenings begin at 8:00 a.m. For details, call Tracy at 933-0548.
Community news: Craft and Food Booth Vendor applications for the “He Hal’ia Aloha o Lili’uokalani Festival” are now available. The festival will be held on Sunday, September 26th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Queen Lili’uokalani Gardens. For details, call 961-8706.
Russ Roberts, News Director