Hawaii Island News, 28 December 2010

Hawaii Island state representative Robert Herkes tells the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” that he questions what he calls a lack of competition for the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates water project.  Herkes will hold a meeting at the state capitol on January 6th to discuss the standars for the water tank, which he feels are written so strictly that only one manufacturer qualifies for the project.  Department of Water Supply Manager Milton Pavao says strict standards are required by state law and county codes.

The “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” reports that a swimmer in distress off King’s Landing in Keaukaha drowned Monday afternoon before rescue teams could reach him.  Emergency medical technicians performed CPR on the man for several minutes after a rescue helicopter left him on a small plot of grass fronting the bay in Lehia Park.  The man was not revived.  Rescue crews described the victim as a bald local man between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 200 pounds.

A 72-year-old Kapaau man has been charged with attempted murder and assault in connection with the stabbing of a 90-year-old woman last Friday morning at an Ainakea Drive apartment complex.  Officers determined that the woman was stabbed multiple times in her apartment.  Patrol officers later found and arrested Raymond Talisay on suspicion on attempted murder.  The victim remains in stable condition at the North Hawaii Community Hospital.  The suspect is being held at the Kona Police Cellblock in lieu of $65,000 bail.

Big Island police are investigating the Christmas Day discovery of a body in West Hawaii as a coroner’s request.  At 7:46 a.m. Saturday, police and fire personnel found the body of 50-year-old Aron Abrams of Los Angeles at a Waikoloa resort.  An autopsy to determine the exact cause of death is scheduled for Friday.

During the week of December 20th through December 26th, Big Island police arrested 20 motorists for drunk driving.  So far this year, there have been 1,497 DUI arrests compared to 1,378 during the same period last year, an increase of 8.6 percent.  As of today, there have been 28 traffic fatalities on Big Island roads, an increase of 27.3 percent over the same period last year.  DUI patrols will continue island wide throughout the holidays.

(AP).  Hawaiian Telcom, Inc. has become a public company and has begun to sell its stock.  The 1,400-employee firm announced Monday that public trading of its common stock had begun through its parent company, Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc.

(AP).  Hawaii public school teachers will retain their health benefits but may have to pay more for them after they’r forced to enroll in the same health insurance fund as most other state government employees next week.  More than 15,000 teachers and retirees are being rolled into the Emplyer-Union Health Benefits group when the teachers’ exclusive Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association expires with the new year, a move designed to reduce overall costs to the state.

(AP).  Rates for shipping to Hawaii are set to rise again next month, the latest upswing in charges that in total have increased the cost of shipping to the islands by 50 percent since 2003.  “The Honolulu Star-Advertiser” reports that in the same period, Honolulu’s consumer price index has risen 27 percent.  Both Matson and its lone mainland shipping competitor, Horizon Lines, recently announced identical increases in their shipping rates effective January 2nd.  The shippers will raise their ocean freight charge, or base rate, by an average of 3.8 percent.  The terminal handling charge, which is a flat rate, will increase by 19.4 percent.

(AP).  Hawaii’s hotel industry posted stronger occupancy and room rate statistics last month compared to the dreary figures reported a year ago.  Hospitality Advisors LLC said the average occupancy rate for November was 67.8 percent , a rise of almost 7 percentage points from the same month in 2009.  Among the major Hawaiian Islands, hotels on Oahu experienced the best occupancy rate at 75.2 percent.  Maui’s hotel market reached 65.7 percent occupancy, while the Big Island was 55.7 percent and Kauai was at 51 percent.

Community news:  Now is the time to recycle your Christmas trees and seasonal greenery.  You can drop off your trees at one of the following County Recycle and Transfer Stations–Hilo, Puako, Kailua-Kona, Honokaa, Keaau, Keauhou, Waimea, and Waiohinu.  Trees will be taken to a central facility for chipping.  The resultant mulch will be made available to residents and businesses for gardens.  Trees and greenery should be free of all decorations, lights, tinsel, and ornaments.  Please do not drop off artificial or flocked trees.  For details, call 961-8270.

Community news:  The First Annual Waimea Ocean Film Festival debuts January 5th  through January 9th at various locations in Waimea and at venues along the Kohala Coast.  While 30 films will be featured, the event brings together not only noted film makers but fine artists, photographers, and experts in the field of oceanography and conservation as well.  For details, go to info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

Community news:  Spend a day with Mauna Lani Resort’s Touring Pro and local boy, Dean Wilson, on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011.  The event includes a Taylor-Made Demo Golf Clinic with Dean Wilson, an 18-hole scramble on the Mauna Lani’s South Course, and a talk story session with Dean at Huli Sue’s at Mauna Lani.  Space is limited, so call early.  You can reserve your spot by calling 885-6655.

Please send your community notes to rroberts@pacificradiogroup.com.  Please send your notes at least two weeks before your event.

Hawaii Island weather, Tuesday, 28 December 2010.   A wind advisory remains in effect until 5:00 a.m. Wednesday for Big Island summits.  For summit road conditions, call 935-6268.  Hilo and vicinity–Mostly cloudy with scattered showers.  Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly cloudy with isolated showers.  High near 81.  Low near 67.  Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph.

Hawaii Island surf forecast for Tuesday, 28 December 2010.  Hapuna Beach breaks–flat.   Kona-Banyans–flat.   Kau-Pohoiki–1-2.   Hilo-Honolii–1-2.   Keaukaha–1-2.   Hamakua-North Kohala–1-3.

Russ Roberts, News Department.