Hawaii Island News, 22 Februrary 2012 through 23 February 2012

Here are some of the local stories “Hawaii Island News” is tracking through Thursday, 23 February 2012:

Mixed review on redrawn districts; Governor Abercrombie says current marriage law is wrong; unstable weather will persist for awhile; Yoshimoto and Goodenow will run for council district 2 seat.

Sources cited in this summary include the Associated Press, the “Hawaii Tribune-Herald“, Stephens Media, and “Hawaii 24/7 News.”


(Stephens Media).  Hawaii Island residents, whose colleagues sued to force a fourth state Senate seat and a second round of public hearings on new legislative maps, formed a small but vocal crowd Tuesday evening when the state Reapportionment Commission came to Hilo.  About three dozen people showed up to hear the explanation of the changes, but only 10 people testified before the commission.  Luana Palapala Busby Neff of Papaikou said she was disappointed by the small turnout and reminded commissioners that “people and families are shaped by the lands they live on…please consider where we live.  The commission holds another meeting on Oahu today (Wednesday) and then will meet 27 and 29 February to finalize the maps.  The maps then go to the state Elections Office.  It’s not known when candidates will be able to pull nomination papers for the new legislative seats, but it should be some time in March.  Candidates have until 05 June to file for office.  The county and federal nomination process began on 01 February 2012.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Speaking of politics, a former Hawaii County Council chairman and his former clerk are headed for an election showdown to represent the vacant 2nd council district.  Councilman J. Yoshimoto, who represents East Hawaii’s 3rd district, and former clerk Ken Goodenow both  pulled nomination papers Tuesday in Hilo.  Along with Finance Department employee Steve K. Wilhelm, they want to represent the redrawn district whose incumbent, Donald Ikeda, is prevented by term limits from running agains for the nonpartisan seat.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  A winter storm that caused a voluntary evacuation of Mauna Kea on Tuesday morning could continue throughout the week, bringing more rain and chilly temperatures to East Hawaii.  Stewart Hunter, the general manager of Mauna Kea Support Services, said “the weather (near the summit) was quickly deteriorating, the wind was blowing, and the snow was drifting up” early Tuesday morning.  Stewart said “there was a danger when our our road crews started plowing for the end of the day that it would drift up significantly and vehicles with chains wouldn’t be able to get down.”  A winter storm warning that was issued Tuesday by the National Weather Service remained in effect until 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.  Although serious wind and snow conditions are expected to lessen over the next 48 hours, visitors to the summit should call ahead for road conditions.  The contact number is 935-6268.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Hawaii Island police have charged a Puna man and woman with robbery after they allegedly tried to shake down another man for marijuana.  A 32-year-old Pahoa man told officers that he was standing outside the Boogie Woogie Pizza in Pahoa on Monday afternoon when a woman approached him and asked him for marijuana.  When the man said he didn’t have any, the woman allegedly hit him in the back of the head several times with her fist and then removed cash from the victim’s pants pocket.  The victim told police that he dropped his skateboard during the attack.  A man then allegedly joined in the attack, hitting the victim in the head and rendering him unconscious.  The man was taken to the Hilo Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.  A short time after the incident, police arrest 32-year-old Steven Stoesser, 35-year-old Lisa Yurkovic, and 29-year-old Gina Sumaoang, all of  Pahoa.  According to police, the arrest took place at the Pahoa 7-Eleven store.  Sumaong was released without charges Tuesday night.  Bail for Soesser was set at $50,000.  Yurkovic had her bail set at $5,000.


Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie told a federal court Tuesday that Hawaii’s existing marriage law denies federal constitutional rights to same-sex couples who want to marry.  His stance on the issue came as his health director, Loretta Fuddy, told the same court that she would fight to uphold Hawaii’s existing law because her department is charged with implementing laws passed by the state Legislature.  Governor Abercrombie said state law as is stands is unequal, noting that “under current law, a heterosexual couple can choose to enter into a marriage or a civil union.  A same-sex couple, however, may only elect a civil union.  My obligation as governor is to support equality under the law.  This is inequality, and I will not defend it.”

Jury selection began on Tuesday in the general court-martial of a Hawaii-based Marine accused of punching, kicking, and pouring sand in the face of a fellow lance corporal who fell asleep on watch in Afghanistan.  The prosecution and defense questioned prospective jurors ina courtroom at Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the trial of Lance Corporal Carlos Orozco III.  His is the last of three Marines to be court-martialed for the alleged hazin of Lance Corporal Harry Lew, who committed suicide on 03 April shortly after the incident.  Another lance corporal last month pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to jail for  30 days and a reduction in rank to private first class.  A jury later found their squad leader, a sergeant, not guilty in a separate trial.

State officials are trying to figure out how to best teach Hawaii’s pre-school aged residents.  On Thursday, the state Senate Ways and Means Committee will decide whether to give the administration $500,000 to establish an executive office on early learning.  The state Senate Education Committee already has approved the measure, noting that the office would help the state achieve its goal of offering its families a viable early education system.


Hilo and vicinity–Partly cloudy with a few showers.  Rain at night.  Showers gradually tapering off by Thursday.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly sunny with a few upslope showers during early morning and evening hours.

Highs near 79.  Lows near 65.  Winds shifting to the east southeast by Thursday, 7 to  14 mph.  Sunrise Thursday–6:44 a.m.  Sunset Thursday–6:23 p.m.  Total hours of daylight on Thursday–11 hours, 38 minutes, and 47 seconds.  Hilo tides for Thursday:  High tide–3:57 a.m./4:18 p.m.  Low tide–10:16 a.m./10:13 p.m.


A High Surf Advisory remains in effect through Thursday for east facing shores.  Hapuna Beach breaks–flat to 1 foot.  Kona and Banyans–1 to 2 feet.  Ka’u and Pohoiki–5 to 6 feet.  Hamakua–5 to 6 feet.  Hilo and Honolii–3 to 5 feet.

For the latest community events, sports updates, and entertainment news, visit kbigfm.com, nativefm.com, kaparadio.com, and espnhawaii.com.

Thanks for joining us today!

Russ Roberts, editor

Laupahoehoe, Hawaii–along the beautiful Hamakua Coast