State Takes Over Election Duties on the Big Island

In an effort to avoid a repeat of the primary election problems on the Big Island, the State has decided to oversee the general election here.

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Media Release:

Hawaii Chief Election Officer Scott Nago announced today that the Office of Elections will rescind its delegation of state responsibilities to the County of Hawaii.

The state office will administer election day activities such as delivery and collection, control center and polling place operations.

“We believe that this decision best ensures a successful general election in the County of Hawaii,” Nago said. “It will allow the county to focus its resources exclusively on voter registration and absentee voting.”

This move is meant to directly address the issues of polling place communication and timely delivery of supplies to polling places. Nago emphasized that the change will be transparent to Big Island voters and poll workers.

The office has located a control center and a counting center in the Hilo State Office Building. Ballot Operations Section Head Lori Tomczyk will be the State’s lead administrator. In primary election, Tomczyk provided support for state election operations in Hilo.

Entrance to South Iwalani Street closed at West Kawailani intersection

10/3/12 UPDATE: A bypass was constructed this morning by the contractor at the entrance to South Iwalani Street at West Kawailani intersection for through traffic.  Special Off duty police officers are directing traffic.

The bypass is available during construction hours 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday.

Before 8:00 AM, after 3:00 PM and on weekends both lanes are open at the South Iwalani Street at West Kawailani intersection.

The entrance to South Iwalani Street was closed for two days (October 1-2).

Integrated Construction Inc., are the contractors for the roadwork along West Kawailani Street in South Hilo.

Relocation of underground utilities at South Iwalani and West Kawailani Street has changed travel patterns for motorists.
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Entrance to South Iwalani Street is closed at the West Kawailani intersection due to road excavation.  Traffic is being redirected by special off duty police officers.

The road closure is between the hours of 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday and is in effect as of October 1.

The entrance to South Iwalani Street closure at West Kawailani intersection will remain closed to through traffic until further notice

Hawaiian Telcom and the Department of Public Works are relocating utilities in preparation of future work from Kanoelani to Kuhilani Street, and portions of ‘Āinaola.  The $1 million project is 80 percent funded by the Federal Highway Administration, and the remaining 20 percent by the County.  Completion is scheduled for 2013.

Integrated Construction Inc., are the contractors for the roadwork along West Kawailani Street in South Hilo.

Big Island Police Looking for 61-Year-Old Male Who May Need Medical Attention

Missing person John W. Stephens Jr., Male 61 years of age, 5’8”, 135 pounds.

Last seen wearing blue denim jeans, gray T-shirt, reading glasses, scar across top middle of head, usually wears a baseball cap. Last seen on Pakalana Street in Hilo on 9-28-12 at 10:15 p.m. May be in need of medical attention. If located, contact the police by calling 911 or the non-emergency number of 935-3311.

Kona Pool to Reopen Later Than Expected

The Department of Parks and Recreation announces that the Kona Community Aquatic Center (KCAC) will be reopened at 8 a.m., Saturday, October 6.

Kona Community Aquatic Center

Due to unforeseen circumstances, a complex inspection intended to ensure peak operating efficiency is taking longer than expected to complete, preventing the swimming pool from being reopened as anticipated on Wednesday, October 3.

Every effort is being made to ensure the work is finished promptly.

The department apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary shutdown may cause and thanks pool users and the general public for their patience.

For more information, please call the KCAC staff at 327-3500.

County of Hawai‘i Still Accepting Entries for Keiki Triathlon

Children 7 to 14 years old are invited to enter the Keiki Triathlon to be held Saturday, October 20, at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and Maka‘eo Park in Kailua-Kona.

Entry forms will be accepted through Friday, October 12. The triathlon will start at 8:30 a.m. on October 20.

A link to the entry form is available at hawaiicounty.gov under the Department of Parks and Recreation’s October events. Forms also may be obtained island-wide at the department’s Recreation Division facilities, swimming pools and many gymnasiums. There is a $5 per-child entry fee to participate in the Keiki Triathlon.

To ensure the athletes’ safety, enrollment will be limited to the first 30 children who sign up in each of the four age-group categories or a maximum 120 total racers. All participants must supply their own bicycle, helmet, swim goggles and other equipment.

Completed entry forms and payment should be mailed to the Recreation Division, 799 Pi‘ilani Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

Sponsored by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL), the inaugural Keiki Triathlon will consist of a 100-yard swim, 3.2-mile bicycle course and a 1.0 mile run; children in the 7-8 age-group category will race half those distances.

Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers, both boys and girls, in each age category, while all keiki who complete the course will receive commemorative certificates.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

County of Hawai‘i Initiates Independent Geothermal Health Assessment Joint Fact Finding Study

Health issues related to the production of geothermal energy are a concern for many island residents. Funds to conduct health studies are available through the Geothermal Asset Fund, which is overseen by the Windward Planning Commission. To help inform good decision making on the use of that fund, the County Department of Research and Development has contracted for an independent joint fact finding study to help lay the groundwork for future geothermal health studies to be conducted in the Puna community.
The purpose of this effort is to collect the existing body of knowledge about documented health studies associated with geothermal operations, both here and around the world. The Joint Fact Finding effort will collect a range of existing information on air quality around the PGV plant and create a summary of kinds of health issues that community members believe may be linked to geothermal operations.  Based on a broad and inclusive body of existing information, the study will develop an outline of priority health issues and preferred methodologies that would guide new health research in the Puna region.
This joint fact finding initiative will be conducted by a professional, third party neutral who will select and convene an independent Working Group to review existing data and come up with a final report. The report will be presented to the Windward Planning Commission to help inform its deliberations on the future use of Geothermal Asset Fund monies for public health related studies. The Working Group will be made up of 10-15 scientists, public health specialist and knowledgeable community members to be chosen by the consultant to represent all major points of view on the issue.
The Working Group will be convened by Dr. Peter Adler of Accord 3.0. Dr. Adler is a nationally known and Hawaii based expert in the field of complex issue management and collaborative problem solving. He will be responsible for designing and implementing an independent fact finding process and for preparing an independent report due in February of 2013.
“This joint fact finding process is an important first step towards addressing community health concerns in a responsible and independent fashion” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “We need to apply the best science available. That starts with the collection of existing knowledge on the topic and a reasoned and sustained conversation about what methods can best inform us all about any public health conditions associated with geothermal energy in our community.”
Dr. Adler will begin immediately with a series of one-on-one interviews with a range of community, medical and regulatory individuals to identify key issues, data sources and people that can bring unique insight and information to the topic. Based on these interviews, he will convene a formal Working Group made up of the full spectrum of expertise and passions in the issue. This Group will meet for 3-4 months to review existing studies, listen to additional input and help to define a clear path forward.
A more detailed project description prepared by Dr. Adler is attached. Any comments or questions on the effort can be directed to Dr. Adler at geothermalhealth@gmail.com. More information on the consultant and the project can be found at http://www.accord3.com/pg68.cfm. Future materials, meeting schedules and work products will be posted on this site.

Major Accident on Kanoelehua at 8:20