Drinking Establishments Providing Free Taxi Ride Coupons

Media Release:

Drinking establishments in Hilo and Kailua-Kona plan to distribute coupons for free taxi rides so customers don’t drink and drive, especially during the holidays.

Howard Medeiros from the Prosecutor's Office (left) and Kalani Mills from the Department of Liquor Control (center) present taxi coupons to Scott Cat, owner of The Emerald bar and eatery.

The Hawai’i County Office of the Mayor, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Impaired Driving Task Force, the Police Department, the Department of Liquor Control and the Mass Transit Agency have teamed up to provide 500 coupons, which the Department of Liquor Control will pass out to bars and nightclubs.

Kwai Cheng Publico (right), owner of the WAI (Water and Ice) Lounge receives the taxi coupons for his establishment

Despite the giveaway program, individuals who plan to drink at a bar over the holiday weekend should not count on getting a free coupon. They should make other arrangements in case the bar they plan to visit runs out of coupons.

“Shared ride” taxi coupons are available for purchase all year long at the Mass Transit Agency, 630 E. Lanikāula Street, Hilo or at the Downtown Improvement Association, 329 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo.

The coupons are subsidized by the county, allowing the taxi companies to receive reasonable payment for providing cab rides while giving the customer a reduced rate. The most economical package is a booklet of 15 coupons for $30. There are booklets with 10 coupons for $20 and 5 coupons for $15. One coupon is good for four miles of travel and two coupons are good for nine miles of travel, provided the travel is within urban Hilo or Kailua-Kona. Any distance beyond what is covered by the coupons must be paid for in cash.

Eight taxi companies participate in the program. They are, in Hilo, Ace One Taxi, Ali’i Taxi, Bay City Taxi, Bobby Taxi, Hot Lava Taxi, Marhysa’s Taxi and Percy’s Taxi and, in Kailua-Kona, J & A Taxi.

For more information about purchasing discount taxi coupons, call the Mass Transit Agency at 961-8744.

The free coupon distribution evolved from strategies developed by the Impaired Driving Task Force, a coalition of government agencies, community organizations and victim support groups dedicated to helping reduce injuries and fatalities on Big Island highways.

Please remember, it only takes two to three drinks to exceed the legal limit of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content – so don’t take a chance – take a taxi!

For more information about the impaired Driving Task Force, call Coordinator Dieter H. Blattler at 961-2226.

Saturday: Wellness with Aloha – Cultural & Healing Festival

Public is invited to Pahoa Fire Station Blessing and Open House

Media Release:

The public is invited on Saturday, December 12, 2009, to join in on the blessing and open house for the new 5.3 million dollar Pahoa Fire Station located on highway 130 near mile marker 8. Festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. with a welcoming ceremony and visitation. A short program of speakers will include Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira, State Senator Russell Kokubun, State House Representative Faye Hanohano, Mayoral Executive Assistant Hunter Bishop and County Council members Emily Naeole-Beason and J Yoshimoto. The blessing will be given at 10:00 a.m. followed by an open house with facility tours, light refreshments and music, a jumping castle and pony rides for the keiki.

For more information call 965-2712.

Solar Water Heaters Required for New Homes

From the Mayors Office:

Solar water heaters will be required as the primary renewable energy source for new homes after January 1, 2010.

State Senate Bill 644, Act 204, is another step in Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative to decrease Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuel with renewable energy sources by 2030.

Not all areas of the Big Island produce sufficient sunlight to operate a solar water heater system to supply a household with hot water, however. An architect or engineer may, on behalf of the homeowner, file for a variance with State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Strategic Industries Division requesting alternate energy sources.

To download a variance form, a Hawai‘i Solar map, and copies of Senate Bill 644 Act 204, House Bill 1464_CD1, e-mail Public Works at public_works@co.hawaii.hi.us

For further information and latest updates on energy efficiency, visit http://hawaii.gov/dbedt/info/energy or call the State of Hawai‘i toll-free, 974-4000, and ask for the Energy Division at DBED&T.

Raw Video: Young Whale Freed From Entangling Rope

Whale experts in Hawaii say they have rescued a young humpback whale by using specialized equipment to cut away away a heavy plastic rope that had entangled the giant marine mammal.

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Congresswoman Mazie Hirono Supports Creating Jobs through Wall Street Transaction Tax

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) speaks on the House floor in strong support for legislation that would tax stock trades and other financial transactions to support job creation and reduce the budget deficit.

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