Today in West Hawaii history | March 23

March 23, 1984: United Airlines announces it will add a second daily direct flight from the mainland to Kona beginning June 1. The flight will originate in San Francisco and fly directly to Keahole before reloading and departing for Maui where additional passengers will be boarded.

March 23, 1994: A group of residents files suit to rescind the acceptance of a final environmental impact statement for Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s proposed Keahole Generating Station expansion. The suit, filed by attorney Kevin Seiter on behalf of the residents, asks the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Office of Environmental Quality to order HELCO to reassemble the document so it more accurately reflects alternatives and ideas of area residents. The group contends the EIS is factually inadequate and was prepared in a way that did not conform to Hawaii law or OEQC procedures.

The Hawaii County Council Committee on Planning defers a rezoning request for Oceanside 1250’s proposed Villages at Hokukano project in order to discuss a proposed six-mile bypass road slated to begin just south of Higashihara Park and end at the Mamalahoa Highway-Napoopoo Road intersection. South Kona Councilman Keola Childs says while he supports the project, he wants to discuss the roadway location with area residents and examine other design plans before voting. Oceanside 1250 was seeking to reclassify 683 acres of a 1,540-acre parcel north of Kealakekua Bay from five-acre agricultural and unplanned to one-acre agricultural.

March 23, 1999: The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to decide whether Hawaii may limit by their race the voters who elect a nine-member board that oversees a program benefiting only residents of Hawaiian blood. The justices say they will study an appeal in which a white, lifelong resident of Hawaii Island, Harold “Freddy” Rice,” accuses the state of making him a victim of unlawful racial bias.

March 23, 2004: Mayor Harry Kim says he plans to attend a Hawaii Island Burial Council meeting next month to set the record straight regarding a burial site that was recently found in the path of the proposed Alii Parkway. Kim said 21 burial sites had been identified in the road’s path, but it was determined only two had to be relocated. During the data recovery phase, however, it was determined that one of the 19 burial sites, which officials thought didn’t have to be relocated was, in fact, incorrectly plotted.

March 23, 2009: A skateboarding competition held to benefit FBI clothing company co-founder Delta Thompson, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, draws more than 100 people. The event, hosted by Kona Skate Park Association, includes 30 competitors.

March 23, 2013: Kamehameha Schools is consolidating operations, bringing the day-to-day land management activities of Kamehameha Investment Corporation under the school’s auspices. KIC, which is the schools’ for-profit management arm, employs nine people in West Hawaii; four will retain their positions during the transition.

Former Hawaii County Elections Division employees simply had no problem admitting that they observed other county employees drinking alcohol on county property, according to interviews filed as exhibits with the 3rd Circuit Court in a motion for summary judgment to dismiss a suit. The exhibits include interviews by Corporate Specialized Intelligence and Investigations, an investigate firm former Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong and former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi hired to look into reports of drinking by county employees as well as of a county employee running a sign-making business out of the Elections Warehouse. Yagong and Kawauchi are defendants in a lawsuit filed by Elections Division Chief Pat Nakamoto and employee Shyla Ayau in 2011 alleging defamation and conducting a negligent investigation. Following the investigation, Kawauchi fired Nakamoto, county warehouse manager Glen Shikuma, who died in 2012, Ayau and another employee. Nakamoto, Ayau and the other employee were reinstated; but Ayau had already taken a position on Kauai.

The resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, the island’s representative in the U.S. House, is hoping to loosen the Jones Act requirements on his terrority. Hawaii shipping officials are hoping the federal report on which Pedro Pierluisi is basing his propsed legislation could also support relaxing Jones Act conditions in Hawaii. The Jones Act, authorized in 1920, requires carriers transporting goods between domestic ports be U.S.-owned companies using U.S.-built;. ships flying under the American flag with American crews.