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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 1, 2002

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services


Big Island gains Drug Court

Hawai'i County has joined O'ahu and Maui in offering a Drug Court system that offers nonviolent offenders a strict 12-month treatment program as an alternative to jail.

The new Big Island program will serve 50 adult offenders, with plans to accept youth in the future. Participants are supervised closely, must submit to frequent drug testing and initially appear weekly before a judge. Drug Court also provides education and employment services.

Court officials said it costs $8,000 a year for each Drug Court participant, compared with $32,000 for a year of incarceration.

Offenders dropped from the program for noncompliance are returned to the traditional criminal justice system, while those who succeed have their cases dismissed.

The Drug Court was set up in Kona under Judge Ronald Ibarra, and in Hilo under Judge Greg Nakamura. The Kona office will be at 81-940 Heleki'i St., phone (808) 938-6466; and in Hilo at 1420 Kilauea Ave., phone (808) 938-6467.


Maui wind farm to be discussed

Plans by Hawai'i Wind Energy LLC to develop a 20-megawatt wind farm on Maui will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ma'alaea Harbor Village shopping center.

Hawai'i Wind Energy applied for a conservation district use permit this summer after a permit to Zond Pacific Inc. expired. Zond's successor, General Electric Wind Energy Corp. of Tehachapi, Calif., also is seeking to develop the project.

"Ukumehame (the project site) represents one of the premier sites on Maui to do a special alternate energy wind project and decrease our huge dependence on fossil fuels. All we want is a fair opportunity to make it a reality,'' said Brian Hayashida, president of Hawai'i Wind Energy.

Tuesday's meeting in a room next to Ma'alaea Grill will highlight the proposal and its project partners and discuss ways for the project and the community to work together, Hayashida said.