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For Monday, February 21, 2011

By Associated Press


Target's $150,000 aids reading efforts

Target Corp. donated $150,000 last week to support literacy programs at three elementary schools in Hilo.

The "Better Together Community Reading" grant will help children and families at Keonepoko Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Naalehu Elementary.

"Literacy is the foundation for learning," said Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area Superintendent Mary Correa. "As a complex, we are committed to proactively instilling and nurturing a lifelong love of reading in our students and families."

The grant will go toward providing reading materials for families and developing reading literacy activities.

Big Isle sees affordable housing need

HILO » Hawaii County is trying to find ways to boost the number of affordable-housing units on the Big Island.

West Hawaii Today reported the County Council has advanced a bill that would continue to give developers credits for building affordable housing.

The Office of Housing and Community Development has hired an Oahu-based firm to study Big Island housing demand, market conditions, future housing inventory and other issues.

Hawaii County Housing Administrator Stephen Arnett says the number of Big Island families on a waiting list for Section 8 federally subsidized housing vouchers has jumped by about 60 percent in the past two years to 4,800.

That means about 11 percent of Hawaii County's 43,000 families are waiting to take advantage of the Section 8 housing program.

Park's center for operations is dedicated

VOLCANO, Hawaii » National park officials have dedicated a $5.8 million visitor and operations center that they hope will help them respond to emergencies and natural disasters faster.

The 4,896-square-foot building, dedicated Friday in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The building will serve as headquarters for law enforcement and emergency personnel, as well as a command center during major incidents such as eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, hurricanes, air crashes and rescues, according to officials.

National parks in Hawaii, as well as Guam, American Samoa and Saipan, are served by the National Park Service Pacific Area Communication Center.

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