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Living Treasures

The five Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Living Treasures of Hawaii will be recognized at a luncheon Feb. 5 at the Sheraton-Waikiki. They are Dr. Livingston M.F. Wong, Dr. Jack H. Scaff Jr., Josephine Kaukali Fergerstrom, Dr. Claire Ku’uleilani Hughes and Masaru Oshiro. To attend the event or for more information, call the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii at 522-9200 or e-mail

Lawsuit against Blackwater tossed

The family of a Big Island man killed in a horrific ambush in Fallujah, Iraq, seven years ago will appeal a federal court decision that dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the security company formerly known as Blackwater, the family’s attorney said.

Paauilo resident Wesley Batalona and three other civilian military contractors died in a March 31, 2004, ambush. Insurgents led a mob that mutilated and set fire to their bodies before dragging the charred remains through the streets and hanging two from a bridge. Images from the scene were relayed around the world, and the event triggered a massive U.S. military siege known as the Battle of Fallujah.

Marc Miles, a Southern California attorney who represents June Batalona, Wesley Batalona’s wife, told the Star-Advertiser yesterday the four men who were hired by Blackwater Security Consulting "have been denied their day in court."

On Friday in North Carolina, U.S. District Judge James C. Fox entered judgment against the families of Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerko "Jerry" Zovko and Michael Teague, finding that court-ordered arbitration fell apart because neither side was paying the costs of that process.


Big Isle areas are reopened after drought

The state is reopening Big Island hiking, hunting and bird watching areas it closed last year amid the risk a fire would break out during a severe drought.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources says Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve, Kaohe Game Management Area and Puu Anahulu Game Management Area were reopened yesterday. The department says officials determined recent rain provided enough moisture to reduce the danger of fire.

Use phone or Net to pay property tax

The Maui County Real Property Tax Department is allowing tax payments by credit or debit card or electronic checks online or by phone.

A convenience fee is charged by the service provider, Link2Gov, and applied to each property tax payment processed.

For online payments, go to You must have an e-mail address to use the online service.

For phone payments, call 866-936-1061 and follow the voice instructions.


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