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Actress, couple agree to mediation

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WAIMEA, Hawaii » Roseanne Barr and her Hawaii neighbors appeared in court yesterday and agreed to enter mediation after the comedian sought a temporary restraining order against the couple.

District Court Judge Melvin Fujino ordered the parties to return to court on April 14.

Barr sought legal action against Roree and Richard Oehlman, who own property next to Barr’s 46-acre macadamia nut farm in Honokaa on the northern end of Hawaii island, after they filed a complaint about unauthorized grading work being done on the farm.

Barr accused the Oehlmans of harassment and trespassing, including videotaping Barr and the farm. The Oehlmans said Barr’s presence brought unwanted attention to the community and that work on her property was being done without the proper permits.

Looking relaxed in a brown sundress and tan jacket, Barr was accompanied by her boyfriend of seven years, Johnny Argent, daughter and son-in-law, and two attorneys at the Kohala Courthouse in Waimea.

She spoke only when the judge asked whether she agreed to mediation. "Yes," she said.

Barr told reporters after her court appearance that she was ready to "get serious" and was hopeful of a good outcome through the mediation process.

"My privacy, that’s the thing that is most important," Barr said. "I love the Big Island and pretty much appreciate the people here."

Roree Oehlman said she is hopeful the issue will be resolved through mediation.

"I think everything can be worked out in the traditional Hawaiian way," Oehlman said. "I’d hate to see an escalation of the issues, but I just don’t think she realizes the impact she has on the community."

Oehlman said since Barr moved in full time, she frequently has to deal with fans trespassing on her property.

"I can sympathize with her. I understand what she has to go through," Oehlman said. "I’d come home and find people on my property. It was creepy. It put me on edge."

Oehlman said the only reason she was filming Barr was to document the illegal grading work, which Oehlman was concerned would increase flooding problems.

She said she has since erased the tape on advice from a police officer.

Barr called any land use violations "a mistake" and said she would work toward compliance. The county already has ordered work to stop until permits are approved.

Barr’s TV show "Roseanne" aired from 1988 to 1997, earning her an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Last month, Lifetime Television announced it has ordered 16 episodes of a reality show based on Barr’s experiences as a farmer.

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