Friday, June 19, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Friday morning edition

The U.S. military is positioning more missile defenses around Hawai'i as a precaution against a possible North Korean launch across the Pacific, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday.

Hawaii's Pacific Command, closely monitoring events in North Korea, says it is "in good position" to respond if called upon by the Pentagon.

The U.S. military is tracking a ship from North Korea that could be carrying illicit weapons, the first vessel monitored under tougher new U.N. rules meant to rein in and punish the communist government following a nuclear test, officials said yesterday.

The state Board of Education last night voted 8-4 to approve controversial changes to the public school system's disciplinary rules, including allowing for suspicionless locker searches and drug-sniffing dogs.

If the courts don't stop her, Gov. Linda Lingle will set in motion two years of "furlough Fridays" for at least 15,600 state employees

Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday rolled out the details of her furlough plans for state workers, announcing that many state departments would close on three Fridays a month starting in July while others would modify or adjust operations to minimize the disruption to the public.

Many state workers are upset about the furloughs, since they amount to essentially a 14-percent pay cut, but they also worry the public will face service reductions when departments and offices are closed three days a week.

West Maui state Rep. Angus McKelvey said he wants the Legislature to go into an emergency special session to deal with the state's $2.7 billion revenue shortfall and Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to furlough state workers beginning July 1.

In a cost-savings measure, the state office of elections plans to close a little more than 60 polling places, with all of them being on Oahu.

The state Office of Elections is proposing eliminating 66 voting precincts statewide for next year's elections in an effort to cut costs

More than 150 people heard impassioned speeches Wednesday night in Hilo on a proposal to bring the Thirty Meter Telescope to the Big Island.

The Hawaii County Council's controversial reorganization has triggered an investigation and one lawmaker's allegation that the leadership change was illegally orchestrated.

For schoolchildren, the game of "telephone," is an amusing party pastime. But when county council members employ it as a pre-meeting meeting, it violates state Sunshine Laws.

The draft environmental assessment for the proposed midlevel Kona road is out, charting a route from Henry Street to Hina Lani Street, skirting a burial site and shifting makai near the northern end to avoid bisecting a dryland forest.

A family feud simmering since last year’s mayoral election boiled into a Carvalho-versus-Carvalho harassment arrest, with the father of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. turning himself in at Kaua‘i Police Department headquarters in April.

A Kalihi man is in police custody, accused of sexually assaulting three elderly women at a senior living complex.