Monday, June 22, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Monday morning edition

A Belgian television crew will be in Kalaupapa tomorrow filming a documentary report about Father Damien De Veuster, who is as well known in his homeland as in Hawaii.

With Father Damien's canonization just four months away and interest in his life growing around the world, congregation members are finalizing plans for a permanent Damien museum in Waikiki, which they hope to have open in about a year; working to digitize Damien photos before they are lost to age; and fielding more requests for Damien information.

The people who provide lessons and outings to tourists and residents for water sports — specifically, surfing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, kayaking, scuba and snorkeling — are frightened that a proposed set of new Maui County rules will cripple or even doom their businesses.

The union for workers at the Hawai'i State Hospital is calling for state officials to address safety concerns at the Kane'ohe psychiatric facility following three serious assaults by patients on staff, including one last month in which a 62-year-old occupational therapist was struck in the head repeatedly with a large padlock.

Hawaii County is set to buy a brand-new $2 million search-and-rescue helicopter to replace its 27-year-old Chopper 1.

A bill that would outlaw driving while using a hand-held cell phone is now in Mayor Billy Kenoi's hands.

Oahu homes are becoming more affordable for more families because of the real estate market decline, low interest rates, and incentives.

A West Hawaii developer wants changes that would put off building a connector road between Mamalahoa Highway and its project just above Queen Kaahumanu Highway indefinitely.