Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Safe shark tours, trash and other top Hawaii news


Because of the re- moteness of North Shore shark encounter tours and other con- ditioning factors, researchers say the tours do not pose a threat to public safety.

Amid the hundreds who gathered at Kapi'olani Park yesterday for a brief glimpse of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, perhaps none appreciated the bittersweet implications the imperial visit would have for Japanese-Americans in Hawai'i more than 70-year-old Helen Wadahara.

State officials plan to slash funding for Healthy Start, a nationally recognized child-abuse prevention program that serves thousands of children in the Islands, limiting services to East Hawai'i and Leeward O'ahu, and forcing the layoffs of dozens at nonprofits with Healthy Start programs.

Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill yesterday that would allow workers to organize labor unions if a majority sign union cards, an alternative to secret-ballot elections.

A Seattle-based company has all the parts in place to begin shipping Oahu's trash to the mainland — with or without a city-approved contract.

Bright side to down economy: The Hawaii Police Department, which was understaffed for years, is now nearly at full strength.

As El Nino returns to the Pacific, signaling a more active hurricane season, Hawaii County Civil Defense this week is renewing its emergency notification system with a $71,800 two-year contract to the current provider.

After riding a wave of prosperity, Maui County residents are struggling to cope with a recession that has swept through the islands. In The Maui News' continuing series of stories on the islands' financial crisis, today's report tells the personal stories of residents surviving these tough times.

The Kauai County Board of Ethics renewed with a vengeance its discussion on conflicts of interest and the infamous Section 20.02(d) of the County Charter, rejecting a County Attorney opinion, repeatedly declining to go into executive session, and changing its rules to provide public discussion of county employees’ disclosure statements in a wild meeting at the Mo‘ikeha Building.

One of two former Moanalua Golf Club workers who admitted butchering a pet dog of a golf club member in 2007 started serving three months of a one-year prison term yesterday.