Thursday, November 12, 2009

Akaka reforms stalled, elder pedestrians at risk, Aiona snubbed by unions, more Hawaii news

A raft of reforms that U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, has been working on for months is now tied up by one of the Senate's most ardent fiscal hawks.

Hundreds of state employees will start losing their jobs tomorrow beginning with nonunion, exempt workers, but the exact number — and who — is still being worked out, the head of Hawai'i's human resources department said yesterday.

No one has responded to Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona's calls for meetings between the Hawaii teachers union and public school officials to halt the ongoing teacher furloughs.

For years, Hawaii environmentalists have been complaining that the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, which the New York Times editorial page has described as “notorious among environmental groups as a chronic enabler of reckless commercial fishing,” was illegally lobbying Hawaiian politicians to push its anti-conservation agenda and prevent the creation of any marine reserves in Hawaii

Hawaii is the most dangerous state for pedestrians ages 65 and older, according to a report by the coalition group Transportation for America.

About 24,000 Jehovah's Witnesses from around the world are expected to spend about $100 million in the state when they meet at the Hawaii Convention Center on the next two weekends, said David Uchiyama of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The rainy season is forcing more and more homeless people to set up camp at the city's bus stops, but attempts to make it illegal to sleep at bus shelters have been unsuccessful.

KITV has learned the state health department has gone undercover to determine if pharmacies and doctors are giving the H1N1 vaccine to people with the highest risk of contracting swine flu.

A storm is sitting north of the state with heavy rain and thunderstorms likely through Friday. Flash flooding is also possible with drier conditions due back next week.

Surf along north facing shores will be 10 to 15 feet through Thursday morning, decreasing to 8 to 12 feet Thursday afternoon. Surf along east facing shores will be 10 to 14 feet through Thursday.

Two more lanes will be added to Highway 130 as part of a $14 million state plan to improve motorists' safety and reduce traffic congestion in lower Puna.

Alaska Airlines announced this week that it would offer four flights a week from San Jose, Calif., into Kona beginning March 12, making the California city the seventh from which airline passengers can embark on direct flights to Kona.

Heads up, the state Department of Education is telling the public, the much-anticipated environmental impact statement for the proposed Kihei high school is on its way.

A public information meeting regarding the proposed construction of a roadway segment that would connect the two Koloa bypass roads is scheduled for Thursday, a county press release states.

The newest building at Hawai'i Preparatory Academy (HPA) in Waimea, the Energy Lab, is being considered one of the latest and most environmentally comprehensive structures in the country, according to its application as a "living building."