Monday, March 1, 2010

Officials defend tsunami evacuation, lawmakers still looking for money, more top Hawaii news

Scientists acknowledged they overstated the threat but defended their actions, saying they took the proper steps and learned the lessons of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed thousands of people who didn’t get enough warning.

Businesses lost thousands of dollars when the tsunami warning forced them to shut down Saturday.

This was not a drill. As a very real tsunami threat loomed off the coast, Hawaii County Civil Defense proved its ability to smoothly evacuate sleepy residents early Saturday morning.

The county's Emergency Operations Center resembled a well-oiled war room Saturday.

County officials responded to some reports of overflowing sewers, but no other damage was reported following the small tsunami that struck Maui and the rest of the state Saturday.

No money would be allocated for smoking prevention activities from the Hawaii tobacco settlement special fund under a bill moving in the state House to deal with the state budget crisis.

Kauai County officials announced that the Anti-Drug Office was awarded a $1.2 million grant for underage drinking prevention programs.

Most of Hawai'i's more than $1 billion in federal stimulus money is going toward projects that many would agree help the economy, or to people who have recently lost their jobs.

Lawmakers are considering a measure that would eliminate junior kindergarten in Hawai'i public schools and move up the date children are eligible to enter kindergarten, changes that would require thousands of late-born 5-year-olds to wait an additional year before they can start school.

The first public school built like a shopping mall is taking shape on the Leeward Coast and is slated for a grand opening in January.