Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bag ban passes Big Island council, $75M in Race to the Top funds at risk, 14 Hawaii tax employees face criminal charges, Oahu top island getaway, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands



Following Maui and Kauai's lead, the Big Island on Wednesday became the third county to adopt a ban on merchants giving out plastic bags. That leaves Honolulu as the only Hawaii county without such a ban. Civil Beat.

Hawaii County shoppers can expect free plastic shopping bags at the cash register for just one more year, following the passage Wednesday of a bill restricting their availability. West Hawaii Today.

When it comes to protecting the environment, reducing litter and preserving landfill space, the County Council has left Mayor Billy Kenoi holding the bag. Tribune-Herald.

An Education Department official on Wednesday admonished Hawaii for its "unsatisfactory" performance under a $75 million federal grant the state won last year in a high profile competition and said it was placing it under "high risk" status, meaning the state is in danger of losing the money if it doesn't make improvements. Associated Press.

Citing "unsatisfactory performance" and concerns about whether future pledges can be met, the federal government has placed Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top grant on "high-risk" status, which means the money may be lost if progress isn't made. Star-Advertiser.

Middle-school boys and girls in some low-performing schools on Oahu and Hawaii island next fall will begin playing in small, after-school sports leagues as part of a larger effort to improve the lives of 3,700 students. Star-Advertiser.

14 employees of the State Tax Department are under investigation by the State Attorney General's office for possible criminal wrongdoing. KITV4.

Hawaii's ethics rules sure seem to be resonating with lawmakers. Several turned away bottles of wine given as a holiday gift from a solar-energy company. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama will have to come up with an action plan to address the economic impact of Pacific migration in Hawaii and other states and U.S. territories. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for Dec. 22. Associated Press.

Oahu

Yahoo! News has named Oahu the top island getaway in the U.S. in the latest episode of Wanderlust, the travel series on Yahoo! News. KHON2.

A new Kakaako booking and warrants building for the state Sheriff Division is proving to be more convenient for both deputies and the public. Star-Advertiser.

The state sheriffs division has opened a new booking and warrants facility in Kakaako, a more convenient and less threatening location has resulted in more people turning themselves in there, according to public safety officials. KITV4.

Just how popular is the camping permit window at the Wahiawa Satellite City Hall? Civil Beat.

Hawaii Medical Center’s approximately 990 employees are getting some help from the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in navigating the unemployment rolls they soon will find themselves on when HMC shuts down its two Oahu hospitals in the next few weeks. Pacific Business News.

Mordechai Orian, CEO of Global Horizons, who is facing charges relating to the alleged trafficking of farm workers from Thailand to America, was set to go to trial on February 7. Civil Beat.

The following letter by John Bond of Save Ewa Field alleges potentially damaging construction being done at the historic Ewa Field, owned by the U.S. Navy and leased to developers. Hawaii Independent.

Twenty-five thousand soldiers from Schofield's 25th Infantry Division headquarters served in the Iraq War. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

With more than a quarter of Big Island children not knowing where their next meal is coming from, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution asking the administration to give the Food Basket an emergency $500,000. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is making headway in its effort to make the much-needed Ka'u District Gym and Shelter a reality in Pahala. West Hawaii Today.

Federal officials want to hear the public's comments on a wilderness review and legislative environmental impact statement for the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A U.S. District Court jury has acquitted Maui County of liability in a civil suit brought by the family of a homeless man who died in the Lahaina lockup in 2008. Maui News.

The Maui Fire Department will begin processing firecracker permits this week while public fireworks displays have been scheduled in South Maui, Hana and on Lanai. Maui News.

Owners of a cruising yacht that Molokai protesters turned back earlier this month in Kaunakakai Harbor announced Tuesday that they reached an agreement with opposition and authorities to resume their Molokai tours, at least temporarily, next month. Maui News.

Kauai

If Kaua‘i County Council Chair Jay Furfaro is right, the administration could be facing a budgetary shortfall of $2.64 million. Garden Island.

The County of Kaua‘i has released its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2011, which began July 1, 2010, and ended June 30, 2011. Garden Island.

A blessing and groundbreaking for the next segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multi-use path, was held in Kapa‘a this morning at Gore Park near Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital. Garden Island.