Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Merrie Monarch gears up in Hilo, Hawaii Legislature nixes teacher evaluations, Senate passes $11B budget, undersea cable moves forward, reapportionment lawsuit advances, rail boss pledges openness, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


Unukupukupu hula (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

Unukupukupu performed at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort on Tuesday afternoon during a free hula exhibition, part of the Merrie Monarch Festival, which continues all week in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court will hear a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's reapportionment and redistricting maps.Star-Advertiser.

The federal government plans to discuss the potential of partially taking over workplace safety regulation from the state's Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division in the state Department of Labor later this spring. Hawaii News Now.

State senators have passed an $11 billion budget draft they believe will reinforce the state’s safety net, improve information technology services and create new jobs. Associated Press.

Organizations offering services to Hawaii’s needy have had their budgets slashed by 19 percent since the financial crisis hit in 2008, and they’ve lost 16 percent of their staff, an advocacy group for the poor said Tuesday. Associated Press.

Responding to pressure from public school teachers, state lawmakers backed away Tuesday from legislation that would have required teacher performance evaluations. Star-Advertiser.

One step forward, one step back. That's the way Tuesday went for Board of Education policies and state legislation regarding performance evaluations. Civil Beat.

Opponents of the Big Wind project failed on Tuesday to derail legislation that would make it easier to build large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai and transmit the electricity to Oahu. Civil Beat.

Several community activists are speaking out against state Senate and House bills that aim to streamline private and public construction proj­ects by providing exemptions to regulatory and environmental review requirements. Star-Advertiser.

A diverse group held a press conference at the state Capitol yesterday to oppose four bills that exempt state and county government projects from the standard environmental review process. Hawaii Reporter.

About two dozen community organizers and activists gathered outside the Senate chamber at the State Capitol today, united in their opposition to four bills, two in the House and two in the Senate, that will provide exemptions from various environmental requirements for developers in urban areas. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii sure isn’t a standout when it comes to Public Access to Information. And now lawmakers appear keen on making matters worse. Civil Beat.

Rep. Mele Carroll has worst House attendance. Civil Beat.

Long lines that ensued at DMV locations last month following new driver's license requirements are now plaguing the state Health Department's vital records office, as frustrated residents seek copies of their birth and marriage certificates. KITV4.

Oahu

Newly arrived rail boss Daniel Grabauskas promised Tuesday to make the workings of the city's $5.27 billion rail project more transparent, starting with an initiative to make more rail-related records available on the website of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

More transparency. No coloring books. Those are among the big changes ahead as the new rail boss gets started. KHON2.

State transportation officials think a solution to rush-hour bottlenecks on the H-1 freeway in Makiki could be to re-stripe the freeway between Punahou Street and Pali Highway to create a fourth lane in each direction. Star-Advertiser.

Large portion of Kakaako will be conveyed to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Wednesday. KHON2.

The Thursday Geeks on DaBus event allows smartphone users to test the city's mobile applications for the bus. Star-Advertiser.

In about three days, the Dalai Lama will address a crowd of thousands of high school and college students at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center. Pacific Business News.

State DOT admits mistake with unusable drone aircraft. Hawaii News Now.

A 13-year Honolulu police officer was arrested in connection with his role in a marijuana growing operation in Honolulu and Mililani, according to federal court documents. KITV4.

Hawaii

They may not have faced off, but Hawaii County’s likely mayoral candidates made their first appearance together in a precursor to this fall’s election at Tuesday’s Kona Town Meeting. West Hawaii Today.

A co-owner of the Hamakua Coast zip line course where a construction worker was killed in September says he is in no rush to reopen for business. Tribune-Herald.

A burned-out motor that caused the breakdown of a South Kona well is causing the county Department of Water Supply to issue health advisories and a voluntary water conservation. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A freeway-style ramp overpass could be part of the Kahului Airport access road that could break ground as early as the end of the year, state Department of Transportation officials said Monday evening. Maui News.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation joined civil engineers and planning consultants in a public presentation on Monday night on the proposed Kahului Airport Access Road. Maui Now.

The County Council Policy Committee on Monday recommended approval of two nominees for the Lanai Planning Commission, praising one nominee's public service, but questioning whether his role with the ILWU would place him too far to one side of a divisive issue on the island. Maui News.

The new Kihei roundabout - the first full-sized roundabout on Maui - officially opened to traffic after a short blessing ceremony Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

The landowner of a historic plantation camp in Koloa, Kauai, sued three tenants Tuesday who failed to vacate the property by Sunday's eviction deadline. Star-Advertiser.

The county Finance Department, which employs 88 workers in 10 divisions, asked for a smaller budget in fiscal year 2013 despite complaints about staffing shortages by one division. Garden Island.

The public is invited to help celebrate the 125th birthday of “Paulo,” the oldest surviving operating plantation locomotive in Hawai‘i. Garden Island.