Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hawaii mulls school bus route cuts, state upgrading weather radar, state pension fund moves back to black, women sue to marry Hawaii prison inmates, Kauai horse cruelty case dismissed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

School bus courtesy photo
The state says it hopes to know by early June which school bus routes will likely have to be cut in the coming school year to cover a $16 million shortfall for student transportation. Star-Advertiser.

School will be over in a week and district officials still can't tell parents how their kids will get to and from school next year. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s school system has yet to decide on an alternative to cutting bus service next year for thousands of students in order to make up a $17 million transportation budget shortfall. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii will have two acting governors this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's teacher union members begin voting this week on a contract they rejected earlier this year, despite warnings from the state that the agreement is no longer valid. Associated Press.

The state's largest public pension fund moved back into positive territory for the fiscal year as it soared 8.3 percent last quarter to boost its total assets to a near-rec­ord $11.5 billion. Star-Advertiser.


Come July 1, any overtime earned by new hires in state and county government will not count toward their pension benefits. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Medical Service Association recorded a $12.8 million profit in the three months ended March 31, its highest first-quarter gain since 2004. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's biggest HMO and its biggest health insurer both report profits from the first quarter, signs of good financial health for the two nonprofits. Hawaii News Now.

Who's Making Big Bucks Working for Hawaii's U.S. Senate Candidates? Civil Beat.

When severe weather strikes Hawaii, flash flooding is a big concern. But an upgrade to the state's radars could help pinpoint problem areas before the rain falls. KITV4.

The Hawaii Air National Guard was waiting on orders Tuesday to see whether its F-22 Raptor fighters would be affected after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta imposed new flight restrictions — the latest setback for the costly and controversial jet. Star-Advertiser.

Tulsi Gabbard
A progressive veterans political action committee that seeks to elect Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to Congress has committed $75,000 for ads in Hawaii supporting Tulsi Gabbard in her bid for the 2nd Congressional District. Star-Advertiser.

Four women who want to marry men who are state prison inmates are suing state Public Safety Director Jodie Mae­saka-Hirata and two other Public Safety officials for repeatedly denying their fiances’ marriage applications. Star-Advertiser.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu by the ACLU of Hawaii, alleges that Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata, mainland prison branch administrator Shari Kimoto and mainland prison contract monitor Jeanette Baltero discriminated against four women who applied numerous times to be married but were denied being allowed to wed their fianc├ęs. Civil Beat.

Four women are suing the State because they've been told they cannot get married to their fiances, who are in prison. KHON2.

The Hawaii Environmental Council will consider loosening regulations on geothermal exploration Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

The Omidyar Fellows program, a leadership development program sponsored by eBay founder turned philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, was launched yesterday under the newly created Hawai‘i Leadership Forum. Maui Now.

Oahu

The 800-member Honolulu Fire Department Retirees Association has endorsed former Gov. Ben Cayetano in the race for Hono­lulu mayor, while campaign rival Kirk Caldwell picked up another union endorsement. Star-Advertiser.

Construction on Honolulu's rail system is now underway, with proponents promising 10,000 jobs ahead from the project and trickle-down spending. KHON2.

A 10-page memo on the city's planned $5.3 billion elevated steel on steel rail project, created by the city's rail authority, and distributed by the Department of Planning and Permitting to city employees, has some council members and rail opponents questioning the city administration's motives. Hawaii Reporter.

Wayne Yoshioka visited a congested Mo’ili’ili neighborhood today…to see what’s being done to make streets safer for children. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Amid a discussion about the best way to deal with the threat of a Hilo landfill closure, the Hawaii County Council voted 8-0 to prohibit hauling of East Hawaii garbage to West Hawaii, except under an emergency declaration by the mayor. West Hawaii Today.

Two proposed amendments to the county charter received just enough votes Tuesday to survive another round of County Council action, when each passed with the minimum six votes needed to keep it alive. West Hawaii Today.

The County Council slashed a $75,000 Food Basket donation to $50,000 and then killed it, opting instead to spend the scarce funds on new computers and for the legislative branch. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Adrianne Heely was praised for her legal skills as well as for her volunteer work in the community, as she was sworn in Monday afternoon as a 2nd Circuit District Family Court judge. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i County Council Committee of the Whole approved the administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013, reflecting more than $166.4 million in operational expenses and $78.3 million in capital improvement projects. Garden Island.

After nearly two years of litigation in the 16-count animal-cruelty case involving horses, a 5th Circuit Court judge ruled the state has exceeded its time to bring the case to trial and dismissed the case, which was set for jury trial on May 29. Garden Island.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs announced Tuesday that its non-profit subsidiary, Hi‘ipoi LLC, will transition ownership and management of Makaweli Poi Mill to a Kaua‘i community organization. Garden Island.

In a 3-2 ruling the Hawaii Supreme Court has upheld the petty misdemeanor conviction of a man who contended that he was entitled as a Native Hawaiian practitioner to live in a closed area of a state park in Kala­lau Valley on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Molokai
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will conduct a public information meeting in Kaunakakai on Wednesday, May 16, to provide information on planned construction activities for improvements to the commuter ferry (Molokai to Maui) and the impact to harbor operations. Molokai Dispatch.