Thursday, January 10, 2013

Raises coming to public workers, Souki solidifies House leadership, top Honolulu cop gets rave reviews, early childhood education advances, tourism limited on Molokai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Aloha Festival parade (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Major events such as the Aloha Festivals, the Honolulu Marathon and the Pro Bowl Block Party are good for Waikiki because they attract visitors and improve quality of life for kamaaina, according to 85.6 percent of respondents in a recent survey. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney is preparing for the upcoming legislative session by meeting with the Legislature’s money committees to discuss the HTA’s role in supporting the state's economy. Pacific Business News.

State Rep. Joseph Souki solidified his claim as House speaker Wednesday after a private caucus among Demo­crats. Star-Advertiser.

They want Joe Souki. That was the message a majority of Hawaii House Democrats sent Wednesday afternoon during a private caucus at the Capitol Building, according to lawmakers who attended. Civil Beat.

Attitudes toward marijuana and marijuana laws is the subject of a statewide poll, the results of which will be discussed during a presentation tomorrow in Honolulu. Maui Now.

Thousands of public workers are about to get a raise in an arbitration award sources tell KHON2 is imminent. KHON2.

Problems with the 2012 election and continued low voter turnout are sparking a number of legislative proposals this year. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday that it is unfair to expect public schools to meet more rigorous performance standards when so many children enter kindergarten unprepared because they have not attended preschool. Star-Advertiser.

The State of Hawaii is committed to giving its keiki the best opportunity for school success and a strong early childhood education program is a proven way toward that, Gov. Neil Abercrombie affirmed at a press conference today at Seagull School’s Early Education Center. Hawaii Reporter.

After listening to a group of chubby-cheeked preschoolers sing to him, the governor on Wednesday unveiled his plan to provide a publicly funded early learning program for all of Hawaii's 4-year-olds. Civil Beat.

State leaders want to give all kids a chance to succeed in school and they hope they can do that with an early start. Hawaii News Now.

The Navy wants to retire the Pearl Harbor-based USS Port Royal, the youngest Ticonderoga-class cruiser in the fleet and a ship with prized ballistic missile defense capability. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for January 9. Associated Press.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Commission gave glowing marks to Police Chief Louis Kealoha in his third annual evaluation, which was released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano says he plans to appeal a recent federal court ruling on Honolulu rail that will allow the $5.26 billion project to proceed. Civil Beat.

Decked out in jeans and a Hawaii Fire Fighters Association T-shirt, Mayor Kirk Caldwell shoveled hot-mix asphalt into a car-alignment-killing crater on Gulick Avenue in Kalihi Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Kirk Caldwell said he was going to get out from behind the desk and go into the public.  Potholes are one of the biggest things people complain about so he's taking the complaints about potholes and doing something about it. Hawaii News Now.

A community briefing on proposed revisions to the Oahu General Plan is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 14 at the Castle High School cafeteria, 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive. Honolulu Weekly.

The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting has released the 2013 affordable housing income limits, which are used to qualify purchasers and set prices for affordable units as part of Unilateral Agreement conditions adopted in zone change amendments. Hawaii Reporter.

Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu will nearly double the capacity of its emergency and operating departments when it opens in Ewa in February 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
The Big Island has once again been designated a natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an ongoing drought and its impact on farmers. Tribune-Herald.

After reassurance from the county Finance Department that its borrowing of short-term promissory notes actually saved taxpayers money, the Ethics Board on Wednesday dismissed a complaint that the county bond transactions weren’t above-board. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council is sticking with a new mileage policy that allows members to receive $350 a month no matter how much they drive. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is starting his second four year term.  Following a close election, his first order of business now is the county budget. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state’s involvement in updating a whale sanctuary management plan has triggered the need for an environmental impact statement. West Hawaii Today.

Consumer concern about genetically modified, or GMO, fruit remains strong, and last year’s big papaya industry news hasn’t resulted in bigger shipments from Hawaii to Japan — at least not yet, as Hawaii growers are charting a new course for transgenic papaya in Japan. Tribune-Herald.

Maui
Nearly a year after public discussion about the urgent need for a major overhaul of Kahului Airport's 71-year-old, 7,000-foot main runway, state Department of Transportation officials remain undecided about which repair option to choose and how long Maui's air overseas lifeline would need to be closed, if at all. Maui News.

The National Park Service has named Natalie Gates as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park. Star-Advertiser.

Natalie Gates has been named as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park. Maui News.

Maui Memorial Park is planning to rebuild 153 feet of wall, within the next three to four weeks, cemetery officials said this week. Maui News.

Maui's largest photovoltaic system and the island's first commercial-sized carport photovoltaic system will be dedicated by Mayor Alan Arakawa at 9 a.m. Monday at the Kihei Aquatic Center, a county announcement said. Maui News.

Kauai

It is still legal to drink alcohol late at night in county parks. What apparently is an oversight caused late-night prohibition in county parks to be omitted in the current version of the County Code. Garden Island.

The Department of Water announced it will hold four public meetings to allow community members to comment on a possible new rate structure for its Water System Development Fee. Garden Island.

A cluster of portable restrooms in Po‘ipu Beach Park have left some visitors questioning its sanitary condition. Garden Island.

Molokai

Representatives from the state, American Safari Cruises and the Molokai community signed an historic "Molokai Community Agreement" outlining visits to Molokai. KITV4.