Friday, March 15, 2013

Hawaii Capitol rallies include preschoolers, teachers; Legislature advances gun control, marijuana bills; Kamehameha Schools teacher fired for nude student photos, 7th anniversary of Kauai dam disaster, Honolulu mayor seeks fuel tax hike, atrazine targeted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii preschoolers (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hundreds of children, parents and education advocates descended on Hawaii’s Capitol Thursday to spur lawmakers to vote for Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s preschool initiative. Associated Press.

Thousands of Hawaii public school teachers rallied and chanted around the state Capitol on Thursday to protest the lack of a new labor contract. Star-Advertiser.

The president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association announced to teachers late Thursday that the union and the state have received approval from the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to go to mediation. Hawaii News Now.

The state is confident it has found a way to fill a void and fund much-needed after-school programs for intermediate and middle schools through community involvement and private donations, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The state has a new plan to fill that important gap in intermediate students' days—they're calling it the Hawai'i Intermediate/Middle School Challenge. Hawaii News Now.

A bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana is making its way through the Hawaii House of Representatives. Associated Press.

The Hawaii House Committee on Public Safety is moving forward a bill to require background checks for people who bring in guns from outside the state. Associated Press.

FACT CHECK — Solomon: Hawaii 'On The Verge Of Bankruptcy' Half-True. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is being hit by two amendments U.S. Senate Republicans are trying to attach to a temporary spending bill needed to prevent a government shutdown. Civil Beat.

Scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawaii are expected to jump 11.8 percent through the next three months from the year-earlier period as the tourism industry takes aim at a second straight record year for visitor arrivals. Star-Advertiser.

A state analysis of new U.S. Census data shows Hawaii’s population grew by 1 percent per year in the two years spanning mid-2010 through mid-2012, with growth distributed relatively evenly throughout the islands. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s population grew 1 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, driven primarily by a relatively high birth rate and people moving from foreign countries, the state said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s population reached 1.39 million as of July 2012, up 2.4 percent from the 1.36 million residents in April 2010, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Pacific Business News.

A new health insurer is poised to do business in Hawaii this year, boosting competition in the market dominated by Hawaii Medical Service Association and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for March 15. Associated Press.

Oahu

With opposition mounting against his proposal to increase the city's fuel tax by 5 cents a gallon, Mayor Kirk Caldwell is urging City Council members to keep an open mind to the idea. Star-Advertiser.

A hearing on House Bill 276, which calls for issuing about $10 million in bonds to build what is being called the Senior Residence at Piikoi, was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu City Council will convene a special meeting this afternoon (Friday,1:30pm) to discuss homeless housing and services on O’ahu in an effort to look at solutions for this growing problem. Hawaii Public Radio.

State eyes encroachment at Kahala Resort. Complaints prompt closer look at beach use. KITV4.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is walking back from a threat last summer to ban offshore parties in Waikiki known as floatopias or flotillas. KITV4.

EXCLUSIVE: Nude student images alleged in fired Kamehameha Schools teacher investigation. KHON2.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Water Supply officials say levels of atrazine in island wells are far below safe thresholds, even as 19 members of the state House on Thursday called for a task force to investigate the effects of the herbicide on human health. West Hawaii Today.

The story of Haumea, as told by astronomer Mike Brown, is a detective tale in space. West Hawaii Today.

Puna Geothermal Venture was back to normal operations Wednesday night after it was shut down that afternoon, causing a plume of steam to be released into the air. Tribune-Herald.

The population of the Big Island is currently growing at a rate of about 1% per year or five new residents per day, according to estimates released recently by the US Census Bureau. Big Island Now.

Maui
Citing questions and concerns by the public and council members, the Maui County Council's Water Resources Committee chairman called for a night meeting to allow for more public input on a bill that would give the water director, with the consent of the mayor, the power to impose higher rates during water shortages. Maui News.

The state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve $65 million in funding to begin construction of a new Kihei high school. Maui News.

Ask the Mayor: 7 a.m. Leaf Blowing; Feral Chickens, DMVL. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauai Dam Breach Tragedy Still Not Resolved 7 Years After 7 People Were Killed. Hawaii Reporter.

Candidates for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors gathered in front of an audience of about a dozen people Wednesday evening at the Waimea Neighborhood Center during the final panel discussion leading up to the March 23 vote. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i Humane Society has a new executive director, and one who has a lifetime of working with animals all around the country — and says she wouldn’t want to do anything else. Garden Island.