Friday, April 19, 2013

Judiciary asks for more money, Kulani prison to reopen, Hawaii needs doctors, lawmakers debate Shield Law, preschool vouchers to go to ballot, Kauai coral disease spreading, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Supreme Court building (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Inadequate courthouse security, an increased backlog of cases and long waits for a wide range of services are just some of the problems the public can continue to expect if the Legislature fails to fully fund the state Judiciary’s budget request. Civil Beat.

More Hawaii doctors have left their practices over the past year and likely will continue to do so just as the first major piece of federal health reforms rolls out. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation this week pushed for more support of a measure that would provide funds to train health care providers in rural areas. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz rakes in the cash from Hawaii business and political leaders. Civil Beat.

State House and Senate negotiators Thursday reached agreement on a proposed constitutional amendment that would ask voters next year whether public money should be spent on private preschool. Star-Advertiser.

House lawmakers aren't going along with the Senate’s version of a bill that protects journalists from revealing their confidential sources under certain circumstances. Civil Beat.

With the newly ratified teachers contract approved by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and expected to be funded by lawmakers, work now begins on creating a new evaluation system that negotiators have agreed will be used to reward and dismiss teachers. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Derrick Kahala Watson to a seat on the the U.S. District Court in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for April 19. Associated Press.

Oahu

Kahala community leaders are rejoicing after the Honolulu City Council's approval of a bill allowing the city to impose stiffer fines on property owners who blight their neighborhoods by leaving overgrown foliage and trash in their yards. Star-Advertiser.

City officials say they're scrambling to find money to reverse more of the bus cuts that have hit riders the hardest. Star-Advertiser.

A convicted rapist will get a $35,000 check from the city of Honolulu, although he’ll likely be behind bars when it arrives. On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council approved a legal settlement with Dewitt Lamar Long for injuries he sustained in 2010 when he was beaten by four cops during a traffic stop. Civil Beat.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he was insulted by the behavior of some members of Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Cabinet at this week's Council meeting and made it clear that he expects them to act with decorum and respect at the meetings. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu-based Watermark Publishing officially launched a new self-publishing service on Thursday that will help Hawaii residents share their stories. Pacific Business News.

Rep. Gene Ward, R-Hawaii Kai, Sen. Laura Thielen, D-Kailua-Hawaii Kai, and Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai-Diamond Head, sent a letter on April 16 to the Honolulu City Council asking its 9 members to oppose development of the “Great Lawn”, a parcel 14-acre parcel in Hawaii Kai now zoned as preservation land. Hawaii Reporter.

It’s been a favorite hangout spot at Ala Moana Center for nearly 30 years. But on Thursday, some long-time customers got the sad news. Zippy’s is closing at the end of the month. KHON2.

Hawaii

Lawmakers have agreed upon funding for the Kulani Correctional Facility, paving the way for the mothballed prison outside Hilo to reopen next year. Tribune-Herald.

Eighteen months after two Environmental Management employees were arrested on charges of stealing diesel fuel from the Waimea baseyard pumps, the county administration has instituted procedures to keep it from happening again, but the Prosecutor’s Office has yet to formally charge the suspects. West Hawaii Today.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is going all in on geothermal. OHA’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to invest $1.25 million into the Huena Power Consortium, with an upfront contribution of $600,000. Tribune-Herald.

A memorial fund has been established in honor of West Hawaii businessman Guy Toyama who helped champion sustainability, renewable energy and entrepreneurship efforts. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui's hotel occupancy rate slipped 1.1 percentage points in February to 82.6 percent while hotels made more money for their rooms, according to the monthly update from Hospitality Advisors LLC. Maui News.

Maui teachers were pleased to finally have a tentative labor contract in hand, and most said Wednesday afternoon that they voted in favor of the proposal even though they still had concerns about teacher evaluations and medical coverage. Maui News.

Kauai

The outbreak of deadly coral disease along Kaua‘i’s North Shore may be targeting more than one species of Montipora coral. Garden Island.

Retired auto dealer James Pflueger faces a long-delayed trial in September after he declined to accept a plea agreement that would have dismissed his manslaughter charges related to seven deaths when the Ka Loko dam breached seven years ago. Star-Advertiser.