Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hawaii gets No Child waiver, transgender official wins White House recognition, Honolulu council sets $2B budget, Ala Wai pollution investigated, Kauai military range could be expanded, Maui sues Mainstreet Association, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Department of Education
Hawaii school, courtesy Department of Education
Hawaii's public schools will be allowed to ignore parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law in favor of a state-developed accountability system, under a waiver granted Monday by the U.S. Department of Education. Star-Advertiser.

The Obama administration on Monday approved Hawaii’s request for a waiver from provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law. Associated Press.

Everyone riding in an automobile in Hawaii must now use a seat belt, under one of two traffic safety bills Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law Monday. The second new law bans drivers from holding cellphones and other electronic devices, in effect replacing various county ordinances. Star-Advertiser.

Car wheel boots may soon be banned in Hawaii — depending on whether Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs into a law a bill to outlaw the devices. Star-Advertiser.

Iwamoto
The White House will honor Hawaii Civil Rights Commission member Kim Coco Iwamoto, a transgender, on Wednesday as one of 10 LGBT elected or appointed officials who are "Harvey Milk Champions of Change." Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood's sudden decision to step down with two years remaining on her contract caught many by surprise, even those closest to her. She has not addressed on camera her decision or what led up to it, until now. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii spent more than $53,000 hiring well-known Honolulu attorney Bill McCorriston to represent the UH Board of Regents after UH President MRC Greenwood sent the regents a letter offering to leave the university for a payment of $2 million. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council will take a final vote in two weeks on a balanced, $2 billion operating budget that neither raises property tax rates nor fees and makes no cuts in services. Star-Advertiser.

Taxpayers Pay When Ala Wai Pollution Hits Waikiki. Civil Beat.

State officials haven’t regularly monitored contaminants in the Ala Wai canal since 1999, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, which is responsible for enforcing the federal Clean Water Act that sets standards and limits on contaminants. Civil Beat.

Civil Beat Lab Tests: Ala Wai Canal Seafood Is Contaminated.

A vacationing U.S. Border Patrol agent died Sunday attempting to save a woman in distress in a pool at Waimea Falls. Star-Advertiser.

Organizers of an annual conference for people who manage more than $3 trillion in public sector pension funds in the U.S. and Canada say a significant number of administrators are skipping this year’s meeting in Hawaii to avoid the perception they’re wasting money by heading to the island paradise. Associated Press.

Hawaii

A late effort to buy Hawai'i Nui Brewing LLC, the bankrupt Hilo microbrewery, postponed a court auction Monday and has set up a potential bidding contest between a former Hawai'i Nui partner and a rival beer producer in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

A University of Hawaii-Hilo spokeswoman insists a $28 million dorm project will be ready by August, but a report obtained by Hawaii Reporter and Watchdog.org outlines numerous flaws in the taxpayer-funded project. Hawaii Reporter.

Hilo is at the end of the line but is finally about to get a full serving of Hawaii Public Radio. Most of the state — everywhere but East Hawaii — now gets the full array of HPR programming, said Michael Titterton, president and general manager of Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.

At nearly the last minute, the Hawaii County Democratic Party was forced to find a new location for its convention this past weekend. Civil Beat.

Maui
Maui County filed a lawsuit against Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center on Monday afternoon claiming the organization violated its county grant agreement and should return more than $11,000 worth of personal property bought with county funds and any remaining funding obtained under the agreement. Maui News.

Maui County is looking for solar photovoltaic firms to install, operate, maintain and own solar PV systems, and then sell the energy generated to the county under a power purchase agreement. Pacific Business News.

After nine months of hosting public discussion meetings and working with county planners, the Lahaina Restoration Foundation is putting the finishing touches on a number of community-based projects to improve the Lahaina harbor front. Maui News

Kauai

The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to establish a “new danger zone” in waters near the Kekaha Range Facility, on Kaua‘i’s Westside. If passed, a six-mile wide section of the Pacific Ocean will be occasionally closed to public access during scheduled weapons firing. Garden Island.

The gates to the Hanalei Pier canopy are once again open. “The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, thanks to the generous support of the entire community, has just finished the rebuilding of the canopy at the end of the Hanalei Bay Pier,” said Branch Lotspeich, Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay spokesman. Garden Island.

The public is invited to share their ideas at community meetings regarding places on Kaua’i that they feel should be preserved and protected. Garden Island.