Thursday, May 9, 2013

Honolulu mayor to unveil homeless plan, another priest molestation lawsuit, Hawaii ranks 15th in hospital safety, Oahu jail deaths spur investigation, Kauai mayor seeks budget hike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu homeless (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The first draft of a sweeping plan to battle homelessness heads to the Honolulu City Council from Mayor Kirk Caldwell today. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii was ranked 15th in the nation for hospital safety, according to Hospital Safety Scores from The Leapfrog Group, which assigned a top grade of “A” to a third of the Isle hospitals on its list. Pacific Business News.

Hospital charges vary widely within Hawaii. Medical institutions say the disparities result because patients get individual treatment, depending on their health. Star-Advertiser.

A powerful state senator is blocking efforts to strengthen Hawaii’s ethics and campaign spending laws, state officials and nonprofit leaders say. They point to Sen. Clayton Hee, chair of the Judiciary and Labor Committee, as the major roadblock to good government and political reform laws. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers took modest steps to address the state’s record $25-billion in unfunded liabilities during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions. Hawaii Reporter.

A New Jersey man filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that he was sexually molested when he attended St. Anthony's parish and school in Kailua from 1978 to 1981 when he was about 10 to 13 years old. Star-Advertiser.

Two lawmakers skipped 10 days of the 60-day session Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Fifty-four percent of Hawaii's 2012 public school graduates enrolled in two- and four-year colleges — up from 53 percent the year before.  Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat political reporter Chad Blair gets a visit from Office of Hawaiian Affairs Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Kawika Riley, who talks about a new OHA program aimed at putting more Native Hawaiians in federal government.

Over the past several years, the University of Hawaii has shelled out nearly $800,000 to Mainland executive search firms to recruit more than half a dozen top executives. Hawaii News Now.

A young woman was persuaded to board a plane from Oregon to Hawaii with the promise of a job. When she got here, her belongings were taken from her and she was told she would have to be a prostitute. KHON2.

SolarCity has started work on its largest project in Hawaii — the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on 6,500 military homes. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The third inmate death at Oahu Community Correctional Center in two months has prompted state Public Safety Director Ted Sakai to say "we have a crisis on our hands." Star-Advertiser.

A third inmate death in the holding unit at Oahu Community Correctional Center in the past two months is raising serious questions about the Hawaii Department of Public Safety's oversight of the facility. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is receiving $400,000 in federal grants to look for petroleum and hazardous substances on several former industrial sites in Kakaako that are among land parcels the state gave the agency to settle a ceded land claim. Associated Press.

Iwi stalls construction plans for Kailua Target. KHON2.

A helicopter pilot and her passenger walked away from a crash landing on a busy downtown street Wednesday afternoon, and no pedestrians or drivers were injured. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A former county employee who designed the bid specifications and helped choose the contractor for the first phase of the Kaloko Housing program got clearance Wednesday to submit a proposal for an expanded second phase in his new job with the nonprofit organization that won the first bid. West Hawaii Today.

A drug and alcohol abuse treatment program is closing its offices in Kealakekua, Waimea and on Oahu, its CEO said Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

The state is moving forward with plans to build two water tanks that will feed diptanks for helicopters to use while fighting fires on the southwestern slopes of Mauna Kea. West Hawaii Today.

More Big Island high schoolers are taking Advanced Placement exams, but they’re not scoring as high as in previous years. West Hawaii Today.

A former Department of Environmental Management employee pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to a felony theft charge for allegedly stealing diesel fuel from pumps at the Waimea baseyard. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County police deny that they are investigating five local judges for “war crimes,” as an Oahu attorney asserted in a media release sent to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Tuesday.

Maui

Maui County Council members approved a council communications director, changes in land-use conditions for a rock-crushing facility in Kihei and funding for two nonprofit affordable housing projects on Tuesday. Maui News.

Results of a remedial investigation of the ‘Āhihi Kīna‘u Natural Area Reserve in South Maui will be discussed during a public meeting tonight, officials said. Maui Now.

The Maui County Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to override Mayor Alan Arakawa's veto of a County Council bill that would target abuse in the "circuit breaker" property tax program developed to help those with limited incomes from being taxed out of their homes due to rising assessments beyond their control. Maui News.

A broken force main sewage line in West Maui on Tuesday afternoon that closed beaches and forced residents to halt dish washing and showers was repaired about five hours later, according to county officials. Maui News.

Kauai
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. sent a revised county budget proposal of $211.2 million to the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

False information was presented to the public during a meeting last month regarding the proposal for a high-elevation horizontal well on Kaua‘i, according to the manager of the Kaua‘i Department of Water. Garden Island.

A new bacterial disease off Kauai's North Shore is quickly killing coral, federal biologists say. Star-Advertiser.

Over the last few months, The Garden Island’s editorial team has increased coverage of our island. We’ve hired an editor and reporter to cover more events, meetings and hard news stories both in print and online.

Molokai

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is planning to hold a public hearing this week about a proposal to increase protections for environmentally and culturally important sand dunes in west Molokai. Associated Press.