Friday, July 5, 2013

Hawaii Convention Center gets new manager, public campaign finance program pau, Honolulu police investigate kickbacks, DOE facing $12M cut, state emergency fund restored, Dems party in Kona, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Window washers on Hawaii Convention Center (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
AEG Facilities will manage the Hawaii Convention Center starting in 2014 under a new five-year contract announced Wednesday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Co. says it is years ahead of schedule in meeting renewable energy goals. And it won't have to rely on controversial interisland cables to bring power from the neighbor islands to Oahu, the company says. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed bills to repay $100 million to the state’s hurricane and emergency reserves and set plans to fully fund future health benefits for state employees. Abercrombie on Wednesday said Hawaii is no longer a “pay-as-you-go” state. Associated Press.

The local AARP chapter is rallying its 148,000 Hawaii members and the public against a Social Security cut proposal for the next fiscal year. To reduce the budget deficit, a chained consumer price index, or CPI, would reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for recipients of Medicare and Social Security. Star-Advertiser.

The $174,000 a year members of Congress get seems like a decent salary. But many, including three members of Hawaii’s delegation, are doing even better. They're able to supplement their income with thousands more in in state pension benefits. Civil Beat.

More than 1,100 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Hawaii — and thousands in other states — will be living with 20 percent less pay over the next three months as the Defense Department carries out automatic federal budget cuts. Associated Press.

The Department of Education says it's facing a $12 million budget shortfall during the next year under an imposed budget restriction that could undermine the school system's ability to pay for utilities, bus transportation, school lunches and substitute teachers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Department of Education is making some changes in its execution of the four-year, $75 million federal Race to the Top (RTTT) program. Hawaii Independent.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has named his former chief of staff and a University of Hawaii education professor to serve as interim appointments on the Board of Education, effective July 15. Amy Asselbaye, who previously served as longtime aide to Abercrombie in Congress and at the state Capitol, was named to the nine-member board's Oahu seat. Patricia Halagao, an associate professor in curriculum studies at UH-Manoa's College of Education, was named to an at-large seat. Star-Advertiser.

Keeping track of who's Native Hawaiian is about to get easier and cheaper as the state gets rid of some major paperwork hassles. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Health announced Wednesday the release of the state’s first statewide Community Health Needs Assessment. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, nonprofit health-care facilities are required to conduct individual Community Health Needs Assessments every three years. Pacific Business News.

A touching moment between a grandfather and his only grandchild. While most people called him Sen. Inouye, 3-year-old Maggie called him “pa” or “Grandpa Dan.” KITV4.

State 7/5. Associated Press.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Department conducted internal investigations into former Major Carlton Nishimura and delayed his promotion because of long-time rumors that he was extorting money from gambling parlors, sources told Hawaii News Now.

A committee is reviewing hundreds of submissions to create public art in stations of Honolulu's planned rail system. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation says more than 400 art submittals were received by last week's deadline, which was extended by a week. Associated Press.

A local teen took it upon himself as his Eagle Scout service project to improve the Utah Memorial, and the result was a collaboration of Scouts, contractors and other businesses who pitched in hundreds of hours of work and more than $16,000 in materials. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A program aimed at leveling the playing field by providing public funding for Hawaii County Council candidates will not continue next year, after the program’s bank account dipped below the $3.5 million threshold set by state law. West Hawaii Today.

Three of Hawaii’s four Congressional delegates landed in West Hawaii Thursday afternoon to meet with fellow Democratic Party members and march in the Kailua-Kona Fourth of July parade. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Mass Transit Agency is reminding the public that Hele-On bus drivers will begin collecting an extra dollar from riders next week. Tribune-Herald.

The Fourth of July is usually reserved for celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks, parades and cookouts, but on Thursday five turtles celebrated their freedom as they waded into the Pacific Ocean for the first time at the Mauna Lani Resort’s 24th annual Turtle Independence Day. Stephens Media.

Specialized teams of rangers from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park rappelled nearly 200 feet into a remote pit crater last week, but they weren't looking for an injured hiker. The mission was to save four endangered native plant species from extinction. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii County Council will have to wait until the end of the month to consider any action on a bill to limit the use of genetically modified crops. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County's community health needs are topped by respiratory diseases, followed by injury prevention and safety and mental health and mental disorders, according to the Hawaii Hospitals Health Needs Assessment released Wednesday. Maui News.

A bill that would give the county water director, with the consent of the mayor, the power to impose higher rates during water shortages was deferred yet again by members of the Maui County Council's Water Resources Committee on Wednesday. Maui News.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard met with stakeholders in the Native Hawaiian education community on Maui today to gather input and provide an update on efforts to save programs made possible under the Native Hawaiian Education Act. Maui Now.

Mayor Alan Arakawa recently visited Hangzhou, China, capital of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, where he attended the Second Annual World Cultural Forum from May 17 to 19. Maui Weekly.

Kauai

Some Kauai residents aren’t happy with a recent Department of Water rate hike to fund future infrastructure projects and pay off existing bonds. Garden Island.

All is well with Kauai’s drinking water, according to David Craddick, manager of the Kauai County Department of Water. Garden Island.

The executive director of a Kauai foundation trying to prevent drownings says rescue tube kiosks that have worked on the island are coming to other parts of Hawaii. Associated Press.

Lanai

Reporting “Larry’s Lanai,” which appeared in the June 28 print edition of PBN, took me through quite a journey on the Pineapple Island, where I found that most businesses, such as Hotel Lanai, owned by the husband and wife team of Tom Kiely and Mary Charles, are way better off than a year ago. That’s when Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison bought most of the island for a reported $300 million from fellow billionaire and Castle & Cooke CEO David Murdock, which during the last few years of his ownership, cut down on investing into the island, according to some in the community. Pacific Business News.