Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Honolulu may offer homeless washrooms, fired DOE administrator files whistleblower lawsuit, Christian lawmakers to discuss marriage, wait staff can sue for tips, witnesses say Deedy was drunk, parking garages galore, more about Larry's Lanai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu homeless (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The Honolulu City Council is looking at a proposal to establish places where the homeless and others can take showers, use toilets and wash their clothes. Associated Press.

Setting up places where the homeless and others can take a shower, use a toilet and wash their clothes will be discussed by a City Council committee Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

On Wednesday, four Oahu pastors will meet with a handful of lawmakers at a fellowship luncheon, and the luncheon's co-organizer plans to bring up the ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Civil Beat.

Flawed bid would cost state $284M, whistle-blower says. Sarah McCann filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in state court Friday against schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and the DOE. She contends she was fired in June for writing an audit critical of the preferred vendor's bid and for refusing a superior's order to destroy the report. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education's website's first makeover in more than a decade was unveiled Monday with the launching of hawaiipublicschools.org. The website — built using $1.7 million in federal Race to the Top funds — is part of the department's strategic plan that calls for improved communications and community engagement to keep parents, students, teachers, staff and the public informed. Star-Advertiser.

A new, redesigned version of the Hawaii State Department of Education website was released Monday as a part of a $1.7 million effort to increase transparency and communication with community members. Garden Island.

Hawaii hotel workers can sue their employers for money the hotels collected as service charges but didn't pass on to the employees, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Monday that hotels or restaurants that apply a service charge for the sale of food or beverage services allegedly violate state law by not distributing the full service charge directly to its employees as tip income. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Hawaii more than $700,000 to continue implementing a program to help the unemployed find work. Associated Press.

Blue Planet Foundation is rolling out four programs by the end of the year to further support its mission of reducing Hawaii’s dependency on fossil fuels. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for July 16. Associated Press.

Oahu

The state is looking to build a parking structure and other public facilities that could include an innovation and technology park on a 5-acre lot in Kakaako where the University of Hawaii originally planned to build its cancer center. Star-Advertiser.

It’s been nearly a year since the Hawaii Supreme Court stopped construction on Honolulu’s $5.26 billion rail project because of the city’s failure to follow established law when seeking out Hawaiian burial sites along the proposed 20-mile route. Civil Beat.

Eight months after it opened, a new multi-million dollar city parking garage sits virtually empty in spite of a city employees' parking crunch near City Hall, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Two customers and the first police officer to arrive at the 2011 fatal shooting scene at a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant testified Monday that they thought State Department special agent Christopher Deedy was intoxicated. Star-Advertiser.

Day 5: Officer says Deedy looked drunk on night of shooting. Hawaii News Now.

The Christopher Deedy murder trial continued on Monday and a witness to the deadly shooting took the stand. KHON2.

Waikiki's International Market Place is a shopping mecca for souvenirs and Hawaiiana, wedged between high end retailers, but its days are numbered. Land owner Queen Emma Land Company is developing a shopping center there anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue. Hawaii News Now.

Kaneohe Ranch and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation's holdings of more than 60 properties are expected to sell for as much as $600 million. Star-Advertiser.

Nicknamed the Black Noodle it's been a reminder of one of the dirtiest days in state history. Now the City of Honolulu has started removing a sewage pipe from the Ala Wai Canal. Hawaii News Now.

The city is in a sticky situation as some residents from Ewa to Makaha deal with a stinky mess. Trash has been piling up all weekend after two routes were missing. KHON2.

Hawaii
As many as 10 “top priority” emergency warning sirens may be upgraded or installed on the Big Island by the end of the year. Hawaii Civil Defense is embarking on a statewide $25.6 million siren modernization program that is expecting to make the system more reliable. Tribune-Herald.

A Hualalai Road development, which its owner withdrew two years ago after significant negative community reaction, is headed back to the Leeward Planning Commission Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

A Big Island-based teacher preparation program that focuses on developing educators to work with Native Hawaiian students in charter schools recently earned national accreditation, allowing it to soon begin recruiting students. Associated Press.

A few recurring issues pop up when Hawaii Island farmers talk about the challenges of going organic. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods have formed a partnership to further restore Hawaii's koa forests and assist other native forests across the state. Maui News.

A Draft Environmental Assessment has been prepared for the proposed replacement of the Kūlanihākoʻi Bridge in Kīhei, with public comment being accepted through August 7. According to the document, the existing four-cell concrete box culvert system is “structurally deficient” and in “advanced stages of deterioration.” Maui Now.

Kauai

Local residents are asking the Kauai County Council to pass a new law to circumvent a ruling by a federal judge in Honolulu. The ruling found initiating zoning amendments is the government’s business rather than a voter’s right. Garden Island.

Signs announcing the road closure of Eiwa Street at the Rice Street junction were put in place Monday. The closure is expected to last six months and is part of the Lihue Civic Center master plan. Garden Island.

Lanai

The Lanai Airport, one of the few places on Lanai that Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison does not own, is nearing a $25 million to $30 million runway safety improvement project, according to a request for proposals from the state. Pacific Business News.

Lanai's billionaire owner hasn't given local media interviews and has stayed under the public radar, putting his chief operating officer and Lanai native, Kurt Matsumoto, in the spotlight instead. But the California software guru, who bought the island for "hundreds of millions of dollars" last year, has been around, many Lanai residents say. Maui News.

Most businesses in the heart of Lanai City are pleased with new island owner Larry Ellison's efforts to rejuvenate the economy and his work on sprucing up the town square and company-owned buildings. Maui News.

Molokai

The remote Kalaupapa settlement is normally the epitome of peace. But once a year on barge day, its wharf becomes as busy as a city intersection. Hawaii Public Radio.