Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Drones coming to Hawaii, Kauai postpones GMO vote, man fights to take driver's test in Hawaiian, group sues for prison program, state procurement chief says he's being forced out, 34 groups get Obamacare grants, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii military drones
RQ-7B Shadow drone, courtesy photo AAI Corp.
Surveillance drone use and development is on the rise in the military and civilian sectors, and the Marine Corps in Hawaii said it is expected to get a dozen RQ-7B Shadows followed by 45 RQ-21A Integrators with the relocation of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 from California to Kaneohe Bay. Star-Advertiser.

The Marine Corps in Hawaii is conducting an environmental assessment in anticipation of receiving additional surveillance drones. Associated Press.

Eight months after the passing of Inouye, arguably the most important figure in Hawaii politics since statehood, Hawaii's four congressional delegates are busy carving out strong identities of their own. Civil Beat.

Michael Golojuch, Jr., the gay activist who filed complaints against 11 state House and Senate Democrats who sponsored or co-sponsored a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage, said Monday that he has dropped the complaints against all but two of the lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

The administrator of the State Procurement Office says the policy board that oversees the office is manipulating the hiring process for a new administrator. Aaron Fujioka, who has applied for reappointment to his position, has raised questions about the board's procedures and actions and is seeking a legal opinion. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s health insurance marketplace has awarded grants to 34 community organizations to help uninsured people learn about insurance options under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Associated Press.

A Hawaii man has waged a court battle centered on his right to speak and write Hawaiian, saying his inability to take a driver’s license exam in the language represents discrimination that violates the state constitution. Associated Press.

The state agency responsible for ensuring that Sandwich Isles Communications used tens of millions of dollars of ratepayer money appropriately signed off year after year on its operations even though the Federal Communications Commission was picking apart the company's financial management and raising serious questions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii will be receiving a federal $1.8 million early childhood education grant. Associated Press.

Hurricane hunters are scrambling to track threats with sequestration cuts at the worst possible time, the height of hurricane season. Hawaii News Now.

On Bishop Street there's only one Robbie, and he's leaving his job as executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co. on Aug. 31. This is huge. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for August 6. Associated Press.

Oahu
The Honolulu City Council would get the last word on the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's budget under a plan voters could be asked to consider in the 2014 election. The appointed, seven-member water board would be stripped of other powers as well under a charter amendment proposal, Resolution 13-177. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu attorney James H. Ashford is poised to succeed Dean Ochai to a six-year term as a district judge on Oahu, after a Senate panel recommended his nomination be approved by the full Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Farrington High School teachers and students kicked off the school year on Monday in a newly renovated wing designed by Bowers + Kubota and funded by $2.3 million from the state of Hawaii’s capital improvement fund. Pacific Business News.

Farrington high big school gets 'smaller' design. A redesigned wing reflects students' needs for more focused vocational education programs. Star-Advertiser.

As public school students headed back to classes, the state began restoring bus service for hundreds of children on Oahu. The Hawaii State Department of Education is also rolling out other changes to overhaul its troubled transportation system. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Telcom through the past year more than doubled the number of subscribers to its television service on Oahu to 13,600 households and has expanded the reach of its fiber-optic lines to about one-third of the island’s homes. Star-Advertiser.

The Royal Hawaiian Market Place, a two-story, 5,723-square-foot retail center being redeveloped in Waikiki, has been sold to City Hill Co. Hawaii Ltd., an entity with ties to Guam, for $7 million, according to records from the Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.

State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy might testify today in his trial on a charge of murdering Kollin Elderts at a McDonald's Waikiki restaurant early on Nov. 5, 2011. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
Ohana Ho‘opakele, a group seeking to promote rehabilitation programs based on Hawaiian cultural practices, is challenging the state’s environmental assessment for the re-opening of the Kulani Correctional Facility. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii-based researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took an item collected by many travelers as a souvenir and turned it into a data source to provide insights on Hawaii’s fish populations. West Hawaii Today.

The majority of public school students across the Big Island hoisted their bookbags, steeled their nerves, and dove back into a new academic year on Monday morning, leaving their frazzled parents to heave sighs of relief. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Nearly $60 million for improvements at Kahului Airport, ranging from repairing the apron fronting the main terminal to replacement of aging passenger loading bridges, was released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie late last month. Maui News.

The Maui Department of Water Supply plans to convert the Wailuku Well from an exploratory well to an actual water source. Maui Now.

The 30 public schools in Maui County had their first day of school Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

After a full day of work Monday, the Kauai County Council unanimously deferred to September a controversial proposal to demand disclosure of pesticide use and genetically modified crops, and to create buffer zones for large agricultural operations. Garden Island.

United States Postal Service officials are considering several options that would restore some services to Hanamaulu residents but say it is unlikely the town’s freestanding post office destroyed in a fire last year will be rebuilt. Garden Island.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded a $7,000 grant to the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden to help support “Breadfruit Festival Takes Root.”Garden Island.