Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans honored throughout Hawaii, state prepares for same-sex marriage, schools lag on digital learning, Kauai hit by invasive bingabing trees, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Events across the state have been planned for Monday to celebrate Veteran's Day and honor the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. Hawaii News Now.

Today, on Veterans’ Day, we recognize the 110 thousand veterans in Hawai’i.  Most are living happy productive lives, but service providers here say housing is the biggest challenge.  The U.S. Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, Eric Shinseki, has set a goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015. Hawaii Public Radio.


courtesy USPS stampThe late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will receive another tribute on Veterans Day -- this time for his service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service will introduce a new format, the prestige folio: 20 stamps of the Medal of Honor in a four-page design, with the first page highlighting historic photographs of the last 12 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The two center pages list the names of all 464 medal recipients. Star-Advertiser.

With the state Senate poised to send a marriage equality bill to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk Tuesday, the Department of Health says it is ready and willing to implement the law by its Dec. 2 effective date. Dr. Alvin Onaka, the state's registrar of vital statistics, said Friday that his agency, which manages marriage certificate applications, won't need to do too much to enable same-sex couples to apply because of changes that were required when civil unions became legal Jan. 1, 2012. Star-Advertiser.

Garret Hashimoto of the Hawaii Christian Coalition is asking opponents of same-sex marriage to give money to the attorney handling a lawsuit against the state should Senate Bill 1 become law. Civil Beat.

With the state Legislature poised to pass the controversial same-sex marriage bill, gay and lesbian couples are beginning to line up at wedding podium. Hawaii News Now.

The head of Hawaii’s Senate judiciary committee said Saturday he expects an amended bill legalizing gay marriage to pass easily in the Senate next week, with no changes to the measure passed by the House Friday night after two grueling floor sessions and a lengthy public hearing. Senate approval would send the bill to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. He is expected to sign after calling the lawmakers into special session and saying he approved changes to the bill made by the House. Associated Press.

Same-sex marriage legislation is expected to smoothly pass the Hawaii Legislature Tuesday and head to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his expected signature. Clayton Hee, chairman of Senate Judiciary and Labor and the key legislator behind Senate Bill 1, told reporters Saturday that he did not expect a drawn-out Senate floor session along the lines of what happened this week in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Civil Beat.

Eager to avoid the loud and lengthy protests over  same-sex marriagethat disrupted the Hawaii House of Representatives this week, the state Senate may act swiftly on Senate Bill 1. Senators are considering accepting the House's amended version of SB 1 that expands religious exemptions, removes language concerning parental rights and changes the effective date to Dec. 2. Civil Beat.

New House Majority Floor Leader Under Scrutiny for Campaign Spending Violations, After Legislator She Replaced Resigned for Similar Problems. Hawaii Reporter.

Eight schools were selected in July to pilot a digital device program that could eventually put laptops in the hands of all public school students, but students at only two of the schools are learning on the devices. The state Department of Education bought more than 6,700 devices for students and teachers at all eight schools, but teachers at the remaining six schools requested additional time for training before their laptops are delivered. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

As the Army re-evaluates its warrior transition units for wounded soldiers nationwide, five members of Congress have raised alarm at plans to downsize Schofield's Warrior Transition Battalion. Star-Advertiser.

Tommy Tanaka of the Military Order of the Purple Heart congratulated Sgt. 1st Class Takumi Abe of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team after Abe received a Purple Heart during a ceremony Sunday at the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters at Kalaeloa. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department wants to draw $4.2 million in unspent money from a variety of its accounts to help pay for recruit classes this year. Police Chief Louis Kealoha, in a letter to the City Council earlier this month seeking approval of the transfer, said the move is necessary "due to insufficient salary funding for police recruits" and "shortages due to lump-sum vacation payouts for personnel." Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

At 102, Pahoa resident Gerald Booken may well be the oldest veteran living on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Monday is Veterans Day — a time to take a moment to stop and not only thank, but honor and remember America’s military personnel for their service and sacrifice. West Hawaii will host several services this year to commemorate those who protected the nation during war and peace. West Hawaii Today.

The Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito, Calif., is on track to open the first phase of its $3.2 million hospital for monk seals in Kona by the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans for $133 million in improvements at Kawaihae Harbor. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Veterans now have a place to call their own with the opening of a resource center at the University of Hawaii Maui College, providing a venue to study, be tutored, network and - best of all - a place to bond with buddies. Maui News.

The state Department of Health has notified the Maui County Department of Water Supply that it has violated drinking water regulations for the presence of E. coli bacteria, the water department announced Saturday morning. Maui News.

State Highway personnel officially broke ground on Phase 1 of the Kahului Airport Access Road, which was designed as a traffic mitigation measure to meet continuing growth in use and demand at the Kahului Airport, enhance traffic circulation, and alleviate congestion. Maui Now.

Safeway affiliate Property Development Centers said Friday that it has completed the purchase of a 24.5-acre parcel of land in Maui that will be the site of the Target-anchored Puunene Shopping Center. Pacific Business News.

Plans for the Maui Medical Plaza hatched nearly eight years ago when doctors sought help from Montana multimillionaire and part-time Wailea resident Ben Brown Sr. Maui News.

Kauai

Life goes on after a solider leaves the service, and some don’t know which way to turn once they hang up their helmets. Garden Island.

The Kauai Invasive Species Committee has a new, and rather large, problem on its hands. More than a dozen Bingabing trees — an invasive, large-leafed plant that chokes out nearby vegetation and can reach heights of up to 30 feet — have been discovered growing on several properties near the mouth of the Hanalei River. Garden Island.