Friday, January 17, 2014

Sex ed among Hawaii House keiki caucus priorities, senator seeks Roundup moratorium, county council to hear general excise tax plan, Lingle to teach at California college, Honolulu mayor pushes for bus ads, Kauai hit and run victim solves own case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Namaste rests in a bamboo thicket (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Zoo-goers were saddened Thursday by the death of Namaste, longtime star attraction at Hilo’s Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo &Gardens. Clayton Honma, county Parks and Recreation director, said the 15-year-old white Bengal tiger was euthanized Thursday morning because of complications from hip dysplasia. Tribune-Herald.

The state's bipartisan Keiki Caucus on Thursday announced a package of bills it plans to support this session, including measures that would help fund after-school programs and amend Hawaii's sex education law. Star-Advertiser.

A new report card evaluating Hawaiʻi's education policies and their effectiveness at improving the quality of education gave the state a C; still the 7th best in the nation. Hawaii Independent.

A popular weed killer would be pulled from store shelves under a bill a Big Island senator introduced. State Sen. Josh Green proposed a five-year moratorium on the sale and use of products containing glyphosate, a chemical found in common herbicides such as Roundup. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii House committee is wading into a longtime gambling debate — but not to consider legalizing it. The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday planned to debate a bill to add gambling to a list of offenses that can result in civil nuisance lawsuits. Associated Press.

Democrats in the Hawaii House and Senate presented a joint package of bills for the 2014 session on Thursday, with priorities including funding for seniors programs and addressing climate change and invasive species. Party leaders in the chambers said the bills address issues that are big concerns to many people across the state. Associated Press.

2014 House Committee Assignments and Appointments. Hawaii Reporter.

A national report card gave Hawaii an F grade for disaster preparedness and access to emergency care, ranking the state among the bottom 10 in the nation. The report card, released Thursday by the American College of Emergency Physicians, ranked Hawaii second in the nation, scoring an A grade, for its commitment to public health and injury prevention, with both low rates of chronic disease and fatal injuries. It also received a B-minus grade for quality and patient safety environment but scored a D-plus for its medical liability environment due to the lack of protections for the state's health care workforce. Star-Advertiser.

The misuse of a photograph in the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts collection has revealed improper and possibly illegal actions regarding the State’s art holdings. Hawaii Public Radio.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Lingle (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle is returning to her alma mater this spring to teach an upper-division course on public policy in California State University, Northridge’s Department of Political Science. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's attempt to make a bus advertising plan acceptable to critics is failing to win over the nonprofit group raising the loudest objections. Caldwell unveiled an amended draft of a bill, making it clear that advertising "shall be restricted to the sides and/or back of city transit buses" and that "bus wraps" or "oversized, multi-sided advertisements" would be excluded. The new version also clearly excludes exterior advertising on transit vehicles, bus stops, benches and stations. Star-Advertiser.

The appeal of a federal lawsuit seeking to stop Honolulu’s $5.16 billion rail project could stall work again if a judge doesn’t issue an opinion on the matter by late spring or early summer, the executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation warned the agency’s board Thursday. Pacific Business News.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has awarded two major contracts worth a total of $117.2 million to oversee construction of the city’s $5.16 billion rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

The Navy confirmed Thursday that jet fuel leaked from a tank at the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility, but local and federal officials say the city's water is safe to drink. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Navy confirmed Thursday that one of its massive underground tanks near Pearl Harbor has a leak and may have spilled up to 20,000 gallons of aviation fuel, raising concerns about potential drinking water contamination. Civil Beat.

Five homeless men have been killed on Honolulu streets in the past six months, prompting concern from the state's homeless coordinator about the dangers facing many who live without shelter. Star-Advertiser.

High-surf warnings continue today for the North Shore, with waves up to 35 feet. In Oahu, winter waves are expected today to reach heights from 25 to 35 feet on the North Shore, 15 to 25 feet on western shores, 1 to 3 feet on eastern shores and up to 2 feet on southern shores, the weather service said. It's of the biggest swells of the season so far. Star-Advertiser.

A rezoning plan for the "Live Work Play ‘Aiea" mixed-used development project at the former Kam Drive-In in Aiea received positive testimony before the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday but will have to wait a month to advance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council Finance Committee is the next venue for a proposal by state mayors to allow them flexibility to add a 1 percent surcharge to the general excise tax. South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford has added a discussion of the proposal to the committee’s agenda for an 11 a.m. Tuesday meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Medical Center once again showed strong improvements in an annual report rating patient satisfaction. However, the hospital might see cuts of up to $60,000 this year from its Medicare reimbursements, as its scores continue to fall below other hospitals in the state and around the country. Tribune-Herald.

Twenty years ago, West Hawaii Explorations Academy opened its doors, offering project-based learning to West Hawaii students out of a temporary facility near Keahole Point. On Thursday, crews began pouring the foundation of a permanent facility for the public charter school. West Hawaii Today.

State attorneys are appealing a court decision that overturned Hawaii Ethics Commission charges against a Big Island charter school employee. Last February the commission fined Connections Public Charter School administrative assistant Eric Boyd $10,000 for 20 violations dating back to 2006. Civil Beat.

Maui

The US Department of Agriculture declared Hawaiʻi and Maui Counties disaster areas due to ongoing “severe” and “extreme” drought conditions. Kalawao County at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi was also named a contiguous disaster county also eligible for federal assistance. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa asked state legislators Wednesday for more state agriculture inspectors to help combat the little fire ant, a stealthy invasive species confirmed to have made its way from the Big Island to Maui and Oahu late last year. Maui News.

Perry Artates, a former Maui Hawaiian Homeland commissioner and prominent labor leader, will spend 45 days in federal prison for his role in a mortgage fraud case that left a Maui family homeless. Hawaii Reporter.

A judge dismissed a case against a man charged with threatening to kill Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa. But prosecutors are expected to refile the terroristic-threatening charge against Austin Gerard Jr. Associated Press.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is planning to build a new, nearly $5.7 million replacement administration building on an acre in Wailuku and next to The Maui News offices.

Maui police cordoned off a section of Papohaku Park in Wailuku on Thursday afternoon, but police on scene could not say what they were investigating. Two individuals with gloves were observed sifting through the contents of a dumpster and taking photographs. Maui Now.

Kauai

Unleashing a new law? Public weighs in on proposed county dog barking ordinance. Garden Island.

A victim of a hit and run accident one year ago found some closure from solving the case with her own detective work. Another chapter to the victim’s remarkable saga closed Thursday in 5th Circuit Court when the suspect was sentenced to probation during an emotional hearing. Garden Island.

Federal court criminal hearings for violations and some offenses that occurred on Kauai can be now be heard quarterly at 5th Circuit Court. On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii held hearings in Lihue with U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang and courtroom manager Shari Afuso. The hearings were held in Courtroom No. 5, which is usually vacant at 5th Circuit. Garden Island.