Monday, April 21, 2014

Week of hula in Hilo, revenge porn in lawmakers' sights, stowaway boy survives cross-Pacific wheel-well flight to Maui, counties to learn their share of hotel tax, EMS staff shortage threatens Honolulu, Kauai fights wastewater quality standards, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Merrie Monarch file photo © 2014 All Hawaii News
About 2,500 witnessed a Sunday midday performance by Halau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua under the direction of kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho. The performance was part of the Merrie Monarch Festival’s Ho‘olaule‘a, the kick-off event for Merrie Monarch week in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

See this week's full Merrie Monarch schedule here.

There's a juggling act going on at the Hawaii Legislature as lawmakers negotiate the finer details of hundreds of bills. Members of the House and Senate are getting together in conference committees this week to bridge the gaps between their goals. Associated Press.

The counties will likely know Monday afternoon if the state is going to give them millions of dollars in additional hotel tax money. Hawaii lawmakers are scheduled to meet in conference committee to finally decide the issue that has kept local officials guessing all session. Civil Beat.

Legislation designed to protect victims and punish perpetrators of "revenge porn" is making its way through the Hawaii Legislature. House Bill 1750 has advanced in the state Senate and House of Representatives with little opposition. The bill would make it a first-degree violation of privacy to post an image or video of another person either nude or engaging in sexual contact without their consent and with the intent to "substantially harm" that person. Civil Beat.

Money Floods Campaign Coffers in CD1 Race. Civil Beat.

You can trace the genetic makeup of most corn grown in the U.S., and in many other places around the world, to Hawaii. But these same farms have become a flashpoint in a spreading debate over genetic engineering in agriculture. Associated Press.

Hawaii's community college students lag far behind the national average when it comes to timely graduations. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that fewer than 13 percent of the students who enrolled in one of Hawaii’s community colleges in 2009 graduated from their programs within three years, the benchmark typically used by the federal government to describe “on-time” graduation.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii hotel rates rose 4.5 percent during the week of April 6-12, while statewide occupancy was relatively flat, according to a report by Hospitality Advisors LLC and STR Inc. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

It’s the first time the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Division has faced this problem: too many employees calling in sick. EMS couldn’t talk on camera or by phone, but told KHON2 the unexpected staff shortage forced them to temporarily suspend service at four of its 22 units on Oahu.

Honolulu has endured 12 straight weeks of rising gasoline prices, but an industry expert says fuel prices may peak finally in the next two to four weeks before a possible slide back down. Star-Advertiser.

Updated rules should make it easier for the city to maintain and regulate Wai­kiki publication dispensing racks and their enclosures. Bill 67 (2013) was approved 9-0 by the Hono­lulu City Council on Wednesday and signed into law Thursday by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser.

On Monday, construction will begin on a 6-foot-high aluminum fence along the Cromwell's seawall to prevent jumping and injuries. Star-Advertiser.

USS Port Royal to remain with Navy. The cruiser will be "laid up" at Pearl Harbor until it is returned to service. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in September eased rules prohibiting the export of the avocados to the mainland, allowing farmers here to ship the Sharwils to 32 cold weather states each winter, from November through March. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A 16-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet that traveled from San Jose, Calif., to Maui on Sunday has been released to Child Protective Services and will soon be reunited with his family, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Star-Advertiser.

The FBI says a teenager stowed away on a Hawaiian Airlines flight to Maui from San Jose, California. Hawaii News Now.

A 2nd Circuit judge has granted Maui County a partial summary judgment and a preliminary injunction against Paia businessman Michael Baskin, ruling that he's prohibited from continuing to operate two of his short-term rental properties without required permits. Maui News.

A disabled Maui man who was forced to crawl on his hands and knees by airline workers has reached a legal settlement with the carrier. Baraka Kanaan made national headlines when he sued Delta Airlines last year, alleging that he was twice forced to crawl down the aisle of his plane, down a flight of stairs and onto the tarmac, even though he is partially paralyzed. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

The County of Kauai is fighting stricter water quality standards at its Wailua Wastewater Treatment Plant, which already has a history of exceeding certain pollutant limitations. Garden Island.

The Elections Division of the Office of the County Clerk will be mailing Yellow Notice of Voter Registration Postcards to all voters on Monday. Also known as the “Yellow Card,” the postcard provides election dates and  information for the upcoming elections. Garden Island.

Molokai

Managing the kitchen at Lanikeha Community Center on Molokai had been the Molokai Community Service Council's kuleana for more than a decade, but the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands turned over the responsibility to another community group last month. Maui News.