Monday, May 11, 2015

School suspensions, sex ed and teachers union election top education news, selling donated blood, Maui telescope foes at Supreme Court, looking back at the legislative session, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hilo schoolchildren at play © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state Board of Education is considering a new school discipline policy that promotes keeping delinquent students in school and moves the system away from a long-standing zero-tolerance stance that relies on out-of-school suspensions as a common form of punishment. Star-Advertiser.

The announcement of who will take the helm of the powerful Hawaii State Teachers Association is being delayed for two weeks while the union holds a runoff for the slot of vice president. Teachers cast their votes last month for president, vice president and secretary-treasurer of the HSTA in an election that pits current union leadership against teachers known for making waves. Civil Beat.

Parents will have to opt their children out of sex education classes in public schools if they do not want them to attend, according to proposed changes to Board of Education policy. Tribune-Herald.

The gift of life is no longer a gift once it leaves the arms of donors, and less advertised is the fact that the Blood Bank of Hawaii — like other nonprofit centers around the country — sells that blood to hospitals for not insignificant sums. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige mostly lived up to his campaign promise to work collaboratively with the Legislature during the 2015 session, but his young administration’s communication with lawmakers frustrated some of the key players. Senate and House leaders said they did not mind their former colleague’s hands-on approach. But he didn’t always have the golden touch. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Legislature has wrapped up its work for 2015, ending a session that drew attention for talk of medical marijuana dispensaries, rail tax extensions and Maui hospitals. There were hundreds of bills that were heard in committees that had lower profiles. The bills that were passed by lawmakers now await a decision from Gov. David Ige. Associated Press.

Opinion: Legislature Needs More Time To Deal With Increasingly Packed Agendas. Hawaii lawmakers pushed through a number of needed issues over 60 session days, but many other growing challenges simply weren't addressed. Civil Beat.

Like a jock beefing up for a big game, some corals could do far better at withstanding the heavy blows of climate change when pumped with supplements, according to a new University of Miami study. Associated Press.

With construction cranes popping up all over, you might think the entire construction industry is booming. But that’s not entirely the case. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

With growing national scrutiny of police use of force, some Honolulu Police Department officers are not waiting for the department to adopt body cameras and have begun using their own video-recording devices. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

If the protests prompt Hawaii to pull its support for the state-of-the-art observatory after it was approved, what is the future of astronomy on Hawaii Island? Or, for that matter, will there be a future for the science here at all? Tribune-Herald.

When it meets Wednesday to consider a citizen’s petition against Mayor Billy Kenoi, the Hawaii County Board of Ethics also plans to discuss whether Kenoi should have been filing gift disclosures over the past six years. West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii received long-awaited and big-ticket items this legislative session, but the island as a whole lost some political sway in the Senate shakeup that followed in the wake. West Hawaii Today.

The Hilo-based Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, faces closure in early 2016 after the Hawaii State Legislature failed to appropriate the general funds needed to keep the operation running. Big Island Video News.

Long-time users of the area say the wall of rock — now barely above the ocean’s surface makai of Kawaihae  Harbor — once stood tall enough to break the force of pounding winter surf. In more recent years, the barrier has been ineffective, and storms have swept into the harbor, sanding in the boat ramp, filling the parking lot and street with rubble and damaging infrastructure. That could begin to change with $400,000 in planning money that was placed in the state’s biennial budget. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council will hold public hearings on fuel tax, motor vehicle weight tax and property tax rates on Friday in the Council Chambers on the eighth floor of the Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku. Maui News.

On the same day 31 protesters were arrested trying to stop construction of the giant Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, lawyers appeared at the Hawaii Supreme Court attempting to block another major mountaintop astronomy project. The $300 million Daniel K. Ino­uye Solar Telescope, in the works on Maui for over a decade, is under construction in the Science City area of the summit of Hale­akala. When it is completed in 2019, the largest solar telescope in the world will give astronomers the best view of the sun they've ever had. Star-Advertiser.

Staffers working for Sen. Daniel Inouye have been helping state and university officials make sure that a $300 million solar telescope on Maui gets built, according to internal government emails. But a Native Hawaiian group that is challenging the project in state hearings and in court say emails released under court order in a public records lawsuit show Inouye’s staff and high-level state officials wrongly brought political pressure to bear on a state hearing officer who was considering whether a permit should be issued for the telescope. Civil Beat.

Kauai

The mayor has submitted his proposed budget supplemental for the 2016 fiscal year to the County Council. In it, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. asks for $182.2 million, which is a slight increase over the $181.7 million he originally requested in March. Garden Island.

Hawaii Center for Food Safety is set to release “Pesticides in Paradise: Hawaii’s Health and Environment at Risk,” a report that the center says establishes the relationship between pesticide use, genetically engineered field test sites and public health risks in Hawaii. Garden Island.

The owners of the Hotel Coral Reef on Kauai plan to add a third floor and six more rooms to the existing two-story, 16-unit hotel in Kapaa. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

Native Hawaiians, relatives and supporters of Hansen's disease patients and even one-time visitors to Kalaupapa are expressing discontent with the National Park Service's proposed plans for the future of Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai. Maui News.

The land where the Kalaupapa Memorial will be located was blessed and ground was broken during the annual meeting of Ka `Ohana O Kalaupapa, April 24 and 25. Molokai Dispatch.