Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hawaii economy pumping, Board of Education no longer links teacher pay to test scores, Honolulu ride-sharing rules advance, Hawaii Council approves mayor's $462.9M budget, Kauai kills general excise tax hike, Ala Moana hotel sold, new stamp for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hilo zoo volunteer feeds bananas to rescued feral donkeys © 2016 All Hawaii News
The days of the Waikoloa nightingales are almost over, as the last 50 of the feral donkeys left in the area are prepared for adoption. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s economy was pumping in the first quarter, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s economy experienced an excellent first quarter, according to a new report by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

The state Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved revising its teacher evaluation policy to remove student test scores as a required measure of student learning and growth. Star-Advertiser.

Student test scores may no longer be linked to a teacher’s job performance. The Hawaii State Board of Education unanimously approved recommendations that would get rid of standardized testing from the evaluation process. That’s a big deal for educators, who say the evaluations are unfairly tied to teacher pay and impact retention. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii State Board of Education unanimously approved recommendations Tuesday effectively removing standardized test scores as a requirement in the measurement of teacher performance, according to a press release from the Hawaii Department of Education. West Hawaii Today.

Did Hawaii Lawmakers Do Enough To Protect The Elderly? The state Health Department got only a fraction of what it sought, and now the online posting of care home inspection reports may stop. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric officials announced Wednesday that they’ve negotiated a huge deal to import liquefied natural gas from Canada that could mean slightly lower utility bills for customers on Oahu, Maui and Big Island. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office has begun an inquiry into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 after the parent union started its own investigation into the local organization’s finances. Star-Advertiser.

Slom Sorry For Campaign Error. The Republican state senator said he did not intend to announce his re-election using state resources. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii researchers say there's a 9 percent chance that an earthquake measuring magnitude 9 or greater will strike Alaska's Aleutian Islands within the next 50 years and send large tsunami waves to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Oahu
A City Council bill requiring drivers of both taxis and ride-hailing companies to obtain “private transportation services” certificates appears to be gathering support. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell still wants the rail project to go all the way to Ala Moana Center. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa said Wednesday that the commission can suspend Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha if he is indicted after a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption. Star-Advertiser.

Totto Tells Ethics Commission To Scrap ‘Silly’ Time Sheet Rules. The Honolulu Ethics Commission forced its executive director and staff to start filling out time sheets to show what they do every six minutes. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii beachfront estate that’s located near President Barack Obama’s winter vacation rental home has been sold for $17.4 million, one of the highest-priced sales of an Oahu home in recent years. Pacific Business News.

Mantra Group Ltd., the largest hotel and resort operator in Australia, is buying Outrigger Enterprises Group’s interest in the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu for $52.5 million. Pacific Business News.

An alleged Honolulu brothel owner tried to bribe federal agents in exchange for protection from raids, help with the U.S. citizenship test and recruitment of prostitutes, Homeland Security investigators said. Associated Press.

A woman awaiting trial in state court for allegedly operating a prostitution business is now also accused of bribing a federal agent. Star-Advertiser.

They’re a key component in saving lives, but we’ve learned the city’s ambulance fleet is now stretched thin. KHON2.

Hawaii

The topic of the day Wednesday was Hawaii County’s nearly half a billion dollar annual budget. But the issue most on the mind of testifiers was the removal of a dozen trees from Kamehameha Park in North Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council got an earful from residents of North Kohala who are upset about the work done at Kamehameha Park in Kapa'au. Big Island Video News.

Regulars at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course once again can play a full 18-hole round. Play at the course, which has been undergoing renovations since last summer, was restricted to the front nine holes and a temporary green since February. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Organizers of the Maui Community Organic Farmland Initiative are laying out their vision for Maui's post-sugarcane future, one in which a network of farmers turns Central Maui into a self-sustaining organic farming operation. Maui News.

The very first US Postal Service stamp to ever depict a Maui locale, will be unveiled at a special event on June 2, 2016. The Forever Stamp will depict Maui’s famed Haleakalā National Park, featuring an image of a rainbow within the crater. Maui Now.

The Stop Cane Burning group announced Tuesday that it has settled its lawsuit against the state Department of Health and Alexander & Baldwin. Maui News.

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order put the brakes Tuesday on the transition of three Maui County public hospitals to Maui Health System, a subsidiary of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Maui News.

Kauai

An increase of the General Excise Tax will not be imposed on Kauai residents. In a 4-3 vote Wednesday, the Kauai County Council voted against a bill that would have increased the 4 percent GET by a quarter of a percent. Garden Island.

The federal government is taking a look at how the island’s population of ‘a‘o (Newell’s shearwater), an endangered seabird found only in Hawaii, is being managed. Garden Island.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully tested the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System’s tracking capabilities Tuesday night on Kauai in an exercise that MDA representatives said went “very well.” Garden Island.