Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feds' $1.6B keeps Honolulu rail on track, Senate committee outlines UH Stevie Wonder problems, Hawaii County police accredited, union contracts trump ethics code, indictment released against Kauai HR director, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation courtesy photo
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation courtesy photo
Honolulu's plans for a rail line gained new momentum Monday with an announcement by Hawaii's congressional delegation that the $5.26 billion train project has effectively secured $1.55 billion in federal funding. Star-Advertiser.

The Federal Transit Administration on Monday told leaders in Congress it will sign a $1.55 billion funding agreement for the Honolulu rail project, the third key hurdle cleared by the once-embattled system in less than three weeks. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration will sign a full-funding grant agreement that will give Honolulu $1.55 billion in federal funds for the city’s elevated-rail project, city officials said Monday. Pacific Business News.

The Federal Transit Administration will award Honolulu's rail authority a $1.5 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for Honolulu's $5.2 billion elevated steel on steel rail project. Hawaii Reporter.

The rail crosses another big hurdle.  The Federal Transit Administration has signed off on $1.55 billion in federal funding for the rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu is a step closer to receiving more than $1.55 billion in federal funding for rail, but it's not a done deal yet. KHON2.

For the first time in nearly two decades, a Republican holds a leadership position in the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Computer problems are being blamed for causing an unexpected statewide shutdown of motor vehicle licensing offices Friday afternoon. KITV4.

The state Senate committee looking into the University of Hawaii and its athletics department spent only one hour discussing its findings at a briefing Monday at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

Five months after the University of Hawaii lost $200,000 in the failed Stevie Wonder fundraising concert and after more than 13 hours of hearings, a Senate committee investigating the debacle says there are still unanswered questions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state senators today issued a 32-page report that strongly criticized spendthrift and secretive practices at the University of Hawaii and called for close new monitoring of how the Board of Regents and President M.R.C. Greenwood run the institution. Hawaii Reporter.

A state Senate panel said Monday that the University of Hawaii could have avoided losing $200,000 in its failed attempt to hold an athletic department fundraiser if officials had performed due diligence on a company claiming to be Stevie Wonder's booking agent. Associated Press.

After two marathon briefings looking into the bungled Stevie Wonder concert. The Senate's special committee on accountability's chair announced its findings. Hawaii News Now.

The Senate Special Committee on Accountability released its report Monday resulting from the informational briefings that looked into the oversight, accountability, and transparency of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawaii, including but not limited to the University of Hawaii’s athletics program. KITV4.

Senate Special Committee on Accountability University of Hawaii Report can be found here.

A long-anticipated study on how to fix the state's student transportation program is done, but the Hawaii Department of Education isn't ready to release it to the public. Civil Beat.

With Oahu in the lead, Hawaii hotels held their own against other island and international destinations for the first three quarters of the year, according to a report to be released today by hotel consultancy Hospitality Advisors LLC. Star-Advertiser.

The destroyer named for a Pearl Harbor SEAL who gave his life for fellow commandos in Af­ghani­stan will pull into its new home port in Hawaii on Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 20. Associated Press.


Electricity from the state's largest wind energy project — Kawailoa Wind — has begun flowing into the Hawaiian Electric Co. grid on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

One of the largest tracts of undeveloped land on Oahu is being sold to the state for preservation as farmland, a nationally published report said. Star-Advertiser.

Gun sales are up across the nation including here in Hawaii. And as a result, people on Oahu have been waiting hours in line to get a gun permit. KHON2.

A man who testified that he grew marijuana to use in his practice of the Rastafarian religion could go to prison for 40 years for conspiring to grow more than 100 marijuana plants. Star-Advertiser.


Union contracts trump the county ethics code, the county Board of Ethics said Monday in dismissing a complaint about United Public Workers employees attending events where union-endorsed candidates campaigned on county time and in county facilities. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Police Department has been awarded national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. Tribune-Herald.

A public official’s relationship with journalists may be prickly, but it doesn’t arise to an ethics violation if it’s not personal, the Board of Ethics decided Monday in unanimously dismissing a complaint against County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County will have to dust off an ordinance establishing a cultural advisory commission for Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Tribune-Herald.

The county Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium is getting a $2 million facelift, but contractors are running short on time. Tribune-Herald.

After overcoming a number of obstacles last year, Hilo’s Toys for Tots Motorcade appears to be a bust. Tribune-Herald.


The Maui Mayor’s Office will soon start accepting applications to fill anticipated vacancies on County Boards and Commissions for terms that are set to expire in 2013. Maui Now.

The native apapane Hawaiian honeycreeper was recently spotted at Fleming Arboretum at Pu'u Mahoe in Ulupalakua for the first time in the arboretum's 60-plus-year history. Maui News.

The indictment against County Human Resources Manager Janine M.Z. Rapozo was released as public record Monday. Garden Island.

Ocean safety officials closed Hanalei Bay to swimming Monday afternoon due to shark sightings. Garden Island.

A new facility in the site of the former Kaua‘i Community College bookstore was unveiled Monday afternoon before an audience of KCC Chancellor Dr. Helen Cox, culinary arts department instructors, students and supporters. Garden Island.

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