Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Board of Education mulls teacher ethics policy, cops as criminals, county council tightens pCard rules, Hawaii Health Connector slammed in second audit, Maui picks electric co-op consultant, Kakaako homeless get eviction notices, officials mark 70th anniversary of WWII surrender, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Military aircraft in Honolulu © 2015 All Hawaii News
Air Force cost-cutting is resulting in the loss of four KC-135R refueling tankers in Hawaii and 152 active-duty personnel with the deactivation of the 96th Air Refueling Squadron and removal of personnel from support units, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. officials are gathering on a decommissioned battleship in Pearl Harbor to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II's end. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii will join U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift at a ceremony Wednesday. Associated Press.

The state Board of Education decided Tuesday to hammer out a policy to ensure that public school teachers can chaperone students on educational field trips without having to pay their own way. The unanimous decision followed a sometimes testy exchange with Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo, who assured board members that he thinks the situation is “fixable” and that part of the controversy stems from “misinformation.” Star-Advertiser.

After more than three months of debates and delays, the Hawaii Board of Education approved a Student Climate and Discipline policy Tuesday to guide schools in their use of Chapter 19 — state administrative rules governing school discipline issues. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education expects that its budget to put air conditioning in more public schools will range from $2 million to $3 million this year — a tiny fraction of the estimated $1.7 billion the department says it will cost to cool classrooms across the state. Star-Advertiser.

A second state audit of the Hawaii Health Connector’s contracts with one of its main vendors further blasts the agency for a “multitude of missteps” that resulted in the abuse of public funds. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii has revised its policy on sexual assault on its campuses for the second time in six months, representing the latest effort to strengthen its response to reports of sex discrimination amid increased scrutiny from federal auditors and state legislators.Star-Advertiser

If you been to the airport lately, any airport in the state, you may have noticed a lot of construction. Some major projects are nearing completion while several others will soon get underway. KHON2.

A local health care consultant has organized a new group to represent Hawaii’s ambulatory surgery centers. Pacific Business News.

Ian Lind commentary: Dispute Muddies Already Confusing State of Sovereignty Claims. Two activists say the overthrown Hawaiian Kingdom still exists legally, but one is accusing the other of misrepresenting recent court rulings. Civil Beat.


When Cops Become Criminals: Arrests of HPD Officers Point to a ‘Culture of Corruption’ Dozens of Honolulu police officers have been arrested over the past few years for crimes ranging from drunken driving and tampering with government records to sex assault and extortion. Civil Beat.

A case heard last year by Hawaii’s Supreme Court could change the landscape of how DUI stops are handled by police. KITV4.

City crews officially notified an estimated 20 to 25 homeless people living on the outskirts of the Kakaako homeless encampment Tuesday that they must be out within seven days, when anything they leave behind will be unceremoniously tossed in a dump truck as the city begins the long slog to clear out nearly 300 people over the next several months. Star-Advertiser.

Residents of a Honolulu homeless encampment that had grown to about 300 people have been warned that city crews are planning to clear part of the area. Associated Press.

City aims to clear houseless from Kakaako makai. Sit-lie enforcement will resume next week as the city makes a concerted effort to displace houseless families from their current encampment in the under-development neighborhood. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii has one of the worst rates of homelessness in the nation, but U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz believes the answer is staring policymakers in the face: Put homeless people into housing through an approach called Housing First, something the state and city have embarked on but Schatz says not everyone has embraced. Civil Beat.

Honolulu city transit officials look to add a grid of protected bike lanes in the coming years to help better deal with the island’s crippling car traffic – and also to accommodate the future public bike-share and rail transit systems, they say. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii plans to install machines to reduce the time travelers have to wait in immigration lines when they arrive at Honolulu Airport. Star-Advertiser.

Small business owners give Honolulu an average C grade for business friendliness, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Civil Beat.

Hawaii may need to catch up to other states when it comes to employment, labor and hiring regulations, but some small business owners say the Aloha State is making strides in providing training and networking programs, according to a nationwide Thumbtack survey. Pacific Business News.


Hawaii County Council members are taking a tougher stance against abuse of county purchasing cards, known as pCards, following a high-profile lapse by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Six years after it was first proposed by Mayor Billy Kenoi, a package of ethics reforms was grudgingly advanced Tuesday by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to pursue public ownership of Hawaii Island’s electric utility came under fire Monday in testimony supporting the proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hawaiian Electric companies. Tribune-Herald.

The Kamehameha Avenue reconstruction project is nearing completion, though motorists might have to wait until the end of the month before finally seeing all four lanes of the major Hilo thoroughfare reopen. The $13.2 million project, which began in March 2014, was most recently expected to be complete near the start of this month. Tribune-Herald.

Community concerns are leading to a route to school that doesn’t include discarded needles and speeding traffic in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

As Hurricane Ignacio moved further away from the Big Island Tuesday, keeping impacts from the storm minimal, Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira sat down with Big Island Now to address the busy hurricane season.

Maui County has chosen Oklahoma-based Guernsey to study the possibility of breaking away from Maui Electric Co., the county’s Office of Economic Development said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Maui has hired an Oklahoma-based firm to study utility options for the community to give it a better sense of whether the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy is in the county’s best interest. Civil Beat.

State and county lawyers are facing off in a legal rumble over whether the Maui County Council can keep secret minutes from a closed-door Aug. 14, 2013, strategy discussion regarding an investigation of the old Wailuku Post Office demolition. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department is seeking public input by way of a citizen survey to help the department evaluate public attitudes and opinions pertaining to the level of law enforcement services provided. Maui Now.

More than 100 fans were donated to Maui public middle schools Monday as Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Goodfellow Bros. teamed up to try to bring some cool relief to schools that have seen temperatures of more than 90 degrees in their classrooms since school began in late July. Maui News.


The Kauai County Council will discuss today a request from the county attorney to authorize an initial payment of up to $50,000 to retain special counsel to defend a Kauai police officer charged with negligent homicide in a pedestrian death. Garden Island.

Around 15 people helped clean up 75 acres in Kilauea recently in the name of transforming a makeshift dumping grounds into a community garden. Garden Island.


The Molokai ferry adopted its new sailing schedule Tuesday in hopes of cutting mounting deficits of about $40,000 a month, but the changes may come at the expense of traveling Molokai High School athletic teams, officials said. Maui News.

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