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Monday, May 21, 2012
May 21, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:18 PM :: 15648 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Oxycontin Contributions: Clayton Hee, Josh Green, Karl Rhoads and HB466

Rep Tom Cole Speaks out on Akaka Bill

Complete List of 2012 Hawaii School Graduation Dates

Although Tax Credits Discussed, None Approved  

Hanabusa Working to Impose Gay Marriage Nationwide 

(For clarity, we have crossed out the passive language and underlined the active language in the following statement from Rep Hanabusa. Apparently Hanabusa believes that by mouthing empty words she can cover he fact that she is working to impose gay marriage nationwide.)

CB: “I have always believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, I have argued forcefully and consistently for the rights of all Americans. I am proud of the work I did to help write and first pass Hawaii’s civil unions law, my support of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and my co-sponsorship of the Respect for Marriage Act, which calls for federal recognition of any marriage that is valid in the state in which it was licensed.

“The issue of same-sex marriage is now before a number of courts and legislative bodies across the nation. If court rulings or legislative acts grant same-sex partners the right to marry, nationally or in the state of Hawaii, I will fully support those decisions.”

Read ... Trying to straddle gay marriage

Many State Departments Fail to Post Agendas, Minutes Online

ILind: After discovering that the Hawaiian Homes Commission has started posting some of its meeting minutes online, I thought it might be time to revisit the inventory of department and agency policies done nearly a year ago (“Many state agencies fail to post meeting agendas or minutes online“).

Now that the Governor has directed agencies to post agendas on the official state calendar, I’ll concentrate on the availability of minutes and look at a sample of the same agencies reviewed last year. You can even check back when I made a similar survey back in late 2006. There have been some changes, but not a lot of overall progress since then, it seems.

Read … Have state agencies gotten any better at posting meeting minutes online?

Some KCC instructors wait months for their paychecks

SA: Some instructors who teach noncredit courses at Kapiolani Community College say they have not been paid in several months and are owed as much as $4,000 each, but have hesitated to speak out because as "casual hires" they have no job security….

The Star-Advertiser learned of the pay problem earlier this month when an instructor posted on his Facebook page, "My colleagues and I have not been paid in four months."

Of 12 Continuing Education instructors contacted by the newspaper, none were new hires, and just one said he had been paid consistently on time. The others said they had waited up to five months for paychecks, with overdue amounts ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Most declined to be quoted, saying they feared they would be blacklisted from teaching. But some agreed to speak….

Read … State of Hawaii Situation Normal

Kokee hydropower project gets green light

SA: Developers of the proposed 5.3-megawatt Puu Lua Hydropower Proj­ect on Kauai's west side received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month in a ruling that gives the proj­ect priority over another hydroelectric facility planned for the Kokee Ditch backed by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

The commission granted Kono­hiki Hydro Power LLC, the Puu Lua developer, a "small conduit hydroelectric exemption" that allows it to proceed with the proj­ect. In its ruling, the agency also dismissed a preliminary permit application for the KIUC-supported Kitano Water Power Proj­ect.

The order set a strict timetable for the Kono­hiki project, saying the agency "may revoke" Kono­hiki's exemption if construction has not begun in two years or the proj­ect is not completed within four years of the order.

Konohiki is a subsidiary of Kauai-based Pacific Light & Power and Orenco Hydropower Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.

A major hurdle Kono­hiki must clear is getting an agreement to sell electricity to the utility company. Representatives from Pacific Light and Orenco submitted a written proposal for a power purchase agreement (PPA) to the utility company, and met with CEO David Bissell in January to discuss it.

However, after reviewing the proposal Bissell "declined to go further because of concerns that the proj­ect was not fully developed," a company spokes­man said.

Kauai has eight existing hydroelectric proj­ects generating about 9 megawatts of electricity for KIUC. The utility has preliminary plans to develop at least three more hydroelectric plants on Kauai, not including the Kokee proj­ect.

KHON: Hawaii wave energy project gets $500,000 boost

Read … Some Real Alternative Energy

Hawaii Historic Preservation Office Spent Job Money on Cars, iPads

CB: Hawaii's historic preservation agency was given more than $600,000 by the Legislature in the past year to beef up staff in order to avoid losing its federal certification.

But the State Historic Preservation Division didn't spend any of that money on new hires. Instead it bought iPads and new cars and extended the contract of a private company.

SHPD's director said she thought that a couple of staff had been hired this year — the department's total budget is about $2 million — but this is far short of the number of positions that the National Park Service says need to be filled in just the next few months in order to prevent federal action.

The agency is in charge of protecting Hawaii's historic and archeological treasures. But the National Park Service has warned it will strip SHPD of its federal certification if it doesn’t hire vital staff by the end of September, potentially delaying billions of dollars in projects.

Worse, top state officials overseeing SHPD are confused about how many staff positions — or which ones — needed to be filled.

Read … Cars and iPads

Leadership positions at schools opened to Obamabot noneducators

SA: In the current system, someone seeking certification as a principal must have at least five years of school-level experience, including three in the classroom.

However, new rules that allow another way to certification were approved by the Board of Education this month and will go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature by July.

After final approval the Department of Education is expected to begin accepting applications for the program….

NO ONE testified against it at a hearing in April on proposed regulations allowing for alternative certification. Nine people supported the plan.

Among them was Zach DiIonno, a third-year University of Hawaii law student. DiIonno, who also taught for three years at Ilima Middle School, said the program could help relieve chronic shortages for leaders at hard-to-staff schools and attract pioneering thinkers.

DiIonno got into the classroom through Teach for America, a national program that offers an alternative way for teacher licensing by placing (Obamabot) candidates directly into a teaching position as part of a two-year commitment.

Read … Obamabots Grab for Principals’ Jobs

Land Barren: Japanese Billionaire Is Raising Eyebrows, Razing Houses

CB: If you're lucky, you may even see the man himself. In the past year he's been spotted puttering around doing something that resembles gardening.

Usually, the only human forms on his properties are the statues….

"You cannot talk to him," Georg said of Kawamoto. "He runs away. The minute he sees me, he runs away. I have tried to make an appointment. It was set up through one of his legal things but, of course, no show. He had to urgently leave for Japan."

Choi says the only interviews Kawamoto grants are "with people who have chased him down."

Choi says he knows Kawamoto, and describes him as a "kind of fun guy," someone who is perhaps misunderstood. But he confirms the Rafaels' characterization of how he acquires so many houses in premium locations….

The Rafaels are an exception. They say Kawamoto tried repeatedly to convince them to sell, even as they turned him down again and again.

"He came back, threatening, saying 'you have to,'" Rafael said. "And then he started harassing us.

Read … Kawamoto 

Volunteer Opportunities for Unemployed Youth 

SA: The online site (youthservicehawaii.ning.com) helps to connect youths with opportunities to serve the community, and was a focus of a feature on volunteerism in the Star-Advertiser, which also listed some opportunities in the Today section on Tuesday.

This is merely one local actor in a national volunteerism initiative targeting the youth of America. Just to cite one example: DoSomething.org is teen-centered network that gives fledgling volunteers ideas about how to make a difference, locally or nationally.

Read … volunteer

Hawaii Bankruptcy Court Confirms Hawaii Pacific Teleport's Reorganization Plan

News Release: HPT received authorization from the Court to borrow capital from 1050 Piiholo LLC, a Hawaii company, in the form of a DIP loan. On the Plan's effective date, the DIP loan will be converted to equity, at which point 1050 Piiholo LLC and Hawaii Capital Holdings LLC (HPT's General Partner that is wholly-owned by Leeana Smith-Ryland), will own 100% of the reorganized company. Hawaii Capital Holdings LLC will continue to manage the company.

Read … DIP

Wisconsin Contractor Selected for Hawaii Wind Projects

News Release: Wisconsin-based contractor RMT, Inc. is adding 555 megawatts worth of wind projects to their renewable energy portfolio in 2012.

RMT, which specializes in the design and construction of wind and solar energy projects, currently has a renewable energy portfolio of around 5,000 MW.

The company announced that they will be serving as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for seven wind projects located in Hawaii, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington and Kansas.

RMT has three projects in Hawaii for 2012, including the 69-megawatt Kawailoa project of First Wind on Oahu’s North Shore. The project is said to be the largest wind farm in Hawaii. (see related story)

RMT will also be working on First Wind’s 21 MW KWP project in Maui, and the 21 MW Auwahi project of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP. (see related story)

Read … Your Tax Dollars at Work

New VFW post seeks members, community support

WHT: Declining membership has forced many posts across the country to close, a fact that does not deter the passionate leaders and members of the newly chartered Marine Lance Cpl Christopher Camero Memorial VFW Post 12122.

Post Adjutant and Quartermaster Dick Skarnes said it’s been at least 20 years since the VFW had a post in Kona. While Skarnes did not know the exact details of the last post’s dissolution, he thinks it had to do more with the lack of a permanent facility to accommodate its needs.

It took roughly nine months to establish Post 12122, named after 19-year-old Camero, of Waimea, who died in July 2011 of injuries he suffered in action against enemy forces in Afghanistan

To get involved, donate or learn more, contact Skarnes at 329-6261, (818) 384-7500 or dickskarnes@yahoo.com.

Read … Kona VFW

Hilo Candidates Forum July 11

News Release: The forum will take place on Wednesday, July 11 at Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Lu’au Hale on Pi’ilani Strett in Hilo. Doors will open for the forum at 5:30 p.m., with the event kicking off a half-an-hour later.

The plan for the forum is still fluid, depending on the number of candidates running for office. The current format, according to the LWV, is to feature candidates running for the first and second council districts, with the third district candidates possibly joining in. Those running for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney will also be a part of the forum.

More information on the local chapter of the League of Women Voters can be found at lwv-hawaii.com

AP: Voter registration meeting in Hilo May 22

Read … Hilo LWV

God’s Day: Under Pressure from Enviro NIMBYs, Business Agrees to Sunday Closures

KHON: For months the City Council has been debating Bill 11, which would create an all out ban on commercial permits and activities at Kailua and Kalama beach parks. Klemmer is in support of Bill 11, but instead of waiting for public leaders to make a move...he decided to make his own change.

"Rather than wait for the authorities to come up with a fix for the overcrowding of the beach park, we though we could come up with a solution our selves," he says.

On an average Sunday his company rents out about 50 kayaks. Losing that business is cutting into his bottom line, but it's a decision he feels will make a difference.

"It's a cut for a good purpose. We all live in this community and want to make sure it's there for many generations to come."

Read … Kailua business to stop Sunday kayak rentals


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