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Friday, December 4, 2009
December 4, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:32 AM :: 12463 Views

Abercrombie defends $3.5M earmark after being nailed by CBS

A company co-founded by one of U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's gubernatorial campaign co-chairs received a $3.5 million congressional earmark arranged by the congressman.

Kelly King is one of four honorary co-chairs of Abercrombie's gubernatorial campaign. She also is vice president of Kahului, Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel, a renewable energy company that she established with her husband.

Congressional records show that Abercrombie made the request for a $3.5 million earmark for Pacific Biodiesel to grow renewable energy crops on U.S. Army lands in Hawai'i.

RELATED: Congress Spends Billions in Earmarks - CBS Evening News - CBS News

Neil Abercrombie 2009: A year of corruption

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ADV: State must balance needs of business, jobless

A massive tax increase could force businesses to lay off workers, raising the high unemployment rate even further and increasing the drain on the unemployment benefit fund that the tax supports.

Worse yet, it's a foregone conclusion that even a 1,000 percent tax increase won't be enough to keep the fund from running dry, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

RELATED: Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival

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Rewarding Failure: BOE chairman re-elected by board to top post

The Board of Education tonight re-elected its chairman, Garrett Toguchi, to another one-year term in the board's top post.

RELATED: Furlough negotiations: $50M ransom offered, but unions balk at releasing hostages

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Succeeding in spite of BoE/DoE/HSTA: More Schools Modify Schedules to Increase Class Time

75 schools have chosen to cancel waiver and planning days to replace them with regular school days.
Another 9 schools will be modifying their bell schedules... extending certain school days to add instructional time.
In all 184 schools across the state have been approved to make such changes.

Click link to see lists....

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BOE gives up on bus request

The state Board of Education last night declined to ask for an emergency $12 million for student transportation, which means public schools could run out of money to pay for school bus service by April.

Garrett Toguchi, the school board chairman, said the state Department of Education would have to make do with the $56.6 million available this fiscal year for student transportation.

"The quickest way to stop a fight is to quit," said John Radcliffe, who represents the Hawaii School Bus Association, which is made up of companies that provide school bus service for the state.

Roy Pfund, a vice president at Roberts Hawaii, one of the providers, said a loss or reduction of school bus service could place a burden on parents and lead to safety issues if more students have to walk to school.

(Did Mr Kim Coco Iwamoto recuse himself from these deliberations due to his conflict of interest as the son of the Roberts Hawaii owner?)

RELATED: Furlough negotiations: $50M ransom offered, but unions balk at releasing hostages


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Hawaii high school football title games will be available on pay TV

The only other time a high school football champion was made available on pay-per-view was in 1998 when Saint Louis and Kahuku — both nationally ranked — played in the O'ahu Prep Bowl, then considered the mythical state championship.

That game generated $100,000 in sales for Oceanic, while the public-school O'ahu Interscholastic Association and private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu received $30,000 from Oceanic.

Revenue from this year's games — to be determined by the amount of pay-per-view and ticket sales — will be shared by all schools that have a football program. The HHSAA will get 25 percent of what the schools take in.

(Making money from athletic events!  What a concept.  Maybe UH should try this....)

RELATED: Furloughs: Advertiser sides with “sustainability” billionaires against “Save our Sports”

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Families could pay more for child care

Starting the first of the year, 1,600 low- to moderate-income families may have to dig into their own pockets for more of their child care tab.

In a move designed to cover more families with subsidized child care, the state Department of Human Services has revamped its payment plan for the 7,792 families receiving child care subsidies for 14,577 children.

The new sliding scale mostly will hurt those families who are now receiving 80 percent subsidies. They could see their subsidies reduced to 20 percent.

Some families could have to pay on average $100 more a month, others less, depending on the agreement they have with their child care providers, Koller said.

The cuts to the subsidies are necessary, Koller said, because demand is up 21 percent, while the cost of day care is up 10 percent.

"We are taking decisive action at DHS," Koller said. "We will continue helping families to gain financial independence and to help keiki gain the best success in school and later in life."

SB: Kid-care aid cut delay urged

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Gun registrations in Hawaii on record pace

Yearly gun registrations in Hawai'i have marched steadily upward for most of the past decade — from about 13,600 in 2000 to 25,996 in 2008 — said Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics for the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General....

Harvey Gerwig II, president and a director of the Hawaii Rifle Association, attributes the increase in gun sales to how Americans feel about their country and their leaders.

"When people don't feel confident about the direction the country is going, they look for another way to up their confidence level," Gerwig said....

The number of people in Hawai'i applying for an instant criminal background check jumped by 37 percent during the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to data collected by the FBI and reported by Bloomberg News....

"The Honolulu Police Department has hard-copy gun registration forms dating back to the '30s," Perrone said.

"HPD estimates the total number of guns out there at somewhere over a million. Estimates done independently by (the Hawai'i Department of the Attorney General) have arrived at the same number," Perrone said.

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Accused child molester on the loose from State Hospital

Seal was acquitted because of a mental defect, according to court records, and sent to the State Hospital.

He was arrested Halloween night in 2001 after he allegedly grabbed an 8-year-old girl who was on Front Street with her mother and grandmother near a park fronting the state library.

Police said Seal was taking off the girl's clothes in a secluded area in the park when another man spotted them. Seal fled into Lahaina harbor and was arrested, naked and hanging onto a buoy, outside the entrance to the harbor. 

Seal was last in court in June when his motion for conditional release was denied.

Here's somewhere to look for molester: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

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Bad weather reduces taro production

Hawai'i taro production for poi during the third quarter was 23 percent below the same quarter last year in part because of adverse weather conditions, according to an estimate from the local field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

RELATED: UH cared for HALOA for 104 years with no help from any activists

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Kauai Court rules in favor of Lady Ann Cruises

Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe granted the tour-boat company’s request for summary judgment, injunctive relief and declaratory relief, allowing the company to continue operating summer boat tours out of Hanalei Bay.
The county in June filed suit against Lady Ann Cruises, saying the company is not permitted to operate boat tours out of Michael Sheehan’s boat yard and asking Watanabe to issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and/or a permanent injunction preventing the loading and unloading of passengers at the county Black Pot Park nearby.
Watanabe denied those motions and Lady Ann Cruises filed a countersuit.
County Planning Director Ian Costa, despite his comment in a June press release about Lady Ann Cruises’ “illegal activity,” was unable to prove the alleged illegal activity in court proceedings.

Question:  How did Hawaii make it all the way up to 42nd? ...  Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival

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Maui Work force housing policy to change

WAILUKU - With home construction at a near standstill, Maui County will - and must - make some changes to its controversial residential work force housing policy, Council Member Wayne Nishiki said Wednesday.

Question:  How did Hawaii make it all the way up to 42nd? ...  Hawaii 42nd in Small Business Survival

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Hawaii Co. Trash fee is on junk heap, for now

Kenoi called a press conference to debunk the notion, raised in a recent news article, that the administration would charge residents $2 to $2.50 to dispose of a bag of trash.

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Hawaii Co Councilwoman Ford drops suit against councilors

Ford's lawsuit sought to establish at what time the "day" ends.

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Public outcry leads to about-face on land commission

The slimmed-down legislative agenda now consists of three items:
- Asking the state to provide appropriate support for the 2010 elections,
- Refraining from using the Wireless Enhanced 911 Special Fund for purposes other than allowed by law and
- Removing a spending cap and adding county input to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.
In other business, the council created a four-member ad hoc committee to prioritize county services by cooperating with the Mayor Billy Kenoi administration and set up a system for providing public input into the upcoming budget.

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Isle beach law must prevail

Disputes over whether shoreline landowners in Hawaii can claim possession to newly formed beach areas are headed toward a state appeals court while the U.S. Supreme Court considers such a beachfront standoff in Florida. Although the two court battles have their differences, the federal high court's ruling could broadly and improperly interfere with states' rights regarding property ownership....

Despite the differences in the two cases, a U.S. high court reversal of the Florida decision could be cited in arguing that owners of property along Hawaii's shores have a vested right in the adjoining beaches. If global warming were to cause ocean levels to rise, as predicted, (no need worry) beachside owners then would be able to assert claim to beaches as high water lines move inward beyond the owners' property lines.

(Eco-cronies beginning to panic as land use issues go before a real court.....)

UNRELATED: Greenhouse Gas Observatories Downwind from Erupting Volcanoes

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Obama expected to vacation in Islands Dec. 23-Jan. 2

Obama is expected to fly to Honolulu on Dec. 23 and return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 2, several sources have said, spending the Christmas and New Year's holidays in the Islands. The president does not have any public events on his schedule.  A White House spokesman would not officially confirm the visit.

RELATED: The Road to Recovery Begins with the End of Obamacare

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