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Sunday, August 07, 2011
August 7, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:46 PM :: 8258 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

This Day in History: Truman Announces Hiroshima Bombing

Restoring Courage: Hawaii Stands with Israel August 24 

Hawaii's Obscure Franchise Tax Adds to Utility Bills

Pro Bowl to continue, site may change thanks to Abercrombie

The future site of the game will remains in flux like in recent seasons. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told FOXSports.com in a Sunday morning email that the league will annually "determine the location of the Pro Bowl in consultation with the NFL (Players Association)."

The Pro Bowl was a long-time fixture in Hawaii but financial disagreements with state government led the NFL to move the 2010 contest to South Florida where Super Bowl XLIV was being played. The Pro Bowl returned to Hawaii last season and will be held there once again Jan. 29, 2012 which is the week before Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

However, there are no future guarantees of a Hawaiian return. Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie said in June that it was "stupid" for the state to pay the NFL a $4 million annual stipend to host the Pro Bowl despite claims from tourism officials that the 2011 game generated $28.2 million in revenue from 17,000 visiting fans.

"We'll get more out of civil unions in a weekend then we'll get out of (the Pro Bowl)," said Abercrombie, referring to same-sex marriages that are now sanctioned by the state.

read … FOX Sports Exclusive

HSTA decides Abercrombie’s Videotaped Bickering is a Binding Arbitration Offer, Votes to “accept”

After reviewing Gov. Neil Abercrombie's remarks in a YouTube video last week, the Hawaii State Teachers Association board decided Saturday to make a last-ditch effort to resolve a month-long contract dispute.

HSTA President Wil Okabe sent a letter to Abercrombie on Saturday taking him up on his "offer to renew a dialogue with us." The letter said the board had agreed to "mediation/binding arbitration" — despite a pending legal complaint with the Labor Relations Board.

"We agree that utilizing a third party to resolve the outstanding issues is the most productive route to achieving what is in the best interest of children, teachers, and the state," the letter says.

SA: Teachers union board OKs mediation, binding arbitration

HFP: VIDEO: Abercrombie argues with retired teacher in Hilo (The remarks HSTA is responding to are at 5:30)

PDF: HSTA Aug 6 Letter to Abercrombie

read … Hawaii Teachers Accept Governor's Mediation Offer

Other Students Reported Sexual Messages from Educational Assistant

Niu Valley Middle School principal Justin Mew told Civil Beat Friday that "a handful of students and parents" submitted formal complaints against 25-year-old Cody M. Onizuka during a Hawaii Department of Education investigation in 2010, but only one was willing to press criminal charges.

Onizuka was indicted Tuesday in Hawaii's first "sexting" case to result in criminal charges. He was charged by an Oahu grand jury with promoting child abuse via the sexually explicit text messages. Onizuka has since been dismissed.

"There were other complainants," Mew said. "In the end, the only one to really step forward to press charges was the one."

read ... Other Students Reported Sexual Messages

BoE: HSTA, HGEA members cannot veto Charter Conversion application, Laupahoehoe charter OK'd

The seven BOE members attending a Wednesday meeting in Honolulu voted unanimously to overturn an April decision by the state's Charter School Review Panel to deny the charter application. In their decision, board members said that members of the CSRP had misinterpreted state law in their denial of the charter application, calling parts of their reasoning "clearly erroneous."

When the CSRP denied the application, it concluded that a required vote to gauge interest in converting the existing school to a charter had not polled the right constituents. Last week, BOE members said that was incorrect.

Among the BOE's conclusions was a finding that state law does not require that the application and the charter school's implementation plan be approved by "majority of votes cast by existing school staff," as CSRP had claimed in its denial. Rather, the application and plan were to have been supported by a larger group, which they were in Laupahoehoe's case, including the school's administrative, support, and teaching personnel, as well as parents of students at the proposed conversion charter school….

…81 percent of the 180 eligible voters were in favor of converting the existing school to a charter.

read … Laupahoehoe charter

read … Sexual Messages from Educational Assistant

Maui Native Among 30 killed in Afghanistan

Kraig Vickers, a 1992 graduate of Maui High School and a Maui Interscholastic League defensive football player of the year, was among 30 Americans who died in a U.S. military helicopter shot down during fighting in Afghanistan, his father, Robert Vickers, confirmed by telephone Saturday night.

Kraig Vickers, 36, was a Navy Bomb Disposal Team member, said his father, who could barely speak of his loss.

Mr. Vickers said he and his wife, Mary, were extremely proud of their son and his 15-year military career.

"He would have turned 37 on August 11th," Robert Vickers said

read … Maui native among dead; ‘a great loss’

Hawaii Soldier Dies In Afghanistan

Officials said 34-year-old Spc. Jinsu Lee died Friday in Kunar province, Afghanistan due to a non-battle related injury. His cause of death is still under investigation.

Officials said it was Lee's first deployment overseas since he enlisted in the Army on Aug. 5, 2009 as a Unit Supply Specialist.

Lee is survived by his wife and three daughters.

read … Spc. Jinsu Lee's Death Under Investigation

Maui Dems: Redistricting plan ‘cleans it up nicely’

Lance Holter, a Paia resident and ex-officio chairman of the Maui Democratic Party, said he was pleased by the change, saying he judged that Paia residents seemed to feel more connected to East Maui, and that Paia had been "dangling out there" on the fringe of the 9th House District.

"I think this cleans it up nicely," he said.

Maui Democratic Party Chairman Todd Craine was glad to see that change.

"We had some people who were livid when they came to vote and found out they had to drive to Kihei," he said. "There's just no easy way to tell them they have to drive an hour to vote in their own district."

(And now for a quick look at the kind of leadership which keeps Republicans losing….)

(Complaining about the decision to count military personnel for reapportionment) …former Maui County Republican Party Chairwoman Kay Ghean. "To deny the people of the Big Island a Senate seat, I just think is shameful. Democrat or Republican - it's more likely to be a Democratic seat….” (But it is not shameful to deny the people of Oahu a seat? It is not shameful to deny military personnel representation?)

(Republican) Madge Schaefer, chairwoman of the Maui Reapportionment Advisory Council: "It's a dilution of our voting strength," she said. (Whose voting strength? Malama Solomon’s?)

read … Redistricting plan ‘cleans it up nicely’

1,000 Big Island Dopers forget to Renew Medical Marijuana Cards

On June 30, the end of the last fiscal year, there were 3,607 registered medical marijuana users in Hawaii County. That's down from 4,665 a year earlier.

"I don't really have any explanation for it," said Keith Kamita, DPS deputy director of law enforcement.

Statewide, there are 7,593 so-called "blue card" holders, compared to 8,067 a year ago.

"What we've been seeing ... is that a lot of people are not renewing their certificate," said police Lt. Richard Sherlock, commander of East Hawaii's Vice Section. He declined to speculate why.

The number of "caregivers" on the Big Island -- people certified to grow medical marijuana for a single patient -- also has decreased in the past year, from 512 to 435.

However, the number of Big Island physicians certifying residents for medical marijuana went up, from 24 to 31, while 20 doctors from other islands certified Big Island patients, down from 24 a year earlier.

Oahu, which is five times as populous as the Big Island, also has seen a decrease in card holders, from 1,751 a year ago to 1,662 this year.

Not all islands posted declines, however. Kauai nearly tripled its number of card holders, from 302 in 2010 to 869 this year. Maui numbers are also up slightly, from 1,293 to 1,327.

read … Medical pot use declines

Big Island Blogger Claims he was Beat up by Police

I went to Pahoa Village Club to cover the concert that was happening there last night and ended up with a lot more then I bargained for! I got arrested for taking pictures and videos of cops arresting people!

I will be filing a lawsuit against the Hawaii County Police department soon for a few things tomorrow…

Mainly the police have now confiscated my camera and cell phone as well as roughing me up and locking me up in a police detention holding cell for taking video and pictures of them in action from the sidewalk in front of Pahoa Village Cafe.

read … Abused by the Big Island Police and Arrested for Taking Cell Phone Pictures

Younger veterans living on the streets

ANTHONY "JAY" HUBBARD, 24, of Baltimore, served five years in the Marines and one tour in Fallujah, Iraq, as a military police officer. He left Marine Corps Base Hawaii as a corporal in May 2010 with $25,000 in savings.

Less than a year later, Hubbard had a cocaine and marijuana problem and found himself broke and homeless in Waikiki.

Hubbard now lives in a four-bunk room built for enlisted Navy sailors with three other homeless veterans at U.S. VETS, where he is nearing the end of a nine-week substance abuse program.

read … Service organizations see a rise in clients from Iraq and Afghan wars

Hawaii agriculture chair asks Safeway to comply with local roasted coffee labeling law

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association says the company's mainland stores are selling coffee claiming to be whole bean Kona blend medium roast. Because the package doesn't specify the percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee, the association says it degrades their product.

Hawaii's Board of Agriculture Chairman Russell Kokubun has written a letter to Safeway asking for "voluntary compliance" of a state labeling law. However, that law doesn't apply to the mainland and Safeway doesn't sell that coffee in their Hawaii stores.

Safeway spokeswoman Susan Houghton says the letter got lost in the company system. She says Safeway met with the association Tuesday and is reviewing the blend and whether any labeling changes should be made.

read … Boycott Safeway

Hawaii DoE does not require any Economics Courses

the state Department of Education does not require completion of any economics or personal finance courses, or testing in these subjects prior to graduation. Fewer than half of Hawaii's 43 public high schools offer economics lessons within their social studies courses and the recent recommendation from the Board of Education's Student Achievement Committee to reduce the number of required social studies credits from four to three means that even fewer students will be taking a course in economics (because the Gramscians and the Marcuseans will be sure to cut Econ first).

(This is only an issue because the academic Marxists brainwashing your kids are concerned that a few of their “social” studies positions will be sacrificed in exchange for more science classes)

read … Economics courses teach students survival skills for the 'real world'

Brewbaker: Stimulus in Hawaii failed due to emphasis on Clean Energy, Broadband

But he's less sanguine about some of the spending targets — were clean-energy and broadband projects really the best way to get an infusion of cash to the economy? — even though he acknowledged that it's not surprising a new presidential administration would try to use the ARRA vehicle to move its agenda.

As for the Hawaii stimulus, Brewbaker thinks the policy decision in the waning years of the Lingle administration to trail out the spending over so long a period defeats the purpose of a stimulus: spending at the moment when the private sector can't. These unfinished construction projects were not meant to be competing with private-sector work now that Hawaii's economy has begun its recovery, he said.

Part of the problem, he said, is that Hawaii didn't do enough to get projects ready in anticipation of a stimulus bill. The month after the law passed, Brewbaker was traveling on the mainland and saw "this is an ARRA project" signs already up on fairly major projects.

In Hawaii, he said the first such sign he spotted was a year later, and it was only a re-do of the concrete pad at a Bishop Street bus stop.

"This is Hawaii, banana republic of the U.S.," he observed wryly. "You had to know what was going to happen."

Related: Broadband to be Trojan Horse for Big Wind Cable?

read … Stimulus or stifler?

After Obama burns Treasury, Colleges breathe sigh of relief that Pell Grants Still Survive

While the recent budget and debt ceiling fiasco on Capitol Hill was disheartening, the news of $17 billion in increased funding for Pell Grants over the next two years was welcome indeed.

Of course, there was a trade-off, since graduate students will have to now begin paying loans while they are still in school, so this is not an optimal situation. However, preserving this critical program to serve low-income undergraduates constitutes a victory for educational access institutions such as Chaminade University.

read … More funding for Pell Grants was victory

Honolulu Weekly facing financial deadline, appeals for support

Honolulu Weekly Publisher Laurie Carlson is urgently reaching out to friends and supporters in hopes of staving off a financial crisis that could put the newspaper out of business just weeks after marking its 20th anniversary.

In an email sent yesterday and forwarded by one of the recipients, Carlson said David Black’s Oahu Publications, owner of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, is demanding payment of about $20,000 in past due printing bills by next Wednesday, August 10.

They are “threatening, essentially, to close down the Weekly” if they aren’t paid, Carlson wrote.

“We have stopped paying them, not because we are ignoring our obligations but because we needed to use our existing cash flow to pay our current printers, Maui News,” the email explained.

read … Honolulu Weekly facing financial deadline


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