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Saturday, December 24, 2011
December 24, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:57 PM :: 10251 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

How Christmas Came to Hawaii

Europe Non-Stop to Hawaii: Airlines cleared to use Santa's short-cut

Fed Once-Secret Central Pacific Bank Loan Data Released to Public

Malulani Foundation Continues Push for New Hospital in Kihei

DLNR, Ritte Accuse Molokai Residents of Killing Monk Seals

Chief Justice Recktenwald Appoints DesJardins as District Court Judge on Maui

Hirono, Hanabusa Vote Against One Year Extension of Payroll Tax Cut

‘Green’ Energy: HECO Launches Propaganda Blasts Designed to Stampede Legislature

"Like a lot of things, it's complex. The main reason is [that] in the wake of that devastating tsunami, nuclear energy has largely been replaced by oil, sending oil prices in the Asia-Pacific region skyrocketing. And these prices aren't coming down anytime soon," Alm said in the commercial.

"We've been providing lots of tips to our customers about saving energy. Most of all, Hawaii needs to continue to develop local, renewable energy-- sun, wind, biomass, biofuels, geothermal-- as fast as we can. Hawaii simply has to get off of imported oils."

Alm said Hawaii's Clean Energy Initiative, a goal to relieve the state's dependence on oil and use 70 percent clean energy by 2030, is a stepping stone, but 30 percent dependency on oil is still too much.

Read … Stampede Legislature

X-Mas Present: Abercrombie Administration Approves Another Insurance Rate Hike

An estimated 162,000 Kaiser Permanente Hawaii members are poised to see their medical premiums rise 8.8 percent on Jan. 1 amid a series of increases for other types of consumer services.

The state Insurance Division, which regulates health plan rates, has approved Kaiser's increases, which include an average 9.1 percent hike for another 14,400 individuals the same day….

… the HMO isn't getting sympathy from the business community: 68,000 companies will absorb the bulk of the higher premiums.

"It's a continuation of rate increases, and for small businesses in Hawaii particularly, it's death by a thousand cuts," said state Sen. Sam Slom, president and executive director of Smart Business Hawaii. "It's not one thing necessarily that puts them over the top. Just in the last couple months, businesses have gotten rate increases for electricity, water, sewer and motor vehicle fees."

read … Thanks, Neil

Kam Schools Spent $106M on DoE Programs

PBN: Kamehameha Schools educated about 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry last year through campuses on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, and at its 31 preschool sites statewide.

The private school also supported various public school efforts. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, Kamehameha Schools spent $106 million on such community outreach programs, including $31.9 million toward the Department of Education.

DoE: Pilot program to advance Race to the Top initiatives

read … Creeping Privatization?

Hilo: School Janitor Allegedly Phone in Threats

"On Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, the Hawaii District Department of Education received threatening phone calls regarding directed leave without pay, and the Department of Education informed the Hawaii Police Department on both days and is cooperating with the criminal investigation," said Mary Correa, the DOE's Ka'u-Keaau-Pahoa complex area superintendent.

The DOE has launched its own investigation into the threats regarding what used to be called furlough days, Correa said.

"As a precautionary measure, the Hawaii District Office in the state building was locked down, and other state offices were informed," she said.

Asked about the nature of the verbal threats, Correa said the caller threatened "violence," but declined to elaborate or reveal if the department knows who made them.

One source claimed the suspect is a disgruntled school janitor, but that information could not be confirmed, however….

Dela Cruz didn't have any information on what prompted the lockdown, a possible suspect or why the tax office was closed for a second day, effectively allowing employees to start their Christmas weekend early.

read … Get themselves a vacation

Snakes, Coqui Deployed in Effort to Rustle Up More HGEA, UPW Positions

SA: Okada said the state will have to capture more pests that get through because there haven't been enough people to spot them at the ports.

"When you're not at the front end, you end up chasing it on the back end," Okada said.

The state has had this problem with snakes, which could wipe out Hawaii's native endangered bird species they ever became established here. A dozen -- from boa constrictors to ball pythons -- have been either captured or turned in to authorities since July.

"There's a reason why all the snakes are coming out this year. We're not out in force anymore," Okada said.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie enabled the state to hire 10 more people to bring the inspector count close to 60, but Okada said they're still far short of where they need to be to effectively intercept pests entering Hawaii or traveling inter-island.

Okada said one scary thing about this past year was that many coqui were found closer to the base of Oahu's heavily forested mountains. The coqui population could explode if they started breeding somewhere like the back part of Manoa valley, where it frequently rains.

read … just like they do at this time every year

Sierra Club, Greenies, team up to Extract More Money from Ratepayers, Consumers

The Sierra Club is hosting a "Forces For Good Greed Symposium" at the Hawaii State Capitol from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7.

There will also be an afternoon of workshops focused on environmental issues important to Hawaii — topics covered include everything from Agriculture and Food to Hawaii's clean energy goals, smart growth, the reduction of plastic shopping bags, watersheds, good governance and lobbying skills.

Speakers from the Blue Planet Foundation, Common Cause Hawaii, Conservation Council For Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation, Kanu Hawaii, and others, will be on hand.

read … More Legislative preparation

Hilo Mortician Gets Fate Waihee Evades

SA: Diego was co-owner of Memorial Mortuary, which closed in 2006 after he pleaded no contest to charges of stealing from a trust fund for mortuary plans. Diego, his wife and daughter were ordered to pay $8 million in damages to some 100 customers.

The Diegos were arrested in 2002 by investigators from the state attorney general’s office looking into allegations of bodies being buried in bags instead of caskets purchased by relatives.

Related: State Sues to Get Back $39M Looted from Graves by John Waihee

read … Former Hilo mortician indicted in murder-for-hire plot

9th Circuit Overrules Seabright, Kiddie Porn Seized by TSA is Admissible

HR: A federal judge will allow child pornography found in the luggage of British national Simon McCarty to be introduced as evidence in a criminal trial scheduled to be held here next month.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright initially suppressed much of the evidence seized from McCarty, ruling that U.S. Transportation Security Administration officers in Hilo overstepped their authority when they examined the contents of his baggage.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Seabright’s suppression ruling, remanding the matter back to him for further consideration.

read … Kiddie Porn

Judicial panel's chief led way to rule change

SA: The leadership style, integrity and credibility of Susan Ichinose, chairwoman of the nine-member screening panel for state judge applicants, were key in bringing consensus to the group, say its members and her colleagues….

The 67-year-old Ichinose, elected chairwoman in June, was reluctant to accept individual credit for the changes.

"We worked together as a group," she said, although as chairwoman she placed the rules review on the agenda. "I think it was a matter that was generally accepted by the group," she said.

"We never really discussed the rules until this year," said Ichinose, who was sworn in in April 2007. "It's always been observing rules that have been in place for decades, and I observed the rules very strictly. But you know, you need change sometimes."

read … Change

Hawaii joins other states in supporting cigarette labels

SA: Several states and U.S. territories are weighing in on a lawsuit over proposed graphic cigarette warning labels that include a sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, saying the federal government should be allowed to require the labels for the "lethal and addictive" products.

The 24 attorneys general from Hawaii and other states filed a friend of the court brief on Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in support of the Food and Drug Administration's challenge of a lower court ruling in the case.

read … Could Undercut General Fund Revenues

Inouye Endorses Congressional Candidate Takano in CA-47

Democrats Exporting Money from Hawaii

read … Rafu Shimpo

President Obama starts delayed Hawaii vacation

KHON: President Barack Obama touched down on Oahu at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at 5:53 Friday evening to start his Christmas vacation with the rest of the First Family.

White House News Release: The Obamas, in Hawaii beach house, urge Americans to help the less fortunate

read … Obama Here Traffic Chaos

Obama Blames Hawaii For His Laziness

“There is a deep down, underneath all the work I do, I think there’s a laziness in me,” Obama reportedly told Barbara Walters. “It’s probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii, and it’s sunny outside and sitting on the beach.”

Read … Politico

Revolving Door: Kauai Garden Isle Editor Takes Utility Job

KGI: Randy Kozerski, editor and publisher of Kaua‘i’s only daily newspaper, The Garden Island, announced his resignation Friday.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” he said. “The Garden Island has about 50 employees and each one of them is to be commended for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the community. I am honored to have worked with them and it was humbling to lead such a talented team.”

Kozerski is leaving his position of two years to join the staff of Kaua‘i Island Utility Coooperative, the island’s electricity provider, as its controller.

Read … Revolving Door

HNN Video: 25th Infantry Soldiers talk one-on-one

Champoux says he's more encouraged after working with Iraqis than discouraged, but this will be a critical time for them. He hopes they'll build on the momentum. He explains, "Our effort has been about creating opportunities for them, and now, it's their opportunity."

read … 25th Infantry Soldiers talk one-on-one


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