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Hawaii Island News, 12 February 2010


A new green building code that takes effect May11th will cost new homebuilders almost $2,000 in additional costs.  According to “West Hawaii Today”, insulation will be required in all new homes and multifamily structures, even if they don’t have cooling and heating systems.  Also, all individual apartments and condos must have individual electric meters.  County Public Works Director Warren Lee says individual costs should be negotiable, saying people will have to learn about the wise use of electricity.  The new code will exempt indigenous architecture and historic buildings.

Big Island business leaders who testified before the state legislature told “West Hawaii “Today” that a house bill to lower unemployment insurance tax rates will not provide enough relief for struggling entrepreneurs.  The tax bill introduced by Oahu representative Karl Rhoads is an attempt to soften the impact of a massive 1,000 percent increase in unemployment insurance taxes this year.  Big Island business owners asked legislators to amend the bill to spread out the rate increase over three to four years.

Now that parents and teachers have approved a public charter school option for Laupahoehoe High and Elementary School, the real work begins.  School supporters turned to the charter school alternative as a way of keeping classrooms open and of expanding the curriculum.  Fred Pollock, the project manager for the federal charter school grant tells “West Hawaii Today” the vote showed great community support for reclaiming education in the Laupahoehoe area.  Pollock believes the charter school option will bring the community together and offer more learning opportunities for students.

A bill passed out of the State Senate Committee on Education and Housing will require public school students spend a minimum of 190 days and 36 hours a week in class.  State senator Norman Sakamoto tells the “Honolulu Advertiser” tht the bill is an acknowledgment that Hawaii is one of the only states that does not mandate instructional time in state law.  Sakamoto says he prefers a bill that specifies both number of days and hours of instruction.

The State Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology has voted to defer indefinitely a proposal from Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona to create a volunteer Hawaii  Sports Commission.  In faulting the decision, Aiona told the “Honolulu Advertiser” that residents from across the state had stepped forward to support such a commission.  Aiona said there’s no statewide organization to attract, develop, manage, and promote sports and sporting events in the state.

A bill tht could lead to casinos on Hawaiian Home Lands has passed out of the state House Judiciary Committee, while a separate measure that would allow a single casino on Oahu has also advanced.  Advocates for both bills told the “Honolulu Advertiser” that the state’s economic budget woes warrant a closer look at gambling proposals.

June Mohr, 16, of Kailua-Kona and Britany Amano, 12, of Honolulu have been named Hawaii’s top youth volunteers for 2010 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.  June was nominated by Kealakehe High School for her role in raising more than $27,000 for the American Cancer Society through its Relay for Life program.  Both nominees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medalion, and an all-expense paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C.

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