Hawaii State News, afternoon update, 16 Jan 2019

Welcome to the afternoon edition of “Hawaii News Digest”–Hawaii Island News.  Views expressed in this Hawaii News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Topics cited in today’s post come from the current issue of “Hawaii Business Magazine”, published in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Accessed on 16 January 2019, 2357 UTC, Post 18273.



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Iolani Palace grounds to close at night
Starting Feb. 1, the grounds of the palace will close at 6 p.m. The change in hours is to better protect the historic and culturally priceless monument. Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell cited vandalism, vagrancy and drug use on the palace grounds as reasons for the change. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.

The 30th biennial Hawaii Legislature convenes today
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are vowing to avoid the bitterness and divisiveness that has defined the federal government. Both parties are expected to lay out their legislative priorities for the year, which will likely involve raising the minimum wage, legalizing recreational marijuana, and funding disaster recovery. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser.KITV.

State auditor questions Honolulu rail spending on contract hires
The Honolulu rail project is spending more than $42,000 a month on contract hires including some who hold senior management positions within the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, but the agency does not evaluate the performance of those non-city workers, according to a new report issued by the Hawaii State Auditor today. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.Associated Press. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.
Audit of HART, report 2 is available here.

Government shutdown triggers early distribution of food stamps
Tens of thousands of Hawaii residents will get their February food stamp payments almost two weeks ahead of schedule on Jan. 20. It’s prompting the state to warn recipients to carefully budget their grocery purchases. The central message: Once the payment is gone, it’s unclear how much will be disbursed in March if the shutdown hasn’t been resolved. Hawaii News Now.

Education officials are keeping teacher misconduct a secret
The Hawaii Department of Education is refusing to release records that show why teachers are being disciplined, including a number of actions taken against teachers who have been fired in recent years. That makes it impossible for the public and parents to check up on what’s happening to bad teachers and where they are ending up. Civil Beat.

Fight against climate change is “an all-out, all-in war”
Hawaii needs to have a “serious, adult, public conversation” about climate change as part of its effort to actually move the ball forward to combat the worst effects of a warming planet, Beverly Scott, a nationally recognized expert in transit and sustainable infrastructure, said. Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Hawaii Climate Conference, Scott said the Aloha State has the right goals, carbon neutrality, 100 percent renewable energy, a clean transportation sector. Civil Beat.

Lunar eclipse set to light up the sky 
A total lunar eclipse and super moon will light up the sky on Sunday, January 20. The lunar eclipse will create a red glow, while the super moon will make it appear bigger and brighter. Viewers are supposed to be able to see it without a telescope if the weather hold up, but if you want to do something extra special, the Royal Hawaiian Center will offer a viewing from 7-8:30 PM.  KHON2.

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Until next time,

Russ Roberts