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Nominating committee to interview candidates to the Water Commission

Pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes §174C-7, the Nominating Committee to the State Commission on Water Resource Management will meet to review personnel applications and select nominees to fill one position on the State Commission on Water Resource Management. The qualifications for the position are established by law (Haw. Rev. Stat. §174C-7(b)).

The single task of the Nominating Committee is to review and submit a list to the Governor of at least three qualified individuals for each vacancy.

Date: March 31, 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 4:00pm*
Place: Commission on Water Resource Management Kalanimoku Building, Room 227, 1151 Punchbowl Street

*The meeting will be adjourned at the end of the final interview on the first day for continuation of the meeting on the next day. The meeting is anticipated to resume in executive session at the following date and time.

Date: April 1, 2015
Time:  8:00am – 1:00pm
Place: Commission on Water Resource Management Kalanimoku Building, Room 227, 1151 Punchbowl Street

Pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. §92-4, the Nominating Committee may hold an executive meeting closed to the public to discuss matters authorized under §92-5. Since the only purpose of the Nominating Committee is to review personnel applications (subject to privacy rights) and submit at least three qualified individuals for each vacancy, it is anticipated that the Nominating Committee will vote to meet in executive session closed to the public.

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Former director of Waianae non-profit charged with diverting more than $500,000 for personal use

Laura Pitolo, age 37, was charged yesterday with 6 felony theft counts for improperly diverting more than $500,000.00 in state funds from Waianae Community Outreach for use by herself, family members and friends, Attorney General Doug Chin announced.

“The charges against Pitolo are the result of over seven months of investigation conducted by special agents for the Attorney General into the misuse of state funds at Waianae Community Outreach,” said Deputy Attorney General Michael Kagami of the Criminal Justice Division. “The evidence uncovered indicates Ms. Pitolo diverted a substantial amount of state funds for personal use.”

“Hawaii citizens trust that their hard-earned tax dollars will be used to make communities better and not help one person get rich,” said Chin. “The amount allegedly stolen here is extremely serious.”

Waianae Community Outreach received funding from the state of Hawaii to serve homeless individuals. Pitolo was the program director at the time the thefts occurred. Pitolo was charged with five counts of first degree theft, each punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, and one count of second degree theft, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Pitolo is presumed innocent unless and until she is found guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

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DBEDT director confirmation sails through Senate

Unlike the Carleton Ching nomination for the director of DLNR, the confirmation of the director and deputy director for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism passed committee and the full senate with no hang-ups.

Above: The image presented by the Hawaii Senate here is one of unified support for Governor David Ige’s nomination; a big difference from yesterday’s non-vote on Ige’s nomination to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

In unanimous consent, members of the full senate today confirmed Luis Salaveria as the Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). Also confirmed, Mary Alice Evans as Deputy Director of the DBEDT.

“Our economy is in good hands,” said Senator Glenn Wakai, Chair of the Senate Economic Development and Technology committee. “He has the intelligence, background, and demeanor to launch our economy into new areas of profitability.”

Salavaria has more than 20 years of public and private sector experience and most recently served as the deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance. Evans has four decades of public service, starting as a student intern in the office of the Governor. She has been serving as deputy director of DBEDT since 2011.

“We’re very excited, very appreciative of the Senators’ confidence in us,” said Salaveria. “Our state is headed in the right direction. We have a lot of things we need to accomplish, such as diversifying the economy, cultivating innovation, and building the workforce of the future, all things that are important for the state and we look forward to getting to work.”

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The Carleton Ching withdrawal is a victory for Hawaii constituents

Regardless of whether you think Carleton Ching would fix the DLNR or favor developer interests that jeopardize our resources, the results of this strange confirmation process show that our voices can, and do, matter. We must stay engaged.

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Will Caron
Eight lessons from the Carleton Ching nomination

Governor Ige instigated a political crisis by nominating a developer's lobbyist to watch over Hawaii's natural resources. Here are some of the lessons that this crisis taught Hawaii about our political culture.

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Ikaika M Hussey
Community members allege desecration at North Shore heiau

Community members on the north shore led by anthropologist Malia Evans are claiming that a Waimea area land owner has damaged an ancient Hawaiian fishing heiau by stacking boulders up against it.

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Will Caron
Are there “safe levels” of pesticide exposure?

The State Department of Agriculture released a report finding pesticide levels near Waimea Canyon Middle School to be safe, but pesticide-regulation advocates aren't buying it.

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Will Caron
No cause of death yet for downtown “disorderly male”

On Monday evening, March 16, 2015 at about 8:16 p.m., Honolulu police officers responded to the area of South King Street fronting Iolani Palace on a report of a male wearing dark-colored clothing and running in the middle of the roadway, acting erratically. Officers closed South King and Richards Streets throughout the incident.

According to police, the male refused to leave the roadway, continuously running away and evading the officers as they approached him. OC pepper spray was used but was ineffective as the male continued to remain on the roadway. An electric gun was deployed twice but was also ineffective. The male tripped and fell while trying to run away, at which time officers were able to gain control of the combative male and placed him under arrest. The male was escorted to the sidewalk when he suddenly became unresponsive.

The Emergency Services and Honolulu Fire Departments responded to the scene. The male was transported via ambulance to the Queens Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Captain Rade Vanic, a spokesperson for HPD, told the Independent that there is no cause of death available at this time.

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The irony of the U.S. military’s climate change spending

The debate over the recently released House Republican budget proposal has revealed that the United States military—one of he top polluters in the Pacific—is, in fact, very aware of the reality of climate change.

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Will Caron