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Newswatch

For Wednesday, July 20, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:



Fireworks amnesty program is pau

Nearly 10,000 pounds of fireworks was collected over the weekend, during the Honolulu Fire Department's final amnesty day when people could turn in unwanted and illegal fireworks without penalty.

Assorted fireworks totaling 9,350 pounds were turned in at four fire stations on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the four-weekend total to about eight tons of contraband fireworks. The fireworks will be taken to an undisclosed location for disposal.

"We're pleased that so many people took advantage of the amnesty program to turn in more than 16,000 pounds of fireworks that are now illegal," police Chief Louis Kealoha said. "We thank the public and the Honolulu Fire Department for making the program a success."

As of Jan. 2 all fireworks are banned on Oahu, with the exception of firecrackers with a valid permit.

No future amnesty dates are scheduled.

Bombardier loses appeal over rail contract

One of two companies whose bids were passed over to provide Honolulu with rail cars lost its protest Tuesday over the awarding of the contract.

An administrative hearings officer with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs rejected Bombardier Transportation's arguments that it was unfairly disqualified during the bidding process.

The city chose Italian-based Ansaldo Honolulu, whose bid called for a $1.45 billion contract. Bombardier Transportation's best and final offer was rejected due to a contract language change in its proposal regarding liability to which the city did not agree.

Officials from both companies declined comment after Tuesday's hearing.

On Wednesday the state Office of Administrative Hearings will hold a hearing among the city, Ansaldo and the other losing bidder, Sumitomo Corp. of America.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Kauai disposal site not taking metal or appliances

Kauai County's Hanalei solid waste transfer station is not accepting scrap metal and appliances until further notice because it has reached capacity.

County Public Works officials said they hope to resume service by week's end.

Area residents can take scrap metal and appliances to the Kapaa transfer station or to Puhi Metals Facility.

People may continue to take other recyclable items to the Hanalei transfer station, including green waste, propane tanks, used tires, household recycling items placed in Kaua'i Recycles drop bins, and residential used motor oil and oil filters. Call 241-4837.

Attorney clears Hawaii County's campaign funding

An attorney for the state Campaign Spending Commission says Hawaii County's trial run of publicly funded political campaigns should continue in the 2012 elections, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding a similar program in Arizona unconstitutional.

West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday that commission general counsel Gary Kam said the court's decision applies only to "equalizing funds" that were not used in last year's Hawaii County elections because no candidate qualified to receive them.

Equalizing funds are disbursed to a certified candidate in a contested election when the candidate is outspent by an opposing candidate who isn't participating in the publicly funded system.

Kam said the commission will decide Sept. 1 whether the Hawaii island program will continue.

Funding would become available to candidates beginning Jan. 1.






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