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Newswatch

For Thursday, July 21, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:48 a.m. HST, Jul 21, 2011



Records office says it has no power

Hawaii's open records agency is claiming in an unsigned opinion online Tuesday that state law gives it no power to enforce its rulings.

The article, called "The Raw Truth," says the Office of Information Practices has never been given authority to compel the government to follow its rulings, despite a state law that says agencies shall make records available when the OIP makes a determination that records should be disclosed. The OIP says the Hawaii Supreme Court has rejected its arguments that opinions mandating disclosure are binding upon agencies.

OIP lawyers said in February that Gov. Neil Abercrombie must release the names of candidates for a position on the Supreme Court, but he has refused to comply.

State seeks more education funds

Hawaii is seeking up to $50 million in federal funding under the government's new early learning challenge in its Race to the Top program.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office said Tuesday it alerted the U.S. departments of Education and Health and Human Services last week that it intends to participate in the program, meeting a July 15 deadline.

The early learning grant competition is meant to support states' efforts to increase numbers of low-income children enrolled in early learning programs, design an integrated system of programs and address demands of high-need children.

Thriving honeybees on Maui draw state's attention

WAILUKU » A state agriculture specialist is traveling to Maui to investigate why honeybees are surviving on Maui and Kauai while they are disappearing in record numbers across the rest of the nation.

The Maui News reported Wednesday that Department of Agriculture specialist Danielle Downey plans to meet with beekeepers to conduct a survey and inspection of bees and their hives.

Scientists don't completely understand the phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder.

Downey asked beekeepers to watch out for nonnative mites and beetles, which carry diseases with the potential to kill off hives or entire colonies. So far, the bugs haven't been spotted on Maui or Kauai.

Off-duty officer captures fugitive at medical clinic

A man wanted on forgery and theft charges unexpectedly encountered an off-duty police officer at the Kauai Medical Clinic on Tuesday afternoon and wound up in the county jail.

Calvin Lopez, 24, of Kapaa was being held in lieu of $2,100 bail.

About 2 p.m. Tuesday, the officer recognized Lopez at the clinic and called for on-duty personnel to assist. However, Lopez began to leave the facility before police arrived. The off-duty officer approached him and identified himself, according to a Kauai County news release.

After a brief struggle, the officer held Lopez until uniformed officers arrived, the news release said.

Lopez was indicted June 23 on charges of second-degree forgery and unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, and two counts of fourth-degree theft.






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