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POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2009

550,000 pounds of food fill coffers

The Hawaii Foodbank says its annual food drive that concluded yesterday was a success.

The nonprofit raised $450,000 in donations and collected 550,000 pounds of food, said Linda Chu Takayama, chairwoman of the board.

“;We declared victory and we're very excited about it,”; she said.

Food Bank President Dick Grimm said the donations will help feed more hungry at a time when the need is growing.

The food bank distributed 961,000 pounds of food last month, compared with 633,000 pounds for the same month last year.

The Hawaii Foodbank helps feed nearly 132,000 people each year, distributed through a network of 250 member agencies.

Law affecting old buildings struck

A 2008 law that delayed remodeling projects on buildings more than 50 years old has been stricken from the statutes.

Gov. Linda Lingle signed a bill last week repealing Act 228, which held every old home and commercial building to the same standard as structures of historic or architectural significance.

It required property owners to submit archival-quality photographs of their buildings to the state Historic Preservation Division for a ruling before the structures could be altered or demolished.

The law “;impeded the issuance of building permits at a time when we should be doing all we can to facilitate construction activity in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs,”; Lingle said in a statement. Last year she allowed Act 228 to become law without her signature, and proposed this year narrowing its scope to buildings eligible for the State Register of Historic Places or the national register.

Lawmakers decided to repeal the law they passed last year.

Lawmakers side with Superferry

The Hawaii Legislature joined the executive branch in asking for a reconsideration of a state Supreme Court ruling requiring the Hawaii Superferry to complete an environmental impact study.

Gov. Linda Lingle's administration filed a motion for reconsideration Monday, and lawmakers filed a friend-of-the-court brief Thursday.

The Legislature's brief says the ruling will hamper its ability to make policy that benefits the state, even if it knowingly or unknowingly pertains to only one person, business or other entity.

The owner of the Superferry has returned its catamaran to Mobile, Ala., and is seeking other uses for it.

Obama selects Honolulu Man

President Barack Obama is nominating a Honolulu man to the position of assistant secretary for veterans employment and training in the U.S. Department of Labor.

Raymond M. Jefferson, who was deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism in 2003 and 2004, was among several White House nominations announced Friday.

Jefferson has been a leadership consultant for more than 20 years, most recently with McKinsey & Co. Southeast Asia.

A former Army officer, he lost all five fingers on his left hand when a hand grenade detonated prematurely during Special Forces training.

Neighbor island watch

Kauai » The Philippine government is deporting a suspected Kauai drug dealer back to Hawaii, according to news reports from the Philippines. Rizal Blagos, 60, was arrested last month in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, on a Hawaii warrant. He is also allegedly involved in a corruption case involving members of the Kauai Police Department.

Kahului » Maui County is getting $977,811 in federal stimulus money to buy three new buses, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced. The county is putting up $161,865 toward the purchase of the 37-seat buses scheduled to arrive next year.

Hilo » Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi says his office is investigating “;very serious”; and possibly illegal abuse of Internet access on county computers. Kenoi said Friday the probe goes back to January 2008 and includes the potentially illegal use of county computers for political activity, as well as other serious abuses.