POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learn about habitat homes

A program that gives low-income families an opportunity to build or renovate a home on their property will be described at informational meetings in May.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity builds homes with volunteer labor in partnership with families who own or lease property. Families participate in the building, then purchase the structure for the cost of construction, through a 20-year, no-interest loan serviced by the nonprofit organization.

Anyone who intends to apply for the program is required to attend an information session. They will be held:

» Saturday, 10:30 a.m., at Windward Community College, Hale Kuhina Room 115.

» Monday, 6:30 p.m., at Windward Community College, Hale Alakai Room 102.

» May 9, 10:30 a.m., at Papakolea Community Center.

» May 11, 6:30 p.m., at Papakolea Community Center.

Hawaii is second in pork, group says

A taxpayer watchdog group says Hawaii ranks second in the nation when it comes to pork-barrel projects.

In its annual “;Congressional Pig Book,”; Citizens Against Government Waste says the state is getting $235 per person in federal earmarks that are not the subject of congressional hearings and serve only local or special interests.

Among the Hawaii projects cited: $9.9 million for the USS Missouri, $7.1 for the conservation and recovery of endangered Hawaiian sea turtles, $2.6 million for Hawaiian monk seals and conservation of Pacific crustaceans, $2 million for the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii and $1.2 million for control of the brown tree snake, which the group said is “;still slithering through the appropriations bill.”;

The group also notes that U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye earmarked $3.6 million for intelligent decision exploration, “;something many members of Congress should be doing.”;

Only Alaska has higher per-capita earmark spending, with $322 per person.

The group identified 10,160 projects in 12 bills that met its criteria for pork, a 12.5 percent decrease from 11,610 projects last fiscal year. The spending—$19.6 billion—is a 14 percent increase over last fiscal year's total of $17.2 billion.

Charities registered online top 700

More than 700 charities that have registered with the state are listed online.

State law requires that every public benefit corporation and charitable organization register with the attorney general's office before seeking funds. The state database of charities can be found at ag.ehawaii.gov/charity.

Neighbor island watch

KAUAI COUNTY » Residents can sign up for Connect-CTY, a free service that notifies subscribers of emergencies through phone calls, text messages, e-mails and devices for the hearing-impaired. A test will be conducted at 11:45 a.m. Friday. Sign up by calling 241-1800 or visiting kauai.gov.

HILO » State officials announced new baggage-claim designations at Hilo Airport to accommodate Mokulele Airlines, which begins service to Hilo on Friday. The designations are Hawaiian Airlines (A), Island Air (B), go! Airlines (C) and Mokulele (D).

KAHULUI » Students from Maui High School won the state title Saturday at the 2009 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition. Edler Espiritu, 17, and Chester Coloma, 18, will represent Hawaii in June in the national finals in Michigan. The contest is sponsored by AAA Hawaii to attract and train young people in the automotive profession, according to a news release.