POSTED: Friday, June 26, 2009

Share your stories of statehood

Were you around when Hawaii became a state in 1959? We'd like to hear from you for a commemorative 50th-anniversary edition.

What do you remember about that day—Aug. 20, 1959? Was it small-kid time for you, were you caught up in the moment? Do you remember the parades or the sounding of church bells? What are your impressions half a century later? If you were older in 1959, what did you think about Hawaii becoming a state? Has statehood been good for the islands? Why or why not? If 1959 was way, way before your time, we'd like to hear how you feel about statehood, too.

Please write to the addresses below. Include your name and phone number.

E-mail your thoughts to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Or mail them to Statehood, Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 210, 96813.

City fined $32,400 in air violations

The city's Kailua and Honouliuli wastewater treatment plants and Westin Maui Corp. have been cited for air pollution violations by the state Health Department's Clean Air Branch.

The city was penalized a total of $32,400.

The Kailua plant was fined $25,800 for three violations involving hydrogen sulfide readings exceeding permit limits. The violations were discovered during an inspection and records review.

The Honouliuli plant at Ewa Beach was penalized $6,600 for exceeding its fence-line permit limit. The violation on Feb. 16 was self-reported.

A $2,600 penalty was imposed on Westin Maui Corp. for late submittal of semiannual monitoring reports from January to June last year for two steam boilers in Lahaina. The violation was discovered during a review of records.

Flu hits 6 more in Hawaii tour group

The swine flu virus has infected five more students and a chaperone on a Pacific and Asian Affairs Council study tour to South Korea. That brings the number of infections on the tour to 11 since their arrival Monday.

PAAC spokesperson Ruth Limtiaco said the six, who were given a blood test Wednesday, have normal white blood cell counts, but were told they have to remain in quarantine at Seobook Hospital in Incheon. A second chaperone also tested Wednesday was diagnosed with pneumonia and will be hospitalized through next Wednesday, she said.

The tour group consists of 21 students and four chaperones who have been quarantined since routine thermal scans at the airport detected low fevers in five students Monday. They are all being treated with Tamiflu to lessen the effects of the H1N1 virus, and have had few symptoms, she said.

One of the original five students was released yesterday and joined the rest of the group at the hotel, where they are now free to continue their tour, Limtiaco said.

While chaperones have said the students have shown boredom with their confinement, “;they are not fearful. There's a certain amount of anxiety on the part of the parents, but no parent is freaking out. The students have all been in contact with their parents, which makes them much more at ease. And the kids are feeling good,”; she said.

Flags at half-staff for Duke Bainum

Gov. Linda Lingle has ordered the state flag to be lowered to half-staff at all state and county buildings today in honor of late City Council member Duke Bainum.

“;I further encourage the people of Hawaii to display the Hawaii flag at half-staff at their homes and businesses,”; she said. “;Hawaii is a richer place because of dedicated public servants like Duke Bainum.”;

Funeral services for Bainum take place today, with visitation starting at noon and services at 2 p.m. at Hosoi Garden Mortuary.

Bainum, 56, a physician who served as a state House member in 1990-94 and then as a council member for more than eight years, died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on June 9, leaving his wife, Jennifer, and two sons, ages 1 and 2 1/2 years old.

Court kills campaign donation limits

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that allows businesses and unions to donate the same amount to candidates as individuals.

The court decided yesterday that campaign donations funneled to a candidate by a corporation or union are not restricted to $1,000 per election.

Instead, they can donate as much as campaign committees and individuals—between $2,000 and $6,000 per election cycle, depending on the office being sought.

The dispute arose out of a law passed by the 2005 Legislature that the state Campaign Spending Commission argued was meant to curb the influence of businesses in elections.

The court ruled against the commission.

Kauai to raise price of water to cover costs

Kauai County is increasing the price for water by 3 cents per 1,000 gallons effective Wednesday, according to a county news release.

The reason for the increase is to cover energy costs, which account for a significant percentage of the Kauai Department of Water's annual expenses, the county said.

Last year, energy costs comprised 17 percent of the department's operating expenses, or $2.9 million.

All Water Department revenues come from water sales, not from real property taxes, and the department does not get money from the county's general fund.

Water sales last year totaled $17.2 million, the county said.

The county said that if energy costs decline in the future, there could be a decrease in water rates.

For more information call 245-5455.