POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009




        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.


State AG defends furlough plan

State Attorney General Mark Bennett, in legal papers submitted yesterday, said unions representing state employees have no legal grounds for their request to block Gov. Linda Lingle's furlough plan.

The right of public employees to bargain collectively over wages, hours and work conditions “;has always been subject to the powers that are reserved for management,”; including those impacting wages and hours, Bennett said in papers filed with Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto.

He also asserted that Lingle's furlough plan is valid under the state constitution, and the unions' legal challenge should first be heard by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, which comprises three Lingle appointees.

Sakamoto has set a hearing for Thursday on motions filed last week by the unions, which want to block Lingle's order that 15,600 state workers begin taking three unpaid days off each month, starting July 6.

Kaahumanu kids score with video

A team of 15 Queen Kaahumanu Elementary School students won two first-place awards in national and state contests for their video, “;Tick-Tock Time is Running Out to Stop Global Warming.”;

The students were co-winners of the nationwide Eco-Comedy Video Competition, sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Friends of the Earth, Mill Reef Productions and EcoSense.

They also won the sixth annual Youth Xchange Video Competition, sponsored by Olelo Community Television and the state Department of Health, in the elementary Global Warming category.

The team of fourth- and fifth-graders is called ChainjMakers, whose motto is, “;Linking together to support positive change.”;

The students met after school, and gave up recess and lunch breaks to write, film, edit and direct the video. Learning more about technology was secondary to the friendships and teamwork they enjoyed, a news release said.

The team comprised Aga-Alofa Autele, Alden Fernandez, Andy Tran, Anthony Nguyen, Danalyn Balbas, Deevon Donre, Edriane Castro, Geliann Engio, Harrison Trang, Iaesha Draper, Kelly Lu, Macks Gilding, Tiare Kaleiwahea, Vivien Chen and Wun-Shen Chen.

To watch the video go to www.foe.org/film-competition.

Plan early beach stake-out for Fourth

Those planning Independence Day picnics at two Oahu beaches will be allowed to stake out their territory Friday night.

The city will suspend park closure rules for one night only at Ala Moana and Maili beach parks, where hundreds are expected to gather to watch public fireworks displays.

All picnic areas will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. But don't start the party early, warns the Department of Parks and Recreation. Overnight camping and celebrations will not be allowed, according to an announcement.

Ala Moana Park will not be open to overnight parking. Vehicles must leave by 10 p.m. Friday. The park will be open at 4 a.m. Saturday.

Kailua Beach Park and Maunalua Bay will also be the scenes of Saturday evening fireworks displays. The Kailua parking lot will be closed Friday night.

Charter school fights for assets

HILO » The Waters of Life Public Charter School isn't going down without a fight.

Officials of the Big Island school have gone to court to stop the state Charter School Review Panel from seizing its assets.

The panel voted earlier this month to revoke the school's charter, citing “;ongoing problems and deficiencies,”; a “;historical pattern of financial instability and poor fiscal management”; and chronic issues with inadequate school facilities.

An attorney for the school, Gary Zamber, says panel officials were turned away from the school last week and were also stymied at a bank after trying to seize the school's financial assets.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Glenn Hara ordered the school's assets held in trust until the outcome of the legal challenge.