POSTED: Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Interim election chief to be chosen

The state Elections Commission will hold a meeting tomorrow via videoconference to select an interim replacement for Chief Election Officer Kevin Cronin.

Cronin is resigning the following day.

The commission also is to select a panel of members to search for a permanent replacement.

Two of Cronin's deputies are potential candidates for both the interim and permanent positions.

Commissioners and the public can access the meeting from state videoconferencing centers in Honolulu, Hilo, Lihue, Wailuku and Kailua-Kona.

By meeting that way, the commission can avoid paying for travel expenses and save money for the cash-strapped elections office.


City's HR director retiring Thursday

The director of the city's Department of Human Resources is retiring on Thursday, the city said.

Kenneth Y. Nakamatsu has been a member of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's Cabinet for five years. “;He's been a key adviser on labor and human resources concerns, bringing his experience and expertise to bear on so many of the challenges facing city government,”; Hannemann said in a release.

Nakamatsu's deputy director, Noel T. Ono, will replace him. Ono has been deputy since 2003. Before joining Hannemann's team, Ono worked with the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers.

Robin T. Chun-Carmichael, who heads the department's Labor Relations and Training Division, will replace Ono as deputy. The changes are effective Friday, the city said.


National board certifies 40 teachers

Forty more teachers in Hawaii have earned National Board Certification, a rigorous process that requires them to demonstrate exceptional knowledge of the subject matter and teaching ability.

There are now 243 teachers with National Board Certification in Hawaii, the vast majority of whom teach in the public schools. They receive an annual $5,000 salary bonus. All but three of the newly certified teachers work in public schools.

“;Most of our National Board Certified teachers teach in schools that serve large numbers of disadvantaged students,”; said Jonathan Gillentine, chairman of the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board, which provides support sessions for teachers pursuing the distinction.

Certification is handled by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.



Feral species to be hunted using copters

The state plans to hunt feral goats, sheep and other invasive species from helicopters next month to protect an endangered bird's habitat.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will close the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve and Kaohe Game Management Area on Jan. 26-27 while shooters fire at the animals from the air.

The state says it must close the Big Island areas to limit the danger to people during the aerial hunt.

It plans to make the animal carcasses available to the public on the hunt days.

The grazing animals destroy mamane trees eaten by the palila, a yellow-crowned songbird that lives on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea.

The bird's population has shrunk by more than 60 percent in six years to just 2,200 last year.