State roundup for May 9
Inouye center plans revealed
HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii has unveiled plans for the future center named after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, incorporating ideas that came from the public.
University officials say many of the ideas for the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Democratic Leadership came from workshops with students, faculty and community members.
The 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot center will be at the Manoa campus on the site where the aging Henke Hall now sits.
The university provided a preview this week, showing off contemporary design elements including glass walls, archival space for Inouye’s collections and a roof section designed to capture trade winds for natural ventilation.
The university backed off on its accelerated timeline for the center, previously estimated at $25 million, after criticism from the public and after deferring to the wishes of Inouye’s family.
Jennifer Sabas, the senator’s former chief of staff and now director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute Fund, said it was a difficult decision but necessary to allow more transparency and more time for planning.
Architects visited other congressional centers nationwide for ideas during the design phase.
The designs still face another year of tweaking and construction is expected to take up to two years, said Ben Lee, vice president of Clifford Planning &Architecture of Honolulu.
College rate is nearly the same
HONOLULU (AP) — A report tracking Hawaii high school seniors says the number bound for college remained flat last year.
The Department of Education’s annual college and career readiness indicators report was released Tuesday.
The report says 54 percent of Hawaii’s 2013 public school graduates enrolled in two- and four-year colleges in the fall. That’s up 1 percent from 2012 graduates. The national average is 62 percent.
Nearly 38 percent of the 2013 graduates enrolled at a University of Hawaii campus and one in three needed remedial courses to prepare for college-level courses.
The report says 32 percent had to take remedial math, down from 36 percent the previous year.
Thirty-one percent enrolling at UH had to take a remedial English course, the same level as the previous year.
Kauai measure would cut funds for natural spaces
LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — Kauai County Council members, facing a budget crunch, have advanced a bill that would cut funds for preserving natural spaces.
The measure would cut the property tax set aside for the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund.
That share of property taxes would fall from at least 1.5 percent to at least 0.5 percent. According to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s budget proposal, that would work out to a drop of about $850,000 in the next fiscal year.
The County Council could adopt the measure next week after the Planning Committee passed it by a 4-1 vote.
Committee members said they were torn between the need to balance the budget and their desire to protect a vital, voter-approved fund.
“This is a sacred cow,” councilman Tim Bynum said of the Open Space Fund, “but I’m actually considering letting some of it go because we need to behave fiscally responsibly.”
The lone opposition vote in the committee was cast by Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who said cutting from the fund could lead to complacency in preserving the island’s natural spaces.
“This is a fund that, if you start taking from it, you’re going to get used to taking from it,” Yukimura said. “I think we need to learn how to live with us putting aside — like putting aside for a college fund or a financial reserve. It’s a discipline that we need to get used to, and we need to figure out how to do it every year.”
Bus advertisement bill could be delayed to 2015
HONOLULU (AP) — It may take until next year to find out if the Honolulu City Council will approve advertising on the side of municipal buses.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1gbHWZN) reports the council returned the bill to its Budget Committee.
Budget Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi says she intends to hold the bill until council members deliberate on the fiscal 2016 budget next spring.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants bus advertisement to raise money for bus routes and administration officials have lobbied hard for its passage.
Transportation Services Director Michael Formby says it would bring in $6 million to $8 million and help restore bus routes that have been cut without raising fares or property tax.
Opponents object to a proliferation of outdoor advertising and say the city can’t control offensive content.
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