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State roundup for July 16

Water jet pack rules considered

HONOLULU (AP) — The Department of Land and Natural Resources is holding a public meeting this week to discuss possible state rules for water-powered jet packs.

The department says it called the meeting in response to public concerns about the jet packs, which can appear to make people fly over water. Users may reach heights up to 30 feet in the air and speeds up to 32 miles per hour.

Users strap the devices to their backs like backpacks. They’re elevated when a tube connected to a small boat delivers pressurized water to the packs.

The meeting will be held at the department’s board room in Honolulu at 9 a.m. Thursday

New education site is launched

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s Department of Education has redesigned its website after nearly a year of research and $1.7 million in federal funds.

HawaiiPublic launched Monday.

Education officials say the overhauled site will increase communication and transparency.

The department used some of its federal Race to the Top money to build the new site. The money will also be used to develop an employee intranet, which is set to launch in the fall. Hawaii won a $75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement educational reforms.

Ticket policy to change at UH

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii is planning to make significant changes in how complimentary tickets to it sporting events are issued.

The university’s athletic department distributed nearly $2.5 million annually in complimentary tickets to it sporting events.

Athletic director Ben Jay says the department is now looking at restricting who will be able to get tickets and how many they can get.

The planned changes will begin with football.

People expected to be affected by the change include UH administrators, employees and their family members who are not performing a legitimate state purpose.

Murder suspect to get evaluation

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — A mental fitness evaluation will determine if a Molokai man accused of murdering his girlfriend is competent to stand trial.

Marlin Lavoie has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the March shooting death of 24-year-old Malia Kahalewai, the mother of their four children. She died of a single gunshot wound to her chest.

Defense attorney Chris Dunn says Lavoie was suffering from a physical or mental disease, disorder or defect at the time of the shooting. Dunn says his client lacks the mental capacity to understand the court proceedings against him.

A judge granted a request for mental evaluations.

Lavoie will be examined by three court-appointed mental health professionals. Reports on their findings are due Aug. 26.


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