State roundup for June 6
Agency seeks return of $8M in grant money
HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says it wants Honolulu to return $8 million in grant money because of the city’s lax oversight over projects operated by a nonprofit agency.
The department is questioning oversight of grants passed on to Opportunities and Resources Inc. Anuenue Hale for its Anuenue Hale Aloha Gardens project and its Camp Pineapple 808 project.
A HUD letter and report sent Monday to Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city appears to have ignored regulatory violations in favor of completing ORI requests.
The department says ORI despite warnings failed to comply with eligibility requirements for the projects that were to serve elderly and disabled people.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/13FwYpE) reports Mayor Kirk Caldwell will ask city staff to review the findings.
Schatz welcomes invite to ASEAN defense ministers
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is welcoming an invitation by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for Southeast Asian defense ministers to come to Hawaii.
Hagel said in Singapore over the weekend he’s inviting defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to meet in Hawaii next year. Hagel says the gathering would be the first ASEAN defense ministers meeting hosted by the United States.
Schatz said Tuesday the conference would showcase Hawaii’s critical role in Asia and the Pacific.
The senator says the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit of 2011 demonstrated Hawaii could tackle the security challenges of a high-level meeting.
He says the ASEAN defense ministers meeting will provide further proof that Hawaii is a prime location for national and international meetings.
Lifeguards assist 28 in ocean rescues
HONOLULU (AP) — High waves are keeping lifeguards busy.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/14gTI1o) reports City Ocean Safety Division workers assisted 28 people in ocean rescues Tuesday.
Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright says they issued warnings about hazardous conditions to another 250 people.
National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Wroe says storms forming southeast of New Zealand typically send large swells toward Hawaii in June.
A high-surf advisory is in effect through 6 a.m. Thursday for south-facing shores of all islands.
Waves on Wednesday are forecast to reach 6 to 10 feet.
Ocean Safety operations chief Jim Howe says workers typically rescue seven people per week. He says the high surf and the large number of visitors in Waikiki factored into Tuesday’s higher rescue numbers.
Kauai seeks group to administrate EBT at markets
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — The director of Kauai County’s Office of Economic Development says it’s looking for a new organization to administer a program that allows federal food stamp payments to be used at farmers markets.
George Costa says the Kauai Independent Food Bank will end its operation of the Electronics Benefits Transfer program on July 1.
Costa says in an announcement that the Kauai County Council have approved a $50,000 grant for an organization to become a certified Electronics Benefits Transfer provider and that his office will administer the grant.
Patrons of the Kapaa sunshine market tell The Garden Island (http://bit.ly/1b5hrlp) they’re concerned about an interruption.
Lisa Raphael of Wailua says the transfer program allows her to eat healthy food and helps farmers offer locally grown food.
Royal Hawaiian Band returns to Kapiolani Park
HONOLULU (AP) — The Royal Hawaiian Band is once more performing at Kapiolani Park every Sunday.
The free, hour-long concerts at the park bandstand begin at 2 p.m.
The City and County of Honolulu said Tuesday the band took a brief hiatus from concerts there while the bandstand underwent repairs.
The Royal Hawaiian Band was founded in 1836 by an order of King Kamehameha III. It’s one of the last living links to Hawaii’s monarchy.
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