State Roundup for March 24


Hiker drank rain, sweat to survive

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu hiker says he drank sweat and rainwater wrung from his clothes into a bottle during seven days in the mountains.

Mike Bowen and his small dog, Marley, set out on the hike on March 13 and planned to return Sunday, but he encountered problems, including heavy rain, fierce winds, deep mud and a lost tent.

Bowen got lost hiking and walked far more than the 20-mile Koolau (koh-OHL’-ow) Summit Trail and was running out of food and water. He communicated via text messages with a friend who called the fire department for help.

When a helicopter arrived, he asked to be pointed to a ridge to go down so he could hike out himself. But rescuers persuaded him to fly out.

Maui may lift limit on hostess bars

WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Maui’s Liquor Control Commission has approved a recommendation to lift the cap on the number of hostess bars in the county.

The county has reached its limit of 12 hostess bars, which are in Wailuku and Kahului. In hostess bars, employees sit with and entertain patrons.

The cap went into effect in the 1990s, when the county had a policy of no more than five hostess bars.

The Maui News reported Friday the rule amendment lifting the cap is expected to be forwarded to Mayor Alan Arakawa for final action.

The Liquor Department says it received letters asking for the cap to be lifted, citing reasons including free enterprise and the county’s increased population.

County spokesman Rod Antone says Arakawa will look at it when it crosses his desk.

City: Bus system can’t take students

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu warns its bus system might not be able to handle an influx in student ridership if school bus service is eliminated on Oahu next school year.

The state Department of Education is asking for $42 million from the state to preserve school bus service on Oahu and the neighbor islands. Education officials are deciding which bus routes can be cut first and eliminating service on Oahu is being discussed as a worst-case scenario.

City Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka says city bus routes are already crowded and expansion is not financially feasible.

The FBI has questioned Hawaii school bus contractors, apparently to investigate whether there was collusion to drive up service costs. Contractors deny the allegation.

Education team to arrive in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii State Department of Education will attempt to highlight various accomplishments when federal officials visit to examine the state’s Race to the Top progress.

The U.S. Department of Education review team will visit Hawaii Tuesday through Friday to reassess the “high-risk” status of a $75 million grant the department warned could be taken away because of unsatisfactory progress on promised reforms.

Among the highlights state education officials plan to show off include last month’s teacher union agreement for schools in zones targeted by reforms.