Hawaii Historic Preservation administrator resigns
HONOLULU — The administrator of Hawaii’s state Historic Preservation Division has resigned after a federal report criticized the way the office was responding to operational problems that threaten federal funding.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the resignation of Pua Aiu on Tuesday.
DLNR Chairman William Aila says the agency is working to pick a new administrator in the next three months.
The National Park Service said last week that it still considers the division a high risk grantee, despite its efforts under a two-year plan.
Aila says the division has made progress in several areas, including working through a backlog of review and compliance tasks. But he says the division needs new leadership.
Aiu was the division’s administrator for five years.
4-star general takes command of US Army Pacific
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — A four-star general is leading the Army in the Asia and Pacific region for the first time in nearly four decades.
Gen. Vincent Brooks took command of U.S. Army Pacific during a ceremony before several hundred people at Fort Shafter just outside Honolulu on Tuesday.
A four-star general commanded last U.S. Army Pacific in 1974.
The Obama administration elevated the command’s status as it refocuses attention on the region.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told the crowd that U.S. national security and military strategy calls for rebalancing toward Asia and the Pacific. He says this recognizes how critical relationships and events in the region will help the nation grow economically and establish security.
Brooks leads more than 80,000 soldiers from Washington state to Alaska, Hawaii and Japan.
Waikiki workers, hotel reach contract agreement
HONOLULU — Union workers have reached a contract agreement with one of the largest hotels in Waikiki.
The agreement ends a boycott against the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the agreement covers also Hyatt employees represented by Unite Here in San Francisco and Los Angeles. A contract for the Waikiki hotel expired in 2010.
The union declined to provide contract specifics.
Local union officials have said the main issue was subcontracting and outsourcing of jobs. Workers also wanted better working conditions for housekeepers, who have to lift heavy beds.
The national union says all proposed contracts provide retroactive wage increases and maintain health care and pension benefits.
If ratified, the contract covers workers until 2018.
Hawaii roads rank 48th in performance, efficiency
HONOLULU — A new study ranks Hawaii’s roads 48th in the nation.
The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report says Hawaii’s state-maintained system ranks second from the bottom in performance and efficiency and suffered the worst rate of decline in the nation from 1989 to 2009.
The nonprofit group says Hawaii’s roads have the worst pavement conditions of all 50 states.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday Hawaii received the dismal rankings despite having the smallest state highway system in the nation and spending nearly the most on road maintenance.
The study also ranks Hawaii 49th for its number of deficient bridges.
State transportation officials acknowledge highways need serious improvements. A department spokeswoman says higher shipping costs force Hawaii to spend more on construction.
2nd man receives 20-year sentence in Hawaii scam
HONOLULU — A co-defendant convicted of stealing credit and debit card information at Waikiki gas stations has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Akop Changryan was sentenced Monday for first-degree identity theft. He and co-defendant Vardan Kagramany must pay more than $157,000 in restitution to affected Hawaii banks.
Kagramany was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison. Jurors convicted both men of identity theft after they were extradited to Hawaii from California.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter says Changryan installed the skimming devices while Kagramany served as the lookout. He says both men are members of a criminal organization in Los Angeles known as Armenia Power.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports 29-year-old Changryan plans to appeal his conviction.
AAA Hawaii offers ‘Tipsy Tow’ for July 4th holiday
HONOLULU — AAA Hawaii is offering a free ride home and tow service for drinking drivers over the Fourth of July holiday.
The “Tipsy Tow” service is meant to be a last resort. The service is available from 6 p.m. Wednesday until midnight Thursday.
Calling 800-222-4357 will allow drivers who have been drinking a free tow up to five miles. For distances farther than five miles, drivers will pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor.
AAA Hawaii reminds drivers it only takes one or two alcoholic drinks to slow physical and mental skills, affecting vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time.
AAA estimates that a first-time drunken-driving conviction can cost $15,000 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance costs.