BY HAWAII REPORTER

Hawaii a Top Travel Pick for 2011

Hawaii will remain a top destination for travelers this year, according to an Orbitz analysis of booking trends, search terms and opinions.

The online travel agency said Hawaii, along with Las Vegas and Cancun, is expected to be a popular destination this year because of its ability to reinvent itself and offer new experiences at great prices. It noted Hawaii will embellish its reputation for family vacations this year with the opening of the Disney Aulani Resort at Ko’olina in August.

“This new construction is Disney’s first foray into the Hawaii market and will give the island an even more magical feel,” said Lisa Kroll, Hawaii destination expert and Regional Director for Orbitz Worldwide, in a press statement.  “Travelers can also expect lower airfares due to increased flight service to the islands.”

Orbitz also noted that Hawaii ranked as the seventh-most popular destination for U.S. travelers in 2010, placing behind Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Orlando.

Koller Selected for South Carolina Post After National Search

Former Hawaii Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller has been named director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services after a national search.

New South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced Koller’s appointment shortly after being sworn in, saying her administration was trying to find the best people for positions through a nationwide search.

“Like we’ve done many times during our Cabinet search, we went across this country to find the best person that we could find to head the Department of Social Services, and that’s how we found Lillian – someone who has been honored with award after award for achievements in getting results for families and children and making government more transparent and accountable.”

Koller, honored as the 2008 Governing Magazine “Public Official of the Year” for achievements in child welfare services and Medicaid, served in former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration from 2003 to 2010. During that time Koller had to deal with a number of issues, including rising Medicaid costs, child abuse and neglect cases and program cuts because of Hawaii budget problems.

Smith & Wesson Wins Hawaii Sheriff Department Order for 9mm Pistols

Smith & Wesson Corp., the legendary 159-year old gun maker, said it recently filled an order for 350 M&P9 polymer pistols for the Hawaii Sheriff’s Office. The pistols are replacing the department’s currently issued steel-framed side arms.

It said the M&P9 received high marks in officer evaluations in the categories of accuracy, reliability and functionality. The Springfield, Mass.-based company said evaluators also liked the ability to change the grip size of the pistol to meet individual officer’s needs along with the pistol’s ambidextrous controls and ease of maintenance.

HCDA Wants Public Input on Kakaako Plan

The Hawaii Community Development Authority said it will accept public comments on a draft Kakaako Makai Conceptual Master Plan until Feb. 16, when it will also take comments at its monthly meeting.

The plan covers an area between Kewalo Basin and Honolulu Harbor. Written comments can be mailed to the HCDA, 461 Cooke St. Honolulu, HI 96813 or emailed to contact@hcdaweb.org.

People can also review the draft master plan by going to http://hcdaweb.org/kakaako-makai-conceptual-master-plan/kakaako-makai-conceptual-master-plan-draft.

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