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Monday, October 20, 2014

Common Core standards have Hawaii educators on edge, no federal relief for storm damage, targeting Kahoolawe, bloated voter rolls, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii public school, courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
After three years of preparation, the state Department of Education rolled out Common Core at public schools statewide last school year, a more rigorous set of standards in English language arts and math intended to better prepare students for college and the workforce. Star-Advertiser.

This year, more than ever, teachers are feeling the pressure of high-stakes testing. Teachers are expected to prepare their students using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a new set of rigorous learning standards to guide their lessons for the year. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s infamously low voter turnout may not be quite as bad as it seems. That’s because thousands of people who are still on the registered voter list have moved, gone to prison or died since the last election, lowering the overall turnout percentages published by the state Office of Elections in any given year. Heading into the Nov. 4 general election, the state has identified 626,431 people as “active” on its master list of 706,890 registered voters. Civil Beat.

Private islands, super-yachts and Marine Protected Areas How Marine Protected Areas have given rise to a surge of profit-seeking Eco-tourism investments. Hawaii Independent.

Renewable energy technologies are highly favored with 97 percent of the public supporting increased development of at least some forms of renewable energy in Hawaii, according to a new report by the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Nanakuli residents will get a chance to air their concerns this week on a proposal to dispose of a large cache of fireworks — remnants of the fatal 2011 Wai­kele storage bunker explosion — by shooting them off at a property in their neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents may see lower prices from Hawaii Gas if the utility's request to bring in more liquefied natural gas is approved. Hawaii Gas filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission on Thursday seeking to import more LNG. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Too Many Forums for Gubernatorial Candidates? There have been some two dozen debates or forums since late August. But do they really help voters make up their minds? Civil Beat.

City Environmental Services officials say 5,000 gallons of waste water spilled into Honolulu Harbor Sunday afternoon. One of the primary clarifier tanks could not handle the water surge from the storm, officials said. KITV4.

Hawaii businessman Jay Shidler, who on Friday quadrupled his gift to the University of Hawaii business school that bears his name to a total of $100 million, told Pacific Business News that he started thinking about making this big move about four years ago.

Hawaii

Hawaii County officials announced an appeal for federal relief funding for damages wrought by Tropical Storm Iselle was denied. The Oct. 7 appeal was submitted in response to an Aug. 28 decision by President Barack Obama to not declare a major disaster in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Although he performed before a crowd of 20,000 a few nights ago, rock 'n' roll superstar Steven Tyler admitted to a touch of nerves as he addressed 11 Maui Drug Court graduates and their families Thursday afternoon in Circuit Court. Maui News.

Newcomer taking on incumbent mayor. 2014 Election: Tamara Paltin has experience running a grass-roots campaign. Maui News.

Maui boy Lui Hokoana was approved by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday afternoon to be the next chancellor at UH-Maui College. Maui News.

Kauai

One person who did have a role in the Pflueger dam breach, but has received little publicity, has walked away without consequences. MaryAnn Kusaka was the mayor of Kauai in 1997, the year Pflueger allegedly illegally graded around his dam and reservoir and covered the spillway. Hawaii Reporter.

A former police officer and DLNR enforcement manager has been indicted on 30 counts of sexual assault. Tarey William Kahana Low, 53, of Kapaa, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged with 26 counts of first-degree sexual assault, forcible rape and four counts of third-degree sexual assault. Garden Island.

Kahoolawe

Promised Land: Will Kahoolawe Ever Be Saved? FIRST OF THREE PARTS: The state agency tasked with restoring the island for Native Hawaiian cultural uses is running out of money, and the Navy left unfinished the job of removing unexploded ordnance from the former bombing range. But the volunteers keep coming, at least for now. Civil Beat.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tropical Storm Ana veers south of Hawaii, Honolulu homeless law expanded, gas prices drop, cesspool rules irk testifiers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Ana 5 a.m. Oct. 17, Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Ana intensified overnight and is just below hurricane strength as it nears Hawaii. At 5 a.m., the storm's winds remained at 70 mph with higher gusts, just below the category 1 hurricane status of 74 mph winds. The storm was 280 miles south of Hilo and 455 miles southeast of Honolulu, moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph. Forecasters said Ana could develop into a hurricane Friday as it passes south of the Big Island and Maui County. Star-Advertiser.

Living Hawaii: Is the Price of Paradise Getting You Down? The cost of living and our declining work environment are undermining the state's sense of well-being. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gas, which became the first utility in the state to begin shipping liquefied natural gas to the Islands in April, is making a move to bring in even more of this fuel to Hawaii to help it better manage its fuel costs. The state's only franchised gas utility said Thursday that it has filed an application with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to increase the volume of LNG shipments for its synthetic natural gas pipeline. Pacific Business News.

Ad Watch: Mark Takai Plays the Veterans Card. Again. There is fresh fodder from the candidates running for the U.S. Congress, and more negative spots in the race for Hawaii governor. Civil Beat.

Lowering tuition at University of Hawaii campuses can now be done more quickly under a revised policy approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. Previous rules required that any increase or decrease in tuition be presented at a public meeting at least one semester in advance. The board, which met Thursday on Maui for its monthly meeting, unanimously approved removing that requirement for tuition decreases. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
Owners of Oahu businesses who want a ban against sitting and lying down on sidewalks in front of storefronts in their neighborhoods need to step forward and argue that they should be included in islandwide legislation. A bill expanding the ban the Waikiki ban on lying and sitting on city sidewalks to 10 other business districts on Oahu was given a preliminary OK by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department is doubling the amount of classroom time that officers receive annually on domestic violence issues and is working closely with victim advocacy groups on developing more stringent policies on how they should approach cases involving law enforcement officers as potential suspects, HPD Chief Louis Kealoha and other police brass say. Star-Advertiser.

A group of UH Mānoa faculty members have sent testimony to the Board of Regents urging the board to fix serious flaws at the System level. Hawaii Independent.

Average gas prices in Honolulu dipped below $4 a gallon Thursday for the first time since March and appear headed to their lowest level in nearly four years. Star-Advertiser.

More transportation options will be available for Honolulu residents as the second car-sharing company comes to Hawaii. Ulm, Germany-based car-sharing service car2go is looking to expand to Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Most people testifying Thursday evening about proposed rules aimed at reducing cesspools in the state agreed that protecting water quality is important. But many objected to what they considered draconian measures to accomplish it. West Hawaii Today.

People seeking treatment for addiction in West Hawaii have another option again. The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is reopening its Kealakekua office next month, 18 months after it closed that site and one in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

The leading edge of the lava flow threatening Pahoa appears to have temporarily ground to a halt. Tribune-Herald.

In partnership with the Hawaii County Civil Defense, Hawaii Red Cross volunteers will be opening shelters on the Big Island in response to Tropical Storm Ana. Evacuation Shelters will open on Friday, October 17, 2014 at noon. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Two days after Wailuku Water Co. reportedly released 10 million gallons of water back into Iao Stream, residents claim the full amount is still not flowing from mauka to makai. Maui News.

A 2nd Circuit judge Wednesday deferred arguments and complaints about the development of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex to the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.

Kauai

More than eight years after the Ka Loko Dam breached on Kauai’s North Shore killing 7 people and an unborn child, James Pflueger, the man the state said was responsible for causing the breach, was sentenced to 7 months in prison. Hawaii Reporter.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tropical Storm watch begins in Hawaii, final gubernatorial debate talks taxes, Takai fundraising leader, state studies GMO pesticides on Kauai, Pflueger gets prison in dam breach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA National Weather Service
Tropical Storm Ana 5:30 a.m. Oct. 16, courtesy NOAA
At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, the center of Tropical Storm Ana was located about 500 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. Ana is moving toward the west near 10 mph.  Ana is expected to turn toward the west-northwest on Thursday, then turn toward the northwest on Friday with little change in forward speed.  On the forecast track, the center of Ana will pass near the Big Island Friday night and Saturday. KITV4.

State officials say they are preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana which is expected to crawl up the island chain beginning Friday.Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of Ana's arrival. Hawaii News Now.

All of the main islands are under threat of Tropical Storm Ana's flash flooding, strong and damaging winds, and coastal inundation and waves Friday through Monday, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologists said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The final televised gubernatorial debate before November's general election produced no major gaffes but did have a fairly clear winner and loser Wednesday, according to a political analyst. Hawaii News Now.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona on Wednesday night challenged his opponents for governor on taxes, claiming that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and state Sen. David Ige would be more inclined to raise taxes because they both supported a general-excise tax surcharge for the Honolulu rail project. Hannemann had urged the state Legislature to approve the surcharge and Ige voted in 2005 to give the city the authority to levy the tax. Star-Advertiser.

Democrat Mark Takai has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Republican Charles Djou in their tight race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years. But Djou had more than twice as much cash on hand in his campaign account — $626,191 to be exact — at the end of the most recent reporting period with the Federal Elections Commission. Civil Beat.

Hawaii real estate mogul Jay Shidler is the richest person in Hawaii with an estimated net worth of $700 million, according to a new report by Wealth-X. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Oahu residents weren't in a rush Wednesday to increase their stockpiles of goods before the storm, with many leisurely buying just a few cases of water and typical supplies for the week. That's a stark contrast to the scene just over two months ago when anxious consumers amassed large amounts of water and dry goods days ahead of Tropical Storm Iselle, which turned out to be mostly uneventful on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Construction equipment is starting up Thursday to begin building the Collection, the latest condominium tower to rise in Kakaako. The project's developer, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday on the site once occupied by a CompUSA store to thank everyone helping the roughly $200 million tower get off the ground, including government officials, contractors and especially homebuyers. Star-Advertiser.

A day after a binder containing sensitive court documents for a prison gang trial was found at a downtown restaurant, the attorney who owns the binder said someone stole it from him at the federal courthouse. Star-Advertiser.

Palama Settlement announced Wednesday its request for proposals for the redevelopment of its Kalihi-Palama campus. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Police Secrecy: What We Don’t Know Is More Disturbing Than What We Do Honolulu police need to make public an investigation into a cop accused of domestic violence. Otherwise, we'll never know if the sergeant received special treatment. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Big Island ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana. The forecast track for Tropical Storm Ana shifted just south of the Big Island late Wednesday afternoon and wind speeds dropped slightly, but the system still has the potential to hit the southeast flank of the island with torrential rain and hurricane force winds early Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

An Oahu judge will hear arguments on the lawsuit filed against the state regarding Pohakuloa Training Area today. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filed the complaint in April on behalf of Hawaiians Clarence Ching and Mary Maxine Kahaulelio, who claim the military’s presence is impacting their cultural rights. West Hawaii Today.

A Honolulu judge will take up a suit that claims the state failed to protect former kingdom lands that are important to Native Hawaiians. Circuit Judge Gary Chang will hear arguments in the case Thursday at 3 p.m. Associated Press.

After hearing from dozens of testifiers mostly supporting the measure, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution asking the state Legislature to tighten labeling requirements for coffee. West Hawaii Today.

After hearing assurances that borrowing an additional $20 million won’t break the bank, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution paving the way for emergency roadwork on alternative routes to Puna in the event lava crosses Highway 130. West Hawaii Today.

The Mamalahoa Highway bypass extension has hit a snag. Construction that the Hawaii County Department of Public Works had hoped to start back in August has been delayed likely until next month while the department waits for an archaeological study to be reviewed. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County officials are urging Maui County residents to prepare now for possible storm impacts from Ana. Maui Now.

Tropical Storm force winds from Tropical Storm Ana are expected to impact Maui County in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 18. At this time, the Maui Civil Defense Agency and Mayor Alan Arakawa would like to remind the community that they should prepare now, before the storm hits, while there is still plenty of time. Maui Weekly.

Parents to DOE: Why Aren’t We Being Told Sooner About Possible Child Abductions? A recent incident on Maui has many parents concerned that the Department of Education is days late in letting families know there might be someone bothering children near their schools. Civil Beat.

Kauai

A retired car dealer was sentenced to seven months in prison and five years of probation for a dam breach in Hawaii that swept seven people to their deaths in 2006. James Pflueger, 88, was sentenced in Hawaii’s Fifth Circuit Court on Kauai Wednesday. He had been convicted of reckless endangerment. Associated Press.

It was not a sentence that anyone was prepared for on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court. A January 2013 plea agreement reached with James Pflueger did not include recommended jail time from the State Attorney General. But the 88-year-old retired Honolulu auto dealer will serve seven months in jail along with felony probation for his part in causing the Ka Loko dam failure on March 14, 2006 that killed seven people. Garden Island.

A state judge sent retired car dealer James Pflueger to jail for seven months Wednesday for his role in the deaths of seven people swept away in 2006 by floodwaters that had breached Ka Loko Dam. Circuit Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano sentenced Pflueger, 88, to five years of probation for felony reckless endangering and included the seven-month jail term as a condition of the probation. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Economic Development and the state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that they will jointly fund a process to examine possible health and environmental impacts associated with the use of pesticides applied to genetically modified agricultural products. Garden Island.

To prepare for the implementation of the new Pay as You Throw Ordinance, which will take effect in July 2015, the Department of Public Works is conducting a PAYT Cart Survey. The purpose is to determine how many 64- and 96-gallon refuse carts should be ordered for the new program. Garden Island.

This time of year, Kauai’s threatened and endangered native Hawaiian seabirds become disoriented by artificial lights during their maiden flights from the mountains to the sea. Garden Island.

Molokai

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on a plan to remove unexploded ordnance from a World War II bombing range on Molokai’s Kalaupapa peninsula. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed munitions cleanup plan for the 937-acre site, which the military used for aerial bombing, rockets and gunnery practice from 1942-45. Associated Press.

For 50 years beginning during World War II, the island of Kaho`olawe was rocked by bombs, dropped by the U.S. military for naval training. Hawaii residents recall hearing the explosions and feeling the ground shake as missiles left gouges in the earth. Now, after decades of protest efforts, cultural reconnection and environmental restoration, a process of healing is continuing as a strategic plan is being developed to guide Kaho`olawe’s future. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fee hikes for Hawaii's national parks, $2M to shelter 115 Honolulu homeless, Hawaii council unsure on beach e-cig ban, UH study downplays jellyfish threat, state girds for Tropical Storm Ana, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Visitors at Kilauea volcano crater © 2014 All Hawaii News
The National Park Service wants to raise entrance fees for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui. The per-person rate at both parks would increase from $5 to $8 next year, $10 the year after and $12 in 2017. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is considering a plan to increase its entrance fees incrementally during the next few years. Under the proposal, an annual pass would increase from $25 to $50 in 2017 and vehicle fees would increase from $10 to $15 in 2015, to $20 in 2016 and to $25 in 2017. Tribune-Herald.

Haleakalā National Park on Maui is proposing an entrance fee hike that is scheduled to begin in 2015 and continue with incremental increases through 2017.  The increase will more than double the admission for individuals, motorcycles and vehicle passes over the next few years. Maui Now.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is seeking public feedback on possible entrance fee increases starting in 2015. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997. KHON2.

Hawaii Governor Candidates Offer Ideas to Bring Down Energy Costs. The topics include what to do with the Public Utilities Commission and getting Hawaiian Electric to allow more solar energy onto an antiquated grid. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's gubernatorial candidates met to share their positions on Hawaii's future in clean energy Tuesday evening. KITV4.

Hawaii News Now continues its groundbreaking and innovative political coverage Wednesday evening, October 15, with the state's only "Town Hall" debate between the three leading candidates for governor, Republican Duke Aiona, Independent Mufi Hannemann and Democrat David Ige.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie — yes, he’s still our governor, until Dec. 1 — is expected to return today from a six-day trip to Taiwan. Civil Beat.

Tropical Storm Ana was just below hurricane strength on a path toward Oahu and Kauai. The National Weather Service said hurricane watches may be issued for the Hawaiian islands sometime Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Tropical Storm Ana is moving southeast of Hawaii as it continues on a track that takes it toward the islands this weekend. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the center of Ana was located 680 miles southeast of Hilo, or 890 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hawaii News Now.

A strengthening Tropical Storm Ana remained on track to reach the Big Island as a Category 1 hurricane this weekend, forecasters said Tuesday evening. The storm is expected to be upgraded to a hurricane this morning and bring sustained winds of up to 75 to 80 mph Saturday as it skirts the south end of the island. Tribune-Herald.

Officials worry about storm fatigue as Tropical Storm Ana nears Hawaii. KITV4.

New evidence shows deep-sea animals enjoy dining on jellyfish more than scientists previously suspected, upending concerns that jellyfish blooms may be harmful to the ocean's ecosystem, according to a study published Wednesday by a University of Hawaii researcher. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The city hopes to offer permanent shelter to 115 people under the initial $2 million Housing First contract. Star-Advertiser.

A new tower or two, an oceanfront pool and a wedding chapel by a famed Japanese architect are among several additions in the works for the JW Marriott Ihilani hotel at Ko Olina Resort & Marina as part of a plan to re-brand the property as a Four Seasons hotel. Star-Advertiser.

The long-planned $31 million Waikiki Landing project at Hawaii's Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, which lost its funding several months ago, has received a new funding commitment from another investor, the project developer’s attorney told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council is ready to ban the use of electronic cigarettes inside county buildings. But a council committee, after extensive debate Tuesday, said it wasn’t ready to extend that ban to beaches and outdoor parks. West Hawaii Today.

Landlords on Hawaii Island may be ditching their regular tenants in order to make bigger profits from residents seeking safe harbor from the path of the June 27 lava flow. Tribune-Herald.

Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii, an affiliate of the global nonprofit housing organization, has abruptly backed out of a planned fundraising event after questions were raised about whether its advertising was improperly promoting the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Duke Aiona. Civil Beat.

Maui

Monday's release of 10 million gallons per day of water back into Iao Stream marked a historic occasion, but activists who've fought decades for the return of water to Na Wai Eha, the four great streams of Central Maui, said that the fight is not over yet. Maui News.

An online news and information website, mauicounty.us, has been launched to keep the public informed about news and events of the Maui County Council, Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa announced. Maui News.

Interval Leisure Group has completed its $220 million purchase of Hyatt Residential Group from Hyatt Hotels Corp., which includes Hyatt's interest in a joint venture developing the Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach, Interval Leisure announced earlier this month. Maui News.

Kauai

Mayoral incumbent Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his challenger, Dustin Barca, remained sharply divided on the county’s law regulating pesticides and genetically modified organisms during one of their last political forums together on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Just hours before Jimmy Pflueger is sentenced on a “Reckless Endangering” felony charge brought against him by the state after his Ka Loko Dam breached on March 14, 2006, killing 7 people, Hawaii Reporter has obtained an inflammatory letter Pflueger wrote last month to one of the victims. Hawaii Reporter.

A new shuttle service on Kauai’s North Shore is expected to reduce traffic and alleviate parking congestion. Now in operation, it will move residents and visitors between North Shore resorts and popular visitor destinations in Princeville, Hanalei, Wainiha, Haena and Kee. Garden Island.

After closing up shop and referring its clients to competitors, Kauai Springs, Inc. is back in business — at least temporarily — said owner Jim Satterfield. On Sept. 30, the County of Kauai Planning Department sent a letter to the Koloa-based water bottling and distribution company ordering it to immediately cease and desist all activities Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

State bans e-cigs from buildings, Tropical Storm Ana strengthens, Ige has double-digit lead, Honolulu police settle lawsuits, Hawaii County mulls $20M bonds for lava roads, water flows for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
e-cig in use © 2014 All Hawaii News
The users of electronic cigarettes — those controversial smoking devices that some claim are safer than traditional smokes — are taking a couple of hits in Hawaii this week. The state Department of Health announced Monday that electronic smoking devices, or e-cigarettes, are now banned from 49 state government buildings across Hawaii, including the state Capitol and Washington Place. Star-Advertiser.

Electronic cigarettes — aka electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes — are now prohibited in all state government buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Accounting and General Services. Civil Beat.

Some people are in favor of a new policy which prohibits electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, use in state government buildings. Garden Island.

Politico’s Morning Score — “your guide to the permanent campaign” — reports that David Ige has a double-digit lead in the Hawaii governor’s race. Ige, a state senator, is ahead of Republican Duke Aiona 45-33 percent, “according to a Global Strategy Group poll for Hawaii Forward, a DGA-backed independent expenditure group.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii Republicans and religious conservatives wanted to significantly increase voter registration for the November elections to potentially help Republican candidates in a state dominated politically by Democrats, but the drive has fallen flat. The state Office of Elections said Monday that voter registration is at 706,890, a marginal, 0.17 percent increase from the 705,668 registered in 2012 and a 2.3 percent bump from 690,748 in 2010. Star-Advertiser.

As independent groups continue their efforts to influence Hawaii elections by flooding airwaves with ads about ballot issues and stuffing mailboxes with fliers about candidates, voters are mostly left in the dark about who is spending the money and where it’s coming from. These political action committees last filed finance reports with the state Campaign Spending Commission in August, which shed some light on who contributed the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent before the primary election and how those funds were used. Civil Beat.

Gubernatorial hopefuls in Hawaii will talk about their ideas for the state's energy policies at a forum Tuesday. The University of Hawaii's Energy Policy Forum is hosting the event. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s county officials are still clamoring for a greater share of a tax on short-term lodging that was originally intended to help defray the cost of hosting tourists. West Hawaii Today.

Tropical Storm Ana continues to strengthen early Tuesday as it makes its way toward the Big Island, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said. The storm is currently located about 885 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 945 miles east-southeast of Kailua-Kona and moving toward the northwest around 5 mph. The storm as of 5 a.m. Tuesday was packing 50 mph winds. West Hawaii Today.

Officials at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center are urging Hawaii residents to remain vigilant as Tropical Storm Ana continues its leisurely approach toward the state. The system was upgraded from a tropical depression to a tropical storm Monday afternoon as maximum sustained winds topped 45 mph. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The city settled two lawsuits involving the Honolulu Police Department last week, bringing to $2.6 million the total that taxpayers paid this year for alleged police misconduct and other cases. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu has a new housing strategy that focuses on building more affordable rental units for residents around rail transit stations. Hawaii Public Radio.

One of the companies being sued over the deaths of five men in a fireworks explosion and fire at a Wai­kele storage facility in 2011 has agreed to pay the families of the victims $1.5 million. Ford Island Ventures holds the master lease to the former munitions bunker complex owned by the Navy. Star-Advertiser.

A long-time city prosecutor is accused of stalking and harassing a former co-worker. Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong is a 29-year veteran of the office who is assigned to challenging and high-profile cases. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The state Airports Division and tourism officials are hoping the third time is the charm when they petition U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow them to reopen Kona Airport as a second international port of entry. Honolulu has been Hawaii's only international point of entry since Customs and Border Protection shut down the Kona port of entry in 2012 because its Federal Inspection Service site no longer met their requirements. Star-Advertiser.


Two of the three gubernatorial candidates at a forum Monday evening said they would like to reconsider the state’s Land Use Commission. Republican Duke Aiona and Independent Mufi Hannemann both mentioned the commission during the forum at Kealakehe High School in response to a question about areas of state government they believed could be delegated to the counties. About 200 people attended the forum. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is preparing to borrow up to $20 million for emergency road work to ensure Puna residents have a way in and out of their communities should lava cross Highway 130. The County Council is scheduled to discuss Resolution 554 on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Iao Stream is flowing to the ocean for the first time in 100 years. Wailuku Water Co., which diverts the water in connection with various business interests, allowed the release of water Monday to increase the in-stream flow up to 10 million gallons a day, as part of a settlement with Native Hawaiians and community groups. Star-Advertiser.

Leaders on both sides of the contentious battle over water rights in Central Maui, emerged to witness waters flow freely below Kepaniwai Park in ʻĪao Valley and the water mouth at Paukūkalo today. Maui Now.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources today announced the addition of 3,721 acres at Waikamoi to be included in the state’s Natural Area Partnership Program. Maui Now.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed plan that would remove unexploded ordnance from the former Makanalua Bombing Range on Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula. Maui News.

Maui Memorial Medical Center is in talks with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii about a possible partnership. Associated Press.

Kauai

Scientists say higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures are threatening corals around Kauai. Garden Island.

Retired car deal James Pflueger will be sentenced in state court Wednesday for his role in the deaths of seven people on Kauai in 2006. Pflueger, 88, was originally charged with seven counts of manslaughter. However, in a deal with the state, his company, Pacific 808 Properties, pleaded no contest last year to the manslaughter charges, and Pflue­ger pleaded no contest to felony reckless endangering. Star-Advertiser.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Djou, Takai battle for congressional seat, Aiona courts religious right, tax collections up, boaters must take classes, Hawaii Mayor Kenoi finishes Ironman, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

screen grab Hawaii News Now
Mark Takai, Charles Djou Hawaii News Now screen grab
Congressional candidates Charles Djou and Mark Takai traded jabs Sunday night in their final face-off on Hawaii News Now.

In their last scheduled statewide television appearance, Democrat Mark Takai and Republican Charles Djou broke little new ground on issues Sunday, choosing instead to sharpen their rhetoric on partisanship and who would better serve the people of Hawaii in the next Congress. Star-Advertiser.

Gubernatorial candidate James Duke Aiona and Elwin Ahu, his lieutenant governor running mate and a pastor, describe religious conservatives as one of several coalitions -- like Filipinos or small business owners -- they want to attract to their campaign. Star-Advertiser.

Faith and Politics, Aiona and Ahu, at the Blaisdell. During a gathering that resembled a religious revival, the Republican candidates for Hawaii's top offices say they are men of faith with the moral compass to lead. But they also cite other coalitions of support. Civil Beat.

While some tickets in the past have matched candidates who are distant, or even rivals, the lieutenant governor nominees this year complement the aspiring chief executives. Lieutenant governor candidates rarely alone drive voter behavior, but they can help enhance a ticket. The No. 2 job can also be a pathway to higher office. Since statehood, three former lieutenant governors — George Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Ben Cayetano — became governors, while two — Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz — became U.S. senators. Star-Advertiser.

One of five proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot will ask voters whether the state can fund partnerships with private preschools to build capacity and ultimately serve all of the state's 17,000 4-year-olds with a publicly funded preschool education. The ballot measure has become a divisive issue among early-learning advocates and the union for public school teachers. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will soon be cracking down on boaters. Starting Nov. 10, anyone behind the wheel of a motorized vessel must show proof of completing an approved boater safety course. KHON2.

The state’s tax collections for the first quarter of fiscal 2015, which started July 1, are up 2.7 percent overall compared to the same period last year, according to a report the Hawaii Department of Taxation released Friday. Civil Beat.

Governor Neil Abercrombie recently granted a nice chunk of change to the Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism for the purpose of researching ways to build a new film studio facility. As part of DBET, the Hawaii Film Office is excited for the opportunity, saying this is a step in the right direction for Hawaii’s economy. To the tune of $100,000, it’s going to help officials figure out what the local film industry needs right now, and also search for the best location to build a brand new studio. KHON2.

Close to 1,000 teachers are recruited each year to work in Hawaii. Some fill spots left when people retire. Others take the places of hopeful teachers who come to Hawaii but can’t survive on the salaries they are paid. Garden Island.

Opinion: However the general election turns out, it'll represent the most significant youth movement in Hawaii's highest offices since the early days of statehood. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu

Voters have two very different options in the race for the District 6 Honolulu City Council seat, which covers much of Oahu’s urban core, including downtown Honolulu and its surrounding neighborhoods. It’s Democrat versus Republican, albeit for a nonpartisan office. It’s an incumbent who touts her insider political acumen against a challenger who casts himself as a political outsider. Civil Beat.

Local construction firm Nan Inc., the lowest of three bidders looking to build the Honolulu rail system's first nine stations from West Oahu to Aloha Stadium, has dropped its recent protest against a decision to cancel those bids. Star-Advertiser.

The city's new Sit-Lie ordinance was aimed at reducing the number of homeless in Waikiki, but now some street vendors contend its also being used against them.Hawaii News Now.

A $75 million, 17-story senior-living facility on Kalakaua Avenue near the Hawaii Convention Center that will officially begin construction next week, is expected to create a total of 460 jobs, including 160 permanent full-time jobs when the project is completed in early 2016. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Roger Christie has become a cause célèbre in cannabis culture. The 65-year-old founder of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in Hilo believes his arrest with 13 others — including his wife, Share — by local and federal authorities on July 8, 2010, was due to his outspokenness for marijuana legalization. Tribune-Herald.

They don’t leave butts on the beach. And there’s no secondhand smoke. But Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha thinks electronic cigarettes and vaporizers ought to go the way of the traditional leaf-and-fire tobacco product and be banned from county facilities, parks and beaches. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi completed a 2.4 miles swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon to finish his first IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona. The mayor used nearly all the time allotted to him, crossing the finish line in dramatic fashion with about 15 minutes to spare. Big Island Video News.

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi can now say that he has completed one of the most grueling tests a triathlete can ever accomplish. Kenoi, 46, crossed the finish line Saturday night of the IRONMAN World Championships, presented by GoPro, with a finishing time of 16:54:13. He was the 1,982nd finisher of the race. Big Island Now.

Does the Big Island have a libertarian streak? The Hawaii Libertarian Party is hoping so as it seeks to establish itself as an alternative to both Democratic and Republican parties. Tribune-Herald.

The dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy called the release Friday of $33 million for the school to construct a permanent building “a great day for the college, a great day for the state and probably even a greater day for the whole Pacific region.” Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense officials say a narrow breakout along the north side of the Puna lava flow has advanced approximately 60 yards, becoming the new leading edge. Hawaii News Now.

IN PELE’S PATH: Pahoa residents closest to flow ready to leave. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The University of Hawaiʻi today announced that Lui Hokoana has been recommended to the Board of Regents as the University of Hawai‘i Maui College’s chancellor. Maui Now.

Median prices for single-family homes and condos in Maui County leaped 21.3 percent to $570,000 and 34.8 percent to $465,000 respectively in September compared to 2013, the Realtors Association of Maui reported late last week. Maui News.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed plan that would remove unexploded ordnance from the former Makanalua Bombing Range on Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula. Maui News.

Kauai
Subsistence fishers, lineal descendants of Hāʻena and community members from across Kaua‘i and the rest of the state testified in support of the Hāʻena Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area rules. Hawaii Independent.

Kapaa High School registered to participate in the safe driving commitment, sponsored by State Farm.  Anyone 14 years of age and over, not just Kapaa High School students, can go online starting Oct. 15 and click to commit to safe driving, thereby registering a “vote” toward winning — on the road and in the contest. Garden Island.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hawaii's 'Stairway to Heaven' could reopen, DLNR blasts Hawaiian Electric plan, gubernatorial and congressional candidates debate, Schatz, Gabbard mull lava escape plan, Honolulu rail transit plan advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

wikipedia public domain photo
Haiku Stairs, photo by Kirinwizard
An ad hoc community group formed to decide the future of Haiku Stairs released a report Thursday recommending that the popular attraction be reopened with access through Windward Community College's campus. Star-Advertiser.

A working group tasked with determining the best course of action for the Ha’iku Stairs said the status quo is not acceptable. The popular stairway in Kaneohe, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, has been closed for more than a decade. However, trespassers continue to climb the 3,922 steps. The 13-member working group recommended the city either tear down the stairs at a cost of between $3 million and $5 million, or “develop a managed access use plan.” KITV4.

For nearly 30 years, hikers have been denied legal access to Haiku Stairs, also known as “the Stairway to Heaven.” Now, there is a call to reopen the hiking trail, but only if all interested parties agree to a so-called “managed access plan.” KHON2.

The state blasted Hawaiian Electric Industries' new energy transition plan for being stuck in the past and doing more to benefit the utility than the public. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, in an 86-page filing with the state Public Utilities Commission, registered its frustration with the utility, saying HEI is clinging to an old business model that is incapable of meeting the goal of moving Hawaii off fossil fuels and onto renewable energy.  Star-Advertiser.

Some solar customers who have been on the waiting list are finally getting hooked up and approved by Hawaiian Electric Co. But critics say the solar boom won’t last. HECO set up new regulations on solar last year that left a backlog of customers wanting to get on the grid and slowed the growth of the solar industry. KHON2.

National groups independent from the candidates are stepping up their attacks, especially in the close race for Hawaii governor. It’s the RGA versus the DGA — the Republican Governors Association versus the Democratic Governors Association. Civil Beat.

While repeating their stances on issues facing the next Congress, the candidates for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District also stuck to key campaign themes in a roundtable discussion aired statewide Thursday night on PBS Hawaii's "Insights." Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii would be able to expedite tuition decreases under a proposal the Board of Regents budget committee advanced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a grassroots organization are using an online game to help get more Native Hawaiians interested in statewide elections. OHA and Kanu Hawaii created a game that allows voters to take an online quiz to see which candidates in the Nov. 4 general election best matches their own political opinions. Associated Press.

Oahu

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro defended his decision to let a grand jury decide whether a misdemeanor abuse charge should be made against a police officer in a highly publicized case. Star-Advertiser.

The firm creating Oahu's driverless train system might finally have landed a buyer, and that has rail board members seeking assurances that any upcoming sale won't disrupt or delay the $5.26 billion project -- which already faces other challenges to finish on time. Star-Advertiser.

The board overseeing Oahu's rail project voted unanimously Thursday to give Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Dan Grabauskas a new three-year contract, which, if signed, would take effect this spring with a 5 percent raise. Grabauskas' current three-year deal, which pays an annual base salary of $245,000, ends in April. The new contract would pay Grabauskas a base of $257,000 and make him eligible for a 3.5 percent raise in the subsequent two years. Star-Advertiser.

A company under state investigation for allegedly dumping thousands of gallons of oil products near Kawainui Marsh is now in the cross hairs of city inspectors. That's after a former employee came forward with new allegations that the company poured thousand of gallons of petroleum sludge into the city's sewers. Hawaii News Now.

A Hawaii technology startup company wants to let bus riders be better informed when their bus will arrive with real-time display signs at bus stops. Star-Advertiser.

Kamehameha Schools’ plan to redevelop nearly 300,000 square feet of its commercial properties surrounding Kahala Mall in East Oahu into primarily retail space is gaining some traction, with leases on five commercial parcels mauka of the mall expiring during the next five years, a spokesman for the trust recently told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii’s three major gubernatorial candidates each pledged to do more to empower educators at the local level during their first debate on the Big Island on Thursday evening. Tribune-Herald.

Governor Candidates Assure Hilo Voters on Disaster Preps, Recovery. After Tropical Storm Iselle, and with lava poised to cut off a key highway, Hawaii County residents want a governor who will help. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz told a large crowd in Pahoa on Thursday night that they're doing all they can to press the federal government to pay attention to the small town on Hawaii island being threatened by lava. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz addressed a packed crowd of more 500 anxious and concerned residents. They say their top priorities are ensuring uninterrupted postal service and the critical infrastructure needs of clearing Chain of Craters road -- which by all accounts will eventually become the only way in and out of the lower Puna district. Hawaii News Now.

The advancement of the June 27 lava flow appears to be slowing down yet again, potentially lengthening the time it could take to encroach upon Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii residents tore into a proposed state water quality plan in Kailua-Kona Thursday night. Frustrations boiled to the surface, with people firing questions and not being satisfied with the answers they received from a state Department of Health official leading an informational meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Members of the state Commission on Water Resource Management continued their investigation into a petition to designate the Keauhou aquifer as a water management area Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has appointed Margaret Masunaga as judge of the District Court of the 3rd Circuit. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui signed a proclamation today declaring Oct. 9, 2014, as Līpoa Point Day in the State of Hawaiʻi. The Līpoa Point acquisition by the state effectively removes the threat of development, preserving the land in perpetuity for generations to come, and makes the way for the creation of a management plan. Maui Now.

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. retirees were able to breathe a sigh of relief Thursday after the state solidified its purchase of Lipoa Point for $19.5 million, which the company must use to fund pension plans for its former workers. Maui News.

The Maui County Council's Planning Committee advanced a bill last week that would regulate home businesses. Maui News.

Kauai

Debra Lee-Jackson, a taro farmer from Kauai’s Puna District, said her nonprofit Hui Ho‘opulapula Na Wai o Puna has spent the last year working to understand water conditions and uses in the area. The Hui, made up of a group of landowners, lessees, taro farmers, fishermen and native Hawaiians seeking to restore and preserve Puna’s watersheds, is asking the council to support, via a resolution, its petition aimed at having South Puna — known as the Hanamaulu sub-aquifer — designated as a Ground-Surface Water Management Area. Garden Island.

Subsistence fishers, lineal descendants of Hāʻena and community members from across Kaua‘i and the rest of the state testified in support of the Hāʻena Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area rules. Hawaii Independent.