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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cesspool rules in limbo, OHA chair and UH Cancer Center head step down, Kauai dairy farm wins approval, agencies seek FEMA funds in lava disaster, Maui ends Kihei curbside recycling, rail speeds up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hibiscus blooms along Hawaii coast © 2014 All Hawaii News
Responding to public opposition, the state Department of Health dramatically watered down its proposed rules phasing out cesspools, but it’s unknown if Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign the package before he leaves office Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Colette Machado announced Tuesday that she would step down as chairperson of the nine-member board when the new panel takes office in December. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Inc., the largest ocean cargo transportation company in the state, announced Tuesday that freight rates to and from Hawaii will rise an average 5.4 percent effective Jan. 4. Star-Advertiser.

A strong flow of recovery and reconstruction supplies through Hilo Harbor kept Young Brothers shipping totals on the rise at that port, even as other maritime entry points around the neighbor islands saw cargo volume slip 2.1 percent in the third quarter. West Hawaii Today.

Texas-based Blue Jay Wireless, has received so much government money through the federal Lifeline cellphone program over the past year that the former head of the state Public Utilities Commission is calling for an investigation. Civil Beat.

Michele Carbone, the embattled leader of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center who resigned on Friday, has issued a detailed account of his triumphs while director of the center. Civil Beat.

A report by the Center for Disease Control found that lax security measures and a number of safety hazards at the University of Hawaii's biolab. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii State Rep. Bob McDermott is slamming the University of Hawaii over its refusal to disclose data collected from middle school students during a controversial sex education program. Hawaii Reporter.

A state employee has been charged with felony theft after an act she allegedly committed while working for the governor. Authorities said Roxanne Kamalu used a computer in September 2013 to spend hundreds of dollars in state money for personal benefit. KHON2.

Opinion: Why is Medical Marijuana Legal Only for Green Thumbs? Fifteen years after its approval, Hawaii’s process is changing. But that won't necessarily make it any easier for patients to get their medicine. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Former banker Roy Amemiya Jr., once praised by politicians and civil servants for helping maintain the integrity of city government, is back at Hono­lulu Hale, this time as Mayor Kirk Caldwell's second-in-command. Star-Advertiser.

Lanes in sections of H-1 and H-2 near Leeward Community College will be closed at night beginning next week as workers begin building a section of Honolulu's $5.16 billion elevated rail guideway that will connect Waipahu to Pearl City, officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said. Pacific Business News.

Another round of partial freeway closures is slated to begin next week — this time for construction of the rail guideway overpass. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Monday the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) will start the most dramatic piece of construction along the 20 mile rail route and with it there will be considerable traffic impacts. Hawaii News Now.

Removal of a filthy water feature at Chinatown's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park should be completed by the end of November, giving hope to residents that the work will eliminate an unhealthy and unsafe haven in the neighborhood and draw more people to the Hawaii Theatre next door. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawai’i Community Development Authority met one last time before the new Governor takes office and approved the development of two high rise towers in Kaka’ako. Hawaii Public Radio.

Attorney General's Office staffers armed with a search warrant seized records from the financially ailing Halau Lokahi Public Charter School on Tuesday for an investigation into expenditures. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
Lava that recently was threatening homes and a nearly $4 million waste transfer station continued to cool Tuesday as Hawaii County prepared to reopen a closed section of Pahoa Village Road in time for Thanksgiving. Tribune-Herald.

Eight applications have been submitted by qualifying organizations and state and county agencies seeking federal reimbursement for protective actions taken or planned in response to the June 27 lava flow ahead of the Dec. 3 deadline. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Maui County announced that its pilot "3 Can Plan" curbside recycling project in Kihei will end Feb. 1 after a 2year run. Maui News.

Future plans for Pāʻani Mai Park in Hāna, Maui, will be the focus of discussion for an upcoming meeting hosted by the Maui Department of Parks and Recreation. Maui Now.

Kauai

Hawaii Dairy Farms has been awarded building permits for its proposed $17.5 million, 578-acre dairy in the Mahaulepu Valley. Garden Island.

A planned Kauai dairy has received building permit approval from the county. Hawaii Dairy Farms announced Tuesday the state Department of Health has completed its review, which allowed for the approval of the building permits. Associated Press.

A county employee has filed a civil complaint against the County of Kauai, alleging retaliation and violations of the whistleblower’s act. Garden Island.

The old pavilion/comfort station at Hanamaulu Beach Park is scheduled for demolition starting at 8:30 a.m. today and is expected to be completed by the end of the day. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Coral reef health debated, Hawaii's high cost of living, DOE wastes $1M on unused timeclocks, Honolulu council candidate sues over election, barrier redirects lava, hospital woes continue, two sue over Waikiki beach widening, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Endemic mamo Hawaiian sergeant fish on coral reef © 2014 All Hawaii News
A new study found just one-third of Hawaii’s coral reef ecosystems are dominated by healthy corals and calcareous algae. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii has the most frugal consumers, but it also has the highest percentage of people spending more than they make, according to a new release from WalletHub. Pacific Business News.

Living Hawaii: Where the Rent Is Too Damn High. Islanders pay far more on average than in any state in America to live in rentals — and that's just the beginning. Civil Beat.

While Gov.-elect David Ige's transition team sifts through more than 800 applications for administration positions and works to put together his Cabinet before taking office Dec. 1, one appointment to a powerful, high-profile position remains unsettled - the chairperson of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Maui News.

At the Kapolei state building, in the break room of a Department of Education office, behind the recycling and the to-be-filed pile, are stacks and stacks of timeclocks –- nearly $1 million worth of them. The machines are still nicely boxed, all taped up and just sit, collecting dust and cobwebs. KHON2.

President Barack Obama said this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — including the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii — made the world stronger, wiser, more beautiful and more humane. Obama praised the 18 artists, activists and lawmakers receiving the award at a White House ceremony Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Hawaii Needs To Stop ‘Scam Artist’ Prison Guards. Correction officers calling in sick are costing taxpayers millions of dollars in overtime and preventing families from visiting inmates. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Defeated Honolulu City Council candidate Tommy Waters, who lost the 4th District seat to Trevor Ozawa by 41 votes, wants the Hawaii Supreme Court to order either a recount by hand of the 4,455 "blank" votes recorded in the election — or a new election. Star-Advertiser.

Tommy Waters is seeking a recount of ballots cast in the Honolulu City Council District 4 election that ended with Trevor Ozawa beating him by 41 votes. Star-Advertiser.

A man injured while surfing and another who became a quadriplegic after diving from a so-called “booze cruise” filed lawsuits against the state on Monday, blaming their injuries on a project to widen an eroding section of Waikiki beach. Associated Press.

In the first lawsuits of their kind, two Oahu men allege that the state's efforts in 2012 to resupply Wai­kiki Beach with sand raised the seafloor and left them with permanent and debilitating injuries. Star-Advertiser.

A deputy city prosecutor who lost track of a misdemeanor negligent homicide case more than a year ago was suspended without pay for four days earlier this month. Civil Beat.

The number of rooftop solar permits Honolulu issued in October fell by 58 percent from the prior year. Still, the solar industry is hopeful sales will rebound this month and next after Hawaiian Electric Co. said earlier this month it is working fast to get more solar systems approved. Star-Advertiser.

The owner and the operator of a 733-foot cargo vessel that ran aground near the entrance of Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor in 2010 have agreed to pay $840,000 for causing damage to coral. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A ridge created by the June 27 lava flow as it advanced downslope in the previous months has created a barrier that scientists and officials say is sending a breakout away from the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision in Puna. West Hawaii Today.

“Catastrophic cuts to services” are on the horizon if legislators don’t provide more funding this year, says the head of East Hawaii’s public health care system. Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii operations are expected to see a revenue shortfall of $29 million in the coming year out of a total operations budget of $160 million, said East Hawaii Interim CEO Dan Brinkman. The following year, the shortfall is predicted to balloon to $35 million. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Volunteers collected 3,075 cigarette butts at Kalama Beach Park on Saturday as part of the American Cancer Society's 39th annual "Great American Smokeout." Maui News.

Kauai

First Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask
has been nominated by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to lead the county’s legal department once County Attorney Al Castillo resigns next week. Garden Island.

Kauai’s mayor is nominating the county attorney’s replacement to be a man who’s currently serving as a deputy county attorney.  Associated Press.

Around 900 residents of Makaweli, Kaumakani and Pakala are still waiting for water. A pump in the water system owned and managed by Gay & Robinson failed Saturday and it was hoped it would be repaired Monday. Garden Island.

Monday, November 24, 2014

More join Maui GMO fight, homeless the bane of Chinatown, lava flow costs taxpayers and home sales, Ige building Cabinet, Kauai homeless drop, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Maui GMO opponents courtesy photo
A week after a federal judge granted Monsanto a temporary injunction halting the implementation of Maui County's voter-approved initiative that would temporarily ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, proponents of the measure filed to dismiss the federal lawsuit challenging the initiative. Maui News.

Two organizations have separately filed motions in federal court seeking to defend Maui County’s temporary moratorium on genetically engineered crops after expressing doubt as to the county’s commitment to the ordinance. Civil Beat.

At a seminar for new governors last weekend in Colorado hosted by the National Governors Association, Gov.-elect David Ige learned that a governor's most precious resource is time. Star-Advertiser.

Conservation groups are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service over a new rule that increases the amount of Big-Eye Tuna (ahi) that can be legally caught.  The lawsuit says that a ruling issued on October 28th, nearly doubles the amount of tuna that can be caught in the central and western Pacific. Hawaii Public Radio.

Opinion: Gov. Neil Abercrombie's graceless excuses seeking to spin his landslide loss as somebody's fault other than his own is making him difficult to ignore and further tarnishing what's left of his legacy. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A Circuit Court judge has ruled there was prosecutorial misconduct in a high-profile alleged gambling case that resulted in hundreds of sweepstakes machines being seized, nine people being arrested, and a 414-count indictment -- the largest in the state's history. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell received about 100 letters and emails in three months complaining about the homeless. Most are from local residents, not tourists. Civil Beat.

Like other business operators in Chinatown, Sam Say said he has noticed an influx of new faces in the area's homeless community in recent months, a possible result of the ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks that took effect in Wai­kiki in September. Star-Advertiser.

At Transit Oriented Development Summit, Experts Urge Honolulu to Dream Big. Speakers at Saturday's conference suggest adding more financing options and focusing on very low-income housing to improve growth around rail. Civil Beat.

The newly renovated, brightly-lit Makai Market Food Court at Ala Moana Center is a big hit with both diners and restaurant owners alike. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s state campaign spending commissioners want the Honolulu city prosecutor to investigate a case brought by former Gov. Ben Cayetano against Pacific Resource Partnership’s political action committee. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

The slow-moving lava flow from Kilauea volcano is costing more than frayed nerves. It’s also costing county taxpayers millions of dollars. West Hawaii Today.

Lower Puna real estate sales fall sharply amid lava threat. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai'i County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira and his team are going door-to-door along Pahoa Village Road letting residents know they're going to re-open the street as soon as crews finish removing the cinder piles surrounding the heat-protective wraps that were installed around the Hawaiian Telcom poles. They're expected to be finished by Monday, so officials are telling the families living there to prepare for the barricades at Post Office Road and Apa'a Street to come down sometime tomorrow afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

Officials hope to reopen the remainder of Pahoa Village Road in time for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira said Friday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council approved two business measures Friday on first reading - one to reduce permitted vacation rental property tax rates and a second to allow home businesses in neighborhoods under certain conditions. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Don Couch has introduced a measure that he hopes will help defuse a conflict over strained communications between council members and their staffs and county department directors and other administration officials. Maui News.

Scientists are saying the shark most likely to bite you likes hanging out in shallower waters. Tiger sharks are often the most likely culprit in shark bites in Hawaii, and researchers are beginning to believe the tiger shark's favorite destination is Maui. Associated Press.

Kauai

In the last fiscal year, the state’s homeless population increased by 3 percent. On Kauai, however, homeless numbers dropped nearly 10 percent, according to a new University of Hawaii report. Garden Island.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fisherman's Wharf demolished, unemployment back to pre-recession levels, group sues over ahi rules, military says marine exercises not hurting wildlife, sharks studied off Maui, Oahu to ease second homes, Hawaii council names new leaders, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

All Hawaii News
Fisherman's Wharf in better days
The iconic Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant building in Honolulu, which stood along Ala Moana Boulevard for nearly seven decades, was demolished on Thursday to make way for a redevelopment of the property. Pacific Business News.

courtesy Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Fisherman's Wharf, courtesy OHA

The former Fisherman's Wharf restaurant at Kewalo Basin was demolished Thursday morning as part of a redevelopment plan by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotels, which set a record of $4.06 billion in total hotel revenue for the first nine months of the year, achieved the nation's second-best average daily rate and revenue per available room behind New York. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in October, from 4.9 percent during the same month a year ago, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

The state's jobless rate declined in October for the third month in a row to hit a six-year low of 4.1 percent, matching its lowest level since the early stages of the recession. Star-Advertiser.

A new report from State Budget Solutions, a national nonprofit organization focusing on states’ fiscal responsibility, warns it’s time for newly elected state officials in Hawaii and throughout the country to address unfunded liabilities in the retirement system. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii’s holiday sashimi could be in short supply this year if conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, get their way in a lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday. Civil Beat.

Environmental groups on Thursday sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to challenge a new rule for fishing bigeye tuna, a popular species for sushi and fish steaks. Associated Press.

Environmental groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service on Thursday to challenge a new rule for fishing bigeye tuna, a popular species for sushi and fish steaks. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Hawaii says it collected more than $6.5 million in fines and penalties this fiscal year. U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni says the collections included nearly $5.7 million from criminal cases and more than $800,000 from civil cases. Associated Press.

The head of Hawaii's troubled health exchange says he wants more oversight for the institution. Executive Director Jeff Kissel says he plans to expand the scope of some of the contractors that verify how well the Connector website is functioning. Associated Press.

A Department of Land and Natural Resources worker serving time for child pornography charges will soon be released from prison, and will go back to working for the state. At the time of his arrest earlier this year, Randy Honebrink was the education coordinator for the department’s aquatics division. KHON2.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is appointing an interim CEO to take the place of Mike McCartney, who is leaving office to become the new governor's chief of staff. Atlantis Adventures CEO Ronald Williams takes over on Friday. Associated Press.

Oahu

Plans to ease up the rules to allow for more secondary dwellings on Oahu's residential lots got mostly positive public feedback at a hearing before the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A resolution allowing property owners to rent out ohana units — currently reserved for family members —  to the general public was moved forward Thursday by the Honolulu Zoning and Planning Committee. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council Committee passed a Resolution today that would enable the Administration to develop rules to build more affordable rental housing for lower income residents. Hawaii Public Radio.

A plan to set aside city parking stalls for car-sharing vehicles has won a preliminary approval from the Hono­lulu City Council Budget Committee. Star-Advertiser.

A quarantine on the movement of pigs was issued for Oahu on Thursday following the outbreak of a serious swine disease never before seen in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Nuuanu Reservoir will be open for fishing for one day next month, the Board of Water Supply has announced. The board wants anglers to help remove fish from the reservoir in advance of an improvement project slated for mid-2015. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A West Hawaii majority emerging from the Nov. 4 election is poised to name Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha chairman and Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter vice chairwoman. West Hawaii Today.

Red Cross volunteers will be going door-to-door on Friday to survey Pahoa residents in the immediate evacuation area of the June 27 lava flow. West Hawaii Today.

Lava activity along the upper reaches of the June 27 flow has remained “fairly consistent” during the last few days, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Thursday. Breakouts were as close as 4 miles from Apa‘a Street that morning with little to no activity seen closer to Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

Puna lava flow breakouts develop near abandoned geothermal well site. Hawaii News Now.

Since early September, UH-Hilo’s Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Laboratory has worked in partnership with Civil Defense and the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, outfitted with a high-resolution camera to map the flow. Tribune-Herald.

Conventional wisdom holds that shield volcanoes like Mauna Loa and Kilauea don't blow their tops like Mount St. Helens. But new research is bolstering the little-known fact that Kilauea can explode and did so to deadly effect as recently as 1924. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

A total of 24 tiger sharks off of Maui are now being tracked with satellite tagging devices as researchers with the University of Hawaiʻi continue to study their movement following an increase in the number of unprovoked shark bite incidents last year. Maui Now.

An unprecedented spike in shark attacks over the past two years prompted state officials to fund a study to tag and track the movement of tiger sharks in the waters off Maui. Hawaii News Now.

The state Land Use Commission declined Thursday to schedule a hearing or issue a declaratory order to address neighbors' complaints about development of the Central Maui Sports Complex. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved needed zoning changes to move the long-awaited West Maui Hospital and Medical Center one step closer to reality. Maui News.

Kauai

The U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor says community concerns that the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise and Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility are negatively impacting marine life are unfounded. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council, by a 4-2 vote, passed a measure on Wednesday that will separate agricultural lands on Kauai into three categories — pasture, diversified agriculture and biotech research — when county officials are calculating real property tax assessments. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Many Hawaii homeless new arrivals, Abercrombie says same-sex marriage highlight of gubernatorial term, PAC spending case sent to prosecutor, Hawaii council advances e-cig ban, Kakaako construction gone wild, Maui could hike water rates in droughts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu homeless © 2014 All Hawaii News
About 6 percent of Hawaii's homeless population — or about 600 people — arrived in the Aloha State in only the last 12 months, according to a new University of Hawaii report. In addition, about 16 percent of the homeless population — or about 1,600 people — told Hawaii social service workers they became new residents within the last five years. Star-Advertiser.

Opponents of a proposal to put in place the city's "sit-lie" ordinance in business districts across Oahu plan to hold rally at Hono­lulu Hale starting shortly before midday Thursday to urge Mayor Kirk Caldwell to veto the bill passed by the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A Statewide Homeless Awareness Conference on O’ahu is scheduled for Friday. It will bring service providers and government agencies together to look for viable solutions. Hawaii Public Radio.

An immigration reform proposal expected to be unveiled by President Barack Obama today could protect hundreds of undocumented immigrants living in Hawaii from deportation. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday described the legalization of same-sex marriage as his proudest accomplishment as governor and said he wished he had done more to convince the public of the need for shared sacrifice near the end of the recession. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Attorney General David Louie plans to appeal a court’s decision requiring the release of financial disclosure statements of certain state board members, which is expected to keep the records private while that lengthy process plays out. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Hawaii Needs to Spread a Little Digital Aloha. Our new governor should take steps — even if they're costly — to drag the islands’ computer systems into the modern world. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The city prosecutor's office is now tasked with deciding whether criminal charges are warranted in connection with two complaints related to the 2012 mayoral campaign activities of the Pacific Resource Partnership Political Action Committee. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges against the Pacific Resource Partnership’s political action committee for failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars spent during the 2012 mayoral campaign, among other violations. The state Campaign Spending Commission voted 3-1 Wednesday to refer two complaints against PRP to city prosecutors. Civil Beat.

A global engineering and design firm that holds three Oahu rail project contracts has purchased a rival company that holds the contract to oversee the design firm's work, forcing city officials to look at ways to resolve an apparent conflict of interest. Star-Advertiser.

The former lead prosecutor in the gambling, money laundering and racketeering case involving arcade sweepstakes machines is facing possible sanctions for failing to show up in state court Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor is getting a fourth Virginia-class submarine next week, adding to the high-tech firepower the Navy has said will accompany the rebalance to the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer Stanford Carr's Keauhou Lane project, which includes 388 residential units in a 400-foot high-rise tower, along with 35 townhouse units in a 42-foot mid-rise tower, is slated to start construction in late March or early April. Pacific Business News.

Better coordination between landowners, developing a business improvement district and subsidizing retailers were some of the ideas tossed around at a town hall meeting in Downtown Honolulu that focused on the pedestrian experience in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako. Pacific Business News.

Opinion: Imagining Kakaako — How Our Hearts Lead Us Astray. The area is developing all too quickly thanks to public/private cooperation on steroids and the lack of urban vision. Civil Beat.

Reece Huculak-Kimmel has become known as the million-dollar baby. The 11-month-old Canadian girl was prematurely born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children on Dec. 10 and her parents are now responsible for a $950,000 bill that insurance won't cover. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A bill prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes anywhere smoking traditional cigarettes is banned moved ahead Wednesday to its final vote, after attempts to first amend, then delay, the measure were batted away by a County Council majority. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Civil Defense chief said he will continue to assess whether road restrictions should be lifted as the June 27 lava flow remains calm near Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

US House Panel Gets Volcano Hazard Update. Reps. Hanabusa and Gabbard were among those at the congressional hearing that included testimony from Hawaii officials. Civil Beat.

The June 27 lava flow took centerstage Wednesday during a Congressional subcommittee hearing on volcano monitoring in the United States. Tribune-Herald.

The comptroller for the state Department of Accounting and General Services has joined the lineup of opposition to placing the Keauhou aquifer under the control of the state’s water commission. West Hawaii Today.

Two top administrators of the state Department of Health’s Adult Mental Health Division appeared in a Hilo courtroom Tuesday to explain delays in performing a mental examination for a woman jailed several months for relatively minor offenses. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Members of the council committee on water resources today passed a bill on first reading that seeks to establish special water rate actions and conservation measures during times of water shortages and drought. Maui Now.

Lahainaluna High School staff, students, supporters and local politicians have formed a Lahainaluna Boarding Department Working Group to sustain the historic and nearly 200-year-old program that has been hit with funding problems and the phasing out of traditional and lucrative farming programs. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council soundly defeated a proposal encouraging Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration to create a low-interest loan program that would help residents upgrade their cesspools to septic systems on the heels of imminent changes to state Department of Health rules on wastewater. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ige slowly filling Cabinet, Abercrombie asks that Aila stay at DLNR, state Medicaid plan misleads 318k beneficiaries, Honolulu prosecutor mislaid rape cases, Maui council defers polystyrene bill, Kapoho fish kill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island's new Saddle Road © 2014 All Hawaii News
Gov.-elect David Ige will bring Ford Fuchigami back to the state Department of Transportation as its director. Fuchigami had served as the department's interim director before taking a post Nov. 1 as director of the city Department of Enterprise Services. Star-Advertiser.

Outgoing Governor Fired Up About Climate Change. On a night of passionate statements about the planet's future, Gov. Abercrombie urges Gov.-elect Ige to keep William Aila as head of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has enlisted a familiar face to lobby for federal research dollars in Washington, D.C., under a new contract signed last month. Jennifer Sabas, the former chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, will be part of a two-person lobbying team from The National Group that will try to secure funds in fields such as astronomy, ocean sciences and food sustainability. Civil Beat.

The state Medicaid health insurance program, which has more than 318,000 beneficiaries, mailed out fliers in August incorrectly stating that Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is not accepting new Quest members. Star-Advertiser.

A new study analyzing poverty and income inequality in U.S. counties concluded that Hawaii County has high levels of poverty and inequality. The report by the Population Reference Bureau also found that while Maui County has relatively low poverty rates, it has high inequality. Civil Beat.

Thousands of veterans in Hawaii have started to receive "Choice Cards" from the Department of Veterans Affairs that are meant to provide health care in the community as an alternative to long waits for VA appointments. Star-Advertiser.

An Air Force colonel is joining the Hawaii public school system's leadership team. The state Department of Education said Tuesday Dan Carlson will head the Office of School Facilities and Support Services as an assistant superintendent. Associated Press.

They are essential to the success of Hawaii's child welfare system.  They take in abused and neglected children, some with complicated physical or emotional problems, and temporarily care for them, house them and nurture them. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Let’s Tackle the Public Policies Promoting Obesity. A soda tax is just one idea. There are other public policies to be considered. Civil Beat.

Oahu

About one month after officials implemented a new reservation system and policy, Handi-Van users are still outraged by the service they're receiving. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu doctor to serve in Ebola hot zone. Death rate among health care workers infected with virus nearly 57 percent. KITV4.

City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro stunned Honolulu City Council members Tuesday when he admitted several rape cases were never prosecuted because the office lost track of them. KHON2.

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro apologized and took personal responsibility for the mishandling of a negligent-homicide case that has left the grieving family of an Ewa Beach man continuing to seek answers two years after he died from injuries he sustained when hit by a truck near his home. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A new building will be cropping up at the West Hawaii Civic Center in a few years, thanks to initial action Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee. The committee unanimously agreed to forward to the council with a positive recommendation a $9.6 million appropriation to plan and construct a building for the county Prosecutor’s Office. West Hawaii Today.

Following a wave of testimony supporting new regulations on aquarium collectors, a County Council committee on Tuesday postponed action, saying more scientific information is needed before a bill is implemented. Most council members said, however, they would, if they could, favor a total ban on commercial aquarium fish collection. West Hawaii Today.

A significant fish kill in the Kapoho tide pools this weekend represents yet another worrisome event within a fragile ecosystem that is seemingly under siege from all sides. Tribune-Herald.

Residents seemed to hold mixed views on a county project to bring sewer lines to the Lono Kona subdivision. But even those in support of the plan at a public hearing Tuesday night in Kailua-Kona worried about how the system would impact their wallets. West Hawaii Today.

A $28 million program aimed at benefiting farmers will continue in its current state a little longer, despite fears some landowners are abusing the program at the expense of other taxpayers. West Hawaii Today.

Geologists say a tube system that has supplied lava to the outer reaches of the June 27 flow could slowly be refilling several miles upslope of Pahoa while breakouts continue to keep the threat far from homes. Tribune-Herald.

As lava continues to move slowly toward Pahoa, costs are increasing for Hawaii County, including those for emergency services and road construction.  But there's another cost:  the county's long term potential for revenue. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

After listening to more than two hours of public testimony, the Maui County Council's Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee deferred action Monday on a bill that would ban the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food containers in Maui County. Maui News.

The Maui County Council will form a Committee of the Whole next term to handle litigation matters, the hiring and payment of special counsels, indemnification and settlements, according to Council Member Mike White's office. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is accepting applications for seats on two dozen county boards and commissions. Associated Press.

A workshop on a draft West Maui watersheds study will be hosted this month by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Maui News.

The University of Hawaiʻi will offer four financial aid workshops in Maui County for Native Hawaiian students interested in attending college, and those interested in applying for college scholarships. Maui Now.

Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co. are challenging a law in Maui County. The law, approved by voters Nov. 4, bans cultivation and experiments with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Hawaii Reporter.

Kauai

Outgoing Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro is sponsoring a measure that encourages Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his administration to create a low-interest loan program that would help qualified Kauai residents living near steams, rivers, oceans or shorelines convert their cesspools to septic systems. Garden Island.

A Kauai County Councilmember is asking the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to help preserve the character of Hanalei Bay by restricting large vessels from its waters. Garden Island.

Animals — chickens, sheep, geese and feral pigs — on Grove Farm Company land are the likely source of pollution ending up in Waiopili Stream in Mahaulepu. Garden Island.

Each day, at the picnic tables fronting the Historic County Building, dozens of people gather. They are a community of homeless. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Permits required for Kaena Point, Air Force to stay strong in Hawaii, Rosen to head state hospital group, Big Island man busted with 85 marijuana plants, electric rates drop on Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Panorama of the Ka'ena Point Trailhead (also the end of the Dillingham Highway) on O'ahu's North Shore (past Mokule'ia Beach). You can park here and continue to Ka'ena point on foot just a few miles up!
Kaena Point panorama, courtesy Alaska Dave
After consulting with a community advisory group, the Department of Land and Natural Resources will implement a vehicle access permit system for the roads at Kaena Point State Park Reserve’s Mokuleia section. Civil Beat.

Ignoring signs, damaging natural resources and causing erosion. That's what the Department of Land and Natural Resources says careless drivers are doing at Ka'ena Point. KITV4.

Kaena Point has long been a favorite place for off-roading. Now, the state is hoping to get a better handle on vehicles in the area. In the coming weeks, a gate will be put up that can only be opened by people who have permits. KHON2.

Hawaii Department of Human Services officials say that their plan to reduce funding for medical coverage for roughly 7,500 adult migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands will save the state roughly $21.5 million while maintaining vital health care coverage. Star-Advertiser.

The Air Force is reducing its ranks overall due to budget cuts, but staffing in the Pacific will remain at 100 percent due to the re-balance to the region, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The Air Force’s top boss said Monday she hopes to make all jobs in the service open to qualified women in the next year and a half. Seven jobs in the service are closed to women, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters during a visit to Hawaii on Monday. Associated Press.

Opinion: Hawaii stands to lose nearly 50,000 people, more than 25,000 jobs and $1.35 billion in total economic impact by 2020, if we do not step up to keep thousands of soldiers and their families here in the islands. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp. announced Monday afternoon that Linda Rosen, M.D., M.P.H., will be its new chief executive officer. She will start her new position with HHSC on Dec. 16. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s board of directors has appointed Linda Rosen as chief executive officer of the public hospital system effective Dec. 16. Star-Advertiser.

New car and light truck registrations will rise about 8.8 percent in 2014, according to a forecast from the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The Arizona Memorial ticket scandal has been brewing for a year but so far, the man at the center of the controversy, Frank Middleton, remains on the job. Two internal reports by the National Park Service show that Middleton and other memorial officials were aware that tickets intended to be distributed to the public for free were being diverted to tour companies that charged visitors anywhere from $39 to $89. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu customers will see the lowest electrical rates in more than a year this month as residential bills dropped more than $10 due to reductions in fuel prices. Star-Advertiser.

Sources tell Always Investigating that Honolulu city bus workers were involved in a long-time scheme to clock in and out for a staffer who barely showed up. The timecard scheme is said to have taken place at a maintenance yard of TheBus and centers around a mechanic. KHON2.

A plan to allow more Oahu homeowners to create second dwellings on their lots is gaining momentum at Hono­lulu Hale. Star-Advertiser.

Last summer, developers of seven new luxury condo buildings at Ala Moana held a groundbreaking for their $300 million project. Amid calls for more affordable developments in Kakaako, these “ultra luxury” towers are rising quietly without the need for public hearings or any units set aside for moderate or low-income people. That wouldn’t happen under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposed islandwide housing strategy. Civil Beat.

A march, rally and sit-in were held at University of Hawaii's Manoa campus Monday to protest proposed budget cuts rumored to target teaching assistants and other areas that affect graduate students. Star-Advertiser.

The YMCA of Honolulu is making another move to get out of the housing business on Oahu by offering to sell or lease two historic Manoa residence halls occupied by University of Hawaii students. Star-Advertiser.

The YMCA of Honolulu Central branch across from Ala Moana Center will temporarily close on Feb. 28 for a redevelopment project that will result in a smaller Y building next to a 128-unit condominium on its 1.8-acre property on Atkinson Drive. Pacific Business News.

Homeowners in the Ewa communities of Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei are complaining that the man-made recreational lagoon serving their communities contains algae. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Farmers will have to dedicate their property to agricultural use a minimum of three years to get tax breaks, under a bill to be considered today by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

A perennial battle between aquarium fish collectors and conservationists will be played out in County Council chambers today, as a council committee takes up a measure regulating the transport of fish off-island. West Hawaii Today.

A 26-year-old Naalehu man accused of possessing 85 marijuana plants and 52 pounds of dried marijuana will stand trial on a half dozen felony charges, a Kona District Court judge ruled Monday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow offered little for geologists and Civil Defense officials to observe Monday around Pahoa as it focused its activity miles upslope from the town it has left on edge for the past few months. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

For years, Hawaii's public hospitals have relied on state subsidies to offset the rising cost of health care. That’s especially true on the Neighbor Islands.  But now hospitals are receiving less funding from the state, and on Maui, administrators are looking at other options. Hawaii Public Radio.

Now that the state has completed its acquisition of Lipoa Point from Maui Land & Pineapple Co., the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is calling on the public to be diligent stewards of the land. Maui News.

The Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety today announced the promotion of five fighters including Firefighter III Chad Pacheco to the rank of Captain. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Invasive Species Committee confirmed that an unfamiliar plant growing along Kuhio Highway near Kalihiwai Bridge is an invasive mule’s foot fern. Garden Island.

A construction zone accident has led to a lawsuit seeking medical and other damages. Narciso Nicolas, of Honolulu, is suing William Waialeale and his employer, Robert’s Tours and Transportation, Inc., for injuries incurred while working on Kokee Road in 2012. Garden Island.