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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hawaii crops suffer from drought, $15.4M settlement in Honolulu molasses spill, almost half state's private-sector workers lack sick days, county council to mull pCard audit, 400 protest Maui Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, Filipino vets want their due, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Produce at a Hawaii farmers market © 2015 All Hawaii News
Experts at the National Weather Service are forecasting the heat to go through summer and into fall. It’s bad news for everyone, especially for local farmers who say the sun has been burning up a lot of their crops. KITV4.

Research crews will leave Ford Island this week to explore the staggering depths of the ocean around Hawaii, which humans have never seen before. Star-Advertiser.

An estimated 42 percent of Hawaii’s private sector employees, or 184,237 workers, don’t receive any paid sick days, according to a new report released Wednesday by a national advocacy group pushing for federal and state laws requiring employers to provide minimum sick leave benefits. Star-Advertiser.

More than 260,000 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, including 300 from Hawaii, answered President Franklin Roosevelt’s call to liberate the Philippines 74 years ago, but unlike the nisei soldiers or the African-American Tuskegee Airmen, many feel they have not received adequate recognition for their wartime efforts. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Matson has agreed in a settlement with the state to pay $15.4 million for a massive molasses spill at Honolulu Harbor and to end its molasses operation in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

A major shipping company has agreed to pay more than $15 million to compensate for a 2013 molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii’s attorney general said Wednesday. Associated Press.

The state and Matson Navigation Co. have agreed on a $15.4 million settlement. The Hawai‘i-based shipping company was responsible for a leak in 2013 that released more than 230,000 gallons of molasses, devastating coral and marine life in Honolulu Harbor. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the hiring Wednesday of a Bay Area consultant with decades of transit experience to improve oversight of the city’s $6 billion commuter rail line. Civil Beat.

Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Medical Services will continue a pilot program that has personnel working 12-hour shifts. After ongoing discussions, the United Public Workers union told KHON2 it reached an agreement with the city to continue the extended shifts.

Hawaii

Hawaii County residents will get their first chance to weigh in on an audit of the county’s purchasing card program next week, when the County Council Finance Committee takes up the issue. West Hawaii Today.

Mauna Kea Thirty Meter Telescope protesters file complaints against police, DLNR. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is gearing up to enforce a new emergency rule that restricts nighttime access to the Mauna Kea summit area. Star-Advertiser.

Running an observatory can cost millions of dollars each year, and yet the astronomy business is not for-profit. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County residents plan to celebrate the county’s first officially recognized Hawaiian Restoration Day on Friday with celebrations on both sides of the island. West Hawaii Today.

Five Big Island farmers signed up to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture better understand and manage the impacts feral swine are having on natural resources and human health and safety. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

About 400 protesters on a beach in front of a Maui resort blew conch shells on Wednesday to demonstrate against a trade agreement being negotiated by ministers from 12 Pacific Rim nations. Associated Press.

Economic ministers from 12 nations, including the United States, are holding talks on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership on Maui. And their gathering has attracted protesters opposed to the trade treaty. Hawaii News Now.

A coalition of advocates for the environment, labor, health and native Hawaiians are gathered on Kāʻanapali Beach near the Westin today to speak out against negotiations involving the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Maui Now.

The Maui Planning Commission deferred action Tuesday on a proposed mixed-use campground facility in Lahaina for commercial and homeless campers, suggesting that the developer confer with neighbors who oppose the project. Maui News.

Christopher Benjamin will take over day-to-day management of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. as its new chief executive officer, beginning Jan. 1, succeeding Stanley Kuriyama, who will retire as CEO but continue to serve the company as A&B's executive chairman of the board. Maui News.

Kauai

With two cases involving Kauai police officers being investigated, a conflict of interest in one prompted Kauai County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar to turn it over to the state Attorney General. Garden Island.

A recipient of the Kauai Police Department’s 2010 Top Cop award has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and inattention to driving, according to the state’s Department of the Attorney General. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Native Hawaiian roll published, Ellison Lanai documents to be kept secret, solar subsidies at issue, telescopes opposed on two mountaintops, Kakaako homeless roust nears, 12 nations in trade talks on Maui, Honolulu rail nears milestone, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaiian pounding taro for poi © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has posted online a certified list of 95,690 people of Hawaiian ancestry who could form the voting base to create a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians facing critical health issues have been allotted about $13.67 million through several grants by Congress, according to the groups receiving the funds for fiscal 2016. Star-Advertiser.

A bitter clash over the future of subsidies for rooftop solar systems is pitting former political allies against each other in an emerging public battle. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige has recently been using a family anecdote to illustrate how Hawaii’s government employee pay scale makes it difficult to fill top state jobs. Star-Advertiser.

What Will It Take to Make Hawaii’s Vacant Public Housing Units Habitable? A lack of funds hampers the effort, and even after contracts are awarded, a slow permit process can delay the work. Federal regulations make shortcuts difficult, but Housing Authority officials are looking for solutions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Has 37th-Best School System in US, Report Says. In a bright note, the report found that Hawaii has the fifth-safest school system. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s longline fishermen are on course to hit their annual bigeye tuna catch limit next week, which means they will have to stop catching bigeye in their most productive fishing grounds west of Hawaii on Aug. 5. Associated Press.

Oahu

No buildings or land have been found to accommodate people who will be removed from an expanding homeless encampment in Kakaako, but the city still plans to start clearing out occupants sometime next month, Managing Director Roy Amemiya told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

The city will not purchase the Hilo Hattie property on Nimitz Highway that had been considered for a “one-stop homeless shelter” for up to 800 people. Civil Beat.

State Homeless Coordinator Colin Kippen is getting ready to leave his position come Friday. KITV4.

A Hawaii Circuit Court judge sided with the government Tuesday in a civil lawsuit that challenged broad interpretations of state law that effectively keep secret many of the discussions behind public policy decisions. Judge Virginia Crandall found that state and local agencies have a legitimate interest in keeping such talks out of public view so as to not interfere with the efficiency of government operations. Civil Beat.

Ansaldo Honolulu and city officials are poised to finally settle their dispute over the cost to change rail’s train configuration. If they do, it would help resolve a deeper, long-running disagreement over the type of train that Ansaldo was originally required to deliver under the largest contract awarded in state history. Star-Advertiser.

Construction on O’ahu’s 6-billion dollar rail transit project is nearing mile 4 of its projected 20-mile route.  Local businesses are being impacted and communities like Waipahu are expressing their concerns. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) is looking to fill a vacancy on its board of directors left by Robert “Bobby” Bunda, who stepped down in May. Hawaii Independent.

Crosswalks are supposed to protect pedestrians, but city officials are concerned that people may be at risk in some older crossings. They're considering whether to remove some mid-block crosswalks on busy roads with several lanes like King Street and Beretania Street. Hawaii News Now.

The State Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting tonight at Mililani Uka Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to talk about work to be done on Roosevelt Bridge. KHON2.

The City and County of Honolulu’s change in its flood hazard ordinance is causing some headaches in the construction industry. Pacific Business News.

A federal lawsuit alleging that eight Honolulu police officers assaulted and arrested two hikers, including a Waikiki entertainer, they had mistaken for suspects in an armed robbery has been tentatively settled out of court. Star-Advertiser.

A city contractor Tuesday completed a weeklong job of removing 21.5 tons of debris from an abandoned Kaimuki house, the target of complaints from neighbors and officials about unsanitary conditions and fire and safety hazards, according to Curtis Lum, spokesman for the city Department of Planning and Permitting. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

It seemed like a good idea at the time. A plentiful workforce created by an economic downturn, coupled with the availability of federal money, inspired the state Department of Transportation to hire a design-build contractor and set aside funding in 2008 for the second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island taxpayers might not have been reimbursed for three of the 164 purchasing card, or pCard, charges an auditor identified as not following Hawaii County’s own policies or possibly violating state law. Tribune-Herald.

Protesters opposed to building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea have remained on the mountain around-the-clock despite an emergence rule aimed at getting them to stop camping there. Associated Press.

The conversation atop Mauna Kea appears to have shifted, at least for now, away from the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project and toward issues of jurisdiction and Hawaiian sovereignty. Tribune-Herald.

There have been no citations or arrests for violating an emergency rule restricting access to Mauna Kea. However, protesters opposed to building a giant telescope on the mountain continue their around-the-clock presence to prevent construction from resuming. Star-Advertiser.

Ka‘u Learning Academy, the only school to receive a new charter from the state last year, welcomes its first students this morning. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A demonstration planned for Thursday aims to again block a convoy of parts and materials headed to a large telescope under construction on the summit of Halea­kala. Star-Advertiser.

Protesters again will gather at the Central Maui Baseyard in Puunene on Thursday night as parts for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope are expected to be transported to the summit of Haleakala. Maui News.

Trade ministers from 12 nations around the Pacific Rim are meeting on the Hawaiian island on Maui to negotiate a trade pact. Associated Press.

A group of anti-corporate and pro-labor and environment organizations are planning a series of demonstrations against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks taking place this week at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka`anapali, says Sierra Club Hawaii Director Marti Townshend in a July 27 news release. MauiTime.

The Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday voted to defer action for 60 days on a conditional permit for the proposed Kauaula Transient campsite in West Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

Strong reaction to proposed Haena changes. Master plan restricts daily number of visitors, cuts parking in half. Garden Island.

Motorists and residents are advised that the Department of Water work began this week in the median of Kaumualii Highway affecting westbound lanes, east of Uahi Road. Garden Island.

The Department of Parks and Recreation reopened the Kapaa swimming pool Tuesday, two weeks ahead of schedule. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council recently passed a bill requiring negligent adventurers to pay for their rescues. But determining what costs to recover and what sorts of rescues would be included was not so easy. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lanai

A state agency has rejected a request by the Friends of Lanai that would have given the community group access to confidential information on the terms and conditions of an agreement between Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison and Castle & Cooke Inc. regarding a planned wind energy farm on the Pineapple Island. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hawaii recycling fee to drop, state sheriff and deputy on leave per investigation, state workers still accepting free golf, lobbying laws lax on Maui, Ige creates task force to address Honolulu homeless, Hawaii County buys land to fix 15-year-old error, Kaui to learn about Roundup, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Plastic HI-5 bottles await recycling © 2015 All Hawaii News
People aren’t returning their HI-5 bottles and cans as often as they used to, so the state is trimming a half-cent off its administrative fee. West Hawaii Today.

Spurred by falling recycling rates, the state Department of Health announced Monday it will reduce the container fee it charges to manufacturers, distributors and importers of HI-5 beverage containers by a half-cent effective Sept. 1. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety has confirmed that State Sheriff Robin Nagamine and First Deputy Patrick Lee have been placed on “unspecified leave.”  Star-Advertiser.

Some state workers are continuing to accept free rounds of golf despite the Hawaii State Ethics Commission cracking down on the longstanding practice. Civil Beat.

During the 2013-2014 school year, there were 2,422 homeless students enrolled in the state Department of Education’s public and charter schools out of a total of 185,273 students, according to DOE spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz. Star-Advertiser.

Federal regulators have collected more than 475 written testimonies about a proposal that would shed Hawaii’s humpback whales of their endangered species status. Garden Island.

Oahu

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is creating a new team of city, state and federal representatives to tackle homelessness in the state. Associated Press.

City and state officials do not plan a huge sweep of Kakaako’s expanding homeless encampment and instead will slowly find alternate housing for a few occupants living on the outer edges, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday at an unusual joint news conference with Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige announced Monday that he was launching an “unprecedented” effort to address the state’s growing homeless problem. Civil Beat.

Governor David Ige announced Monday his office has created a leadership team to address homelessness that will work in collaboration with federal and county partners to establish "best practices" for assisting the variety of needs and the complexity of housing the state's growing homeless population. Hawaii News Now.

There are more than 13-thousand homeless residents in the state according to the Department of Human Services.   The Governor announced a major effort to address this growing problem. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency started the day Monday by recovering USS Oklahoma “unknowns” from Punchbowl cemetery, and followed that up by dedicating a new $85 million facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Star-Advertiser.

Thirty-six caskets draped in the American flag arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Sunday evening.  Inside, the remains of Marines who lost their lives in the battle of Tarawa some 70 years ago. KITV4.

Pumped hydro storage has potential on Oahu. It works by using cheap solar energy during the day to pump water uphill to a reservoir, and then releases that water at night, running down a pipe, turning a turbine and making electricity. Pacific Business News.

Ben Jay accumulated an average of more than $13,200 per month in bonuses during his tenure as the University of Hawaii’s athletic director and was due a lump sum $370,000 bonus payment upon his departure under terms of his 2012 contract, records show. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council is trying to settle a lawsuit over a 15-year-old Planning Department error by buying the disputed land. West Hawaii Today.

A new Department of Hawaiian Home Lands subdivision plan would make 80 agriculture lots in Panaewa available to beneficiaries, including residents of the Makuu Farm Lots who faced relocation due to lava. Tribune-Herald.

At the north end of Hilo Bayfront, next to Singing Bridge, sits Kaipalaoa Landing — a historic and often overlooked strip of land. By year’s end, however, the half-acre parcel — home to a small lighthouse — will undergo a $349,000 face-lift. Tribune-Herald.

Three young dolphins will be airborne between Dolphin Quest facilities in Waikoloa and Oahu, under a permit the company is seeking from the state Board of Agriculture. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Council Chair Mike White wants Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration to breathe life into the county’s 34-year-old law requiring lobbyists to register. Civil Beat.

A public hearing will be held on a request for a special use permit and a conditional permit to allow for the development and operation of a transient camp in West Maui. Maui Now.

The developers of the proposed Ma'alaea Plantation subdivision have scaled back their plans from what had been the controversial Ohana Kai development, a 1,100-unit affordable home subdivision on 257 acres that command sweeping views of South Maui's coastline. Maui News.

Kauai

Strong reaction to proposed Haena changes. Master plan restricts daily number of visitors, cuts parking in half. Garden Island.

Kauai residents have three chances to catch a panel discussion about Roundup’s potential dangers featuring science and environmental health scholars from around the world. Garden Island.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Astronomers to gather amid Mauna Kea protests, military kids shortchanging school system, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. workers on Kauai lose jobs, Maui neighbors oppose homeless camp, Honolulu mulls charter changes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Case Western University
Stars over Mauna Kea, courtesy Case Western University
Forget the lei and mai tai greeting. When more than 2,500 astronomers from around the world converge on Honolulu for their triennial convention Aug. 3-14, they are likely to be welcomed by demonstrators. Star-Advertiser.

The International Astronomical Union will hold its triennial general assembly in Hawaii next month, attracting astronomers from around the globe to discuss science and international collaboration. The 11-day assembly will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu and will attract roughly 2,500 to 3,000 people from more than 75 countries. Pacific Business News.

Convention center preparing security plan for possible protests at upcoming astronomy conference. Ian Lind blog.

Hawaii Schools Missing Out on Aid They’re Due for Serving Military Families. The state relies on federal funding to partially offset the cost of educating the children of service members, but difficulties with tracking how many such students are enrolled could be costing it millions of dollars. Civil Beat.

Oahu
Oahu residents interested in making the government of the City and County of Hono­lulu operate better are asked to participate in the work of the 2015 Honolulu Charter Commission. Star-Advertiser.

The Save Ka Iwi Coast Coalition has raised more than half of the remaining funds needed by Aug. 30 to purchase 182 acres above the seven-mile Ka Iwi coast. The coalition has raised $268,000, or 54 percent of private funding required from the community to protect and preserve the south shoreline on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority gave its final approval Wednesday on The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Kakaako residential project at 988 Halekauwila St. Pacific Business News.

It's not permanent housing, but people who are homeless in Kakaako may finally be getting a place of their own. KITV4.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission has rescinded its restrictive news media policy, and adopted a new version that allows its executive director to speak to the press without needing permission and to comment on the potential impact of advisory opinions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Plans to fast-track changes to the county concurrency law to accommodate a Hilo judge’s rezoning have come to a screeching halt. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Councilman Greggor Ilagan plans to introduce legislation aimed at further clarifying the county law prohibiting the use of public funds for personal purposes. The bill was drafted in response to a recent audit report detailing misuse of county purchasing cards, or pCards, by Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office and the county Department of Liquor Control. Tribune-Herald.

After years of planning and months of lava-related postponement, construction work on a roundabout at one of the most dangerous intersections in the county is set to begin in August. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A Maui-based outreach organization is proposing to build a new campground facility in Lahaina as a way to help with the island's growing homeless population, but residents are fighting the project. Associated Press.

Kauai

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. may be open to the possibility of serving a third term in office, but councilmembers aren’t planning to give him that chance. Garden Island.

Thirty employees in the Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Kauai Region were notified of their pending layoffs on Friday. Garden Island.

A new ordinance allows the Kauai County Fire Department to bill reckless hikers who have to be rescued. But Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman said it’s unclear whether the department ever will do so. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hawaii representatives fight GMO labeling override in Congress, state officials ignore ethics law, Native Hawaiian roll to be published, Brower presses charges against homeless, no bag-tag for Hawaii County, Mauna Kea rules not enforced, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
sign in Hilo organic grocery © 2015 All Hawaii News
Those at the forefront of Hawaii’s movement against genetically modified organisms reacted strongly Thursday against a U.S. House of Representatives measure to block state and local governments from requiring food companies to disclose whether their products contain GMOs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Mark Takai voted against a bill that seeks to stop states from requiring companies to label genetically engineered food. The measure introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with a vote of 275-150. It goes next to the Senate. Civil Beat.

A bill that would allow federal policy on labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms to supersede local efforts passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday went to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to speak against legislation that blocks local attempts to require mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients. Garden Island.

If passed by Congress, the bill that’s aimed at lifting GMO labeling requirements would become federal law, which also means it would supersede any local laws that are made in Hawaii. KITV4.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is chasing down state employees and board members who have failed to file their financial disclosure statements for 2015. s of Tuesday, there were 67 state employees and 321 members of boards and commissions who have yet to file their disclosure statement for this year. That’s about 21 percent of everyone who’s required to file by law. Civil Beat.

The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission will soon make public a certified list of names of nearly 100,000 people of Hawaiian ancestry who could form the voting base to create a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

Overcrowding and safety concerns highlight bigger issues the state hospital is looking to address. KHON2.

A Hawaii lawmaker, who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, said that he, along with other lawmakers, are quietly looking at other alternatives should the NextEra Energy Inc. $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. not go through. Pacific Business News.

Venture accelerators have only been in Hawaii for two years, but they’re already having an impact on the local startup and investment community. Pacific Business News.

At $7.75 per hour, Hawaii’s minimum wage is higher than two dozen states. But when you adjust for the high cost of living in the islands, that wage is only worth $6.67, according to a new analysis by the Washington Post. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City emergency officials joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday to unveil broadened tsunami evacuation maps for the island, which now include large inland swaths of Oahu vulnerable to rare, extremely strong tsunamis. Star-Advertiser.

Tsunami experts warn if a 9-plus magnitude earthquake occurs in the Eastern Aleutian islands, a tsunami heading to Hawaii could be worse than the 1946 tsunami that ravaged Hilo and killed 159 people. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission voted Thursday to rescind a strict media policy that severely curtailed what its executive director and even the commissioners themselves could say, opting for new guidelines that would allow a little more freedom. Star-Advertiser.

The homeless encampment in Kaka’ako, reportedly with more than 200 tents, was the focus of the state representative who claims he was attacked there and the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii Public Radio.

The city plans to open a “safe haven” in the next month to accommodate the growing homeless population in Kakaako, Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii lawmaker said Thursday he will press charges against whoever assaulted him in a homeless encampment in Honolulu last month. Associated Press.

State Rep. Tom Brower announced Thursday that he’s pressing charges against the homeless teens who allegedly attacked him last month in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

After state Rep. Tom Brower told reporters that he plans to pursue criminal charges against at least one of the two cousins who allegedly started the attack June 29, he agreed to speak to Rose Pu‘u at the same street corner of Ohe and Olomehani streets where the attack began. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education and several contractors have been fined $1.45 million for violating solid-waste laws during the renovation of Radford High School’s track field last year. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. Breene Harimoto (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea) says he will undergo surgery soon after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A pay-as-you-throw bag-tag bill for garbage was trashed by the County Council Environmental Management Committee on Thursday, following public opposition. West Hawaii Today.

More than a week after going into effect, the new emergency rules restricting access on Mauna Kea, which protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope say unfairly target them, have yet to be enforced. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is proposing to subdivide five 10-acre parcels in the Panaewa area of Hilo into approximately 80 half-acre lots for native Hawaiian beneficiaries who are on the wait list “and/or to existing lessees who need to relocate due to lava or other hazards.”  Big Island Video News.

There’s still plenty of room for students in the first classes to be held at Hawaii Community College — Palamanui, but those who want to register better hurry. Registration deadline is Aug. 1. West Hawaii Today.

With one deadline passed and a second looming, a nonprofit organization is a few hundred thousands dollars away from owning a 47-acre swath of sacred and historical grounds in Keauhou. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council Land Use Committee recommended first reading approval Wednesday of zoning changes for Ka Lima O Maui to move ahead with an eight-unit rental housing project in Wailuku for adults with disabilities. Maui News.

Aloha House has agreed to pay $45,000 to 19 employees in back wages, damages and penalties, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Maui News.

A pygmy sperm whale was found beached at Keawakapu in South Maui on Wednesday morning, July 22, 2015, according to representatives with the non-profit Ocean Defender Hawaiʻi group. Maui Now.

Kauai
After nearly 20 years of operating Puhi Sewer and Water Co., Kauai engineering firm Aqua Engineers purchased the wastewater treatment facility from Grove Farm Co. Inc. for an undisclosed price, officials from both firms said Thursday. Garden Island.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is seeking public comment on proposed management actions aimed at preventing the local extinction of the Hawaiian petrel, also known as the ‘Ua’u, a federally endangered seabird that is endemic to Hawaii. Garden Island.

Kauai residents have three chances to catch a panel discussion about the dangers of Roundup weed killer featuring experts from the United Nations and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hawaii low in greenhouse gas emissions, seven schools to get free lunch, monk seals to be vaccinated, Ethics Commission mulls class trips, Maui Council considers water plan, UH research brings in $425M, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Hawaii Rep. Cynthia Thielen with hemp, file courtesy photo
University of Hawaii researchers are poised to start their first harvest of industrial hemp in Waimanalo, while crop advocates explore opportunities to tap into the multimillion-dollar demand for the plant’s products in the United States. Star-Advertiser.

The status of future educational trips for Hawaii’s public school students remains murky following a marathon meeting of the State Ethics Commission on Wednesday. More than half of the nearly four-hour meeting was devoted to attempts to solve a messy clash between several provisions of the ethics code that applies to state employees, including teachers, and the Department of Education’s goal of encouraging educational trips to complement, extend, and broaden classroom experiences. Civil Beat.

A new pilot program launching next week at seven Hawaii public schools will provide lunches free of charge to more than 1,600 students regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Star-Advertiser.

Educators were asked this week to identify measurements of achievement for young Native Hawaiians in the coming decade. The answer had nothing to do with standardized test scores. Civil Beat.

External funding for research and instruction projects at the University of Hawaii surged to more than $425 million in the recently completed fiscal year — a jump of $33 million or 8.5 percent over last year and the first increase after three consecutive years of funding declines, UH officials disclosed Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is in the bottom half of rankings in the United States when it comes total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

NOAA Prepares for Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Models to mitigate coastal hazards related to climate change. New research using wave modeling helps explain the effects coral reefs have on preventing coastal hazards like flooding.  Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

The state Department of Health is issuing a $1.1 million fine against the Department of Education and several companies over the alleged dumping of toxic soil from Radford High School. Hawaii News Now.

Major metal recyclers on the island would once again enjoy a substantial discount in disposal fees under a plan making its way through the Honolulu City Council despite objections from Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s Council chairman on Wednesday proposed the city consider using some of the hundreds of millions of dollars from a five-year rail tax extension to help Oahu businesses hard-hit by rail construction. Star-Advertiser.

Population growth and concerns over crime have prompted some residents and officials to call for a greater police presence on the Leeward Coast. Star-Advertiser.

The state agency regulating development in Kakaako has acknowledged that its rule governing the opaqueness of glass on new condominium towers may need to be modified to achieve a better balance between reflectiveness and energy use. Star-Advertiser.

A Bloomberg analysis has found that Honolulu ranks fourth among American cities that lost the most residents between July 2013 and July 2014. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu city council committee has approved a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the city by a Waipahu man who claimed he was beaten by an off-duty police officer. Hawaii News Now

The Hawaii Community Development Authority finalized an amended development permit Wednesday requiring construction to start on the moderate-priced 988 Halekauwila condominium tower in Kakaako before an initial luxury tower can be occupied at Ward Village. Star-Advertiser.

Owners in the Royal Capitol Plaza condominium tower in Kakaako have dropped their lawsuit challenging a state permit for a tower under construction next door. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state land board has agreed to consider on Aug. 14 a request for a contested case hearing, which seeks to reverse a recently approved emergency rule limiting access to Mauna Kea. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County is among the lengthy list of parties urging the Public Utilities Commission not to approve the proposed $4.3 billion merger of Hawaii Electric Industries to Florida-based NextEra Energy. Tribune-Herald.

The State Historic Preservation Division has given the state transportation department a green light to break ground on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Hundreds of Upcountry residents have waited a decade or more for a water meter. And in recent years a lucky few have been offered a meter by the Department of Water Supply, but there's been a catch - the staggering cost of paying for fire protection improvements required to connect with the municipal water system. Maui News.

A substance abuse treatment center on Maui was ordered to pay an estimated $45,000 in back wages, damages and penalties to employees for violating the federal fair labor standards act, according to the Department of Labor. Maui Now.

Kauai
It looks like the barking dog ordinance could be repealed. A 4-3 committee vote Wednesday signaled that Bill 2590 will succeed on final passage if the sides hold when the council meets Aug. 5 to decide its fate. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ige reiterates opposition to Hawaiian Electric-NextEra sale, Hawaii Obamacare vendors seek $2.7M, term limits on Kauai, the forbidden island of Niihau, University of Hawaii muzzles anti-GMO researcher, Honolulu battles homeless, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol © 2015 All Hawaii News
NextEra Energy Inc. is holding its ground as it faces criticism from the state. The Florida-based company said Tuesday it is committed to its proposal to buy the state’s largest electric utility despite Gov. David Ige recommending the sale be rejected. Star-Advertiser

Hawaii lawmakers are quietly looking at other alternatives should the NextEra Energy Inc. $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. not go through, the state representative overseeing the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection told Pacific Business News Tuesday.

Gov. David Ige said he’s opposing the proposed sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to Florida-based energy giant NextEra Energy, saying the mainland company has failed to explain how it would align with the state’s renewable energy goals. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige and two key state agencies are not convinced that it would be in the public’s best interest for Hawaiian Electric Industries to sell itself to Florida-based NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige explained why his administration is opposing the proposed NextEra-Hawaiian Electric merger Tuesday. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he doesn’t support the sale of Hawaiian Electric to Florida-based NextEra Energy. The sale was approved by Hawaiian Electric’s shareholders in June but still needs approval from the state Public Utilities Commission. Associated Press.

The Governor conducted a news conference today to outline the state’s position in opposing the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries with NextEra Energy, Incorporated. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two vendors continue to seek a total of $2.7 million in reimbursement for services provided to the Hawaii Health Connector, the nonprofit health insurance exchanged confirmed Monday. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The biggest encampments are getting the most publicity as Honolulu grapples with homelessness, but it’s the smaller enclaves that a city crew clears away repeatedly in response to complaints. A Civil Beat analysis found 164 sweeps occurred in the latest two-month period.

State Rep. Tom Brower says he will make an announcement early next week pertaining to whether he will press charges against two homeless teenagers who allegedly attacked him last month near an homeless encampment in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission may backtrack on its recently adopted news media policy that prohibited Executive Director Chuck Totto and other staff members from interpreting or commenting on the commission’s decisions and advisory opinions. Civil Beat.

Sixty faculty members at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have signed a letter sent to Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, the vice-chancellor for academic affairs, and Maria Gallo, Dean of the university’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources asking that the university acknowledge the restrictions and violations of academic freedom imposed on CTAHR Professor Hector Valenzuela. Hawaii Independent.

State education officials hope a new public school set to open next week in Kapolei can serve as a model for fast-tracking construction projects while containing costs. Star-Advertiser.

City issues fines for North Shore 'junkyard' property. Land manager says he's building a 'state of the art' farm. KITV4.

A contractor hired by the city began cleaning a Kaimuki home which neighbors have been complaining about for years. Star-Advertiser.

Veteran Honolulu journalist Denby Fawcett is headed to Washington, D.C., to participate in an interesting presentation sponsored by the national museum of journalism history, the Newseum. “Eyewitness to History: Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam” features Fawcett and three other female former Vietnam war correspondents discussing their experiences. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Council members say they are prepared to take action on a recent audit recommendation that the nine-member body address gaps in the county’s purchasing card policy. Tribune-Herald.

A project to bring water to a Ka‘u coffee farm, generate electricity to run it and have extra power left over to create a hydrogen filling station has caught the attention of the county Agriculture Advisory Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Opinion: As the protests and civil disobedience against the planned Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea continue, and those arrested are being processed through the courts, one of the repeated themes is the belief the mountain’s self-described “protectors” can’t be charged with violating state law because the State of Hawaii has no jurisdiction over them. Civil Beat.

Maui

Members of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce recently elected an all-female executive team to lead the board of directors. MauiTime.

Kauai

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. on Tuesday told The Garden Island that he supports the Kauai County Council’s efforts to give voters the opportunity to repeal term limits, but said the plan should be expanded beyond just council members to also include the executive branch.

Kauai has the largest nene population. It’s home to 90 percent of the world’s Newell shearwaters. And it’s a refuge for many other threatened and endangered birds, thanks to the work of conservationists. Garden Island.

Niihau
A single family has owned the island for more than 150 years and — even though it’s only 17 miles from resort-lined Kauai — Niihau remains surprisingly insulated from the outside world. Civil Beat.