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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nemo's Hawaiian cousins get no federal protection, administrative costs gobble up highway funds, higher premiums coming to HMSA Medicare plans, UH faculty senate censors president, lava pace quickens, first humpback whale of the season spotted off Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Endemic Hawaiian dascyllus © 2014 All Hawaii News
Finding Nemo may be getting harder to do, but the same can't be said for the Hawaiian dascyllus and blue-eyed damselfish, two Hawaiian cousins of the orange clownfish, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Star-Advertiser.

A new study says Hawaii has the worst-performing highways in the nation. The report by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles, said Wednesday that Hawaii also has the least cost-effective highway system. It also ranked Hawaii among the worst for congestion, deficient bridges and pavement conditions. The group says Hawaii spent $90,000 on administrative costs for every mile of state road, expenses that could be siphoning money away from road repairs. Associated Press.

The Children Left Behind: Kindergarten Age Cutoff Has Families Scrambling. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest medical care insurer, is closing its current line of Medicare plans, called Akamai Advantage, and will restart them as new plans with higher premiums due to loss of revenue from underwriting miscalculations and smaller reimbursement rates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's poverty rate is better than most other states in the nation, according to new Census data. But advocates for the poor say that when the state's high cost of living is considered, the picture looks a lot different. Associated Press.

A record 492 students from public schools across Hawaii have earned awards for exceptional achievement in their college-level Advanced Placement courses, according to the College Board, the company that administers the exams. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is a world-class destination with real-world obstacles when it comes to building traction in China's growing outbound tourism market. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The University of Hawaii-Manoa Faculty Senate voted 43-16 Wednesday in favor of censuring UH President David Lassner over the group's displeasure with how Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple was fired. Star-Advertiser.

Where does former House Speaker Calvin Say live? That is the central question of a lawsuit that has yet another court hearing Thursday. Civil Beat.

Construction of Honolulu’s 5.2 billion dollar Rail Transit System is moving toward the urban center at a steady pace.  The focus of the City Council’s Budget Committee yesterday was on the project’s impact on Kaka’ako businesses. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has called off a meeting set for Thursday with several members of the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus and three female members of the City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Despite a notice of violation from the city, the unapologetic and unrepentant organizer of a 70-foot fence blocking access from a private road to Laniakea Beach wants to replace the wooden fence with one made out of metal or rock. Star-Advertiser.

Fabio Osorio, who has called the streets of Waikiki home for five years, says three bills, signed into law Tuesday, won't change the homeless situation in Hawaii's tourist mecca. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Homeless Policy: Sand Island Camp Is a Waste of Money. The plan to relocate homeless to Sand Island runs counter to the successful practices developed by the federal Housing First program. Civil Beat.

Former defense contractor sentenced for mishandling classified documents. Federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced Benjamin P. Bishop to two 87-month terms for crossing the line with classified information. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A Civil Defense overflight Wednesday morning observed that the June 27 lava flow has picked up speed since the beginning of the week. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have been monitoring every twist and turn of lava creeping unpredictably toward communities in a rural and isolated Big Island district. Their work can be dangerous and includes frequent flyovers in a helicopter, navigating precarious terrain and taking careful data measurements to give the public an accurate picture of the lava's progress. Associated Press.

More than a year after National Park Service officials filed their petition for a water management area designation for the Keauhou aquifer, they finally made their pitch directly to the state commissioners who will decide the request. West Hawaii Today.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees heard project updates, along with grievances, Wednesday evening at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Board of Ethics said that the "facts are insufficient" to support a claim that Council Member Don Guzman violated the Maui County Code of Ethics when he allegedly notarized a former employee's political nomination papers while on council time and in his council office. Maui News.

Three Maui residents are being considered for a vacancy on the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve funding to appeal a court ruling that County Ordinance 960 regulating pesticides and genetically modified crops on the island is pre-empted by state law, and therefore invalid. Garden Island.

Kauai's County Council took a step Wednesday toward appealing a federal judge's decision that struck down a Kauai law regulating genetically modified organisms and pesticides. In a 5-to-1 vote, the Council approved spending up to $12,750 for an appeal. Star-Advertiser.

The first of several political forums hosted by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce begins tonight. The forum will be from 6 to 9 at the Koloa Neighborhood Center, beginning with House of Representatives District 16 candidates, followed by Kauai mayoral candidates and ending with Kauai County Council candidates. Garden Island.

The first humpback whale of the Hawaii migration season has been observed in waters off Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hawaii gets homeless tips from New York as Honolulu mayor signs strict new measures, Department of Education struggles with spending cuts, elections officials plan for lava flow, Health Department hears water quality concerns, Molokai dispute over outsiders, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu homeless © 2014 All Hawaii News
The Hawai’i Interagency Council on Homelessness brought trainers in from New York to help with the state-wide implementation of Housing First.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Moments before signing into law a bill making it illegal for people to sit or lie on Waikiki sidewalks, Hono­lulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday he is leaning toward supporting a separate proposal that would apply the same ban in business districts of six other Oahu neighborhoods. Star-Advertiser.
copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
© 2014 All Hawaii News

Three bills aimed at combating a growing and complex homelessness issue on Oahu were signed into law Tuesday and will go into effect immediately. Hawaii News Now.

Three new bills were signed into law Tuesday, and some are expecting the new measures to make a big difference with Hawaii's homeless problems. KITV4.

Opinion: New houseless bills won’t help. The city's “compassionate disruption” strategy does more to hide the houseless problem from tourists than it does actually solve the underlying problems that lead to houselessness. Hawaii Independent.

After struggling at multiple meetings over how to reduce the Department of Education's operating budget by $25 million, the state school board Tuesday approved wide-ranging spending restrictions that will touch everything from special-education positions and athletics programs to per-pupil spending and bus transportation. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has raised thousands of dollars in his bid for governor, but he has more debt than any of his competitors. Civil Beat.

Should We Raise the Retirement Age for Judges and Justices? The question is one of five constitutional amendments before Hawaii voters Nov. 4. Others address disclosing the names of judicial nominees and qualifying for special purpose revenue bonds. Civil Beat.

A psychiatric technician told a state Senate investigative panel Tuesday that his supervisor threatened to fire him after he made public comments about unsafe working conditions at the Hawaii State Hospital, but the supervisor said the employee "got mixed up." Star-Advertiser.

As the state Department of Health works on the first update to its water quality plan since 1990, most people commenting during a public meeting Tuesday were concerned about a single aspect of the multifaceted plan — the impact of wastewater on water quality and what should be done about it. West Hawaii Today.

Cesspools will have to be converted to septic tanks - at a cost estimated at more than $10,000 - within 180 days of the sale of residential properties if proposed revisions to the state Department of Health administrative rules are accepted by the governor. Maui News.

Hawaii vets have experienced some of the longest waiting times in the nation before they can get in to see a primary care doctor — 145 days was the average although veterans officials have recently said that initial wait time has come down considerably. Civil Beat.

Alan Oshima, the incoming head of Hawaiian Electric Co., will be a community-focused leader, and plans to be pounding the pavement meeting and working with the stakeholders and community members, much like former HECO Executive Vice President Robbie Alm did, before he retired last year. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A former civilian defense contractor is being sentenced for divulging military secrets to his Chinese girlfriend and keeping classified documents at his suburban Honolulu home. Benjamin Bishop will be sentenced in federal court on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

September marks the fourth month in a row that Oahu residential customers will need to put a little extra toward their electricity bills. The bill this month for a typical household using 600 kilowatt-hours went up from August by 78 cents to $218.96, according to data released this week by Hawaiian Electric Cos., the state's largest utility provider with service to Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County and state election workers are preparing for the possibility that voting could again be disrupted in lower Puna as a lava flow continues to advance toward populated areas. Tribune-Herald.

While residents of the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision may be spared by the June 27 lava flow from Kilauea Volcano, a helicopter overflight makes one thing clear: If the lava doesn't stop now, it's headed directly toward Highway 130. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island coffee farmers offered split opinions Tuesday afternoon on a pair of resolutions that call on the state Legislature to enact “truth in labeling” laws regarding the labeling of coffee blends. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Billy Kenoi has nominated former Hilo County Councilman Donald Ikeda to the Windward Planning Commission. Ikeda, 73, is unabashedly pro-growth, a stance he explained to the County Council Planning Committee during his confirmation hearing Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

What would the completion of the new Hilo High School gymnasium be without another delay? On Saturday, Sept. 13, the school community was set to recognize the grand opening of the long-anticipated facility. But with five days to go, those plans were put on hold. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A judge’s ruling allows Maui County to print ballots that ask voters about a proposed moratorium on genetically engineered crops. Monday’s decision dissolves a temporary restraining order after those who support genetically modified organisms sued to remove the measure. Associated Press.

With 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo dissolving a temporary restraining order Monday, an initiative proposing a genetically engineered organism farming moratorium can remain on the Nov. 4 election ballot. Maui News.

HGEA Chief Shares Views on Hospital Financial Crisis. Randy Perreira: “It’s about the money. Maui Weekly.

Kauai

Top County of Kauai officials say something must be done to correct current policies that allow some lower ranking employees, particularly those within the Kauai police and fire departments, to earn more than department heads. Garden Island.

Retired auto dealer James Pflueger was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday, Sept. 17 for recklessly causing the deaths of 7 people when his Ka Loko dam breached on March 14, 2006. However, the sentencing will be delayed and is now scheduled for Oct. 15 at 8:30 a.m. in Kauai’s Fifth Circuit Court. Hawaii Reporter.

News that retired Oahu car dealer James Pflueger sold his Kilauea property has long time litigants cheering that a decade of fighting may be coming to an end. Garden Island.

Molokai

A confrontation that turned ugly in waters off Molokai is now in the hands of the Maui Prosecutor. The incident happened in May and came to light in a story you only saw on KHON2 News. According to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the fight involved residents from Molokai and divers from Honolulu.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hawaii a finalist for Obama library, out-of-state deep pockets power gubernatorial candidates, counties want more tax revenues, lava enters subdivision, misses homes, Kauai law firm works free to defend anti-GMO law, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Proposed site for Obama library, courtesy Barack Obama Foundation
Hawaii officials have three months to submit a formal bid to host Barack Obama's future presidential library following Monday's announcement that the University of Hawaii is one of four institutions selected to compete for the center. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii is one of four universities chosen to compete for the site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library, the Barack Obama Foundation said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Chicago, New York and Honolulu have made the short list to host Barack Obama's future presidential library. The Barack Obama Foundation, which is developing and raising money for the massive legacy project, announced Monday that it has selected four universities to compete for the library, culled from an initial list of 13 applications submitted earlier this year. Associated Press.

David Ige may have dethroned an opponent who raised 10 times the amount of campaign cash in the primary election. But, finding himself in a four-way general election contest for governor, the Democratic nominee for governor has kicked up his fundraising schedule. Civil Beat.

GOP Wants Hawaii Voters to Believe Ige, Abercrombie Are ‘Good Partners’ The Republican Governors Association is targeting David Ige in new ads to help Duke Aiona. Civil Beat.

County officials agree on at least one thing as they prepare to lobby the Legislature next year: They want more funding for local government services ranging from roads to rescues. But Kauai, Maui, Big Island and Honolulu council members and mayors have different ideas on how to go about boosting their revenues. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's middle class are the third-most overtaxed in the U.S., and the 20 percent of residents with the lowest incomes are the fourth-most overtaxed, making Hawaii's tax system second-worst in the nation, according to a study released Monday by the personal finance site WalletHub.com. Star-Advertiser.

The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit convened today in Honolulu.  Attendees are learning about the latest innovations that will transform electrical power generation and usage in Hawai’i. Hawaii Public Radio.

The grade is in on Hawaii's Renewable Energy Report Card. While the Aloha state has improved a bit from last year's 'C-', it was raised only to a 'C' by the Blue Planet Foundation. KITV4.

Classes Off to a Hot Start in Schools Without Air Conditioning. Lessons are taught in sweaty, smelly conditions where sweltering students have a hard time concentrating. Civil Beat.

Oahu

With the release of final environmental documents, the state is moving closer to constructing a $266 million container terminal designed to handle the surge of overseas cargo expected at Hono­lulu Harbor in the next few decades. Star-Advertiser.

Relocation of a facility geared toward helping homeless adults with mental illnesses to the city's Pau­ahi Hale housing complex in Chinatown should be completed by the end of the year, officials with the city and the Safe Haven project say. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell will sign into law Tuesday bills that make it illegal to sit and lie on public sidewalks in Waikiki, and two separate laws prohibiting urinating and defecating in public in Waikiki and across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

A preliminary hearing will be held Tuesday in District Court for a homeless man who was arrested after being warned last week to stay away from a Hawaiian monk seal, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. Star-Advertiser.

Halawa Correctional Facility’s recent decision to put inmates in striped uniforms, instead of in solid colors, has been derided by prison reform advocates, but was a decision largely based on safety, according to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Striped uniforms are very distinct and help separate inmates from members of the public and prison staff. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

The lava flow approaching Pahoa advanced about 300 yards into the northwest section of Kaohe Homesteads on Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Lava from Kilauea's East Rift Zone has entered the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Parker Ranch has named former Hawaiian Electric Co. executive Jose Dizon general manager of Paniolo Power Co. LLC, in charge of leading the ranch’s renewable-energy efforts, Parker Ranch President and CEO Dutch Kuyper said Monday. Pacific Business News.

A Hilo grand jury indicted a former supervisor at the state Department of Human Services for allegedly stealing about $45,000 in public assistance, or welfare, benefits from the office. Tribune-Herald.

Waimea Middle School officials did a little math last year and calculated they could save about $60,000 a year by purchasing their two school buses, rather than contracting for transportation services through the state Department of Education. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Attorneys for the nonprofit Maui Lani Neighbors, Inc. filed additional complaints against state, county and federal agencies over the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex, currently under construction in Waikapū. Maui Now.

A Japanese-run planetary observatory atop Haleakala that replaces a facility in Sendai damaged by the destructive 2011 earthquake was blessed Tuesday. Maui News.

A new exhibit at Kahului Airport will help travelers understand the meaning behind the Maui airport’s three-letter OGG code. Associated Press.

Kauai

To appeal a federal judge’s ruling that Kauai County Ordinance 960 related to pesticides and genetically modified crops is pre-empted by state law would cost the county no more than $12,750 — start to finish. The law firm hired by the county to defend the controversial ordinance has offered to waive all legal fees moving forward, and only charge for direct costs. Garden Island.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mauna Loa grumbles, Maui utility opposes undersea cable, Kakaako at center of governor debate, investor may save Maui Sugar Cane Train, plan to eliminate cesspools, Land Board OKs Sand Island homeless camp, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hiking Mauna Loa © 2014 All Hawaii News
As Kilauea continues to threaten lower Puna, geologists are also keeping their eye on the volcano’s much larger cousin — Mauna Loa. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on the planet, has been rumbling and showing signs of awakening for over a year. Tribune-Herald.

As Puna residents brace for the approaching lava flow from Kilauea Volcano, its larger sibling continues to show signs of awakening. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann wants Hawaii voters to do something they have never done before: elect an independent as governor. After embarrassing, lopsided losses in Demo­cratic primaries for Congress in 2012 and governor in 2010, Hannemann has reinvented himself with the new Hawaii Independent Party. Star-Advertiser.

Rivals differ on strategies for Native Hawaiians. Charles Djou vows to get his party to take up sovereignty, and Mark Takai would focus on preserving federal benefits. Star-Advertiser.

A new report on the nation’s growing income gap finds that stagnant wages for most Americans have dampened consumer spending, and that’s bad for states like Hawaii that depend heavily on sales taxes to keep their governments running. Associated Press.

A draft plan by the state Department of Health is raising a stink among local real estate agents and builders who say proposed rules requiring that septic tank systems replace cesspools could add $10,000 to the price of a new home and make buying and selling existing homes less affordable. West Hawaii Today.

Come November, voters will decide whether to change Hawaii’s constitution and allow the state to spend public money on private preschool programs. Civil Beat.

State roundup for Sept. 15. Associated Press.

Oahu

Three Candidates, Three Views on Future of Fast-Growing Kakaako. Mufi Hannemann, David Ige and Duke Aiona discuss housing, infrastructure and the governor's influence on the area under control of state redevelopment district. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i’s Board of Land and Natural Resources gave the green light for the city’s plan to temporarily create a homeless site on Sand Island. The board voted 5 - 1 to approve a three-year lease of the land, free of charge. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources voted 5-1 on Friday to approve a city petition to lease about 5 acres of state land to the city rent free for a temporary homeless encampment on Sand Island. Civil Beat.

A single-family home on the waterfront in Honolulu costs 335 percent more than its inland counterpart, according to a study by the online real estate company Zillow. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The lava flow threatening Pahoa and surrounding areas shifted to a more northerly direction this weekend, and showed signs of having slowed between Friday and Sunday. Tribune-Herald.

Kilauea Volcano's June 27 flow shifted to the north Sunday, moving the front away from Kaohe Homesteads but toward Pahoa Village and the area's main highway. Star-Advertiser.

Four West Hawaii prosecutors made the list of six finalists to replace retired District Court Judge Joseph P. Florendo. On the list are prosecutors Jeffrey Burleson, Michael Schlueter, Cynthia Tai and Kimberly Taniyama, Deputy Public Defender Wendy DeWeese and Deputy Corporation Counsel Margaret Masunaga. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Efforts to save and revive the Sugar Cane Train remained on track with a Hawaii investor "seriously pursuing the acquisition" of the 45-year-old attraction and continuing its operation in West Maui, according to members of a nonprofit group being formed to save the train. Maui News.

A high-voltage undersea cable between Maui and Oahu, estimated to cost $700 million or more, is not needed and would not be cost effective, Maui Electric Co. has concluded. Maui News.

A former chef and Lahaina citrus grower is being honored this weekend with an award from the Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers organization. Maui Now.

Kauai

Embattled retired car dealer James Pflueger reportedly was scheduled to finalize the sale Friday of 383 acres near the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai's north shore where a massive mudslide occurred in 2001 because of reckless and unauthorized grading and landscaping. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Dairy Farms’ revised plan for 578 acres in Mahaulepu continues to cause a stink for one South Shore resort and a number of local residents. Garden Island.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NOAA probes grant fund misuse in efforts to delist green sea turtle, University of Hawaii could lose deep-sea submersibles, cost of militarization, affordable housing mulled for Honolulu, lava forces plans for new road routes, new sirens for Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Green sea turtle in Hawaii © 2014 All Hawaii News
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has directed the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Wespac) to investigate the extent to which federal grant funds might have been misused by council staff members involved in preparing the pending petition to remove the Hawaiian green sea turtle from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa is in danger of losing its two deep-water submarines unless the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, the program that runs the subs, can come up with $3 million in the next month. Pacific Business News.

Opinion: The true cost of Hawaiʻi’s militarization. A thorough examination of the costs and benefits of housing the U.S. military dispels the mythos that Hawaiʻi would not survive without it. Hawaii Independent.

Creating homeless encampments to alleviate the state’s growing problem of homelessness is a bad idea, according to a 2012 report submitted to the Legislature by the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, a 24-member task force created by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and composed of state and city officials, homeless providers and community leaders. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to revamp the city’s affordable housing policy to provide more rental spaces and more units that low-income people can afford. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's ambitious plan to bump up Oahu's affordable-housing count by more than 4,000 in the next five years is already generating myriad questions and a lot of discussion from City Council members and homebuilders alike, just as he predicted. Star-Advertiser.

14 years of disciplinary data compiled and analyzed by Civil Beat shows the Honolulu Police Department has a long history of leniency with cops found to have threatened, beat or otherwise hurt significant others and family members.

A group of lawmakers chided the Honolulu Police Department on Thursday for its handling of a possible domestic abuse case involving a police sergeant that was captured on video. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Water Supply is getting heat after a city audit report said rates should go down. KHON2.

The State Department of Health is investigating the underground release of thousands of gallons of oil on Sand Island. It was found in a construction trench on the street that leads to the Keehi Boat Harbor. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Crews started building two alternate routes Thursday as a lava flow continued its advance toward Pahoa and Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Lava concerns on Hawaii's Big Island are shifting from it reaching a sparsely populated subdivision to it crossing over a heavily used highway. Associated Press.

Work crews began clearing the first of two little-used dirt roads on Hawaii island that may be pressed into service if lava should overrun the main highway into and out of the lower Puna district, where 8,000 people would otherwise be trapped. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County officials are considering issuing an evacuation notice for Kaohe Homesteads after the June 27 lava flow changed direction Wednesday. Kevin Dayton, executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi, said Thursday morning such an order could come within the next 24 hours. Tribune-Herald.

As the lava flow from Kīlauea Volcano’s Pu’u ‘O’o Vent continues to advance toward Ka’ohe Homestead and Pāhoa Village, Hawai'i County Civil Defense is addressing some basic infrastructure needs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Marijuana ministry advocate Roger Christie emerged from four years in federal custody Thursday and said he's looking forward to his first hit of marijuana -- "when I'm legally allowed to do so." Star-Advertiser.

Saturday’s grand opening of the new Hilo High School gymnasium has been put on hold as one of the final parts of the project has yet to be completed. Big Island Now.

Maui

A group that supports GMO farming on Maui has filed a lawsuit in Second Circuit court seeking the removal of a GMO initiative from the November ballot. Maui Now.

Kauai

Timeshare owners on Kauai will receive a temporary reprieve from higher property taxes, at least for the next year. Garden Island.

Kauai has nine new civil defense sirens thanks to a statewide modernization program. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homeless activities outlawed in Waikiki, medical marijuana dispensaries sought, Honolulu police secrecy explored, Maui and Kauai GMO fights mulled, Big Island merchants fear lava advance, pot minister freed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki homeless © 2041 All Hawaii News
The Honolulu City Council approves bills targeting homeless. The "sit-lie" measure and "urination-defecation" ban await the mayor's pen. Bills designed to clean up Waikiki sidewalks were approved Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A bill to prohibit sitting or lying on Waikiki sidewalks at all times was approved by the Honolulu City Council on a 7-2 vote Wednesday. Council members also voted in favor of two bills to prohibit urinating and defecating in public. One bill applying just to Waikiki passed unanimously, and a second bill to make the ban island-wide passed 8-1. Civil Beat.

In Hawaii's popular Waikiki neighborhood — a renowned destination for surfing and mai tais — people were lying down near the entrance to Macy's, human waste was on the sidewalk, and parents had to explain to their children why people were begging for money. Associated Press.

The number of U.S. gubernatorial elections that are too close to call has nearly doubled over the past few months, and they include Hawaii’s. That’s according to Governing Magazine. Civil Beat.

Honolulu residents will have a chance to voice their opinion on establishing a statewide system to dispense medical marijuana during a public hearing before the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force. Hawaii Reporter.

Alan Oshima has been named president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Co. Oshima, 67, will take over Oct. 1 for Dick Rosenblum, 64, who has served as CEO since 2009. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Why Does Hawaii Government Fail So Often? As you listen to our political candidates, remember how little they accomplish. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Newly released campaign spending data show the Pacific Resource Partnership did not report more than $360,000 in expenditures during the 2012 election. Almost all of that money — about $260,000 — went to three consultants who were instrumental in taking down former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano, who was running for Honolulu mayor on an anti-rail platform. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing what he calls a "game-changing" shift in the way city officials determine how many and what type of affordable housing units developers and landowners must provide. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation has been fined $1.2 million and ordered to correct federal Clean Water Act stormwater violations at Honolulu and Kalaeloa harbors, it was announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Several community members criticized city plans to build a homeless "transition center" at Sand Island, accusing officials at a public meeting Wednesday of poor planning. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of people crowded into a small cafeteria at Puuhale Elementary School in Kalihi Wednesday evening to hear city officials discuss recently announced plans to relocate as many as 100 of the city’s most troubled homeless people to a vacant parcel of land on Sand Island.  Civil Beat.

A groundbreaking and blessing ceremony was held Wednesday for a historic building in Kakaako that will be transformed into a senior community resource center. Star-Advertiser.

The accidental shooting by an off-duty police officer inside a Target store brings up questions regarding what police are telling the public. KHON2.

A Kalihi police sergeant has been stripped of his gun and badge after restaurant surveillance video surfaced showing him apparently attacking his former girlfriend. Star-Advertiser.

How do police handle abuse cases when the suspect is one of their own? Police chief Louis Kealoha reiterated Wednesday that there is specific protocol for when an officer is a suspect in any crime. But is that protocol always followed and what are the consequences when it’s not? KHON2.

Hawaii

Medical marijuana patients told a legislative task force Wednesday evening in Hilo they want a safe, legal, economical way to procure their cannabis. About 60 attended the first public hearing of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary System Task Force chaired by state Rep. Della Au Belatti, an Oahu Democrat, at the Aupuni Center. Tribune-Herald.

Businesses in a small Hawaii town are facing a slow-motion disaster as lava from Kilauea volcano oozes toward roads connecting them to the rest of the Big Island. Associated Press.

Pahoa merchants were assured Wednesday that efforts will be made to maintain some sense of normalcy should the June 27 lava flow cover Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii island cannabis advocate Roger Christie, who pleaded guilty in September 2013 to federal charges of marijuana trafficking and failing to file tax returns, is being released to a halfway house. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

A group of Maui County residents and organizations are suing in an attempt to stop a county voter initiative to ban GMO farming from appearing on the November ballot. Civil Beat.

A lawsuit seeking to remove the proposed genetically engineered organism farming moratorium from the Nov. 4 ballot has been filed in 2nd Circuit Court. Maui News.

With the primary over, Maui County voters are getting a clearer picture of their choices in the Nov. 4 election, which is less than eight weeks away. If the trends set by the primary are any indication, more than half of the votes cast will come in absentee ballots or early walk-ins and Maui will finish dead last in voter turnout. Maui Weekly.

Pro-development interests are flooding the West Maui county council race with political cash, hoping to topple incumbent Elle Cochran. The Carpenters union's super PAC, Forward Progress, has spent more than $50,000 on the race while the Maui Timeshare Ohana PAC's spending has topped $80,0000. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joined Council Chair Gladys Baisa today in announcing the immediate restoration of regular and holiday landfill hours and trash pickup operations. Maui Now.

Kauai

Billionaire Thai-Chinese businessman Chanchai Ruayrungruang’s Reignwood International has purchased 1,103 acres at the Princeville Resort in Hanalei, including the Prince Golf Course, on the North Shore of Kauai for $343 million. Pacific Business News.

In two weeks, county taxpayers will have a say in renewed property tax reform efforts. The Kauai County Council on Wednesday approved the first step of five separate measures that aim to provide relief to some residents who saw noticeable increases on their real property tax bills for the current fiscal year. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council will take another week to weigh its options before voting on whether to appeal a federal judge’s recent ruling that Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491) related to pesticides and genetically modified crops is preempted by state law. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Preschool plan controversial, medical marijuana panel meets, rail contract redo, ACLU sues over Hawaii Island panhandling law, lava may isolate Puna, ethnic tensions between Samoans, Micronesians, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

bill signing for preschool funding
Hawaii preschoolers sing at bill signing, courtesy Governor's Office
The debate over universal preschool is heating up with the launch of competing campaigns to rally support for and against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public funds to be spent on private early childhood education programs. Star-Advertiser.

There is “no one model” to follow in establishing medical marijuana dispensaries, a state task force was told Tuesday. The task force, which is examining Hawaii’s medical marijuana program, discussed a new report comparing programs in other states. Civil Beat.

Any system of medical marijuana distribution centers in Hawaii would likely incorporate policies and programs that have proved successful in other states, but also accommodate the unique needs of the state's roughly 13,000 medicinal cannabis patients, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court seeks to require the state to cover the cost of applied behavior analysis, or ABA, treatment for children with autism who are on Medicaid. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission have relaunched the drive to add names to the list of Native Hawaiians participating in the nation-building process. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

City officials are starting over in their search for a company to build the first rail stations, hoping to curb construction costs that are $110 million over projections, but risking a one-year delay in the system's initial opening. Star-Advertiser.

Aggressive cost containment is necessary if Honolulu plans to stay within budget on its $5.2 billion rail project, according to a recent report from a federal contractor hired to oversee design and construction progress. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply's plan to put in a new customer care and billing system was "fraught with problems" that not only caused the agency to "back-bill" a number of its customers, but contributed to the eventual cost skyrocketing to more than three times its original price tag, according to a city auditor's report released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

A dusty plot of land in the heavily industrial area of Sand Island that the city is proposing as a homeless encampment could have hazardous levels of contaminants such as arsenic and lead left over from solid waste and ash dumps that were operated nearby for decades, according to Hawaii Department of Health records. Civil Beat.

Honolulu residents will get an opportunity to sound off on a new plan to temporarily move homeless people to Sand Island. The city will hold a community meeting tonight to discuss the proposal…one of several aimed at dealing with Hawai‘i’s growing homeless problem. Hawaii Public Radio.

Photovoltaic system permits on Oahu declined to their lowest level in three years in August despite the island leading the nation at midyear for the highest percentage of customers with rooftop solar. Star-Advertiser.

Crews have just begun sifting through 230 truckloads of dirt at Radford contaminated with mercury, lead and arsenic. KITV4.

A dispute involving wild ducks has divided a downtown condo. A management decision about their future has definitely ruffled some feathers. Hawaii News Now.

Construction is expected to start Oct. 1 to convert a former military barracks at the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Kalaeloa into affordable rental apartments following state approval of the plan Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Ethnic tension between Samoans and Micronesians leads to huge street fight in Honolulu, 4 injured. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A homeless Hawaii Island man has joined the American Civil Liberties Union to file suit against Hawaii County officials, claiming the county code provisions regarding panhandling are unconstitutional. West Hawaii Today.

County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Tuesday night officials are “looking at multiple other ways to create connectivity” in the event lava from the June 27 flow crosses Highway 130 and isolates lower Puna. Tribune-Herald.

County officials spent another evening reassuring the public that their government is working on all contingency plans in the face of advancing lava, even as new flow projections disturbed residents. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County expects to begin improving Government Beach Road early next week or possibly sooner as a lava flow threatens to cut off access to lower Puna, said Public Works Director Warren Lee. Tribune-Herald.

Fresh from restoring power to thousands of lower Puna residents after Tropical Storm Iselle, Hawaii Electric Light Co. is prepping for the possibility of outages wrought by lava from Kilauea volcano. Tribune-Herald.

Residents: Hawaii lava part of living in paradise. Associated Press.

Maui

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $5 million to fund the construction of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex just a week after Maui homeowners filed a lawsuit to stop the project. Civil Beat.

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $5 million that will be used toward the construction of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex, currently under construction in Waikapū. Maui Now.

West Maui residents will be able to recycle glass, cardboard, newspapers and other materials currently not easily recyclable on the west side, during a series of events organized by two Maui County council members from September to December at the Lahaina Cannery Mall parking lot. Maui News.

The Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, will undergo a $30 million renovation to the Maui resort's guestroom interiors, meeting areas and pools, with a completion date set for early 2015. The rooms were last renovated in 2009. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will consider five measures today that seek to provide relief for residents who, in some cases, saw their real property tax bills increase over the last two months by hundreds of dollars, if not thousands. Garden Island.

Despite recent headlines, encounters between dogs and Hawaiian monk seals are actually quite rare. Garden Island.