Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cutting free school bus rides could save Hawaii millions, Waikiki Beach to get more sand, HECO wants to install free solar panels, computer glitch stalls civil union applications, UH mum on new coach pay, Maui to test new battery on power grid, Big Island officials spar over waste project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mufi Hannemann (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann stands out as the most socially conservative Democrat in the race for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, according to questionnaires that he and four other candidates filled out for Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

Civil Beat Poll: Half of Hawaii Voters Say Delegation Works For Donors. Civil Beat.

Former State House Representative Tom Okamura returns to the state legislature, filling the post left vacant by Blake Oshiro. Maui Now.

A new state report aimed at considering ways to reduce student transportation costs estimates eliminating free school bus service for about 20,000 low-income students would save up to $18 million a year, while cutting service to most Oahu general-education students would save about $15 million. Star-Advertiser.

Eliminating school bus service on Oahu is the quickest and most effective way to reduce Hawaii's student transportation costs, school district officials say. Civil Beat.

Computer problems caused a backup at the marriage licensing office at the Health Department Tuesday, on what was the first day couples could receive their official civil union license. KITV4.

Citing privacy interests, the University of Hawaii won’t disclose the salary of new head football coach Norm Chow, other than to say that it’s somewhere between $392,142 and $935,544 per year. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii recognized 13 same-sex couples as having legal civil unions as of Tuesday, and an additional 69 couples have applied for civil union licenses to have similar ceremonies performed within 30 days, the state Health Department said. Star-Advertiser.

A task force representing mortgage lenders and borrowers is recommending changes to a state law enacted last year that effectively cut the number of foreclosures in half. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to approve a three-year program that would allow electric utilities to fund the installation of solar water heating systems for their residential customers, and recoup the costs from savings generating by the systems. Pacific Business News.

Land Deal Could Be 'Economic Engine' For Native Hawaiians. Civil Beat.

The extended comment period for changes proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal expires Friday. Garden Island.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement Across the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for January 4. Associated Press.

Oahu

The long-awaited project to resupply Waikiki Beach with sand will take place over the next three months, but state officials say the disruption to beachgoers should be minimal. Star-Advertiser.

Surf's Up! City Workers Prepare For Big Waves. KITV4.

Tom Berg, the often outspoken and at times controversial West Oahu councilman, announced his plans for reelection Tuesday. KHON2.

Leeward Oahu councilman Tom Berg has hired a woman who just quit another city job because of an ethics investigation against her. KITV4.

Pacific Resources Partnership and the organization Faith Action for Community Equity yesterday asked to join in the court case over Honolulu's rail transit project, filing a motion in federal court in an effort to support the rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Airport runway repairs to create noise for nearby residents. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Council Chairman Dominic Yagong has turned up the heat on Mayor Billy Kenoi's plans to operate a Hilo garbage sort station, accusing Kenoi of kowtowing to public-sector unions rather than looking out for the taxpayers' best interest. West Hawaii Today.

No federal money will be available for the Thirty Meter Telescope or its main competitor in this decade, the head of the astronomy division at the National Science Foundation told an influential science blog. Tribune-Herald.

The Big Island -- as well as the rest of the nation and much of the world -- will continue to struggle economically in 2012, economists say. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Massachusetts-based A123 Systems for the second time in a month announced plans to provide its advanced nanophosphate lithium ion batteries to help stabilize Maui's power grid as fluctuating clean energy sources - and expensive renewable energy experiments and projects - become more common. Maui News.

A gay Oklahoma City couple is happy to be on Maui and among the first couples to be joined in a civil union after a state law allowing such unions went into effect Sunday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife is planning to restore 105 acres of wetlands on Mana Plain Forest Reserve. Garden Island.