Friday, January 6, 2012

New quarter to feature volcano, Hawaii's homeless chief resigns amid allegations, revenue forecast lowered, Honolulu Council seeks water authority, criminal trial set in 2006 Ka Loko dam disaster, strategic military importance could help state dodge Pentagon budget ax, stricter Kona coffee labeling proposed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea Volcano caldera (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's East Rift Zone will grace the face of an America the Beautiful Quarter to be released this summer. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii's homeless coordinator, Marc Alexander, has resigned effective today, less than a year on the job and just days after the state acknowledged receiving an allegation that he had a sexual relationship with a woman while he was a priest. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's homeless coordinator resigned "to attend to personal matters" two days after he was asked to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct as a priest, according to an anti-religion activist. Civil Beat.

Alexander made news in January, 2010 when he abruptly left the Catholic Church where he served as Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu to lead the effort to solve Hawaii's homeless crisis. Hawaii News Now.

The state Council on Revenues on Thursday scaled back its forecast for state revenue growth this fiscal year, which will reduce an anticipated surplus and require Gov. Neil Abercrombie to adjust his budget and financial plan. Star-Advertiser.

Council On Revenues Downgrades Hawaii Forecast By 3 Percent. Civil Beat.

The State Council on Revenues lowered its General Fund projection yesterday … 4 full percentage points less than what was forecast in September. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill aimed at curtailing the use of the Kona coffee name by coffee blenders will soon be introduced in the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Gas prices are rising again after 11 consecutive weeks of declines, according to the AAA Hawaii Weekend Gas Watch. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Military in Hawaii: 'Bright Future Ahead' Civil Beat.

The confluence of China's military rise, a shift in global trade to the region, a budget crunch and the end of the Iraq war underscore the importance of a U.S. military presence in Asia and the Pacific -- but have not made the future any clearer for Hawaii-based military commands and the state's sizable defense industry. Star-Advertiser.

The big question on many people’s minds during The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii ’s 11th Annual Military Partnership Conference Thursday was how the United States’ focus on the Pacific would impact the Aloha State given the uncertainties with new leadership in North Korea, China’s increasing military and economic might, and impending defense cuts. Pacific Business News.

The state Office of Information Practices will  review the University of Hawaii’s refusal to release a full copy of head football coach Norm Chow’s employment contract. Hawaii Reporter.

State roundup for January 6. Associated Press.

The public memorial service for UH Manoa law professor Jon Van Dyke will be a week from Saturday on January 14th. KHON2.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council will soon start its push to end the Board of Water Supply's "semi-autonomous" reign over one of the island's most precious natural resources. Civil Beat.

The Federal Transit Administration is raising new questions about the financial plan for the $5.27 billion Honolulu rail project, and city officials are trying to find out exactly what new requirements the agency might impose before Honolulu can lock up federal funding for the project. Star-Advertiser.

Humpback whales spotted in Honolulu Harbor. Hawaii News Now.

State Ag Department Supports Hoopili. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Medical Center closed patient care Thursday, according to HMC Chief Executive Officer Maria Kostylo. KITV4.

The Hawaiian Electric Company said it restored power shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday to about 45,000 customers in Waipahu, portions of urban Honolulu, Leeward and Windward Oahu, Aina Haina and Hawaii Kai after its largest generating unit on the system lost power. KITV4.

Dr. Greta Aeby and researchers at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology have discovered a coral disease called Montipora White Syndrome in waters of Kaneohe Bay. KHON2.

Hawaii

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture wants a permanent quarantine to prevent the spread of coffee berry borer, evident by its proposal available until today for comment. West Hawaii Today.

A Hilo power plant and the Army's Pohakuloa Training Area made the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's newly released list of the state's top 10 industrial polluters for 2010. Tribune-Herald.

The state should make better use of the millions of dollars it receives in royalties from geothermal energy production on Hawaii island, according to a panel formed to study the alternative energy source. Star-Advertiser.

The Police Department's plan to operate 40 surveillance cameras stalled in the past year because of regulatory and procedural issues. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Council members on Wednesday expressed their support for the nomination of a pro-growth appointee to the Molokai Planning Commission. Maui News.

A proposal being discussed by the Maui County Council on Friday would give council committee chairs more flexibility to set the time limit for oral testimony at meetings. Maui News.

Six Maui schools were included on a list of 15 schools in the state that will share in nearly $15,000 in grants from Monsanto Hawaii. Maui Now.


Kauai

Attorneys in the James Henry Pflueger case have tentatively agreed to an October trial date regarding the criminal portion of the Ka Loko dam disaster of 2006. Garden Island.

As state Coordinator on Homelessness Marc Alexander resigned Thursday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced 44 people on Kaua‘i were placed into permanent housing during the 90-Day Plan on Homelessness earlier this year. Garden Island.