Monday, March 26, 2012

Gas hits $5/gal on Kauai, green energy tax cuts face reduction, dengue-carrying mosquito breeding on Oahu, audit says Honolulu not collecting enough taxes, Hearing officer pressured over Maui telescope, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Solar panels installed in Honolulu, courtesy photo
High electricity bills, sunny weather and improved technology have made solar power an increasingly popular option in Hawaii. But tax credit for renewable energy faces reductions, curtailed caps.  Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu federal judge confirmed Friday that the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission cannot limit contributions to political committees that solely make "independent" expenditures. Civil Beat.

As protestors demonstrated at the federal building against the Affordable Care Act, state legislators wrestled with Hawaii’s plans to implement the law, which mandates universal health insurance coverage for all Americans. Hawaii Reporter.

The last two years at Hawaii's Department of Education were marked by leadership turnover and pay cuts, even as the overall budget and student enrollment grew. Civil Beat.

There are growing calls to address chronic absenteeism in Hawaii schools in the state’s education reform agenda, with proponents pointing out that better instruction and longer school days won’t do much for kids who don’t attend regularly. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Revive Vacation Rental Bill. Civil Beat.


Touted as a possible model for streamlining the state’s procurement process, the University of Hawaii’s new system for awarding multimillion-dollar construction contracts already is producing benefits. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The city needs to be more aggressive in collecting delinquent real property taxes and consider actions such as fines or denial of city services to compel payments from those who continually skirt their taxes, according to a city auditor’s report. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to build a $125 million, 125,000-square-foot medical center with 1,000 parking spaces in the Ewa area that would take some pressure off Tripler Army Medical Center and provide outpatient primary care and mental health services for veterans as well as treatment for active-duty Army, Navy and Coast Guard and their families. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the power of the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel over a labor dispute at the Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Department of Health is urging the public to exercise caution after the disease-carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti, laid eggs at one of four traps at the Honolulu International Airport. KITV4.

They've been warned, arrested and had their belongings confiscated five times since members of Occupy Honolulu moved into — and later around — Thomas Square in October, but Hawaii's history with protests suggests that the end of Occupy Honolulu might not come quickly. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Taggart Nakamoto, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Konawaena Middle School on Hawaii island, will represent Hawaii at the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee after becoming the Hawaii State Spelling Bee Champion Saturday night. Star-Advertiser.

A study aimed at defining the interconnectivity between Kona’s high-level and coastal groundwater systems and the possible impacts a connection could have on the area’s hydrologic resources is slated to get under way in May. West Hawaii Today.

A planned pavilion to house community, cultural, educational and recreational activities at Hookena Beach Park is now up for public review. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A hearings officer reviewing a contested case petition and a permit for the proposed $300 million Advanced Technology Solar Telescope atop Haleakala is reporting that he came under "considerable" outside pressure "to simply spit out a recommended decision quickly" and get the matter before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Maui News.

The Days Inn-flagged Maui Oceanfront Inn is for sale as part of a bankruptcy by its owner, Western Apartments Supply & Maintenance Co. Star-Advertiser.

Maui’s Cane Burning – How Dangerous Is It? Maui Now.

Kauai

While the rest of the country was bemoaning the distant possibility of $5 a gallon gasoline, drivers on the North Shore of Kaua‘i on Sunday were  paying $5.05 a gallon for regular at the local Chevron station. Garden Island.

The state Department of Health has confirmed a third and fourth case of flesh-eating bacteria on Kauai. KITV4.

The Kaua‘i Fire Department’s headquarters will move to a new location at   the Lihu‘e Civic Center at 4444 Rice St. in Lihu‘e. Garden Island.


Molokai

As the Molokai community continues to determine its future and where tourism fits into the economical equation, the Aha Kiole, a resource management group, has compiled the results from a series of community meetings and surveys. The document outlines guidelines for tour companies arriving to the island by boat, including American Safari Cruises (ASC), which has been making controversial stops to Molokai since October 2011. Molokai Dispatch.

Despite heavy rains three weeks ago, Molokai farmers are concerned that the summer may bring continued drought and adverse effects for agriculture. That concern motivated Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) board members to vote in favor of an emergency drought declaration for Maui County, which could bring government assistance. Molokai Dispatch.