Friday, May 25, 2012

Hawaii beaches in top 10, Supreme Court mulls Hawaiian burials, rail, Maui ups property taxes, water rates, Kaneohe Bay Marines leave war behind, Japanese bird crowding out Mauna Kea natives, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Kahanamoku Beach Waikiki (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Three Hawaii beaches made this year's list of top 10 U.S. beaches, but the top spot went to Coronado's 1.5-mile stretch of sand and sea in San Diego. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's Democrats will be holding their state convention over the weekend. Associated Press.

No one living on a Neighbor Island has ever been elected to represent Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District — and it's a safe bet voters will keep this streak going in November. Civil Beat.

The head of Hawaii's beleaguered historic preservation division is under fire for lack of leadership for failing to resolve problems that have led to a threat by the federal government to revoke the agency's certification. Civil Beat.

Attorney General David M. Louie announced today that Wesley Choi, a former employee of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, was sentenced yesterday by Judge Richard K. Perkins in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit to two ten-year terms of imprisonment and two five-year terms of imprisonment for his involvement in a scheme to defraud the State of Hawaii. Hawaii Reporter.

The State’s Broadband Initiative has a goal of delivering ultra high-speed internet service throughout the islands to transform how families, businesses and institutions connect to one another and to the world.  Think Tech and the Hawai’I Venter Capital Association sponsored a panel discussion  today titled, “The Need for Speed.”  Hawaii Public Radio.

Six Hawaii public schools have been recognized in The Washington Post’s "2012 High School Challenge Index," which highlights the nation’s top nine percent of schools for effectively preparing students for college success. KITV4.

The State Insurance Division has approved a rate hike request from HMSA. KHON2.

Oahu

A lawyer for a Native Hawaiian whose ancestors are buried in Kakaako asked the Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday to order the city to stop work on the $5.27 billion Hono­lulu rail system until it completes an archaeological survey to determine whether the project will disturb Hawaiian remains. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is wrestling with the Honolulu rail system's possible track through Native Hawaiian burials after an hour-long oral argument Thursday morning. Civil Beat.

A powerful ally with more than 300,000 members nationwide and thousands of preservation partners in all 50 states has filed an amicus brief yesterday in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the validity of the city's Environmental Impact Statement for its $5.3 billion elevated steel on steel rail project. Hawaii Reporter.

Pacific Resource Partnership, the membership organization that has conducted "push polls" attacking both Honolulu City Council Member Tom Berg and former Gov. Ben Cayetano, released a poll on Wednesday that shows Cayetano losing ground in the Honolulu mayor's race, leaving him statistically tied with Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle. Hawaii Reporter.

Honolulu mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano and Kirk Caldwell bought a handful of TV commercials this week, according to Civil Beat's review of the public files. Civil Beat.

Mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano says he is consulting with attorneys on whether to sue to stop what he calls a smear campaign by a pro-rail interest group. Star-Advertiser.

Families of Waikele bunker explosion victims file lawsuits. Hawaii News Now.

Eight years of continuous war in Iraq and Afghanistan are over for the 3rd Marine Regiment's 3,000 Marines at Kaneohe Bay. Star-Advertiser.

Kaneohe Bay Marines marked the end of an era with a ceremony to commemorate their sacrifices and achievements. KHON2.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn heard arguments on the request by city prosecutors to keep confidential the video and defense documents seeking the dismissal of a murder charge against federal special agent Christopher Deedy in the shooting. Star-Advertiser.

Amy Asselbaye, who abruptly stepped down from her prominent position as Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s chief of staff last October, is one of four partners who have opened a new coffeehouse in Hawaii Kai. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii County schools are set to get $26.2 million to modernize and repair their facilities, part of a $116 million bond issue directed to help rural schools meet federal Race to the Top standards. West Hawaii Today.

An invasive Japanese bird has wiped out tens of thousands of native birds at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on Hawaii island, two University of Hawaii researchers have found. Star-Advertiser.

A total of 57 electric vehicles (EVs) are on Big Island roads, according to new data provided this week by the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A resolution that would increase property taxes across the board and increase the minimum tax by $100 was approved by the Maui County Council on Wednesday morning. Maui News.

The Public Utilities Commission has approved an interim rate increase of 3.2 percent, effective June 1, for Maui Electric Co.'s customers on Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a bill Wednesday to establish new regulations for short-term rentals. Maui News.

A new master plan through 2030 will be unveiled tomorrow (Friday, May 25, 2012) for pedestrians and bicyclists in central Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

On Wednesday, the Kaua‘i County Council introduced a bill to ban smoking at county parks, including the multi-use path on Kaua‘i’s Eastside. Garden Island.

Gov. releases $26.8M for education facilities; none for Kaua‘i. Garden Island.