Monday, May 14, 2012

Hawaii's Grand Old Party convenes, bonus in store for principals, tax revenues up, sewer work to halt Oahu projects, Hawaii Island tax base lopsided, Kauai poi mill may close, Ka'u celebrates coffee, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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File photo 2008 GOP national convention (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Former Gov. Linda Lingle is calling on Hawaii Republicans to join together to make gains in the Democrat-dominated state. Associated Press.

Republicans from around Hawaii gathered this weekend on Oahu. KITV4.

In just 177 days, the Hawaii Republican Party will know whether it will finally make real inroads in a state dominated by Democrats, or remain mired in the minority. Civil Beat.

Speaking of the need for bipartisanship on Capitol Hill and the need for Republican representation for Hawaii if both houses of Congress go to the GOP this fall, former Gov. Linda Lingle urged party faithful to support her campaign for the U.S. Senate and help overcome the Democratic Party's stronghold in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

With Hawaii's primary election just three months away, candidates and their parties are gearing up for a big showdown. KHON2.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court could decide to throw out the political district boundary maps created by the state Reapportionment Commission. Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said the state is too far along in the planning process to start over and that because the state Constitution sets the election timeline, any order to redraw the maps would not leave adequate preparation time. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature's recent approval of the undersea cable bill earlier this month is generating added interest in projects seeking to bring energy from neighbor islands to Oahu. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Navy says its use of sonar and explosives could potentially hurt more dolphins and whales in Hawaii and California waters than previously thought. Associated Press.

Principals who attain high ratings under a performance-evaluation pilot program in 82 schools this fall will be eligible for a one-time $10,000 bonus in what officials are calling the first experiment of a merit pay system for public school educators in the islands. Star-Advertiser.

The number of foreclosure cases going through the courts could slow further or stop altogether because of another change the Legislature passed last month. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials say the state’s tax revenues are up nearly 13 percent for the first 10 months of the fiscal year through April. Associated Press.

The Judicial Selection Commission on Friday announced its nominees for Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice and for a judge in Maui County’s 2nd Circuit Court. Pacific Business News.

Jodie Maesaka-Hirata will become Deputy Director of Corrections while Ted Sakai has been appointed as the new public safety director. Associated Press.

Jobie Masagatani has been named director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Pacific Business News.

The University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine welcomed 64 new doctors Sunday. But as the graduates move on, there are concerns about how many of them will return to practice in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Scientists in Hawaii have already counted eight monk seal hooking incidents in the islands this year, including one that killed a 10-month-old male seal in March. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Construction of an assisted-living facility is on hold and other major proj­ects from Halawa to Pearl City could be in limbo while the city works to improve sewer lines at two Central Oahu sites. Star-Advertiser.

Mayoral candidates Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle and Ben Cayetano shied away from making any promises about property taxes during the debate last week. Civil Beat.

The Departments of Health and Agriculture launched an investigation into whether pesticides are being used incorrectly at several Thai and Sweet Basil farms in Kunia and Ewa on Oahu. Hawaii Reporter.

The city is soliciting bids for a transitional housing project in urban Honolulu. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

Property owners in just two West Hawaii County Council districts — North Kona’s District 8 and Kohala’s District 9 — pay more than half the property taxes that will be collected from the entire county this coming fiscal year. West Hawaii Today.

The Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal will get a makeover later this year as part of an effort by Hawaii County to make its facilities more accessible to the disabled. Tribune-Herald.

Kau coffee, which is mostly grown and produced in Pahala, a former Hawaii island plantation town of 1,356 residents, is getting a big name. Star-Advertiser.

The Ka‘u coffee industry, which sprouted from fields left untended when the area’s sugar plantations faltered nearly two decades ago, is providing opportunities for residents in the south Hawaii district. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public informational meeting Wednesday in Kaunakakai on a $5 million Kaunakakai Harbor improvement project set to begin late this month. Maui News.

Through work to restore ancient taro patches, troubled youths dig up valuable life lessons. Maui News.

Development planned for both sides of the southern end of Mokulele Highway will be discussed by a three-member panel Tuesday evening during a meeting sponsored by the Kihei Community Association. Maui News.

Federal and state disaster recovery officials have scheduled an applicant briefing for Monday on Maui County concerning the Federal Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs. Maui Now.

Kauai
Only poi mill in Waimea, Kauai suspending operations. KHON2.

Employees, supporters try to stave off Kauai poi mill closure. Hawaii News Now.

Morgan’s Ponds, beloved by visitors and locals alike, is still struggling with the aftermath of nature’s inevitable course and man’s recourses, according to some residents. Garden Island.

Time-share owners have filed a federal class-action lawsuit over an assessment fee they claim was forced by a management-based board without approval of the owners. Garden Island.

Native Hawaiians on Kaua‘i will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs at a community forum as well as at a regular OHA Board of Trustees meeting, both scheduled for Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Molokai

The Molokai Public Library will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with special music, hula, and dance on the front lawn, and exhibits in the library on Wednesday, May 23. Molokai Dispatch.