Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hawaiian Island of Lanai could be sold quickly, recycling audits secret, rail transit funds slashed, pension funds go unfunded, FBI increases Hilo presence, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Lanai for sale
Hawaiian Island of Lanai
Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock is trying to sell the island of Lanai. The price is about $500 million. Pacific Business News.

Billionaire David Murdock and his company, Castle & Cooke Inc., are in discussions to sell Lanai in a deal that could alter the future of the former Pineapple Island and dramatically reduce Murdock's land ownership in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Auditor's Office is not releasing several audits of the state's so-called bottle-bill program, reports that are key to tracking where millions of dollars in state money is going. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has funded just 61 percent of its $18.5 billion pension obligation for public sector workers — the 10th worst in the nation. Hawaii also has a $14 billion retiree health care liability that is unfunded. Star-Advertiser.

While independent candidates have had little electoral success in the islands, a handful have been elected to office. They are also part of a larger trend nationally away from traditional left and right divisions. Civil Beat.

A settlement will ensure the continued cleanup of lead-based paint that has killed thousands of Laysan albatross chicks at Midway Atoll, the Center for Biological Diversity said. Associated Press.

Hawaii's governor has signed a bill banning the sale of products containing bear bile or gallbladders. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday signed into law a measure to help Hawai‘i fight pests that have been impacting the state’s bee populations. Garden Island.

There are fewer than 55 days remaining until Hawai’i’s Primary Election Day showdown … in which all 76 state legislative seats are up for consideration by voters. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

U.S. House Subcommittee Slices Money for Rail. Civil Beat.

A federal judge sentenced a former Honolulu city driver's licensing clerk Monday to four months in jail for fraudulently producing a Hawaii license for an illegal immigrant. Star-Advertiser.

As the city of Honolulu plans to start building a $200 million, 3.2-mile wastewater tunnel between Kaneohe and Kailua this year, some residents living near the project are worried about the potential impact on their properties. Star-Advertiser.

Much controversy has surfaced over UH Manoa Chancellor-Designate, Tom Apple's large salary and the flagship campus' top executive, Virginia Hinshaw's sabbatical pay, and it all came to a head during our interview with the executives today. Hawaii News Now.

Doctor Tom Apple comes from the University of Delaware where he was provost. KHON2.

Can a White Federal Agent Who Killed a Hawaii Local Get a Fair Trial? Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Politicians and officials from around Hawaii, Western states and even some national-level representatives are coming to Hawaii at the end of this week for an annual state government conference. West Hawaii Today.

The FBI could soon have its own digs at the Hilo police station. Tribune-Herald.

Funding has been approved for permanent facilities to house the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES).KPUA.

A study of vog and wind patterns shows communities most impacted by the volcanic emissions can predict when the air is likely to be cleaner, a researcher told a County Council committee Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui's boating community has mixed reactions to a proposed state rule that would require recreational boaters operating motorized vessels to complete a one-time safety course, or face fines of up to $1,000. Maui News.

The bankrupt Days Inn Maui Oceanfront Inn in Kihei has been sold to a Chinese investor for $7.5 million, according to court documents. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i Fire Department held a brush fire mitigation meeting Friday morning, reminding large landowners, lessees and other stakeholders of their responsibility in maintaining firebreaks for open fields adjacent to structure. Garden Island.

Molokai

“Solar is the strongest renewable energy resource for Molokai,” concludes the just-released Life of the Land report, “Wayfinding: Navigating Hawaii’s Energy Future,” by Henry Curtis. Molokai Dispatch.