Monday, August 27, 2012

Will Honolulu rail project stall while Supreme Court ruling mulled? Lingle bucks GOP on abortion, undersea fiber-optic cable among projects in new CIP release, Chinese tourism surges, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu rail route, courtesy map
Monday is a pivotal day in the Honolulu rail project. If the City of Honolulu does not stop construction, critics will try to obtain a restraining order based on Friday's ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), the agency charged with constructing and managing the project, has no intention of stopping the rail construction – at least not yet. Dan Grabauskas, executive director of HART, said he will rely on the 9 board members and city attorneys who will meet Thursday to determine what should be done next.   In the meantime, construction will continue on Monday through Thursday of this coming week and possibly longer, depending on what board members decide. Hawaii Reporter.

Rail construction is likely to stop, at least temporarily, given a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling Friday that found the city and state didn't follow the law when surveying Native Hawaiian burial sites. Civil Beat.

Ben Cayetano said Friday that he felt vindicated by the Hawaii Supreme Court’s opinion that said the city and state should have conducted an archaeological study of the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail transit project’s entire route before starting construction. Pacific Business News.

The state Supreme Court ruled Friday in favor of a Native Hawaiian woman suing to protect ancient Hawaiian burial sites along Honolulu’s planned light rail route. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Friday ruled that state and city officials shouldn’t have proceeded with construction on Honolulu’s $5.16 billion rail transit project without conducting an archaeological study of the entire 20-mile route, overturning a lower court decision from last year that sided with the city and state. Pacific Business News.

A ruling Friday by the Hawaii Supreme Court will likely result in construction of the city's controversial $5.3 billion rail project being stopped. KITV4.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released about $52.5 million for capital improvement projects that will include an interim car rental facility at Hono­lulu Airport, an underwater fiber-optic cable, an electrical distribution system at Kalaeloa and other projects. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, and former Gov. Linda Lingle, the Republican, have embraced renewable energy to help break Hawaii's $4.5 billion-a-year dependence on imported oil. But they disagree on the route. Star-Advertiser.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, candidate for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat, called on the Republican National Committee to consider the diverse opinions of Party members related to a woman’s right to choose before adopting a proposed platform plank calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Hawaii Reporter.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono got a surprise endorsement Friday in her Senate campaign against former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle: Lingle’s opponent in the Republican primary. Associated Press.

On November 6th, 2012, 10 years after their fight for the governor’s office, Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle will battle to become Hawaii’s first female US Senator. Maui Now.

Only one person stands between Tulsi Gabbard and the U.S. Congress, but many people in Hawaii probably never heard of him. But Gabbard's general election opponent, David "Kawika" Crowley, is not conceding anything. Civil Beat.

The number of Chinese travelers to Hawaii surged 43 percent during the first half of this year, making China the fastest growing market for the state’s visitor industry. Associated Press.

State roundup for Aug. 27. Associated Press.

Oahu

City Council members, residents and preservationists are questioning a city decision to lease prime oceanfront space in Kapiolani Park to a food concessionaire at below market rates and outside of prescribed public bidding and auditing standards. Star-Advertiser.

The Public Land Development Corporation, under pressure from community groups, has agreed to allow the state's public access TV channel to broadcast its Honolulu meeting. Civil Beat.

It's a problem that grows by the day. Bulky items are piling up along our streets and sidewalks.KHON2.

Manufacturing photovoltaic panels in Hawaii might seem like a risky proposition given the competition from low-cost producers on the mainland and in Asia and Europe. Star-Advertiser.

The popular Manoa Falls Trail got a makeover this weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Growing coffee in Kona just isn’t what it used to be. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiians are more likely than any other race to be arrested on marijuana charges. Tribune-Herald.

In an attempt to clear up confusion and inaccuracies, the county Department of Water Supply has decided to hold a meeting this week on the new Hawaiian Ocean View Estates Water System. West Hawaii Today.

Applications for solar power are on the rise and so is the amount of time it takes to get a permit. Tribune-Herald.

Five houses for low-income families are scheduled to be constructed in 10 days by hundreds of volunteers next month. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Hawaii Republican Party filed a complaint last week with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, alleging that the Friends of Kaniela Ing has violated campaign spending laws. Maui News.

South Maui's Makena State Park could finally be in for upgrades that would add recreational spaces, landscaping, parking and public facilities, while maintaining it as a wilderness park. Maui News.

Kauai

The excitement over recent reports of outside interests looking at a Coco Palms redevelopment has officials giving tempered but optimistic updates. Garden Island.

While the accomplishments of the Kaua‘i legislative team have already been inked, Lihu‘e Business Association members and members of the public were treated to a more personal approach of the legislative team Thursday at Duke’s at Kalapaki Beach. Garden Island.

The state of Hawai‘i and the individual Hawaiian Islands achieved high rankings among their global competitors during the first six months of 2012, according to the Hawai‘i Competitive Global Rankings released last week by Hospitality Advisors LLC. Garden Island.

Molokai

One of the year’s biggest National Park Service projects in the country is taking place now in Molokai. The Kalaupapa pier, which allows the settlement’s annual barge delivery to dock safely, is getting $5 million in repairs. Hawaii Public Radio.

The University of Hawaii (UH) Maui College, Molokai Education Center will be able to expand their facilities and services now that Molokai Properties Ltd., also known as Molokai Ranch, sold them a 3.2-acre parcel of land surrounding the current campus in Kaunakakai. The final purchase price has not been disclosed, though the Dispatch reported in 2011 an agreement had been made for $500,000. Molokai Dispatch.

Those who are frustrated by long wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office on Molokai to renew vehicle registration or drivers licenses may see improvement by the end of this year. Molokai Dispatch.