Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Affordable Care Act to have minimal impact on Hawaii, school lunch prices spike, Kauai neighborhood cleared of toxic arsenic, dioxin in soil, Hawaii County Council mulls $31M bond issue, tsunami debris hits Molokai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Affordable Care Act
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito courtesy photo
In compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday he has selected HMSA's existing health care benefits package that will serve as the base line for all future insurance coverage offered in the state come 2014, when the law is fully implemented. Star-Advertiser.

A healthcare plan offered by the Hawaii Medical Service Association will be the template for all insurance plans offered to the public when President Obama’s universal coverage law begins in 2014, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced today. Hawaii Reporter.

A package of health insurance benefits created by the Hawaii Medical Service Association will serve as the state’s benchmark for the minimum amount of coverage health insurers in Hawaii must provide in 2014 and 2015 under the federal Affordable Care Act. Pacific Business News.

Gov. Neil Aberceombie's June 28, 2012 statement on Affordable Care Act ruling.

The cost of school lunches in Hawaii has been rising, and one menu item in particular costs almost twice as much today as it did three years ago: hot dogs. Civil Beat.

It has been four months since the teachers union wrapped up a prohibited-practice case before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board — more than enough time, the union argues, for the board to decide whether the state violated members' rights when it imposed a contract in July 2011. The Hawaii State Teachers Association has asked the state Supreme Court to compel the labor board to issue a quick ruling in the case. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said state negotiators have met several times with a federal mediator to try and reach a contract agreement with Hawaii teachers. KITV4.

The Public Land Development Corp. will meet Oct. 11 in Honolulu to consider the approval of a strategic plan as well as some changes to its draft administrative rules. Big Island Now.

Hawai`i residents are worried about what the state’s new Public Land Development Corporation will mean for land across the state. The PLDC’s five member board has been granted increased powers to develop public property. Now board members are considering some changes to the rules, in an effort to ease residents’ concerns. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii will soon be the new site for a high-tech device that harnesses wave energy to create electricity. Hawaii News Now.

The next installment of senate hearings into the University of Hawaii Stevie Wonder concert fiasco take place Tuesday. KHON2.

Here's a list of the people invited to testify Tuesday, Oct. 2., before the State Senate Special Committee on Accountability about the University of Hawaii's Stevie Wonder concert fiasco. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority on Monday that issued a request for proposals for its 2013 Product Enrichment Program that supports community-based cultural and natural resource programs. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Most voters have long since made up their minds about the Honolulu rail project, and their opposition has put Ben Cayetano in good position to become the city's next mayor. Civil Beat.

Similarities in capaign ads  continue to raise questions about whether any campaign finance laws have been shirked — everyone involved denies this — the ads also highlight the influence of outside money in the Honolulu mayor's race. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii officials showed off $1.3 million worth of repairs to UH's College Hill mansion eight years ago and said that "nothing major" remained to be done. But today, $680,000 worth of "major" repairs are under way at the UH president's unoccupied mansion — and running two weeks behind schedule. Star-Advertiser.

The first phase of a $135 million upgrade to Hawaii’s largest public housing complex is nearing completion, and a group of units has become available for rent to low-income families. Star-Advertiser.

Bicycling on Oahu suffers from the chicken-and-the-egg problem. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Company has been working on the Ko'olau ridge for about a month now. They are trying to upgrade Oahu's power grid. KITV4.

The Honolulu Marathon is expected to generate record revenue for Hawaii this year with one of the biggest races in its 40-year history. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The county’s current mayor and his old boss-turned mayoral rival disagreed Monday night over whose administration could take credit for at least one big West Hawaii project. West Hawaii Today.

A proposed $16.8 million bond issue for a South Kona police station has ballooned to $31.4 million, thanks to amendments adding other projects offered by two Hilo council members originally opposed to the bond authorization. West Hawaii Today.

The Windward Planning Commission is looking for guidance on how it can tap into a $2.1 million Geothermal Asset Fund. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawa­uchi, who has endured a firestorm of criticism for her handing of the primary election, admits she has made errors but promises to press ahead and ensure the general election Nov. 6 goes smoothly. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

A federal judge ordered a $15,000 fine Monday for a Maui rancher who arranged the transportation of axis deer and mouflon rams between Maui and Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

The next in a series of community meetings will be held tonight to discuss the county’s 2013-2014 budget. Maui Now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its hired consultants will hold a public meeting in Lahaina on Tuesday to review a draft Wahikuli-Honokowai Watershed Management Plan. Associated Press.

Mokulele Airlines is expected to launch its daily service flights between Kahului and Hana airports today, with one-way fares starting at $59. Maui News.

Kauai

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Health have completed a Superfund Removal Program cleanup removing more than 814 tons of contaminated soil from residential and commercial properties in Kilauea, Kaua‘i, according to an EPA press release Monday. Garden Island.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Health Department have completed removal of toxic soil at a Kilauea neighborhood on Kauai, the agencies announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

All of car dealer/developer James Pflueger’s co-defendants in a tax evasion case pending in federal court have  pleaded guilty. Hawaii Reporter.

The Kaua‘i County Council last week gave its stamp of approval for the Office of Prosecuting Attorney to apply, receive and expend $210,000 in federal grants for two programs. But decision on a request to apply for $35,000 in federal grants for a youth diversionary program was postponed for a week. Garden Island.

Molokai

Japanese Tsunami Debris Arrives on Molokai. Molokai Dispatch.