Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Akaka honored, Arizona nonprofit seeks management of 8 Hawaii hospitals, poll finds voters favor Public Land Development Corp., stranded baby humpback dies, lawmaker wants HECO profits scrutinized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Aloha Order of Merit
Akaka receives Aloha Order of Merit from Gov. Abercrombie, courtesy photo


Hawaii honored longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka on Monday by inducting him into the Aloha Order of Merit, an honor reserved for people who have given extraordinary service to the state. Associated Press.

Now that he is out of public office, former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is calling on the next generation of public officials from Hawaii to continue his work of spreading the aloha spirit at home, in the halls of Congress and throughout the country. Star-Advertiser.

State Lawmakers and dignitaries attended a special ceremony today to honor Senator Daniel K. Akaka. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii's congressional delegation has not yet met to lay out priorities for the coming year, but that meeting is expected to take place next week in Washington, D.C. Star-Advertiser.

Incumbents in the U.S. Senate and the Governor's Office say they will keep their focus on their jobs in the face of potential rivalry in the 2014 democratic primaries. KHON2.

A new Civil Beat Poll conducted last week found only 28 percent of voters want to abolish the relatively new Public Land Development Corporation, despite its battered image and continued protests. Civil Beat.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is pushing for increased oversight of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s finances. The state rep. will be introducing legislation this session that would create a permanent task force to determine and periodically revise the electric utilities’ rate of return. Civil Beat.

Hilo Medical Center and seven other public health facilities on the Big Island, Maui and Lanai may fall under new management. Tribune-Herald.

Financial uncertainty in recent years is one of the motives behind Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s recent discussions with an Arizona-based nonprofit health care system to take over management of eight public hospitals on the Big Island and Maui, said Avery Chumbley, HHSC’s board chairman. West Hawaii Today.
 
Oahu

In a scene that left some onlookers in tears, a baby humpback whale stuck in shallow water just off Kawai­­kui Beach Park near Aina Haina thrashed about for hours Monday in a futile attempt to escape the reef upon which it was stranded. Star-Advertiser.

A baby humpback whale that was stuck on a reef in shallow waters off east Oahu has died. Hawaii News Now.

A federal agency is expected to announce this week the findings and recommendations of its investigation into the 2011 explosion at a Wai­kele hillside storage facility that killed five workers dismantling illegal fireworks seized by the government. Star-Advertiser.

Redevelopment work at Aloha Tower Marketplace may begin as early as this summer after a state agency gave its consent Monday for Hawaii Pacific University to lead a $32 million makeover of the retail center fronting Honolulu Harbor despite objections by a real estate developer who put the project together. Star-Advertiser.

Workers represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 142 have ratified their first contract with management at Pacific Beach Hotel, ending more than a decade of acrimonious legal battles that went nearly all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

Replay Resorts, the private equity firm pushing for development of five additional hotels at Turtle Bay, is forming a new foundation. Hawaii Independent.

In the process of building the Kalaeloa Raceway Park, some community groups claim crews damaged an ancient altar and Makahiki site used for Hawaiian games and religious ceremonies. KITV4.

Hawaii

Money for civil defense sirens, Kona International Airport, major roads on both sides of the island, a juvenile justice center, pharmacy building at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, rural residency program for doctors and the county takeover of two state parks top the wish list Mayor Billy Kenoi will be presenting today to two legislative committees. West Hawaii Today.

Two years after the Hawaii County Council rebuffed Mayor Billy Kenoi’s attempt to ban county employees from securing county contracts for their private businesses, a company at the center of the controversy has again won a contract to clean roadside drywells and culverts. West Hawaii Today.

A 3rd Circuit Court judge will consider next month tossing the remaining defamation charges made by two Hawaii County election workers fired a year ago. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation won’t be taking bids on improvements to the Kawaihae Road intersection with Queen Kaahumanu Highway for another two years. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today officially received three names from the Hawaii Democratic Party to be considered for the vacant House District 9 seat left vacant by Gil Keith-Agaran, who is now a state senator. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department will launch a new Crisis Intervention Team Program this week, the first of its kind in the state, according to department officials. Maui Now.

Small nonfarm businesses in Kalawao and Maui counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to offset economic losses caused by the drought that began this year. Maui News.

Having developed Maui-made Ocean Vodka into a successful brand over the last six years, the Smith family is now positioning the company for expansion with the addition of a new facility to streamline operations and allow the business to branch out in the luxury alcoholic beverage market. Maui News.

Kauai

The Cost Control Commission will not to pursue a proposal to raise the minimum age to qualify for an age-related real property tax exemption, they decided Monday, as it would not have meant savings for the administration in processing time and the revenues may not have been significant. Garden Island.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has intensified its efforts this week to locate Peter Heckman, offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to capture and arrest of the Kauai fugitive who allegedly is the mastermind of a $1.2 million investment scheme. Hawaii Reporter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a new campaign and offered a new reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Peter Heckman, a former Kaua‘i resident accused of operating a Ponzi scheme out of his recording studio. Garden Island.

Randy Francisco, the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, held a first-of-its-kind press conference yesterday, uniting business leaders with county officials to show that Kaua‘i is a safe place in light of the recent crimes that have depicted Kaua‘i negatively. Garden Island.

Lanai

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is looking for architectural and engineering firms to help update the master plan and noise program at Lanai Airport. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

A former employee has been ordered to share in repaying more than $3,500 stolen from the Molokai satellite office of the Maui County Division of Motor Vehicles & Licensing. Maui News.