Monday, January 7, 2013

Hawaii humpback whale count begins, congressional delegation gets plum posts, Maui Senate list trimmed to 3, uninsured motorist group seeks database, fee hikes, Oahu marsh takes shape, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Maui Hawaii
Humpback whale breaches near Maui
Armed with binoculars and stationed at various sites overlooking the ocean, humpback whale aficionados will again spend three Saturdays searching for a burst of mist in the air, an arch, pectoral fin slapping, a spy hop or breach. West Hawaii Today.

The new members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation were assigned to some powerful committees Friday, the second day of the 113th U.S. Congress. including the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Pacific Business News.

Late last week, Hawaii's freshmen senators and representative landed choice committee appointments overseeing issues crucial to the state — military, transportation, Native Hawaiian affairs, among others. Civil Beat.

Gary Hooser, the former director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control and a staunch environmental advocate repeatedly clashed with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his environmental policies. Civil Beat.

There’s no indication it will help – and it’s likely to add to the cost of registering a motor vehicle in Hawaii — but a task force on uninsured motorists is nonetheless recommending the state create an online database to track who is carrying required insurance and who is not. West Hawaii Today.

Importing liquefied natural gas to Hawaii could provide residents with “huge” savings over oil, according to a recently released University of Hawaii study designed to help chart a path for importing the fuel. Civil Beat.

On Thursday, the US Department of Health and Human Services gave conditional approval to the Hawaii Health Connector to operate a state-based health insurance exchange in Hawaii in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Maui Now.

Oahu

There were 57 traffic fatalities on Oahu in 2012, up about 10 percent from 2011. Star-Advertiser.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano will keynote the Smart Business Hawaii annual investment conference on Wednesday, January 9, at the Ala Moana Hotel, where he will discuss what impact Sen. Daniel Inouye's death will have on Hawaii's economy and politics. Hawaii Reporter.

A restoration is under way of nearly 40 acres of wildlife habitat within the 830-acre Kawainui Marsh, the largest remaining wetland in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Inouye likely to be honored by state; county. KITV4.

As the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's "Aloha from Hawaii" concert descends on Honolulu, local fans are getting into the spirit with memories sweetened through the ages, just like wine. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

On Saturday, various state and Hawaii Island dignitaries gathered in Waimea to celebrate the graduation of an inaugural class of 14 students from a program, Veterans to Farmers, which aims to teach veterans the business of agriculture. Tribune-Herald.

The number of traffic-related fatalities on Hawaii island jumped from 22 in 2011 to 38 last year — a spike of 72 percent. Star-Advertiser.

Neighbors say the gulch roadway where tourist Yogi Yoswara disappeared on the night of Dec. 19 is dangerous, and want something done about it. Tribune-Herald.

Planning and designing the new West Hawaii shelter and offices is taking longer than expected, a Hawaii Island Humane Society official said Friday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

About 30 Maui Democrats met behind closed doors to hear pitches Saturday from seven applicants for the vacant Central Maui 5th Senate District seat. Maui News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $6 million for construction of the Kahului Airport access road, one of the larger amounts in $70.2 million the governor released for capital improvement projects statewide. Maui News.

A proposal for a $200 million West Maui Harbor will not go beyond the words and conceptual images in a glossy, 42-page booklet because the landowner, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, has no interest in pursuing the idea. Maui News.

Kauai

Faulty pump controls are being blamed for sending more than 200 gallons of sewage up through manholes onto Iona Road in Hanapepe Sunday. Garden Island.

The multi-use path at Wailua Beach is moving forward, regardless of an enduring resistance from some Native Hawaiians and community members, unbent on agreeing to concrete slabs covering any sliver of beach sand. Garden Island.

Molokai

The second annual Energy Festival, hosted by I Aloha Molokai (IAM) will be held next weekend and focuses on sensible, renewable energy solutions. On Jan. 11 and 12, 2013, at Mitchell Pauole Center, Kaunakakai, Molokai over 1000 people are expected to participate in panels and workshops, listen to local music, and eat ono food at the event. Molokai Dispatch.