Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Aquarium fish in jeopardy, Hawaii tax office backs off hefty filing fee, UH profs consider severing NEA ties, military cuts could hurt, plan could help solar panel installation, Steve Case licks wounds on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Yellow tang off Hawaii coast (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Aquarium fish collectors love yellow tang, the electric-yellow fish that once thrived off the Hawaiian islands. But a successful research program on the brink of helping ease depletion of the wild species is facing an uncertain future. Civil Beat.

The state might help more consumers afford solar panels by tapping into the same bond financing that utilities have used to improve power plants and respond to storm damage. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii tax officials have backed off on plans to charge an extra fee to residents who file their taxes electronically after tax preparers used to doing so for free raised a big stink. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii's faculty union will decide this month whether to end its affiliation with the National Education Association, a move proponents say would save money and sharpen the union's focus. Star-Advertiser.

In the midst of the national debate over immigration, the University of Hawaii system is poised to begin treating undocumented students as state residents — a move that would make it less expensive to attend college and open up career paths for perhaps hundreds of young people. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has received a $3 million gift in support of cancer and oceanographic research. Associated Press.

Hawaii among most vulnerable to federal military cuts. Associated Press.

Hawaii is the state most vulnerable to federal defense budget cuts, according to a report released Monday by Wells Fargo Securities. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz has tapped field representatives on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, including the CEO of a Kauai engineering firm and the COO of L&L Franchise Inc., to help his office engage with local communities. Pacific Business News.

Trafficked Thai Workers' Dreams Become Nightmares. Hawaii Reporter.

Stunning underwater video of a Hawaii-based shark conservationist petting and swimming very close to a Great White shark is aimed at teaching people that not all sharks are violent, blood-hungry creatures, according to the people who shot the footage. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The Waikiki Health Center, Honolulu's largest homeless service provider and operator of the city's biggest emergency shelter, has opted out of a plan to get some of Oahu's most mentally ill homeless off the street. Star-Advertiser.

The destroyer USS Russell has been replaced at Pearl Harbor by the destroyer USS Halsey in what's known as a "hull swap," but planned upgrades of the Russell that prompted the move are in jeopardy because of military-wide budget shortages, the Navy said. Star-Advertiser.

About 100 Kaiser Permanente Hawaii workers have authorized their union to move forward with preparations, including a potential strike, over layoffs due to the planned closure of Kaiser's Honolulu Clinic Urgent Care Center. Star-Advertiser.

Billionaire investor plans to change image of Kahala. Hawaii News Now.

A fishing boat that recently reached Hawaii has been confirmed as debris from the Japan tsunami, capping off a busy week of discoveries. KHON2.

Hawaii

April 23 marks the 20th anniversary of the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill in Puuanahulu, an ambitious public-private contract born of necessity and forged through a lawsuit over union labor. West Hawaii Today.

A measure to codify language about public access and open space land Hawaii County voters approved six years ago goes before the County Council for its final reading Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

HPR is getting underway with its next signal enhancement project – the building of a new HPR-2 transmitter for West Hawaii. HPR has just made the $100,000 goal needed for the West Hawaii KHPH transmitter. Hawaii Public Radio.

World-renowned inventor and engineer Graham Hawkes hopes to inspire the next generation of ocean explorers with his latest machine. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Steve Case's fortunes ballooned as the chairman of AOL was able to gobble up Time Warner in hopes of building an old/new media behemoth. It all unraveled at the dawn of the 21st century, and Case's fortune is a mere shadow of its past. But if you feel like you want to weep for the guy, take the road past Kaanapali and Napili to the far northwest coast of Maui. Orange County Register.

A bill that authorizes the mayor and the Department of Water Supply director to declare "water shortages" and to impose higher rates for Maui County residents is one step closer to becoming law with the Maui County Council on Friday approving the measure on first reading. Maui News.

A bill that would establish a Mala Wharf Task Force to examine the feasibility of redeveloping the collapsed pier at Mala Wharf on Maui, gained preliminary approval by a House committee on Friday. Maui Now.

Kauai

On Presidents’ Day, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono met with about 40 veterans at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center to listen to their various concerns on jobs, health and education. Garden Island.

After several weeks of fine-tuning, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday gave its final approval on a law that creates a planning enforcement account, where fines collected by the Planning Department will be deposited and used toward enforcement of zoning laws. Garden Island.

There are more than 200 former residents of the Marshall Islands on Kaua‘i, and they are adapting to Kaua‘i’s (comparatively) fast-paced lifestyle, leaders of the community said last week.  Garden Island.