Wednesday, April 3, 2013

HECO can recoup Big Wind costs, feds investigate labor union, lawmakers felt threatened by email, state nurses pay raised, bankruptcy filings down, lawmakers tighten anti-gambling regs, Kauai seeks MRF, Hawaiian activists make camp on state land, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

undersea cable, courtesy photo
Hawaiian Electric Co. can now recover $3.9 million from its customers to pay for studies related to the so-called “Big Wind” projects on Lanai and Molokai that would pump electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable, according to a Hawaii Public Utilities Commission ruling Tuesday.Pacific Business News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's early-childhood education initiative survived the scrutiny of the state House Finance Committee on Tuesday, but many lawmakers still have fundamental questions about a program that could eventually cost the state more than $125 million a year. Star-Advertiser.

Turns out teacher absenteeism in Hawaii isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. That was the conclusion Hawaii Board of Education Human Resource Committee members came to after perusing data presented to them at a meeting Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Nearly 1,700 registered professional nurses of the Hawaii Government Employees Association Bargaining Unit 9 will receive a 4 percent pay increase retroactive to Jan. 1 and another 4 percent effective April 1, the HGEA announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are debating amending the state’s anti-gambling law to clarify that it’s illegal to sell goods or services that entitle people to play gambling machines. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers are debating where to draw the line between journalists’ right to protect confidential sources and the needs of law enforcement. Associated Press.

An email sent to state senators on Easter Sunday is being called a threatening and cowardly message that crossed the line. KHON2.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim criticized the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents on Tuesday for questionable financial decision-making and a lack of communication with lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

The state Office of Information Practices issued an opinion that “almost none” of the redactions to the 57-page University of Hawaii fact-finders’ report on the Stevie Wonder concert debacle were justified under state law. Star-Advertiser.

Federal authorities are investigating possible misuse of union assets by former Hawaii Painters Union officials. Hawaii News Now.

Former Mortgage Task Force Member Still Wants Ethics Cover. Civil Beat.

The number of Hawaii residents and businesses filing for bankruptcy during the first three months of 2013 fell to the lowest level in nearly five years, according to data released by U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Star-Advertiser.

People in Hawaii are donning sweaters and long-sleeve shirts as winds from the north send temperatures to record lows. Associated Press.

The Pearl Harbor destroyer Chung-Hoon, whose deployment was delayed three times amid budget uncertainties, finally glided away from port Tuesday on its way to duty in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean region. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for April 3. Associated Press.

Oahu
Mayor Kirk Caldwell will re-emphasize his five priorities for Hono­lulu when he delivers his first State of the City speech at Mission Memorial Auditorium next to Hono­lulu Hale this morning. Star-Advertiser.

District 9 boasts has nearly 390 lane-miles of city-owned road — and it earns the dubious distinction of having the lowest share of roads in satisfactory condition and the highest share in substandard condition. Star-Advertiser.

A private power provider generating nearly one-fourth of Oahu's electricity went off­line Tuesday morning, resulting in a 40-minute power outage for as many as 75,000 Hawaiian Electric customers in Central, West and Windward Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi laid out an ambitious slate of projects Tuesday, while acknowledging the fiscal realities that could prevent the county from reaching those goals. West Hawaii Today.

The state’s patience may be running short for the small group of Hawaiian sovereignty activists who have symbolically reclaimed a corner of the Wailoa River State Recreation Area for the kingdom. Tribune-Herald.

All 71 of Hawaii Island’s tsunami emergency warning sirens sounded shortly before noon Tuesday after a maintenance worker mistakenly tripped the alarm. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaiian Ocean View Estates well is out of service for the second time since it opened last year, Department of Water Supply officials said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Geothermal energy companies have until the end of this month to submit bids for a project on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii Electric Light Company wants to add up to 50 additional megawatts of geothermal energy. In Japan, a geothermal project is moving ahead with studies in national parks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui
Maui County Council members began their review of the proposed $573.6 million fiscal 2013-14 budget Monday by hearing an overview of Mayor Alan Arakawa's spending plan. Maui News.

A 58-year-old California man visiting Maui with his wife for a spring vacation was attacked by a shark Tuesday while surfing off Kaanapali. Star-Advertiser.

A 58-year-old man from Marina Del Rey, Calif., reported the shark that attacked him had a head "the size of a basketball." Maui News.

Kauai

County officials told Kaua‘i County Council members the administration is fast tracking a process to open a materials recovery facility at the former papaya disinfestation facility in Ahukini near Lihu‘e Airport. If all goes well, it would take at least three years for it to be up and running. Garden Island.

When it comes down to public money, it’s never water under the bridge for Kaua‘i County Council members, who fired much criticism toward the county Public Works Department Monday for overspending on two bridges due to design flaws. Garden Island.

Abandoned Kauai Dogs Get Life Saving Plane Ride. Civil Beat.