Monday, April 8, 2013

Honolulu rail agency could run theBus, Legislature gears up for week of votes, bonds could pay for solar panels, Kauai landfill problems mount, airport becomes beach park for Kona, sequestration contingency in budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu bus system (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
With rail construction slated to resume later this year, city officials will soon have to decide how they want to manage Oahu's 100 or so bus routes with its future 20-mile elevated train stretching from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are gearing up for a marathon of voting this week as they figure out which of the session’s remaining initiatives merit further debate. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Legislature included a $25 million sequestration contingency fund in the budget. It’s not enough to cover up to $45 million in direct federal grants that are at risk, but it would dampen the blow. Civil Beat.

State House lawmakers are growing uncomfortable with a bill that would allow the state to conduct phased reviews of the impact of construction projects on burials or other historic property. Star-Advertiser.

Less than six months after the 2012 elections, Hawaii's 2014 political season is already under way. Civil Beat.

Bonds might fund solar gear. The state urges loans for PV installations that borrowers could repay via electric bills. Star-Advertiser.

State and federal officials are on the alert for a new bird flu virus that has infected at least 14 people and killed six in China after they suffered severe respiratory illnesses. Star-Advertiser.

Two Hawaii-based fighter squadrons that fly F-22 Raptor fighter jets are combat capable and able to deploy all of their aircraft in any contingency, Hawaii Air National Guard officials announced Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for April 8. Associated Press.

Oahu

Less than a year after launching nonstop flights between Washington D.C. and Honolulu, United Airlines has decided to cut the daily service back to once a week at the end of the summer. Hawaii News Now.

Walmart Stores Inc. said Friday that it has purchased the 80,000-square-foot former Macy’s department store and parking garage in Downtown Honolulu and plans to open a Walmart store there next year. Pacific Business News.

In the nearly two years since a blast ripped through a Waikele storage bunker and killed five men, many remembrances have been left at the site. On Sunday, the day before the second anniversary of the explosion, the family of one of the men came to leave more flowers in tribute. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the winners of the lion cubs naming contest and revealed the cubs’ new names on Saturday. KHON2.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi wants to finish the first phase of Old Kona Airport Park improvements before he leaves office in 2016, but county officials don’t yet know how much that will cost — or even what will be built. West Hawaii Today.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui told the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce that his Maui background gives him broad insight to the concerns of Neighbor Island residents. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Water Supply expects the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates fill station to remain open through 7 p.m. Sunday. West Hawaii Today.

Residential real estate sales volume rose 30 percent on the Big Island in March, according to the MLS Database compiled by the Hawaii Information Service. Sales volume stood at $54.8 million in March 2012, but reached $71.1 million in March 2013. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

An average household on Maui could see its water fees based on usage rise by at least $4.37 a month under a worst-case scenario in a declared emergency water shortage, according to a rate structure proposed by Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration. Maui News.

Maui Island food product owners agree that they have a good brand base because the Maui name is known worldwide. On the downside, owners have to bear the higher cost of doing business in the middle of the Pacific. Maui News.

With a month of experience under her belt, things are coming naturally to Haleakala National Park's new superintendent. Maui News.

Kauai

Liability in county settlements and foreclosures due to unpaid property taxes were just two of the topics scrutinized Friday by Kaua‘i County Council members during the ongoing review of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s proposed budget for FY 2014, which starts July 1. Garden Island.

The private consultants tasked with figuring out how to fit more trash in and around Kekaha Landfill are saying the state Department of Health came up with additional concerns late in the game, prompting Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to propose a vertical expansion and postpone a lateral one for the island’s only landfill. Garden Island.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz visited Kaua‘i Friday as part of a neighbor island tour he launched earlier in the week to speak with constituents about issues facing Hawai‘i. Garden Island.

The developer of the 46,800-square-foot Kilauea Lighthouse Village shopping center, approved to be across the street from Kong Lung Center, expects to break ground in August, and the project could be finished in about 14 months. Garden Island.

Molokai

Traditional fishing practices along Molokai’s north shore could soon be supported by law if a new proposal is approved by the state. Molokai Dispatch.