Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Schatz tours Hawaii Island parks, Navy moves missile defense closer to North Korea, fees for cesspools, marijuana bill pending, 4% raises for Honolulu mayor, officials, free wi-fi on Maui, April Fool's prank spurs panic over Saddle Road lava flow, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

tour of Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park courtesy photo
Schatz tours Hawaii national park, courtesy photo
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, whose first bill in Congress would expand Hawaii national parks, on Monday visited Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, which The Trust for Public Lands is seeking to expand. West Hawaii Today.

The towering Sea-Based X-band Radar, a fixture at a Ford Island pier for most of the past year, left Pearl Harbor recently for the second time amid heightened concerns about North Korea's missile program. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Navy is moving the largest and most sophisticated mobile radar system in the world closer to North Korea. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee has published its budget proposals for the judiciary and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for fiscal years 2013-2015. Associated Press.

A bill that would strip the University of Hawaii of procurement responsibilities for new construction was passed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday, signaling continuing legislative concern over the way the school has handled millions of dollars in projects. Star-Advertiser.

A decade-long court battle that has pitted the state against thousands of substitute and part-time teachers who say the Hawaii Department of Education underpaid them for years could end up costing taxpayers as much as $75 million, according to the teachers’ lead attorney, Paul Alston. Civil Beat.

Legislators are moving closer to repealing the law that created the Public Land Development Corp., with only a few technical issues to resolve. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii senators in the Ways and Means Committee have agreed to compromise on a bill to repeal the state Public Land Development Corp. Associated Press.

A bill calling for decriminalization of possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is pending this week before the House Judiciary Committee. Civil Beat.

Cesspool and septic tank owners would be charged a new fee to pay for water quality monitoring, under a bill moving through the state Legislature that’s part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s “New Day” plan. West Hawaii Today.

John Marra, the Honolulu-based climate services director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the East-West Center, says policymakers need to be engaged in "climate proofing." Marra is one of the featured speakers at an international climate change conference being held at the University of Hawaii this week. Civil Beat.

State roundup for April 2. Associated Press.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell indicated he likely would allow 4 percent pay increases for himself and department heads to take effect as proposed Monday by the Honolulu Salary Commission. Star-Advertiser.

As many as 100,000 Oahu drivers are having to renew their vehicle registrations in-person because of a mainland company's mistakes. Hawaii News Now.

The city of Honolulu is working to save the Kailua Beach Park Boat Ramp from being undermined by ocean currents. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Pacific University has resolved a dispute with a development partner over ownership of Aloha Tower Marketplace, allowing a planned $34 million makeover on the retail complex to move forward this summer. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu office vacancy rate falls below 13% for first time in three years. Pacific Business News.

The city Department of Emergency Services dedicated six new ambulances Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Heidi Klum Saves Son, Nannies From Rip Current in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Several South Kona residents spoke out Monday against the state authorizing two commercial kayak tour companies to resume operations at Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park while a moratorium continues on all other kayaks, vessels, watercraft and flotation devices. West Hawaii Today.

It may not have whipped up hysteria on the scale of Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” but a Big Isle radio station’s April Fool’s Day prank saying Saddle Road had been closed by a lava flow definitely created a headache for some folks. Tribune-Herald.

Opponents of the planned closure of the Kohanaiki jeep trail to vehicular traffic have gathered more than 2,600 signatures in a petition submitted to Mayor Billy Kenoi late last week. West Hawaii Today.

67 years ago, the Hilo coast of Hawaii Island was devastated by a tsunami. It killed 159 people—and changed the nature of Hilo’s waterfront. The anniversary also carries a significance that remains important today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui
Maui County's proposed fiscal 2013-14 budget will be the topic for a live discussion on "Your County with Mayor Arakawa" at 7 p.m. Wednesday on cable Channel 55. Maui News.

The state Department of Education has found no significant environmental impact for a proposed King Kekaulike High School Performing Arts Center. Maui News.

Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center today became the first shopping center on Maui to offer free wireless internet (Wi-Fi) access to its patrons. Maui Now.

Kauai

County officials discussed roads, bridges, automobiles and wastewater during the second day of the Kaua‘i County Council’s review of Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts July 1. Garden Island.

More than two dozen volunteers attacked the pile of organic debris Saturday at Morgan’s Ponds in the popular Lydgate Park. Garden Island.