Wednesday, May 29, 2013

HuffPost coming to Hawaii, Construction to drive economy, Maui council advances $559M budget, Kauai council passes $209M budget, Native Hawaiians fight easing of development laws, Honolulu police short of ammunition, more news from all the Hawaian Islands


 The Huffington Post and Honolulu Civil Beat today announced a partnership to create HuffPost Hawaii, a site that will bring together the resources of The Huffington Post and CivilBeat.com.

The state Council on Revenues on Tuesday left the growth forecast for this fiscal year unchanged but increased the projection for next fiscal year because of an expected improvement in the construction industry. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Council on Revenues on Tuesday left the forecast for the state’s economic growth unchanged at 6.7 percent for the fiscal year that ends June 30, but raised the forecasts for the next two years. Pacific Business News.

Big construction projects in Hawaii like the Honolulu rail project could have an easier time moving forward under a new law signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Abercrombie signed a bill last week to allow the State Historic Preservation Division to approve state projects in phases rather than all at once, depending on circumstances. Associated Press.

Lawmakers say a new Hawaii law could help the state develop commercial harbors faster and more efficiently. Associated Press.

After racking up a $16 billion tab and alarming creditors, Hawaii is finally getting serious about fundamentally transforming the way it finances the post-employment benefits of thousands of public workers. But county leaders argue that the new legislation will tie their hands in budget decisions and will likely lead to higher property taxes. Civil Beat.

Native Hawaiian activists said Tuesday they will ask the state Legislature next year to repeal a new law that allows for the phased review of the impact of development projects on historic preservation. Star-Advertiser.

Led by Walter Ritte, a group of Native Hawaiian activists are demanding the repeal of a new law they claim weakens Hawaii’s legal apparatus to protect historic properties, which includes native Hawaiian burials. KITV4.

A Honolulu telecom company that has enjoyed exclusive rights to provide phone and Internet services to residents on Hawaiian Home Lands is under fire by the Federal Communications Commission for questionable business practices. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama dug deep into his Hawaii roots and invoked the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye as he pushed his immigration reform proposal Tuesday evening at a White House event marking Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Star-Advertiser.

UH president sheds light on governor's interference. Star-Advertiser.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has been under fire in recent weeks after University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood acknowledged during an exclusive May 20, 2013, television interview on Hawaii News Now that Kim called her last spring to check on the status of her son’s application to the University of Hawaii law school. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu
A nationwide ammunition shortage is having an impact on the training of Honolulu Police officers. Some firearm training is being scaled back at HPD and the department is having to plan ahead so they don’t run out of bullets. KHON2.

Online petitions are seeking to remove or retain Kapaa Middle School Principal Nathan Aiwohi, who was placed on paid leave last month while the Department of Education investigates complaints against him. Star-Advertiser.

An open-air lounge and tapas bar featuring unobstructed views of Diamond Head Crater and Waikiki Beach will debut next spring on the 19th floor of the Waikiki Business Plaza. Star-Advertiser.

The owner of the former Gold Bond Building in Kakaako said Tuesday the company will spend $14 million to renovate the 12-story building on Ala Moana Boulevard, including adding a new facade. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii is continuing to pay $1 million a year in rent for office space that's nearly one third empty just two blocks away from its new Cancer Center, which is about 25 percent unfilled. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A proposal to raise parks fees — in some cases doubling the rates — drew a tepid community response in hearings on both sides of the island Tuesday evening. West Hawaii Today.

A hurdle to residential development in downtown Hilo would be removed under a proposal before the Windward Planning Commission next week.Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Community College at Palamanui reached another long-awaited milestone Tuesday as officials broke ground for the long-promised institution of higher education in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie praised former County Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann Tuesday for the Waikoloa resident’s dedication to the island and to community service. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council unanimously passed the $559 million fiscal year 2014 budget on first reading today. Maui Now.

Parking at the Haleakala Visitor Center will be drastically reduced through June 6 as construction to improve park accessibility continues, according to a National Park Service announcement. Maui News.

In the ongoing battle against thousands of acres infested with Madagascan fireweed, Maui ranchers will be able to pick up buckets of moth larvae to feast on the problem this summer, said officials from University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Maui News.

Kauai
The Kauai County Council on Wednesday approved Kauai’s $209 million budget for fiscal year 2014. Garden Island.

The leader of the Atooi nation resolved two cases involving rocks from Hawaiian Homeland and obstruction during Hawaii Superferry protests in 2007. Garden Island.

According to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, visitor arrivals in 2013 will see the largest gains on the neighbor islands as Oahu fills up and international arrivals continue to grow. Garden Island.