Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hawaii Big Wind moving forward, Jones Act under fire, military retreats from Kauai weapons range expansion, China to launch nonstop Taiwan-Honolulu flights, Hawaii business tourism a hard sell, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Green Travelers Guide
Hawaii Island wind farm, courtesy courtesy Green Travelers Guide
One half of Hawaii’s controversial 400-megawatt “Big Wind” project — in which large wind farms on Lanai and Molokai would pump electricity to Honolulu via an undersea cable — is still moving forward. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Co. residential customers on Oahu will pay an average of 13 cents more a month over the next three years to cover the cost of preliminary studies HECO completed as part of its plan to generate wind energy on the neighbor islands and transmit it to Oahu via an undersea cable. Star-Advertiser.

With the help of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has begun reforming its controversial revocable permit program and evaluating other aspects of its operation. But Native Hawaiian beneficiaries already are raising questions about the process, saying they are not being allowed to participate from the start. Star-Advertiser.

Even though Hawaii's business travel fell 20 percent after the Great Recession and hasn't completely recovered, John Mona­han, president and CEO of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, said he is confident that changing the way the state markets business travel will build success. Star-Advertiser.

China Airlines will launch regular nonstop flights between Taiwan and Hawaii on June 2, the airline said Friday. Pacific Business News.

High-profile Hawaii economists, professors and businessmen last week called on Congress to repeal the Jones Act, the 1920s federal law requiring that cargo shipped within the U.S. be moved only by American-made, American-manned and American-owned vessels. Hawaii Reporter.

Lawyer and former U.S. Senate candidate John Carroll has sued the United States of America for the second time in hopes of exempting Hawaii from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Better known as the Jones Act, the statute requires all ships traveling between U.S. states to be manned, built, owned, and flagged by Americans. Critics say the regulations inflate the cost of shipping, which makes everything from eggs to electricity more expensive. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Bromance: Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

In its second quarter 2013 economic report, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism predicts continued positive economic growth in 2013, outpacing the national growth rate. DBEDT also expects to see continued positive growth in 2014. West Hawaii Today.

Next month, the Hōkūle‘a and its sister canoe, the Hikianalia , will set sail on a 46,000 mile trip across the globe. And joining the crew will be a team of Hawaii teachers and researchers, who will play a key role in bringing the Worldwide Voyage back into the classroom. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for May 27. Associated Press.

Oahu

Four firms are vying to operate the state-owned Hawai‘i Convention Center, which for more than a decade has routinely underperformed at filling Hawaii hotel rooms with high-spending business visitors. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu officials don’t appear to be in any rush to scrub the mold, lead and asbestos from Honolulu Hale. The city contracted for $250,000 with Unitek in 2012 for some lead paint clean-up, but now officials say the building is on a fix-it-as-we-go approach. Civil Beat.

A tenant association at a Chinatown affordable-housing complex is calling for more openness from the city of Honolulu as it moves forward with the sale of all 12 of its affordable-housing properties to a California-based private group. Star-Advertiser.

The city of Honolulu this week is restoring more bus service, part of a plan Mayor Kirk Caldwell and transit officials rolled out earlier this year to reverse many of last year's widely unpopular cuts in TheBus routes. Star-Advertiser.

Three months after the official opening of the University of Hawaii's Cancer Center in Kakaako, Hawaii News Now brought a construction problem and potential design flaw to the attention of its director.

Hawaii
West Hawaii’s three County Council districts, comprising roughly one-third of the county’s population, will continue shouldering 70 percent of the property tax burden under a 10 percent rate hike proposed by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools is suing the HSC Inc. and Realty Investment Co., alleging the Hilo companies are in default of a five-decade-plus lease of commercial property on Kekuanaoa Street near the Hilo Shopping Center. Tribune-Herald.

Hundreds of Big Islanders came together Saturday in Kailua-Kona for one of many March Against Monsanto events held worldwide to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified foods. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
The Maui County Council will hear a proposal that would give partial protection to an estimated 1,250 additional applicants on the Upcountry Water Meter Priority List. Maui Now.

The number of photovoltaic and other renewable energy systems in Maui County keeps growing each year. Maui News.

The Maui Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association was once open only to those who served during the Korean War, but the aging members of the association have opened its doors to all veterans who served in Korea during the war and since. Maui News.

Kauai

The gun jammed on the National Guard’s proposal for an expanded “danger zone” in the waters fronting the Kekaha Rifle Range. “The Army Corps of Engineers, at the request of the Hawaii Army National Guard, will be rescinding the current public notice in regards to a proposed new danger zone at Kekaha Range Facility,” Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, director of public affairs for the Hawaii National Guard, wrote in a statement Friday. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council approved Wednesday an additional $10,000 for legal fees associated with a civil rights complaint filed by councilman Tim Bynum against former County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, county planner Sheila Miyake and the county of Kauai. Garden Island.

A Kauai firefighter is suing the county for alleged discriminatory compensation claims. Garden Island.

Molokai

Molokai General Hospital has received a $133,232 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to support the hospital's Women's Health Center's prenatal program. Maui News.