Friday, June 28, 2013

Google Street View captures Hawaii scenery, Honolulu Rail gets $250M, security guard laws take state by surprise, NSA probes reporter, historic preservation still in trouble, spear fishing at issue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Rob Pacheco Akaka Falls
Rob Pacheco at Akaka Falls, Google Street View courtesy photo
Hawaii’s volcanoes, rainforests and beaches will soon be visible on Google Street View. Google Inc. said Thursday it was lending its backpack cameras to a Hawaii trail guide company to capture panoramic images of island hiking trails. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau will be using a Google Maps trekker to provide one more way to get visitors to see that the isles mark the spot for their next journey. Star-Advertiser.

As U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye lay dying in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last December, his two closest confidants were given a somber task: Deliver one final letter to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

Solar energy has been saving customers hundreds of dollars on their electricity bill, but only for homeowners who can afford thousands of dollars in upfront installation costs. That's about to change. Through green infrastructure financing, residents can apply for state loans to cover the costs of installing rooftop photovoltaic systems or solar water heaters. Customers then repay the loans over time from the energy savings on their electrical bills. Hawaii News Now.

Federal officials previously established a list of 43 criteria that the state agency in charge of protecting Hawaii’s historic and cultural resources had to improve on to avoid being decertified and defunded. A new report from the National Park Service on Thursday found that the state agency had satisfied just nine of the criteria outlined in a two-year "corrective action plan" that was designed to put the State Historic Preservation Division on track. Civil Beat.

A battle is brewing between the state and federal government and it centers on sharks. Three years ago Hawaii was the first government in the world to ban the sale, possession, trade and distribution of shark fins. But now a federal rule threatens to supersede that law which local lawmakers and advocates aren't happy about. Hawaii News Now.

The law was passed nearly three years ago, but new licensing requirements for security guards are still catching many by surprise. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been flooded with applications, which began arriving by the hundreds in late March. KITV4.

Three more cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii have been linked to a recalled Townsend Farms frozen organic berry mix that caused a multistate outbreak of the illness, bringing the isle total to seven cases. Star-Advertiser.

According to data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, there are about 153 Hawaiian monk seals left in the eight main Hawaiian Islands and a little over 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

State roundup for June 28. Associated Press.

Oahu

Federal lawmakers agreed Thursday to give Honolulu's planned rail project its full $250 million funding share for 2014 — the single largest grant for any new startup project in the nation, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Department officers upset over one captain's attempts to check up on them led to an outbreak of the "blue flu" Monday night, when about half the officers in East Honolulu's District 7 called in sick, sources said. Hawaii News Now.

The long-delayed update to the Ewa Development Plan was approved unanimously by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday, positioning it for a final vote of the full Council in the weeks ahead. Star-Advertiser.

Reporter's Diary: How I Got Probed at the NSA. Civil Beat.

When Paul Groesbeck became executive director of the Life Foundation in 1992, the HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention organization was working with 306 patients — and a year later about 100 of them had died. Star-Advertiser.

City crews uncovered a possible sinkhole in the Kaimuki area Thursday night. It’s on Saint Louis Drive next to City Mill. KHON2.

Hawaiian Telcom, Inc. said Thursday that it has sold a three-acre portion of its 10-acre baseyard in Mapunapuna on Oahu to Honolulu-based Wasa Electrical Services Inc. for about $13.9 million. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider strengthening fishery regulations off the Kona Coast when it meets today. The board is scheduled to discuss and vote on several proposed rules, including ones that would ban spear­fishing by fishermen diving with the aid of scuba gear and limit the collecting of fish for aquariums to a list of 40 species. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider strengthening fishery regulations in waters off the Big Island’s western coast when it meets on Friday. The board is scheduled to discuss and vote on several proposed rules, including ones that would that would ban spearfishing by fishermen diving with the aid of scuba gear and limit aquarium fish collecting to a list of 40 species. Associated Press.

Hawaii County has purchased additional air monitors for the Fire Department to help detect the release of hydrogen sulfide at Puna Geothermal Venture. Tribune-Herald.

A “stakeholders” task force to recommend ways to make the Hawaii County property tax system more fair has become mired in controversy even before it has been formed. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island farmers and ranchers plan to rally in opposition of Bill 79 today at 2 p.m. in front of the county building in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Council members began to untangle Wednesday financing arrangements that enabled Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center to provide low-income housing but also left taxpayers with millions of dollars in unpaid loans.Maui News.

The animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, has filed a lawsuit in US District Court against the USDA, that includes implication of the East Maui Animal Refuge in Haʻikū, an announcement said. The suit claims the USDA allegedly failed to protect birds covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act. Maui Now.

The embattled Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center soon may be dissolved following a motion filed Tuesday in 2nd Circuit Court by the state Attorney General's Office. Maui News.

Verdict on reopened pool: warm and wonderful. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously voted to move forward a bill that would allow the county to govern the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms on the island. Garden Island.

Kauai County is preparing for a large crowd at a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to strictly regulate pesticide use by large farms. The County Council voted 7-0 Wednesday night to pass Bill 2491 on its first reading. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would increase license fees for dogs met strong opposition from hunters Wednesday. Garden Island.