Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hawaii to announce $300M energy plan, Navy stops Ford Island solar plan, syphilis outbreak in Kona, Microsoft opens Honolulu store, Maui gets auditor, police officers sued, coral reefs, tropical fish in jeopardy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

city lights of Honolulu
Honolulu night skyline (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
A $300 million plan to be unveiled today to more than double the energy efficiency in state and Honolulu County buildings could add 5,000 new jobs to Hawaii's economy by 2015 and bolster efforts to meet aggressive clean-energy goals. The state planned to make a commitment to more energy efficiency at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Chicago hosted by former President Bill Clinton. Star-Advertiser.

Over the last couple of months, Neil Abercrombie has played Santa Claus, sans the red hat and coat. The Hawaii governor has been releasing tens of millions of dollars for capitol improvement projects across the state. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono are among 13 senators calling for an investigation into the legality of recently uncovered National Security Agency surveillance programs that collect data on millions of Americans. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
A new five-year Oahu energy plan released by Hawaiian Electric Co. on Wednesday calls for reducing costs to consumers and increasing the utility's use of renewable energy. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a proposed condominium tower at the site of the YMCA of Honolulu on Atkinson Drive that would rise 350 feet, or more than double the current height limit. Star-Advertiser.

The Navy has stepped away from a controversial plan — at least for now — to blanket the historic Ford Island runway in photovoltaic panels, a new environmental assessment reveals. Star-Advertiser.

A lawsuit has stopped the city and county of Honolulu from auctioning off a piece of public parkland on the North Shore. Last year, a group of North Shore citizens formed the Save Hale’iwa Beach Park Coalition to fight a city plan to sell 3.5 acres of city-owned land near Haleiwa Beach Park. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Schools has shelved its plan to develop a shopping center anchored by a Foodland supermarket on preservation-zoned land in Hawaii Kai, City Councilman Stanley Chang said. Star-Advertiser.

A private association of National Guard members plans to hold its annual conference in Honolulu this year even though some at the Pentagon have questioned the wisdom of meeting in a vacation destination. Associated Press.

Microsoft will open its first store in Hawaii today at 11 a.m. at Ala Moana Center. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers have been raising red flags over a proposed high-rise housing project on Waimanu Street in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

Hawaii
The Hawaii County Council last week authorized Corporation Counsel to represent five police officers facing a federal lawsuit on claims of excessive force during a 2010 arrest. West Hawaii Today.

The discovery of five syphilis cases in the past five months in West Hawaii — more than the past five years on Hawaii Island combined — has the state Department of Health warning the public to take precautions in their sexual activities. West Hawaii Today.

An East Hawaii resident is suing Hawaii County over a shoreline setback for homes at Pepeekeo Point. Tribune-Herald.

A recent Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources study of reef fish at Puako and Pauoa shows a “drastic decline” in the populations of both bays, a marine biologist says. West Hawaii Today.

Following the removal of Dennis Simonis as president, CEO and director of Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP, Hawaii’s largest macadamia nut producer is focusing on working closely with other growers and farmers in the state and reviving the Hawaii Macadamia Nut Association to ensure the industry has a strong future in Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

Tropic Care 2013 was a massive, joint military training exercise that brought free health, vision and dental care to Big Island, Lanai, Molokai and Maui residents. On Hawaii Island, this Innovative Readiness Training Program targeted those living in Ka‘u and Ocean View — rural, largely underserved and geographically isolated communities. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously recommended Lance Taguchi as its selection to the newly created county auditor position. Maui Now.

A Maui organization is getting more than $300,000 in federal money to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday announced $9 million in grants to seven organizations through the National Farmworkers Jobs Program. Associated Press.

More than 65 years after the end of World War II, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill last week that will establish a "Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day" to recognize more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans who were put in internment camps during the war. Among those interned was the late Rev. Masao Arine of Maui, who was a detainee at the Haiku Detention Center. Maui News.

Three varieties of tree snails and 37 species of herbs, shrubs, trees and ferns in Maui County have been added to the Endangered Species list. Maui News.
 
Kauai

Two studies intended to promote production and consumption of local foods and products were updated for the Kauai County Council on Wednesday. The message was that locally produced and processed foods feed more than just people; they also feed the economy. Backing this up, local cattle ranchers and producers of value-added products came to the council chambers in support of a meat processing facility and a commercial kitchen and agri-business incubator. Garden Island.

Red rice coral hit by blue-green algae off Kauai’s North Shore has responded well to a treatment involving marine epoxy, according to state and federal scientists, but they’re still trying to find out what is causing skin problems in nearby Hawaiian puffer fish. Associated Press.

The Hoouluwehi Sustainable Living Institute was at the heart of the 2013 Second Nature Prestigious Climate Leadership Award presented to Kauai Community College. Garden Island.