Friday, June 7, 2013

Search for UH president begins, Feds reveal Honolulu kickback scheme, Oahu ratepayers to shoulder all of Big Island electricity project, Maui passes $559M budget, former supermodel Kathy Ireland owes Honolulu thousands in fines, two development giants merge, officials seek comment on $2.6B rail project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

UH President MRC Greenwood
UH President MRC Greenwood (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents could name an interim president for the 10-campus system as early as next month as the board begins searching for a permanent replacement for President M.R.C. Greenwood — a process that could take months. Star-Advertiser.

Several business leaders, including a former governor and a former University of Hawaii regent, are urging the UH Board of Regents to hire an interim UH president from outside the university system who can make changes before a permanent president is hired. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents Thursday voted unanimously to appoint a presidential selection committee to begin looking for a replacement for UH President MRC Greenwood, who plans to step down on Aug. 31. Hawaii News Now.

Public discussions among University of Hawaii regents about the future of the university's presidency Thursday turned into deep deliberations about the UH's mission and whether its priorities and values are in need of some fine-tuning. Civil Beat.

On Thursday, the university’s Board of Regents named two committees to begin the search for an interim and permanent president of the university system. KHON2.

Each year since 1986, PAYCHECKS HAWAII, the private, independent, non-partisan political action affiliate of SmartBusiness Hawaii, rates each of the 76 state legislators on support for small business in collaboration with other small business associations, individuals, and those actively participating at the Capitol during the legislative session. Hawaii Reporter.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. said Thursday it will buy Grace Pacific Corp. for $277 million, putting together two kamaaina powerhouses in the real estate and construction fields. Star-Advertiser.

Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. and Grace Pacific Corp. jointly announced Thursday that they have entered into an agreement for A&B to acquire the privately held general contractor for $235 million. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for June 7. Associated Press.

State 6/7. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu transit officials are working to finish additional court-ordered studies for the city's planned elevated rail project, even as they prepare to defend the $5.26 billion effort later this summer in federal court against opponents looking to stop the project. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and the U.S. Federal Transit Administration are taking public comments on a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the city’s $5.16 billion elevated-rail project that concludes a tunnel beneath Beretania Street would be feasible, but not “prudent.” Pacific Business News.

The president of a group that helps the elderly and disabled asked a Pearl City contractor for a $90,000 donation as she was giving the company a job worth millions of dollars, a request that appears to violate anti-kickback laws. Civil Beat.

The city of Honolulu's failure to properly enforce compliance with requirements of an $8 million federal grant issued to a controversial nonprofit group could affect what it receives in Community Development Block Grant dollars in the future. Star-Advertiser.

Former super model Kathy Ireland's Oahu business is under scrutiny and it owes the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. KITV4.

The notorious Mayor Wright public housing facility isn't nearly as bad as it used to be, but it is still far from perfect. Civil Beat.

YouTube on Thursday removed a video posted by Kalihi Shinto shrine officials of four Japanese nationals allegedly taking $1,000 worth of amulets, claiming the content violated the website's privacy guideline. Star-Advertiser.

A surfer in his 50s died Thursday after an accident at Ala Moana Bowls as a south swell battered Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii Island electricity customers may not have to pay a surcharge on their bills for the proposed $450 million Aina Koa Pono biodiesel refinery outside Pahala, but the county will continue to oppose the plant on other grounds, Energy Coordinator Will Rolston said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Kailua-Kona resident Ulrich Bonne noticed something missing from Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s draft integrated resources plan. West Hawaii Today.

Proposed spearfishing ban dropped. West Hawaii Today.

Opponents of a plan to build the world's largest optical telescope at the summit of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano are appealing their case in the state courts. Associated Press.

NASA is giving more money to a Hawaii project studying what foods astronauts might eat during a manned mission to Mars. Associated Press.

Maui

The Maui County Council unanimously passed its $559 million budget on second and final reading today. Maui Now.

The Mala ramp, West Maui's only boat launch ramp facility, has become so degraded that the concrete ramp and two loading docks need to be replaced, an $892,000 project that will require a 60-day closure. Maui News.

Kauai

Some affordable housing advocates say a proposed Department of Water fee increase could add hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional costs to proposed low-income developments or altogether halt some planned projects. Garden Island.

A year after the last Koloa Camp residents were evicted, a mess remains. Garden Island.