Monday, July 22, 2013

Cruise ships help float Hawaii economy, Al Gore endorses Schatz, Espero announces congressional bid, Honolulu mayor signs smoking ban, Kauai to revamp tax code, learning about Micronesians, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Norwegian cruise lines
Cruise ship in Kona, Hawaii
Hawaii received $386 million in direct spending from the cruise industry in 2012, according an independent study commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association. Pacific Business News.

For the last couple of weeks, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has been railing against sequestration in campaign emails. But they haven't told the whole story about her history with the automatic budget cuts. Civil Beat.

Al Gore has endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in his push to keep his seat. Associated Press.

State Sen. Will Espero has officially declared himself as a candidate to replace Colleen Hanabusa in Hawaii's first congressional district. Hawaii News Now.

State Sen. Will Espero (D) announced Sunday he’ll throw his hat in the ring for the seat being vacated by current Representative Colleen Hanabusa. KHON2.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is naming an interim administrator for its historic preservation division. The department is also forming a committee to find a long-term replacement for the previous administrator who resigned earlier this month. Pua Aiu stepped down after a federal report criticized the way her office responded to operational problems threatening funding. Associated Press.

M.R.C. Greenwood will earn a little less than $25,000 a month after she resigns as University of Hawaii president. It’s part of a new deal reached Thursday in a closed-door meeting of the university’s Board of Regents. Hawaii Reporter.

Jesuit priest Francis X. Hezel's latest book, “Making Sense of Micronesia,” just published by the University of Hawaii Press, aims to help Americans decode Micronesian customs and attitudes as more migrants make their way to Hawaii and the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat interviewed Hezel about his work and his views on what Hawaii and the United States can – and should – do for Micronesians, and why. Civil Beat.

Legislation that would have eliminated $34 million in funding for native Hawaiian education programs has since been amended in the US House of Representatives on Thursday, but still faces an uncertain future. Maui Now.

The Hawaii Department of Education has selected eight schools to participate in a pilot program that will equip every student and teacher with a digital tablet and laptop. Associated Press.

Improving public education in Hawaii a passion for Kaneohe Ranch CEO Mitch D'Olier. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for July 22. Associated Press.

Oahu

All bus stops and city-run outdoor recreational areas in Honolulu — to include beaches, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools and athletic fields — will officially be smoke-free Jan. 1. With world-famous Waikiki Beach at his back and his paddleboard by his feet, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two City Council bills Sunday that ban smoking at the city's nearly 300 Hono­­lulu parks and about 4,000 bus stops. Star-Advertiser.

In July, the city council passed two smoking ban bills. On Sunday, Mayor Caldwell signed them into law. From now until January 1, city officials will post signs and spread the word about the smoking ban, educating residents and visitors about what happens if they get caught. KHON2.

A family of four must earn nearly $78,000 a year just to live modestly in Honolulu, a new study showed. The 2013 Family Budget Calculator released by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, estimates a household with two adults and two children would need to earn more than triple the federal poverty level of $23,283 "to attain a secure yet modest living standard" in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

An $80,000 private investigator and hundreds of hours of scrutiny by attorneys have left key questions unanswered in the ongoing scandal involving the City and County of Honolulu and a Central Oahu nonprofit that received nearly $8 million in federal grants to serve the elderly and the developmentally disabled. Civil Beat.

The Mayor’s new Chief Information Officer has been on the job for about a week following his confirmation by the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii Public Radio.

Crews and divers started pulling a mile-long temporary sewer line from the murky depths of the Ala Wai Canal last week, seven years after persistent rain ruptured a Waikiki pipe and leaked millions of gallons of raw sewage into the water there. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

It represents nearly three decades of a man’s work and passion — an exhaustive photographic record of the daily lives of Hawaii Island residents during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Containing between 40,000 and 50,000 images in negatives and prints, the John Howard Pierce Photograph Collection is a treasure trove of local history that is just beginning to yield its secrets. Tribune-Herald.

Unraveling the mysteries presented by the Pierce photo collection requires a determined approach, and the skills of a private eye. Tribune-Herald.

A Big Island-based teacher preparation program that focuses on developing educators to work with Native Hawaiian students in charter schools recently earned national accreditation, allowing it to soon begin recruiting students. Associated Press.

Maui

A shiny new aluminum channel will soon replace the rotting and aging redwood of the Waikamoi Flume, a piece of Maui's history built in a forest on the ridges and valleys above Haiku more than 70 years ago. Maui News.

Governor Neil Abercrombie announced the release of a $364,000 allocation for Health Department facilities across the state, including health and safety improvement projects at the Maui District Health Office and the Wailuku Health Center on Maui. Maui Now.

It's no news that dogs have a keen sense of smell, but researchers on Maui are engaged in a cutting-edge medical scent detection study that involves training dogs to detect life-threatening infections. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved on first reading a bill that would shake up the county’s real property tax system. Draft Bill 2495 proposes a revision on property tax exemptions and caps that would affect resident homeowners, nonprofit organizations, Hawaiian homesteaders, credit unions, senior citizens, transient vacation rental owners and others. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council introduced a bill to fix a glitch on an “exceptional tree” designation for a coconut grove planted 103 years ago. Garden Island.

Endangered birds on Kauai are singing the praises of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Last week, the federal agency awarded a pair of grants totaling nearly $1 million to local conservation projects. Garden Island.

Molokai
Oceanic Time Warner Cable broadband Internet customers on Molokai have waited for years, filed dozens of complaints and wrung their hands in frustration as hundreds streaming Netflix movies failed to load — all because of Internet speeds many called substandard. Finally, the wait is over. Molokai Dispatch.

Molokai is already home to two saints — Damien and Marianne — and if efforts continue, the island might be known for a third: Brother Joseph Dutton. Molokai Dispatch.