Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hawaii 3rd in nation in solar panels, Legislature doesn't support gay marriage special session, reform coming to Hawaiian Home Lands, interim president for University of Hawaii, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PVC Honolulu
solar panels in Honolulu
A new report touts Hawaii as a leader in solar energy. The report released Tuesday by Environment America ranks Hawaii third in the nation per capita for solar installations. The group says Hawaii's solar capacity last year grew by 57 percent, bringing it to a total of 191 megawatts. Associated Press.

The commission that oversees the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands agreed Tuesday to send termination notices to all tenants in its controversial month-to-month land leasing program, taking the first step in an attempt to reform the system. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission voted (7-0) to amend its long-standing revocable permit program on Tuesday. Big Island Video News.

State House and Senate leaders said Tuesday that they do not have the two-thirds' support required to call a special session on gay marriage and would return to the state Capitol on the issue only if Gov. Neil Abercrombie initiates it. Star-Advertiser.

A major credit rating agency on Tuesday heaped praise on Hawaii for taking some big steps this past legislative session to get its finances in order over the next several years. But Standard & Poor’s credit analysts said they are worried that spending is growing too fast. Civil Beat.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's campaign failed to report funds that it spent on a February survey that predated her entry into the senatorial race against incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz, her campaign spokesman Peter Boylan acknowledged on Tuesday. The campaign risks being fined for violating federal elections law. Civil Beat.

Who's Backing Whom for Hawaii's U.S. Senate Seat? Civil Beat.

The University of Hawai'i Board of Regents plans to appoint David Lassner as Interim President of the university, pending a final vote at a special board meeting July 30. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii plans to tap its longtime information technology executive to be interim president of the 10-campus system as it continues searching for a permanent replacement for outgoing President M.R.C. Greenwood. The Board of Regents announced Tuesday that it will vote next week on appointing David Lassner to the temporary post, effective Sept. 1. Star-Advertiser.

Although the University of Hawaii increased tuition by 108 percent from 2006 to 2012, university President M.R.C. Greenwood told skeptical lawmakers earlier this year the tuition rates are “modest” and a degree is still a “good bargain.” The hike will continue: tuition will rise by 33 percent over the next five years. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii Department of Education says it’s working to get more kids to take advantage of the school breakfast program. But exactly why participation has remained so low and continues to decrease is unclear. Civil Beat.

Marge is angry. This island retiree says the state’s Department of Human Services is cheating people like herself by failing to fully disclose important rules that provide how and under what conditions the government can try to collect reimbursements for long-term care paid for by Medicaid. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines’ turboprop interisland subsidiary Ohana by Hawaiian has hit the brakes, thanks to holdups with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to parent company Hawaiian Holdings Inc. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for July 24. Associated Press.

Oahu
As a response to the escalating number of pedestrian fatalities so far this year, police will begin patrolling intersections where there is a lot of foot traffic. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is looking to get into a long-term contract with the National Football League for the league’s annual all-star game, the Pro Bowl, according to David Uchiyama, the state agency’s vice president for brand management. Pacific Business News.

A McDonald's customer testified Tuesday that State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy kicked Kollin Elderts to start the physical confrontation at the fast-food restaurant in Waikiki, then later pulled out a gun and fired at Elderts at close range. Star-Advertiser.

State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy could still be fired from his job even if he's found not guilty of murder, a Honolulu legal expert who specializes in representing federal employees said Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Thirty-five year-old Stephen Dinnan died in police custody in Waimanalo last month after he was placed in a chokehold by a civilian who accompanied police, according to an autopsy report. The Honolulu Medical Examiner ruled Dinnan's June 4th death was a homicide. Hawaii News Now.

The closure of two levels of parking adjacent to the now-vacant Sears department store at Ala Moana Center is causing maddening traffic congestion for many shoppers. An estimated 2,000 parking stalls were blocked off earlier this month when the $572 million redevelopment of the largest shopping complex in Hawaii began. Star-Advertiser.

US Senator Mazie Hirono today announced $6.7 million in federal funds for upgrades at Honolulu International Airport. Maui Now.

Hawaii

Proposed developments in South Kona and Kohala sparked concerns Tuesday over whether the county Planning Department is paying enough attention to Community Development Plan committees when making decisions. Stephens Media.

Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science is looking to expand its online learning program to a facility in Pahala. The state Public Charter School Commission’s Performance & Accountability Committee on Thursday will discuss a request by the Pahoa-based HAAS to pursue adding a satellite location at Pahala Hongwanji. Stephens Media.

Maui

Taking care of Hawaii's aging population will be among Gov. Neil Abercrombie's top priorities in the legislative session next year, the governor said at the 45th annual Maui County Outstanding Older American Recognition Ceremony hosted at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

A decades-old issue of commercial boating permits in Hanalei Bay resurfaced at the Kauai Planning Commission on Tuesday only to remain anchored for another three weeks. Garden Island.

Kauai Department of Water officials are moving forward with plans to construct an at least $6 million building to replace the department’s aging main administrative office. Garden Island.