Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hawaii to lose money on Superferry docks, Honolulu faces property tax hike, Hawaiian Airlines starts nonstop Taiwan flights, federal agent trial begins, ahi decline, Big Island council busts travel budget, Maui pushes solar, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Superferry dock on Oahu (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The last of the controversial Hawaii Superferry project will be auctioned off next week in an online auction whose starting bid of $250,000 for barges and ramps at harbors in Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island is a fraction of the $40 million the state of Hawaii spent to build them. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines became the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service between Hawaii and Taiwan early this morning when it took off from Honolulu to the capital city of Taipei. Gov. Neil Abercrombie was among the passengers on the scheduled 1:55 a.m. flight that state tourism officials hope will lead to a jump in visitors from Taiwan to Hawaii. Other dignitaries on the flight included the governor’s chief of staff, Bruce Coppa; and V.C. Chu, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

More mahimahi may end up on your plate than ahi if the forecast made in a recent study holds true. Longline fishermen are reducing the amount of bigeye tuna, marlin and other large fish in the Pacific, according to a paper by NOAA scientists Jeffrey Polovina and Phoebe Woodworth-Jefcoats. Civil Beat.

Department of Defense sequestration furloughs took hold this week, forcing more than 16,000 civilian workers in Hawaii to start taking a day off without pay. Star-Advertiser.

The debate about genetically altered seeds and biotech has moved from picket lines at the state Capitol to heated public hearings on the Big Island and Kauai. Both county councils are debating bills that could have far-reaching impacts on Hawaii’s agribusiness and farming industries after state legislation requiring labels on imported GMO foods failed to pass this session. Civil Beat.

Families with students in public schools will be able to earn a little more and still qualify for free or reduced school meals, Department of Education officials say. The department recently released the revised income eligibility guidelines for the program, which subsidizes the costs of school meals. West Hawaii Today.

Projects for federal preservation program sought. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Faced with mounting bills for city worker raises, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is looking to increase some property taxes and city fees. Hawaii News Now.

A Honolulu police officer testified Monday that State Department special agent Christopher Deedy smelled of alcohol, had glassy eyes, slurred his speech and had a hard time balancing himself after the 2011 fatal shooting of a Kailua man at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

A federal agent was fueled by alcohol, a sense of authority and a friend’s warning about hostility of locals when he shot and killed a man in a Waikiki McDonald’s, a prosecutor told jurors Monday. Associated Press.

After a day of opening arguments in the Christopher Deedy murder trial one thing is apparent: much of the case will rest on a choppy surveillance video and the perceptions of jurors. Deedy is a U.S. State Department special agent who was in Honolulu in November 2011 as part of a diplomatic security detail for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Civil Beat.

Before 29 year old Federal Agent Christopher Deedy even walked into court, and before any testimony was given, protestors outside the courthouse already had him pegged as guilty of the murder of Kollin Elderts. Hawaii News Now.

After a nearly four-year search and several pay boosts, the city announced Monday it has finally hired a new chief medical examiner. Dr. Christopher B. Happy, a forensic pathologist, is expected to take the helm of the city Medical Examiner's Office in several months, once he's licensed to practice medicine in Hawaii and confirmed by the Hono­lulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A hospital and clinics, commissaries, and even a beach. Those are just some of the Oahu facilities affected by Department of Defense furloughs that began on Monday. KHON2.

It could be just a blip — or a sign of more to come — but Oahu's housing market got within a hair of breaking a price record in June.  Honolulu Board of Realtors report released Monday showed that buyers paid a median $677,250 for single-family houses on the island last month, just 1 percent shy of the peak for any month set in June 2007 at $685,000. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu is likely to continue to get "extreme" doses of ultraviolet radiation from the sun over the summer months, putting people at high risk for sunburns and increasing long-term risks for developing skin cancers, say weather and medical experts. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi is holding the line on travel. The Hawaii County Council, not so much. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo will sport a shiny new coat of paint after being named a winner of a promotional contest. Representatives from Benjamin Moore & Co. announced that Hilo will join a total of 20 towns across the U.S. and Canada in receiving a paint job free of charge as winners of its Main Street Matters competition. Tribune-Herald.

A state plan to reopen Kulani Correctional Facility cleared an environmental hurdle this week, when the Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control issued a finding of no significant impact for the project. West Hawaii Today.

Police were called to the Waiakea Intermediate School campus Monday morning after custodial staff found homemade bottle bombs there. State Department of Education spokesman Alex Da Silva said the devices appeared to be soda bottles filled with Mentos candies, while police Lt. Melvin Yamamoto of Hilo Patrol said that police don’t know the chemicals that were in the plastic bottles. Tribune-Herald.

Forest City Hawaii’s mostly affordable 2,330-home planned community on 272 acres in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island has recently begun its first phase, which includes building out roadways and infrastructure, the project’s developer told PBN. Pacific Business News.

Renovations worth $5.8 million are under way at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii Island minister in jail for three years on drug charges is treated more like a terrorist than a free-spirited minister whose religious beliefs include the cultivation and use of marijuana, some lawmakers and civil rights advocates say. Hawaii Reporter.

Maui

With a mere 30 solar water heating systems in Hana, a program teaching students how to install the systems and educate them about its benefits could prompt more East Maui residents to invest in alternative energy, with proponents saying that a household could save as much as 40 percent on its electric bill with the systems. Maui News.

It wasn't close to a record, but the median sale price for single-family houses on Maui in June ticked up to its highest point for any month in almost five years. The Realtors Association of Maui issued its June sales report Saturday showing that houses sold for a median $615,000 last month. Star-Advertiser.

After living in the Sea Country subdivision in Maili for about seven years, Melissa Lauer said she's disappointed that the well-utilized, 11-acre city-run park in the center of the community remains mostly unchanged and still lacks restroom facilities. Star-Advertiser.

Mokulele Airlines will begin offering service next week between Kona International Airport on Hawaii island and Kapa­lua Airport on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

A 44-year-old Napili woman died Sunday afternoon as police said Monday she had shot herself at the Ukumehame Firing Range while taking a firearms education safety class. Maui News.

Kauai

A recent spike in burglaries around Kauai seems to be declining, police say, but victims say they fear thieves are spreading into more neighborhoods. Garden Island.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai is getting a new commander this week. Associated Press.