Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Head of Hawaii historic preservation resigns, public hospital group ousts CEO, Roseanne Barr, hundreds more testify on GMO at county council meeting, Kauai ignores lobbyist law, Hanabusa-Schatz Senate race in the spotlight, four-star general takes over Pacific region, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kawa Bay ancient checkers game
Ancient Hawaiian checkers, or Konane, lies unprotected at Kawa Bay (c) 2013 All Hawaii News


The federal government did not pressure the state to replace the head of its embattled historic preservation office, but after a critical assessment of that office, management changes needed to be made, according to William Aila, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

Pua Aiu, the head of Hawaii's State Historic Preservation Division, has resigned amid strong criticism from federal officials that she failed to address operational problems that have put the department's federal certification and funding at risk. Civil Beat.

The administrator of Hawaii's state Historic Preservation Division has resigned after a federal report criticized the way the office was responding to operational problems that threaten federal funding. Associated Press.

The Abercrombie administration says it remains optimistic about the state's economic recovery but will continue to withhold 5 percent of discretionary spending from state departments as a precaution. The 5 percent restriction will be used as a contingency reserve in case the recovery is not sustainable. A budget memo sent to state departments Friday said the state's tourism-driven economy is vulnerable to national and international factors, including a contraction in federal spending, economic volatility in Europe, slowdowns in Asia and unrest in the Middle East. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the state public hospital system, has ousted its chief executive officer, Bruce Anderson, amid pressure to keep up with technological demands and secure new cash for the struggling facilities. Star-Advertiser.

Two former governors, a retired U.S. senator, a retired state Supreme Court chief justice and the widow of U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye stood with U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa on Tuesday night in a show of strength for her Demo­cratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Two former Hawaii governors, a former chief justice and a former U.S. senator heartily and publicly endorsed Colleen Hanabusa for Senate Tuesday, arguing that leadership trumps Senate seniority. Civil Beat.

The 2014 Hawaii Senate primary launched an early polling war Tuesday, as allies of both Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Sen. Brian Schatz moved to define perceptions of who has the advantage in the race. POLITICO obtained surveys taken for both the Schatz campaign and the Hanabusa-backing group EMILY’s List, which show markedly different pictures of the race.

The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are hanging on very different information.  More than a year from the primary the campaigning is well underway. Hawaii News Now.

City Councilman Stanley Chang, the only declared candidate in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, raised $158,000 in the second quarter of the year, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law two bills intended to rein in the state's spending on school bus transportation. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Education has finalized details of its new "educator effectiveness" system — a redesigned teacher evaluation that takes into account student academic achievement — as it prepares to unveil the rating system statewide when school starts Aug. 5. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii increased its number of executive managers by 14 percent from 2006 to 2012, costing taxpayers millions more a year during the recession when many businesses experienced layoffs or job freezes and the university dealt with massive budget cuts. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents' Presidential Committee took its first steps Tuesday toward hiring the UH system's next leader. The nine-member committee discussed presidential selection criteria, the composition of the selection committee that will be tasked with vetting and proposing candidates to the board, the use of a search firm and/or presidential search consultant, and community outreach strategies. Star-Advertiser.

By a more than 2-to-1 margin, Hawaii voters want a ban on semi-automatic military-style assault weapons in the islands, according to a Civil Beat poll.

For the first time in nearly four decades, the U.S. Army in the Pacific is again being run by a four-star general, reflecting the pendulum swing of the nation's attention back to the region after 12 years of war in the Middle East. Star-Advertiser.

A four-star general took command of the Army in Asia and the Pacific for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday as the military’s national security focus shifts to the region. Gen. Vincent Brooks succeeded Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, a three-star general who retired after leading U.S. Army Pacific for the past two years. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s ranking among best American highway systems — we’re No. 48 — was a surprise to Cliff Slater, a transportation expert who runs HonoluluTraffic.com. Hawaii Reporter.

“It is a terrible time to be a journalist,” First Amendment lawyer Jeff Portnoy told several dozen Hawaii journalists Friday, during a Society of Professional Journalists awards dinner here. Hawaii Reporter.

The union representing Allegiant Air flight attendants said Tuesday the airline is eliminating nearly half its Hawaii-based jobs. Associated Press.

State roundup for July 3. Associated Press.

State 7/3. Associated Press.

Oahu

In two weeks, crews will start to remove the massive bypass pipe from the Ala Wai Canal. It’ll take them about 45 days to finish. As part of the project, some other changes are coming to Ala Wai Community Park, but some of the changes aren’t sitting well with some of the paddlers. KHON2.

Honolulu-based renewable energy firm Hoku Corp. and two of its affiliates filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Tuesday, ending a long downward spiral that began with the company's ill-fated attempt to develop a polysilicon plant in Idaho. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. State Department special agent Christopher Deedy is expected to testify during his murder trial in the 2011 shooting of a Kailua man in Waikiki, his lawyer disclosed in court Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Actress Roseanne Barr criticized genetic engineering before the Hawaii County Council on Tuesday. Barr, who owns a farm in Hamakua, spoke in favor of a bill to limit the use of genetically modified crops on the Big Island, saying people need to listen to independent research on the biotech industry. Tribune-Herald.

So many people signed up to testify on a GMO bill ban in Hawai'i County, it was impossible to hear from them all.  Opponents and advocates will both have to return Wednesday if they want to address the City Council. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii County Council reserved a full day Tuesday to testimony on a bill to limit the use of genetically engineered crops. But even that fell short of what they needed. Tribune-Herald.

When the state and county Civil Defense agencies conducted their monthly check of the emergency notification system on Monday, many in coastal East Hawaii heard the sounds of silence instead of the sounds of sirens. County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said that 18 sirens, primarily in Hilo and Puna, failed to activate during the test, which always occurs at 11:45 a.m. on the first government work day of the month. Tribune-Herald.

At the behest of Hawaii residents and politicians, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period on a proposal to list nearly 19,000 acres between Palani Road and Waikoloa on the Big Island as critical habitat for three plant species. It is also seeking to list 15 species as endangered. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Though Maui's tourism industry has enjoyed double-digit growth in the past three years, Maui Visitors Bureau Executive Director Terryl Vencl said businesses should expect those gains to "level off" soon. Maui News.

By December, wastewater from the county's Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility will be further treated with ultraviolet disinfection, according to the county and a federal annual water report released last week. The ultraviolet disinfection will help remove matter from the wastewater that is injected into wells that eventually make their way to the ocean through underwater seeps. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced a new grant assistance program designed to help small businesses in Hāna, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi, by providing 40/60 matching grants. Maui Now.

The Maui council’s Budget and Finance Committee discussed a proposed budget amendment to add a fee for advertising inside county buses. Maui Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill last month to dedicate $2.2 million toward forest watershed protection in Maui County during fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Maui News.

Kauai

Thirty-five years ago, Hawaii voters approved an amendment to the State Constitution strengthening the regulation of ethics, and requiring state and county ethics codes to meet certain minimum standards, including the registration and regulation of lobbyists. But Kauai County apparently never got the message. Kauai still has no system for regulating lobbyists, and county officials seem blissfully unaware they have been ignoring a key constitutional provision for decades. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard greeted around 20 North Shore constituents at a “Tulsi in Your Town” outreach at the Hanalei Community Center Tuesday. Garden Island.

Nearly three months behind the original schedule, the Wailua portion of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae, or the path that goes along the coast, quietly opened Friday. Garden Island.

Lanai

Hawaii State Energy Office Administrator Mark Glick said Tuesday that the 200-megawatt portion of the so-called “Big Wind” project on Lanai isn’t essential for helping the state reach its renewable energy goal. Pacific Business News.

Larry Ellison’s Lanai Resorts LLC has been renamed Pulama Lanai, which means “to cherish,” or “to treasure” Lanai, according to a source close to the company. Pacific Business News.

Lana`i Resorts on Tuesday announced that it has changed its name to Pulama Lana'i, which means "cherish" Lanai, to reflect part of the company's mission to take care of the island and its people, said Chief Operating Officer Kurt Matsumoto. Maui News.