Friday, August 9, 2013

Hawaii vets denied VA loans, Inouye awarded Medal of Freedom, UH makes glow-in-the-dark rabbits, Honolulu Humane Society stops animal pickups, crowded congressional race, Kauai's Coco Palms sold, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii vets denied VA loans (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
For Caleb Churchill, and many vets like him, the American Dream of home ownership almost washed down the drain, when he learned he couldn’t qualify for the Veterans Affairs loan he had counted on. A rule change in late 2011 prohibited VA loans for properties relying on rainwater catchment systems. West Hawaii Today.

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who overcame racism, earned a Medal of Honor for his bravery in World War II and became a legend in Congress, will posthumously receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this year, President Barack Obama announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii is one of 16 people President Barack Obama will honor later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Associated Press.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Thursday the introduction of major legislation that seeks to expand Social Security benefits while extending the life of the program to 2049. Star-Advertiser.

With Social Security benefits often the primary source of income for the elderly, thousands of state residents have supported protection and expansion of the program. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and State Rep. Chris Lee held a press conference Thursday in Honolulu as part of a rally with activists to urge other state and federal leaders to support seniors and promise not to cut benefits. Garden Island.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hi, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014, is the target of a Federal Elections Commission complaint filed by attorney Daniel Hempey on Tuesday. Hawaii Reporter.

Doing the Math on Hawaii's 1st District Race. Civil Beat.

Calling himself someone who will fight for the middle class, City Councilman Ikaika Anderson joined the race for Congress in the Democratic primary. Anderson, 35, joins a field of three other declared Demo­crats in the race to represent urban Oahu in the U.S. House. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii Reporter inquiry has led  to the resignation of Hawaiian Homelands Commissioner Perry Artates. In June, Artates and his wife, Ronnette, pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud and false loan application charges, court records show.

Hawaii is well on its way down a strong expansion path, a new report says. While federal tax increases and sequestration-driven budget cuts have curtailed growth in the first half of the year, progress in construction and the service sector will maintain forward momentum, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Pacific Business News.

Last year, Hawaii spent more than $175 per person — $244 million in all — just to fund its interest payments, the third highest rate per person in the country. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. said its utility is ahead of schedule to generate 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The holding company for the state's largest utility and American Savings Bank gave a progress report on its clean-energy target Thursday while announcing that second-quarter earnings rose 4.6 percent from the year-earlier quarter. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to environmental issues addressed by the 2013 Legislature, repeal of the Public Land Development Corporation grabbed headlines. But aside from the PLDC’s repeal, the environmental measures passed by the 2013 Legislature, for better or worse, generally flew under the radar. Civil Beat.

It's something that must be seen to believe. UH research doctors, in conjunction with staff at a university in Turkey, have found a way to make rabbits glow in the dark. Hawaii News Now.

Thrill-seekers eager to try the next new watersport are rushing to strap on jetpacks that propel people into the air with the help of pumped water. But the devices are meeting calls for regulation in Hawaii, where fishermen, scientists and state officials are questioning their safety and how they may affect fish and coral in the state’s heavily trafficked tropical waters. Associated Press.

In Brief | State 8-9-13. Associated Press.

State roundup for August 9. Associated Press.

Oahu

The Hawaiian Humane Society will no longer pick up stray animals or respond to complaints of barking dogs under a new city contract that went into effect Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii unveiled its revamped Edmondson Hall on Thursday. The 42,000 square-foot, four-story building underwent a $15 million renovation and now features state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, lab storage, offices and meeting rooms. KHON2.

New Year's Day. Superbowl Sunday. Manti Te'o day. Those were the three days from January to June when the largest number of guards at Oahu Community Correctional Center called in sick. Star-Advertiser.

A look at the current state of Kaka‘ako development in the context of HCDA's past, present and future plans for the area. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawai’i Housing Finance and Development Corporation estimates the state needs more than 30,000 affordable “for-sale units” or rentals to meet current demand. One state-backed venture in Kaka’ako, in the heart of O’ahu’s construction boom, is nearly half way to being completed. Hawaii Public Radio.

Closing arguments were scheduled for next week in the murder trial of State Department special agent Christopher Deedy after the defense rested its case, with Deedy's lawyer asking him only one final question Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

West Hawaii residents will have two opportunities a month to meet with a Social Security representative without driving to Hilo. West Hawaii Today.

The Puainako Street widening project is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016, a consultant announced at a community meeting Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

The principal of a Big Island public charter school says he’s been left scrambling after receiving last-minute notice from the Hawaii Department of Education that his school would no longer be eligible for basic student bus services. Civil Beat.

Maui

The Hawaiʻi Public Housing Authority was awarded more than $9 million in federal grant funds for large-scale improvements to public housing units. Maui Now.

Kauai

The iconic Coco Palms Resort in Wailua received a new breath of life. An Oahu-based group of investors announced Thursday the property is in escrow, and they have already secured demolition permits. Garden Island.

The vast majority of Kauai’s transient vacation rentals operating outside visitor destination areas — in residential neighborhoods and ag lands — have incomplete application files, and about a quarter of them have none of the required documents, according to county Planning Director Michael Dahilig. Garden Island.

Kauai police arrested a 74-year-old Kapaa man Thursday morning for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII) after he crashed a school bus into a boat. Hawaii News Now.