Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rare table coral sighting in Hawaii, employment to grow 4%, Hanabusa aide quits after FEC complaint, Takai, Anderson run for Congress, state hospitals seek millions, Kona courthouse site rejected, Maui tourism wants gay marriage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA
Table coral in Hawaii NOAA photo
A coral species that all but disappeared from waters off the main Hawaiian islands thousands of years ago could be making a comeback to the area, a recent surprise discovery off the southern shore of Oahu indicates. A group of coral ecology scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stumbled upon what one of them called a "sizable" table coral colony during a routine training dive last November, roughly a mile from the Ewa Plain. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s employment rolls will grow by more than 26,000 between the third quarter of last year and the third quarter of next year, the state predicted on Wednesday. The construction industry, which suffered the most during the Great Recession, is driving the approximately 4 percent total growth, according to the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Pacific Business News.

Jobs in construction, retail sales and tourism will be among the fastest growing areas of employment through next year as Hawaii's economy hits its stride, according to a forecast released Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The overall labor market is expected to add 26,690 jobs between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2014, a gain of 4 percent, the DLIR reported. Star-Advertiser.

Sen. Brian Schatz is expected to announce at a press conference Thursday that he’s backing a bill that would strengthen Social Security by boosting taxes on rich people. The legislation faces an uphill battle and seems like a long shot to pass in the Republican House. Civil Beat.

Christopher Raymond, the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa who sparked an FEC complaint by offering to act as a go-between between Hanabusa's U.S. Senate campaign and the drug industry, has resigned. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state Rep. Mark Takai says he plans to join a growing field of Democrats hoping to replace Colleen Hanabusa in the U.S. House. Star-Advertiser.

After almost two decades in the state House of Representatives, Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday announced he would forgo re-election to his seat in the Legislature for a chance to represent Hawaii in Congress. Star-Advertiser.

Takai Bid Puts Hawaii's Military Role at Campaign Center. Civil Beat.

Two more Democrats are joining the race for Congress. State Rep. Mark Takai and Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson said Wednesday they are running for the seat in the First Congressional District representing urban Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Squeezed by rising labor costs and declining reimbursements for patient services, Hawaii's public hospital system is seeking a $14 million emergency appropriation from the state. Maui News.

While Gov. Neil Abercrombie backs a proposed $14 million emergency appropriation to cover a projected shortfall for Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the governor maintains that such a cash infusion is a "Band-Aid approach" and wants a long-term strategy for the fiscal health of Hawaii's public hospital system, the governor's press secretary, Louise Kim McCoy, said Wednesday. Maui News.

Public school is back in session this week, with more than 13,000 teachers trusted to do their best with our kids. But what happens when they don’t, and find themselves accused of misconduct? A KHON2 investigation found out just how long these cases can drag on.

State prisons officials said they tried to crack down on sick leave abuse by corrections officers but were thwarted by a federal medical leave law for which 40 percent of guards statewide qualify. Hawaii News Now.

The most recent commander of U.S. submarines in Asia and the Middle East took command on Wednesday of the entire Pacific Fleet submarine force. Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer succeeded Rear Adm. James Frank Caldwell Jr. during a ceremony on a platform atop the hull of the USS Jacksonville submarine. Associated Press.

Oahu

The nine members of the Honolulu City Council criticized Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his administration on Wednesday for asking the Council to approve two last-minute measures that would spend $48.1 million on housing projects. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority approved another permit application today, marking the 8th high-rise in Kaka’ako to be granted a green light by the state agency in less than one year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two pieces of a master plan for redeveloping nine blocks in Kakaako owned by Kamehameha Schools got the go-ahead Wednesday, including a high-rise condominium that has upset residents of two neighboring towers. Star-Advertiser.

There's more fallout from the sex assault scandal at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. A lawsuit filed by a Honolulu woman says that students were allowed to sexually abuse her daughter repeatedly not just at the Kapahulu school, but also at McKinley High School. Hawaii News Now.

Deedy Trial — Should A Federal Agent Have Left Before Violence Erupted? Civil Beat.

A state judge ruled late Wednesday that Kollin Elderts' 2008 disorderly conduct conviction can be introduced in the murder trial of Christopher Deedy, the State Department special agent who shot him. Star-Advertiser.

Get ready to say goodbye to the Ala Wai pipe. The temporary sewer pipe has been raised and cut, to prepare for its removal. KITV4.

Hawaii

The Judiciary’s preferred site for the new Kona Judiciary complex is off the table, an administrator told House Finance Committee members Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

As the beginning to a new academic year approaches, administrators at the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy are once again ramping up efforts to garner legislative support for a permanent building to house the program. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County on Wednesday moved one lot closer to completing the long-sought Mamalahoa bypass, but the administration won’t make its mid-2013 target date to begin construction of this phase of the highway. West Hawaii Today.

A proposal to list nearly 19,000 acres between Palani Road and Waikoloa as critical habitat for three plant species could hardly have come at a worse time, said some residents who attended a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service meeting Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

KTA is giving Puna another shot. Jon McElvaney, a consultant working on a proposed commercial development for Pahoa, confirmed that he has been in talks with the Big Isle supermarket chain, which he referred to as being “first in line” to fill the 40,000-square-foot area reserved for a large grocery. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

In light of a recently updated University of Hawaii report that suggests legalizing same-sex marriages may boost Hawaii's tourism industry by an estimated $217 million over a three-year period, Maui tourism officials and industry professionals say that legalizing same-sex marriages would bring benefits to more than 150 businesses on the Valley Isle as well. Maui News.

Kayak and snorkeling company Maui Ocean Activities has been ordered to cease unauthorized beach activities by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

Kauai

The state Intermediate Court of Appeals on Wednesday vacated a judgment that let 17 insurance companies out of a Ka Loko Dam disaster civil suit and remanded the case to the 5th Circuit. Garden Island.

You know those rescue tube stations, more than 200 of them, you see around the beaches of Kauai? The ones credited with saving more than 50 lives in the last five years? They were illegal. Not anymore. Garden Island.

Molokai
When today’s kupuna were growing up, they remember being told that the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove was a sacred place. It was kapu, or forbidden, and their kupuna told them not to play in the grove or freshwater springs that open up in the ground beneath the towering trees. But today, those kupuna are concerned because they often see trucks driven into the grove, children swimming in the pools, tourists oblivious to the dangers of falling coconuts and rubbish littering the springs and grove. Molokai Dispatch.