Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hawaii's healthy ocean, Fukushima risks, pollution countering global warming, celebrating end of WWII, Queen Liliuokalani's 175th, union power and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Researchers working on a government-funded project said they've figured out a more accurate method to analyze animal movements in the ocean, including fish migration. The new method could help provide researchers and marine managers with better analysis to support marine conservation activities for threatened species. Star-Advertiser.

Surveys of the undersea canyons around Hawaii show high levels of bio­diversity among small invertebrates in seafloor sediments, making the canyons the equivalent of oases in the desert, Hawaii scientists report. And the vitality of these small organisms are likely key to the livelihood of larger fish, they conclude. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii scientists are seeking to lessen anxieties about the potential health risks from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in the wake of recent international reports warning that dangerous levels of radiation could hit the west coast of the United States next year. Civil Beat.

Global warming’s effect on rainfall distribution so far has been limited by an unexpected source: airborne pollutants, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. But as greenhouse gases increase, they will overwhelm the influence of aerosols — that is, airborne dust, soot and other pollutants, the researchers say. Their paper was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience. Star-Advertiser.

A Civil Beat analysis of recently released data on student absenteeism in the state’s elementary schools suggests that problems with attendance are strongly linked to poverty and where pupils live.

Starting in the fiscal year that begins in July, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will receive the last of the $30 million in payments the state has made annually for the past 19 years. That installment will bring the two-decade total to $600 million — the amount agreed to by the state to settle breach-of-trust claims from 1959 to 1988 involving the 203,000-acre trust that DHHL oversees. Star-Advertiser.

As millions of American workers took time off Monday to celebrate Labor Day, the state of organized labor in Hawaii remains among the strongest in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hawaii's union participation rate of 21.6 percent is bested by only Alaska (22.4 percent) and New York (23.2 percent). KITV.

Initial reports after Wednesday's meeting between Speaker of the House Joseph Souki and the minority caucus indicated that there were only 26 votes in favor of a Special Session. Our own sources put that number closer to 30. Hawaii Independent.

The former Hawaii resident who threatened to decapitate Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard made an uneventful initial appearance Friday in a San Diego court after being captured Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, by Policia Estatal Preventiva, Baja California State Police Fugitive Unit. Hawaii Reporter.

A number of major hospitals have agreed to share patient data through a nonprofit that aims to connect Hawaii's health providers with electronic medical records. Star-Advertiser.

Interisland cargo volumes rose during the second quarter of this year at five of six ports that receive shipments from Honolulu. Kawaihae Harbor was the lone exception, with a 1.9 percent decline compared to the same quarter last year, Young Brothers officials said in their quarterly report, issued Friday. The company releases the report as a snapshot of economic activity within the state. West Hawaii Today.

Monday marked the 175th birthday of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. Dozens turned out to commemorate the birth of Queen Lili’uokalani, who is buried at the Royal Mausoleum. KHON2.

With the growth of eco-tourism in Hawaii, there is now a push to make sure tour companies show off spectacular natural resources without making a big impact on the environment. KITV.

Bloomberg had an item earlier this summer asking If Politics Is So Easy, Why Can't Journalists Do It? It linked to a study showing that only 20 current members of Congress have worked in journalism at some point in their careers. Civil Beat.

In brief | State 090213. Associated Press.

State roundup for September 2. Associated Press.

Oahu

The $5.16 billion Honolulu rail transit project could resume construction as early as next month following the Hawaii state Historic Preservation Division’s approval of the archaeological survey reports, which clears the way for permit applications to be submitted for the system, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Friday. Pacific Business News.

A year after a Hawaii State Supreme Court ruling halted construction on Honolulu's controversial $5.2 billion elevated steel on steel rail project, construction will likely resume in a matter of weeks, according to a statement issued Friday by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Hawaii Reporter.

The fired chief financial officer of a Honolulu tug and water taxi company has filed a whistleblower and wrongful termination lawsuit, claiming she was let go after raising questions about unethical and illegal practices involving disability fraud and improper donations to members of Hawaii's congressional delegation. Hawaii News Now.

Historians would like to solve one of the remaining mysteries of the Pearl Harbor attack: What happened to the approximately 29 Japanese airmen and four sailors still missing in action? The majority are thought to have been lost at sea around the isles and in Pearl Harbor, but four aircrew members may still lie buried in unmarked graves in Ewa Beach and in the hills above Aiea. Star-Advertiser.

On Sept. 2, 1945, peace was restored as World War II came to an end with Japan’s surrender on the decks of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. On Monday, the Battleship Missouri — now a memorial and museum in Pearl Harbor — hosted a special “End of World War II” commemoration to mark the 68th anniversary of that historic occasion and the sacrifice that made it possible. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is unveiling its new $12 million clinic today at Pearlridge Center in Aiea. The 7,000-square-foot center will open Oct. 4 and offer family medicine and pediatrics, as well as a pharmacy and laboratory services. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The power of water: Hamakua Springs aims to cut energy dependence. Tribune-Herald.

The parent company of Hawaii Electric Light Co. today announced a search for suppliers of “cleaner” types of diesel to power electrical plants on the Big Island and in Maui County. Big Island Now.

Maui

A bill to permit and regulate home-based businesses in Maui County will be reviewed Thursday morning by the Maui County Council's Planning Committee in the eighth-floor Council Chambers of the Kalana O Maui building. Maui News.

A few "birthday bash" political fundraisers are signaling the beginning of Maui County's election season, more than a year before voters cast general election ballots on Nov. 4, 2014. Maui News.

A new study by the University of Hawaii shows the state is on pace to lose 100 feet of beach in the coming decades and Maui is most at risk. Kailua beach has been fighting erosion for years but now a new study finds that Maui beaches are disappearing even faster. Hawaii News Now.

Haleakala Ranch Co., with its origins dating back to the Hawaiian monarchy, will celebrate its 125th anniversary with an exhibit that includes hand-woven rawhide lariats and traditional boots worn by its original Spanish-trained "paniolo" cowboys. Maui News.

Kauai

Without an explanation, the Kauai County Council deferred a bill that would bring significant increases to dog licensing fees. After passing the council’s Finance Committee last week, the bill was up for second and final reading Wednesday. Garden Island.

Kauai officials are stepping up efforts to teach visitors how to enjoy the Garden Isle without falling prey to its natural dangers. Pacific Business News.

The comfort station at the west end of the Poipu Beach Park is open following several months of renovations. The only evidence of the row of blue portable toilets is the overgrown grass marking the boundaries where the temporary facilities were located. Garden Island.

Molokai

U.S. Department of Agriculture Molokai inspector Chevy Levasa said it was just a regular day at work for her, but a finding a fungi last year landed her some recognition. She now holds the first report in the U.S. of a strain of fungi called frog-eye spot, or P. morindae, on a noni leaf on Molokai. Molokai Dispatch.

A small team in Kalaupapa is changing the way people think about trash with their award winning solid waste management program. Hawaii Public Radio.