Wednesday, September 11, 2013

State works toward clean energy goals, Big Island may up tobacco sale age, Hawaiian woman's name too long for drivers license, Honolulu looks for more taxes from $1M homes, molasses spill killing fish, controversial Japanese investor sells prime Oahu real estate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

clean energy courtesy photo
Hawaii wind farm courtesy  Green Travelers Guide
To hear Hawaii's governor tell it, the state is making tremendous progress in moving toward an energy independent future. But has the administration really made good on its promises on alternative and renewable energy, as detailed in his New Day in Hawaii Plan, his state of the state addresses and his legislative packages? Civil Beat.

You have heard these figures before: Hawai’i burns five billion dollars worth of fossil fuel each year for 85% of the state’s energy needs. But, the Blue Planet Foundation has set a goal of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2030, more than double the state’s clean energy objective. Hawaii Public Radio.

President Barack Obama has nominated Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kiaaina to be assistant secretary for insular affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior. Associated Press.

Hawaiʻi state and congressional delegates today applauded the president’s announcement of his intent to nominate Esther Kia‘āina to serve as the assistant secretary for insular areas at the US Department of the Interior. Maui Now.

Kia’aina currently serves as the First Deputy Director of the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. Appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to oversee the management of 1.3 million acres of public lands and near shore ocean resources in the State of Hawai’i, Kia’aina has worked on watershed management protection initiatives, threatened and endangered species protection, invasive species control, land and ocean preservation, and strengthening public-private and enforcement partnerships. Hawaii Independent.

Legislators have been slow to incorporate digital delivery into the law. Hawaii’s Sunshine Law still requires “mail” delivery. And although “mail” isn’t defined, the law was written before email existed, and this provision hasn’t been amended since. Civil Beat.

The Memorial Task Force, co-chaired by David Brostrom and Allen Hoe, the Gold Star Fathers of Army 1st Lieutenants Jonathan Brostrom and Nainoa Hoe, are seeking input from the public on the design and location of a newly planned memorial honoring Hawaii veterans. Hawaii Reporter.

As two more of the nation's wars begin to fade from the forefront of American consciousness, two fathers who lost their sons in Iraq and Af­ghani­stan hope it won't be the same for their sons' sacrifices. Star-Advertiser.

DonorsChoose.org is a Kickstarter for public education. Much like the giant crowdfunding site that helps people raise money for creative endeavors, on DonorsChoose.org teachers across the country collect donations for classroom projects. One study suggests that U.S. public school teachers spent on average about $485 of their own money last year on school supplies and other classroom materials, a tendency that local educators have highlighted in their rallies to secure higher wages and increased investment in the state’s public schools. Civil Beat.

State roundup for September 11. Associated Press.

Oahu
The Honolulu City Council will vote today on a proposal to establish a new tax classification for houses and condominiums valued at $1 million or more, allowing the city to tax them at a higher rate than other residential parcels. Bill 42, however, would shift into a new "Residential A" class only those properties that do not have home exemptions. Star-Advertiser.

A molasses spill dumped an estimated 233,000 gallons of the dark, syrupy liquid into Honolulu Harbor on Monday, killing thousands of fish so far and prompting beach closures. State officials said they are still trying to assess the scope of the “severe” environmental damage. A corroded, faulty pipe that runs under Pier 52 at Sand Island and pumps molasses exports onto Matson Inc. cargo ships likely caused the spill, company representatives and state officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

A massive molasses spill at Honolulu Harbor that Hawaii News Now first reported on Monday is killing fish and the State has no way to clean up the sticky substance.

Japanese investor and real estate tycoon Genshiro Kawamoto has sold his collection of 27 Kahala Avenue properties and four other parcels in Windward Oahu and on Maui to local real estate firm Alexander & Baldwin Inc. in a $98 million deal announced Tuesday. A&B said it plans to clean up, refurbish and resell the parcels, some of which look like ruins with little more than the foundations of former homes, untended vegetation and swimming pools piled with rubble. Star-Advertiser.

Alexander & Baldwin announced Tuesday that it has purchased 31 properties from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto for $98 million. Civil Beat.

Alexander & Baldwin’s property arm said Tuesday that it has acquired 27 residential properties in Honolulu’s oceanfront Kahala neighborhood, along with properties in Windward Oahu and on Maui, from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto for $98 million. Pacific Business News.

A company seeking to develop what would be Hawaii's second seawater air-conditioning project said it has received letters of intent from some of Waikiki's biggest hotels and other businesses interested in the electrical savings promised by the plan. Kaiuli Energy has received authorization from the state to issue $200 million in special-purpose revenue bonds for the project that could replace conventional air-conditioning systems in an area stretching from Kaka­ako to Waikiki by 2018. Star-Advertiser.

The notice of violation issued to a trucking company owner under fire for apparently hauling dredged material from a Hawaii Kai marina to a private Wai­anae property last week was the second citation received in recent years. Star-Advertiser.

A century-old bronze statue of President William McKinley is making waves in some circles in the native Hawaiian community. KITV.

Hawaii

The legal age to buy tobacco products on Hawaii Island would increase from 18 to 21 under a bill set to be discussed next month by the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

State alters woman’s name after it fails to fit on driver’s license. For the past 20 years, Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has had to carry two identification cards. KHON2.

The man who swam to the aid of a fellow surfer after he was repeatedly bitten last month by an estimated 10-foot tiger shark at Pohoiki will be recognized next week by the Hawaii County Council. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii Island school that four years ago was close to losing its charter amid financial troubles and lagging test scores was recognized Tuesday as one of the state's top-performing public schools. Na Wai Ola, formerly Waters of Life, was among 14 schools awarded more than $1 million in prizes for academic performance on a new accountability system the state Department of Education is calling Strive HI. Star-Advertiser.

The response to a special legislative session called to act on a gay marriage bill from Big Isle legislators interviewed Tuesday ranged from enthusiastic to tepid, with some not quite willing to show their cards yet. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

State crews were on site this morning, monitoring the Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Odyssey vessel that had run aground near McGregor Point in Māʻalaea on Maui. Company officials advised that the grounding is being investigated by the US Coast Guard. Maui Now.

Kahului firefighters assisted the Coast Guard with evacuation of a Pacific Whale Foundation catamaran that grounded near McGregor Point Tuesday morning, Maui County fire officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

The Kauai Planning Commission unanimously approved permits Tuesday for the county Department of Water to go ahead with an $8 million project to construct a new administration building twice the size of its existing headquarters at Pua Loke Street in Lihue. Garden Island.