Friday, September 6, 2013

Tiger sharks come to Hawaii to give birth, House Democrats meeting on gay marriage, school superintendent to get raise, OHA slammed in audit, Honolulu solar reaching limits, judge dissolves Maui Main Street association, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii tiger shark study
A new study has found female tiger sharks migrate from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the main Hawaiian islands during fall pupping season — a period that historically coincides with a higher frequency of shark bites in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

A recent University of Hawaii and University of Florida study backs up what Hawaiians knew for centuries about sharks. Hawaiian oral tradition held that the number of sharks in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands increased in late summer and early fall. The study, which will be published in the November issue of Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecology, tracked tiger sharks for seven years, noting where the animals moved between the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the main islands. West Hawaii Today.

A quarter of the mature female tiger sharks near the remote coral atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands leave for the Main Hawaiian Islands in the late summer and fall, swimming as far as 1,500 miles, according to new research from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Florida. Associated Press.

A new study shows that female tiger sharks depart from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands toward the main Hawaiian islands in the late summer and fall, during pupping season, researchers said. Maui Now.

Matayoshi
The Board of Education plans to ask lawmakers to lift the salary cap that has kept schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi's annual pay at $150,000 since her hiring three years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Democrats in the state House plan to meet with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the attorney general today to discuss a draft of gay marriage legislation as Abercrombie considers whether to call a special session on the issue. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie can call a special session on gay marriage and expect to pass it, according to a detailed Civil Beat analysis of conversations with legislators and a look at secondary sources. But it will be a close call. Civil Beat.

Economic growth in the current fiscal year is expected to remain steady but could slow down due to uncertainties over looming military action in Syria, a potential federal government shutdown and impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses, state economists said Thursday. Although a specific numerical forecast from the state Council on Revenues was awaiting final calculations, the panel's new chairman said the overall tenor of discussions indicated a conservative approach for the coming year. Star-Advertiser.

An audit of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs says the agency needs to improve management of real estate holdings and do a better job of monitoring grants it awards. Associated Press.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' vote in favor of buying the Gentry Center violated the agency's own investment policy, the State Auditor says. The audit, released Wednesday, hits the agency pretty hard for its inability to manage its own land holdings to make money and to ensure oversight of its grant program. Civil Beat.

The state auditor is looking into Hawaii’s 13th largest landowner, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The land management infrastructure of the agency charged with serving native Hawaiians is “inadequate, unable to support the office’s growing portfolio nor any future land involvements,”acting State Auditor Jan Yamane said in a 64-page report to the Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

As President Barack Obama continues to press his case for punitive U.S. military action in Syria, at least two of Hawaii's four-member, all-Democratic congressional delegation say they are opposed to such intervention, while the others are skeptical that the move would accomplish its intended goals or advance U.S. interests. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz have gone on record this week opposing U.S. action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which the U.S. has blamed for an alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. Star-Advertiser.

The introduction of an Oahu-based president for Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group Inc.’s interisland subsidiary airline go! may be a sign the airline is solidifying its Hawaii operations. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for September 6. Associated Press.

Oahu

Hawaii's solar energy boom has grown to the point where rooftop photo­voltaic panels are providing all of the electricity consumed during some daylight hours in about 13 percent of Oahu neighborhoods, the Hawaiian Electric Co. said. While HECO is taking steps to integrate more solar energy, that could result in added costs for some new solar customers. Star-Advertiser.

The nonprofit Hawaii Agriculture Research Center in Kunia on Oahu plans to build a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic facility on two acres of land owned by the center and Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., according to a City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission public hearing notice. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu motorists will no longer be able to phone in payments when parking at stalls equipped with the city's "smart" meters. Star-Advertiser.

Disturbing surveillance video of babies falling onto train tracks greeted board members of the Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation today. Civil Beat.

An exasperated crowd of more than 200 North Shore residents crammed into a school cafeteria Thursday night in hopes of hearing immediate answers to the growing Laniakea Beach traffic woes. But with no state Department of Transportation officials in attendance and no clear way forward presented to fix the problem, the community meeting, organized by state Rep. Richard Fale, quickly devolved into a chaotic series of outbursts from frustrated residents. Star-Advertiser.

The city's biggest ever sewer tunneling project will soon cut an underground hole from Kaneohe to Kailua. The ten-foot-wide pipe meets the mandate ordered by federal agencies to upgrade Oahu's wastewater collection. Hawaii News Now.

Anyone passing through the Ala Moana area can’t miss the rumble of demolition at what used to be the Sears wing. We wanted to know where the large piles of rubble end up, and what’s the plan for an even bigger building boom ahead? KHON2.

A Waipahu High School track coach never sexually assaulted a member of his team, but became the target of "teenage revenge" by a girl upset that he stopped coaching her, a defense attorney said Thursday in the opening of the coach's trial. The prosecutor, however, told the jury that Erik Tamura violated the girl's trust and the teenager testified that Tamura molested her at school and once at her home during her sophomore and junior years in 2010 and 2011. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council passed a bill Thursday expected to help increase housing in downtown Hilo. The bill allows apartment buildings with a unit density higher than 1,000 square feet per unit to get away with fewer parking spaces. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation is anticipating construction of a new cargo yard for Hilo Harbor to resume later this month. Work on the $10 million cargo yard, to support a new 602-foot-long pier, was suspended last spring after petroleum-based contaminates were found in the soil. Tribune-Herald.

Generous public support and an untiring effort by the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation has led to more than $100,000 for the Hawaii County Fire Department. West Hawaii Today.

A long day of testimony on two proposed laws prohibiting Genetically Modified Organisms on Hawaii Island was held on Wednesday. A crowd filled the chamber at the Hawaii County Council’s Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee meeting. Hours of passionate discussion stretched the hearing into the evening hours; some of the most interesting discussion happened outside, after the meeting was over. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The embattled nonprofit Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center was dissolved Wednesday morning by a 2nd Circuit judge. Maui News.

Although plans for two controversial South Maui malls have been scrapped, developers of former ranch property in north Kihei still want some retail development on the site, including national clothing stores and restaurants currently not found on the island. Maui News.

Similar to what is occurring on other islands, gains in Maui's visitor industry are now filtering through the rest of the island's economy, a top local economist said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

While tourism remains the driving factor in Maui County’s economy, continued growth in commercial construction, real estate and jobs will further assist the county in its economic recovery. Maui News.

The business outlook for Maui is positive in the next year, according to economists who spoke at the 39th Annual Maui County Business Outlook Form, held Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council met with county attorneys Thursday morning behind closed doors to discuss legal aspects of Bill 2491. The bill requires disclosure of pesticide use and genetically modified organisms, creates 500-foot buffer zones for large ag operations and imposes a temporary halt to the expansion of fields of GMO crops. Garden Island.

The big news to report in our first column of the school year is that Kauai Community College has been honored with a ranking of 16th in the country among 700 community and junior colleges by Washington Monthly, a prestigious journal of public policy based in the nation’s capital. Garden Island.