Monday, September 23, 2013

Tsunami debris washing up, molasses spill to cost millions, H-1 rehab program beings, Maui taxpayers to pay $200k for police sex assault, Hawaii Mayor Kenoi favors geothermal health study, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii tsunami debris file photo
Two-and-a-half years after an earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan, suspected debris from the disaster continues to quietly wash ashore in Hawaii and along the West Coast of North America. Officials in Hawaii have confirmed seven items of tsunami debris this year alone, including a blue plastic bin that had a live bird inside. Associated Press.

The state's smaller health insurers are countering the aggressive marketing campaign of the Hawaii Health Connector, the state's insurance exchange established as part of the federal law known as Obamacare. Star-Advertiser.

More on the FBI Inouye file. Civil Beat.

It’s not cheap to live in Hawaii. It wasn’t 20 years ago and it’s still not today. In the early 1990s, two volumes of "The Price of Paradise" asked tough questions about Hawaii's cost of living and sought to figure out what we can do to make it better. Star-Advertiser.

The nation once again faces the possibility of a federal government shutdown. What could it mean for Hawaii? Civil Beat.

State roundup for September 23. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

State officials have released new information on the Matson spill that leaked 1400 tons of molasses into Honolulu harbor earlier this month. A state inspector reported seeing molasses dripping from the same pipe last year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Environmental advocates say that the penalties from the molasses spill disaster will likely be in the tens of millions of dollars. More than 26,000 fish have been killed from the accidental dumping of 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor by Matson Inc. The spill has also resulted in untold damage to the coral reef and other wildlife. Hawaii News Now.

The massive yearlong "H-1 Rehabilitation" project got underway Sunday with a complete shutdown of the highway's eastbound lanes from Likelike Highway to Ward Avenue. Star-Advertiser

After months of advance notice to the public, work has begun on a year-long project to resurface and make other improvements to a busy stretch of the H-1 Freeway. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi says he intends to implement the recommendations of the Geothermal Public Health Assessment, including a comprehensive health effects study for Puna. Such a study on the impacts of geothermal development has been lacking, the group that put together the report on behalf of Hawaii County concluded, with insufficient monitoring also complicating efforts to understand if the public’s health is at risk. Tribune-Herald.

Palamanui developers want to get out of building one connector road within the North Kona project, and switch the burden of completing a regional park to Hawaii County, according to a request for amendments filed late last month. County officials on Friday indicated the developer will face tough scrutiny for the requests. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County has paid $200,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who was sexually assaulted in August 2008 by a police officer after her release from custody at the Lahaina Police Station. Star-Advertiser.

A push to privatize Hawaii's public hospitals, including Maui Memorial Medical Center, is still alive, but the state Legislature needs to pass enabling legislation before negotiations can resume between the state hospital system and a potential partner. Maui News.

Kauai

A prosecuting attorney says that a convicted murderer is playing with court rules in an attempt to remain at the county jail and slow his transfer to a state prison. Garden Island.