Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Government shutdown to hurt Hawaii tourist economy, health exchange not ready, convicted Honolulu police officer reinstated, fifth candidate enters wide-open congressional race, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park file photo
The partial government shutdown would put 25,000 federal employees out of work in Hawaii; delay military pay; close national parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the USS Arizona Memorial; and halt applications for passports and visas, weakening tourism, among other impacts. Star-Advertiser.

The failure of Congress to complete one of its most fundamental tasks will have grave consequences across the nation, and especially in Hawaii where tens of thousands of federal employees are slated to stop working — and stop getting paid — as of Tuesday. In a state where tourism is the largest industry, people will not be able to visit sites such as the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor or any of the state’s national parks. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's all-Democrat congressional delegation reacted angrily to the partial government shutdown that took effect at midnight in Washington, placing the blame squarely on House Republicans for refusing to compromise. Star-Advertiser.

The federal government has shut down, despite a long day and night of back-and-forth legislative action by the House and Senate. Pacific Business News.

HawaiĘ»i leaders voiced concerns over a federal government shutdown as Congress failed to resolve differences relating to a Continuing Resolution to fund government operations beyond today’s midnight deadline. Maui Now.

Many people are wondering how widespread the local effects of the government shutdown will be. KHON2.

The state’s health insurance exchange, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, will not be ready for consumers to shop and compare health plans at the start of open enrollment today. The online marketplace known as the Hawaii Health Connector is having software problems that will prevent consumers from comparing the various plans. But officials hope to solve those problems by Friday, sources involved with the Connector told the Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is launching its new online marketplace for health insurance as part of President Barack Obama’s health care law, in an attempt to get as many people covered in the state as possible. The Hawaii Health Connector was expected to go live today, offering tiered plans for individuals and small businesses with an eye toward a key deadline at the start of 2014. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers started seeing fatter paychecks July 1 thanks to the Salary Commission’s recommendation and the end of the voluntary cuts they took during the recession. Fifty House reps and 24 senators will each earn $55,896 this year, $9,600 more than 2012. House Speaker Joe Souki and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim will have annual salaries of $63,396, a $10,000 bump. Civil Beat.

Kathryn Xian opened her campaign Monday for the urban Honolulu seat in Congress with a populist theme of income equality. Star-Advertiser.

On the same day the U.S. government neared a shutdown because a dysfunctional Congress cannot agree on how to fund it, a fifth candidate entered the race for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines averted a third straight quarterly earnings loss by collecting $17.8 million in baggage fees during the April-to-June period, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The fees helped Hawaiian make a previously reported $11.3 million in profit. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for October 1. Associated Press.

Oahu

One of two Honolulu police officers fired after being convicted of marijuana-related charges in Las Vegas in 2009 has been reinstated to HPD, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Rising sea levels mostly caused by man-made climate change will likely leave the edges of Waikiki — and possibly more of the densely developed tourist district — underwater by the year 2100, University of Hawaii climate researchers say. Star-Advertiser.

There are nearly 4,400 civilian employees at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Roughly two-thirds of them are now furloughed because of the government shutdown. Hawaii News Now.

A rich — but perhaps not famous — buyer has acquired a luxurious Oahu home built by the late producer of the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" TV show, Al Masini. An unidentified buyer paid $10 million for the home on Hawaii Loa Ridge in East Honolulu, according to local real estate firm Sachi Hawaii, led by Sachi Braden.Star-Advertiser.

The dozens of statues that once covered Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto’s Kahala Avenue properties in East Honolulu are being removed and will be sold, according to a source close to the situation. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii
With little doubt, Kilauea will continue to erupt today as it has for more than 30 years. But Pele’s awe-inspiring glow and her one-of-a-kind display of the planet’s inner power will go mostly unseen as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — the Big Island’s main tourist attraction — is closed to visitors as a result of the government shutdown that began this morning. Tribune-Herald.

Oral arguments are scheduled to begin Dec. 13 for a legal case challenging Hawaii’s decision to grant a permit for the construction of the world’s largest optical telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea. Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope appealed a Board of Land and Natural Resources decision to the Third Circuit Court in Hilo in May. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is looking to fence about 8,500 acres of the Puuwaawaa Forest Reserve and Puuanahulu Game Management Area, according to a letter sent to about 115 stakeholders last month. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Carmen Electra held a record release party for "I Like It Loud" at a private estate in Lahaina on Sunday. Maui News.

Kauai

The federal government shutdown would affect Kauai in many ways although the primary federal agencies here, Civil Defense and the airport would continue operating. State and county services including public safety would not be affected except behind the scenes where ongoing federal interaction would cease in the interim, authorities said. Garden Island.

Theft of koa is a problem that continues to persist in Kokee State Park. And finding a solution has not been easy. Garden Island.