Friday, October 18, 2013

Hawaii restaurant inspections changing, race rises as campaign issue in Schatz-Hanabusa campaign, UH mulls building slowdown, Honolulu rail budget approved, Waikiki sand replaced, sharks' value touted, fishing rules protested, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Green, yellow and red may soon apply to more than traffic lights. Those colors would telegraph how a restaurant or other food establishment fared in its most recent safety inspection, according to changes being proposed by the state Department of Health. West Hawaii Today.


The state is piloting a free laptop rental program that’s already available at 36 public libraries across Hawaii.  The netbooks, which can be rented out by any library cardholder for three weeks at a time, are equipped with broadband capacities and don’t need to have access to WiFi to connect to the internet. Civil Beat.

Brian Schatz: Ideology, Not Ethnicity, Will Win Hawaii Senate Race. Civil Beat.

A memo from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s campaign is touting him as a progressive candidate who can win the Democratic primary for Hawaii’s senate race “regardless of ethnicity.” Associated Press.

The University of Hawaii is considering halting new construction projects across the university system until it can rein in a repair and maintenance backlog that has ballooned to nearly a half-billion dollars. The idea was presented at Thursday's Board of Regents meeting by Regent Benjamin Kudo, who said an "interim self-imposed moratorium" on new construction would give the board breathing room to address the needed repairs. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii’s controversial plans to develop a $27.5 million center dedicated to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye are being stalled because the UH administration now wants to ask the Legislature for just $5 million for the project — not $15 million as originally pencilled out in the university’s supplemental budget proposal. Civil Beat.

Deferring to the wishes of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's family and addressing transparency concerns, the University of Hawaii is slowing the process for pursuing a planned center to house his congressional papers and has dramatically cut the state funding it is initially requesting for the project. The university's Board of Regents on Thursday approved seeking $5 million in state bond financing as a way to demonstrate UH's commitment to the project — a commitment that proponents said was needed to help in efforts to raise more private funds. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's Public Records: Can We Talk About This? Civil Beat.

State Department of Health officials in the past week have identified five more cases of liver damage that could have been caused by consuming a dietary supplement — bringing the current total to 34. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu

Board members overseeing the city's rail project Thursday approved its largest capital budget yet, clearing rail officials to sign $1.56 billion in contracts in the coming fiscal year to build the project. The move comes after construction resumed in September on the 20-mile elevated rail system — the largest public works project in Hono­lulu's history. Star-Advertiser.

Companies that use pipelines in Hawaii’s harbors will face intensified scrutiny after a massive molasses spill killed tens of thousands of fish and other marine life. Civil Beat.

Crews have replaced sand that eroded away from a spot at Waikiki Beach. Bulldozers and other equipment were brought in for the Thursday night project, timed to coincide with a very low tide. Hawaii News Now.

Major repair work is just about to begin on one of the most popular beaches in the world. Crews are about to fix the erosion at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki. But it's just one of many beaches across the state facing this problem. KHON2.

A federal judge sentenced retired Honolulu police Maj. Carlton Nishimura to eight months in jail Thursday for lying to the FBI and filing a false 2005 income tax return. Nishimura had also been charged with extortion conspiracy and drug promotion. Nishimura was indicted in February 2011 by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to accept bribes from illegal gambling operators in exchange for steering officers away from the gaming rooms. Star-Advertiser.

Residential electric rates rose on Oahu in October from September, tracking an increase in the cost of fuel and power bought from independent producers, Hawaiian Electric Co. reported Thursday. Rates also increased in October on all other islands. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A recently published study by University of Toronto researchers links the number of sharks on a reef to the reef’s health, with more sharks indicating a healthier reef. The proposed West Hawaii fisheries rules package, still awaiting Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signature, included provisions to protect nine species of inshore sharks and rays, as well as two invertebrate crown-of-thorns predators. West Hawaii Today.

Administrators are hoping that by scaling back plans for the proposed Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy building, they may render the project more palatable to state legislators. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii travelers will have another flying option come next summer. Hawaiian Airlines announced Thursday that it will begin its first-ever nonstop service between Kona International Airport and Los Angeles in response to growing demand during summer’s peak travel time. West Hawaii Today.

The former owners of Nihon Restaurant have filed suit against the owner of Hilo Bay Café, who plans to reopen her popular restaurant soon at the Lihiwai Street location overlooking Hilo Bay once occupied by Nihon. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Proposed limits for Maui and Lanai fisheries on popular near-shore fish are drawing criticism from those who argue that the rules would disrupt Native Hawaiian cultural traditions. A community meeting organized by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to explain the proposals drew about 100 people to Maui Waena Intermediate School on Wednesday. The changes would involve bag and size limits for fish including goatfish, parrotfish and jacks. Associated Press.

The state is proposing rule changes for Maui and Lanai fisheries that involve new bag and size limits that had members of the local fishing community concerned about what they say is an infringement upon their Native Hawaiian "cultural rights." Maui News.

The Cost of Government Commission is advising the county auditor not to take on the Old Wailuku Post Office demolition controversy, noting that "the public interest" will not be served by a prolonged investigation. Maui News.


Hospice Maui is asking a 2nd Circuit Court judge to throw out a state permit for Islands Hospice to establish a seven-bed, inpatient hospice facility in a Kahului home. Maui News.

Haleakalā National Park on Maui reopened today after being closed for more than two weeks due to the federal lapse in appropriations. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council sent Bill 2491 to the mayor's office for approval.  Under the measure, large agribusinesses would be required to disclose restricted-used pesticides applied in fields and implement buffer zones near schools, homes, medical facilities, public roadways and waterways. Star-Advertiser.

Bill 2491 has made its way to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s desk. Bill 2491, which affects Kauai’s five heaviest users of restricted use pesticides, will go into effect nine months after it becomes law. Garden Island.

Hawaiian Airlines will offer its first non-stop service between Los Angeles and the islands of Kauai and Hawaii during next summer’s peak travel period. Garden Island.

Kauai’s federal wildlife refuge will open today with the temporary agreement to end the government shutdown in effect since Tuesday. Garden Island.

Molokai

A new documentary produced by Kauai attorney Teresa Tico, FISHING PONO: LIVING IN HARMONY WITH THE SEA tells the story of Native Hawaiians on the island of Molokai who are using traditional conservation methods to restore fisheries in the waters of their island. Hawaii Reporter.

Community members had the chance to tell county officials and representatives Thursday that although Molokai is distinct from other islands in the county, they deserve the equal support in the next Fiscal Year 2015 Maui County budget. Molokai Dispatch.