Monday, October 21, 2013

Hawaii's ocean: Officials tackle coral health, beach erosion, mooring and paddling rules. Plus poll shows split on gay marriage, University of Hawaii president search and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii coral reef (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
A University of Hawaii researcher's idea to breed "super corals" that can endure warmer and more acidic ocean waters has won a new global competition that seeks novel ways to deal with climate change. Ruth Gates, a researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, submitted the $10,000 winning concept. Star-Advertiser.

State proposes to change rules for commercial use of oceans. The number of businesses is growing, and licensing instructors and operators overwhelms officials. Star-Advertiser.

UH Luukai
Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology welcomed a new remotely operated vehicle to its fleet last week. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii expects to hire an executive search firm by the end of the month to help recruit and vet candidates for its top job. The Board of Regents last week approved allowing a presidential selection committee to directly contract a search firm to save time. Otherwise, a hiring decision wouldn't be made until the regents' next full meeting in late November. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii voters are split over making same-sex marriage legal in the islands, with 44 percent in support and 44 percent opposed. Only a handful of residents surveyed by Civil Beat earlier this month said they hadn't made up their mind on the controversial issue. The trend in Hawaii is similar to national polls showing growing support for gay marriage, also known as marriage equality. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Health Connector site is finally fully operational, but operators don't know how many people are actually using it to purchase insurance. At the regular board meeting Friday, Executive Director Coral Andrews reported to members that hundreds of people have completed applications online, but admitted, she didn't know how many people actually purchased a plan. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is standing as firm in his position on travel records as the Queen Liliuokalani statue outside the Capitol. His office just isn’t going to give up the records for little or no cost, and refuses to consider other ways to accommodate a public records request, according to Amy Luke, executive assistant to Abercrombie's chief of staff, Bruce Coppa. Civil Beat.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs recently kicked off a new Hawaii Broadband Map speed test campaign to measure the spread of new technology and high-speed broadband availability across the state. Hawaii Reporter.

Many Children Face Exclusion from Hawaii Kindergarten in 2014. Civil Beat.

First Hawaiian Bank reached record levels for assets, deposits and loans during the third quarter even as low interest rates ate into profits. The state's largest bank reported $50.9 million in net income that exceeded by just 0.6 percent the $50.6 million achieved in the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii will continue to see an increase in disability claims, class-action lawsuits related to labor law and more legal conflicts between companies who try to parse terms of various noncompete contracts so they can secure the best and brightest talent. Pacific Business News.

The state wants to give customers more confidence they won't get sick when they eat out. Inspectors will look at things like employee hygiene, food and cooking temperatures and equipment contamination. The rules are similar to what is in place right now however one of the main differences is all of you will know how a restaurant scored. Hawaii News Now.

With the end of hurricane season slightly more than a month away, it's clear that the Central Pacific Region so far has had an unexpected slightly above-average season. The tropical cyclone count in the Central Pacific was six as of Sunday, which surpasses the average of about four to five cyclones. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat journalists took home two prestigious national awards Saturday at the annual Online News Association gathering in Atlanta. "In the Name of the Law," our investigative series on police misconduct records and why they are not available for the public to review, won the top honor in the Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism. That series was reported and written by Nick Grube and Patti Epler. Sophie Cocke's series on the Ala Wai Canal — "Hawaii's Biggest Mistake?" — won the Explanatory Reporting category.

State roundup for October 21. Associated Press.

Oahu

Erosion troubles at Sunset and Kuhio beaches have rekindled fears about a chronic problem that isn't going away. Experts say too much development is nudged up against the beach in Hawaii at a time when sea level is on the rise, a predicament that will inevitably lead to a growing number of coastal erosion emergencies. Star-Advertiser.

The high surf is a sight to see, but it's been a source of problems for homeowners near Sunset Beach. KHON2.

Honolulu Ethics Commission Finds No Gift Law Violation by Mayor Kirk Caldwell for Luau But Restricts Future Donations. Hawaii Reporter.

The Board of Water Supply confirmed the presence of the E. coli bacteria in water samples from the Aina Koa Neighborhood Park. The equipment that adds chlorine to disinfect the water is to blame. Crews fixed the equipment and restored chlorine levels Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Department of Land and Natural Resources officials are awaiting federal approval before moving ahead with plans to double the number of moorings at Keauhou Bay. West Hawaii Today.

Student enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo dipped by 3 percent this year, bringing to an end at least a decade of regular, record-breaking population increases. Tribune-Herald.

The state is proposing to prohibit the use of stand-up paddleboards in Hilo’s Waiakea Pond. That is one of several proposed changes to rules for fishing and other activities at the Waiakea Public Fishing Area at Wailoa River State Park. Big Island Now.

Hawaii County now knows how big of a check it may have to write for placing the Papaikou Mill Beach trail into the public’s hands. An appraisal finished last week pegs the private path at a value of $28,500. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Global Positioning System devices have been installed on 199 Maui County vehicles, giving managers an eye-in-the-sky view of vehicle use and wear and tear. Maui News.

The message that standardized testing is "an abusive and inaccurate assessment" of both students and teachers was shared with more than 1,000 Maui teachers who attended Teacher Institute Day on Maui, hosted Thursday by the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Maui News.

Kauai

A pair of attorneys are calling for Kauai’s mayor to sign Bill 2491, regulating GMO and pesticides, into law. In a letter Friday to Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., attorneys Paul Achitoff, of Earthjustice, and George Kimbrell said they would be willing to defend the bill in court should it come to that and urged the mayor to sign it. Garden Island.