Monday, November 25, 2013

Hawaii trailing in quest for Obama library, new VP, regent for University of Hawaii, Honolulu transit dinged for not accounting for $83.8M in federal funds, coqui frogs winning Big Island battle, TV stations slammed for political coverage, ocean debris spotted off Na Pali coast, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Obama at Waikiki with father
Baby Obama in Waikiki
The competition to host President Barack Obama's presidential library intensified Sunday as the University of Illinois at Chicago announced its official bid and revealed a team of specialists to boost the school's campaign. Obama's birthplace of Hawaii has also expressed interest, but the speculation in Chicago has sparked debates about how to best preserve the 44th president's legacy and his place in the city's history. Associated Press.

Can Politics and Journalism Mix? An odd little detail of state Rep. Bob McDermott's failed lawsuit challenging same-sex marriage in Hawaii is that it involved Joe Moore and Michael W. Perry. Civil Beat.

Joanne Itano has been named the University of Hawaii's interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, the second-highest post under the president, at an annual salary of $225,000. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Honolulu attorney Jeffrey Portnoy to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Associated Press.

A new study of Honolulu television news coverage of the 2012 general election finds that local TV stations didn't do a very good job of covering last year's most important political campaigns. In fact, the University of Delaware study concludes, TV news stations let the candidates and campaigns set the agenda for political coverage, failing to explore even the most basic campaign issues unless they were raised at a debate or in a press release first. And then the coverage was only about what the candidates said. Civil Beat.

Coral Andrews, the head of the non-profit quasi-governmental agency in charge of implementing the Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, announced Friday that she will be resigning Dec. 6. Civil Beat.

State roundup for November 25. Associated Press.

Oahu

A recent independent audit done for Honolulu's rail transit project found its finances to be in order with one exception: Rail finance officials failed to properly record $83.8 million in federal funds received for the project. Star-Advertiser.

Manoa Falls, Kawela Bay and other scenic points on Oahu will be starring on big screens around the nation Friday when “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is released in movie theaters. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the sequel to “The Hunger Games,” filmed for several weeks on Oahu between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. Pacific Business News.

Hundreds of people came to a Kahala Avenue mansion to bid on items that once belonged to Genshiro Kawamoto. But many others came Saturday just for a look. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Has the state given up trying to battle the issue of coqui frogs on the Big Island? Depends on whom you ask. Tribune-Herald.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are taking an innovative approach to forestry in an urgent attempt to save low-elevation forests in Hawaii threatened by human activity and invasive non-native flora. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaiian sovereignty advocate who has questioned the legitimacy of land titles in the state was removed from his home last week after ignoring an eviction notice. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council approved zoning changes to accommodate a new shopping center in Pahoa, assuming that it does not open before road improvements are completed. In two 9-0 votes Wednesday, the council approved changing zoning for the 9.93-acre property at 15-2714 Pahoa Village Road from agriculture to village commercial and urban. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

An agreement to sell Maui Mall has been made, according to a news release from A&B Properties Inc. on Friday. Maui News.

The Honolulu-based Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation donated $50,000 to Hospice Maui on Thursday in a ceremony adjacent to the site of a planned residential five-bedroom hospice hale. Maui News.

Kauai

Will Kauai's Mayor Face Fallout After GMO, Pesticide Battles? Civil Beat.

The state's largest private landowner is dipping its toes into a state program that provides incentives for protecting productive farmland for perpetual agricultural use. Kamehameha Schools filed a petition with the state Land Use Commission earlier this month to designate 190 acres on Kauai as "important agricultural land" under laws created by the Legislature in 2005 and 2008 to preserve farmland. Star-Advertiser.

One of the biggest and most important county agencies on Kauai is making it harder for the public to access government records — all in the name of accountability. Civil Beat.

Swath of debris spotted off Na Pali Coast. Garden Island.