Monday, December 30, 2013

Watch out for whales, more golf for Obama, bill to regulate midwives, Oahu homeowners fear erosion from ocean, Big Island bag ban nears, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii whale watch
Humpback whale, NOAA courtesy photo
The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding the public to maintain a safe distance from humpback whales that are migrating to the Hawaiian islands. Humpback whale season is generally from November to May, with the peak of the season occurring during January and March. Associated Press.

Federal officials warn to exercise caution when driving vessels during humpback whale season, which lasts until May, as collisions have been increasing in the past several years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's Congressional Delegation: Letdowns and New Year's Resolutions. For Hawaii's representatives in Congress, there were some big 2013 disappointments. Civil Beat.

How President Barack Obama spent day nine of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Sunday. Associated Press.

President Barack Obama played nearly five hours of golf Sunday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii as he continued his annual Christmas vacation. Star-Advertiser.

How President Barack Obama spent day eight of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Saturday. Associated Press.

President Barack Obama and his family spent Saturday afternoon on the North Shore at childhood friend Bobby Titcomb's annual holiday barbecue. The Obamas regularly visit Titcomb's beachside house near Waialua for a barbecue during their Hawaii vacations. Star-Advertiser.

Not far from these wind-swept shores, Barack Obama was born and raised, soaking in an island sensibility his family said he’s carried with him throughout his journey as president. Yet, in the search for a home for his future presidential library, Hawaii is playing the underdog, overshadowed by Chicago and the commanding role it plays in Obama’s story. Associated Press

Governor Taps More Funds for Hawaii's Mentally Ill Prisoners. Earlier this year, Hawaii Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai declared that his agency had a crisis on its hands. Civil Beat.

Decrease – not expand – state prisons.The Hawaii Department of Public Safety is seeking proposals for the expansion or redevelopment of its seven prisons statewide. The Community Alliance on Prisons responds. Hawaii Independent.

Planned bill would regulate midwives in isles. The state requires barbers, plumbers, massage therapists, electricians, auto mechanics, pest control operators, dental hygienists, physicians, and a host of other professional and vocational job holders to meet minimum standards before they can get licenses to serve customers. But Hawaii has no such requirements for those who help women give birth at home. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The administration of Mayor Kirk Caldwell reached out last week to top potential buyers of 12 public housing projects should a pending $142 million deal fall through, heightening the anxiety at Honolulu Hale about a tenuous situation that could have serious financial and legal ramifications for the city. The Honolulu Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative is the city's plan to get the city out of the affordable rental management business by offering 12 city housing projects under a 65-year lease. Star-Advertiser.

Landscaping contractor Greg Culver was one of scores of people who came to the aid of friends, family members and neighbors whose beachside properties along Ke Nui Road near Rocky Point were devastated by rapid erosion caused by a powerful westerly swell that arrived on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
Still trying to keep a 2008 campaign promise, Mayor Billy Kenoi has reintroduced his ethics bill to the Hawaii County Council. The changes, aimed at stopping the most blatant appearances of conflicts of interest, forbid employees from contracting with county government or lobbying boards and commissions on behalf of private businesses. West Hawaii Today.

The days of collecting plastic grocery bags are coming to an end. On Jan. 17, all Big Island businesses, including groceries, restaurants and other retailers, will be prohibited from distributing any single-use plastic bag. Tribune-Herald.

Several neighbors of Puna Geothermal Venture might not have to wait much longer to get money for their homes and then some as Hawaii County catches up on the flurry of relocation requests it received during the last two years. The county has 27 pending requests with the geothermal relocation fund, established in 1996 with geothermal royalties to purchase homes of people adversely affected by the power plant. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

During a recent campaign stop on Maui, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa acknowledged that she's the underdog in her bid to succeed her political mentor, the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Maui News.


A marine spill expert says Alexander & Baldwin's new response plan to keep molasses from its Maui sugar operations out of Hawaii’s waters fails to adequately address issues related to pipeline inspections and doesn’t fully consider the environmental consequences of a large-scale discharge. Civil Beat.

Nearly $5.5 million to renovate and repair decades-old hospital facilities at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital was released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Thursday. Maui News.

Kauai

A trio of annual, independent audit reports released last week found that Kauai County officials should do more to address several recurring financial and record keeping deficiencies. Garden Island.