Thursday, January 2, 2014

Waikiki icon demolished, Honolulu smoking ban begins, undersea cable could connect electric grids, Schatz Bloomberg fundraising controversy continues, Kauai mulls single-member districts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki International Marketplace (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
The International Market Place, the last truly open green space for commerce in the heart of Waikiki, will be closed for good. It will be replaced by a three-story Saks Fifth Avenue, which will be next door to Macy’s and attached to a planned shopping mall. Civil Beat.

More than 100 small retailers at the International Market Place in Waikiki have to vacate their spaces by 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Pacific Business News.

How President Barack Obama spent Day 12 of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Wednesday. Associated Press.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday morning sent a tweet touting the benefits for his signature federal health care law and, along with first lady Michelle Obama, wished a "speedy recovery" to former first lady Barbara Bush, who was hospitalized with a respiratory-related problem. Afterward, the president went golfing at the Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai. Star-Advertiser.

The First Family, First Dogs in tow, arrived in Hawaii at midnight December 21, for a 17-day vacation in a private beachfront home in Kailua, Oahu. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had her own Hawaiian vacation this month, which overlapped the president’s by one day. The Hawaii Police Department provided nine days of security detail for Pelosi during her stay on on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Reporter.

A campaign fundraising appearance by one of the country's most recognizable politicians is at the center of the latest political mudslinging in Hawaii's U.S. Senate race. Thursday evening, Michael Bloomberg, who just completed his third and last term as mayor of New York City, will headline a $1,000-a-head campaign fundraiser for Sen. Brian Schatz at the Kahala home of Hawaii developer Duncan MacNaughtan. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s population is getting older. Right now over a third is over 50 years old. And that number is expected to grow by 29% over the next 20 years. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports some of the challenges of serving an elderly population. Hawaii Public Radio.

All three of the counties in Hawaii have passed legislation banning plastic bags at checkout counters, making it the first state in the country to pass such a ban. Huffington Post.

New year, new laws. West Hawaii Today.

State roundup for January 2. Associated Press.

Oahu

Roads encircling Diamond Head and the route along the rugged and pristine Ka Iwi coastline are now designated as Hawaii Scenic Byways. The state Department of Transportation recently approved proposals for the Diamond Head Scenic Byway — the Lei Around Le‘ahi, and the Maunalua-Makapuu Scenic Byway to be listed among Hawaii Scenic Byways. Star-Advertiser.

The punishing surf has apparently diminished on the North Shore for now, allowing beleaguered Rocky Point homeowners to take temporary actions to fortify their wave-eroded properties. But the window for such work may be narrow, as the surf is expected to rise again by the weekend. Star-Advertiser.

It Is Time to Plan an Orderly Retreat From the Beach. Civil Beat.

You can no longer smoke cigarettes at any City & County of Honolulu beach, park, or bus stop. KHON2.

Honolulu's new car-towing contract uses GPS to keep tabs on wreckers. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu's first responders reported they were not as busy during this week's New Year's celebration compared with last year's New Year's revelry. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A short list of three candidates to finish state Rep. Denny Coffman’s unexpired term is on its way to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, culled from nine Democrats who submitted applications for House District 5 representing West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Cameras on top of Mauna Kea captured a rare lightning show. KITV4.

Maui

Hawaii regulators are holding a public meeting on Maui in January regarding the planned undersea cable that would connect the electric grids of both Oahu and Maui. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission said that it is looking for input from stakeholders regarding whether an interisland transmission system connecting Oahu and Maui grids may be in the public interest. Pacific Business News.

The stinging little fire ant has spread from the Big Island to Maui and Oahu, the state Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday afternoon, and officials have already ranked it as "the most serious insect pest" for the "foreseeable future." Maui News.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture today confirmed that an invasive stinging ant called the Little Fire Ant has spread from Hawaiʻi Island to Oʻahu and Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

Public meetings regarding whether County Council seats should be selected by districts will begin next week. A subcommittee of the Charter Review Commission has scheduled three  meetings to discuss and gather input on a proposed charter amendment that would establish seven geographic districts on Kauai. Garden Island.

As residents kick off the new year with a new list of resolutions, including, perhaps, a few old ones from last year, Kauai County officials are doing the same and setting their sights on new goals for 2014. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has sent a case regarding the Hapa Trail preservation back to 5th Circuit Court. The case alleges that the county and state failed to protect historic sites and Native Hawaiian rights, the historic review process, as well as the Coastal Zone Management Act when those agencies approved a 208-acre subdivision for the Eric A. Knudsen Trust’s Village at Poipu project. Garden Island.