Thursday, April 17, 2014

Waikiki hotels fight tax hike, Democrats shut out Ige, Micronesians seek benefits, X-Men director accused of sex abuse, H-1 construction ahead of schedule, Maui seeks water solution, vendors vie for waste contract, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki hotel and resort officials say they oppose the idea that their tax rate will rise next year when rates for most other property owners will not. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. David Ige said Wednesday that he is disappointed he will not get a speaking role at the state Democratic convention in May while Gov. Neil Abercrombie will be able to address the delegates. Convention planners have decided that only the party's top eight elected officials — including Abercrombie — will get to speak about progress on the party's platform during the two-day event at the Sheraton Waikiki.  Star-Advertiser.

Al Gore might have brought 9,000 people to their feet Tuesday night, but it’s U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz who took center stage during this week’s sustainability conference at the University of Hawaii. Schatz is locked in a tight primary race with U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, which makes it hard to leave election politics out of any decision he makes even if it is, as he says, for the betterment of Hawaii. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Mark Takai leverages his military experience in the first TV ad to come from the crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the open 1st Congressional District seat. Civil Beat.

Stanley Chang, running for Congressional District 1, spoke today on the need for millionaires to carry a higher tax burden. Hawaii Independent.

Micronesian community members marched from Kalihi to the federal building in Honolulu on Wednesday to rally for migrant health care and ask Hawaii's congressional delegation to redouble its efforts to reinstate Medicaid payments. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that the state has no obligation to offer paid health care benefits to Micronesian migrants covered under the Compact of Free Association, which allows Palau, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia citizens to live and work in the United States. Star-Advertiser.

The State’s Affordable Care Act Insurance Portal, the Hawai’i Health Connector, needs more money to stay in business next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Electricity rates in Hawaii remain by far the highest in the nation. And among the products used to generate electricity in the state, oil remains the undisputed leader. Civil Beat.

A former child model and aspiring actor is accusing “X-Men” franchise director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager in a federal lawsuit filed in Hawaii. Associated Press.

A former child model and aspiring actor is accusing "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing him as a teenager in a federal lawsuit filed in Hawaii. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says the prominent director of the forthcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past" forced Michael Egan III into sex during parties in California and Hawaii when he was 17 in the late 1990s. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of seniors participated in Kupuna Power Day at the State Capitol Wednesday morning. KITV4.

Every few years, lawmakers and their staffers come and go -- but one smiling face at the State Capitol has been a constant for nearly two decades.  60-year old Cheryl Derby has been volunteering in State Representative Mark Takai's office since 1999. Hawaii News Now.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: April 17. A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Thursday at the state Capitol. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Representatives of more than two dozen nonprofits appeared at a Honolulu City Council hearing on Wednesday to cheer on a budget proposal that would restore about $1.2 million in funding to such organizations after the money was cut during last year's budget negotiations. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to fix Oahu’s roads and sewer lines, but lawmakers are asking to spend taxpayers’ money in other ways, including studying climate change and its effects on Hawaii. For that, Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin is asking for $2 million in the budget. The request passed a second reading late Wednesday afternoon. KHON2.

The state has agreed to settle three lawsuits filed by parents who alleged "cruel and unusual punishment" and abuse of their daughters, special education students, at the hands of Kipapa Elementary School employees. Star-Advertiser.

After months of dealing with heavy construction along the H-1 between the Likelike highway and Ward Avenue, Honolulu motorists received good news Wednesday. The extensive rehabilitation project is two months ahead of schedule and on budget.  Its set to finish in July at a cost of $42 million. Hawaii News Now.

The ambitious redevelopment plans for the former Kam Drive-In site across from Pearlridge Center won final approval Wednesday from the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Kapio News, the newspaper run by students at Kapiolani Community College, is printing its final issue at the end of this month. The school administration made the decision to shutter the paper because it wants to “move Kapio in a new direction.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii
Eight companies submitted bids to build a waste reduction facility by the Tuesday deadline. The county at first refused to provide the number of bidders, but provided the information Wednesday evening after the newspaper made repeated calls to county officials and the state Office of Information Practices. West Hawaii Today.

The Big Island’s new resident physician training program run by Hilo Medical Center is expecting to hear by the end of the week whether or not the $2.8 million in state funding it needs to run the program will come through or not. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii state Judiciary says a Hilo lawyer has been appointed as a family court judge on the Big Island. Court officials said Wednesday that Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald appointed Henry Nakamoto as judge of Third Circuit Family Court. Associated Press.

Real estate sales are increasing in the Puna district and decreasing in South Hilo for the first quarter of 2014. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

At least two main ideas vied Tuesday night as ways for Maui County to raise the millions of dollars needed over the next 20 years for water system improvements, with the most costly being for waterlines, pumps and reservoirs to supply water to drought-plagued Upcountry residents, farmers and ranchers. Maui News.

Maui County Council members expressed dismay Tuesday morning when Fire Chief Jeff Murray asked for a delay until July 2015 for the long-anticipated transfer of beach lifeguards to the Maui Fire Department. Maui News.

A bill in the state Legislature that could assist with the financing of a long-awaited West Maui hospital is currently in a state House-Senate conference committee awaiting scheduling, Maui legislators said this week. Maui News.

Kauai

It’s back to the drawing board, again. The state Department of Transportation will be looking at several options over the next year aimed at relieving traffic congestion on Kuhio Highway, including one to open the Pouli Road connection to the Kapaa Bypass Road — re-addressing a problem officials have been trying to solve for at least 20 years. Garden Island.

A year behind schedule, the state is set to tackle the issue of drifting beach sand at the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor in Kekaha. The upcoming project, initially slated to begin last summer, involves relocating 80,000 cubic yards of beach sand from the east end of Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor to the west side. Garden Island.