Thursday, May 29, 2014

Congressional candidate debate canceled for lack of interest, Honolulu may ban foam, plastic take-out containers, Abercrombie may veto disclosure bill, Maui sets high bar for police chief, development follows rail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Fourspot butterflyfish with coral © 2014 All Hawaii News
UH Biologists Use Super Coral to Build a Better Reef. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tonight's debate between the state's top Democratic contenders to become Hawaii's next Congressional representative has been canceled. The reason: the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii couldn't get enough people to attend. Hawaii News Now.

A bill hailed by good government advocates as a way to increase transparency and public confidence in government operations may face a veto by Hawaii’s governor. The Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 2682, which would add 15 state boards and commissions to the list of government officials and agency members required to have their financial disclosures made public. Civil Beat.

So far this year, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed into law 77 bills from this year’s Legislature, while another 161 await action. Big Island Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he’s built a solid financial foundation for Hawaii that has put the state in a position to move ahead at “flank speed” on important issues like early childhood education, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture. Civil Beat.

Kakaako developers co-sponsor fundraiser for Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Hawaii News Now.

Former state Sen. Melodie Aduja, who was booted by voters 10 years ago after a scandal involving her campaign spending account, wants another shot in the Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

What promises to be a heated debate among Native Hawaiians over what kind of government they want will be aired today at a meeting of the board of trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. West Hawaii Today.

The federal government is considering re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians, just weeks after the head of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs sought clarity on whether the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists in the eyes of the United States. Associated Press.

An inspection of Department of Veterans Affairs clinics on Oahu and some neighbor islands was conducted last week and “there were no scheduling practice issues brought to light,” said Patricia Matthews, spokeswoman for the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii’s athletics department expects to post a $2 million loss when the fiscal year ends June 30, its director said. Associated Press.

Oahu

Those foam and plastic containers that have become synonymous with plate lunches and bentos over the past few decades may become a thing of the past on Oahu under a Honolulu City Council bill that would require food containers to be compostable. Star-Advertiser.

City leaders and developers have inked an agreement to proceed with what aims to be Oahu's first transit-oriented design project — at the site of the former Kam Drive-In — along the island's future rail transit line. Star-Advertiser.

Anthony Aalto, a former journalist, chairman of the Sierra Club’s Oahu Group and now a documentary filmmaker, insists that his film “Railroading Paradise” isn’t a slam dunk either for or against Honolulu’s $5.16 billion elevated rail project. Pacific Business News.

The City and County of Honolulu is taking action to stop a growing problem of fraud when it comes to riding the public bus. KHON2.

An alien invader that threatens Hawaii's iconic coconut palms appears to be spreading on Oahu and may have established a breeding population, state officials say. Star-Advertiser.

The highest percentage of park land in the country wasn't enough to offset relatively low parks spending as Honolulu scored in the middle of the pack in an annual survey of U.S. urban park systems unveiled Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to encourage mixed-use housing in three affordable housing projects the city is trying to sell is prompting opposition from advocates for low-income residents. Civil Beat.

Kakaako is in the middle of a residential tower development wave that builders see as meeting overwhelming homebuyer demand, but some area residents see as crowding their quality of life. Star-Advertiser.

Most recent Kakaako town hall shows continued division between stakeholders. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of Country Club-Hawaii apartment owners who challenged the Banyan Drive building’s board of directors for control of the condominium-hotel property. Tribune-Herald.

Before they landed on the moon, they walked the Big Island’s volcanic landscape. Astronauts in NASA’s Apollo program visited the island in the 1960s and early ’70s as they learned to take rock samples and practiced driving lunar buggies over the moon-like fields of lava rock. Tribune-Herald.

State transportation officials are looking to replace three Big Island bridges. The bridges cross small streams but each is on major traffic routes. Tribune-Herald.

A South Kohala resort must finish an intersection with Queen Kaahumanu Highway, a federal judge ruled last week. West Hawaii Today.

Project managers anticipate Hilo High School’s new gymnasium will be ready for use by late July — just in time for volleyball season. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

In its search for a new Maui County police chief, the Maui Police Commission is setting requirements greater than those outlined for the job by the Maui County Charter. Maui News.

Restroom, park and playground repairs will shut down facilities in five parks in Central and South Maui in projects that run through July 2. Maui News.

Kauai
A Kauai lawmaker introduced a bill Wednesday which seeks to establish “agronomics” as a new and separate real property tax class and exclude lands used primarily for crop research or parent seed production from the county’s definition of “agricultural use.” Garden Island.

Kauai officials say Kalaheo residents should prepare for intermittent water outages going forward as it works to fix a damaged shaft. Associated Press.

It’s hard to operate without water, so Birdie’s Cafe is closing its doors in the midst of a water shortage in Kalaheo. Garden Island.