Wednesday, May 21, 2014

EPA ask Hawaii why it's not spending $52M clean water funds, Kauai missile test lights up night sky, Senate leader seeks redo of UH president search, restrooms for Chinatown, unsafe for seniors, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki Natatorium © 2014 All Hawaii News
A nearly three-decade battle to preserve the neglected Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is getting added ammunition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is adding the landmark to its list of "national treasures" — a move that harnesses the support of thousands of preservationists from coast to coast. Star-Advertiser.

All but two public high schools statewide are on track to provide increased instructional hours that will be mandated next school year — a marked turnaround from this time last year, when only two secondary schools were providing the required learning time. Star-Advertiser.

The Environmental Protection Agency launched a management study with the Hawaii Department of Health this week to figure out why the state has a $52 million surplus in federal funding for drinking water infrastructure projects. Civil Beat.

A bill now on Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s desk would create environmental courts to handle this specialized and often highly controversial area of law. West Hawaii Today.

In the closing days of the 2014 session, the legislature approved a bill that would require members of key state boards and commissions — those people whose decisions impact daily lives across the state — to open their personal finances, and those of their families, to public scrutiny. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Tuesday again defended its search process that resulted in the two finalists vying to lead the university amid a new call — this time from state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim — to reopen the search. Star-Advertiser.

State Senate President Donna Kim called on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to re-open its search for a president, setting up an online petition Tuesday to try to pressure regents to keep searching after three finalists dropped out, leaving just two finalists for UH's top job. Hawaii News Now.

Kids Voting Hawaii is now We Vote Hawaii, and voting for a new logo is underway. Star-Advertiser.

Seniors in Hawaii are healthier than in any state except Minnesota, with good access to medical care and the nation's lowest rates of obesity and hip fractures, according to a national report released Wednesday by United Health Foundation. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has the highest senior pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, according to a new report “Dangerous by Design 2014” published Tuesday by the National Complete Streets Coalition. Civil Beat.

It's not the first time in recent years that Hawaii has been pegged as the most dangerous state for senior pedestrians, but a new report out Tuesday once more gives the Aloha State that dubious distinction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents may be religious, illegal gamblers, who enjoy listening to slam poetry and eating various spam dishes but also are concerned with foreign affairs. At least that's what a new report from Estately shows. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Co. is seeking permission from regulators to buy power from a planned 20-megawatt photovoltaic facility in Central Oahu that would be the utility's single largest source of solar energy to date. Star-Advertiser.

In January 2011, heavy rainfall sent millions of gallons of refuse, including medical waste, into the coastal waters off West Oahu. Late last month, a federal grand jury issued a 13-count indictment against Waste Management Inc. and two of its top officials that paints a startling version of events that transpired before and after the spill. Civil Beat.

12,000 apply for rental aid via city's Section 8 program. Enrollment has been opened for the first time in nine years. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council has wrestled with a growing homeless problem in Chinatown for decades and has been made even worse because of the lack of public restrooms. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

A 3rd Circuit Court judge on Tuesday signed a stipulation between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Keauhou Canoe Club, putting in writing the department’s plan to complete an environmental assessment at Keauhou Bay. West Hawaii Today.

A new pesticide study detected trace levels of altrazine in four streams sampled along the Hamakua Coast. The chemical, considered a restricted-use pesticide, was more commonly used during the sugar plantation days. Tribune-Herald.

University of Hawaii Board of Regents Interim President David Lassner assigned an internal auditor to look into allegations of misuse of student fees at Hawaii Community College in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

State officials on Wednesday will begin dismantling a sailboat that ran aground in the Old Kona Airport Park. West Hawaii Today.

Holaniku at Keahole Point on the Big Island, which was one of the first major utility-scale solar energy installations in Hawaii, has shut down after breaking ground about eight years ago, the project’s landlord confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Maui

A pesticide study commissioned by the state Departments of Health and Agriculture surveyed two surface water sites on Maui and found trace levels of herbicides in concentrations much lower than state and federal health benchmarks. Maui News.

Two Maui County projects will benefit from the release of $7.8 million by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Saturday for various capital improvement projects related to agriculture and the state's water irrigation infrastructure. Maui News.

Commercial developers are bullish on Maui, adding more than 173,000 square feet of retail space in the past year at three major Central Maui developments and increasing occupied retail space by 92,674 square feet compared to 2013, according to a Colliers International retail market report. Maui News.

Kauai

The Defense Department conducted a test of a land-based missile system about the same time that mysterious lights were seen and photographed in the skies above Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Mysterious lights that were spotted in the skies over the Hawaiian islands on Tuesday night were likely caused by a missile launch from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai. Hawaii News Now.

A new study by the state Department of Health detected trace amounts of pesticides in streams and waterways across the state, including eight locations on Kauai. Garden Island.

Rep. James Kunane Tokioka is filing to run for a fifth term representing Kauai’s 15th District in the House of Representatives. Garden Island.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Coco Palms Hui LLC today announced a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Coco Palms Hui LLC for The Coco Palms Resort on Kauai. West Hawaii Today.