Friday, May 30, 2014

Tourism dims, Hawaii loves Tulsi, officials want to delay Hawaiian sovereignty, Kauai considers GMO amendment, Big Island nursing program lags, dust-up over Pearl Harbor tickets, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii's record tourism numbers of the past two years are turning into a distant memory. For eight months in a row, visitor spending has slipped below the year-ago level. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors to Hawaii spent $1.1 billion in April — or 2.2 percent less than they spent during the same month last year. About the same number of travelers came to the islands at nearly 640,000 people. Associated Press.

Officials at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are asking for a six-to-nine-month postponement of a Native Hawaiian convention to determine self-governance, in order to educate the public and construct a parallel roll for those who refuse to sign onto a roll ordered by state government. West Hawaii Today.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs' top administrator Thursday recommended a six- to nine-month delay in OHA's nation-building process to allow time for further education about the issues surrounding the proposed creation of a Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamana’o Crabbe urged OHA trustees on Thursday morning to extend the timeline for nation-building and consider opening up a second roll for those Native Hawaiians who disagree with the current process. Civil Beat.

The chief executive of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said Thursday the agency should delay its nation-building process by at least six months and reassess options amid questions about the legal existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the federal government considering a renewed relationship with Native Hawaiians. Associated Press.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is popular in the islands — very popular. Sixty percent of registered voters statewide say they have a favorable opinion of the Democrat. Civil Beat.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is telling supporters her campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate will be outspent by her primary opponent, Sen. Brian Schatz. Associated Press.

The next University of Hawaii president will be an at-will appointment without the benefit of a multiyear contract that past UH presidents have enjoyed. The move signals a major shift for a university with a history of pricey -- and embarrassing -- contract buyouts. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The National Park Service and its fundraising organization diverted a portion of what are supposed to be free tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial to tour companies for a fee, making it harder for "walk-up" visitors to take the national landmark tour, a former park guide said. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin wants to build permanent and temporary housing for the homeless by diverting $32 million from the $132 million pot that Mayor Kirk Caldwell set aside for road repaving. Star-Advertiser.

New dogfight brewing over Waikiki Natatorium complex. Long-awaited EIS to be released in June. KITV4.

Two Visions of Laie: Plans for North Shore Growth Debated. Supporters say expansion plans serve local residents by making housing more affordable; opponents see the area's rural character at risk. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Design and Construction Director Chris Takashige is leaving the city to join the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Lake Waiau’s water levels are almost back to normal, a state official said. Department of Land and Natural Resources Natural Area Reserve System Specialist Ian Cole credited the winter’s rains for the improvement. West Hawaii Today.

Only three students, from an initial cohort of 10, graduated from the nursing program in West Hawaii this year. The low numbers are threatening the nursing program’s accreditation and could put the University of Hawaii at Hilo program in jeopardy as well. West Hawaii Today.

Repairs are beginning at West Hawaii boating facilities damaged by tsunami from the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck off northern Japan in 2011. Associated Press.

Maui

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa says the county is considering two potential options for acquiring property as it faces the end of a lease at its Service Center site located at the Maui Mall in Kahului. Maui Now.

A joint agency search and rescue training exercise will be conducted in waters off of South Maui this Friday, May 30. Maui Now.

SHAKA GMO Movement: Criticism is ‘Wholly Unjustified and Untrue' Maui Weekly.

Kauai

A crowd of about 200 gathered at the Sheraton Kauai Resort for the 16th annual governor’s luncheon Thursday. In the next 30 minutes, Gov. Neil Abercrombie delivered a fiery, forceful, pointed speech with a main theme: The economy was in bad shape when he was elected in 2010, but through his leadership and tough decisions, it bounced back and is doing well today. Garden Island.

The county’s 2014-2015 operating budget, to the tune of $179.2 million, has been set. All that’s missing is Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s signature. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council shot down a measure on Wednesday that would have declared no confidence in County Attorney Al Castillo and asked him to resign amid, what some members said, was their ire with his performance. Garden Island.

A group of Kauai residents has been busy collecting signatures in an effort to get its proposed charter amendment aimed at regulating the island’s genetically modified crop industry on the Nov. 4 ballot. The problem: Kauai Rising’s proposal may not be a charter amendment at all. Garden Island.

A judge sentenced a Kauai man to one year of probation and a $200 fine for making his son walk a mile home from school as a form of discipline. Associated Press.

Kauai father explains why he made his son walk a mile home. KHON2.

The Department of Water has announced that a full restoration of the Kalaheo well could take up to four to six weeks to complete. Garden Island.