Friday, June 13, 2014

Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie lagging in poll, painkiller shortage on Hawaii Island, PAC apologizes to Honolulu mayor candidate to settle lawsuit, fishermen contemplate strike, Navy confirms Red Hill leaks, changes coming to teacher evaluations, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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David Ige, Neil Abercrombie © 2014 All Hawaii News
Less than two months before the Aug. 9 primary for Hawaii governor, state Sen. David Ige leads Gov. Neil Abercrombie by 11 percentage points among likely Democratic voters. Ige has 48 percent of the vote compared with 37 percent for Abercrombie. Civil Beat.

Shan Tsutsui has a 12 percentage point lead over Clayton Hee in the Democratic lieutenant governor primary, according to a new Civil Beat Poll.

Cashing In: Tsutsui Taps Maui, New Role as Hawaii Lt. Gov. for Big Bucks. Tsutsui leads challenger Clayton Hee in fundraising, but he has less in the bank, according to the latest campaign spending reports. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz outspent other Hawaii political candidates for a second week in a row, buying 1,088 spots that began June 2 and will run until the Aug. 9 primary at a total cost of $321,370. Schatz is the only candidate besides Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui to have already bought ad space into July and  August. Civil Beat.

photo courtesy Mark Nakashima
HSAC courtesy photo
Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative has a goal of achieving a 70 percent reduction of power generated by fossil fuel by the year 2030.  Where we are and how far we have to go was the focus today of a panel discussion at the Hawai’i State Association of Councils annual conference. Hawaii Public Radio.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz wants an investigation into allegations that staff members at the delay-plagued U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Hawaii were ordered to "cook the books" regarding patients' appointments. Star-Advertiser.

Senator Brian Schatz has asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate allegations of misconduct within the Hawaii VA healthcare system, including accusations that administrators asked hospital staffers to delete computer data regarding patient wait times. Hawaii News Now.

A state agency is seeking approval for a program that proposes to make it easier for lower-income homeowners, landlords and nonprofits, among other groups, to install photovoltaic systems. West Hawaii Today.

Calling its teacher evaluation system too complicated and "too one-size-fits-all," the state Department of Education on Thursday announced more than a dozen changes to essentially cut in half the workload required to prepare for and perform the annual reviews, which teachers and principals have bemoaned since the rollout last fall. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Education is making 18 major changes to the new teacher evaluation system that officials say will significantly reduce its burden on educators and improve teaching quality by focusing on the instructors most in need of a boost. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Bob McDermott and parents of children in Hawaii’s middle schools were successful in persuading the Department of Education to revise the most contentious portions of a controversial sex-education curriculum. Hawaii Reporter.

Faced with soaring business expenses and soft wholesale fish prices, some struggling commercial fishermen are considering going on strike. About thirty captains and owners of longline fishing vessels met Wednesday to discuss a potential stoppage. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The Pacific Resource Partnership, a consortium of union carpenters and private contractors that aimed a relentless barrage of negative advertising at former Gov. Ben Cayetano during his unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2012, has agreed to apologize to Cayetano. The message, which will be published Sunday in a half-page ad in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, settles a defamation lawsuit Cayetano brought against PRP in the weeks before his election loss. Star-Advertiser.

The combination of an annual rate adjustment that went into effect this month and higher fuel prices incurred by Hawaiian Electric Co. will increase the bill on Oahu for a typical household using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month to $216.08 from $210.28 in the previous month, Hawaiian Electric Co. said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Workers with Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. installed the 100th column Thursday on Honolulu's $5.16 billion rail project, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said. Pacific Business News.

The Navy has confirmed finding leaks in a storage tank in Red Hill that may have released an estimated 27,000 gallons of jet fuel in January, touching off more concern about the impact on nearby drinking-water wells. Star-Advertiser.

Iolani Palace has entered the bottled water business with its own Mauliola Hawaiian Premium Deep Ocean Water. Officials say the name comes from the Hawaiian Goddess of Health. KITV4.

After hearing emotional pleas from parents, students and staff, the Public Charter School Commission postponed a decision on whether to recommend closing Halau Lokahi until the debt-ridden charter school produces a new financial plan. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu is slashing a subsidy to recyclers that is funded by what’s called the advance deposit fee or ADF, and as a result of the cutback, recyclers can’t afford to do the job of taking in and shipping out the bottles and jars.Nearly 100 tons of glass a week on Oahu could be heading to the trash heap, in what could be the biggest setback since recycling programs in Hawaii began. KHON2.

The city has issued 278 violation notices and 24 fines against property owners for leaving beds, sofas and other bulky-item trash on sidewalk areas since May 2013, when enforcement of a 2010 ordinance first began. Star-Advertiser.

Star Advertiser credit card breach could impact hundreds, if not thousands, of customers. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

Hawaii's Board of Land and Natural Resources is set to make a key decision on the future of a giant telescope. The state board is scheduled to vote on the sublease for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Friday. Associated Press.

Attempts to curb abuse of prescription pain medication appear to be hindering legitimate patients from getting the relief they need, according to Big Island health care professionals.Tribune-Herald.

There’s no question Americans are using too many prescription painkillers, according to state Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u. Tribune-Herald.

The USNS Navajo, a 216-foot Powhatan-class fleet ocean tug, visited waters off the Kona Coast this week to conduct training. The Navajo was here Wednesday and Thursday in support of the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, said U.S. Navy spokesman Bill Doughty. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Startup turboprop operation 'Ohana by Hawaiian is expanding to Maui. Hawaiian Airlines, which has contracted Idaho-based Empire Airlines to run 'Ohana using 48-seat ATR-42 twin-engine aircraft, will begin offering daily flights next month from Kahului to Molokai, Kona and Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

A $5.1 million classroom  expansion project at Maui Waena Intermediate School is scheduled to break ground next week after several delays, Representative Justin Woodson of Maui announced today. Maui Now.

Kauai

Six potential launch dates. Six days of uncooperative wind conditions. No test flight. Despite the missed opportunity, NASA is regrouping and hopes to have LDSD — a saucer-shaped experimental flight vehicle designed to test new Mars landing technologies — off the ground by month’s end. Garden Island.

The phones are ringing off the hook and the wait lists are growing at preschools on Kauai. Garden Island.

Molokai
State and federal energy officials got a clear message from Molokai residents who voiced their continued opposition to a potential undersea transmission cable in Hawaii that would transport energy interisland. Molokai Dispatch.