Monday, June 2, 2014

Homeless overtake Waikiki, rail not creating promised jobs, UH president to be picked today, Maui's Buzz's Wharf closes, Honolulu plastic bag ban lags, Maui not enforcing smoking ban, GMO discussed in Hilo, Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki homeless © 2014 All Hawaii News
There are more homeless in Waikiki than ever before, and it’s presenting a problem for both government and businesses that count on return visitors to keep the tourism engine humming. KHON2.

Homelessness has put Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in an unenviable bind. He says it’s important to empathize with and support those who are living on the streets by providing them with stable housing. At the same time, he understands that as mayor he must respond to community angst over an increasingly visible crisis by clearing out the homeless from parks and sidewalks. Civil Beat.

The deadline for candidate filing for state and county offices is at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Associated Press.

Closing Hawaii's open Democratic primary could all but eliminate competition from other political parties, which would be "bad for democracy," the state warned in a new legal filing in federal appeals court. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Republican Assembly's letter criticizing the Hawaii Republican Party leadership already caused Colleen Meyer to quit the assembly. As she prepares to take on the HIRA-friendly candidate for Clayton Hee's senate seat, Richard Fale, we wonder what else this internal bickering could lead to. Hawaii Independent.

To retain his seat as lieutenant governor, former Maui state Sen. Shan Tsutsui will need to win the Democratic primary and beat two contenders who enjoy more name recognition statewide - longtime Oahu state Sen. Clayton Hee and former TV news reporter Mary Zanakis. Maui News.

The person selected to be the University of Hawaii's next president is expected to be announced soon. The university Board of Regents is scheduled to make a selection between two finalists at a meeting on Monday. Associated Press.

Oahu

The Honolulu light rail project is generating far fewer local jobs than originally projected, partially due to legal delays and the hiring of out-of-state workers. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council committee is holding up a plan to make changes to the impending plastic bag prohibition on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

The superintendent of the USS Arizona Memorial has reversed his stand on the diversion of "walk-up" tour tickets — which are supposed to be free — for sale to commercial operators. Paul DePrey now says the practice, carried out over a period of about seven months, was in fact against National Park Service policy. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii judge has halted construction of the second affordable condominium tower on the site of the former Honolulu Advertiser building after finding the Hawaii Community Development Authority did not follow state historic preservation laws and state burial laws when it approved the second building in developer Downtown Capital LLC's 801 South St. project. Pacific Business News.

The Navy has awarded a contract to drill monitoring wells near its Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility to gauge whether leaked fuel may be migrating toward the county’s drinking water supply. Civil Beat.

Businesses near Honolulu's proposed $5.2 billion, 20-mile rail line may be eligible for Brownfields grant funding to assess whether their commercial or industrial property requires removal of toxic substances. Star-Advertiser.

City Council members appear ready to give the Caldwell administration the OK to find a new buyer for the city's housing proj­ects, but want to limit the number of units that can be converted to accommodate low-income and very-low-income occupants in the Downtown-Chinatown district. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County set itself apart from much of the rest of the state in December by effectively banning the large biotech seed companies that have become a major, though controversial part of Hawaii agriculture. But with a ban also on the outdoor testing of transgenic crops, can the Big Island, home to genetically modified papaya, still be a place for genetic research? Tribune-Herald.

A sailboat that ran ashore at Old Kona Airport Park did not damage the reef there, a state biologist said. West Hawaii Today.

El Nino could create more frequent, stronger storms for Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Before Apollo astronauts went to the moon, they came to Hawaii to train on the Big Island's lunar landscapes. Now, decades-old photos are surfacing of astronauts scooping up Hawaii's soil and riding across volcanic fields in a moon buggy vehicle. Associated Press.

Maui

The bill to ban smoking in Maui County parks, recreational facilities and beaches was signed into law more than a month ago, the day the County Council passed the measure in April, but full implementation and enforcement will require a little more time, county officials said. Maui News.

President Barack Obama's half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Hawaiian music legend Robert Cazimero and NASA astronomer and researcher of extra terrestrial life Svetlana Berdyugina will be among the 19 speakers from Maui and the Mainland at TEDxMaui, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. Maui News.

After being in business for 47 years, Buzz's Wharf has closed, according to its Facebook page. Maui News.

Late this morning, Buzz’s Wharf Restaurant at Ma’alaea Boat Harbor confirmed that they’ve closed their doors… permanently. Maui Now.

Kauai

The skies off Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet. Associated Press.

NASA officials are planning a test launch of a developmental spacecraft at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai that could happen on one of six days between Monday and June 13. Hawaii News Now.

A petition with more than 4,000 signatures has been submitted to the Kauai County Clerk's office to put a proposed charter amendment on the ballot that would regulate the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms by commercial agricultural operations. Star-Advertiser.

A project designed to revitalize Kauai’s rich cultural heritage utilizing signage and state-of-art technology was launched today with the ceremonial placement and blessing of signs identifying the borders of the six moku on the islands of Kauai and Niihau. Garden Island.

A media whirlwind followed Wednesday’s sentencing of a Kilauea man who made his 8-year-old son walk home from school as a form of punishment. Garden Island.