Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Obama seeks Pacific Ocean protections, UH gets $40M oceanic research grant, Kauai ex-police commissioner pleads guilty to gambling ring, Aiona offers homeless plan, Hawaii teens improve health habits, Maui mayor trims budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA
Kilo Moana, courtesy NOAA
The University of Hawaii will take the lead on a global oceanographic research project that comes with $40 million in funding — representing the largest-ever philanthropic gift to the university. David Karl and Edward DeLong, professors in UH-Manoa's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, were awarded the funds by the Simons Foundation to lead the newly launched Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology, or SCOPE. Star-Advertiser.

A private foundation is awarding two University of Hawaii scientists $40 million to research microscopic organisms in the ocean. The award from the Simons Foundation is the largest private foundation gift ever received by the university. Associated Press.

Wikipedia photo
Kilo Moana
President Obama on Tuesday will announce his intent to make a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities, according to senior White House officials. Washington Post.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will announce his intent to make a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean off limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities, according to senior White House officials. Associated Press.

With a congresswoman out for his head and a U.S. senator calling for an investigation, the new director of the Hawaii VA vowed Monday to stay on the job and, within three months, dramatically reduce the time it takes military veterans to see their doctors. Star-Advertiser.

The Veterans Affairs director in Hawai’i wants to assure veterans and the public that he is working hard to provide better access to primary care. Hawaii Public Radio.

Republican candidate Duke Aiona placed homelessness at center stage in Hawaii gubernatorial campaign Monday by proposing two novel ideas. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii National Guard would reach out to homeless veterans and guide them toward counseling and services under a proposal by Republican gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona to reduce homelessness in the state. Star-Advertiser.

Today, at Kaka‘ako Makai Gateway Park, Duke Aiona outlined a plan to address the houseless crisis in Hawai‘i. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii tea party leaders are outraged over the news the Internal Revenue Service has lost emails of its former director, Lois Lerner, during a critical time when the agency admitted to targeting conservative groups for additional scrutiny. Hawaii Reporter.

During an interview with Keahi Tucker on Hawaii News Now, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, a Democrat, said his No. 1 priority representing the First Congressional District of Hawaii will be to focus on middle-class families.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is appointing two Oahu executives to state boards. Kailua resident Wesley Furtado is being appointed to serve on the Board of Land and Natural Resources.The governor is appointing Sean Dee of Honolulu to the Hawaii Tourism Authority board of directors. Associated Press.

Hawaii's newest medical insurer is ramping up to gain more market share as the bulk of small businesses renew health plans in July. Family Health Hawaii, which launched Oct. 1 as a nonprofit mutual benefit society, has roughly 4,000 employees so far on its rolls, or about half of its annual enrollment goal, said former state Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt, who is heading the startup insurance firm. Star-Advertiser.

Teenagers are smoking less, fighting less and having less sex than a decade ago, a Hawaii Department of Health report indicates. Civil Beat.

Innovate Hawaii, a program of the High Technology Development Corp., has given a total of $248,310 to four local companies as part of the Hawaii Small Business Innovation Research matching-grant program. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

An Obama presidential library located in Hawaii would generate $556 million in economic activity and create 2,130 new jobs, in the construction phase alone, according to officials who submitted a bid by Monday's deadline. Star-Advertiser.

Two escapes in one week from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. Hawaii News Now.

Daniel Skelton, the inmate who escaped from the Oahu Community Correctional Center on Monday morning, is still on the loose. That’s two escapees for OCCC in as many weeks. KHON2.

Some Ewa Beach residents are fed up with the plane noise from Honolulu International Airport. That's because a construction project is diverting planes from one runway to another that's in line with homes. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii County middle school students were more likely to try smoking cigarettes last year than students anywhere else in the state, according to new findings reported Monday. Tribune-Herald.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization spent nearly $8 million last year lobbying federal officials, making it one of the top 50 spenders on national lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Now the influential global trade group that includes more than 1,000 biotechnology companies has turned its sights on Hawaii. The organization joined nine local groups and individuals from the Big Island last week to challenge Hawaii County’s ban on genetically modified farming. Civil Beat.

Produce thefts have some isle farmers on edge. West Hawaii Today.

Surrounded by chain link fence is a little pond fringed by greenery. The pond is fed by a white pipeline, from which water gushes out at a rate of about 1.5 million gallons daily. This site, not far from the Kealakehe Police Station, is the destination of the sewage treated at the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kona and one West Hawaii resident is hoping to see it closed down sooner rather than later. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa on Monday issued eight line-item vetoes, cutting $29.7 million in capital improvement projects proposed by the County Council. Star-Advertiser.

No state has a worse voter turn out than Hawai'i, and no districts have more apathetic voters than South and West Maui. Recent reports rank them right at the very bottom of the list, but this year both areas have become a hotbed of political activism. Maui Weekly.

The county Public Works Department submitted a final environmental assessment for the final phase of the North Shore Greenway . Maui Now.

A final environmental assessment has been submitted for the final phase of the proposed North Shore Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path that would connect Kahului to Paia. Maui News.

The county Department of Housing and Human Concerns submitted a Final Environmental Assessment for the 64-unit Kulamalu affordable housing project in Pukalani. Maui Now.

Kauai

A Department of Corrections program manager and former Kauai Police Commissioner pleaded guilty to federal gambling charges on Monday in U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii. Garden Island.

A Kauai police commissioner who resigned in the midst of an FBI gambling investigation admitted in U.S. District Court on Monday that he ran a sports betting operation from his home and lied on his taxes. Bradley Chiba, 37, pleaded guilty to owning and running an illegal gambling business with eight others and to failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service that he earned $39,779 in 2012 from the business. Star-Advertiser.