Thursday, June 5, 2014

Saving Hawaii's native duck, HECO denies buyout rumors, Abercrombie and Ige set debate, USEEOC: Kauai police discriminated, Honolulu Council approves $2.14B budget, new corp counsel on Hawaii Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Koloa maoli duck pair on Hawaii Island © 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
State, federal and University of Hawaii wildlife experts are undertaking a yearlong campaign aimed at ensuring the survival of the Hawaiian duck, or koloa. The chocolate brown koloa maoli is an endangered species largely due to its cross-breeding with the introduced common mallard duck. Star-Advertiser.

The native Hawaiian duck, koloa maoli, is being pushed out of existence. The population of the duck has been declining for years, and experts said they believe only about 2,500 are left in the wild. KITV4.

Even wildlife biologists have a tough time telling the difference between the endangered koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck) and the common mallard. Cross-breeding or hybridization between the two species is the primary reason the endemic koloa is endangered. West Hawaii Today.

Two Democratic candidates for Hawaii governor plan to debate later this month at the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. The chamber said Wednesday that incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige would be featured at a lunchtime forum at the Japanese Cultural Center June 24. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Electric Industries was never approached by any companies, nor did it receive any offers whatsoever to buy all of its shares, the head of one of the company’s subsidiaries told Pacific Business News on Wednesday, disputing a first-hand report this week to the contrary.

The university's longtime information technology chief says he's open to the possibility of dialing back scheduled tuition increases, but recognizes that many of the goals laid out in an agenda set by the Board of Regents come with a hefty price tag. Star-Advertiser.

August 9 is primary election day in Hawaii, so televised political debates will begin very soon. If the past is any guide, that is not a good thing unless you have an exceptional sense of civic duty, an enormous capacity for boredom or your remote is broken. Civil Beat.

The Race for Nationhood. Umi Perkins on what he sees as the race shaping up between Federal recognition and independence. Hawaii Independent.

Despite 88 percent of Hawaii’s public school principals reporting in a recent survey that they are dissatisfied with the leadership of Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, the state Board of Education reappointed her to another three-year contract on Tuesday that goes into effect July 1. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council has passed a $2.1 billion budget and more than $48 million is going to the homeless. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to approve a $2.14 billion operating budget and $708.9 million package that avoids tax rate increases for most residential property owners, a fee for curbside garbage pickup and advertising on the sides of buses but directs $40 million toward homeless shelters and programs. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council has boosted funding to combat homelessness for the 2015 fiscal year to $47.2 million. That marks, council members say, a new high. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council passed the executive spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1st. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Navy said it will fly only two P-8A sub-hunting and surveillance jets out of Kaneohe Bay instead of the 18 it had contemplated at one time — meaning less jet noise for area residents. Star-Advertiser.

When the Honolulu City Council approved a $1.4 million settlement last month in the death of Aaron Torres, it was the largest payout in recent history involving the police department or its officers. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council member Carol Fukunaga wants to make sure that there is a mix of incomes among residents in three high-rise buildings in Chinatown that the city wants to sell to a private developer as part of a major public housing deal. Civil Beat.

The developer of the planned 801 South St. Building B condominium tower does not have to seek a new development permit for the project in Kakaako under a court order clarification issued Tuesday, but does have to halt construction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

An attorney pulled from within the ranks of the Office of Corporation Counsel is now the county’s top civil lawyer, following the County Council’s confirmation Wednesday of Molly Stebbins. West Hawaii Today.

The county clerk would serve for six years, under a charter amendment that squeaked through the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Medical Center is cutting staff positions and taking other cost-saving measures as it confronts a $9 million budget shortfall. Tribune-Herald.

Commentary: It looks like Puna Rep. Faye Hanohano has stirred up considerable interest in the Democratic primary race in District 4 in Puna. Hanohano, a Democrat whose controversial comments got her in hot water with her state House colleagues twice in the past 16 months, faces no less than five challengers in her primary. Big Island Now.

The estimated cost of decommissioning for what’s poised to be one of the world’s largest telescopes atop a sacred Hawaii mountain is $17.1 million. Tribune-Herald.

A judge on Wednesday lifted part of a temporary restraining order for construction work at Keauhou Bay, but left the order in place for a later phase of the project. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island veterans had a chance to air long-standing dissatisfaction with the health care they’ve received through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday night with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. West Hawaii Today.

The owners of a 25-acre Pepeekeo site of an electrical power plant under construction are looking to be dismissed from a $35 million mechanic’s lien filed by the former construction contractor. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Neldon Mamuad said he is not an angry man, but he believes he's found an opportunity to deny Mayor Alan Arakawa a third term in office. Maui News.

A Maui property management firm has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over lead-paint disclosure violations. The company, Destination Maui, failed to notify its tenants about the potential hazard. But what’s unusual is the terms they’ve agreed to. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state elections office released an uncertified list of candidates running in the 2014 election after the filing deadline passed on Tuesday afternoon. Maui Now.

Kauai

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined the Kauai Police Department retaliated against a veteran police officer after she reported alleged sexual harassment by an assistant chief. Star-Advertiser.

A round of Kauai County furloughs, imposed in response to the lingering economic crisis in 2010, may not have been necessary and was not planned or executed as well as it could have been, according to a county auditor’s report released Tuesday. Garden Island.

JoAnn Yukimura seeks 10th term on Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council Planning Committee opted Wednesday to defer action on a bill that would amend the county’s shoreline setback ordinance. Garden Island.

Kauai's electric utility will issue refunds to its members this month. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said Wednesday the money comes from funds the cooperative has left over after paying all its expenses and meeting lender expectations for financial stability. Hawaii News Now.