Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Final Democratic gubernatorial debate highlights Abercrombie, Ige similarities, Hee sole candidate at Lt. Gov. forum, Kauai dog kills monk seal pup, Maui council mulls polystyrene ban, Hilo and Kona now asteroids, RIMPAC wrapping up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy U.S. National Park Service
Silverswords on Haleakala, Maui, courtesy National Park Service



Haleakala National Park on Maui is reporting an unusual abundance of silverswords currently in bloom. The rare ahinahina, found nowhere else in the world, is flowering atop the summit at the Kala­haku Overlook as well as along 4- to 6-mile hikes into the summit basin along the Sliding Sands Trail. Star-Advertiser.

In their final face-to-face encounters before the Democratic primary, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige on Tuesday quarreled over taxes, preschool and leadership style but did not identify any new policy differences that might help voters choose between them. Star-Advertiser.

At the final two forums before the Aug. 9 primary, the governor and senator discuss senior issues, preschools and highways in the morning event. In the nightcap, things get more personal. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's Democratic candidates for governor told voters on Tuesday how they would improve health care, the economy and quality of life for seniors. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige also compared leadership styles in a forum hosted by AARP on Hawaii's Big Island. Associated Press.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and David Ige tackled airports, business issues, harbors and other topics at a forum in Kailua-Kona Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

The top two Hawaii Democrats running for governor squared off Tuesday morning for an hourlong debate focusing on several key issues affecting the state’s rapidly growing elderly population. West Hawaii Today.

State Sen. Clayton Hee showed up at a candidate forum in Kailua-Kona Tuesday. Turns out he was the only candidate running for lieutenant governor who accepted the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s invitation. Civil Beat.

When Shan Tsutsui became the first-ever Hawaii Lieutenant Governor to open a neighbor island satellite office, his initial funding request was for $317,000. But since then, the costs have more than doubled to nearly $700,000. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Senate Race: Who Can Save Hawaii’s Middle Class? U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa discuss how to make life more affordable in one of the most expensive places in the country. Solutions are elusive, they say, but job creation, energy efficiencies and food production top the list. Civil Beat.

The Congressional District One race has 7 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination. The top three campaign money-raisers in the last month before the Primary Election are making a final push for victory on August 9th. Hawaii Public Radio.

Japan has been practicing storming beaches with the U.S. and other countries in Hawaii this month. The amphibious landing exercises, which are relatively new to Japan's military, come as Tokyo tries to boost its ability to defend small islands it controls but China claims as its own. Associated Press.

Rim of the Pacific war games are wrapping up with dozens of ships heading back to Pearl Harbor on Wednesday and Thursday after spending several weeks at sea working on interoperability in an increasingly interconnected Asia-Pacific region. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Health Connector, a federally mandated insurance marketplace, is losing money. A temporary funding plan went into effect this month, but once that money runs out, lawmakers will need to settle on a long-term fix that officials characterize as a choice between propping up a failing system at the expense of taxpayers, or turning control over to federal authorities at the risk of unravelling the state's comprehensive Prepaid Health Care Act. Associated Press.

This year, for the first time, Hawaii state law will require students to receive a minimum number of instructional hours. Tribune-Herald.

A recent rash of resignations from state boards prompted by a new financial disclosure law has Gov. Neil Abercrombie scrambling to make replacements. But no board has been hit harder than the Land Use Commission, which can’t even conduct business, leaving developers and other petitioners hanging. Civil Beat.

Hawaii foster parents this month received their first pay raise since 1990, but the increase is far from enough for those who filed a class-action lawsuit claiming foster parents are underpaid. Star-Advertiser.

Tropical Depression Genevieve is expected to intensify into a tropical storm Wednesday and may bring muggy weather and rains to the state Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

How are Oahu officials trying to prevent elections fraud and other errors? Elections officials have a brand new, $200,000 machine to help count the record number of absentee ballots already mailed out this election season. KHON2.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner apologized Tuesday that a reported attempt by him to remove UH-Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple has become "a public spectacle." Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Chancellor Apple's removal after only two years on the job is a reflection of political in-fighting and dysfunction within the university, not on the performance of his duties. Hawaii Independent.

Commentary: The budget meltdown and administrative shakeup at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus have been very much in the news, but I doubt  most people understand just how delicate — to use a polite euphemism — the immediate situation is in the wake of Chancellor Tom Apple’s imposition of an indefinite hiring freeze and the subsequent swirling rumors of his likely administrative demise. Civil Beat.

The recent sale of Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki's largest shopping complex, totaled $696.5 million, according to Hawaii Information Service. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hilo and Kona are not just towns on Hawaii Island. They’re also two asteroids in the night sky, thanks to recent action by amateur astronomers at observatories in Germany and the Canary Islands. West Hawaii Today.

Dozens of absentee ballots have been replaced on the Big Island because humid weather is causing return envelopes to become glued shut before voters can place their ballots inside. KITV4.

The Big Island’s Camp Kilohana will get a share of a $1.25 million state capital improvement grant to the Girl Scouts of Hawaii for wastewater systems improvement. Tribune-Herald.

Contractors will begin work Monday on the final phase of the Mamalahoa Highway bypass. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Big and small businesses say that a bill restricting polystyrene disposable food containers in Maui County will increase costs for them and for their customers and has another major flaw - there currently is no facility on Maui that can recycle the alternative food containers. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College recently received $3.5 million in state funds to begin building Hawaii's first training hotel for hospitality students. Pacific Business News.

County landfills will close a little earlier daily and shut down on all holidays, and trash pickups on holidays will be nixed with no makeup of the lost service beginning Friday, according to the county Department of Environmental Management. Maui News.

A discussion about possible sites for a new Maui County service center Tuesday brought frustration for some council members when they learned that property being eyed for the center might alter plans for the site of the Old Wailuku Post Office. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Elections Division and the Kauai Police Department said they are investigating a recently reported case of voter fraud. Garden Island.

Absentee ballot fraud incident has Kauai police, elections officials on alert. Hawaii Reporter.

A two-week old Hawaiian monk seal pup was found dead Tuesday morning on Kauai from an apparent dog attack, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Garden Island.

A California family is suing the Marriott for a falling headboard. Bonnie and Walter Hagmaier and their minor daughter Savannah, residents of California, were staying in a unit at Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club on July 27, 2012. As Bonnie and Savannah slept in the same bed of the unit, a large wooden headboard fell onto the bed and struck them, the suit said. Garden Island.

The development company suing a proposed dairy to prevent it from being built said it’s not backing off the suit despite the dairy’s scaled down plans. Garden Island.

Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser said he is not one to shy away from asking for help and reaching across the aisle to state lawmakers and county officials. Garden Island.