Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kauai coral disease spotlighted, Abercrombie vetoes bills, IDs of jailed homeless destroyed, Hilo judge deals blow to GMO disclosure bill, developers flee boards, feds wrap up Native Hawaiian recognition hearings, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

divers study diseased coral
Coral researchers, file photo

The story of Kauai’s diseased and dying coral reefs may soon be brought to life via a major 3-D IMAX documentary film. Dean Lyon, best known for his work as visual effects supervisor of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, announced plans to assist several Kauai groups in producing a film about the pandemic facing coral reefs both on Kauai and around the world. Garden Island.

Scientists are using drones to survey endangered Hawaiian monk seals and other wildlife in Hawaii, officials said Tuesday. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has vetoed seven bills from the Legislature, disagreeing with lawmakers on issues of tourism, funds and crime victims. Associated Press.

State agency board members resign en mass. After Governor Abercrombie let the new financial disclosure law pass without his signature, the tally of state officials that have resigned has risen to 16 members of five separate agency boards. Hawaii Independent.

The clock is ticking for Hawaii residents who have one more day to register to vote in the August primary elections. Hawaii Public Radio.

Government contractors provided thousands of dollars in free golf outings for more than a dozen state workers who deal with their projects. Hawaii News Now has learned that the state Ethics Commission is winding down its year-old investigation into golf perks, which targets a number of employees at the University of Hawaii and the Department of Transportation.

Attorneys and service providers say the identification documents of homeless people, including state ID and social security cards, are being routinely thrown out after they’ve been in jail for 30 days, making it harder for them to gain access to health care, jobs and housing once they are released. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Did Native Hawaiian Hearings Set Up a Political Train Wreck? Civil Beat.

Oahu

On the heels of an Aloha Stadium Authority consultant's recommendation for a stadium with 30,000 to 35,000 seats, the University of Hawaii athletic department has unveiled its own concept of a 30,585-seat multipurpose facility. Star-Advertiser.

The founder of Hawaii's first commercial open-ocean fish farm plans to get back into the business after the initial venture went belly-up. Randy Cates is proposing to lease 75 acres of state marine waters adjacent to Honolulu Airport's reef runway to raise moi in submerged cages. Star-Advertiser.

More senior citizens have been killed in pedestrian crashes on Oahu so far this year than all of 2013, prompting officials to urge senior citizens to change their pedestrian behavior. Star-Advertiser.

Kona Brewing Co., one of Hawaii’s largest craft breweries with locations in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island and in Hawaii Kai on Oahu, is looking to expand to Honolulu's growing Kakaako neighborhood, a spokeswoman for the Kailua-Kona-based company told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Judge Greg Nakamura granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday preventing Hawaii County from disclosing the identity and specific location of farms growing genetically engineered papaya. The order in Hilo Circuit Court allows the county to maintain a registry of genetically modified organisms, but prevents information that could identify papaya growers from being released publicly. Tribune-Herald.

A company growing food fish in giant pens off the North Kona coast proposes to more than double its operation by increasing both the number and size of its pens. West Hawaii Today.

This afternoon, some East Hawaii oncology patients will begin being treated by the state’s newest, high-tech weapon in the fight against cancer. The new Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, which began being installed at Hilo Medical Center’s Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center in March, replaces a previous model that was about 13 years old, according to radiation oncologist Dr. Kevin Wilcox. Tribune-Herald.

The board of apartment owners of a Banyan Drive condominium has gone on the offensive against an apartment owner who tried to assume control of the building by ballot and in court. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


The last of 15 public meetings hosted statewide by the U.S. Department of the Interior ended on Maui on Tuesday with a resounding message from the Native Hawaiian community: a'ole, or no. Maui News.

Dozens of Maui residents Tuesday night echoed the staunch opposition heard around the islands against possible federal recognition as U.S. interior officials held their 15th and final meeting exploring the possibility of re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians. Star-Advertiser.

Since the early 1990s, Maui County has been aware of a probable connection between the wastewater it injects into the ground below the Lahaina sewage treatment plant and the nearby coastal waters. And for almost as long, it has clung to the position that despite growing evidence of the connection, it did not need to obtain the permit under the Clean Water Act that would allow it to legally discharge pollutants. Civil Beat.

A resolution proposing an amendment to the Maui County Charter that would greatly limit the powers of the Cost of Government Commission and place the panel under the control of the county auditor was voted down by the Maui County Council on Tuesday. Maui News.

Recognizing that their first attempt to modify the circuit breaker property tax credit had deficiencies, Maui County Council members Tuesday approved on first reading a new bill that modifies the eligibility criteria for the tax credit and establishes an appeals process for those who do not qualify. Maui News.

During election years, the Kihei Community Association serves as a forum where voters have the opportunity to meet candidates up close. At the Tuesday, June 17, meeting, state Sen. Roz Baker, state Rep. Kaniela Ing and Maui County Councilmember Don Couch spoke about their track records. Maui Weekly.

A third case of the feline panleukopenia virus has been confirmed, this time in Kahului, according to the Maui Humane Society. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will consider a trio of bills on Wednesday that finance officials say will help clean up current real property tax policies and narrow inequalities in assessing property values. Garden Island.

The capture of a single coqui frog on Kauai will result in months of routine monitoring for more of the loud, invasive pests. Garden Island.

Molokai

In a world full of fast-food, imported groceries and processed snacks, a Molokai organization is combating the food norm to promote eating local. Molokai Dispatch.