Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Calls renewed for Election Chief Nago's ouster, University of Hawaii seeks money for sports, huge Hoopili project advances on Oahu, Kauai mulls separate ag research land tax, Puna Iselle recovery slow, 20 want to be Maui's top cop, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago © 2014 All Hawaii News
At least two state senators are calling for the dismissal of the chief elections officer over his handling of the postponed election in the storm-ravaged Puna District and the mishandling of a memory card that led to the late discovery of about 800 absentee ballots on Maui. Elections chief Scott Nago will get a chance to discuss both issues, as well as his office's overall performance in the 2014 primary, at a meeting of the state Elections Commission on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

State Office of Elections officials said Monday that a post-election audit showed that a memory card containing the results of 800 mail-in ballots on Maui was inadvertently not fed into the state Office of Elections system. Maui News.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says he directly thanked President Barack Obama in a phone call for his support during the Democratic primary. Associated Press.

Athletic director Ben Jay is still seeking $3 million in state aid for the University of Hawaii’s cash-strapped sports program, but on Monday evening he backed away from threats of cutting football or other sports if the money isn’t forthcoming. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics Director Ben Jay said Monday that UH athletics programs — including the men's football team — are in jeopardy because of a $1.5 million to $3 million shortfall, and the state Legislature maybe the only remedy, a member of the university's Board of Regents told Pacific Business News.

University of Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay says he needs another $3 million to keep the sports programs going and without a better financial plan the school may have to resort to cutting programs, including the Rainbow Warrior football team. Hawaii News Now.

Just seven years after earning a spot in the storied Sugar Bowl, could the University of Hawaii football team be in danger of elimination? On Monday, UH athletics director Ben Jay revealed to university president David Lassner and the Board of Regents that it could be a possibility if the athletics department does not get help. KHON2.

The Hawaii Department of Education has spent $26 million since 2013 on new Common Core materials that have some teachers worried about instructional flexibility and others nervous about the hasty implementation of a new learning model. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The long-anticipated rezoning request for the huge Hoopili project in West Oahu was submitted to the city Department of Planning and Permitting this month. Project plans call for up to 11,750 homes on 1,289 acres of agricultural land surrounded by Kapolei, Ewa, Waipahu and Kunia. The Hoopili master plan also proposes 3 million square feet of commercial space, five schools and 159 acres of commercial farms. Star-Advertiser.

For Kihei de Silva, the Kawainui-Hamakua Complex Master Plan is a chance to reclaim part of Kailua. The state plan to build pathways and facilities around the marsh in windward Oahu has attracted fierce resistance from many Kailua residents who fear it would open the door to commercializing Hawaii’s largest wetland. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says federal officials have wrapped up their assessment of damage on the Big Island from Tropical Storm Iselle and are close to submitting their report to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Associated Press.

Hawaii County Civil Defense reports Monday evening that Puna Geothermal Venture’s Pohoiki plant in Puna is in the process of returning to operation after shutting down Aug. 7 as Tropical Storm Iselle approached the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

A total of 1,419 Hawaii County residents visited the Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers (DARCs) organized, set up and ran by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency from Aug. 14 to 15 at the Pahoa Community Center and from Aug. 16 to 17 at the Mountain View Gym. Hawaii News Now.

It’s been 11 days since Kapoho’s Vacationland Hawaii subdivision was devastated by Tropical Storm Iselle, and neighbors there say they need more guidance and help as they continue to clean up their homes and the popular tide pools around them. At a special meeting of the neighborhood association, residents discussed Monday their concerns with government agency representatives from Civil Defense, the state Department of Health, the University of Hawaii at Hilo and others. Tribune-Herald.

A West Hawaii County Council member says council meetings have lost transparency to the public because some council members have been using a parliamentary maneuver to stifle debate. West Hawaii Today.

Kona Pacific is the first public school in Hawaii to offer breakfast in the classroom to all of its students, regardless of their ability to pay. West Hawaii Today.

While this month’s primary election saw three council incumbents sail smoothly into another two-year term, and another two go unchallenged, the political winds were not as favorable for two lawmakers — state Sen. Malama Solomon and state Rep. Faye Hanohano — who both fell to challengers. Tribune-Herald.

A former employee of the county Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division has pleaded not guilty to embezzling from the county. Tribune-Herald.

Maui
Project coordinators say a plan to revitalize Lahaina's harbor area would make it safer and cater to "pedestrians first." Maui News.

The Maui Police Commission received nearly 20 applications from those seeking to become the county’s next police chief. Associated Press.

The Maui Police Commission continues work to narrow the field of applicants, following an Aug. 12 application deadline for the department’s top job. Maui Now.

The Maui Police Department has received its accreditation renewal for another three years from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Maui News.

Maui County continues to assess damages sustained in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Iselle, as the state works toward compiling a final estimate to be used in determining qualification for federal funding assistance. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will revisit a bill on Wednesday aimed at taxing the island’s crop research land separate from other agricultural land. Introduced by Councilman Tim Bynum, Bill 2456 would establish “agronomics” as a new and separate real property tax class and exclude lands used primarily for crop research or parent seed production from the county’s definition of “agricultural use.” Garden Island.

More changes could be on the tax horizon. And visitor industry officials and some Kauai residents say that a proposed Kauai County Council bill to establish a new tax class for timeshare properties could have negative consequences on the island’s economy. Garden Island.