Friday, August 15, 2014

Judge rules against Hanabusa, election to be held today, state's largest health insurer pulls out of small-business Obamacare plan, federal agent Deedy acquitted of murder, geothermal plant denies toxic release, Honolulu council advances bill raising tobacco age to 21, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State Deputy Attorney General John Molay defends Election Chief Scott Nago © 2014 All Hawaii News
A judge Thursday denied U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s request to delay a make-up election Friday in two Puna precincts where the polls were closed in Saturday’s primary election due to damage from Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

A Hawaii judge upheld the timing of a makeup primary election Thursday for more than 8,000 voters on the Big Island despite a last-minute challenge from a Senate candidate who said residents should have more time to recover from a tropical storm that damaged the area. Associated Press.

The state primary election will conclude Friday as planned, a Hawaii court ruled Thursday. Circuit Court Judge Greg Nakamura in Hilo rejected a motion to postpone the election from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who trails U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes out of roughly 230,000 ballots cast in last Saturday’s Democratic primary. Civil Beat.

After state Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura in Hilo on Thursday rejected a legal challenge by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, 6,821 voters in Puna will be able to cast ballots at Keonepoko Elementary on Friday and settle Hanabusa's Democratic primary for Senate against U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and a few other close contests. Star-Advertiser.

After a Hilo judge rejected a last-minute challenge from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who said residents should have more time to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle, the special election will proceed as scheduled. Polls in Puna are set to open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. on Friday. Results will be announced shortly thereafter. Hawaii News Now.

On the heels of Thursday’s court decision allowing a special election to go forward on Friday in Puna, Congresswoman and candidate for U.S. Senate Colleen Hanabusa expressed disappointment in Judge Greg Nakamura’s ruling. Big Island Video News.

All eyes are on Puna, as voters get ready to close out Hawaii’s Primary Election. KHON2.

Kauai Republican Party Chairman Bob Hickling said he has been following the race between Schatz and Hanabusa but explained that any divisions within the Democratic Party would not have much of an effect for the Republican Party. Garden Island.

The Congressional District One race will be a contest watched nationally because it has a viable Republican candidate.   The days leading up to the General Election, November 4th will be a sprint to the finish and expensive. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii's largest health insurer is pulling out of the small-business side of the state's troubled health exchange, leaving the Hawaii Health Connector with only one insurance company for employers to select. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association reported a second quarter loss of $8.4 million, compared to a loss of $2.3 million during the same quarter of 2013. Hawaii's largest health insurer had blamed a loss of $30.1 in the first quarter on Affordable Care Act fees that came to about $46.1 million. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Department of Education has paid nearly $3.5 million since 2012 to a national nonprofit to design and implement mentoring and induction programs for new public school teachers. Civil Beat.

A former University of Hawaii Foundation executive alleges that he was ousted from his job after he accused his supervisor of having a conflict of interest. In a lawsuit filed in state Circuit Court, Alvin Katahara said his former boss, UH Foundation Vice President Janet Bullard, ordered him to make thousands of dollars in payments to a company headed by her husband. Hawaii News Now.

“Until you’ve lost your dignity, you don’t understand homelessness.” That comment from a guest at Thursday night’s Civil Cafe discussion may be true, but it hasn’t stopped many people from trying to find a solution to a hardship that has afflicted thousands of people in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

PRIMM expansion a critical step toward healthy Pacific region. With a bold vision backed by strong science and important cultural leaders in the Pacific, President Obama could create a unique cultural and conservation legacy at the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Hawaii Independent.

Opinion: Back in 2010, everyone in Hawaii voted for a liberal hippie governor named Neil Abercrombie. Sure, he called a special session of the state legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, but other than that, he might as well have written the definitive playbook for how not to get re-elected in the State of Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism released Thursday the 2013 edition of the State of Hawaii Data Book. The resource is available here and may be downloaded in whole or in part as either PDF or Excel files. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

University of Hawaii President David Lassner plans to tap UH-Manoa's dean for languages, linguistics and literature as interim chancellor of the flagship campus to replace Tom Apple, whom Lassner terminated last month. Star-Advertiser.

A jury Thursday acquitted a federal agent of murder in his second trial for the 2011 shooting death of a man at a Hawaii fast-food restaurant, but they couldn’t reach a verdict on other lesser charges. Associated Press.

Christopher Deedy sat flanked by his attorneys as the jury verdict of not guilty of murder was announced Thursday in Circuit Judge Karen Ahn's courtroom. He showed no outward emotion as Kollin Elderts' family sat in sadness with their heads bowed. Hawaii News Now.

The state jury in the Christopher Deedy retrial found the U.S. State Department special agent not guilty of murder Thursday but was unable to decide whether he is guilty of any other crimes for fatally shooting Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonald's restaurant in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

A bill raising Oahu's legal age for purchasing tobacco and electronic smoking devices to 21 got the first of three necessary approvals by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday despite some reservations. Star-Advertiser.

Karl and Judith Sinclair are in a bind. Their $1.4 million home in the Norfolk Subdivision off of Kananianaole Highway in south Kailua is a beautiful, sprawling mansion complete with a swimming pool and gazebo spread over 15,548 square feet, and all they want to do is expand their second-floor lanai by 500 feet. There’s just one problem: their home sits on land zoned agricultural and is technically a “farm dwelling,” meaning it should have been limited to a single structure not exceeding 5,000 square feet. Civil Beat.

New construction bids show the costs to build Honolulu's rail transit system are rising sharply -- and local transit leaders remain uncertain whether they'll ultimately be able to deliver the project on budget. Star-Advertiser.

The Navy is adding to its surface-ship firepower at Pearl Harbor with some home-port switches this week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Two Big Island organizations are questioning why Puna Geothermal Venture operated its power plant in the face of an approaching hurricane, resulting in PGV's release of hydrogen sulfide into a community trapped by downed trees. Star-Advertiser.

Puna Geothermal Venture today released a statement contradicting “reports by commentators” that warned residents of an uncontrolled release of hydrogen sulfide from the plant, and suggested evacuation if any symptoms were experienced. Big Island Now.

Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed a supplementary proclamation to extend the Hawaii’s state of emergency to Oct. 17, 2014. The original emergency proclamation would’ve expired tomorrow, Friday Aug. 15. The governor’s office has not yet publicly released a statement about the extension of the emergency proclamation but is expected to do so on Friday. Maui Now.

By about 3 p.m. Thursday, 250 people had made their way through a Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center set up at the Pahoa Community Center. Representatives from a wide array of county and state agencies were available to field questions and offer help for Puna residents impacted by Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

Crouched in the shadow of two massive volcanoes, West Hawaii was spared most of the battering effects of Tropical Storm Iselle. But it won’t always be that way, and those who hold to the belief the island will always shelter them are making a mistake, National Weather Service officials say. West Hawaii Today.

Ron Gonzales, who faces off against District 9 incumbent County Councilwoman Margaret Wille in the Nov. 4 General Election, is the subject of two complaints filed with the county clerk this week. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

An estimated $3.99 million was released today for slope stabilization work on the Hāna Highway, and intersection upgrades on the Haleakalā Highway on Maui, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council has approved a request from the Office of the County Attorney for additional funds to defend the new law regulating pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Star-Advertiser.