Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Arizona Memorial ticket scam probed, Aiona would perform gay marriage, teamsters endorse Hannemann, medical marijuana dispensaries mulled, lava threat increases, Chinatown to house homeless, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
USS Arizona Memorial courtesy photo
A report by the National Parks Service shows that commercial tour operators have been taking advantage of the Arizona Memorial's free passes policy to make a profit, while under the less-than-watchful eyes of the memorial's operators. Hawaii Independent.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is surveying Hawaii residents this month to gather data on how much it costs to live in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii bankruptcy filings plunged 18.5 percent in August to their second lowest level of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona, a same-sex marriage opponent and former judge who's performed weddings for 24 years, told Hawaii News Now he would reluctantly marry a same-sex couple as required by law. Aiona is a Catholic who's been clear that he opposes gay marriage, but it's not a major part of his campaign for governor. Hawaii News Now.

Should Hawaii follow the lead of some other states and restrict medical marijuana to large state-run dispensaries and massive growing operations? Or should it allow small farmers to obtain licenses to grow enough for themselves and a few other patients? West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Union, Local 996, representing more than 6,000 members in Hawaii and Guam, has endorsed gubernatorial candidate Mufi Hannemann. Civil Beat.

This year marked the first time there was a primary contest for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the idea being to obtain a larger pool of candidates instead of the same trustees who seem to win election after election. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has about four times as many vacation rentals for travelers than the state’s tourism agency previously believed. Associated Press.

Island Air said Tuesday that David Pflieger will take over as president and CEO of the Hawaii interisland airline, effective Oct. 1. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii State Department of Health has a newly renovated lobby and marriage license office. The department says the renovation was the vision of the department's former director Loretta Fuddy, who died after the plane she was a passenger in crashed-landed in the ocean off Molokai in December. Associated Press.

Oahu

Residents of Pauahi Hale, a low-income high-rise in downtown Chinatown, will be getting new neighbors in the coming months. The city plans to use a substantial portion of the building to house homeless people struggling with mental illness and alcohol and drug abuse. Civil Beat.

A busy 2.3-mile stretch of South Beretania Street, from University Avenue to Alapai Street, will get a major overhaul from the city during the next 13 months starting Monday, leaving area businesses and residents bracing for some delays and inconveniences. Star-Advertiser.

In the grand scheme that has become Honolulu’s $5.3 billion rail project, spending $223,000 on time-lapse video cameras may not seem like such a big deal. KITV4.

A recently retired career Army engineer was nominated to lead the city's Department of Design and Construction by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The price tag for a new $2.3 million all-weather track at Radford High School ballooned to $10.3 million after the discovery of both contaminants and munitions in the soil of the athletic field it surrounds. Star-Advertiser.

It’s an ongoing challenge for state officials. How do you to stop contraband from getting into the hands of prisoners? KHON2.

New guests at a Waikīkī hotel are creating some buzz. 80,000 honey bees have taken up residence at the beachfront resort. Hawaii Public Radio.

Prominent East Oahu Realtor Sentenced for Money Laundering Scheme. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory plans to soon increase the lava threat level from a watch to a warning as a lava flow could be a week away from reaching Kaohe Homesteads. Tribune-Herald.

It was the question on everyone's mind Tuesday: Where will the lava go next? Star-Advertiser.

While Hawaii County Civil Defense announced its plans to give homeowners at least five days notice should evacuation be necessary because of the June 27 lava flow, that might not leave much time for residents looking to relocate large numbers of animals. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Tuesday the release of $2.8 million for renovation projects on Hawaii Island as part of a larger $9.2 million allotment of capital improvement funds to upgrade and improve state hospital facilities and fund water treatment projects across the state. Tribune-Herald.

The Marine Mammal Center's Ke Kai Ola, a new hospital dedicated to the rescue and care of critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, was blessed and its grand opening celebrated Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Electric Co. has signed a 15-year agreement with FortisBC Energy to buy liquefied natural gas capacity, MECO has disclosed. Maui News.

Haleakalā National Park marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act tomorrow, a measure that gave public lands their highest level of protection when it was signed into law in 1964, park officials announced. Maui Now.

The Maui County Cultural Resources Commission will continue its discussion on proposed revisions to design guidelines for signs in the Lahaina Historic District at its Thursday meeting. Maui News.

The Maui Ocean Center in Māʻalaea welcomes six baby green sea turtles during a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony today, aquarium administrators announced. Maui Now.

Kauai

A total of 20 Hawaii Health Systems Corp. employees — 12 at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital in Kawaihau and eight at Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital in Kapaa — received layoff notices. Three other positions slated to be reduced were vacant when the layoffs were handed out on Tuesday and will be eliminated instead. Garden Island.

Anticipating ag ads. Hawaii Farm Bureau to spend $400K on PR campaign. Garden Island.

Kauai residents are invited to attend community meetings to ask questions and address concerns with the Kauai Fire Department. Garden Island.

State officials are testing emergency sirens on Kauai this week. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency says testing will be conducted Wednesday through Friday. Associated Press.