Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nemo's Hawaiian cousins get no federal protection, administrative costs gobble up highway funds, higher premiums coming to HMSA Medicare plans, UH faculty senate censors president, lava pace quickens, first humpback whale of the season spotted off Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Endemic Hawaiian dascyllus © 2014 All Hawaii News
Finding Nemo may be getting harder to do, but the same can't be said for the Hawaiian dascyllus and blue-eyed damselfish, two Hawaiian cousins of the orange clownfish, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Star-Advertiser.

A new study says Hawaii has the worst-performing highways in the nation. The report by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles, said Wednesday that Hawaii also has the least cost-effective highway system. It also ranked Hawaii among the worst for congestion, deficient bridges and pavement conditions. The group says Hawaii spent $90,000 on administrative costs for every mile of state road, expenses that could be siphoning money away from road repairs. Associated Press.

The Children Left Behind: Kindergarten Age Cutoff Has Families Scrambling. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state's largest medical care insurer, is closing its current line of Medicare plans, called Akamai Advantage, and will restart them as new plans with higher premiums due to loss of revenue from underwriting miscalculations and smaller reimbursement rates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's poverty rate is better than most other states in the nation, according to new Census data. But advocates for the poor say that when the state's high cost of living is considered, the picture looks a lot different. Associated Press.

A record 492 students from public schools across Hawaii have earned awards for exceptional achievement in their college-level Advanced Placement courses, according to the College Board, the company that administers the exams. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is a world-class destination with real-world obstacles when it comes to building traction in China's growing outbound tourism market. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The University of Hawaii-Manoa Faculty Senate voted 43-16 Wednesday in favor of censuring UH President David Lassner over the group's displeasure with how Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple was fired. Star-Advertiser.

Where does former House Speaker Calvin Say live? That is the central question of a lawsuit that has yet another court hearing Thursday. Civil Beat.

Construction of Honolulu’s 5.2 billion dollar Rail Transit System is moving toward the urban center at a steady pace.  The focus of the City Council’s Budget Committee yesterday was on the project’s impact on Kaka’ako businesses. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has called off a meeting set for Thursday with several members of the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus and three female members of the City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Despite a notice of violation from the city, the unapologetic and unrepentant organizer of a 70-foot fence blocking access from a private road to Laniakea Beach wants to replace the wooden fence with one made out of metal or rock. Star-Advertiser.

Fabio Osorio, who has called the streets of Waikiki home for five years, says three bills, signed into law Tuesday, won't change the homeless situation in Hawaii's tourist mecca. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Homeless Policy: Sand Island Camp Is a Waste of Money. The plan to relocate homeless to Sand Island runs counter to the successful practices developed by the federal Housing First program. Civil Beat.

Former defense contractor sentenced for mishandling classified documents. Federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced Benjamin P. Bishop to two 87-month terms for crossing the line with classified information. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A Civil Defense overflight Wednesday morning observed that the June 27 lava flow has picked up speed since the beginning of the week. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have been monitoring every twist and turn of lava creeping unpredictably toward communities in a rural and isolated Big Island district. Their work can be dangerous and includes frequent flyovers in a helicopter, navigating precarious terrain and taking careful data measurements to give the public an accurate picture of the lava's progress. Associated Press.

More than a year after National Park Service officials filed their petition for a water management area designation for the Keauhou aquifer, they finally made their pitch directly to the state commissioners who will decide the request. West Hawaii Today.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees heard project updates, along with grievances, Wednesday evening at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Board of Ethics said that the "facts are insufficient" to support a claim that Council Member Don Guzman violated the Maui County Code of Ethics when he allegedly notarized a former employee's political nomination papers while on council time and in his council office. Maui News.

Three Maui residents are being considered for a vacancy on the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve funding to appeal a court ruling that County Ordinance 960 regulating pesticides and genetically modified crops on the island is pre-empted by state law, and therefore invalid. Garden Island.

Kauai's County Council took a step Wednesday toward appealing a federal judge's decision that struck down a Kauai law regulating genetically modified organisms and pesticides. In a 5-to-1 vote, the Council approved spending up to $12,750 for an appeal. Star-Advertiser.

The first of several political forums hosted by the Kauai Chamber of Commerce begins tonight. The forum will be from 6 to 9 at the Koloa Neighborhood Center, beginning with House of Representatives District 16 candidates, followed by Kauai mayoral candidates and ending with Kauai County Council candidates. Garden Island.

The first humpback whale of the Hawaii migration season has been observed in waters off Kauai. Star-Advertiser.