Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fee hikes for Hawaii's national parks, $2M to shelter 115 Honolulu homeless, Hawaii council unsure on beach e-cig ban, UH study downplays jellyfish threat, state girds for Tropical Storm Ana, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Visitors at Kilauea volcano crater © 2014 All Hawaii News
The National Park Service wants to raise entrance fees for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui. The per-person rate at both parks would increase from $5 to $8 next year, $10 the year after and $12 in 2017. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is considering a plan to increase its entrance fees incrementally during the next few years. Under the proposal, an annual pass would increase from $25 to $50 in 2017 and vehicle fees would increase from $10 to $15 in 2015, to $20 in 2016 and to $25 in 2017. Tribune-Herald.

Haleakalā National Park on Maui is proposing an entrance fee hike that is scheduled to begin in 2015 and continue with incremental increases through 2017.  The increase will more than double the admission for individuals, motorcycles and vehicle passes over the next few years. Maui Now.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is seeking public feedback on possible entrance fee increases starting in 2015. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997. KHON2.

Hawaii Governor Candidates Offer Ideas to Bring Down Energy Costs. The topics include what to do with the Public Utilities Commission and getting Hawaiian Electric to allow more solar energy onto an antiquated grid. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's gubernatorial candidates met to share their positions on Hawaii's future in clean energy Tuesday evening. KITV4.

Hawaii News Now continues its groundbreaking and innovative political coverage Wednesday evening, October 15, with the state's only "Town Hall" debate between the three leading candidates for governor, Republican Duke Aiona, Independent Mufi Hannemann and Democrat David Ige.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie — yes, he’s still our governor, until Dec. 1 — is expected to return today from a six-day trip to Taiwan. Civil Beat.

Tropical Storm Ana was just below hurricane strength on a path toward Oahu and Kauai. The National Weather Service said hurricane watches may be issued for the Hawaiian islands sometime Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Tropical Storm Ana is moving southeast of Hawaii as it continues on a track that takes it toward the islands this weekend. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said the center of Ana was located 680 miles southeast of Hilo, or 890 miles east-southeast of Honolulu, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hawaii News Now.

A strengthening Tropical Storm Ana remained on track to reach the Big Island as a Category 1 hurricane this weekend, forecasters said Tuesday evening. The storm is expected to be upgraded to a hurricane this morning and bring sustained winds of up to 75 to 80 mph Saturday as it skirts the south end of the island. Tribune-Herald.

Officials worry about storm fatigue as Tropical Storm Ana nears Hawaii. KITV4.

New evidence shows deep-sea animals enjoy dining on jellyfish more than scientists previously suspected, upending concerns that jellyfish blooms may be harmful to the ocean's ecosystem, according to a study published Wednesday by a University of Hawaii researcher. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The city hopes to offer permanent shelter to 115 people under the initial $2 million Housing First contract. Star-Advertiser.

A new tower or two, an oceanfront pool and a wedding chapel by a famed Japanese architect are among several additions in the works for the JW Marriott Ihilani hotel at Ko Olina Resort & Marina as part of a plan to re-brand the property as a Four Seasons hotel. Star-Advertiser.

The long-planned $31 million Waikiki Landing project at Hawaii's Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, which lost its funding several months ago, has received a new funding commitment from another investor, the project developer’s attorney told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council is ready to ban the use of electronic cigarettes inside county buildings. But a council committee, after extensive debate Tuesday, said it wasn’t ready to extend that ban to beaches and outdoor parks. West Hawaii Today.

Landlords on Hawaii Island may be ditching their regular tenants in order to make bigger profits from residents seeking safe harbor from the path of the June 27 lava flow. Tribune-Herald.

Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii, an affiliate of the global nonprofit housing organization, has abruptly backed out of a planned fundraising event after questions were raised about whether its advertising was improperly promoting the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Duke Aiona. Civil Beat.

Maui

Monday's release of 10 million gallons per day of water back into Iao Stream marked a historic occasion, but activists who've fought decades for the return of water to Na Wai Eha, the four great streams of Central Maui, said that the fight is not over yet. Maui News.

An online news and information website, mauicounty.us, has been launched to keep the public informed about news and events of the Maui County Council, Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa announced. Maui News.

Interval Leisure Group has completed its $220 million purchase of Hyatt Residential Group from Hyatt Hotels Corp., which includes Hyatt's interest in a joint venture developing the Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach, Interval Leisure announced earlier this month. Maui News.

Kauai

Mayoral incumbent Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his challenger, Dustin Barca, remained sharply divided on the county’s law regulating pesticides and genetically modified organisms during one of their last political forums together on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Just hours before Jimmy Pflueger is sentenced on a “Reckless Endangering” felony charge brought against him by the state after his Ka Loko Dam breached on March 14, 2006, killing 7 people, Hawaii Reporter has obtained an inflammatory letter Pflueger wrote last month to one of the victims. Hawaii Reporter.

A new shuttle service on Kauai’s North Shore is expected to reduce traffic and alleviate parking congestion. Now in operation, it will move residents and visitors between North Shore resorts and popular visitor destinations in Princeville, Hanalei, Wainiha, Haena and Kee. Garden Island.

After closing up shop and referring its clients to competitors, Kauai Springs, Inc. is back in business — at least temporarily — said owner Jim Satterfield. On Sept. 30, the County of Kauai Planning Department sent a letter to the Koloa-based water bottling and distribution company ordering it to immediately cease and desist all activities Garden Island.