Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tropical Storm watch begins in Hawaii, final gubernatorial debate talks taxes, Takai fundraising leader, state studies GMO pesticides on Kauai, Pflueger gets prison in dam breach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA National Weather Service
Tropical Storm Ana 5:30 a.m. Oct. 16, courtesy NOAA
At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, the center of Tropical Storm Ana was located about 500 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. Ana is moving toward the west near 10 mph.  Ana is expected to turn toward the west-northwest on Thursday, then turn toward the northwest on Friday with little change in forward speed.  On the forecast track, the center of Ana will pass near the Big Island Friday night and Saturday. KITV4.

State officials say they are preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana which is expected to crawl up the island chain beginning Friday.Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of Ana's arrival. Hawaii News Now.

All of the main islands are under threat of Tropical Storm Ana's flash flooding, strong and damaging winds, and coastal inundation and waves Friday through Monday, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologists said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The final televised gubernatorial debate before November's general election produced no major gaffes but did have a fairly clear winner and loser Wednesday, according to a political analyst. Hawaii News Now.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona on Wednesday night challenged his opponents for governor on taxes, claiming that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and state Sen. David Ige would be more inclined to raise taxes because they both supported a general-excise tax surcharge for the Honolulu rail project. Hannemann had urged the state Legislature to approve the surcharge and Ige voted in 2005 to give the city the authority to levy the tax. Star-Advertiser.

Democrat Mark Takai has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Republican Charles Djou in their tight race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years. But Djou had more than twice as much cash on hand in his campaign account — $626,191 to be exact — at the end of the most recent reporting period with the Federal Elections Commission. Civil Beat.

Hawaii real estate mogul Jay Shidler is the richest person in Hawaii with an estimated net worth of $700 million, according to a new report by Wealth-X. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Oahu residents weren't in a rush Wednesday to increase their stockpiles of goods before the storm, with many leisurely buying just a few cases of water and typical supplies for the week. That's a stark contrast to the scene just over two months ago when anxious consumers amassed large amounts of water and dry goods days ahead of Tropical Storm Iselle, which turned out to be mostly uneventful on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Construction equipment is starting up Thursday to begin building the Collection, the latest condominium tower to rise in Kakaako. The project's developer, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday on the site once occupied by a CompUSA store to thank everyone helping the roughly $200 million tower get off the ground, including government officials, contractors and especially homebuyers. Star-Advertiser.

A day after a binder containing sensitive court documents for a prison gang trial was found at a downtown restaurant, the attorney who owns the binder said someone stole it from him at the federal courthouse. Star-Advertiser.

Palama Settlement announced Wednesday its request for proposals for the redevelopment of its Kalihi-Palama campus. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Police Secrecy: What We Don’t Know Is More Disturbing Than What We Do Honolulu police need to make public an investigation into a cop accused of domestic violence. Otherwise, we'll never know if the sergeant received special treatment. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Big Island ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana. The forecast track for Tropical Storm Ana shifted just south of the Big Island late Wednesday afternoon and wind speeds dropped slightly, but the system still has the potential to hit the southeast flank of the island with torrential rain and hurricane force winds early Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

An Oahu judge will hear arguments on the lawsuit filed against the state regarding Pohakuloa Training Area today. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filed the complaint in April on behalf of Hawaiians Clarence Ching and Mary Maxine Kahaulelio, who claim the military’s presence is impacting their cultural rights. West Hawaii Today.

A Honolulu judge will take up a suit that claims the state failed to protect former kingdom lands that are important to Native Hawaiians. Circuit Judge Gary Chang will hear arguments in the case Thursday at 3 p.m. Associated Press.

After hearing from dozens of testifiers mostly supporting the measure, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution asking the state Legislature to tighten labeling requirements for coffee. West Hawaii Today.

After hearing assurances that borrowing an additional $20 million won’t break the bank, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution paving the way for emergency roadwork on alternative routes to Puna in the event lava crosses Highway 130. West Hawaii Today.

The Mamalahoa Highway bypass extension has hit a snag. Construction that the Hawaii County Department of Public Works had hoped to start back in August has been delayed likely until next month while the department waits for an archaeological study to be reviewed. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County officials are urging Maui County residents to prepare now for possible storm impacts from Ana. Maui Now.

Tropical Storm force winds from Tropical Storm Ana are expected to impact Maui County in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 18. At this time, the Maui Civil Defense Agency and Mayor Alan Arakawa would like to remind the community that they should prepare now, before the storm hits, while there is still plenty of time. Maui Weekly.

Parents to DOE: Why Aren’t We Being Told Sooner About Possible Child Abductions? A recent incident on Maui has many parents concerned that the Department of Education is days late in letting families know there might be someone bothering children near their schools. Civil Beat.

Kauai

A retired car dealer was sentenced to seven months in prison and five years of probation for a dam breach in Hawaii that swept seven people to their deaths in 2006. James Pflueger, 88, was sentenced in Hawaii’s Fifth Circuit Court on Kauai Wednesday. He had been convicted of reckless endangerment. Associated Press.

It was not a sentence that anyone was prepared for on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court. A January 2013 plea agreement reached with James Pflueger did not include recommended jail time from the State Attorney General. But the 88-year-old retired Honolulu auto dealer will serve seven months in jail along with felony probation for his part in causing the Ka Loko dam failure on March 14, 2006 that killed seven people. Garden Island.

A state judge sent retired car dealer James Pflueger to jail for seven months Wednesday for his role in the deaths of seven people swept away in 2006 by floodwaters that had breached Ka Loko Dam. Circuit Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano sentenced Pflueger, 88, to five years of probation for felony reckless endangering and included the seven-month jail term as a condition of the probation. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Economic Development and the state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that they will jointly fund a process to examine possible health and environmental impacts associated with the use of pesticides applied to genetically modified agricultural products. Garden Island.

To prepare for the implementation of the new Pay as You Throw Ordinance, which will take effect in July 2015, the Department of Public Works is conducting a PAYT Cart Survey. The purpose is to determine how many 64- and 96-gallon refuse carts should be ordered for the new program. Garden Island.

This time of year, Kauai’s threatened and endangered native Hawaiian seabirds become disoriented by artificial lights during their maiden flights from the mountains to the sea. Garden Island.

Molokai

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on a plan to remove unexploded ordnance from a World War II bombing range on Molokai’s Kalaupapa peninsula. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed munitions cleanup plan for the 937-acre site, which the military used for aerial bombing, rockets and gunnery practice from 1942-45. Associated Press.

For 50 years beginning during World War II, the island of Kaho`olawe was rocked by bombs, dropped by the U.S. military for naval training. Hawaii residents recall hearing the explosions and feeling the ground shake as missiles left gouges in the earth. Now, after decades of protest efforts, cultural reconnection and environmental restoration, a process of healing is continuing as a strategic plan is being developed to guide Kaho`olawe’s future. Molokai Dispatch.