Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Endangered Hawaiian monk seal bludgeoned to death, rule-breaking education employees enjoy paid leave, clean energy surcharge added to electric bills, pair charged in illegal lava tours, University of Hawaii settles 1st Amendment lawsuit, new wildlife fence on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmosphereic Administration
Monk seal found dead on Kauai, photo courtesy NOAA
A young female Hawaiian monk seal was found dead at a beach in Anahola on Kauai after being bludgeoned on the side of the head, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

A female Hawaiian monk seal pup, one of several that survived a deadly dog attack in July, was found bludgeoned to death Sunday along a rocky beach in Anahola. Garden Island.

courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Monk seal in early 2014, courtesy NOAA
$5,000 Reward for Leads on Monk Seal Death on Kauai. The Hawaiian monk seal, born on June 2014, was found dead from blunt force trauma over the weekend. Civil Beat.

Authorities are investigating the killing of a Hawaiian monk seal pup on Kauai. The young female seal (RF58) was found bludgeoned to death at a beach in Anahola on Sunday, according to Department of Land and Natural Resources officials. Hawaii News Now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in cooperation with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, is investigating the suspicious death of a Hawaiian monk seal on the northeast coast of Kauai. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Education on average places one employee a week on paid leave while it investigates various complaints of alleged misconduct, and roughly 1 in 4 of those investigations takes longer than a year to complete. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. customers will see a new charge on their electrical bills this month that will be used to help finance clean-energy installations for low-income residents. The new charge — labeled the "Green Infrastructure Fee" — will pay for the state's Green Energy Market Securitization, or GEMS, program. Star-Advertiser.

Support for medical marijuana dispensaries is gaining momentum. And a newly released report could provide even more ammunition for those needing better access to the drug. The state auditor's report says pot pharmacies are necessary. Hawaii News Now.

On January 1st, control of the state medical marijuana system will be changing from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.  But patients whose registrations expire this month are urged to reapply by December 12th to avoid any lapse in coverage.  Applicants must still obtain a signed physician’s statement before applying. Hawaii Public Radio.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz' wife, Linda Schatz, who held executive positions at Kamehameha Schools and Brookfield Homes Hawaii, recently joined homebuilder Forest City Hawaii as its development manager, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Nani Coloretti to serve as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, making her the highest-ranking Fili­pino-American in the administration of President Barack Obama. Star-Advertiser.

A former budget analyst for the state of Hawaii has been named deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Nani Coloretti was appointed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Associated Press.

Survivors of the aerial attack that destroyed the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, are going the way of the Doolittle Raiders and Flying Tigers of similar World War II fame. There are fewer and fewer of the war heroes left as they age into their 90s. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: One Solution for Out-of-Control Rents. Many of the factors conspiring to create Hawaii’s housing crisis inspired the implementation of rent stabilization elsewhere. Civil Beat.

Oahu


With the sit-lie ban in place on sidewalks in Waikiki and 15 other business neighborhoods across Oahu, Hono­lulu City Council members are turning their attention to a bill that would make it illegal to sit or lie down at six downtown Hono­lulu and Chinatown malls. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Haseko Calls Disclosure of PR Plan ‘Embarrassing’. But a judge rules against the development company that is being sued over its decision to build a lagoon instead of the marina homeowners expected. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A Kealakekua courtroom was packed with well-wishers Tuesday as a new judge took the oath of office. Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald administered the oath to Margaret Masunaga, a former Hawaii County deputy corporation counsel. West Hawaii Today.

A pair of University of Hawaii at Hilo students is claiming a victory for free speech after the school agreed Tuesday to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed in April. Tribune-Herald.

A lawsuit brought by two students claiming their First Amendment rights were violated by the University of Hawaii at Hilo has resulted in a systemwide revision of the university's free-speech policy. Star-Advertiser.

Land use is usually a contentious topic, but only about a dozen people showed up at meeting Tuesday evening in Hilo to provide input to a state agency seeking to improve the process. West Hawaii Today.

The Kohala coast — known for pocket-sized, postcard beaches and for resorts carved out of a wasteland of lava — has a new distinction. Waikoloa is now ranked 8th on the list of the top 10 rising destinations in the U.S. in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards. West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow advanced another 350 to 400 yards as of Tuesday morning, placing its front about 2.7 miles from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. Tribune-Herald.

Two guides who were involved in leading lava tours into the state Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve were arrested Monday by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers. West Hawaii Today.

Today in New Delhi, officials of the government of India signed documents establishing the country as a full partner in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project. An international collaboration of institutions in the USA, Canada, Japan, India and China, the TMT project is working towards building a powerful, next-generation astronomical observatory at Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Hawaiian Electric companies are looking to work with businesses in order to manage electricity demand on the islands. Maui News.

Target is looking to hire approximately 250 team members for its new Kahului  store at the future Puʻunēnē Shopping Center, which is currently under construction and is set to open in March, 2015. Maui Now.

Kauai

Rare native plant and animal communities that have inhabited a roughly eight-acre area at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge — including imperiled bird species found nowhere else on Earth — will be protected following the installation of the state-of-the-art fence east of the lighthouse. Garden Island.

The state Department of Agriculture and Kauai County are paying a consultant $100,000 to examine the possible health and environmental effects of pesticide use on genetically modified crops. Civil Beat.