Thursday, December 11, 2014

Office of Hawaiian Affairs inducts new trustees, Kauhou aquifer plan delayed, lava turns toward shopping center, Pearl Harbor workers killed, youth e-cig use climbs, coffee beetle comes to Oahu, oceans clogged with plastic, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

image courtesy Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Office of Hawaiian Affairs investiture, photo courtesy HA
Though Native Hawaiians have made progress in education, health, economic self-sufficiency and other areas, there remains work to be done on nation building and overall community improvement, Kama­na‘o­pono Crabbe, chief executive officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said Wednesday in his State of OHA address. Star-Advertiser.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees will be “servant leaders at our people’s table,” said newly elected chairman Robert Lindsey at an investiture of board members Wednesday in Honolulu. West Hawaii Today.

A new study estimates about 269,000 tons of plastic — enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks — is floating in the world’s oceans. Associated Press.

Allowing Aloha United Way to solicit donations from state workers gives the private charity an "unfair advantage" over other nonprofits and is inconsistent with the fair treatment provision of the state ethics code, the staff at the state Ethics Commission has concluded. Star-Advertiser.

Reform measures and high returns on investments in recent years have helped Hawaii start to crawl out of its $20 billion hole in retirement benefits promised to thousands of public workers. But the state still has a long way to go — 26 years to be exact, based on the latest actuarial report for the Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System. State senators are set to learn more about the financial status and valuation of the public pension system Thursday morning during a legislative briefing at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

State health officials and a community organization are alerting the public to what they call an alarming increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among Hawaii's youth. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has won a $14.8 million multiyear federal grant to launch public preschool programs at charter schools statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
Two civilian contract workers were killed and two others injured Wednesday while working on a barge at Pearl Harbor's Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility off Waipio Peninsula. Star-Advertiser.

Two men were killed when a 10,000-pound buoy fell from a crane onto contractors in Pearl Harbor. Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. David Jenkins says the men were on a barge that was servicing the Navy's fleet of inactive ships at the time of Wednesday's incident. Associated Press.

The City Council postpones a vote on Bill 62, which would ban sitting and lying on sidewalks and planters in five downtown Honolulu and Chinatown malls. Civil Beat.

The Queen's Medical Center, Hawaii's largest private hospital, has signed an agreement with Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC to use the long-planned $250 million project that will cool Downtown Honolulu office buildings and condominium towers with cold water from the ocean. Pacific Business News.

The invasive coffee pest with which Hawaii Island growers have struggled for the last four years now has been found elsewhere in the state. The state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday the coffee berry borer was discovered last week on farms owned by Dole Foods in Waialua, Oahu. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Wright Homes may be the last place you'd expect to see a hotel, but developers are floating the idea to help pay for the aging housing project's redevelopment. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii County can stay in the driver’s seat of the Keauhou aquifer — but the reprieve is only temporary and comes with conditions. After nine hours of testimony in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday, the state Commission on Water Resource Management delayed making a decision on whether to put the aquifer under its control. West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow appears to have chosen which path it will follow. And it’s not good news for Pahoa’s main shopping center. Tribune-Herald.

The Volcano transfer station will be expanded and undergo structural repairs as part of a $1.06 million project that broke ground Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Makila Land Co. is seeking to develop 11 agricultural lots on 214 acres north of 186 acres of oceanfront at Launiupoko that the landowner sold to Maui County for $13 million earlier this year. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved Tuesday a special management area permit for the Cove Beach Village project, a 32-unit apartment complex located on an acre along Kanani Road in Kihei. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will decide next week whether they want to override a vetoed law that would use lease rents, rather than fair market values, to calculate the real property taxes of biotech research land users. The seven-member board, by a 5-0 vote, decided to revive the killed law during their meeting Wednesday, paving the way for a final vote on it to take place during their Wednesday meeting. Garden Island.

Developers aren't saying why a planned Lihue shopping center is being delayed. Associated Press.

Investigating the death of an endangered species — in this case, a Hawaiian monk seal pup — is exactly what you might expect in any homicide investigation. Garden Island.

The Federal District Court in Hawai’i struck down Kaua’i and Hawai’i County ordinances that sought to restrict cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Both cases are being appealed. In his final report on the Maui GMO debate, Hawaii Public Radio’s Wayne Yoshioka asked residents what actions can be taken beyond the Courts.

Molokai

Four fishermen from Molokai have been indicted for allegedly boarding another fishing vessel and robbing and harassing the people on board. The four men will be arraigned in Maui Circuit Court later this month, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Wednesday. Associated Press.

Four MolokaŹ»i men were arrested and charged for their alleged involvement in a confrontation between two groups of fishermen in MolokaŹ»i waters earlier this year. Maui Now.