Monday, December 22, 2014

Spinner dolphins need protection, Obama on Hawaii holiday, lava diversion mulled, crackdown on Chinatown homeless, Maui relaxes affordable housing rules, snow coming to Big Island mountains, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA
Spinner dolphins, courtesy NOAA
A combination of federal regulations and community-based conservation measures is needed to protect popular wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii, according to scientists from Duke University. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama soaked up some sun on the second day in a row Sunday on his two-week-long vacation on Oahu. Obama ventured from his vacation rental home in Kai­lua to spend the day at the beach and the golf course before ending the evening at Mori­moto in Wai­kiki for dinner with friends.Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama and his family have arrived on Oahu for the Christmas holidays. Hawaii News Now.

With its strategic location in the Pacific and substantial military assets, Hawaii has been a prime target of foreign governments seeking U.S. intelligence, something FBI Director James Comey acknowledged on a recent trip to the state. Hawaii Reporter.

The debate over whether the Hawaii State Ethics Commission must release the financial disclosure statements of certain state board members is heading to the Hawaii Supreme Court. Civil Beat.

Energy Companies Jockey for Position in Hawaii Natural Gas Rush. NextEra's plan to buy Hawaii Electric Co. could jeopardize the Hawaii Gas plan to control the natural gas market. Ultimately, it's up to the PUC. Civil Beat.

Fourteen years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana, there is still no legal way for patients to obtain pot without growing it themselves. The 2000 law also is silent on how the state’s 13,000 patients can get the seeds for plants they are allowed to grow. Associated Press.

A federal judge says a California-based labor contracting company and a Maui pineapple farm are responsible for paying $8.7 million in a discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of 82 Thai workers who were brought to Hawaii as farm laborers. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is supporting the Honolulu Police Commission's decision to wait until a possible FBI investigation concludes before looking into allegations of police misconduct in a federal case involving the police chief's stolen mailbox. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: City Response to Police Chief Case Doesn’t Work, on So Many Levels. The police commission. The police union. The mayor. Why is everybody averting their eyes from serious allegations against Louis Keahola? Civil Beat.

Honolulu police officers have been telling merchants in Chinatown they will begin enforcing the new controversial ban which prohibits people from sitting or lying on sidewalks on Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The June 27 lava flow’s slowdown continued Sunday with its front advancing sluggishly toward Pahoa Marketplace. The flow front was about 0.45 miles from the shopping center Sunday morning after advancing 85 yards in 24 hours. Tribune-Herald.

Opinion: Lava diversion: Can it work? Should it be considered? Tribune-Herald.

Up to 6 inches of snow could fall on the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits between Monday evening and Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Honolulu. West Hawaii Today.

Optical turbulence, frozen precipitation and strong subtropical highs — all playthings of the scientists who forecast what’s going on in the sky above Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council voted Friday to relax its workforce housing rules to require between 20 and 25 percent affordable housing in projects from developers - down from a 50 percent requirement. Maui News.

Little fire ants are a problem usually associated with Hawaii Island. But in September, an established colony of fire ants was discovered on 20 acres of heavily forested land on Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

A mechanical failure at the Kīhei Pump Station #5 resulted in the overflow of an estimated 500 gallons of wastewater along South Kīhei Road today. Maui Now.

Kauai

It may be years in the making, but developers seeking to build a nearly 769-home residential subdivision next to Kapaa Middle School are laying their cards on the table by taking the first steps needed to get it off the ground. Garden Island.

Some Kauai residents may have wondered recently whether the ban on plastic checkout bags had been lifted. It hasn’t. Garden Island.

The Kauai Board of Water Supply appointed Kirk Saiki as the manager and chief engineer of the Department of Water. Garden Island.