Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunken ship discovered, Ige campaign pinched pennies, people grow tolerant of coqui frogs, Kona developers want to renege on road deal, 9 Kauai plants may be added to endangered list, 3k pine trees to be uprooted on Maui, elders commemorate Pearl Harbor bombing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy state library of Queensland
USS Kailua state library of Queensland
Researchers with the University of Hawaii’s Marine Heritage Program have discovered a “Ghost Ship” off of Oahu. The wreckage of the USS Kailua sits about 20 miles off the coast of Waikiki in 2,000 feet of water. The ship was originally named the USS Dickerson and served as a cable ship between Hawaii and Midway before being used by the US Navy.  When no longer needed, the ship was used as torpedo target practice and sunk in 1946, its location forgotten until now. Hawaii Public Radio.

Researchers on a Hawaii underwater submersible found a sunken ship off Oahu that was commissioned into military service during World War II, according to the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Friday the discovery of the USS Kailua, a ship that disappeared off the coast of Oahu in 1946. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige was the first successful gubernatorial candidate in two decades to stay under the state’s spending limit and qualify for public funds. Associated Press.

Gov. David Ige spent $2 million on his historic campaign — or roughly $11.25 a vote. The Democrat raised $2.4 million overall and had a $435,029 surplus, according to his final state campaign-finance report for the November election. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. Twenty-two species from Hawaii and one species of bird historically from American Samoa were added to the candidate list, one species was removed, and one has changed in priority from the last Candidate Notice of Review conducted in November 2013. West Hawaii Today.

NextEra Energy’s announcement Wednesday of a $4.3 billion deal to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries has spurred state regulators to start gearing up for one of the biggest utility cases in Hawaii’s history. The Public Utilities Commission, headed by Mina Morita, will soon be scrutinizing the proposed sale and considering whether to accept it, reject it, or — most likely — impose conditions. Civil Beat.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Insurance Division approved an 8.4 percent increase for Hawaii Medical Service Association individual transitional, or “grandmother,” plans, saving plan purchasers $2.3 million in health care premiums and affecting over 8,250 covered lives, the DCCA announced Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Thousands attended ceremonies marking the 73rd anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that also marked the end of an era for the few remaining survivors from the U.S.S. Arizona. Hawaii News Now.

At 92, Tom Berg made the trip from his West Coast home to Oahu to join roughly 3,500 others Sunday morning at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the bombing that brought America into World War II. Star-Advertiser.

The drone revolution isn't coming; it's hovering overhead — and the Federal Aviation Administration is playing catch-up with new technology that has rapidly outpaced regulations and is flying off retailers' shelves for Christmas. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A new Honolulu law will make it easier for the city to remove abandoned vehicles from front yards or get rid of fire hazards like dead wood and overhanging trees. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is moving forward with six large solar energy farms on Oahu totaling 207 megawatts that will be developed by SunEdison, First Wind, Eurus Energy America and Forest City, the Honolulu-based utility said Friday. Pacific Business News.

With a blessing, chants and the symbolic passing of rocks among supporters, a group of Windward Oahu residents last week launched fundraising and volunteer efforts to complete the restoration of an 800-year-old Hawaiian fishpond. Star-Advertiser.

The median price of a home in Honolulu hit a historic $719,500 in November, according to new data from the Honolulu Board of Realtors. The previous record high was $700,000 in June. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The developers of the Palamanui educational, commercial and residential complex are asking to be relieved of the obligation to build a mauka to makai connector road that would link Queen Kaahumanu Highway to Highway 190. If they don’t get it, plans for the development could be scuttled, consultants for the project say. West Hawaii Today.

Study: People growing tolerant of coqui frogs. West Hawaii Today.

Sunday observation of the June 27 lava flow front revealed burning along the edges and some widening, but very little forward advancement. Tribune-Herald.

A small, historic Big Island theater will keep its lights on thanks to overwhelming support from this close-knit community. More than 500 local families donated to save the Hono­kaa People's Theatre, an institution since plantation days. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

The Old Kahului Railroad Building, one of the last remnants of Maui's rich plantation past, is one step closer to being immortalized in the state and nation. Maui News.

The National Park Service plans to remove 3,000 invasive pine trees at Haleakala National Park with the help of helicopters. The operation begins Monday and will last through Thursday. Associated Press.

A biotech group backed by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences spent a record-breaking $7 million in its failed attempt to defeat a Maui County voter initiative that will temporarily ban genetically engineered farming — if it survives a legal challenge by the companies. Civil Beat.

Maui County Council members hope that reducing the county's stringent residential workforce housing criteria will encourage developers to build more affordable housing. Maui News.

Alvin Amaral, a state House member and Maui County Council member in the 1970s, died Nov. 18, according to an obituary. The Wailuku resident was 86 years old. Maui News.

Kauai

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing nine plant species from Kauai under the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS recently released a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for ESA protection. A total of 22 plant species from Hawaii are on the list. Garden Island.

The state Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with Kauai County, plans to examine possible health and environmental impacts associated with the use of pesticides applied to genetically modified organism products, officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Contractors working on the new Hokulei Village shopping center anticipate completing construction on the roundabout at the intersection of Nuhou Street and Kaneka Street by mid-January. Garden Island.