Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hawaiian Electric, NextEra to submit sale plans today, more Japan flights coming, Honolulu hiring practices blasted, prison site eyed, shearwater protections working, army hears downsizing concerns, chief justice gives state of the judiciary, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The Chief Justice of the Hawai’i Supreme Court addressed lawmakers during a joint Senate and House session today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Executives from Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra Energy fielded questions for an hour and a half Wednesday from more than a dozen Hawaii lawmakers about what their proposed $4.3 billion merger would mean for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra Energy Inc. plan to jointly submit their acquisition application, which will lay out the plans and commitments of the $4.3 billion deal, with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

An official at NextEra Energy told Hawaii lawmakers that his company does not plan to lay off staff if it acquires Hawaiian Electric. Associated Press.

Most of isles' coral recover from mass bleaching. Associated Press.

Editorial: Prison Guard Absenteeism: Get Set for More No-Shows on Super Bowl Sunday. In a "culture of corruption," dozens of Hawaii prison guards regularly abuse their sick leave, making their workplaces more expensive — and more dangerous. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City of Honolulu Hiring Practices: Not Everyone Gets a Fair Shot. Dozens of city jobs, some with six-figure salaries, aren't advertised before they're filled, which raises questions about fairness and whether the city is attracting top talent. Civil Beat.

A new proposal being floated at the State Legislature would have Dole Food Company trade thousands of acres of former pineapple land for the Oahu Community Correctional Center site in Kalihi, in a deal that could provide the state money to build a badly needed new prison. Hawaii News Now.

A standing-room-only crowd of mostly Army supporters but also some detractors turned out Wednesday in Wahiawa for the second of two "listening" sessions as the service weighs big troop cuts around the country, including in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

For a second straight night, U.S. Army officials listened to hours of testimony in a community listening session on proposed base cutbacks. But this time, the community was Wahiawa, which has had a military presence for decades. Hawaii News Now.

The Army wrapped up its last public meeting for Hawaii Wednesday night as residents voiced their concerns both for and against possible military cuts. For the second night in a row, people packed in to pour out their feelings on whether or not the Army should cut down on its troops in Hawaii. KITV4.

Nearly 400 people attended the first Army listening session in Waikīkī. The five and a half hour session was the longest yet and brought out vocal members of the community, who testified largely in favor of the Army reductions. Hawaii Public Radio.

The felony case involving an officer accused of sexual assault, has been dropped and cannot be brought up again in the future. KHON2.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he will likely sign a measure that will add four downtown and Chinatown pedestrian malls to the list of places where people cannot sit or lie. Star-Advertiser.

Patience is wearing thin for some Makiki residents after the delay of a construction project that has taken away dozens of parking spaces in their neighborhood. KHON2.

The city's plan to eliminate garbage service for 181 condominiums, apartments and other multifamily properties and nonprofit organizations has been halted temporarily by a state judge. Star-Advertiser.

Air Nippon Airways plans to double its number of flights from Tokyo to Honolulu from seven to 14, starting in July. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Coast Guard is holding a cyber security exercise at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus this week. Associated Press.

The Hawaii State Department of Health Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are responding to a 1,000 barrel (43,000 gallons) release of jet fuel from an above ground storage tank located on Sand Island Access Road at the Airport Service Group International facility. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A lucrative side contract held by a county employee will end this year, after Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration decided the county should buy its own pumping truck and bring the operation in-house. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island residents are expressing concern about a number of proposed rule changes planned for the state’s medical marijuana program. About 30 people showed up Wednesday morning at the State Office Building in Hilo to hear from state Department of Health officials and share testimony on the plans for the program after its administration was transferred Jan. 1 from the state Department of Public Safety to the DOH. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Judiciary officials say they need more state funding to replace outdated and unsecure Hawaii island court facilities as well as to keep a program that aims to help young children whose parents are suspected of abuse and neglect. Star-Advertiser.

Longstanding security and logistical shortcomings at the Kona Courthouse came to glaring light Monday when detainees in a holding block went ballistic, putting operations in at least one courtroom on hold for an hour. West Hawaii Today.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands plans to meet privately with the Maku’u Farmers Association about the possibility of evacuation, should lava from the June 27 flow make its way to within 1,400 feet of the Popoki Target Area within Makuu Farm Lots. Big Island Video News.

More development is coming to Mohouli Street near Kaumana, though it’s not all starting as soon as the extensive land clearing suggests. Landowners on both sides of the Hilo street between Kaumana Drive and Kukuau Street have been clearing land for the past several months. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa foresees some kind of mass transit system in Maui's future, just not anytime soon, according to his spokesman and Maui County Managing Director Keith Regan, who expanded Tuesday on comments the mayor made to a Honolulu television station the day before. Maui News.

Maui Economic Development Board wants volunteers from the community to share their current and future priorities and values about energy on Maui as part of a project called “MPowerMaui: An Energy Conversation.” Maui Now.

Hawai‘i is seeing a dramatic shift to renewable energy resources driven by electric bills that cost roughly double the national average. Maui Now.

A little fire ant infestation has been discovered in Huelo and at a single property in Haiku - marking the fifth time the invasive species has evaded quarantine and established itself on Maui over the past year. Maui News.

Kauai

County officials are close to wrapping up a multi-million dollar effort to change out lights at park and stadium facilities on Kauai to curtail impacts on endangered seabirds. Garden Island.

Federal funding to combat homelessness will make its way to Kauai via state programs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding 45 Continuum of Care grants for the state of Hawaii, totaling $11.6 million. Garden Island.

Lanai


Lanai residents are frustrated that for now at least, Pulama Lana'i is not going forward with a proposed desalination plant to extract fresh water from saltwater, a decision that has thrown a monkey wrench into the Lanai Community Plan. Maui News.