Thursday, January 8, 2015

Police probed on Oahu and Kauai, WWII-style planks may bridge lava flow, salary hikes nixed on Kauai, nene geese close rifle range, no corporate taxes for REITs, Carroll steps down as committee chair, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu police Chief Louis Kealoha on Wednesday dismissed a recommendation issued by four state senators that calls for assembling a team of co-chiefs to run the department. Star-Advertiser.

Four state lawmakers are calling on the Honolulu Police Commission to appoint someone to help Police Chief Louis Kealoha run his department in light of recent events involving his mailbox, a mistrial, his prosecutor wife and her estranged uncle. Civil Beat.

Four state senators say Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha needs help running the department. Hawaii News Now.

A handful of our states senators are challenging Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha. They're questioning whether the chief can do his job alone, or if he needs some help. KITV4.

A Multimillion-Dollar Tax Loophole Bigger Than Ala Moana Center. Real Estate Investment Trusts don't pay corporate income tax in Hawaii, despite benefiting from local infrastructure. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state Rep. Mele Carroll has relinquished her chairmanship of the Committee on Human Services in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Carroll said Wednesday that she asked House Speaker Joseph Souki to reassign the chairmanship because she's having health issues. Associated Press.

Maui Representative Mele Carroll, D–13th District, is stepping down as chairwoman of the House Human Services Committee, according to a news release just sent out from the state House of Representatives communications office. Her reason: undefined “health issues.” Maui Time

A University of Hawaii Cancer Center researcher on Wednesday joined the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology in calling for federal, state and local governments to not only regulate e-cigarettes but also to ban all youth-oriented e-cig advertising and marketing. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
Despite grim statistics, industry representatives remain optimistic for 2015 as Hawaiian Electric Co. begins to approve customers who have been waiting to install rooftop photovoltaic systems. The City and County of Hono­lulu issued 6,554 rooftop solar building permits in 2014, compared with 13,303 in 2013. Star-Advertiser.

A local ice rink is tapping into the sun to keep its facilities cool. Ice Palace Hawai‘i announced the completion of a rooftop solar power project that could cut down their energy bill by 25%. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday voted in favor of borrowing up to $20 million for emergency road projects in lower Puna as the county waits to see how much disaster relief the federal government will provide. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation is considering using the same material that allowed the military to rapidly build airstrips in World War II to reopen Highway 130 if it’s covered by lava. Tribune-Herald.

After an hour-long closed-door session Wednesday, the Hawaii County Council unanimously agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a homeless panhandler who said his civil rights were violated when police officers cited him for “aggressive solicitation.” West Hawaii Today.

A man affectionately known as Hilo's welfare doctor for aiding the underserved stands accused of fraud. But many on the Big Island are rallying to his defense. In September, the state cut off Medicaid reimbursements to Dr. Frederick Nitta, saying he overbilled the program more than $1.2 million when he gave drug screening tests to patients. Hawaii News Now.

The dean of Hilo’s College of Pharmacy plans to remain at the school until the end of the academic year. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui region of the state public hospital system wants to engage in formal talks with Hawaii Pacific Health to address its financial difficulties. Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region and Hawaii Pacific Health must seek the state Legislature's approval to enter partnership discussions and provide solutions. Associated Press.

A Civil Air Patrol plane that had been stationed at Kahului Airport for missions hasn't been on Maui since March, leaving an empty hangar and concerns about providing adequate tsunami and hurricane warnings to remote areas of Maui County. Maui News.

A nesting nene goose has prompted the closure of the rifle range at Maui's Ukumehame Firing Range. The county Department of Parks and Recreation said the goose, a member of an endangered species, was spotted wandering around the rifle range Sunday by a firearms instructor. Star-Advertiser.

Maui’s only public rifle range is temporarily closing after an endangered goose was spotted wandering around the property. A biologist also found a nene nest in the area. Associated Press.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday narrowly rejected a Salary Commission proposal that would have increased the maximum salary limit for 22 department heads, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., County Engineer Larry Dill and County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask. Garden Island.

Police body cameras are getting support, but there are privacy concerns and labor contract issues to deal with before they become a reality. The Kauai Police Department briefed the Kauai County Council Wednesday on the department’s $134,000 request to purchase 142 police body cameras, and the committee said it was in favor of equipping officers with electronic surveillance. Garden Island.

Deadly pedestrian crash involving Kauai police vehicle under investigation. KHON2.

Local dive companies say the state Department of Land and Natural Resources cost them tens of thousands of dollars by implementing — prematurely, and with little or no notification — a new rule requiring businesses to obtain permits for commercial shoreline operations. Garden Island.

Lanai

Life on Lanai: Still a Good Place to ‘Just Be’. On this island, it's the small things that count most toward a good life. Civil Beat.