Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Former DLNR chairman Aila to be deputy Hawaiian Home Lands director, Green Party missed vote requirements, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell's state of the city today, rail transit board planned political strategy in secret, new doctors for Maui, Steve Case, Pierre Omidyar plans unveiled in book, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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A legislative panel has recommended that the state Senate approve Gov. David Ige's nominees to lead the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs on Monday approved Jobie Masagatani to remain as the department's director and chairwoman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, over the opposition of some key groups that represent Native Hawaiians. The panel also approved William Aila, who until recently was chairman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, to be her deputy director. Associated Press.

David Ige says he was caught by surprise when President Barack Obama singled him out early during remarks Saturday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Green Party will have to step up its game if it wants to continue fielding candidates beyond the 2022 election, according to the state Office of Elections. The office found the Green Party last year did not meet the voting threshold set in state law to continue qualifying as a political party after 10 years. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii's public education system has a difficult time recruiting experienced technology workers to support the state's schools, and the Department of Education is now backing a bill at the Legislature to allow high-tech employees to move more freely from one employer to the next. Star-Advertiser.

A program that allows retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm is drawing controversy at the state Capitol. The program is based on a federal law adopted in 2004. The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, or LEOSA, allows for active and retired officers to carry a concealed firearm. KHON2.

The state Senate is reviewing two bills that would grant county mayors the power to fire police chiefs and require more qualifications for police commissioners. Garden Island.

Bill aims to tighten access at public housing properties. KHON2.

The 12 countries involved in a proposed Pacific-Rim free trade initiative will convene a chief negotiators’ meeting in mid-March in Hawaii, sources close to the matter said on Friday, as they scramble to secure a deal by the end of this spring. Japan Times.

This week marks the start of the 3rd Annual Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Week. In observance, state agencies and private partners working to rid the islands of these damaging species are highlighting 10 particularly bad offenders. Maui Now.

Opinion: Being Black in Hawaii Is Something Few People Talk About. It has been my experience that some black people will attempt to find alliances with non-white people when they come to Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Hawaii and Annexation. A student from Hawaii queried the judicial firebrand about the way the U.S. took formal control of the Islands. He got an answer. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Using the Foster Botanical Garden as his backdrop, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to emphasize park improvements Tuesday morning during his third State of the City speech. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell will deliver his third annual State of the City address on Tuesday at 8 a.m. at Foster Botanical Garden. It’s an invitation-only event, as was the mayor’s first address in 2013. Civil Beat.

An announcement on a new Honolulu zoo director, the unveiling of the city's first hybrid electric bus and progress on how the city is battling Oahu's homeless problem are among key topics Mayor Kirk Caldwell will address in his State of the City speech Tuesday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Newly released records show top Honolulu rail officials were pumping state lawmakers for money before telling the public the project was over budget and facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall. The documents describe what was said during a Dec. 18 closed-door meeting between the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board of directors and city attorney Gary Takeuchi. Civil Beat.

Mililani Uka Elementary School teacher Jana Fukada, 32, was named a recipient of the Milken Educator Award, a national honor that recognizes excellence in education and comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Star-Advertiser.

The National Park Service is suggesting historic designation for a larger area of the Dec. 7, 1941, Ewa Field battlefield, which would help preserve the site and stave off development plans, said John Bond, a proponent of the measure. Star-Advertiser.

The Army in Hawai’i is in the midst of completing another environmental study related to Makua Valley, the military’s live-fire range on O’ahu.  Hawaii Public Radio.

The Navy's public ceremony at Pearl Harbor will have African-American history and heritage as its theme this month. The ceremony will be held at the Pearl Harbor visitors' center at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is moving forward with plans to demolish one of Oahu's most sought-after hikes. On Monday, the Board approved a $500,000 budget to study the demolition of Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: It is remarkable that while public open space in Honolulu is increasingly threatened by development, a beautiful new public park has quietly sprung up in the heart of the urban core. This is the new Fort Ruger Pathway on the exterior backside of Diamond Head crater along Diamond Head Road. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A 3rd Circuit Court judge heard arguments Monday on the dispute regarding whether Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd is qualified for the position she has held for the past three years. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has issued a finding of no significant environmental impact for the second phase of improvements to Kekaha Kai State Park. The finding, released Monday, says a full environmental impact statement isn’t needed because of the minor nature of the expected improvements. West Hawaii Today.

Two lanes will be available for Pahoa-bound motorists on Highway 130 near Keaau during peak hours as early as today, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Three doctors have joined Maui Memorial Medical Center's new outpatient clinic in Maui Lani, a welcome sight for Maui County as residents cope with a shortage of doctors. Maui News.

More competition in Central Maui is one reason the Salvation Army's Kahului Corps will close its Family Store in Kahului on Saturday, an official said Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

Grove Farm once planned to build resorts along Kauai's South Shore, but heavy community opposition nixed those plans, according to a new book about one of Hawaii's largest landowners. Grove Farm, which is owned by AOL founder Steve Case, instead opted to partner with Ulupono Initiative, eBay founder Pierre Omdiyar's investment firm, on a dairy farm project near the existing Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort in Poipu. Pacific Business News.

The county is considering a plan to transform the vacant Nawiliwili Bulk Sugar Building into a self-storage facility and recycling center for construction materials. Garden Island.

A former county public works employee claims his dismissal was due to race, age and disability. Amadeo Dullaga, 65, was hired as a temporary assignment markings crew lead supervisor for the county on May 1, 1996. He was seeking a full-time permanent supervisor position when his job was terminated on Sept. 9, 2013. Garden Island.

Rental units are still available in the new Rice Camp Senior Apartments on Hoala Street behind the Lihue fire station. Garden Island.

Molokai

More than a decade after Molokai veterans first began the process to build their own center, the Kaunakakai building is only one step away from being complete, veterans said Monday. Maui News.