Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Policing the police, rideshare regulations coming, pension fund recovers slowly, Hawaii's not local, waste conversion advancing on Maui, Schatz talks up military, Kauai bared in SI swimsuit edition, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii lawmakers are looking for ways to increase oversight of the state's police officers. Associated Press.

The state is significantly under budget in launching a $1.5 million upgrade that puts data for more than 16,000 Hawaii government workers in a new cloud-based system designed to be tougher for hackers to crack. On Tuesday, Gov. David Ige's office is expected to announce a successful upgrade of the state's ancient Oracle-based system that tracks personnel information including health and retirement benefits for nearly all state workers. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature for the first time is looking to regulate rideshare companies, possibly through the Public Utilities Commission. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, chaired by Roz Baker, spent Monday morning praising Catherine Awakuni Colón, Gov. David Ige’s appointee to head the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The full Senate is expected to take up the nomination soon for final approval. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's largest public pension fund, seeking to make up an $8.58 billion shortfall, posted a 1.7 percent investment gain last quarter to fall further behind its targeted investment return rate for the year. Halfway through this fiscal year, the state Employees' Retirement System fund was up just 0.6 percent, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Monday by Portland, Ore.-based Pension Consulting Alliance Inc. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering bills that would essentially provide a salary, health care and other compensation to those wrongfully imprisoned. Civil Beat.

The deadline to enroll for insurance through the Affordable Care Act is this Sunday. That’s a special challenge for more than 7,500 immigrants from countries of the Compact of Free Association, including Micronesia. Starting March 1st, they’ll lose their Medicaid coverage, and will have to find insurance through the Hawai‘i Health Connector. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill in the Hawaii Legislature would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horns in the state. Bill supporters say more than 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered in 2012. Associated Press.

Some states have far higher percentages of local-born residents, but that doesn't silence the talk about what it means to be 'local' on the islands. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz wants Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, to pay particular attention to Hawaii's strategic importance during a visit by Odierno to Oahu this week. Star-Advertiser.

Editorial: Ethics violations jeopardize trust. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A special state House committee tasked with determining the validity of a petition challenging the residency of Rep. Calvin Say (D, Palolo-St. Louis Heights-Kai­muki) will hold its first meeting Friday afternoon. Star-Advertiser.

With home burglary and auto theft tallies on Oahu falling over the past four years, Hono­lulu Police Chief Louis Kea­loha says this year he will continue to focus on reducing home burglaries while stepping up efforts to improve customer service and domestic violence awareness in the department. Kealoha presented his 2015 plan for the Honolulu Police Department to the Honolulu Police Commission last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of suspected drunk drivers are walking away with no punishment. Thousands of charges are filed every year and it takes up a lot of court time, while often getting nowhere. KHON2.

Energy efficiency efforts at the University of Hawaii at Manoa are paying off with big savings, officials said. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Public comment sought on General Plan. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works and the state Department of Education have applied for the largest shares of some $20 million in federal funding for lava disaster relief, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Star-Advertiser.

A new Department of Hawaiian Home Lands development in Waimea would provide beneficiaries with a cemetery, agriculture space, golf range and equestrian center, according to a draft environmental assessment. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Anaergia Services, the California-based firm contracted to build a state-of-the-art waste conversion facility at the Central Maui landfill, is eyeing Maui Electric Co., the County of Maui, a number of hotels and other consumers as potential buyers of renewable fuels to be produced at the facility once it comes on line in 2018, officials said Sunday. Maui News.

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development has contracted the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawaii to evaluate, develop and recommend broadband access for Maui County, the county announced last week. Maui News.

Maui County Democratic Party Precinct President and former state Board of Education member Mary Cochran died in her sleep Sunday morning, according to a post on the Maui Democratic Party website. Maui News.

Discovering alien civilizations in this generation is possible, and a prototype for a megatelescope that could spot them could be completed in two years, a Maui astronomer says. Maui News.

Declassified documents include Maui UFO report. In 1956, Lahaina woman said she saw object hovering off the coast. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai Police Department issued 3,199 more traffic citations in 2014 compared to the year before. There were 23,407 moving violations issued last year, compared to 20,208 in 2013. Garden Island

The island of Kauai — 22 pages worth — is featured front and center in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2015 edition, which hit newsstands Monday. Garden Island.