Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cayetano files FEC complaint on 2012 election, possible measles on Maui, Ige mulls first 100 days, most oppose Ching at DLNR, officials still optimistic about Obama library, snow delays Thirty Meter Telescope construction, laser beam could shine atop Haleakala, Hawaii County changes land purchase rules, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Lawmakers Struggle to Boost Hawaii’s Food Production. The Hawaii Legislature is looking at easing restrictions, reconfiguring taxes and mandating recommendations from past studies to decrease dependence on imports. Civil Beat.

It's the measuring stick that all governors face, the first 100 days of a new administration. It often sets the tone for the years that follow. So what does Gov. David Ige think of his early performance? KITV4.

A controversial nominee is defending his ability to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. In a newly-released questionnaire, Carleton Ching responds to growing concerns about his experience and a potential conflict of interest. Hawaii News Now.

Testimony against Carlton Ching nomination running 9-1. Controversial appointment draws close to 1,000 pieces of testimony. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii fell in its national rank for rooftop solar as residential installations slowed because of Hawaiian Electric Co.'s backlog of system approvals, a new study showed. Hawaii's ranking for residential rooftop photovoltaic installations plunged to fifth in the nation last year from the second spot in 2013, despite 2014 marking the largest year to date for national growth in solar installations and a consistent national increase of home solar across the U.S., according to data from GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media that provides solar market analysis. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials say they remain optimistic Honolulu will end up with at least a part of the Barack Obama presidential library despite recent signs that the president's foundation is working with Chicago to help put its best foot forward. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are on track to add new insurance requirements to the ride­ sharing services Uber and Lyft. The bill, Senate Bill 1280, attempts to address what many see as an “insurance gap.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii's retail trade industry reported sales of $18.9 billion in 2012, according to data recently released by the U.S. Census. Pacific Business News.

Astronomy in Hawai’i generates more than 88 million dollars in revenue for all 4 counties.   That, according to UH Economic Research Organization.   Now, the state also has an opportunity to pioneer in the next generation of space communications technology. Hawaii Public Radio.

An endangered or threatened species listing may be warranted for the common thresher shark, the National Marine Fisheries Service says. West Hawaii Today.

A retired state Supreme Court justice and his wife have endowed a new scholarship at the University of Hawaii's law school. The university announced Monday the scholarship by Simeon Acoba Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Acoba, will go toward tuition payments at the law school, with a preference for students who attended public high schools. Associated Press.

Oahu

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano has escalated his battle against the political action committee that opposed his unsuccessful anti-rail 2012 mayoral campaign by filing a federal complaint alleging campaign law violations by the current chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and others. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is taking his fight with the Pacific Resource Partnership to the Federal Election Commission, and this time he’s dragging U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono into the mix. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers are considering whether to require the University of Hawaii Board of Regents lease or sell the UH Cancer Center campus in Honolulu's Kakako neighborhood. Pacific Business News.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has extended the University of Hawaii at West Oahu's accreditation for seven years and removed a so-called "notice of concern" imposed in 2012 just before the university welcomed students to its new Kapo­lei campus. Star-Advertiser.

Even though it paid $1 million dollars to settle federal criminal charges over one of the Hawaii's worst-ever environmental spills, Matson Inc. still faces a state civil investigation into damages to coral and other natural resources. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s director of planning and permitting is contemplating the creation of a new rural land development standard to make it easier and less expensive to build new homes in rural parts of Oahu. That is among many ideas George Atta is exploring as he ponders ways to address the needs of a growing population without changing Oahu’s urban boundaries. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Department of Labor says a restaurant at Ala Moana Center illegally required servers to share tips while paying them less than minimum wage. The department announced Monday 68 employees at Tsukiji Fish Market restaurant are owed nearly $50,000 in tips and more than $5,000 in back wages. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige will participate in a town hall Thursday with residents of Aiea and Pearl City. It’s set for 7-8:30 p.m. at Pearl Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Frustrated by recent end runs by the Hawaii County Council, the commission charged by the county charter to prioritize public land for open space purchase is tightening the rules. The Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commission on Monday changed the rules to require properties to earn at least 50 percent of the criteria points to be placed on the priority list for purchase. West Hawaii Today.

A Kailua-Kona woman who applied to be a legal clerk for Hawaii County contends she should not have had to disclose her medical history and undergo a physical examination and drug test before she starts the government job. Rebekah Taylor-Failor filed a class-action lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against the county, claiming the county's pre-employment requirements violate her constitutional rights against illegal searches and seizures, and invasion of privacy. Star-Advertiser.

The start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is being delayed by blizzard conditions on the mountain’s summit. Tribune-Herald.

The state is moving forward with plans to construct a much-anticipated science and technology building that will provide enhanced classroom space for middle school pupils in Waimea. The 25,177-square-foot building will provide nine modern science classrooms and laboratories for students, according to a draft environmental assessment released Saturday for the $12.7 million Waimea Middle School project. West Hawaii Today.

The building that has been home to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald for more than six decades is up for sale. The 24,000-square-foot facility, located at 355 Kinoole St. in downtown Hilo, has an asking price of $4.25 million.

The owners of the Hilo Naniloa Hotel are aiming to show off their completed renovations as early as November, nearly two years after they acquired the Banyan Drive hotel, according to plans submitted to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Health officials are investigating a possible new measles case on Maui, but say there are no “confirmed” cases so far for 2015. Maui Now.

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is proposing to develop a $3 million orange laser beam aimed at helping scientists see better through a telescope atop Haleakala. Maui News.

A federal judge will hear arguments over how a lawsuit challenging Maui's ban on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms should proceed while state lawmakers consider bills that could affect the outcome of the case. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway is scheduled to hold a hearing in federal court in Honolulu on Tuesday. Associated Press.

The Department of Parks and Recreation District Permit Offices will be closed for several days in March and the first week of April as the department implements a new software permitting system. Maui News.

Kauai

The public is invited to attend the State of the County address by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. on Monday. The mayor will provide an overview of his fiscal year 2016 budget submittal. Garden Island.

A Kauai County spokeswoman is headed for a new job as community outreach manager for global agribusiness company Syngenta. Beth Tokioka's last day with the county will be Monday. She starts a week later at Syngenta on Kauai. Associated Press.

J Robertson, chair of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, will be the interim director of the Kauai Chamber. Garden Island.