Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Waikiki beach erosion worries Hawaii tourism officials, agency head seeks Medicaid audit, Senate deadlocked on Ching confirmation, Maui dancing definition unclear, affordable housing bill advances, urine test at issue in ACLU lawsuit, lack of notice on Oahu racetrack bill irks opponents, Trans-Pacific Partnership spurs protests, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Winter waves have eroded more of Waikiki Beach this season, worsening a chronic problem that state officials say will take millions of dollars to combat over the next decade. Star-Advertiser.

They're calling it an "erosion hotspot." The Department of Land and Natural Resources say a rare weather condition is what's causing erosion at parts of Waikiki Beach. KITV4.

The 25-member state Senate appeared deadlocked Monday over the confirmation of Carleton Ching to lead the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Some sources place the count at 12 to 12, with one senator's stance unknown and with a few senators likely to flip-flop before this week's expected vote. Star-Advertiser.

When Hawaii’s 25 state senators decide whether to confirm Gov. David Ige’s nomination of Carleton Ching as head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the vote will likely be as much about inside politics as personal convictions. Civil Beat.

The new director of the state Department of Human Services is requesting an audit of her agency's $144 million Medicaid eligibility system, known as Kolea. Star-Advertiser.

A House panel passed a bill to provide more affordable housing for working families and Hawaii’s most vulnerable, calling for general obligation bonds that would be used to develop homes including micro-housing units. Associated Press.

A state House panel passed a bill to provide more affordable housing for working families and Hawaii's most vulnerable, calling for general obligation bonds that would be used to develop homes including micro-housing units. Star-Advertiser.

A proposed law that would make it illegal for state employees to take any official action that might directly affect a business that their extended family has a financial interest in will have a tough time clearing the House. Civil Beat.

Last Thursday House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke requested—and the Speaker granted—a waiver of the 48-hour notice requirement for an agenda that included a giveaway of $100 million in bonds to unabashedly promote a motorsport center on parkland determined eligible to be declared a National American Battlefield by the National Park Service. Disappeared News.

A controversial brand of alcohol could be headed to Hawai'i this summer, if state legislators don't outlaw it. It's called Palcohol -- a powdered form of alcohol meant to be mixed into water. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Removing asbestos and lead paint from the second-floor offices of the Honolulu City Council could cost taxpayers $50 million or more — and that's without any additional cosmetic work, the city buildings chief told the Council Budget Committee last week. Star-Advertiser.

City officials will host a transit-oriented development meeting at Aloha Stadium on Tuesday to discuss future development in Halawa along Oahu's rail line. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Mayor Caldwell, Save Ala Moana Park for the Regular People. It's a bit disconcerting when high-priced consultants are hired to consider ways to rejuvenate the park, even if the local residents are being told they're in charge. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

On Saturday, protesters lined the Queen Kaahumanu Highway outside the Waikoloa resort, where delegates were reported to be behind closed doors, negotiating the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This feature story explores what is known about the TPP – mostly gathered from document leaks – and how the proposed economic treaty has had a connection with Hawaii from the beginning. Big Island Video News.

Protesters of Trans-Pacific Partnership lined Queen Kaahumanu Highway near Waikoloa Beach Road. The Aloha Aina “Day of Action” against TPP and for home rule, sovereignty, democracy and transparency was held Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

A Kailua-Kona woman suing Hawaii County over its pre-employment medical examination policy started her job as a legal clerk Monday after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the county from requiring that she submit a urine sample. Tribune-Herald.

A federal judge says a woman who moved to Kailua-Kona from Oregon to accept a job with the Hawaii County prosecutor does not have to provide a sample of her urine before she can start work. Star-Advertiser.

School resource officers will be added to Waimea and Keaau middle schools by the new school year, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. West Hawaii Today.

Thieves stole almost $10,000 worth of tents, equipment and tools late last week from the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery, leaving supporters at a loss as they plan for their traditional Memorial Day services. West Hawaii Today.

The Big Island Press Club has awarded its annual Lava Tube dishonor to Scott Nago, the state’s chief elections officer, for “lack of communication” during the 2014 primary election. Civil Beat.

Maui

The Hawaii state Legislature is considering a bill that would force all the county Liquor Control departments to define “dancing.” Known as SB 868, the bill was introduced by 14 state Senators including Maui’s own J. Kalani English, Roz Baker and Gil Keith-Agaran. MauiTime.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa took an optimistic view in his state of the county address last week. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Maui County Land Use Committee will review the proposed Downtown Kīhei Project on Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber. Maui Now.

Merchants in Lahaina's historic district have mixed feelings about updated sign guidelines recently approved by the Cultural Resources Commission that are awaiting Mayor Alan Arakawa's signature. Maui News.

The Lahainaluna High School boarding program that began 179 years ago will continue next school year, despite declining enrollments and reductions in programs and funding in recent years, according to a state Department of Education official. Maui News.

A federal judge sentenced the owner of an Asian food market on Maui to a six-month jail term Monday for taking from her employees back-overtime money owed to them and for lying to the U.S. Department of Labor about it. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will admit that the County of Kauai was in a tough place last year. Reserve funds were low. The county’s share of the transient accommodations taxes was capped for the third consecutive year. Garden Island.

Major shifts will take place over the next month within Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration as some longtime county employees retire and new ones join the ranks. Garden Island.

The redevelopment of the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is, in a way, not about architecture, but more about respecting and bringing back the culture and history of the iconic resort, the architect for the project told Pacific Business News.