Thursday, April 9, 2015

Honolulu rail to run over burials, Tulsi Gabbard to wed on Oahu, beaches eroding, Kauai pesticide dispute in court, VA delays longest on neighbor islands, Ige, Hirono address Big Island concerns, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Honolulu rail transit map, courtesy HART
Rail workers have reportedly uncovered 14 distinct sets of iwi kupuna, or ancestral human remains, in the path of Oahu's future rail transit line so far. This week island burial leaders endorsed a plan for most of those remains to stay protected where they lie. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is inviting the public to comment on a draft of its updated recreation plan. The department reviews the plan every five years to assess Hawaii's outdoor recreation needs and priorities. The review helps ensure Hawaii is eligible to receive federal grants. Associated Press.

Delays for medical appointments at Veterans Affairs facilities are shorter than the national average across much of Hawaii, but that's not true of the neighbor islands. Associated Press.

The Senate Water and Land Committee, chaired by Sen. Laura Thielen, has set a hearing for 2:45 p.m., April 17, to consider the appointment of Suzanne Case to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Unlike Gov. David Ige’s last nomination for that job, Carleton Ching, this one is expected to clear the committee with ease and go on to pass the full Senate. Civil Beat.

A state House bill that aims to create a regulated medical marijuana dispensary system throughout Hawaii made progress Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

If your state tax refund is taking longer this year, you have plenty of company. The state says processing those refunds is taking longer this year because there are new procedures to prevent tax fraud. KHON2.

Liquefied natural gas, which is scheduled to be shipped into Hawaii in bulk amounts for power generation purposes as a replacement to oil, is not economical for the state, the head of Par Petroleum, which owns Hawaii’s largest oil refinery, told Pacific Business News on Wednesday.

Oahu

Oahu has lost one-fourth of its beaches and of those remaining, about 70 percent are eroding. If state and county officials don’t start working to conserve what’s left of the sandy shoreline, most of the island’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century, say scientists. Civil Beat.

Wedding bells will ring as U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and fiance Abraham Williams tie the knot Thursday at a historic site in Kahaluu. Hawaii News Now.

Relocating Hawai’i’s largest prison is gaining support at the State Capitol.   Lawmakers are proposing land swaps and partnerships to minimize the use of taxpayer money. Hawaii Public Radio.

On Tuesday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 8-2 to advance House Bill 134, which would extend the rail tax by five years, through 2027. It would also limit those tax dollars to building the project; the money wouldn't be used for operations. Star-Advertiser.

Humanity amid the savagery of war demonstrated 70 years ago in the Battle of Okinawa is being re-emphasized by the Battleship Missouri Memorial with a new exhibit on the kamikaze pilots whose suicide runs wreaked havoc on Allied ships late in World War II. Star-Advertiser.
 
Hawaii

The Honolulu-based Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii was cleared of wrongdoing by the Hawaii County Board of Ethics on Wednesday after the executive director apologized for what she called an oversight when she and two other employees failed to register as lobbyists. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii County ethics complaint filed against Mayor Billy Kenoi and Finance Director Deanna Sako over Kenoi's use of his county-issued purchasing card will be handled by the Maui County Corporation Counsel's Office "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest," Hawaii County Corporation Counsel Molly A. Stebbins said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

“I want to take full responsibility of the issues of the government pCard,” Kenoi started off during this 16 and a half minute press conference, shared with us courtesy Hawaii News Now. The press conference was held on April 1, 2015 on Oahu. Big Island Video News.

Gov. David Ige panned state management of the Keauhou aquifer, called for quicker action on federally funded highway projects and praised his most recent pick to head the department that oversees state lands on Wednesday. Speaking at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Ige also explained that he’ll use a weeklong “time-out” on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope to carefully listen to all sides. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono got a firsthand look Wednesday at two major problems facing Hawaii Island’s forests as they stood on a dirt road near Pu‘u Kali‘u in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

The principal of Honokaa High and Intermediate School is under fire from some teachers and parents and is the target of a rare-but-significant class-action grievance filed by the public school teachers' union. Hawaii News Now.

The first phase of construction for 118 Department of Hawaiian Homelands’ units in Kona will take a few months longer to finish than originally expected. The Lai Opua Village 4 Akau Subdivision project in Kealakehe should be complete by September as opposed to this summer, DHHL project manager Jeff Fujimoto said. Fujimoto said the delay is due to the discovery of lava tubes in the area. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A Hawaii Senate joint committee on Wednesday approved an amended House bill that would allow Maui state hospitals to enter a business partnership with a private entity. Pacific Business News.

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce hosts Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu this Tuesday at the Maui Tropical Plantation. MauiTime.

Kauai

A trial is underway in a lawsuit by a group of Kauai residents who are suing a major seed company over genetically modified crop fields they say blow pesticide-laden dust onto their homes. KITV4.

It's all about dust — red dust. That's the focus of a dispute between some Waimea, Kauai, residents and GMO seed producer DuPont Pioneer, the residents' lawyer said Wednesday in opening statements of a civil trial. Star-Advertiser.

Libraries are never out of date, said Lani Kawahara, branch manager at the Kapaa Public Library. Garden Island.