Thursday, June 4, 2015

Audit slams Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu Council overrides mayor's homeless bill veto, micro units coming to Kakaako, Hawaii County advance $99.8M bond issue, Molokai to upgrade hotels, NASA launch a go, Maui police busted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Homeless in Honolulu © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Honolulu City Council overrode Mayor Kirk Caldwell's veto of an expansion of the ban on lying and sitting on sidewalks to new areas outside of Waikiki and Chinatown Wednesday. Wednesday's 6-to-3 vote in favor of overriding the veto means homeless camps in Kalihi and near Aala Park may be torn down. But Caldwell is worried the new law is unconstitutional and could cost the city pricey legal fees. Hawaii News Now.

On Wednesday, Honolulu Council members voted 6-3 to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s recent veto of Bill 6. The measure expands the city’s so-called “sit-lie” ordinance,” which bans sitting and lying down on certain public sidewalks. The Council override makes the measure law. Star-Advertiser.

State auditors sharply criticized the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii for “complacency and weak planning” and failing to meet its broader mission to the state, in a report released Tuesday. RCUH, a public agency that operates independent of the university, was founded by the Legislature in the 1960s to help the university compete for research grants — in part by making the corporation exempt from a number of state procurement laws. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii National Guard is holding the largest disaster preparedness exercise in its history with more than 2,200 participants from multiple states responding to a simulated hurricane and other events across Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui and Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

How Island Appeal Adds to the Nation’s Highest Rents. When it comes to rents and real estate, the state's middle class can't compete with the endless pool of people who want to move here. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City Council members voted Wednesday to adopt a $2.3 billion operating budget that did not include funding for seven positions that Mayor Kirk Caldwell insists are crucial to providing housing for the homeless. Star-Advertiser.

The state’s first micro housing project in Kaka’ako with 300 square foot units received a green light today from the Hawai’i Community Development Authority. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii agency regulating development in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, has chosen New York’s Bronx Pro Group LLC to build a low-income rental project that will include smaller, efficient units such as micro-units. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Congressional delegation announced Wednesday that Honolulu International Airport will receive $16.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. KHON2.

Repairs to the damaged dock of the USS Arizona Memorial have been taking longer than expected, which will delay the reopening of the Pearl Harbor landmark at least a day, the Navy and National Park Service said. Associated Press.

Navy and National Park Service officials say repairs to the damaged dock of the USS Arizona Memorial are taking longer than expected, which will delay the reopening of the Pearl Harbor landmark at least a day. Associated Press.

Just 22 percent of newly created jobs in urban Honolulu pay the local living wage of $23,480. That means we are 142nd on the list — just nine slots from the bottom. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

There’s going to be a whole lot of construction going on. The county is poised to increase its bond debt 28 percent to complete a flurry of improvements to parks, roads, sewers and garbage facilities following a unanimous vote Wednesday by the County Council. West Hawaii Today.

A mile-long, 60-acre swath of invasive albizia trees threatening power lines in Piihonua has been eradicated just in time for the start of hurricane season. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Fire Department this week is wrapping up a five-week training in which ocean safety officers are learning to use rescue watercraft — commonly called Jet Skis — to save lives here. Fire officials plan to have the watercraft deployed on two beaches — Hapuna and Pohoiki — in time for this summer’s hurricane season and the peak water recreation time. West Hawaii Today.

Residents of a little town 4,390 miles away have collected $17,586.55 to help the residents of lower Puna who were threatened by the recent lava flow. The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday accepted the money that was wire-transferred to county coffers by Mayor Masamichi Miyawaki of Yurihama Town, Tottori Prefecture, Japan. West Hawaii Today.

An unusually wet May helped make up for a dry start to the year on some parts of Hawaii Island. Three areas along the windward slopes of the Big Island, including Piihonua, Hakalau and Honokaa, recorded their highest May rainfall totals since 2006, according to data provided by Kevin Kodama, senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A finding of no significant environmental impact has been issued for Lokahi Pacific's 16-unit Mokuhau affordable housing project. Maui News.

Two Maui Police personnel busted for DUI, flashing. MauiTime.

Maui police have initiated five cases connected to a Police Department employee who callers said was exposing himself in a vehicle in the Pukalani Terrace parking lot and in the Hannibal Tavares Community Center parking lot on Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Albert Perez, one of the founders of Maui Tomorrow, has been selected as the organization's new executive director. Maui News.

The Maui Tomorrow Foundation has chosen Albert Perez to take over the environmental non-profit organization from Irene Bowie, who announced her retirement a couple months ago. MauiTime.

Kauai

Following two days of delays, NASA’s Low Density Supersonic Decelerator test flight has been cleared for launch Thursday at Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility. Star-Advertiser.

The Kauai County Council finalized its $182.2 million budget on Wednesday without making any changes to the version that was previously approved in committee. The council also finished work on a controversial B&B permit bill, approved the long-debated Lihue Community Plan, and started work on a new proposal to help the county recoup some of the costs incurred from conducting search-and-rescue operations. Garden Island.

Molokai

Molokai Ranch is planning to redevelop and reopen two hotels it owns on the island, to help spur economic development on the Friendly Island, the mayor of Maui County, which includes Molokai. Pacific Business News.

Molokai’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove has stood for more than a century. However, recently residents have begun to notice the deteriorating health of the coconut trees. Scattered among the healthy palms are a number of dead trees, their tall trunks ending abruptly in leafless stubs. Not only are the lifeless trees an eyesore, but the cause of their death is an increasing concern within the community. Molokai Dispatch.
Lanai

The Maui County Council Planning Committee has made significant revisions to the Lanai Community Plan that members hope will assuage residents' concerns about development on the island owned by billionaire Larry Ellison. Maui News.