Monday, June 29, 2015

Federal grants threatened as state road projects lag, Ige to list possible vetoes today, charter school sued over prayers, Hannemann returns as tourism chief, sea cucumbers protected, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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After years of delays on major Hawaii transportation projects, Federal Highway Administration officials are warning the state they may yank funding for new highway projects unless the state streamlines its plodding, bureaucratic system and moves roadwork into construction more quickly. Star-Advertiser.

Fallout from the state's backlog of federally funded highway projects will affect Hawaii motorists for years as the state Department of Transportation halts work on some complex, large-scale projects that would increase road capacity and ease traffic flow. Star-Advertiser.

As Gov. David Ige continues working on which bills he will approve or veto from the 2015 session, a key lawmaker says the Legislature is unlikely to override any vetoes once the list is published. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers sent more than 200 bills to Gov. David Ige last spring but he still has to decide what he’s going to do with nearly half of them. Legislation to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, authorize the counties to levy a surcharge on the General Excise Tax and make it easier for someone to change their birth certificate so it aligns with their gender identity are among the 114 bills pending action by the governor. Civil Beat.

Land board members heard from Native Hawaiians who say even though they worry about how their cultural gathering rights will be affected, they support this temporary ban on the taking of sea cucumbers. KITV4.

Mufi Hannemann has been appointed president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, a position he previously held after serving as Honolulu's mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

On an island that many people think of as paradise, the struggle for residents to get to school or to work in crushing traffic gridlock is a daily part of life. Associated Press.

Honolulu rail transit officials are reminding drivers about overnight road closures this week on Fort Weaver Road for rail guideway construction along Farrington Highway. Hawaii News Now.

What will Chinatown look like in the next few years? That was the question posed at Saturday’s Chinatown Action Summit. KHON2.

Hawaii

While the 1-year-old June 27 lava flow hasn’t threatened populated areas since March, geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continue to study samples that might help fine-tune projections if it sends another 2,000-degree river of molten rock toward homes in lower Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Motorists driving the Queen Kaahumanu Highway near Waikoloa on Sunday morning saw hundred of runners streaming along the makai shoulder of the roadway and along Waikoloa Beach Drive. But for the first time in years, West Hawaii drivers weren’t having to adjust their course and travel times for the Kona Marathon. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Repeated floods have eroded Iao Stream's channel bed and levees over the past three decades to the point where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing new structures and stream diversions to protect surrounding homes and businesses. Maui News.

Kauai

A charter school employee in Kauai files a civil rights complaint over what he says is the practice of forced prayer on campus, illustrating the complex relationship between culture and spirituality at many of the state’s Hawaiian-focused schools. Civil Beat.

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved a Kauai Police Department request to purchase a package deal that includes more than 100 body cameras and 100 Tasers worth just under $180,000, using money from the KPD asset forfeiture fund. Garden Island.

When the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands begins consolidating its electric grid with $30 million in federal funding earmarked for the project, it’s Capt. Bruce Hay’s hope that alternative energy will be part of the solution. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s governor never planned to get involved in politics. In 1985, David Ige was 28 and working as an electrical engineer in the private sector, with no thought of ever running for elected office. Garden Island.

Molokai

A proposed 6-mile fencing and management project in the Waikolu Valley and Pu'u Ali'i Natural Area Reserve will be discussed at an informational meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Kalanianaole Hall on Molokai. Maui News.