Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hawaii on the Hill in D.C., Hawaiian Electric shareholders vote on sale today, new blood wins teachers union leadership, Thirty Meter Telescope protesters allowed to camp on site, Honolulu homeless sweeps continue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Chamber of Commerce Hawaii
Hawaii on the Hill, courtesy Chamber of Commerce Hawaii
More than 50 companies from Hawaii are converging on Capitol Hill this week for the second annual Hawaii on the Hill event, which kicked off on Tuesday with a reception at Google's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. is hoping to get shareholder approval Wednesday for its sale to Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. after it failed to win the necessary votes at a May 12 meeting. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Industries will hold a special shareholders meeting today. They’ll vote on whether or not to approve the $4.3 billion sale to the Florida-based company NextEra Energy. Hawaii Public Radio.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals might have upheld Hawaii’s law banning government contractors from donating to political candidates. But in reality the prohibition doesn’t do much to curb the outsized influence that businesses have on politics in the Aloha State. Hawaii can’t block individuals from donating their money to political campaigns, even if they own a company that has ongoing contracts with state and local governments. Civil Beat.

Campbell High School social studies teacher Corey Rosenlee, who's led a grass-roots movement to improve teaching conditions at Hawaii public schools, has been elected to lead the powerful Hawaii State Teachers Association, the union announced Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The new leaders of the Hawaii State Teachers Association say they have big plans for changing the way their union tackles some of the toughest education issues in the state. But before Corey Rosenlee, Justin Hughey and Amy Perruso can start addressing problems like teacher retention or school spending, they will have to deal with the divisions caused by one of the most contentious elections in union history. Civil Beat.

NOAA wants to expand its focus and boundaries of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and is currently in the comment period for the proposed expansion – more than 2,000 signed letters have been received opposing it. KITV4.

Oahu

Homeless families in Honolulu are figuring out where to go after the city swept the banks of a canal where they were living in tents. Star-Advertiser.

A day after the homeless encampment along the Kapalama Canal was given notice to pack their belongings, crews moved through to clean up and enforce the city's stored property ordinance -- which officials say is designed to keep public areas safe and sanitary. But just hours after crews cleared the area Tuesday morning, many of the homeless who were camping out here had already returned. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai’i government and social service partners have adopted the national goal to end homelessness for veterans on O’ahu by the end of this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

In early February, officials were worried vast sections of reefs in Kaneohe Bay might be overrun with a fast-moving and deadly coral disease. Now it appears the malady has vanished and, in fact, the disease wasn't even what officials thought it was. Star-Advertiser.

The state is not buying two new ZipMobiles to replace the aging machines that both went down a little more than two months ago, creating a traffic nightmare for H-1 freeway commuters. But the state is greatly boosting the repair and maintenance expenses of the ZipMobiles, after officials admitted not enough money was spent on upkeep in the past. Hawaii News Now.

Caretakers of a historic home that once belonged to King Kamehameha III and Queen Kalama say the historic site is not getting the respect it deserves. The area is off-limits to the public, but that’s not stopping people from using the site as their own playground. KHON2.

Kualoa Ranch in Windward Oahu has plans to expand its operation to the North Shore with a sheep operation as part of a proposed solar energy farm, and a partnership involving cattle with Big Island’s Parker Ranch and Honolulu social impact investment firm Ulupono Initiative, the head of Kualoa Ranch confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Less than two weeks after the city Ethics Commission announced former Honolulu City Councilman Nestor Garcia had been fined $8,100 for ethical breaches, Garcia quit his job as a television reporter at KHON2 effective Friday. Star-Advertiser.

A house of squalor in Kaimuki remains untouched with heaps of trash fouling up the neighborhood. Neighbors are in disbelief, wondering what it takes to get help from anyone in the government. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Despite rules prohibiting camping on Mauna Kea, protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope have been allowed to do so for more than two months, maintaining a 24-hour presence outside the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station. Tribune-Herald.

Organizers of a charter school planned for Ka‘u have scaled back enrollment projections, but they say the project is on track for a July opening. Ka‘u Learning Academy, the state’s only charter school approved this year, plans to use the Discovery Harbour golf course clubhouse as a temporary facility. Organizers have been appearing before the state Public Charter School Commission, the Windward Planning Commission and the Hawaii County Liquor Commission as they wrap up fundraising efforts and attend to the myriad of details associated with turning a golf clubhouse into a school. West Hawaii Today.

The number of cruise ship visits to Hilo Harbor declined in the first five months of 2015 compared with the same time period last year. Forty-eight vessels arrived in port between Jan. 1 and the end of May, according to data provided by the state Department of Transportation. Fifty-seven cruise ships visited Hilo during the same period in 2014. Tribune-Herald.

Lava insurance moratorium lifted. Tribune-Herald.

A talk story session is scheduled at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Wednesday to discuss its draft general management plan, wilderness study, and environmental impact statement. The meeting will be held at the Kilauea Visitor Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Big Island Now.

Maui

Shark attacks are increasing in Hawaii, especially off Maui, and scientists think they have figured out why. A report due to be released next month by University of Hawaii marine biologists basically concludes that a burgeoning recreation industry is butting up against shark-friendly environmental conditions to create a double whammy of sorts, at least for the human population. Civil Beat.

A $7,000 settlement payment to the state is being proposed for Maalaea reef damage that happened when the Ocean Odyssey went aground a quarter-mile northeast of McGregor Point in 2013. Maui News.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening a 15-day public comment period that ends June 25 on the proposed critical habitat designation of 135 species found in Maui County. Maui News.

Kauai

Gov. David Ige channeled his inner-engineer on Tuesday when he summed up his governing philosophy: “It’s about execution: doing the right thing, in the right way.” The governor made the remark at a Kauai Chamber of Commerce luncheon during his first visit to the island since he was sworn into office in December. Garden Island.

A parachute inflated during a test of new technology for landing larger spacecraft on Mars, but it disintegrated immediately afterward, NASA officials said Tuesday. Associated Press.

A Kauai Community College researcher is seven months into the first field experiment studying the potential of ulu (breadfruit) as a major field crop. Garden Island.