Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ige signs renewable energy bills, monk seal pups rescued, telescope 'bullet hole' that wasn't, Honolulu council beefs up staff, Oahu solar farms pending before PUC, parachute fails during NASA test on Kauai, layoffs coming to Kona hospital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii governor's office
Gov. David Ige signs energy bills, courtesy Governor's Office
Hawaii would be the first state to wean itself off of all fossil fuels by 2045 under legislation signed by Gov. David Ige and praised by advocates as groundbreaking for the state and the rest of the world. Star-Advertiser.

The Governor signed four energy-related bills into law today, establishing the state as a leader in renewable sources for power. Hawaii Public Radio.

Press release: Gov. David Ige today signed into law four energy bills, including one that strengthens Hawaii’s commitment to clean energy by directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045. Governor's Office.

Two malnourished monk seal pups were rescued during the latest mission to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by the research ship Hi‘ialakai in its efforts to protect the endangered species. The ship and crew working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration docked in Pearl Harbor on Monday after a 21-day voyage. Star-Advertiser.

Ocean wildlife officials recently started a 21-day mission to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. So far 14 researchers picked up approximately 5,000 pounds of marine debris. KHON2.

Oahu
The Honolulu City Council, which refused to fund seven new affordable housing positions, has doubled the number of staff that report to Chair Ernie Martin since he took the helm five years ago. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is taking steps to close down the controversial hiking trail known as the Stairway to Heaven. The BWS plans to spends $500,000 on an environmental assessment and other studies to figure out the best way to remove the Haiku Stairs, a 3,922-step trail in Kaneohe that goes up into the Koolau mountain range. Civil Beat.

The seven major solar energy projects on Oahu total more than 200-megawatts and which have been put on hold are not dead just yet, the head of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission told Pacific Business News.

The bulk of solar farms pending before the Public Utilities Commission are in Central Oahu, so the delay on a decision on the projects caught the firms by surprise. KITV4.

A federal agency says workplace safety violations led to the deaths of two workers at Pearl Harbor last December. Associated Press.

Hawaii

By no later than Aug. 1, 34 positions at Kona Community Hospital will be eliminated, and the hospital will shut down its 18-bed skilled nursing unit. Administrators at the 94-bed hospital in Kealakekua announced the cuts Monday morning as part of a plan to patch a $6 million hole in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. West Hawaii Today.

No, the Subaru Telescope didn’t take a bullet. Saeko Hayashi, a spokeswoman for the Mauna Kea observatory, said Monday morning that an approximately 9 mm hole in a metal door at the telescope was caused by it hitting a bolt sticking out from an intake manifold next to the side entrance. Tribune-Herald.

Turns out what appeared to be a bullet hole in the door of the Subaru Observatory on Mauna Kea is not a bullet hole after all. Star-Advertiser.

Reports of a “bullet hole” found in the door of the Subaru Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea have been dispelled. The observatory has “confirmed a match between this hole and an intake manifold cover on the wall”, which indicates no guns or bullets were involved in creating the hole. Big Island Video News.

Ohia Disease on Big Island Poses Threat to Native Forests Statewide. Foresters are scrambling to figure out how the disease is spreading and how to stop it. Civil Beat.

Tourism is once again expected to be the main economic driver on the Big Island over the next few years, with hotel rooms plentiful and bargain-priced, compared to Oahu. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Gov. David Ige is expected to sign a bill Wednesday authorizing the Maui region state hospitals to begin discussion on implementing a private-public partnership. Pacific Business News.

It should surprise no one that County of Maui Managing Director Keith Regan is running for office. MauiTime.

The Maui AIDS Foundation has been awarded $1.4 million in federal funds to provide rental assistance to lower-income people who are suffering from HIV/AIDS and their families. Maui News.

Kauai

A parachute failed during a NASA test of new technology for landing larger spacecraft — and eventually astronauts — on Mars, the agency said Monday. The parachute deployed but failed to inflate, Kimberly Newton, a spokeswoman for NASA, said in an email. The agency plans to provide more details during a news conference on Tuesday, she said. The parachute appeared to disintegrate in a video of the test. Associated Press.

NASA and Pacific Missile Range Facility employees raised their eyes to the sky and smiled Monday as they watched the successful launch of NASA’s new “flying saucer.” Garden Island.

Michele Davis and her family have cruised on Hanalei’s Black Pot Beach every summer for the past decade, but the Kilauea native said the atmosphere at Black Pot has “definitely changed” in the past five years. Garden Island.

Molokai
A California energy firm hopes to make Molokai the first Hawaiian island to achieve the state's clean energy goals of 100 percent renewable energy. Maui News.