Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Public reacts to whale sanctuary plans, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell returns budget without signature, Ige discusses Japan trip, Big Island shuts down Section 8 waiting list, some Kauai Bed and breakfasts could close, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA
Humpback whale breaches, courtesy NOAA
Federal officials have collected more than 3,000 written testimonies about proposed changes to the humpback whale sanctuary. Anne Walton, the sanctuary’s program analyst, said staff members for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will spend the coming months sorting the testimonies and replying with general responses based on the subject matter addressed in the comments. Garden Island.

Gov. David Ige took his first international trip to Japan last week, and spent his time during the three-and-a-half day visit meeting with tour companies and airlines, as well as the prime minister of Hawaii’s largest but struggling international market for visitors. Pacific Business News.

Gov. David Ige says Japan is Hawaii's most important source of foreign tourists, and his recent trip there was intended to solidify that relationship. Associated Press.

Unlike most states, where charter schools are registered as private companies or nonprofit corporations, charters in Hawaii are state agencies. That means the state may be responsible for debts if the school closes. Civil Beat.

TPP opposition grows in Hawaii. Coalition of labor, environmental, Native Hawaiian, farmer, and social justice groups urges bold opposition to “fast tracking” the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu
Mayor Kirk Caldwell allowed the city's $2 billion operating budget and related bills to become law without his signature Monday and then criticized the Hono­lulu City Council and Chairman Ernie Martin of funding pet projects, apparent bureaucracy building, and overstepping their authority. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell refused to sign off on several budget bills Monday, saying he had too many problems with City Council meddling. Caldwell also didn’t sign the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s operating and capital budgets for similar reasons. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu’s major budget bills are being returned to the City Council without the Mayor’s signature.   The city’s chief executive has not signed previous budgets. Hawaii Public Radio.

Rail officials are calling it a milestone. They are planning to announce a new phase of construction Tuesday, which could greatly impact those who live and work in Waipahu. KHON2.

A new partnership between the University of Hawaii-West Oahu and a nonprofit that offers science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum programs will open the door for more students to gain valuable skills in fields where jobs are expected to grow over the next several years, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

A Kahaluu woman said an off-duty police officer arrested for trespassing outside her home got special treatment because he was charged with misdemeanor offenses. Hawaii News Now.

DLNR is using Facebook and Twitter as well as YouTube and vimeo.com to post an informational video called “Sacred Falls — Don’t Risk Your Life, A Fine, or Jail.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Struggling with a waiting list of more than 7,000 applicants, Hawaii County has given notice that, beginning July 10, it will stop taking applications for the federally subsidized rental assistance program commonly known as Section 8. West Hawaii Today.

Earlier this year, Mayor Billy Kenoi told a group of business leaders he was working on a plan to improve Hilo’s dilapidated Banyan Drive area. As for what it is, he and his staff have chosen to remain silent. Tribune-Herald.

Supporters of a West Hawaii shooting range haven’t given up on their longtime dream, even as the project seems at a standstill more than three decades after first being envisioned. West Hawaii Today.

Construction of the Pahoa roundabout will begin by the end of the year and possibly by the end of summer, according to a state Department of Transportation spokesman. Tribune-Herald.

A pernicious fungus is wiping out native ohia trees on Hawaii island, prompting scientists to work on ways to prevent its spread to other islands. Star-Advertiser.

Work on a new restroom facility at the Hawaii County-managed Mauna Kea Recreation Area has been completed. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Opinion: I love it when a news story explaining a meaningless press release that hasn’t even been sent out yet. On June 20, The Maui News reported that Maui Police officials said during the June 17 Police Commission meeting that the department’s body camera study–in which 10 volunteer officers wore cameras donated by Taser–is effectively over. In fact, it apparently ended about six weeks ago. MauiTime.

Kauai

ILEAD Charter School co-organizer Deena Fontana Moraes and supporters made their case before the Hawaii State Charter School Commission on Friday. Garden Island.

Tougher regulations could force some bed and breakfasts on Kauai out of business for good. KITV4.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, formerly known as State Civil Defense, together with Kauai County Civil Defense Agency will conduct siren testing on Wednesday. Garden Island.