Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waterfalls do not make good neighbors, homeless czar's future uncertain, high tech corp seeks neighbor island mentors, more ethics complaints for Mayor Kenoi, Honolulu airport security guards unionize, staff cuts threaten vector control program, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

wikipedia
Maunawili Falls, Wkipedia photo
Maunawili residents are bracing for another busy summer, anticipating an onslaught of visitors by the busload along with local hikers passing through the otherwise quiet neighborhood to get to the Maunawili Falls Trail. Star-Advertiser.

A $740,000 grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give state Department of Health officials a better understanding on the reasons why suicides and other violent deaths happen. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corp. has released a request for proposals in search of mentors to coach technology companies on the Neighbor Islands. HTDC is based in the Manoa Innovation Center and has had difficulty expanding its program outside of Oahu. Pacific Business News.

For all he knows, Colin Kippen will be out of his job in two weeks. Since June 2012, Kippen has been serving as the governor’s coordinator on homelessness, a job overseeing Hawaii’s homelessness response system. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC countered recent community opposition to a second wind farm in Kahuku Wednesday by saying the new turbines will lower electricity bills. Star-Advertiser.

To help ease traffic congestion caused by rail and other construction projects in Central and West Oahu, City Councilman Brandon Elefante has introduced a resolution urging public and private employers to provide some help to employees, including those commuting into downtown from Waipahu and Pearl City. Star-Advertiser.

The city will relocate its bustling Kapalama satellite city hall and driver licensing offices at City Square this fall to the former Sprint building several blocks away on Dillingham Boulevard, city administration officials confirmed Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Board of Water Supply officials told members of a City Council committee Wednesday that they worry a draft plan to make improvements at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility does too little over too long a period of time. Star-Advertiser.

Security guards at Honolulu International Airport voted overwhelmingly to join a Hawaii-based union Wednesday, joining neighbor island colleagues who have already done the same. The union's president said he hopes to negotiate a master agreement to raise the guards' pay and improve what he called “meager” benefits. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi and his campaign manager, who was hired in April to head the Office of Aging, are the subjects of an ethics complaint alleging political favoritism in county hiring. West Hawaii Today.

The nonprofit Hawaii Island Electric Cooperative has retained an investment banker with years of experience with mergers and acquisitions as it continues to explore the idea of public ownership of the Big Island’s electric utility. Tribune-Herald.

Finance Factors is selling its 13,130-acre Koa Forest on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is one of the single-largest privately-owned tracts of old growth native koa trees in existence, for $14 million. Pacific Business News.

Maui

Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu said two police officers "followed what they were trained to do" when they were confronted by a fugitive who shot at the officers before shooting himself following a traffic stop Saturday afternoon in Wailuku. Maui News.

Maui County Corporation Counsel Patrick Wong regularly visits Las Vegas each year, according to the Financial Disclosure Statements he’s filed with the Maui County Board of Ethics. And over the past four or five years, these statements show, his trips to Vegas have clearly been worth far more than the nearly six hours it takes to fly there. In fact, they show that since 2011, Wong has earned somewhere between $500,000 and $1.2 million gambling in Vegas. MauiTime.

Health officials say they couldn’t investigate an increase in mosquitoes on Maui because of a lack of resources. The state Department of Health’s vector control unit suffered severe cuts years ago and we’ve been following the issue since. Vector control handles animals that have the potential to carry disease, from rodents to insects. KHON2.

Kauai

Kauai Bus riders have until the end of June to buy monthly and annual passes before rates go up. Monthly fare prices will increase by $5 starting July 1. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday gave its stamp of approval to new collective bargaining agreements that will raise public employee wages and other benefits by more than $1.3 million in the coming fiscal year, forcing the county to again dip into its reserve savings. Garden Island.

The future is uncertain for tours of one of Kauai’s most famous resorts, as partial demolition of the hotel is pending state and county approval. Bob Jasper, owner of Coco Palms Tour, said he’s unsure how demolition work at Coco Palms Resort will affect his business. Garden Island.

Molokai

A devastating pest known as the coconut mite was recently found on Molokai and now threatens to destroy the island's historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove. Maui News.

Kahoolawe

In one month, the cash-strapped Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission raised about $38,000 to assist with operations through the summer, but the group still is short of its $100,000 goal and may have to reduce volunteer trips to the one-time practice range for the military. Maui News.