Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hawaii low in greenhouse gas emissions, seven schools to get free lunch, monk seals to be vaccinated, Ethics Commission mulls class trips, Maui Council considers water plan, UH research brings in $425M, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Rep. Cynthia Thielen
Hawaii Rep. Cynthia Thielen with hemp, file courtesy photo
University of Hawaii researchers are poised to start their first harvest of industrial hemp in Waimanalo, while crop advocates explore opportunities to tap into the multimillion-dollar demand for the plant’s products in the United States. Star-Advertiser.

The status of future educational trips for Hawaii’s public school students remains murky following a marathon meeting of the State Ethics Commission on Wednesday. More than half of the nearly four-hour meeting was devoted to attempts to solve a messy clash between several provisions of the ethics code that applies to state employees, including teachers, and the Department of Education’s goal of encouraging educational trips to complement, extend, and broaden classroom experiences. Civil Beat.

A new pilot program launching next week at seven Hawaii public schools will provide lunches free of charge to more than 1,600 students regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Star-Advertiser.

Educators were asked this week to identify measurements of achievement for young Native Hawaiians in the coming decade. The answer had nothing to do with standardized test scores. Civil Beat.

External funding for research and instruction projects at the University of Hawaii surged to more than $425 million in the recently completed fiscal year — a jump of $33 million or 8.5 percent over last year and the first increase after three consecutive years of funding declines, UH officials disclosed Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is in the bottom half of rankings in the United States when it comes total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

NOAA Prepares for Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Models to mitigate coastal hazards related to climate change. New research using wave modeling helps explain the effects coral reefs have on preventing coastal hazards like flooding.  Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

The state Department of Health is issuing a $1.1 million fine against the Department of Education and several companies over the alleged dumping of toxic soil from Radford High School. Hawaii News Now.

Major metal recyclers on the island would once again enjoy a substantial discount in disposal fees under a plan making its way through the Honolulu City Council despite objections from Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s Council chairman on Wednesday proposed the city consider using some of the hundreds of millions of dollars from a five-year rail tax extension to help Oahu businesses hard-hit by rail construction. Star-Advertiser.

Population growth and concerns over crime have prompted some residents and officials to call for a greater police presence on the Leeward Coast. Star-Advertiser.

The state agency regulating development in Kakaako has acknowledged that its rule governing the opaqueness of glass on new condominium towers may need to be modified to achieve a better balance between reflectiveness and energy use. Star-Advertiser.

A Bloomberg analysis has found that Honolulu ranks fourth among American cities that lost the most residents between July 2013 and July 2014. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu city council committee has approved a settlement in a lawsuit filed against the city by a Waipahu man who claimed he was beaten by an off-duty police officer. Hawaii News Now

The Hawaii Community Development Authority finalized an amended development permit Wednesday requiring construction to start on the moderate-priced 988 Halekauwila condominium tower in Kakaako before an initial luxury tower can be occupied at Ward Village. Star-Advertiser.

Owners in the Royal Capitol Plaza condominium tower in Kakaako have dropped their lawsuit challenging a state permit for a tower under construction next door. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state land board has agreed to consider on Aug. 14 a request for a contested case hearing, which seeks to reverse a recently approved emergency rule limiting access to Mauna Kea. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County is among the lengthy list of parties urging the Public Utilities Commission not to approve the proposed $4.3 billion merger of Hawaii Electric Industries to Florida-based NextEra Energy. Tribune-Herald.

The State Historic Preservation Division has given the state transportation department a green light to break ground on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Hundreds of Upcountry residents have waited a decade or more for a water meter. And in recent years a lucky few have been offered a meter by the Department of Water Supply, but there's been a catch - the staggering cost of paying for fire protection improvements required to connect with the municipal water system. Maui News.

A substance abuse treatment center on Maui was ordered to pay an estimated $45,000 in back wages, damages and penalties to employees for violating the federal fair labor standards act, according to the Department of Labor. Maui Now.

Kauai
It looks like the barking dog ordinance could be repealed. A 4-3 committee vote Wednesday signaled that Bill 2590 will succeed on final passage if the sides hold when the council meets Aug. 5 to decide its fate. Garden Island.