Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Honolulu rail on track, Ige vetoes eight bills, Tongan, Micronesian and Native Hawaiian students most likely to be suspended, Hawaii council chairman takes lobbyist's gifts, Kauai police settle sexual harassment case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit
Honolulu rail project, courtesy HART
Rail leaders gathered Tuesday to tout progress on one of the most complicated and dramatic maneuvers needed to complete Oahu's rail transit system, but they also acknowledged that construction is taking its toll on many businesses in Leeward Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

O’ahu’s 6-billion dollar rail transit project marked a major milestone today as construction moves toward Pearl City. Hawaii Public Radio.

There’s a bit of relief when it comes to construction of the city’s $6.2 billion rail project. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced Tuesday, the elevated guideway for the driverless train has crossed all of the westbound lanes of the H-1 Freeway near the H-2 merge.  KITV4.

Gov. David Ige vetoed eight bills Tuesday, including measures that would have created a new crime of sex trafficking and allowed University of Hawaii graduate students to unionize to bargain for better pay and working conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has followed through on his previously announced plans to veto eight bills. That includes measures to combat sex trafficking, allow University of Hawaii graduate students to unionize and clarify the order of succession for lieutenant governor. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has vetoed a total of eight bills passed during the 2015 legislative session, including one that would have doubled the monetary value of retail goods that suspected thieves can steal before they are charged with a felony. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has vetoed a bill that would have created a victim-centered approach to combating sex trafficking in Hawaii, citing concerns that changes to the law could make it more difficult to prosecute pimps, a claim that advocates for sex trafficking victims dispute. Associated Press.

A bill to establish Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary system will become law at midnight Tuesday, without Gov. David Ige’s signature. Pacific Business News.

Opinion:  What killed Hawaii’s sex trafficking bill? A step in the right direction toward combating sex trafficking in Hawaii has been torpedoed by some of the very people trying to end the exploitative practice; the evidence points to internal political squabbling as the reason.  Hawaii Independent.

In 2013-14, Tongan, Micronesian and Native Hawaiian students were suspended at four times the rate of their Japanese peers and were twice as likely to be suspended as white and Filipino students. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has been awarded an $8.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a press release from Hawaii’s congressional delegation. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Waikiki Neighborhood Board and community members applauded state Rep. Tom Brower on Tuesday, his first appearance at their monthly meeting since an attack by homeless youth on him during a walk though the growing Kakaako encampment last month. Star-Advertiser.

Tackling the homeless issue in Kakaako requires a coordinated response by various landowners and government agencies, Gov. David Ige said Tuesday at the Hawaii Publishers Association's quarterly meeting. Star-Advertiser.

Just four months after Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson said he wouldn’t agree to allowing a new residential community at Malaekahana, City Council Chair Ernie Martin has introduced a planning document that would permit 875 homes in the area despite opposition from community groups like the Defend Oahu Coalition. Civil Beat.

Environmentalists are calling it one of the worst cases of stream pollution they've seen in years. A new report says that a 1,000-foot long drainage canal that runs from Barbers Point Beach Park to Island Recycling's Kapolei facility is heavily contaminated with lead, arsenic and petroleum products. Hawaii News Now.

It was a packed house Tuesday night as hundreds showed up at a town hall meeting to discuss the future of Maunalua Bay. KHON2.

Hawaii

County Council Chairman Dru Kanuha accepted $536 worth of airfare from unregistered lobbyists while sponsoring a bill benefiting them, according to gift disclosures filed with the county Board of Ethics. West Hawaii Today.

Gov. David Ige on Tuesday signed the new emergency rule that prohibits camping and restricts public access on Mauna Kea, the site of ongoing protests against the Thirty Meter Telescope. Ige said in a statement that the rule, which will remain in effect for 120 days, gives the state an additional tool to keep the road safe for all. Tribune-Herald.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo soon will fly the U.S. and Hawaii state flags at equal heights following protests late last year from students and community members. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply finds that there will be no significant impact from a proposed water production well in North Kona, even though its located in the contentious Keauhou Aquifer. Big Island Video News.

A Hilo native who has run for Congress multiple times announced Monday his plans to run for Mayor of Hawai’i County in 2016. David “Kawika” Crowley, 64, said he will be setting up an exploratory committee in the upcoming weeks to secure his decision, but is confident he’ll be running next year. Big Island Now.

Maui

Maui County Council members will consider Thursday whether to authorize the settlement of two multimillion-dollar tax appeal cases, both involving wind farm companies alleging that the county improperly assessed their properties by including the value of wind turbines and towers as part of the tax assessment. Maui News.

Skippy Hau, an aquatics biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources has dedicated much of his career to studying the life cycles and movements of fresh water fish, shrimp, and snails. Maui Now.

Although 10 million gallons of water per day has been returned to Iao Stream since October, it is hard to tell so far if more freshwater species are flourishing, said Skippy Hau, an aquatics biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui News.

Kauai

An audit of Kauai County’s payroll system found a lack of proper documentation, overpayments, and process flaws that create the potential for fraud. Garden Island.

The Kauai Police Department will pay $100,000 to settle a case alleging retaliation against a police sergeant who claimed she was sexually harassed. Garden Island.

Lanai

A fishpond on the coastline of Lanai that is believed to be 800 years old is being restored this summer by children and adults. Associated Press.

A fishpond believed to be some 800 years old is being restored on the eastern coastline of Lanai by children and adults and will hopefully encourage future stewardship of the island's forgotten cultural resources. Maui News.