Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ige opposes Hawaiian Electric/NextEra deal, medical marijuana permits to be fast-tracked, Honolulu rethinks ethics policy, neighbor island lawmakers' allowances studied, homeless sweep planned, pay-as-you-throw trash deal considered, Maui mulls surf spot land buy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NextEra Energy
Gov. David Ige said Monday he is opposed to NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaii’s largest electric utility and is recommending the state Public Utilities Commission reject the deal. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative has — for the first time — urged state regulators to seriously consider the cooperative model as an alternative to the proposed merger of Hawaii Electric Industries with Florida-based NextEra Energy. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative, which formed earlier this year to explore the possibility of cooperative utility ownership, is in the process of doing a 10-year financial analysis to quantify the potential savings of this type of business model, one of its co-founders said Monday. Pacific Business News.

State health officials say they’re looking to streamline the application process for medical marijuana patient cards — which some local physicians say is unduly burdensome — ahead of the first pot dispensaries to open in Hawaii next year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii taxpayers write a check every year to neighbor island legislators for more than $400,000 to cover expenses the lawmakers don’t have to account for. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks in the middle of the pack nationally in child well-being, with almost all keiki covered by health insurance but many families burdened by housing costs, according to the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu educator has been appointed director of the Executive Office on Early Learning. Star-Advertiser.

If a child’s classroom gets extremely hot, should they remain in class? The new leader of the Hawaii State Teachers Association says they shouldn’t, and believes education officials should consider canceling school when the heat is unbearable. KHON2.

Opinion: Nearly eight months into Gov. David Ige’s tenure, it’s clear that the low-key technocrat’s deliberative, slow-to-judgment approach is serving Hawaii well in most cases. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Hawaii Fails the Elderly When It Cuts Long-Term Care Services. The looming cutbacks at state-run nursing homes have residents worried. And mainstream hospitals may have cause for concern as well. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu Ethics Commission is poised to rescind a controversial media policy one month after passing it. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission may backtrack on its recently adopted news media policy that prohibited Executive Director Chuck Totto and other staff members from interpreting or commenting on the commission’s decisions and advisory opinions. Civil Beat.

The administration of Mayor Kirk Caldwell has refused to renew the contract of the city Ethics Commission's only investigator, bringing some politically sensitive ethics cases to a halt at the end of June. Hawaii News Now.

The mayor and governor have agreed on a plan to shut down the huge Kakaako homeless camp and move its residents to a managed 'safe zone' elsewhere in the area. Hawaii News Now.

State officials are gearing up for a major sweep of homeless camps next month and the focus will be on the growing shanty towns that have sprung up on state land under control of the transportation department. KITV4.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is moving forward with a joint federal-state plan to manage Hawai’i shorelines. The current draft is creating quite a stir in Hawai’i Kai. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu’s only construction and demolition debris facility could run on 100 percent renewable energy, including solar and biofuel, by 2017, the landfill’s general manager confirmed to Pacific Business News this week.

Hawaii

Would people recycle more if they had to pay to throw out their trash? That’s a concept the County Council Environmental Management Committee is scheduled to discuss Thursday, under Bill 32, sponsored by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille. West Hawaii Today.

A huge business opportunity has opened up in the commercial core of Kailua-Kona, with the proposed sale of the 243-acre West Hawaii Business Park, along with the option to include any of 14 nearby parcels. West Hawaii Today.

After 17 months in operation, Hospice of Hilo’s Hawaii Palliative Care Center has closed its doors and begun restructuring after having financial trouble. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui County Council included in the current budget a $3 million appropriation to buy almost 268 north shore acres overlooking the famed "Jaws" big wave surfing site, but Mayor Alan Arakawa said last week that it'll actually cost the county more than $10 million to acquire the oceanfront land. Maui News.

It's been six years since the state established the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area in north Kaanapali, and experts say key species of herbivores, such as parrotfish (uhu), rudderfish (nenue), surgeonfish and urchin, have shown signs of recovery. Maui News.

Kauai
The nonprofit whale conservation group Kohola Leo — Hawaiian for “whale’s voice” — will host a feature film night at Kapaa Library at 7 p.m. Friday. The event is free and open to the public. Garden Island.