Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Native Hawaiian roll published, Ellison Lanai documents to be kept secret, solar subsidies at issue, telescopes opposed on two mountaintops, Kakaako homeless roust nears, 12 nations in trade talks on Maui, Honolulu rail nears milestone, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaiian pounding taro for poi © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has posted online a certified list of 95,690 people of Hawaiian ancestry who could form the voting base to create a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians facing critical health issues have been allotted about $13.67 million through several grants by Congress, according to the groups receiving the funds for fiscal 2016. Star-Advertiser.

A bitter clash over the future of subsidies for rooftop solar systems is pitting former political allies against each other in an emerging public battle. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige has recently been using a family anecdote to illustrate how Hawaii’s government employee pay scale makes it difficult to fill top state jobs. Star-Advertiser.

What Will It Take to Make Hawaii’s Vacant Public Housing Units Habitable? A lack of funds hampers the effort, and even after contracts are awarded, a slow permit process can delay the work. Federal regulations make shortcuts difficult, but Housing Authority officials are looking for solutions. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Has 37th-Best School System in US, Report Says. In a bright note, the report found that Hawaii has the fifth-safest school system. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s longline fishermen are on course to hit their annual bigeye tuna catch limit next week, which means they will have to stop catching bigeye in their most productive fishing grounds west of Hawaii on Aug. 5. Associated Press.

Oahu

No buildings or land have been found to accommodate people who will be removed from an expanding homeless encampment in Kakaako, but the city still plans to start clearing out occupants sometime next month, Managing Director Roy Amemiya told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

The city will not purchase the Hilo Hattie property on Nimitz Highway that had been considered for a “one-stop homeless shelter” for up to 800 people. Civil Beat.

State Homeless Coordinator Colin Kippen is getting ready to leave his position come Friday. KITV4.

A Hawaii Circuit Court judge sided with the government Tuesday in a civil lawsuit that challenged broad interpretations of state law that effectively keep secret many of the discussions behind public policy decisions. Judge Virginia Crandall found that state and local agencies have a legitimate interest in keeping such talks out of public view so as to not interfere with the efficiency of government operations. Civil Beat.

Ansaldo Honolulu and city officials are poised to finally settle their dispute over the cost to change rail’s train configuration. If they do, it would help resolve a deeper, long-running disagreement over the type of train that Ansaldo was originally required to deliver under the largest contract awarded in state history. Star-Advertiser.

Construction on O’ahu’s 6-billion dollar rail transit project is nearing mile 4 of its projected 20-mile route.  Local businesses are being impacted and communities like Waipahu are expressing their concerns. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) is looking to fill a vacancy on its board of directors left by Robert “Bobby” Bunda, who stepped down in May. Hawaii Independent.

Crosswalks are supposed to protect pedestrians, but city officials are concerned that people may be at risk in some older crossings. They're considering whether to remove some mid-block crosswalks on busy roads with several lanes like King Street and Beretania Street. Hawaii News Now.

The State Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting tonight at Mililani Uka Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to talk about work to be done on Roosevelt Bridge. KHON2.

The City and County of Honolulu’s change in its flood hazard ordinance is causing some headaches in the construction industry. Pacific Business News.

A federal lawsuit alleging that eight Honolulu police officers assaulted and arrested two hikers, including a Waikiki entertainer, they had mistaken for suspects in an armed robbery has been tentatively settled out of court. Star-Advertiser.

A city contractor Tuesday completed a weeklong job of removing 21.5 tons of debris from an abandoned Kaimuki house, the target of complaints from neighbors and officials about unsanitary conditions and fire and safety hazards, according to Curtis Lum, spokesman for the city Department of Planning and Permitting. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

It seemed like a good idea at the time. A plentiful workforce created by an economic downturn, coupled with the availability of federal money, inspired the state Department of Transportation to hire a design-build contractor and set aside funding in 2008 for the second phase of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island taxpayers might not have been reimbursed for three of the 164 purchasing card, or pCard, charges an auditor identified as not following Hawaii County’s own policies or possibly violating state law. Tribune-Herald.

Protesters opposed to building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea have remained on the mountain around-the-clock despite an emergence rule aimed at getting them to stop camping there. Associated Press.

The conversation atop Mauna Kea appears to have shifted, at least for now, away from the stalled Thirty Meter Telescope project and toward issues of jurisdiction and Hawaiian sovereignty. Tribune-Herald.

There have been no citations or arrests for violating an emergency rule restricting access to Mauna Kea. However, protesters opposed to building a giant telescope on the mountain continue their around-the-clock presence to prevent construction from resuming. Star-Advertiser.

Ka‘u Learning Academy, the only school to receive a new charter from the state last year, welcomes its first students this morning. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A demonstration planned for Thursday aims to again block a convoy of parts and materials headed to a large telescope under construction on the summit of Halea­kala. Star-Advertiser.

Protesters again will gather at the Central Maui Baseyard in Puunene on Thursday night as parts for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope are expected to be transported to the summit of Haleakala. Maui News.

Trade ministers from 12 nations around the Pacific Rim are meeting on the Hawaiian island on Maui to negotiate a trade pact. Associated Press.

A group of anti-corporate and pro-labor and environment organizations are planning a series of demonstrations against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks taking place this week at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka`anapali, says Sierra Club Hawaii Director Marti Townshend in a July 27 news release. MauiTime.

The Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday voted to defer action for 60 days on a conditional permit for the proposed Kauaula Transient campsite in West Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

Strong reaction to proposed Haena changes. Master plan restricts daily number of visitors, cuts parking in half. Garden Island.

Motorists and residents are advised that the Department of Water work began this week in the median of Kaumualii Highway affecting westbound lanes, east of Uahi Road. Garden Island.

The Department of Parks and Recreation reopened the Kapaa swimming pool Tuesday, two weeks ahead of schedule. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council recently passed a bill requiring negligent adventurers to pay for their rescues. But determining what costs to recover and what sorts of rescues would be included was not so easy. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lanai

A state agency has rejected a request by the Friends of Lanai that would have given the community group access to confidential information on the terms and conditions of an agreement between Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison and Castle & Cooke Inc. regarding a planned wind energy farm on the Pineapple Island. Pacific Business News.