Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hawaii Island under tropical storm watch, University of Hawaii to ban teacher-student romance, consumer advocate opposes Hawaiian Electric/NextEra deal, homeless czar named, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Hurricane Hilda storm track, Central Pacific Hurricane Center
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Big Island of Hawaii as Hurricane Hilda continues on a path toward the state. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Consumer Advocate Jeffrey Ono believes that the proposed $4.3 billion NextEra Energy, Inc. merger with Hawaiian Electric Industries is not in the public interest. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy on Monday filed testimony recommending state regulators reject NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co., saying the Florida-based energy giant has failed to prove that the sale will result in significant benefits to consumers. Pacific Business News.

The Division of Consumer Advocacy of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs filed Monday its Direct Testimony recommending that the Public Utilities Commission  reject the $4.3 billion NextEra Energy, Inc. – HECO Companies merger as proposed. KHON2.

A panel of University of Hawaii faculty and staff from UH campuses around the state are putting the finishing touches on a proposed policy to make it clear that romantic and sexual relations between faculty members and their students are prohibited. Current UH policy warns against faculty-student romantic relationships but it does not ban them. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The size and makeup of the Kakaako homeless encampment continues to fluctuate as state, city and federal officials work to figure how — and when — to start clearing out the first groups of people, Gov. David Ige said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige announced his selection of Scott Morishige to be his next coordinator on homelessness Monday, while a legislative leader raised the possibility of emergency state funding to address the problem. Civil Beat.

The city has widespread support among Oahu residents to ban people from lying or sleeping on city sidewalks, but not so much when it comes to sweeping the homeless and taking their possessions. Star-Advertiser.

State transportation and public safety officials planned an early Monday morning crackdown on illegal campers who settled under and around the airport viaduct. But the Governor's Office pulled the plug on the enforcement action-- initially with no explanation. KITV4.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit experienced another fiscal shortfall, recently, when General Excise Tax surcharge revenues in the latest quarter fell $8 million short of projections. That brings rail’s total tax deficit to $39 million. Hawaii Independent.

The Honolulu Museum of Art is suing a San Francisco art collector it is paying $80,000 per year for the rest of his life — $890,000 so far — for five pieces of Southeast Asian art. Star-Advertiser.

Hooters, one of the original four tenants that remained at Aloha Tower Marketplace throughout Hawaii Pacific University's nearly $50 million renovation, has filed a lawsuit against the Honolulu-based educational institution, alleging breach of contract and claiming that the construction hurt the restaurant's business significantly. Pacific Business News.

On Monday, Dillingham Ranch representatives held a meeting to tell the community about its plans to build nearly 100 homes on the ranch, then put them up for sale. KITV4.

O’ahu real estate prices continue to climb, achieving sales volume equal to peak levels experienced a decade ago. Hawaii Public Radio.

Living Hawaii: Why Are Honolulu Rents Getting More Expensive? Housing costs — the greatest expense in most people’s lives — are poised to continue their rise in the coming years. What’s true on the mainland may be even more true in the islands. Civil Beat.

Hawaii
Electric vehicle owners will have another place to plug in by the end of the year. And they can pay their taxes while they’re at it. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is mulling two possible routes for the first phase of the Nani Kailua road extension, a makai-mauka connector road between Alii Drive and Hualalai Road. West Hawaii Today.

The search for a new dean at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy has begun, but it could take until the end of the 2015-16 academic year, which has yet to begin. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui Ocean Center plans to release six juvenile green sea turtles into the open sea later this month to continue their life in the wild. Maui Now.

The Outlets of Maui is planning to expand, proposing to construct five one-story buildings in a portion of its parking lot at the West Maui mall site along Front Street. Maui News.

Kauai

A riverbank stabilization project is underway with the goal of returning the Hanalei River  back to its original form by restoring the 100-foot section of eroded stream bank located on state land above the Hanalei Wildlife Refuge. Garden Island.