Monday, August 31, 2015

Hawaii paniolo cowboys honored, state workers rack up big overtime, Hawaii Health Connector extended, lights in sky likely 1981 Soviet payload, park service to poison Haleakala pine trees, Micronesian center opens, little interest in Hilo university village, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Little cowboys on parade © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Tourism Authority honored four ranches on Thursday for their commitment to perpetuating the state's unique paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, traditions that date back to the early 1800s. Pacific Business News.

A handful of state workers who are responsible for allocating federal funds to county water projects have raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay in recent years, raising concerns that staff has been abusing overtime and sabotaging efforts to upgrade antiquated accounting processes that would make things more efficient. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige isn’t anyone’s idea of a disruptive force, but he helped to shake up the islands’ power elite at the recent 2015 Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summits & Expo at the Honolulu Convention Center. The unassuming governor turned the clean-energy event on its side in his opening-day speech when he made it clear that he intends to help drive a radical transformation of Hawaii’s most critical industry: electricity. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii is likely to extend the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector through October 2016 for $3.3 million, the health insurance exchange’s officials announced Friday at its board of directors meeting. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Board of Education is slated to consider a considerably scaled-back student discipline policy on Tuesday, after delaying a vote on the proposal for more than three months while trying to address the concerns of school principals. Civil Beat.

Many residents across the state observed unusual streaks of light or a “fireball” over Hawaiian skies late Sunday night, raising questions about what it could possibly be. An official with NASA's orbital debris program told Hawaii News Now that based on investigations, the object was likely a Soviet payload -- Cosmos 1315 -- launched in 1981. Hawaii News Now.

A new Hawaii law requires private insurers to cover medically necessary orthodontic work of up to $5,500 for oral-facial anomalies. That brings the Aloha State in line with 16 other states and Medicaid insurance. Star-Advertiser.

Gridiron 2015, put on by Honolulu’s press corps, public relations pros and supporters, poses the question “Is nothing sacred?” And the answer is a resounding “no.”  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has its sights set on establishing 300 acres of pristine forestland near Hawaii Kai as the Pia Natural Reserve Area. The parcel was offered as a donation by interests that include retired car dealer James Pflueger and is home to a variety of rare plants and animals. Civil Beat.

A City Council bill to allot some parking spaces for car-sharing companies passed third reading unanimously and was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell this month. Star-Advertiser.

On Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced plans for the city’s next protected bike lane and future mauka makai routes to establish a grid in urban Honolulu. KITV4.

The first military “gasifier” waste-burning power plant on Oahu — using palms damaged by the coconut rhinoceros beetle as some of its fuel — is expected to be up and running by the end of the year as part of a $20 million Air Force energy “microgrid” demonstration project for the Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A “one-stop center” pilot project that aims to help Micronesians in Hawaii was opened in Kalihi Friday. The center wants to serve as a “central hub” linking Micronesian communities, families and individuals with public services and other resources. Civil Beat.

The Department of Agriculture appears to have won the battle against the little fire ant, one of the world's most invasive species in some Honolulu neighborhoods. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Ka‘u residents angered by a massive solar energy project are changing county law to prevent another of its kind from landing in a residential area. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo hopes to boost interest in plans for its University Village after a request for offers from developers attracted only one applicant. Tribune-Herald.

Lower electricity rates will translate to slightly lower water bills for households that get their water from the county Department of Water Supply. West Hawaii Today.

Plans to redevelop an aged resort area into an educational hub at Kahaluu are making their way through the regulatory process. West Hawaii Today.

Friday afternoon marked the final of three public sessions to review suggestions for a master plan aimed at promoting beautification and improved access to Hilo’s downtown. Tribune-Herald.

Following the August 27 oral arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court in appeal of the state land board’s approval of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit, the appellants and their supporters are feeling positive. Big Island Video News.

Maui

To prevent Haleakala Crater from turning into a pine forest, the national park will be flying helicopters in September and October to 3,000 invasive trees growing on cliffs and terrain inaccessible by foot and spraying a herbicide tree by tree. Maui News.

The Shops at Wailea sold for $342 million earlier this month to a Chicago-based company that has investments worldwide, according to state records. Maui News.

Until recently, the record-setting, nearly $41.8 million sale of a 4.23-acre residential property in Makena has been hush-hush, supposedly shrouded in secrecy and tied up in binding confidentiality agreements. Associated Press.

A&B Properties, Inc. today announced it has completed the sale of an 11-acre site to Lowe’s for the construction of a 167,000-square-foot store at Phase II of the Maui Business Park in Kahului. Maui Now.

Maui Now received multiple reports late Sunday evening of mysterious lights seen over the night skies.

Kaihalulu Beach in Hana is well-known as a dramatic hidden cove of deep red sand and jagged black lava rocks, but getting there can be dangerous. Maui News.

Kauai

The state is accepting public comment until Sept. 8 on plans that would limit daily visitors to Kauai’s Haena State Park. Star-Advertiser.

The Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative is refining an effort that uses low-powered lasers to create a visual "light fence" that helps night-flying endangered seabirds steer clear of power lines and transmission poles. Star-Advertiser.

Ask any beekeeper the worst thing to hit the islands since Hurricane Iniki and they’ll probably tell you this: Varroa mite. Garden Island.

The road to Polihale State Park will remain closed until at least Wednesday while crews work to clear debris from the roadway and repair the first bridge, according to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.