Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hawaiian monk seal protections expanded, Maori visit Mauna Kea, more gay tourists sought, Big Island Roundup ban bill yanked, Laniakea barriers coming down, Maui home sold for $41.8M, state mental health hospital due $150M in upgrades, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA
Hawaiian monk seal and pup, courtesy NOAA
The federal government expanded the critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals by 7,000 square miles Tuesday, a move aimed at preventing the declining species from going extinct. Civil Beat.

Federal officials are expanding protections for Hawaiian monk seals around portions of the main Hawaiian Islands in an attempt to help save the species,  which is believed to number only about 1,100 and is declining at a rate of about 4 percent a year. Star-Advertiser.

The National Marine Fisheries Service today issued a final rule protecting nearly 7,000 square miles of critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals, a species considered among the world’s most endangered marine mammals. Maui Now.

Federal regulators have issued a final rule geared at protecting 7,000 square miles of critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals, one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals. Garden Island.

Dozens of tourism officials are meeting today in Waikīkī to discuss LGBT travel in Hawai‘i. Hotels, tour groups, and local businesses are hoping to better promote the islands as a destination for the gay market. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii's the new state health director, Dr. Ginny Pressler, plans to ask the Legislature for $150 million next session to build a state-of-the-art forensic facility at the Hawaii State Hospital to add more beds, specialized care and better equipment. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education is planning to beef up the number of investigators tasked with reviewing cases of employee misconduct later this month, one of several initiatives aimed at streamlining a process that can currently drag on for up to a year. Civil Beat.

The Department of Education has placed 43 employees on leave during an investigation into alleged misconduct. Associated Press.

Hawaii had the fewest non-fatal injuries from firearms in 2010 in a comparison of 18 states, including California, New York and Florida, a new study shows. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Nearly $40 million has been invested in a $200 million plan to revitalize farming in Central Oahu by providing farmers with land, water, housing, packaging and shipping facilities, one of the plan’s major stakeholders said. Pacific Business News.

State transportation officials have until Monday to remove the barriers that have blocked parking at Laniakea Beach, according to the coalition of North Shore community members and activists that sued to bring them down. Star-Advertiser.

As they do every workday, a maintenance crew cleared scores of sidewalks structures and personal belongings Tuesday as the city continued enforcement actions that hit the homeless in areas throughout Oahu where they congregate. Star-Advertiser.

City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga hopes to preserve and promote industrial uses along the rail transit route through a bill that seeks to offer real property tax incentives. Star-Advertiser.

The number of photovoltaic permits issued by the City and County of Hono­lulu rose 47 percent as they continued reversing a trend that had seen permits fall for two years in a row. Star-Advertiser.

A controversial bill imposing noise restrictions on pet birds in residential zones was shelved by a Honolulu City Council committee Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The city says it has finished counting the number of trash and recycling bins throughout Oahu. It’s a process that took more than eight months. KHON2.

University of Hawaii West Oahu Chancellor Rockne Freitas is retiring at the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

A combination of restaurant and shopping options could be replacing the Macy's store in Kailua in Windward Oahu after it closes down in early 2016, the head of Alexander & Baldwin Inc.'s subsidiary's Kailua operations confirmed to Pacific Business News.

On Tuesday, local companies wanting to get their products on the shelves at military commissaries showed up at the Hawaii Prince Hotel to hand out their samples. KITV4.

Hawaii

A bill aimed at finding alternatives to Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and other non-organic weed killers was facing certain death Tuesday at the County Council Environmental Management Committee when it was swiftly uprooted by sponsor Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille. West Hawaii Today.

After struggling to come up with a definition of “public purpose,” and in the absence of key players, the County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday postponed a bill to tighten rules governing county purchasing card policies. West Hawaii Today.

A new ad hoc committee will tackle road connectivity in Puna. The County Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation discussed the finalization of the committee during an 11 a.m. meeting Tuesday in Kona. Big Island Now.

Big Island Video News caught a glimpse of a special cultural exchange at Pu’u Huluhulu on Monday. Participants say 250 visiting Maori ʻohana from Rotorua, Aotearoa shared song and chant with a large group associated with the Ku Kia’i Mauna movement.

How Lanakila Mangauil came to Mauna Kea. The first installment of a three-part profile of Joshua Lanakila Mangauil, based on interviews conducted over several weeks. Hawaii Independent.

Maui

A 6,737-square-foot home on more than four acres in Makena sold for close to $41.8 million in what may be a record for a residential real estate sale on Maui. Pacific Business News.

To ease Maui's pet overpopulation problem, the Maui Humane Society has begun a mobile clinic program that recently spayed and neutered - for free - more than 1,050 dogs and cats in nine days. Maui News.

Kauai

Two dozen kayak tour operators pored over hydrology maps with state officials Tuesday in hopes of determining why Uluwehi Falls, the crown jewel of the Wailua River kayak tour industry, has dried up. Garden Island.

Molokai

A Hawaii energy consulting firm and its finance subsidiary plan to develop a microgrid project for the only slaughterhouse on Molokai, the firm told Pacific Business News.