Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hurricane Ignacio strengthens, Hawaii schools last in nation for ACT scores, ethics charges cast pall over Honolulu rail vote, Supreme Court to hear Thirty Meter Telescope case today, Maui council forgives $4M homeless shelter debt, Waikiki beaches reopen after sewage spill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Ignacio 5 a.m. Thursday, courtesy National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Ignacio is quickly strengthening in waters east-southeast of Hawaii and is forecast to track toward the state. The National Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. Thursday, Ignacio was located approximately 1,135 miles east-southeast of Hilo. It had maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Ignacio could become a Category 3 hurricane by Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii saw a slight increase in the percentage of high school students meeting college readiness benchmarks on the ACT last year, but still posted the lowest average composite scores in the nation, according to a report released Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Amid sweeping educational reforms aimed at better preparing Hawaii’s public school graduates for college, the state’s average ACT composite score improved only slightly last year to 17.5, trailing the national average of 21 out of 36, according to results released Wednesday for the national college entrance exam. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time, the pool of money set aside to pay for health coverage for Hawaii’s future state and county retirees climbed to more than $1 billion in July, but fund managers didn’t have much time to savor that achievement. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor spending in Hawaii last month rose 4 percent to $1.42 billion, compared to a year ago, as arrivals grew 6 percent, the strongest month on record, putting the state on course according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa is demanding that the city either stop funding the $6 billion rail project or have the City Council vote again on measures that have been called into question by the Ethics Commission. The issue stems from former Council members Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia paying fines to settle cases brought by the commission for voting on bills and resolutions involving rail without first divulging possible conflicts of interest. Star-Advertiser.

Officials building Honolulu’s $6 billion commuter rail line thought they got a good deal when a local contractor submitted a construction bid for three stations in west Oahu that came in lower than expected. Then, after being awarded a $56 million Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation contract, Nan, Inc., apparently had second thoughts about doing the work and has since tried to wriggle out of its obligations. Civil Beat.

One of Hawai‘i’s most popular beaches is back in business. Honolulu city officials announced the reopening of Waikīkī and Ala Moana Beach after test results revealed nearshore waters were no longer contaminated. And while the beaches were closed for two days, tourism officials are hopeful it won’t impact the image of Hawai‘i as a visitor destination. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ala Moana Beach Park and Waikiki Beach reopened Wednesday after test results indicated near-shore waters were never affected by sewage gushing into the ocean from Monday’s monster rainstorm. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell admits that mistakes were made and the city should be more prepared for the storms to come this hurricane season. KHON2.

U.S. Air Force researchers will develop a microgrid demonstration project for renewable fuel sources at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam under a new $20 million agreement announced today by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Civil Beat.

Nearly 100 Oahu residents gathered Tuesday to listen to a developer make his case for 51 wind turbines to be moored in the ocean 12 miles northwest of Kaena Point. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that his leadership team worked with a group of service providers to relocate about 10 percent of homeless people who were living at the encampment in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

Hawaii
Hawaii's Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments today in a case involving building one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea. Associated Press.

Lanakila Mangauil and the foundation for kapu aloha. Part two of our profile on Joshua Lanakila Mangauil examines the origins of the kapu aloha, a Hawaiian philosophy of non-violence and respect that the Mauna Kea defenders are using to deflect development advances on the sacred mountain. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County residents applying for building permits during the past two months might have found the process to come with less red tape than usual. In an overhaul of the permit review process, the county as of July 1 instituted a new three-tier classification system that allows nearly half of applications to be expedited and began pre-screening applications to weed out those that are faulty and incomplete. Tribune-Herald.

Ohia trees and products may no longer be shipped off the Big Island in a new state effort to keep a deadly fungus from spreading into forests on other islands. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council agreed Tuesday to forgive a loan of more than $4 million to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, saying the action would do more good than harm and would be for the "common good." Maui News.

The Maui County Council approved on first reading Tuesday a bill to allow roadside stands, farmers markets, agriculture retail structures and food establishments as accessory uses in the county agricultural district. Maui News.

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

Hawaii Pacific Health and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii submitted their proposals Monday afternoon to privatize public hospital facilities in Maui County, said Wesley Lo, chief executive officer of the Maui Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui News.

Kauai

On Kauai, visitor numbers reached as high as 115,666 last month. While that wasn’t an island record, it is the largest influx of visitors in recent years. Garden Island.

Not your typical classroom. Tucked away in the lush North Shore landscape, Kauai Community College satellite gives farmers, others easy college access. Garden Island.