Thursday, August 20, 2015

Maui telescope protesters arrested, Honolulu mayor plans fence to keep out homeless, Hawaii councilwoman drinks geothermal water, $135M Coco Palms project advances, teachers plan ethics lawsuit, Lanai's Ellison rescues cats, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Prices for Hawaii-grown coffee rose to a record this past season, but growers of the crop statewide produced fewer beans that added up to less total revenue, according to a new report. Star-Advertiser.

State Lawmakers were briefed today on the latest tax collection modernization effort started more than 15 years ago. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii State Teachers Association may take legal action against new educational travel rule. KHON2.

A social investment firm has joined Hawaii Gas in calling on the state Public Utilities Commission to force NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to turn over internal emails about using liquefied natural gas to help power the islands. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii agency wants NextEra Energy Inc., which is proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, to commit to not having any involuntary workforce reductions for four years after the closing of the deal, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Sitting on the Diamond Head bank of Kapalama Canal, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill Wednesday that adds more pressure on the persistent homeless encampment by making it illegal to put anything into the already fetid and littered drainage canal. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Wednesday morning that a one-mile fence will be constructed along the Kapalama Canal from Olomea Street to Kalani Street on both sides of the waterway. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell vetoed a bill Wednesday that would expand the city's ban on sitting and lying down in public to more pedestrian malls. Associated Press.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell vetoed a bill Wednesday that would expand the city's ban on sitting and lying down in public to more pedestrian malls.KITV4.

In a city with a growing homelessness crisis, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell visited an Oahu canal lined with tents sheltering homeless people to sign a bill banning camping on the banks of city-owned streams. Associated Press.

A business deal brokered more than 10 years ago during a clandestine meeting at an Italian restaurant in Hawaii Kai has set the stage for a bitter legal dispute that today embroils a Honolulu rail contractor in allegations of fraud, deception and profiteering. Nan Inc. recently won a $56 million contract to build three West Oahu rail stations. The company, which has taken advantage of federal minority business programs, is at the center of state and federal lawsuits alleging questionable business practices. Civil Beat.

The honu hubbub at the USS Arizona Memorial has been resolved. The famed sunken battleship, a grave for most of the ship’s 1,177 crew members killed on Dec. 7, 1941, was deemed a no-go when the Navy detachment piloting launches to the memorial’s floating dock noticed threatened green sea turtles nibbling on algae near the boat landing, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Chair Ernie Martin urged Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Wednesday to re-evaluate his current effort to find a private company to replace Honolulu’s streetlights with LED lights. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee gave tentative approval Wednesday to a subsidy for recycling companies that would cost taxpayers more than $1.2 million annually, with nearly $1 million going to an Oregon-based scrap metal company. Civil Beat.

Shirokiya Holdings Inc. will more than triple the size of its food court and beer garden when it opens a $35 million Japanese food village next year on the ground floor of the new expanded Ewa wing at Ala Moana Center. Star-Advertiser.

Fans for Ewa schools are courtesy of state Rep. Matt LoPresti’s “Cool Schools 4 Ewa” initiative, which seeks donations from businesses for fans and air conditioners for Ewa schools. Launched Wednesday, the program had already obtained a donation of 54 fans — six of them purchased by LoPresti — with money from an anonymous donation and a discount from City Mill in Ewa Beach. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Ka‘u Councilwoman Maile David has her concerns about tapping geothermal sources for energy, but that didn’t stop her from drinking water allegedly sourced from a geothermal well or spring Wednesday during a County Council meeting in Kailua-Kona. Tribune-Herald.

North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff wants protection of natural and cultural resources to be a foundation of all future planning decisions. West Hawaii Today.

The parent company of Oahu's Castle Medical Center is considering an acquisition of three public hospitals on the Big Island. Associated Press.

East Hawaii’s financially strapped public health care facilities might have a potential suitor in California-based Adventist Health. Tribune-Herald.

A Hilo Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday he doesn’t have jurisdiction in a case seeking a preliminary injunction to halt construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Tribune-Herald.

A woman arrested on Mauna Kea Access Road two consecutive nights last month said her motives have been misunderstood and she intended no disrespect to those attempting to stop the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mountain. Tribune-Herald.

Maui
At least eight people were arrested early Thursday morning as hundreds of protesters attempted to block construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on the summit of Haleakala, organizers say. Hawaii News Now.

Several demonstrators were arrested overnight during a blockade on Crater Road as they encountered a convoy carrying equipment and telescope parts to Haleakala for ongoing construction of the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope. Maui Now.

Demonstrators rallied once again late Wednesday night in an effort to prevent a convoy with parts and materials from reaching the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under construction on the summit of Haleakala. Star-Advertiser.

Less than three weeks after 20 protesters were arrested for trying to block a transport of telescope equipment headed for Haleakala, members of Kako'o Haleakala have planned another demonstration tonight in hopes of stopping another wide-load convoy from reaching the summit. Maui News.

An official with the Global Virtual Studio Accelerator will be providing information today about its efforts to aid the launching of media businesses and projects. Maui News.

Kauai

The $135 million project to redevelop the famed Coco Palms Resort on Kauai came one step closer to becoming a reality after Kauai County officials on Wednesday released the first set of permits needed to begin demolition work. Pacific Business News.

The Kauai County Planning Department received verification from the State Historic Preservation Division that Coco Palms Hui, LLC has met its agency requirements related to the demolition and reconstruction of the Coco Palms Hotel, the county stated in a press release Wednesday evening. Garden Island.

Hanalei Bay’s blue hue has turned a yellowish brown, and state regulators say sediment runoff originating from the upper watershed are to blame. Garden Island.

A Kauai police officer is facing up to five years in prison for allegedly striking a teenage pedestrian with his patrol car while responding to the scene of an accident earlier this year. Civil Beat.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was the featured speaker at the Kauai Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday. Garden Island.

Lanai
Buzzfeed has a fun story about how billionaire Larry Ellison, the owner of Lanai, also owns an animal rescue center on the island. The center is needed, as there are more than 400 feral cats on Lanai. Civil Beat.