Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Monk seal population to grow, NextEra promises $1B in benefits from Hawaiian Electric purchase, Honolulu media target homeless woes, rail contract nears, inspections lacking at home care sites, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaiian monk seal at rest © 2015 All Hawaii News
Federal fisheries authorities want to more than double the small population of endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the state’s main islands. Authorities on Tuesday released a draft management plan for the endangered species, of which approximately 200 live in the main Hawaiian Islands. Associated Press.

Federal regulators want to more than double the small population of endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the state’s main islands. Garden Island.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company looking to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries, said Tuesday the deal will result in $1 billion in customer savings and economic benefits over five years. Star-Advertiser.

The state’s consumer watchdog agency gave a thumbs-down Monday to the proposed $4.3 billion merger of Hawaii Electric Companies and Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. Tribune-Herald.

The state of Hawaii is expected to sign a major agreement with Korea’s leading energy technology institute later this month to collaboratively work on test projects in the state, including a packaged battery system for residential homes, the head of Hawaii’s energy office told Pacific Business News Tuesday.

Unlike in many other states, Hawaii does not mandate unannounced inspections as part of its annual certification process for community care foster family homes. Officials have the authority to make unannounced visits, but say limited resources often prevent them. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has appointed Lisa Victor to serve as the new chief operating officer for its 170-person state agency. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Safety concerns are so bad in and around the Kakaako homeless encampment that the state Department of Public Safety, which oversees state sheriff’s deputies, has hired a private security company to guard its nearby offices. Star-Advertiser.

As of this week, there’s a new sense of order on the ground floor of the Kakaako building that houses scores of state workers from the departments of health and public safety. KITV4.

More than half of O’ahu’s single unsheltered homeless live in the urban core according to January’s point-in-time count.   There are also an unspecified number who are not counted by social service providers and are the undocumented homeless. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Honolulu Police Department has rolled out a new fleet of vehicles aimed at catching drivers who break the law. KHON2.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration has emailed a questionnaire to 530 Oahu residents to ask them to help the city decide on a color for the Magic Island pathway. The choice is between bright blue favored by the mayor and the brownish-red color traditionally seen on running tracks and tennis courts. Civil Beat.

Opposition, dismay and resignation. That was largely the sentiment of North Shore residents responding to the first public presentation of a plan to carve up the historic 2,700-acre Dillingham Ranch into a subdivision for 106 homes tenuously connected with fruit orchard, horse and cattle uses. Star-Advertiser.

In an effort to fuel job creation and address traffic congestion, James Campbell Co. officials are embarking on a $50 million project to widen and reconstruct Kalaeloa Boulevard in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday marked the deadline for groups interested in building the next stretch of rail guideway and stations to put their names in the running. But project officials say they can’t yet disclose who — or  how many parties — responded. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County officials will dedicate a new playground Monday at the Mauna Kea Recreation Area. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A new Maui County ordinance allows the placement of signs, posters and nontransparent materials on vehicle side windows and rear windows that don’t obstruct the driver’s view of the road, West Maui Councilmember Elle Cochran announced today. Maui Now.

Maui County Liquor Commission discusses new dancing law on Wednesday, Aug. 12. MauiTime.

The Maui Visitors Bureau hopes to attract more "never been" travelers from the East Coast and other regions of the Mainland this year. Maui News.

Construction is underway on the long-anticipated Bath & Body Works store at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Maui News.

Kauai

Roy Oyama is a humble man. Oyama, who will be recognized for his achievements in agriculture and the Kauai County Farm Bureau, was inducted as a Kauai Museum Living Treasure in 2005. Garden Island.