Thursday, August 13, 2015

Weakened Tropical Storm Hilda misses Hawaii, movie-watching government employees hogging state bandwidth, gay father sues Department of Education, high marks in lobbyist disclosure, Maui condos face rising tides, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Hilda 5 a.m. Thursday, courtesy Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Hilda is weakening as it picks up speeds and moves westward on a track that takes its center just south of the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

Tropical Storm Hilda was in no hurry — dawdling just southeast of the islands Wednesday, sluggishly making its way west, nearing Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

The state is pulling the plug on employees who watch Netflix, Hulu and other online video services on their work computers. Officials are blocking certain video services on the state network after discovering that public workers are “monopolizing a significant portion of our state’s available Internet bandwidth” by using media streaming services during work hours, Todd Nacapuy, chief information officer at the Office of Information Management and Technology, wrote in an Aug. 11 internal memo intended to be distributed to more than 20,000 employees in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Star-Advertiser.

The Sunlight Foundation on Wednesday released an update to its state lobbying disclosure report card, which has evaluated each state on disclosure of lobbyist activity and compensation, expenditure transparency, expenditure reporting thresholds and document accessibility. Hawaii earns a B grade. Civil Beat.

Special Education is Backsliding in Hawaii, Teachers and Advocates Say. Despite increases in funding and numerous efforts at reform, students with disabilities are falling farther behind their mainstream peers. Some say the downturn started when federal court supervision of the state system ended. Civil Beat.

Unbearably hot classrooms prompted Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, to suggest the "heat days" idea. Around the country, some districts such as Denver Public Schools canceled school during extremely hot days and adjusted their calendars to minimize heat in the classroom. Associated Press.

A Kalaheo High School science teacher has been measuring the hot temperatures in his un-airconditioned classroom since public school started last month and found it was108 degrees there Monday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

Auto sales revved up 7.7 percent in the second quarter in the isles and are projected to finish the year 4.3 percent ahead of all of 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is unlikely to create a state tax credit for consumers who buy electric vehicles, the head of the state’s Energy Office confirmed to Pacific Business News this week.

Hawaii’s largest law enforcement agencies will soon be carrying all new firearms, but one got a much better bargain than the other. KITV4.

Neal Milner commentary: ‘Shady Characters’ Tell a Spicy History of Hawaii. Veteran reporter Jim Dooley’s new book recounts his coverage of the state’s darker side — political scandals, crime and corruption. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. are locked in a dispute with Hawaii Gas over what the state's only regulated gas utility says is the two companies' inability to produce documents or sufficiently answer questions related to the Florida-based energy giant's $4.3 billion acquisition of the state's largest utility. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii-based Blackhawk Security is watching you, medical marijuana dispensary hopefuls — for your own good, he hopes. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The man who admits using Australian professional golfer Robert Allenby’s identification and credit cards still isn’t saying how he got them. Circuit Judge Glenn Kim on Wednesday handed down the five-year prison sentence spelled out in Harbison’s plea agreement. Star-Advertiser.

Angus Mitchell, son of the late hair styling tycoon Paul Mitchell, is known for his support of conservation efforts in Hawaii. But the part-time Diamond Head resident finds himself in the cross hairs of his neighbors and the state Land Board over the alleged misuse of public lands. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii historically has the highest electricity and gas prices in the nation. But steep drops in both of those categories left Honolulu’s inflation barely discernible during the first half of 2015 and on track to finish at its lowest level since 2009. Star-Advertiser.

Paramedics, police and sheriff’s deputies are spending a lot more time answering emergency calls at the Kakaako homeless encampment, handling everything from psychiatric cases to assaults. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A gay father of two filed a lawsuit last week claiming East Hawaii public schools failed to protect his boys from bullies who targeted them because of their dad’s sexual orientation. Tribune-Herald.

On Friday, August 14, the Board of Land and Natural Resources will be meeting at its board room to discuss the lawsuit Ching v. Case, regarding the pollution and environmental damage at the Pohakuloa Training Area  on the Big Island. The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Land and Natural Resources breached its public trust duties by failing to ensure that the military complies with the terms of its lease with the state. Hawaii Independent.

Changes are coming to the Ulu Wini Housing Project, and many residents are worried about rising rents and cuts in services. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Beaches fronting nine condominiums in Kahana are quickly eroding and could be gone in a couple of decades with waves already crashing into first-floor units and swimming pools. Maui News.

Hospital and state administrators intend to select either Kaiser Permanente Hawaii or Hawaii Pacific Health as a partner for Maui's three public hospitals by the end of next month, officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

In a study of 300 nene birds, starvation was the leading cause of death, followed by trauma from vehicle strikes and predators, along with diseases, according to U.S. Geological Survey officials who published their findings last month. Maui News.

The 128 single-family home sales in Maui County in July was the highest monthly total since the 131 sales in March of 2007 in the days before the Great Recession, Realtors Association of Maui data show. Maui News.

Kauai

One week after the Kauai County Council voted 4 to 3 to repeal the island’s barking dog ordinance, Council Chair Mel Rapozo made good on his promise to start a discussion about possibly replacing it with a comprehensive noise ordinance. Garden Island.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe
was retained as judge for 5th Circuit Court. Garden Island.