Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hawaii State Hospital revamp planned, no ho‘oponopono for Mauna Kea protesters, Thirty Meter Telescope fight costs University of Hawaii, Maui candidate files campaign spending complaint Pacific Resource Partnership, ACLU loses bid for restraining order against homeless sweeps, weather brings pumpkin shortage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy asylumprojects.org
Hawaii State Hospital, courtesy asylumprojects.org
The Hawaii Department of Health is planning to overhaul the state’s psychiatric hospital in Kaneohe — more than doubling the number of beds and installing tighter security — in light of hundreds of reported assaults by patients against staff in recent years and a sharp increase in the number of people being committed to the facility. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Hospital would more than double its capacity while improving employee safety under an updated master plan unveiled Tuesday, health officials said. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Health is unveiling an updated plan for the Hawai‘i State Hospital, that would more than double the amount of available beds for patients. Hawaii Public Radio.

Six years after President Obama launched the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the commission created to support the initiative is making its first official visit to Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The State of Hawai‘i has ranked fourth in Kiplinger’s list of the country’s least tax-friendly states, topped only by California, Connecticut and New Jersey. Maui Now.

A public charter school’s academic and financial performance for the first time will determine whether its contract with the state should be renewed when the first round of performance-based contracts expire in 2017 — a move that has some schools anxious. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawyers must not provide legal services to clients seeking a license to run the state’s first medical marijuana businesses, according to a new formal opinion released by the Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A federal judge on Tuesday denied the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i’s request to stop the city from using its sidewalk enforcement laws to remove the homeless from Honolulu streets. Star-Advertiser.

A federal court has denied a request for a temporary restraining order to halt city sweeps of homeless encampments in Honolulu. U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor ruled Tuesday that the court lacked “sufficient information” to determine whether the continued enforcement of the stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances would cause “irreparable harm.” Civil Beat.

The civil rights battle for those who live on the streets hit a major speed bump on Tuesday. A federal judge denied a Temporary Restraining Order that would have prevented the City from removing personal belongings from public sidewalks. KITV4.

A federal judge has denied the American Civil Liberties Union's request to immediately stop Honolulu officials from clearing homeless encampments. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation plans to recommend on Friday that the state terminate its lease with Honey Bee USA Inc., the developer of the planned Waikiki Landing at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, for nonpayment of more than $425,000 in back rent and for failing to pay the nearly $1 million performance bond and keep the lease free of encumbrances and liens. Star-Advertiser.

Sidewalk cafes are rare in Honolulu, despite the city’s famously good weather. That’s because a city ordinance doesn’t allow them anywhere except in Waikiki. Kakaako, a state redevelopment district, is also exempt from the ban that’s in place by default because the city defines sidewalks as places for walking, not dining. Civil Beat.

Honolulu architecture firm Ferraro Choi and Associates Ltd. has been tapped to design a part of the 5.5-acre “Kakaako Makai Innovation Block,” a partnership between the Hawaii Community Development Authority and the High Technology Development Corp. Pacific Business News.

O’ahu’s over-budget rail transit project is completing mile 5 of its elevated guideway and making its way through the heart of Waipahu.  Officials announced the resolution of a major issue that impacted a number of businesses there. Hawaii Public Radio.

Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering and about 20 other Waipahu businesses along the rail line will get a partial reprieve from construction now that the left-turn lane into their shopping complex is back, surprisingly. Star-Advertiser.

Aloun Farms has reported a pumpkin shortage due to recent storms and frequent heavy rain. Production has dropped nearly 50 percent. KHON2.

Hawaii

It’s back to court for 10 Thirty Meter Telescope opponents arrested on Mauna Kea after state officials declined to participate in a Hawaiian mediation process known as ho‘oponopono. Tribune-Herald.

The financial impact from legal and other challenges to the Thirty-Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea and the Dan K. Inouye Solar Telescope at Haleakala is beginning to be felt on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. The UH has already spent $2.2 million in attorney fees defending the construction of the telescopes. Hawaii News Now.

Residents now have a better idea of the cost of protecting water quality and ensuring healthy reefs at Puako Bay. The cost to build private aerobic wastewater processing systems would run about $6 million for Puako residents, and a sewage plant would be $9 million, according to an engineer’s study completed last month. West Hawaii Today.

Leaky pipes can cost big bucks, not only for residents who don’t catch them in time, but also for the Water Department, which generally picks up half the cost of overages, provided the resident fixes the leak. Property owners are allowed one such forgiveness every three years. West Hawaii Today.

The final environmental assessment (EA) for a proposed development mauka of Kahalu’u Beach Park has been published with a Finding of No Significant Impact. Big Island Video News.

Vehicles will be banned from Hilo’s Bayfront Beach beginning Friday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran filed a state Campaign Spending Commission complaint Tuesday against the political action group Pacific Resource Partnership/Forward Progress, alleging that it plotted illegally with a political opponent to unseat her. Star-Advertiser.

An eight-bed special treatment facility for alcohol- and drug-dependent men in a Kihei neighborhood moved closer to reality after receiving a key approval from the state Health Department last week. Maui News.

Maui County's population has grown 5.3 percent in the last five years, pacing ahead of other counties in the state, according to newly released 2014 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Maui News.

Haleakala National Park’s Headquarters Visitor Center, near the park’s entrance, closed down Sunday afternoon for roof repairs that began Monday. The center will be closed until late November. Maui News.

Kauai
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative will start a pilot program that offers discounted rates to a group of residential customers to encourage them to shift their energy use to the daylight hours to take advantage of the utility’s robust solar resources, the nonprofit co-op said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

The number of falling endangered seabirds has slowed. A Save Our Shearwaters organizer said only two birds have fallen at Kokee Air Force station since early last week — a big drop off from the 126 reported felled from mid-August to mid-September. Garden Island.