Monday, September 14, 2015

Honolulu rail plan redo; lights, wind turbines killing island birds, state Health Department defies law, stops posting care home data; Navy vet can't raise flag; man arrested for marijuana dispensary; county drops drug-test requirements, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Environmental Protection Agency
EJScreen lets you zoom in on environment
A new online mapping tool has been developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promote environmental justice. The tool, called EJScreen, provides detailed information about pollution, traffic congestion, toxic spills, air quality, sources of water pollution and other environmental hazards, and combines this with census data to identify areas where there are high levels of poverty or where certain ethnic groups are concentrated. Star-Advertiser.

Despite a state mandate, the Hawaii Department of Health has stopped posting online the inspection reports for nearly 1,700 adult care homes and several other types of long-term care facilities that it oversees. Civil Beat.

A state license awarded to businessman Albert Hee to provide telecommunications services on Hawaiian homelands requires that Hee apply some of his profits to job training and education programs for Native Hawaiians, but Hee now says his company has never actually paid out any benefits under that provision. Star-Advertiser.

American Airlines said over the weekend that an Airbus A321 aircraft that flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Aug. 31 had not been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to make extended flights over the ocean to Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

We hear a lot about how much it costs to live in Hawaii.  But how much do people in the Islands make? Pacific Business News has a paycheck report. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lower gas prices mean big sales for big cars and one expert said these lower prices may stick around for a while. KHON2.

Oahu

Honolulu rail officials have spent just over $100 million in final design plans to build the second half of the island’s 20-mile transit project, but they’re not certain how much of that work they’ll ultimately use. So it’s unclear for now how much of that money will be wasted. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday marks one year since Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Honolulu’s first sit-lie bill into law, banning people from sitting and lying on Waikiki sidewalks 24 hours a day. The new law quickly shifted the landscape in the government’s handling of homelessness. Star-Advertiser.

On Oahu, many families are homeless because they couldn’t pay the rent. Experts say rent subsidies are a cost-effective way to keep families off the streets. Civil Beat.

A lawsuit over tainted rail votes and a new ethics complaint against the Ho‘opili development point up how deeply the Honolulu City Council resides in the pocket of Hawaii’s building industry. Star-Advertiser.

Going green is costing Honolulu millions of dollars. Some say the city would save more money if residents tossed recyclables in the rubbish. KITV4.

A strict homeowner's association policy in Kapolei has one Navy couple crying foul. They've been cited and could be fined $100 if they don't take the flag pole they installed on their front porch. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Hawaii County will  no longer require a urinalysis or medical examination from people who get conditional job offers for positions that are not considered safety sensitive and do not fall under federal transportation safety regulations. Star-Advertiser.

A 58-year-old Mountain View man is facing 31 charges for allegedly operating an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary out of his Fern Acres subdivision home. Tribune-Herald.

A community hall full of Ocean View residents were left without answers Friday evening as the developers of a massive commercial solar project failed to show for the meeting. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
SunEdison, owner of the Kaheawa Wind Projects I and II above Maalaea, is asking the state for permission to increase the number of Hawaiian hoary bats and nene that may be accidentally killed by its wind turbines. Maui News.

A failed merger between two Hawaii solar energy firms has led to the filing of dueling lawsuits, including the latest one that has Honolulu’s Solar Wave suing Maui’s Haleakala Solar for at least $500,000 for work done in a joint venture, according to the lawsuit filed in First Circuit Court in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

The state is seeking reimbursement from the federal government for most of the $14.5 million it paid for 78.1 acres for a runway protection zone for Kahului Airport and has prepared a draft environmental assessment as part of that process. Maui News.

Hawaii regulators have ruled in favor of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc., giving the Honolulu-based firm a $327 million contract for work at Kahului Airport on Maui after the contract award had been protested by Honolulu’s Nan Inc. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

More than 100 endangered seabirds recently required care after falling from the sky due to lighting issues at Kokee State Park. Garden Island.

The Department of Parks and Recreation plans to dig up and open an out-of-service cesspool that may be leaking bacteria into the water at Kapaa Beach Park. Garden Island.

About a dozen chickens turned up dead on the Hawaiian island of Kauai earlier this week, and the Aloha State is determined to figure out why. Civil Beat.

Protesters were back outside of Hanalei Elementary School Friday and the number of students present in the combined kindergarten and first grade class has dwindled, according to parents. Garden Island.