Tuesday, September 8, 2015

King Kamehameha statue vandalized, courts hear high-profile cases, Maui crowds oppose Hawaiian Electric NextEra deal, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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King Kamehameha statue before spear was stolen © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Island police are seeking the public’s assistance in locating the top section of the Hilo Kamehameha statue spear, taken from the Wailoa State Park area. West Hawaii Today.

To James Kealii Pihana the act of severing the spear of the Kamehameha statue in Wailoa State Park in Hilo this weekend was more than upsetting. It was an act of war. Star-Advertiser.

Having spent hours snoozing by the pools in their pens at Ke Kai Ola, the monk seal hospital in Kailua-Kona, Pearl and Hermes were as content as two seals could be. Star-Advertiser.

An information technology company that allegedly defaulted on a multimillion-dollar contract to set up a new transportation department computer system contends the lawsuit filed against it this week by the state Attorney General’s Office “contains numerous lies and misstatements.” Star-Advertiser.

Telecommunications entrepreneur Al Hee is asking that his seven federal tax convictions be vacated and he be granted a new trial because, he says, Internal Revenue Service investigators misled him about the nature of their inquiry into the finances of his companies. Star-Advertiser.

Opponents of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion bid to buy Hawaiian Electric have publicly blasted the merger. But that posturing has sparked negotiations that over the next few months should lead to more benefits and cost-savings for consumers. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari on Friday in a case of potentially great public interest. Mark H. K. Greer v. Rosalyn H. Baker and State of Hawaii seeks to establish if state senator Rosalyn Baker retaliated against a Department of Health whistleblower by eliminating his position. This means that the Supreme Court will schedule a hearing on the matter. Disappeared News.

Difficult ends to personal relationships aren’t usually news, but when the couple involved are Sam Slom, the sole Republican in the Hawaii State Senate, and reporter Malia Zimmerman, the high-profile co-founder of Hawaii Reporter who pushed a conservative spin on news for well over a decade, there’s legitimate public interest in what might otherwise be dismissed as simply gossip. Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in First Circuit Court two months ago accusing Slom of refusing to follow through with a mutually agreed cash settlement reflecting her share of a Hawaii Kai home where the couple lived together for ten years. Ian Lind.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said Friday that he will ask his colleagues to consider revoting on key bills and resolutions tied to the city’s $6 billion rail project that have been called into question by recent Ethics Commission investigations. Star-Advertiser.

In under a month, nearly 20 percent of the homeless individuals living in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako have been assisted into shelter, the state of Hawaii said Friday. Pacific Business News.

After being told for the past week city crews would remove their belongings from sidewalks in parts of Kakaako Makai Tuesday morning, some of those living in the area began moving out. KITV4.

Parents of some kindergartners at Mokapu Elementary School in Kailua say their kids were denied water in class.  About three weeks into the school year, one 5-year old boy was taken to the emergency room suffering from dehydration. Hawaii News Now.

A new report from The Economist magazine places Honolulu among the top 10 cities worldwide for improved livability — or “liveability,” as it is spelled in the report by the London-based publication. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Lease payments from the TMT International Observatory are rolling in, but that won’t necessarily mean more funds for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which receives a share of revenue from Mauna Kea and other ceded lands. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

More than 200 people filled an elementary school cafeteria Friday evening to take three-minute turns telling the state Public Utilities Commission what they think about the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.

Some Maui residents are hesitating to support a utility merger that NextEra Energy says would lower electric bills. Associated Press.

Promises of lower electric bills might not be enough to sway Maui residents to support NextEra Energy Inc.'s pending $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries, especially if it means less rooftop solar and loss of local control. Maui News.

Over the last-minute outcries of some Hana residents, the Maui County Council on Friday approved a bill on second and final reading allowing some commercial structures, including roadside stands, as accessory uses in county agricultural districts. Maui News.

Upcoming Maui County hearings on Time Warner-Charter Communications cable franchise transfers. MauiTime.

Kauai

A Kauai man is suing his health insurer over a $36,000 air ambulance bill — a case that illustrates the high costs of emergency air transport, which is essential for people living on the neighbor islands. Associated Press.

A Kauai man is suing his health insurer over a $36,000 air ambulance bill. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division will be holding a public meeting to share information on the Kuhio Highway-Mailihuna Road Intersection Improvements and Kapaa Stream Bridge Replacement project. Garden Island.