Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Business groups push Ige to enforce law on Mauna Kea for Thirty Meter Telescope, big Obamacare rate hikes coming, Environmental Council seeks board members, floating windfarm coming to Oahu south shore, new rules for Big Island public land management, Maui deputy prosecutor seeks top job, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Big Island Video News
Mauna Kea TMT blockade, courtesy Big Island Video News
Nearly a year since a ceremonial groundbreaking took place atop Mauna Kea for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, progress remains stalled. On Sunday, fourteen pro-business groups expressed their displeasure over the lack of any headway and demanded Gov. David Ige provide “safe passage” so the $1.4 billion telescope can be built. The groups include various chambers of commerce as well as pro-union trade groups. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige has neglected to fill a number of vacancies on the state’s Environmental Council and members say that is crippling the agency. Civil Beat.

Obamacare is getting pricier for Hawaii residents. The state approved a 27.3 percent rate hike for Hawaii Medical Service Association’s individual members and a 34.4 percent increase for Kaiser Permanente members in Affordable Care Act plans for 2016. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has the highest average mortgage closing costs in the nation, driven, in part, by high third-party fees, according to a ranking by Bankrate.com. Pacific Business News.

Life of the Land, one of 28 intervenors taking part in the regulatory review of the sale of Hawaiian Electric Co. to NextEra Energy Inc., asked the two companies to provide a document log regarding discussions they have had to end the proposed acquisition. In their response, Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy said that “no such document has been created.” Pacific Business News.

With the vote to elect delegates for a Hawaiian constitutional convention just weeks away, critics say the way the election is being handled is flawed. Hawaii News Now.

Oct. 15 is the deadline for all Native Hawaiians to register to vote in the election of delegates to a constitutional convention, or aha. Civil Beat.

A year ago, the federal Department of the Interior, DOI, travelled throughout Hawai‘i soliciting comments on a path to Hawaiian nationhood.  Last week the DOI proposed a rule to facilitate governmental relations if Hawaiians form a unified government on their own. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Former state Energy Administrator Ted Peck has teamed up with a year-old, Oregon-based renewable energy developer on a plan to bring a 400-megawatt floating wind farm to a site 15 miles off Oahu’s South Shore. Star-Advertiser.

State regulators are demanding answers from Hawaiian Telcom about why repairs to rain-soaked telephone lines took weeks and even up to one month in some cases. Hawaii News Now.

Some people living in tents and tarps around the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center said Monday they have no idea where they’ll go when city crews move in this week to clean out the last and densest portion of the Kakaako homeless encampment. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to overall driver satisfaction, Honolulu finishes dead last in a rating of U.S. metropolitan areas, according to data from the navigation app Waze. Civil Beat.

The city would be required to maintain vegetation along roads whose ownership is in dispute under a bill before the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

The senior enlisted sailor on the Pearl Harbor destroyer USS Michael Murphy was relieved of his duties in the wake of ship-based equal opportunity complaints, the Navy said today. Star-Advertiser.

It's no longer used for launching vessels. Instead, beachgoers use the boat ramp at Pokai Bay for parking, despite No Parking signs and police issuing parking tickets. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A land management fund that voters approved in 2012 will finally get rules to ensure proper disbursement and monitoring, thanks to a bill the County Council will consider Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Creating town or neighborhood centers, adding recreation facilities and paving roads are among the goals listed in a new Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Master Plan. Developed by a committee of HPP residents, the planning document is intended to improve services in the massive Puna subdivision and address issues that long have plagued its residents, including substandard roads. Tribune-Herald.

Work began Monday on chipping through the roughly 10-foot-thick layer of lava 500 feet long that overran Cemetery Road last October in Pahoa, Hawaii Island. Star-Advertiser.

What began in 1941 as a small vocational school serving 183 students has ballooned into Hawaii Community College, with more than 3,000 students enrolled in 26 different programs. Tribune-Herald.

Romeo, a 4-year-old Labrador retriever, is safe and sound after falling 20 feet into a ground crack Saturday evening in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

More than two dozen people gathered at Kahekili Beach Park on Maui over the weekend for the statewide “Bleachapalooza” event, organized to bring attention to the damaging effects of coral bleaching in the islands. Maui Now.

There’s now an easier way to volunteer your time, energy, expertise and resources to Maui nonprofits: Handsonmaui.com, a website built by the Maui County Department of Housing & Human Concerns’ Volunteer Center as part of its Get Connected program. MauiTime.

A free, interactive map displaying car break-ins, assaults and other crimes is available online, allowing Maui County residents to check the safety of their neighborhoods and to identify areas where they might want to exercise caution. Maui News.

Coqui frogs are small in size - but the impact of their presence is huge. That's been understood for quite some time on the Big Island of Hawai'i…but it's a growing and unpleasant discovery for some residents in upcountry Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Former deputy prosecutor Lisa Arin will officially declare herself a candidate for the office of Kauai’s Prosecuting Attorney on the steps of the 5th Circuit Courthouse at 12:30 p.m. today. Garden Island.