Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Counties must define dancing, Hawaii-based military warns about South China Sea claims, humpback whales arrive early, whistle-blower lawsuit in Honolulu rail work, unions settle state hiring grievance, Maui mulls mayor-less government, enterprise zones advance, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Dancing at a Kona hotel pool party © 2015 All Hawaii News
What is dancing? That’s the question that the four county liquor commissions in Hawaii are asking now that the state has forced them to define dancing if they want to continue regulating it in bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Civil Beat.

Another Hawaii-based military leader has stepped up the rhetoric against China’s island-building and territorial claims in the South China Sea, this time ahead of what could be a bolder U.S. military demonstration of air and sea navigation rights through the area. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is traveling to Japan and China to promote educational partnerships, energy cooperation and investment in Hawaii. Associated Press.

The state is phasing out the use of private contractors for highway landscaping and other maintenance work, costing taxpayers more money and settling two long-time class-action grievances filed by one of the state's most powerful unions, the United Public Workers. Hawaii News Now.

A couple of humpback whales have arrived early to the Hawaiian Islands this humpback whale season, which generally runs November through May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today. Star-Advertiser.

The number of Hawaii residents attempting to use fake urine to trick workplace drug tests is at its highest point since 2012, according to recent drug test data from Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gas’ parent will invest $6 million in two solar energy projects in the state in a deal that is expected to close before the end of October, a company spokesman confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Opinion: Implementing a high-tech tax credit more than a decade ago was well-meaning and helped jumpstart the technology sector in Hawaii, but there was little thought put into measuring its costs and benefits. It will likely become a costly lesson for state lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Native Hawaiian Election Throws Out All the Rules. None of the customary election laws apply to the high-stakes selection of delegates to a constitutional convention regarding a new government. Civil Beat.

Oahu

John McCaughey quit as the head of Ansaldo Honolulu's construction safety program in July because he thought the company was jeopardizing workers' safety. In a lawsuit filed last week, McCaughey said the company -- which is being paid $1.4 billion to build the trains and operate them -- cut corners by not hiring the required safety experts. Hawaii News Now.

The completion this month of steel framing for the International Market Place puts the redevelopment on track to reopen in August, creating jobs for an anticipated 2,500 employees and contract workers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu and its renaming in honor of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. Civil Beat.

The Trump International Waikiki in Hawaii is one of seven in the The Trump Hotel Collection where guests may have been affected by payment system hacks that lasted nearly a year. Pacific Business News.

Residents at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe who are suing a developer over a possible connection between health problems and pesticide contamination got a big boost from the state Health Department last month. The state wants the developer to test for soil contamination in anticipation of turning the matter over to the federal agency that assesses toxic waste sites. Star-Advertiser.

State land officials are touting their latest efforts to shield Oahu residents and their homes from potential rockfalls, with a new protective fence going up on the hillside below the popular Lanikai pillbox trail. Star-Advertiser.

Good news from the Hawaii Department of Transportation Tuesday. Work on the Wilson Tunnel won’t take as long as initially expected. KHON2.

Inside University of Hawaii's College of Education are Hawaii's future elementary school teachers.  Students conducted experiments Monday while the building where they learn crumbled around them. Hawaii News Now.

Fourteen Honolulu homes purchased for more than $2 million apiece last month helped Hawaii’s main housing market break another record. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Opposition from some County Council members has resulted in a scaled-back enterprise zone plan that doesn’t swallow up large conservation areas in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County on Tuesday took a step toward purchasing land in Ka‘u that once hosted Makahiki events. County Council members, meeting as the Finance Committee, advanced a resolution that would authorize negotiations to acquire the 13 acres assessed at $179,000. Tribune-Herald.

A Hualalai Road condominium project for middle-income families could break ground in two months and have its first units ready within three years, following a favorable vote Tuesday by the County Council Planning Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Electric Light Co., the Big Island subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Co., which is involved in a $4.3 billion sale with NextEra Energy Inc., is valued at just over $700 million, the head of the state’s Division of Consumer Advocacy confirmed to Pacific Business News Tuesday.

Construction has been completed on a mobile slaughterhouse geared specifically to the island’s smaller producers. The unit contained in a 36-foot trailer is in Tacoma, Wash., waiting to be shipped, said Mike Amado, president of the Hawaii Island Meat Cooperative. West Hawaii Today.

On Monday, a small group of cultural practitioners, government officials, and project contractors gathered by the edge of the hardened lava flow on Cemetery Road to take part in a Hawaiian blessing. Following the ceremony performed by Kahu Moses Kaho’okele Crabbe and Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa, Ludwig Construction crews began removing the lava, which burned across the road almost an entire year ago. Big Island Video News.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee has been assigned the task of establishing a special committee on county governance to consist of community and government officials, who would consider different forms of government, including an already proposed council-hired county manager system without a mayor. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Maui Homeless Initiative, a task force put together to address solutions to homelessness and affordable housing in Maui County, held its first meeting today. Maui Now.

Maui County Liquor Control Director Frank Silva retiring after 22 years. MauiTime.
More Upcountry residents may be getting their long-awaited water meters as the Maui County Council passed a bill Tuesday that offers exemptions from expensive street and fire protection improvements for some on the waiting list. Maui News.

The Maui Demolition & Construction Landfill is seeking a solid waste management renewal permit from the state Department of Health for its ongoing operations in Maalaea. Maui News.

Kauai

The turbine is back together, but it will still be another six to eight weeks until Green Energy Team’s $90 million biomass-to-energy facility in Koloa starts producing steam. Garden Island.

The median price of a condominium unit on Kauai rose by 62 percent year-over-year last month to reach $390,000, while actual sales only saw a slight uptick in activity, according a monthly report compiled by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.