Friday, October 2, 2015

Hawaii 'Bleachapalooza' coral inventory set for Saturday, military, EPA ink agreement on leaky Red Hill storage tanks, helipads coming to Ellison's Lanai property, UH Cancer Center money unresolved, wind works on Maui, Big Island, Honolulu rail work chugging along, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Bird wrasse amid Hawaii coral © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state department of Land and Natural Resources launches a “Beachapalooza” event this weekend to bring attention to the damaging effects of coral bleaching in the islands. Maui Now.

Volunteers will be searching for the damage to the island’s coral reefs caused by high water temperatures Saturday, and more people are needed. They’re looking for coral bleaching, when corals go from their normal vibrancy to a whiteness close to death. West Hawaii Today.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, won’t go through the acquisition process a second time if Hawaii regulators ultimately nix the current proposal that’s on the table, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Innocence Project is looking to revamp its image in the community. It was started in 2005 by retiring UH law professor Virginia Hench and local defense attorneys Susan Arnett, Brook Hart and Bill Harrison. Like other Innocence Projects throughout the U.S., its goal is to free the wrongfully convicted. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has a new sheriff in town. The Department of Public Safety announced its appointment Thursday of Renee Sonobe Hong to head the state Sheriff Division. Civil Beat.

Oahu

State and federal officials said Thursday that “immediate and long-term” actions being required of the Navy will help reduce the threat of future leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser.

A new agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Hawaii Department of Health, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency outlines a plan to upgrade underground fuel storage tanks in Red Hill over the next 20 years. Civil Beat.

Senator Laura Thielen deems Honolulu’s drinking water to be at continued contamination risk even after the Navy and the state struck an agreement today concerning leaks from fuel tanks at the Red Hill facility. Hawaii Independent.

Members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents Budget and Finance Committee couldn’t agree Thursday on how much money to seek from the state Legislature for the financially troubled UH Cancer Center, and instead passed out a budget proposal omitting the $5 million university officials had wanted. Star-Advertiser.

A structural assessment of the Wilson Tunnel on Likelike Highway has identified additional deterioration of stainless-steel rods supporting the ceiling, state Department of Transportation officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Workers are almost done building the rail system’s Pearl City-based high-tech operations center — a milestone that rail leaders touted Thursday — but the deal for the city to own the land under that site still isn’t done and at least one key rail official is concerned about how that might affect the project. Star-Advertiser.

HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas, along with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, sounded upbeat when showing off the structures and rail already being laid down at HART’s Rail Operations Center. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu buildings deal with elevator issues, maintenance problems. KHON2.

A city crew patched potholes on Halekauwila Street in Kakaako on Thursday following weeks of heavy rain, but the public shouldn’t expect the same to be done for several nearby streets in shabby condition. That’s because the city has discontinued maintenance of at least five streets in central Kakaako after the private owner of the public thoroughfares restricted parking along major portions of Queen, Waimanu, Kawaiahao, Ilaniwai and Cummins streets. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge sentenced a former executive director of the Hawaii Center for Independent Living to 21 months in prison Thursday for embezzling nearly $180,000 in federal grant money from the now-defunct nonprofit organization, which provided services to people with disabilities.Star-Advertiser.

A third former employee of Waianae Community Outreach has been charged with felony theft, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced Thursday. Civil Beat.

Firefighters are investigating a potentially toxic gas release at the Waiau Power Plant that occurred Thursday evening. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii


A massive energy kite being developed in California could be deployed for testing near Waimea by early next year. West Hawaii Today.

Cinder mining operations will likely be expanded in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates without the county being forced to regulate assessments on private roads there, if the Windward Planning Commission follows through on planning director recommendations following a protracted contested case hearing that wrapped up Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

How to keep energy costs down dominated the public hearing at Kealakehe High School on a possible merger between Hawaii Electric Company and Florida-based NextEra Wednesday night. The hearing was organized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, part of a series running across the state. West Hawaii Today.

On the Big Island, work is underway for a wind farm in South Kohala. The project will consist of five wind turbines – generating 3.3 megawatts of energy – for the Department of Water Supply wells. KITV4.

This weekend, Puna residents will have another opportunity to live through the harrowing approach of the June 27 lava flow. “The Pahoa Flow,” a documentary made by Pahoa-area residents Josh Ballauer, Jeremiah Lofgreen and Matt Tavares, will premiere Saturday at Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar in Kalapana. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee Wednesday recommended fast-track approval of the 184-unit Kenolio Apartments affordable rental housing project in Kihei, with a member saying affordable housing is "direly needed." Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. has steadily increased the amount of wind energy that it utilizes for power generation, leaving less curtailed, or wasted, energy on the table, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

South Maui state Rep. Kaniela Ing and Hawaiian activists Walter Ritte Jr. and Dr. Noa Aluli are among the candidates vying to be delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention. Maui News.

Kauai

Former deputy prosecutor Lisa Arin will officially announce her bid for the office of Kauai’s Prosecuting Attorney in the 2016 election Tuesday. Garden Island.

The planned revival of the shuttered Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is back on track after the county approved demolition permits for the famous resort. Star-Advertiser.

A local subsidiary of a Texas-based gasoline company has made a deal to acquire a mix of gas stations, convenience stores and Subway restaurants on Kauai from a 57-year-old kamaaina firm. Star-Advertiser.

Molokai

Molokai residents voiced largely opposition two weeks ago to a proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra, a Florida-based energy company. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is gathering public feedback on the proposed $4.3 million merger and will make a decision within the next six months. Molokai’s feedback, said Commission Chair Randall Iwase, has been in keeping with what they’ve heard so far around the state. Molokai Dispatch.

Lanai

Billionaire Larry Ellison, who purchased 98 percent of the Hawaiian Island of Lanai several years ago for $300 million, has plans to develop helistop pads at the two luxury Four Seasons resorts that he owns on the Pineapple Island. Pacific Business News.