Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hawaii Rep. Takai diagnosed with pancreatic tumor, Ige and cabinet on the road, $300M lost on Hawaii Obamacare, possible dengue fever on Big Island, group appeals Hawaiian election ruling, Waste Management settles with EPA on landfill charges, no expansion for Molokai national park, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii congressional office courtesy photo
Congressman Takai, courtesy photo
U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has been diagnosed with a small tumor on his pancreas after undergoing tests to determine why he had been experiencing some stomach pain in recent weeks, according to a spokesman. Takai, 48, was elected to his first term in Congress last year representing urban Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has been diagnosed with a tumor on his pancreas. Civil Beat.

Congressman Takai releases statement on personal health. Takai press release.

Gov. David Ige and members of his cabinet highlighted some of the administration's early achievements tonight — including speeding up the use of federal dollars on transportation projects, closing on the Turtle Bay conservation deal and boosting the state's bond rating — at a community meeting at Windward Community College in Kaneohe. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 40,000 Hawaii Health Connector enrollments are shifting to the federal healthcare.gov site in a week. Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Jeff Kissel said $300 million in taxpayer dollars would have been saved if the state had used the federal program to enroll residents. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Department of Health doesn’t plan to hold a public hearing or accept public comments on rules governing the state’s new medical marijuana dispensary system before releasing draft rules by Jan. 4, 2016. That means entrepreneurs will have only a few days to review the rules before applying between Jan. 11 and Jan. 29, for eight coveted licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis. Civil Beat.

Over 60 percent of patients registered for medical marijuana cards in Hawaii are over the age of 56, according to new data revealed by the Department of Health. Scottina Malia Ruis, the agency’s medical marijuana registry coordinator, presented the information during the Hawaii Bar Association’s conference at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday. Civil Beat.

Last week’s decision by a federal judge to allow the election for delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention to proceed is being appealed by the Grassroot Institute. Civil Beat.

A federal judge ruled Friday that an election can go forward to choose delegates to draft a document allowing Native Hawaiians to govern themselves. Associated Press.

Kaiser Permanente employees have ratified a new contract that gives 1,900 workers at 22 facilities in Hawaii at 2.5 percent wage increase this year. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 2,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in Hawaii have ratified a three-year deal with one of its employee unions after three years of bargaining, the union and the health maintenance organization said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Why Is Hawaiian Electric Ready To Cash Out? A company that thrived for more than a century in the islands is ready to sell. It is a good deal for executives and, the power company’s CEO argues, for the rest of us, too. Civil Beat.

A decades-long fight over the future of the aquarium industry’s collecting of fish in Hawaii was renewed last week when two state agencies requested an emergency moratorium on the practice in light of unprecedented coral bleaching. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Rail officials announced Monday that for July, August and September, the transit project will receive $64.8 million from Oahu’s general excise tax surcharge to fund construction. That’s $8.3 million more than what the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation had expected to take in for the quarter, based on the project’s financial plan. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Monday that it is $30.5 million behind its projections for revenue from Hawaii’s general excise and use tax surcharge, despite its latest quarterly installment being higher than anticipated. Pacific Business News.

Some 130 people living in three oceanside homeless encampments that grew in size after the city cleared out the adjacent Kakaako makai encampment have at least three more weeks before state sheriff’s deputies push them somewhere else. Star-Advertiser.

A large segment of the homeless population in Kaka’ako has moved to nearby state parks.  In response to this development, the Governor announced plans for a coordinated effort to enforce park closure rules. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two West Oahu nonprofits will receive $100,000 each under the terms of a plea agreement reached between federal prosecutors and Waste Management of Hawaii to settle a case involving the spillage of millions of gallons of contaminated stormwater from the island’s only landfill into the ocean several years ago. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop more serious felony charges against Waste Management and top employees Joe Whelan and Justin Lottig in exchange for their guilty pleas to misdemeanor counts of negligent discharge of pollutants for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act. Star-Advertiser.

Investigators from the state tax, labor and business departments raided construction sites Monday at at least nine boutiques and food establishments near Bloomingdale's in Ala Moana Center’s newest wing, which is still under construction. Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing Expansion opens Nov. 12.More They were acting on a complaint by the Hawaii Construction Alliance, which represents five unions including the carpenters, after their undercover informants made troubling findings. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly 630 acres of Oahu’s north shore coastline have been preserved from development in perpetuity, thanks to an agreement finalized this week between Turtle Bay Resort and the state of Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

A few months ago the state sent letters to Diamond Head shoreline homeowners asking them to cut back overgrown vegetation encroaching onto the public beach. And they listened. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a man's medical malpractice lawsuit that says prostate cancer surgery at a Honolulu military hospital left him incontinent, impotent and blind. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi said Monday no homeless sweeps are planned on the Big Island such as those recently carried out at an encampment in Oahu’s Kakaako neighborhood — or like the ones Gov. David Ige says will take place at two Honolulu parks if individuals and families don’t move soon. Tribune-Herald.

The governor’s coordinator on homelessness said about 45 percent of the $1.3 million Gov. David Ige allocated under an emergency proclamation to address the issue statewide will go to Neighbor Island programs. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Health is awaiting test results in two possible cases of mosquito-borne dengue fever on the Big Island. Star-Advertiser.

A desire to save consumers money and reduce their environmental footprint has led the county Department of Water Supply to expand into energy generation, said Keith Okamoto, the department’s manager-chief engineer on Monday night. West Hawaii Today.

They say you can’t fight city hall. But people can — and it seems increasing numbers do — sue their local government. Since 2010, Hawaii County residents have sought redress for everything from an avocado falling from a tree in a county-owned right of way striking a windshield to contracting a flesh-eating bacteria in a county hot pond to vehicle damage from hitting a feral goat on Mamalahoa Highway to fingerprint dust spilled in a burglary victim’s home causing carpet damage to purchasing a grave site that was already occupied. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A lottery for vouchers for federally subsidized rental housing assistance will be held from Monday through Nov. 8, according to an announcement from the Maui County branch of Mental Health America of Hawaii. Maui News.

Currently under new management and with a new name, a film studio in a leased warehouse at the Maui Lani Village Center has lined up at least three film or TV projects starting in early December and running into 2016, Maui County Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett said last week. Maui News.

Kula Produce has begun construction on a new produce facility at the Maui Lani Village Center, which should be completed at the end of 2016. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County learned Monday it landed $13 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds will be used for the revitalization of the Lihue Town Core. Garden Island.

Colorado-based Timbers Resorts is planning a $750 million to $800 million development of the unfinished Kauai Lagoons master-planned oceanfront community that will include 468 units in a mix of oceanfront and golf course homes, condominium units, hotel and townhomes. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

The National Park Service has nixed the idea of expanding Molokai's Kalaupapa National Historical Park's boundaries within nearby Pelekunu and Halawa valleys because of opposition voiced at public meetings and during a comment period earlier this year. Maui News.

The National Park Service is seeking new members to appoint to the Kalaupapa National Historical Park Advisory Commission. Maui News.