Thursday, October 8, 2015

More Ige agencies oppose NextEra buyout of Hawaiian Electric, Hawaiian Independence Day set, tsunami money coming to Hawaii, monk seals increase, Maui defines dancing, Kakaako homeless sweep continues, median Honolulu home surges to $730l, coral bleaching worries Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Hawaiian Electric Co. worker courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige’s administration said Wednesday it is not in favor of NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries even after NextEra revised its proposal in August, adding more than 50 new binding commitments. The state Office of Planning; the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; and the state Consumer Advocate filed more than 480 pages Wednesday with the Public Utilities Commission, saying that even with Next­Era’s revised commitments, the sale is not in the public interest. Star-Advertiser..

The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved legislation that would improve tsunami preparedness and provide more money for research to protect coastal communities from the giant waves. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Thursday that both the House and Senate have given the nod to a new bill he has co-sponsored which will increase tsunami readiness and improve the accuracy of alarms and forecasts. West Hawaii Today.

Some 148 monk seal pups were born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2015. That’s up 22 percent from the 121 documented births in 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Scientists recently returned from a months-long deployment monitoring the monk seal population, tallying births and intervening with sick and injured animals, according to a NOAA Fisheries update. They reported that 148 pups were born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2015, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education is recommending changes to its school calendar after parents and lawmakers urged the state to consider starting school later due to high temperatures this summer. Associated Press.

An independent court master is recommending that Probate Judge Derrick Chan not reappoint Janeen-Ann Olds to a second term as a Kamehameha Schools trustee because she’s lost the support of her fellow trustees in the wake of scandals involving telecommunications company Sandwich Isles Communications and its parent company, Waimana Enterprises. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
Discussion on a bill extending the 0.5 percent excise tax surcharge for rail on Oahu through the end of 2027 will be heard by a Honolulu City Council committee in the coming weeks, Council Chairman Ernie Martin said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu received $9.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness last year, but any future funding could be in jeopardy. That’s because HUD is wielding the power of federal purse-strings to crack down on efforts to criminalize homelessness — something critics say Honolulu is doing with its expanding sit-lie ban. Civil Beat.

As the city prepares its final push to clear out the last of the Kakaako homeless encampment today and Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said some homeless people have simply moved next door and set up an illegal camp on state land at Kewalo Basin. Star-Advertiser.

With final sweeps set to begin Thursday, people in the densest parts of the Kakaako homeless encampment were preparing Wednesday for their looming eviction. Civil Beat.

State homelessness coordinator Scott Morishige says there is shelter space available for all the residents.  Efforts of a different kind are continuing for another segment of the homeless population: military veterans. Hawaii Public Radio.

The median sales price of a single-family home on Oahu rose by more than 7 percent in September to hit a record-shattering $730,000 on a 3.5 percent jump in sales, according to Multiple Listing Service data compiled by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

There’s been no food served at the Honolulu Community College cafeteria for the last 13 months as school officials struggled to find a new vendor and brought in food trucks to temporarily serve the campus. Hawaii News Now.

University officials confirm that after Thursday, classes will no longer be held in Building 1 on UH's College of Education campus. This comes less than 24 hours after Hawaii News Now exposed what faculty said were unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

A popular Waialua bakery known for its “snow puffies” pastries has closed after the state Health Department temporarily suspended its food safety permit due to improper temperature controls. Under the state’s color-coded food safety inspection program, the Health Department’s Sanitation Branch on Tuesday issued Paalaa Kai Bakery a red placard — the first one to be issued to a food establishment in Hawaii since implementation of the system in July 2014. Star-Advertiser.

The developer of a condominium tower that opened in Kakaako earlier this year made its argument Wednesday to a state board for why the firm should be excused for violating an ineffective rule aimed at limiting reflectivity of high-rise building glass. Star-Advertiser.

State agricultural pest officials are refocusing efforts to eradicate a beetle that has touched off the deaths of more than 100 coconut and palm trees on Oahu, shifting traps to an area stretching to Nanakuli from Iroquois Point. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaiian Kingdom’s most important national holiday — La Kuokoa, or Independence Day — was officially recognized Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council in a nonbinding resolution asking the state Legislature to add Nov. 28 to its list of state holidays. West Hawaii Today.

Today marks the anniversary of the ceremonial groundbreaking celebration for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The day was so mired in confusion and interrupted by opposition to the project that the actual groundbreaking for the $1.4 billion observatory never happened. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The Maui County Liquor Control Commission defined dancing Wednesday after years of pressure from Maui dance advocates, who now hope the ruling will allow customers to bob their heads or tap their toes outside a designated dance floor. Maui News.

Dana Souza was selected as the next director of the Maui County Department of Liquor Control on Wednesday, following the announced retirement of longtime head Franklyn Silva. Maui News.

A newly published study on the health effects of cane burning finds a link between sugar cane burning and acute respiratory illness on Maui, though an official with Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. disputes the findings and methodology of the research. Maui News.

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.

County of Maui wants to teach us all Aloha because of the 2014 Kalama Park video guy. MauiTime.

Kauai

Kauai’s colorful corals are going white, a crisis that is spreading and devastating reefs across the globe. Garden Island.

The public is advised that a portion of Waipouli Road, about a quarter-mile from the Hauiki Road junction in Kapaa, will be closed to through traffic next week to allow for a drain culvert replacement. Garden Island.

In preparation for the next application cycle for the Community Development Block Grant funding, the Kauai County Housing Agency will be conducting workshops for those new to the program. Garden Island.