Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Public Utilities Commission curtails solar credits, criminal charges dropped against Mauna Kea protesters, Micronesian immigrants seek better life, Health Department pushes medical marijuana laws, new Navy chief says U.S. could patrol South China sea, Maui panel drops cane-burning plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Solar panels in Honolulu
A controversial program that has been one of the main drivers behind the record-breaking growth of rooftop solar in Hawaii is getting curtailed, according to a ruling this week by state regulators. Pacific Business News.

The state Public Utilities Commission cut the credit amount that new rooftop solar owners on Oahu will receive for the excess energy their photovoltaic systems send to the grid. Star-Advertiser.

Advocates of Net Energy Metering call it the most successful method so far to get people off fossil fuels. Now the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has ended the program for new solar customers. Hawaii News Now.

There’s a major shake-up in how homeowners are paying for solar systems. Some homeowners will now have to pay more for keeping their systems on the grid, thanks to a new pricing structure approved by the Public Utilities Commission. KHON2.

New Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said that if international law allows freedom of navigation near China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea, then it should come as no surprise that the United States would exercise that right. The U.S. government is said to be preparing to send a surface ship within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands China has created in the contested Spratly Islands as a freedom-of-navigation demonstration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s first system of medical marijuana dispensaries are slated to open next summer, but certain rules adopted this past July are already in effect for current patients and caregivers. Pacific Business News.

Medical marijuana plants are to be tagged with the patient’s state registration number and expiration date, under rules adopted by the state in July. West Hawaii Today.

Outnumbered by Democrats 24-1, Sen. Sam Slom can’t even make a motion on the state Senate floor without a Democrat’s help; otherwise it will die for lack of a second. Civil Beat.

An Untold Story of American Immigration. First we nuked their islands and then we took control of the whole region. In exchange, Micronesians can move to the U.S. without restriction. And they are coming  — by the tens of thousands — for health care, education and jobs. Civil Beat.

It’s hard to miss the growing numbers of Micronesians pitching tents and temporary shelters in Honolulu’s burgeoning homeless camps. Why are so many moving to Hawaii and ending up in what seems like worse conditions than they left behind in their islands? Civil Beat.

Despite pending litigation and concerns about disrupting international agreements, the U.S. government has decided Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet can reel in an extra 1,000 tons of bigeye tuna by making payments one of the Pacific island territories. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Commission is trying to figure if it has the legal authority to put Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha on paid leave while he's under federal investigation. Hawaii News Now.

City crews completing a block-by-block sweep in Kakaako cleared the remaining two dozen homeless people from Ohe Street on Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Cancer Center has received $5.5 million from the National Cancer Institute for its collaborative research with the University of Guam. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Criminal charges under the now-defunct Mauna Kea emergency rules will be dismissed, Hawaii County’s top prosecutor said Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to drop charges against seven individuals arrested Sept. 8 for violating the state’s emergency rule that prohibited camping near the summit of Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Some low-lying major roadways and beloved landmarks on Hawaii Island are destined to sink beneath the waves, according to a new study on sea-level rise. Tribune-Herald.

The state director of the Humane Society of the U.S. says the county should be denied a state permit to acquire two Bengal tiger cubs for the Panaewa Zoo and Gardens, while the zoo’s director says the organization is basing its opposition on misinformation. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


The Maui Planning Commission denied a petition Tuesday that would have the panel consider sugar cane smoke when evaluating special management area use permits for projects near shorelines. Maui News.

The burning of large sugar cane fields on Maui has been linked to acute respiratory distress in a new study by health professionals. The study was the first of its kind to separate symptoms caused by cane burning from vog, said Dr. Lorrin Pang of the Maui Department of Health, a co-author. Civil Beat.

Shan Tsutsui restless as Lt. Gov, but will there be a Maui Mayor job for him in 2018? MauiTime.

Windward Community College is preparing more graduates to enter HawaiĘ»i’s veterinary work force by expanding its Vet Assisting Certificate program to Maui. Maui Now.

Rising sea levels in the next 200 years could swallow up the homes of nearly 10,000 current Kihei residents, according to a study published online Monday that analyzes how cutting carbon emissions could protect millions of homes in the U.S. Maui News.

Reducing carbon emissions might be the only way Maui residents and visitors can help reduce the devastating effects from unprecedented levels of coral bleaching the island has seen in the last two years. Maui News.

Another “Aloha Aina Unity March” is being planned Sunday in Lahaina, Maui, organizers announced Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Lepeuli Beach, popularly known as Larsen’s, has for years been the center of a dispute over a controversial fence that went up in 2011, blocking off the easiest access to the narrow strip of sand on the North Shore. Beachgoers eventually tore the fence down. Garden Island.

Young birds and young people came together at Lydgate Park Tuesday for the ceremonial release of fledgling Native Newell’s Shearwater birds. Garden Island.