Thursday, November 5, 2015

ACLU sues to save homeless possessions, Trans Pacific Partnership details released, Gabbard blasts Red Hill fuel tank agreement, Sunshine Law confounds Honolulu Ethics Commission, jails packed with mentally ill, Maui liquor appointee demurs, Kauai ponders barking dogs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Homeless Honolulu man with possessions ©2015 All Hawaii News
After failing in September to halt Honolulu city sweeps of homeless encampments, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii now wants a federal judge to prevent the immediate destruction of homeless individuals’ property that city workers pick up. Star-Advertiser.

Citing new evidence that the City and County of Honolulu is using ‘sweeps’ of homeless individuals to continue bypassing Hawaii laws and violate the state Constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Foundation (ACLU) and the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, filed a new request in federal court for a preliminary injunction. Hawaii Independent.

Details of a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal released Thursday set the stage for a raucous debate in the U.S. Congress but also may provide reassurances to those who worried the agreement could gut protections for the environment, public health and labor. Associated Press.

State health officials are preparing to impose new licensing fees on long-term care facilities. For decades, the industry has beaten back such efforts, leaving it one of few business segments that doesn’t pay for licensing in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Last year, the Legislature adopted a measure creating a two-year pilot program to divert up to 100 “nonviolent, low-risk drug offenders” from prison into treatment. It was supposed to start July 1, 2014, but, thanks to bureaucratic red tape, Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety has yet to get the program off the ground. Civil Beat.

The state Public Utilities Commission said Wednesday it will not be flexible with the 12-day timeline for the upcoming trial-like hearings in its regulatory review of NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries. The PUC will host 12 days of intervenor, or official participant, hearings at the Blaisdell Center Hawaii Suites starting Nov. 30. Star-Advertiser.

Alternative energy proponents can continue providing testimony in the ongoing Public Utilities Commission docket on the proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaii’s electric utilities. Tribune-Herald.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America, the top financial performer in the company’s fleet and the only home-ported ship in Hawaii, is going into dry dock as part of an aggressive schedule of upgrades planned for eight of NCL’s vessels. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Inc., the largest ocean cargo carrier serving Hawaii, said Wednesday its third-quarter profit jumped 93 percent to $41.5 million with the addition of its new Alaska service bought from Horizon Lines. Star-Advertiser.

John McNamara, the associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Hawaii, is leaving his position to take over as president of Communications Pacific on Nov. 16. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
The Queen's Medical Center paid $1.5 million to the U.S. Justice Department to settle a case involving implanted cardiac devices that were in violation of Medicare coverage requirements. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council passed three resolutions to spend up to $220,000 to fund the city’s defense in two lawsuits relating to the Honolulu rail project and the seizure of homeless people’s property, and a criminal case involving a police officer. Civil Beat.

A scheduled closed-door meeting of the Honolulu Ethics Commission was canceled abruptly Tuesday — hours before it was to take place — after the state Office of Information Practices issued an informal opinion that called into question the validity of the meeting’s agenda. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is considering a bill that would add another step in the approval process for O’ahu’s City’s Bike Plan. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday lambasted the Oct. 1 agreement among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Hawaii Department of Health, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency that outlines a plan to upgrade underground fuel storage tanks in Red Hill over the next 20 years. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply said Tuesday it has changed its position on NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries and now supports the deal. Star-Advertiser.

A new list published by The Economist has shaken the conventional notion of college rankings and places the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the top half of more than 1,200 schools examined. Pacific Business News.

Liquor law violations on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus soared by nearly 50 percent last year. It's the most citations since at least 2007. Hawaii News Now.

A growing number of students are earning undergraduate degrees within four years from the University of Hawaii’s flagship Manoa campus, an improvement university officials attribute to better academic support. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Inmates screaming, throwing feces, refusing to wear clothes. That’s the new reality, corrections workers say, at Hawaii Community Correctional Center, which is bursting at the seams with mentally ill inmates. West Hawaii Today.

In light of a recent Hawaii County Planning Department decision to reduce the monthly meetings of the various action committees working on the Big Island’s numerous community development plans, Kohala councilwoman Margaret Wille called for a discussion on Tuesday (Nov. 3). Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County has closed Hookena Beach Park to help contain the spread of dengue fever. Tribune-Herald.

A nonprofit organization seeking to buy and preserve the historic Kuamoo battlefield and burial ground in Keauhou has missed two deadlines to finalize the deal. But the goal is close. West Hawaii Today.

The parents of an abused 6-year-old boy whose disappearance in 1997 set off a statewide media firestorm were arrested in an investigation unrelated to the child’s disappearance. Tribune-Herald.

The Big Island man bitten by a shark Wednesday told Hawaii News Now he never got a look at the shark that attacked him and he was swimming in the nude when the attack happened.

If you’re in the market for Hilo’s hottest ticket — seats at the Merrie Monarch Festival’s hula competition — you’ll need to get your request in earlier this year, and it will cost just a bit more. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Twice selected as director of the Department of Liquor Control director, Dana Souza has decided not to accept the job. Souza was to have succeeded Franklyn Silva, who retired as department director as of Sunday. Maui News.

A Public Works district supervisor had been caught spending tens of thousands on a commercial kitchen that rivals a restaurant, tucked away inside a Wailuku baseyard building. Sources say side-business catering was going on out of there. The suspect has since retired from the county. KHON2.

The County Committee on Public and Intergovernmental Affairs today identified 11 individuals to serve on a special committee tasked with studying and providing recommendations on a county manager form of governance. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council heard testimony Wednesday on the latest proposed law regarding barking dogs. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative recently flipped the switch on its 12-megawatt Anahola solar facility, which is Hawaii's largest solar project, on the east side of the Garden Isle. Pacific Business News.