Friday, November 6, 2015

DLNR chief vows to protect Thirty Meter Telescope builders as two Mauna Kea protesters sentenced, state Senate panel confirms judges in special session, possible dengue on Oahu as Big Island battles spread, Honolulu rail strife continues, former Maui parks director spared criminal charges for taking free golf, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Thirty Meter Telescope protester file photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
The contractors building the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea have a right to be up there, the chairwoman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Thursday, adding that the state will enforce the laws over which it has jurisdiction to ensure they are unmolested by protesters. West Hawaii Today.

Two people were convicted Thursday in the first two trials against protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Thursday unanimously approved two nominations by Gov. David Ige to the the state Circuit Court and a third nomination by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald to the Honolulu District Court. The judicial nominees — Shirley M. Kawamura, Melvin H. Fujino and James C. McWhinnie — now face a full floor vote by the Senate today, part of a two-day special session. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Thursday heard yet another description of a state agency that is struggling to promptly spend its federal grant money, with Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami detailing challenges the state Airports Division faces as it tries to spend about $40 million a year it receives from the Federal Aviation Administration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is looking to fill well over 300 empty seats on dozens of different state boards and commissions, some of which can barely hold meetings due to lack of quorum. The governor’s office sent out a release Thursday asking for qualified volunteers to apply. Civil Beat.

The question of whether state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria really lives in the Kakaako legislative district he has represented since 2008 just won’t seem to go away. Two hearings on the issues are scheduled this month, and the ultimate answer could help determine if he is allowed to retain his Senate seat. Civil Beat.

Sen. Breene Harimoto back on job after battling pancreatic cancer. KITV4.

Scientists at a research center on Oahu’s Coconut Island have embarked on an experiment to grow “super coral” that they hope can withstand the hotter and more acidic oceans that are expected with global warming. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s native forest birds will need a substantial helping hand if they are to survive the growing impacts of climate change, a new study has concluded. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has been trying for over a year to get the electric utilities on Maui, Oahu and Big Island to each come up with a power supply improvement plan that can serve as a “strategic basis” for resource acquisition and system operation decisions. In a new order issued Wednesday, the PUC said there are still “substantial concerns” and the proposals are unacceptable. Civil Beat.

The state Public Utilities Commission scolded Hawaiian Electric Co. for its “repeated failures to properly plan” a path to lower electrical rates using renewable energy. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Kalama Valley residents warned of potential dengue case. Hawaii News Now.

Members of the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee got an earful from supporters and opponents of the city’s $6.57 billion rail project during an evening meeting at Kapolei Hale on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin is questioning whether there needs to be a shake-up at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to get the $6.6 billion rail project back on track. Martin broached the subject during a special Budget Committee meeting in Kapolei on Wednesday to consider a bill that would extend by five years a general excise tax surcharge to cover most rail costs. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration will seek new proposals for a project to convert nearly 52,000 streetlights to light-emitting diode technology, administration officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Public Radio President and General Manager Michael Titterton will step down at the end of June, and a nationwide search is underway to find a successor. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hookena Beach Park remained closed Thursday as the number of confirmed dengue fever cases on the Big Island rose to 19. West Hawaii Today.

The Windward Planning Commission approved permits Thursday for a Hele-On bus base yard in Hilo and a cell phone tower in Hawaiian Paradise Park. The $11.2 million base yard on Hoolaulima Road will include a 26,500-square-foot building and a 19,500-square-foot warehouse. It will consolidate the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency’s administration and maintenance facilities. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council has given final approval to a $6 million funding request for a new fire station on Kawailani Street in Hilo. The 8-0 vote Tuesday brings total funding for the project to $12 million. Tribune-Herald.

On the face of it, both a fledgling Hawaii Island energy cooperative and the mainland giant NextEra Energy want the same things — lower rates for island residents, more renewable energy and care of an aging grid. The real questions seem to revolve around how to get there and who is most likely to succeed. West Hawaii Today.

The issue of squatters has been discussed at length in the community, especially in Puna where business leaders, community organizations and elected officials have been brainstorming solutions to the problem. Big Island Video News.

Maui


The state Department of the Attorney General has decided not to pursue a complaint involving free rounds of golf that led to the resignation of former county Department of Parks and Recreation Director Glenn Correa. Maui News.

The Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday recommended approval of a land purchase that would add 373 acres and double the size of the Kula Agricultural Park. Maui News.

Local leaders, businesspeople and community activists were identified Wednesday to serve on a special committee to study the possibility of having a county manager form of government for Maui County. Maui News.

Maui senator recalls ‘intense pain’ with dengue fever. KHON2.

Members of the group Stop CaneBurning.org took issue Wednesday with a report from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. that there were only two complaints arising from Central Maui cane harvesting on Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

A small island in the middle of the Pacific is doing some big things for renewable energy. By the end of this year, 37 percent of the electricity generated on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai will come from a mix of renewable resources, including solar, hydropower and biomass. Civil Beat.

The first 12 homes for the Eleele Iluna neighborhood project by Kauai Habitat for Humanity are getting closer to rising from the ground. Garden Island.

Defense attorneys for the police officer charged in the death of a man struck on Kaumualii Highway said no evidence exists to prove the state’s probable cause argument. Garden Island.