Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gov. Ige clarifies Syrian refugee stance, state Supreme Court temporarily blocks Thirty Meter Telescope work on Mauna Kea, Honolulu rail bids within budget, Maui pCards under criminal investigation, Native Hawaiian convention foes meet on Kauai, Hawaii County wants say over medical marijuana dispensaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

screen shot from webcast news conference
Ige explains Syrian refugee stance, screenshot of governor's video conference
   Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday afternoon, after hundreds of emails and phone calls about whether or not Hawaii should accept Syrian refugees, that his position remains the same: The state should keep its doors open to Syrian refugees as long as the proper security precautions are taken. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of refugee resettlement in the country, receiving only 0.6 refugees per 100,000 residents between 2012 and 2014, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis of federal refugee and population data.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he doesn’t know of any specific plans to relocate Syrian refugees in Hawaii, one day after he said the state would welcome refugees from the war-torn country. Associated Press.

In an attempt to squelch the fervor over his welcoming of Syrian refugees to Hawaii, Gov. David Ige said he should have been more thoughtful about comments he made on Monday. KITV4.

Governor David Ige is clarifying the comments he made Monday about accepting Syrian refugees to Hawaii. While he defended his position, the governor says his top priority is to tackle issues that Hawaii is facing. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige’s office has been flooded with more than 500 phone calls and about 300 emails from constituents in response to his statements Monday that Hawaii would welcome refugees fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Ige further addressed his position on Syrian refugees during a press conference this afternoon in which he reiterated that his, “first and foremost priority, as always – as it is President Obama’s and virtually every other governor across the country – is the safety and security of our people.” Maui Now.

Hawaii Republican Party Chair Fritz Rohlfing said Tuesday that the state’s “over-taxed social safety net” can’t handle Syrian refugees. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Ige says refugees welcome, state track record disagrees. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved a trio of annual rate hikes that will ultimately raise the monthly fee for its A+ after-school program to $120 per student from $85, marking the first increase in five years. Star-Advertiser.

Allegiant Air’s expansion into Hawaii turned out to be short-lived. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Bids by companies vying for a contract to build three rail stations near Pearl City and Aloha Stadium were opened Tuesday, with the apparent low bidder submitting a proposal to build the stations for $112.7 million. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu received more welcome news Tuesday when transit officials opened bids to build three rail stations along the city’s $6.6 billion project corridor from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. Three of the four bids came in within the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s estimated range of $100 million to $125 million, allowing officials to rest a little easier about their plans to fight skyrocketing costs. Civil Beat.

Landlords heard tearful pleas to open their hearts and homes — along with the practical realities of renting to low-income and homeless tenants — as Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell teamed up at Tuesday’s Landlord Summit to try to sway property owners to house the homeless. Star-Advertiser.

Landlords at a conference on Hawaii’s housing crisis learn about voucher programs, but wonder where to turn when there’s trouble. Civil Beat.

The State and City hosted a Landlord Summit today to ask O’ahu property owners and managers to rent more of their housing units to the homeless. Hawaii Public Radio.

For more than a decade, dozens of homeless families and individuals have quietly called The Harbor home, their presence largely tolerated or simply ignored by the public, including the state Department of Land and Natural Resources which owns the 19-acre parcel. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and AES Hawaii Inc., the owner of the state’s only coal-fired plant, have reached agreement on a power-purchase agreement with more favorable pricing that is passed on to the Honolulu-based utility’s customers, according to a regulatory filing this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The state Supreme Court on Monday granted a request for an emergency stay that blocks crews from working at the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site through Dec. 2. Star-Advertiser.

The TMT International Observatory agreed to stand down on the eve of another confrontation on Mauna Kea after the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a temporary suspension of its construction permit. The nonprofit organization was planning to send workers back to the mountain this month for equipment maintenance and repairs. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has partially granted a group’s request to stall construction of the $1.4 billion telescope on Mauna Kea. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has granted an emergency motion to halt construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. According to Tuesday’s ruling, “The Conservation District Use Permit HA-3568 is temporarily stayed until Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, or until further order of the Court.” KHON2.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has issued an order that will temporarily prevent construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii State Supreme Court has granted a last minute Emergency Motion for Stay Upon Appeal, filed by opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope project, putting a temporary suspension on the observatory’s Conservation District Use Permit. Big Island Video News.

Ku’uipo Frietas, Mauna Kea Protector and Mauna Media representative, tells Big Island Now that the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources has confirmed that Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers would not ascend Mauna Kea Wednesday.

Hawaii County Council members want greater home rule over medical marijuana dispensaries and they want the chance to levy a tax on marijuana sales. West Hawaii Today.

State health officials plan to begin spraying insecticide at Big Island schools this weekend as the fight against Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak enters its fourth week. The outbreak, which was announced Oct. 27, now encompasses a total of 65 confirmed cases, including 55 residents and 10 visitors who have contracted the illness. Tribune-Herald.

Critics say the Hawaii Island Humane Society has an unacceptable kill rate, and they want its $1.9 million annual county contract tightened. Supporters say the society is an open admission shelter required to take in all animals, and its euthanasia rate shouldn’t be compared with the so-called “no-kill” shelters that cherry-pick the most adoptable dogs. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County pCard Expenditures Under Criminal Investigation. Maui Now.

Acquiring a Houston consulting firm helped boost revenue for fledgling Maui software developer Code Rebel Corp. in the third quarter, though the Kahului-based company also suffered a bigger net loss in the period. Star-Advertiser.

Kula Botanical Gardens, a farm frequented by many Mauians seeking freshly cut Christmas trees, has been forced to chop down one of its fields due to the wet and humid weather in late summer and early fall, but the hundreds of trees that will be sold this holiday season will be greener and fuller because of the rain. Maui News.

Single-family home sales were up both in volume and in sales prices in October, although condominiums didn't fare quite as well, according to statistics released last week by the Realtors Association of Maui. Maui News.

Kauai

Critics of the ongoing Na‘i Aupuni election for Native Hawaiian self-governance will gather at Wilcox Elementary School Friday for a public panel discussion. Garden Island.

A master plan that maps Black Pot’s future was the topic of a community meeting attended by more than 100 people at Hanalei Elementary School. The master plan will set a vision for Black Pot Beach Park over the next 20 years. Garden Island.