Monday, November 2, 2015

Hawaii energy policy scrutinized, state mum on dengue cases, Schatz campaigns for Clinton, space rocket to be launched off Kauai, UH fires football coach Chow, Native Hawaiian election begins, more top government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Coffee beans on a drying floor © 2015 All Hawaii News
Heading into the 45th annual festival showcasing their trade, Kona coffee growers have a lot to celebrate. Abundant rain and an early and extensive coffee bloom have brought loads of cherry — filling drying platforms and mills with the fragrant product. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is spending the weekend in Maine and Boston, fundraising and offering his support and advice to some grass-roots groups that are mobilizing for the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Star-Advertiser.

Gov David Ige Talks About The State’s Energy Future. The state’s chief executive discusses the road map to a renewable energy revolution, the NextEra-HECO merger and hopes for affordable electricity. Civil Beat.

Political insider’s role in state energy policy is called into question. Robbie Alm has a dozen years of experience in the top management ranks of the state's largest utility, Hawaiian Electric Co ., and he has the ear of Gov. David Ige.That makes some people nervous. Star-Advertiser.

Two proclamations on homelessness from Gov. David Ige will make it possible to pump another $300,000 into programs around the islands that help people. Catholic Charities and Helping Hands will now divide the additional $300,000 from Ige's proclamations and can use it to help both homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless. Star-Advertiser.

Virgin America, named the best in U.S. air travel for eight straight years by Travel + Leisure magazine, is making its inaugural flight to Honolulu from San Francisco with a new 149-seat Airbus 320 aircraft aptly named the Pineapple Express. Virgin America will expand its Hawaii service further on Dec. 3 when it begins flying between San Francisco and Kahului. Star-Advertiser.

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint today against Aqua-Aston Hospitality in response to five unfair labor practice charges filed by UNITE HERE Local 5 against Aqua-Aston (formerly Aston Hotels & Resorts) since July. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

As costs continue to climb, Honolulu rail remains by far the most expensive transit project per-capita being built in the U.S., a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis shows.

They’re public records, but the City and County of Honolulu often makes it difficult — and expensive — for the public to obtain them. The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest is looking to change that with four amendments it proposed to the Honolulu Charter Commission. The Charter Commission is in the midst of assessing dozens of proposals as part of its 10-year review of the city charter. Civil Beat.

Live Christmas trees will be allowed in hotel lobbies, larger restaurants and other assembly areas this holiday season, provided those settings have sprinklers in place, under a compromise proposal reached among businesses, the Honolulu Fire Department and the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Friends of Haiku Stairs say potential hike fee revenue could be key to reopening the famous Hawaii hiking trail known as "Stairway to Heaven" and to preserve its surrounding Windward Oahu valley for the long term. Pacific Business News.

Mounting losses and dwindling attendance added up to Norm Chow's dismissal as head coach of the University of Hawaii football team. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii


Tom Hasslinger has been named managing editor of West Hawaii Today. Hasslinger’s primary responsibility will be working with the newspaper’s editorial department to produce compelling local content.  West Hawaii Today.

Gov. David Ige continued to offer support for building the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea and improving the state’s stewardship of the mountain while speaking last week at Oahu’s Windward Community College. Tribune-Herald.

A pair of prolific internet vloggers have documented their battle with an illness they believe was contracted on the Big Island during a recent visit, while the state of Hawaii investigates two confirmed cases of “locally-acquired” dengue fever on the same island. Big Island Video News.

Health officials said they cannot reveal information about the patients or where the dengue cases have been reported because the investigation into the source of the mosquito-borne disease is ongoing. Tribune-Herald.

Ballots begin going out today to the 95,000-plus Native Hawaiian voters who registered by the deadline to help choose 40 delegates to an aha, or constitutional convention. West Hawaii Today.

Operators hopeful, wary of new manta tour regulation. West Hawaii Today.

The charitable and political powerhouse Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council has turned 50, and it’s inviting the community to join the celebration. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee on Monday will consider a resolution to establish an advisory body to review a county manager form of governance. Maui News.

Maui County Council committee to discuss county manager form of government this Monday. MauiTime.

The county Department of Planning is soliciting bids from consultants to study the feasibility of using sand nourishment as a way to reduce shoreline erosion in Kahana, where seawalls stop the ocean from washing condominiums out to sea. Maui News.

Establishing a temporary "sanctuary" for the homeless, along with more development of transitional housing and workforce housing, are all part of Mayor Alan Arakawa's multimillion-dollar "Homeless Initiative." Maui News.

Maui County is considering sanctuaries as the population of homeless individuals rises faster than anywhere else in the state. Associated Press.

State airports in Hawaiʻi will implement a fee increase for parking at six facilities on Dec. 1, 2015, including fee increases at Kahului and Kapalua Airports on Maui. Maui Now.

Scott Parker, who was seeking to become one of three Maui delegates to a Native Hawaiian convention, said Friday that he is withdrawing from the Na'i Aupuni election that gets underway Sunday. Maui News.

Kauai

A Hawaii police union will file a labor board complaint if it doesn’t get final approval on a policy governing the first widespread use of body cameras in the state. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers says a body camera policy implemented without its final approval would violate Kauai County’s contract with the union. Associated Press.

Kauai County is asking the state to incentivize competition and help make interisland travel cost less. Associated Press.

The Kauai County Council wants the state to take up what it feels is a serious, islandwide issue: expensive costs for residents to fly from one island to another. Garden Island.

Frances Nelson Hali’aalohanokekupuna Frazier known as a legendary Hawaiian language translator, “beloved auntie,” and outspoken writer of “sassy letters to the editor” died on Oct. 19. She was 101. Garden Island.

University of Hawaii officials say the state's much-delayed first space launch could be finally set for takeoff. According to the university's Space Flight Laboratory, the 55-foot "Super Strypi" rocket will be launched from Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Monday. Associated Press.