Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hawaii to study reef health but allow aquarium trade, Ige will welcome Syrian refugees, electricity at 5-year low, feds could cut off rail funding if tax not extended, police and protesters gird for Wednesday battle over Mauna Kea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Yellow tang amid bleached coral ©2015 All Hawaii News
With Hawaii plagued by widespread coral bleaching for the second year in a row, state officials Monday announced plans to fight back. Officials said they are launching the development of a statewide coral reef management plan for nearshore waters but are not imposing a moratorium on aquarium fish collecting. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii is gathering information from the scientific community and local stakeholders to create a comprehensive coral reef management plan, but officials said Monday they will not yet impose a requested moratorium on collecting aquarium fish. Associated Press.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has rejected a recent demand from environmental groups for a temporary ban on the collection of aquarium fish in Hawaii waters as a response to unprecedented coral bleaching. Civil Beat.

The state's efforts to fight coral bleaching is getting stronger. Plans to launch a statewide reef management program are underway. There's a call to action to come up with a defense plan to combat the growing problem in Hawai'i's waters. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige said Monday that he would welcome Syrian refugees to Hawaii — in contrast to more than two dozen other governors who have come out in opposition to relocating the refugees in their respective states in the wake of last week’s Paris bombings. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige says the state would welcome refugees from Syria with aloha. Ige said in a statement today Hawaii and the U.S. have a long history of welcoming refugees affected by war and oppression. Associated Press.

As Republican governors react to the deadly attacks Friday in Paris by trying to close their states’ doors to Syrian refugees, Democratic Gov. David Ige said Monday that he will not be abandoning Hawaii’s “tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect.” Civil Beat.

The Navy is seeking public comment on a new environmental impact statement for future training and research, including sonar that might harm whales and dolphins, in what’s known as the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area. Star-Advertiser.

While operational funding for public schools in Hawaii has remained virtually flat over the last seven years, the cost for nearly everything, including school supplies, has gone up. That’s resulted in schools and teachers asking donors in crowdfunding sites for basic supplies such as pencils, paper and staples. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii receives $13 million to fight rampant drug problem in schools. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers are seeing their lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years this month, mainly due to the continued dip in fuel prices. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Co. customers’ electrical bills in November will be the lowest in more than five years, as oil prices continue to pull down rates across the isles. Star-Advertiser.

Customers of Maui Electric and Hawaiian Electric this month are seeing the lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years, according to company representatives. Maui Now.

Marriott's $12B acquisition of Starwood brings together 26 Hawaii hotel properties. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday urged the Honolulu City Council to move quickly to approve a bill that would extend the 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax after he made public a recent letter from a top federal transit official threatening to cut off funding for the city’s $6.57 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is ramping up the pressure on the Honolulu City Council, and particularly Chairman Ernie Martin, to pass a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge and to do it quickly. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Inspector General for the federal Department of Transportation started auditing the Federal Transit Administration’s oversight of Honolulu’s rail project earlier this year. KHON2.

The addition of eight hybrid buses to TheBus fleet is expected to save diesel fuel consumption, reduce emissions and cut down on noise, city officials announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Kids In The Harbor: Lessons From The Edge Of Life. Learning to survive in The Harbor involves a kind of independence and resourcefulness that mainstream children aren’t exposed to. Civil Beat.

More than 350 people have signed up to attend today’s Landlord Summit to learn what role landlords can play in reducing Hawaii’s homeless population, which is the largest per capita in America.. Star-Advertiser.

What is rooftop solar power worth to homeowners in Honolulu? In recent years, a cocktail of high electricity bills, generous government incentives and increasingly cheap photovoltaic panels have made the shift to solar so appealing that top electricity executives in the islands acknowledge that homeowners who can afford rooftop systems should probably buy them. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Protesters and law enforcement appear headed for another showdown on Mauna Kea.  Hawaii News Now has learned that hundreds of officers from several state and county law enforcement agencies are expected to be on hand to ensure TMT crews have safe access to the construction site.

Law enforcement sources confirm with Hawaii News Now that construction crews for the Thirty Meter Telescope project will return to Mauna Kea Wednesday morning.

State health officials so far identified a total of 56 people infected with dengue fever on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Standing on the sun-kissed slopes of Parker Ranch, you could almost hear the happy sounds of future children at play, as a group of community, county and state officials came together Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the county’s newest planned park. West Hawaii Today.

The community gathered on Monday morning to break ground on the future Waimea District Park. Big Island Video News.

East Hawaii continues to experience bouts of heavy rain, despite long-term predictions the island has a dry winter ahead. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Moving toward a sustainable and local model of agriculture was a recurring theme at the fifth annual Hawaii Farmers Union United convention at Maui Tropical Plantation. Maui News.

Sugar cane was once Hawaii’s most important crop - but today only one sugar plantation remains in the state.  That’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar on Maui, but they are now considering changing their crop. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Land Use Commission will consider acceptance of a proposed final environmental impact statement for the Olowalu Town and Olowalu Ekolu projects this week. Maui News.

This week, the state Land Use Commission will discuss the final Environmental Impact Statement of the proposed Olowalu Town, which has been in development for the last decade by Bill Frampton and Dave Ward. MauiTime.

Smoking is banned at all Maui County bus stops. KITV4.

The Maui Food Bank can double the distribution of produce, and rice, bread and dry goods will have an extended shelf life, thanks to a nearly $500,000 renovation project. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai needs to work together at all levels to make headway toward ending homelessness on the island. That was the theme of Monday night’s Homelessness Awareness Vigil hosted by the Kauai Community Alliance at the Lihue United Church. Garden Island.

The sugar monument is still there — sans one of the bronze sculptures. Garden Island.