Thursday, November 12, 2015

More military money for Hawaii, tensions rise over Honolulu rail costs, latest Kakaako homeless sweep begins, protesters gird for next Thirty Meter Telescope bout, Neil Young sells $20M Kohala home, dengue fever reaction slow, Kauai food bank clears audit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Soldiers at Pohakuloa Training Area ©2015 All Hawaii News
A new Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill for federal fiscal year 2016 won approval in the U.S. Senate Tuesday, and includes $444 million for military construction projects in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s U.S. senators were quick to point out the benefits to the islands of a 2016 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate on a 91-3 vote Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Transportation’s Airport Energy Savings Program is expected to result in nearly $500 million in energy cost savings during a 20-year period, the state’s Energy Office said this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii has some of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the U.S., according to a report released this week by the Institute for Justice. The state was given a grade of D-minus. Civil Beat.

Island Air, which in June slipped into third place among interisland carriers with a 3 percent market share, is focusing on improving its operational performance. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A high-stakes game of chicken is playing out at Honolulu Hale over the city’s increasingly controversial $6.6 billion commuter rail project, whose costs have skyrocketed almost 25 percent in a year. Civil Beat.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he’s tired of being told that the $6.57 billion rail project cannot be changed because the city is being “held hostage” by the conditions of a $1.55 billion federal grant. So Martin wants the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit to consider saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” to approximately $1 billion in unused federal funding if it frees the city from constraints over routing or other project details. Star-Advertiser.

Tension escalates over rail’s power supply and who will pay for it. KHON2.

Federal Judge Susan Oki Mollway has rejected a bid by telecommunications entrepreneur Al Hee to have his seven federal tax convictions vacated, and has also rejected Hee’s request for a new trial. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday evening was another anxious and worry-filled night for about 130 homeless campers who are currently living at Kakaako Waterfront Park and Kewalo Basin. Last month, Gov. David Ige announced the state would begin clearing the homeless from both locations by Nov. 12 and begin enforcing park closure hours. KITV4.

Starting Thursday, if you're caught in Kakaako Waterfront Park or Kewalo Basin after hours you'll be cited for trespassing. Problems at the parks started within days of the city completing its high-profile homeless sweep near the Children's Discovery Center. Hawaii News Now.

Landlords who want to help alleviate homelessness in veterans and others can learn more about the voucher programs available at a conference next week. The state and city have organized the November 17 summit in partnership with the Hawaii Association of Realtors and the nonprofit Partners in Care. Civil Beat.

A 27-year-old disabled woman said she worked two years as an unpaid volunteer at a Makiki clothing store with the hopes of getting a job there some day. Now, the U.S. Labor Department is looking into whether federal wage laws were violated. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Three people arrested for blocking telescope construction crews on a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians want to testify at their upcoming trials in Hawaiian. Associated Press.

Thirty Meter Telescope opponents can expect to be alerted before contractors return to Mauna Kea later this month, according to a state Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman. But how that notice will be given and when remains to be seen. Tribune-Herald.

Thirty Meter Telescope opponents are strategizing their future plan of action in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that a TMT crew would be sent up to the Mauna Kea construction site to “conduct site preparation activities.” Big Island Now.

The state is telling people to “Fight the Bite” to prevent the spread of dengue fever, but some residents see gaps in how the state is handling reported cases. West Hawaii Today.

Officials say a tree-killing fungus that covered more than 16,000 acres on the eastern part of the Big Island has now been discovered in the western areas of Holualoa and Kealakekua. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Paradise Park’s neighborhood board wants Hawaii County to reconsider building a community park for the large subdivision about four years after the organization last rejected the idea. Tribune-Herald.

Singer-songwriter Neil Young has sold his Waialea Bay Estate oceanfront estate for $20 million after being on the market for only about a month, according to the broker who listed the property. Pacific Business News.

Maui

The next commercial-free day at Haleakalā National Park will occur on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 (Makali’i, Hilo Moon). As specified in the park’s Commercial Services Plan, commercial-free days are opportunities for Kanaka Maoli to conduct traditional cultural practices in the park without commercial tours present. Maui Now.

The Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday advanced Victory Development's proposal to build a 39-unit hotel-condominium project in Kihei, but commissioners cited concerns they hope will be addressed before the project receives its final approvals. Maui News.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about making some radical changes to the County of Maui’s system of government. MauiTime.

The University of Hawaii Maui College is one of four University of Hawaii campuses to be named a "military friendly" school for 2016 by Victory Media, the university announced. Maui News.

Kauai

Food and health safety was the focus of the American Institute of Baking International audit in which the Hawaii Foodbank-Kauai Branch received high scores. Garden Island.