Tuesday, December 15, 2015

10K Hawaii restaurants inspected, Michelle Obama dreaming of a Hawaii Christmas, ivory sale ban sought, Honolulu pCards curbed, woman dies trying to smuggle meth into Maui in her vagina, Kauai looks at raising general excise tax, ethics on the Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Green pass on Hilo restaurant © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s 18-month-old, color-coded food establishment inspection program temporarily shuttered three businesses and ordered them, along with 2,102 others, to fix multiple “critical violations” — but now all are back up and open for business, the state Department of Health’s Sanitation Branch announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health recently completed inspections of virtually all of Hawaii’s more than 10,000 food establishments statewide to ensure they are in compliance with the rules of the state’s food safety code. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii State Department of Health Sanitation Branch has completed 10,000 inspections on food establishments statewide. Hawaii News Now.

Michelle Obama is marking the days off the calendar for her favorite holiday tradition: traveling with family and friends to Hawaii. The first lady said the family trip to President Barack Obama’s home state dates back more than two decades. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige reiterated his stance on liquefied natural gas, saying that shipping in this type of fuel as a replacement for oil for power generation in Hawaii is an unnecessary diversion of resources, and that the focus should be entirely on renewable energy investments. Pacific Business News.

One of NextEra Energy Inc.’s primary consultants helping the Florida energy giant secure approval for its proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. charges between $650 to $700 per hour for consulting services during the past five years. Pacific Business News.

It’s big. It’s bold. And it faces an uphill battle in a Legislature known for being fiscally conservative — especially in election years. The Hawaii State Teachers Association’s recent proposal to raise the state’s general excise tax to fund a broad swath of education reforms is also the kind of dramatic action that new union leaders promised when they won the union election last summer in an upset over more experienced and entrenched union leadership. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are expected to push for a statewide ban on the sale of ivory when the legislative session begins in January, in an effort to help curb the illegal slaughter of elephants in Africa. Star-Advertiser.

The 2016 legislative session is a little more than one month away and a number of lawmakers say homelessness will likely take center stage. But other issues will be considered again next year, including banning ivory sales in Hawai’i. Hawaii Public Radio.

On Monday, the Humane Society of the United States held a forum at the state Capitol to talk to lawmakers about passing a prohibition during the 2016 legislative session on the sale of ivory. Civil Beat.

The state's Land Board has approved a request to provide additional assault rifles and shotguns to conservation officers. Hawaii News Now.

Margaret “Peggy” Leong has spent the last eight and a half years working as a parish administrator at St. John Vianney Parish in Kailua. But for the past two weeks, Leong has had a very different job: Taking the reins of Hawaii’s newly minted medical marijuana dispensary program at the state Department of Health. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council is considering a proposal that would expand the definition of taxicabs and taxi companies to include Uber and Lyft. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members no longer will be able to use city-issued purchase cards to pay for travel and travel-related expenses under a “precautionary” policy change announced by Council Chairman Ernie Martin last week. Star-Advertiser.

Editorial: The whole local-government “pCards” chronicle provides an excellent illustration for the expression, “You can have too much of a good thing.” Star-Advertiser.

In an exclusive interview, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he's tried and failed to convince the police chief to speak publicly about the FBI investigation into him. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation opened a newly dedicated roadway Monday that it said that will “facilitate the efficient movement of goods through Honolulu Port facilities, while easing congestion on surface streets for the public.” Civil Beat.

Homeowners: Among the Christmas cards and holiday packages, expect to get something sobering in the mail this week. The city has started sending out real property assessments for 2016, and – no surprise – they’re higher than in 2015. Hawaii News Now.

Property values on Oahu are on the rise. So, what does that mean for property owners? KHON2.

Three Kaiser High School graduates are working to overcome voter apathy and get their classmates at the University of Hawaii more involved in solving local and global issues, starting with getting them to vote. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

In an unexpected move, the County Council on Monday breathed new life into a bill aiming to enlarge the county Board of Ethics. West Hawaii Today.

Measures limiting lifeguards’ liability, giving counties more authority to regulate vacation rentals, loosening the Sunshine Law and requiring safety checks for mopeds are among a package of seven proposals approved by the County Council on Monday to be sent to the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Chad Keone Farias, Ka‘u-Keaau-Pahoa complex area superintendent, said he and others worked during the weekend to try to get a handle on a spate of fighting and arrests on campus, meeting with police, state Department of Education psychologists and counselors and state Department of Health professionals. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Department of Health is reporting three more cases of locally acquired dengue fever on Hawaii Island. As of Monday, December 14, state officials say there have been 149 confirmed dengue fever cases identified, an increase of 3 cases from the previous Friday. Big Island Video News.

Maui
          
The state Department of Transportation will discuss proposed improvements to the Hana Pier during a public meeting at Helene Hall on Thursday. Maui News.

Kahului Airport restrooms get a new look. The airport began to upgrade the 21-year-old facilities around two years ago. Maui News.

A woman accused of trying to smuggle meth into Maui is caught by police in California then later dies. But it wasn't your average drug bust. Police discovered the California resident hid the drugs in her vagina. Hawaii News Now.

On a calm February day off the coast of Maui, whale researcher Jim Darling cut the engine on his boat, dipped an underwater microphone into the ocean and caught a sound he'd never heard before in 30 years of research. Scientists report new sound that could be coming from humpbacks. Maui News.

Kauai

The cost of your plate lunch could be on the rise, as well as many other daily purchases, if a proposed one-half percent increase to the general excise tax passes through the county’s chain of command. The issue arose this year after the state Legislature granted counties the right to establish a one-half percent surcharge on the GET. Counties have until July 1 to enact an ordinance that would increase the tax from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2027. Garden Island.

The FAA announced Monday it will require that aircraft, including drones, be registered to make it easier to identify owners and educate amateur aviators. Operating a drone is kind of scary, but it is fun said Kasey Nakashima, a Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student, Monday. Garden Island.