Monday, December 28, 2015

Hawaii smoking age to be highest in nation, Ige signs second homeless proclamation, press following Obama on Oahu, Kauai police begin wearing body cameras, state plans condo closures on Hilo's Banyan Drive, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Overflowing ashtray in Waikiki beach park
Hawaii will become the first state in the country to raise the smoking age to 21 from 18 in January. Star-Advertiser.

On Thursday Gov. David Ige signed a second supplemental proclamation that the administration said will allow the state to continue coordinated efforts with the counties to provide emergency shelter, long-term housing and services “to those without homes.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has extended the state’s emergency proclamation on homelessness by 60 days, which will allow for continued coordination on social service and housing efforts, his office said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

The federal government is allowing more time for a group of migrants in Hawaii to enroll in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Associated Press.

Overall, the statewide average hotel occupancy rate was 77.2 percent, up 6.7 percentage points, while the average room rate rose 1.7 percent to $229.37 a night. Pacific Business News.

Maui County and Oahu are outpacing the rest of the state in getting residents behind the wheels of electric vehicles, according to an annual report issued this month by the Hawaii State Energy Office. Maui News.

Oahu

In keeping with their holiday tradition, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama paid a visit to the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay on Christmas Day to express the nation’s gratitude to service members. Civil Beat.

After the First Family spent the morning at their Kailua vacation home opening Christmas gifts and singing carols, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made their annual visit to the cafeteria of Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay Friday afternoon to briefly speak to troop members and their families. KHON2.

After several days of rainy weather, Sunday provided just enough sunshine for President Barack Obama and family to strike the most visible presence of their Christmas holiday in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama may be one of the most powerful men in the world but he admits to feeling "small" when working out alongside Marines at their gym on base in Hawaii. Associated Press.

As President Barack Obama and the first family criss-cross the Hawaiian island of Oahu for their annual holiday vacation, the White House reporters tasked with following Obama and his entourage, known as the pool, are documenting his every move. Sometimes things get a little weird. Politico.

Greg Jaffe, a Washington Post reporter who is part of the White House press pool during the Obama family vacation, has co-authored a piece titled Hawaii can’t seem to name anything after native son Obama. Civil Beat.

An outpouring of concern and support for nearly 260 homeless people living near the Waianae Boat Harbor encourages Twinkle Borge to work even harder for those who call the area home. A leader in the encampment situated on about 19 acres of preservation-zoned state land between Waianae High School and the boat harbor, Borge is looking into forming a nonprofit to help generate funding for her “houseless” community known as Puuhonua O Waianae Village. Star-Advertiser.

A new way of registering students for classes and tracking their progress at the University of Hawaii Manoa could help students graduate faster and possibly save families and taxpayers millions of dollars, administrators say. Civil Beat.

The Hawaiian Humane Society is once again taking on a larger share of the city’s animal care and control services on Oahu thanks to an $800,000 boost by the City Council and a new agreement between the nonprofit and the Caldwell administration. Star-Advertiser.

According to numbers from the Honolulu Fire Department more people are buying fireworks permits. KHON2.

Hawaii

Expiration of land leases on Banyan Drive and in the Kanoelehua Industrial Area is prompting the state to look at changing the way it manages the rental agreements and possibly consolidating properties. Tribune-Herald.

Most of the time, Cliff Kopp is a Kailua-Kona dentist. But come Christmas, he’ll be homeless, at least temporarily. West Hawaii Today.

The Thirty Meter Telescope project — thwarted by the one-two punch of protesters blocking construction and the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidating its permit — lost more than $1.76 million this year while its grading equipment sat idle atop Mauna Kea.Star-Advertiser.

No safety check? No insurance? No license plate? No problem. That’s according to a group of Big Island residents who think they have a constitutional right to travel without state and federally imposed licensing, registration and safety checks. West Hawaii Today.

The future of Hawaii Island meat is parked in Waimea. The state’s first producer-owned mobile slaughterhouse arrived in October, and will provide a means for small-scale ranchers and farmers to access local retail markets when it opens for business. Tribune-Herald.

The banana bunchy top virus, a plant disease that stunts the growth of banana plants and deforms their fruit has been found north of Hilo, where farmers worry it could find its way into the deep gulches of the Hamakua Coast, making containment a more difficult task. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


The state Department of Transportation has issued a finding of "no significant impact" for its plans to construct the next phase of the Lahaina bypass project. Maui News.

With the blessing of generous donations, Kaahumanu Church’s steeple has been patched, and the roof of the church’s preschool building has been replaced, said Kahu Wayne Higa. Maui News.

The next Maui Energy Conference + Exhibition will tackle the issue of whether Hawaii's 100 percent renewable energy target is realistic and whether utilities are on board, according to a draft program for the conference scheduled for March 16 to 18 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai police officers are the first in the state wearing body cameras as a dispute lingers over whether the union should have gotten final say on the policy. Associated Press.

In a room police use for briefings, Kauai Police Department Officer Troy Sakaguchi was showing seven patrol officers how to use their brand-new body-worn cameras. Garden Island.