Friday, December 18, 2015

Honolulu rail on hold pending tax vote, unemployment rate at eight-year low, UPS worker disciplined for tossing boxes in Waikiki, Hilo hospital best in state for infection management, prisons overcrowded, Molly the Mosquito teaches children about dengue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Rail route, courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Amid uncertainty over whether there will be sufficient cash to build the full 20-mile line, rail officials have halted issuing the contract for the last stretch of the transit system until the Honolulu City Council decides on a tax extension to pay for it. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will hold off on putting out bids for the final leg of rail construction through the city center until a 0.5 percent surcharge on Oahu’s general excise tax is approved to pay for a growing shortfall on the project. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the sixth straight month to 3.2 percent in November to match its lowest level in nearly eight years. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc., the Florida company proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, had expected that Hawaii Gov. David Ige would favor the acquisition, according to confidential documents that have now been made public. But Ige is opposed to the sale, saying NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) has not given enough details about its future plans for Hawaiian Electric and the state. Pacific Business News.

After 12 days of testimony in the regulatory hearing that will help decide the fate of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion bid to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries, and with a lengthy recess ahead, this is a good moment to step back and reflect on the remarkably low price of oil. Civil Beat.

Catholic Charities Hawai’i hosted a Social Advocacy Forum to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A United Parcel Service employee spotted tossing several boxes and packages from his parked van in Waikiki this week has been disciplined, a UPS spokeswoman said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell appears to have changed his tune on Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who’s currently under a federal investigation for alleged abuse of power. Civil Beat.

An overloaded plumbing system is taking away much-needed prison cells at Halawa Prison, which is running at or over capacity. The state's largest prison, which houses medium- and high-security inmates, has made some improvements but like many other prisons across the state, it suffers from two major problems: it's overcrowded and its facilities are very old. Hawaii News Now.

The City and County of Honolulu is planning to spend nearly 140 million dollars over two years to address homelessness on O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Chinese corporation closed on two Ko Olina Resort beachfront parcels Thursday and plans to make a $1 billion investment, including the construction of two new uber-luxury branded resorts. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu is expecting to hire more than 20 people as temporary, full-time groundskeepers or supervisors. Prospective groundskeepers would make $17.64 per hour; supervisors have a slightly higher rate. KITV4.

Hawaii

After years of steady improvement, Hilo Medical Center has earned the top score in the state for preventing hospital-acquired infections. Tribune-Herald.

As the number of cases of locally acquired dengue fever on the Big Island of Hawaii rises to 160, the Hawaii Department of Health is changing its approach to reporting the numbers. Big Island Video News.

Sometimes children just don’t understand the ramifications of a disease such as dengue fever. A group from the University of Hawaii at Hilo School of Nursing is trying to explain the disease — from the perspective of “Molly the Mosquito” — to help the young ones understand. West Hawaii Today.

A handful of residents attended a Puna Geothermal Venture community meeting in Pahoa Wednesday night. The year-end update from the Pohoiki-based power producer was led by Ormat’s head of Hawaii Affairs, Mike Kaleikini. Big Island Video News.

It took just 15 days for Cyanotech’s 100 employees to contribute a quarter ton of nonperishable food to help community members in need put a meal on the table this holiday season. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa plucked the new director of the Department of Environmental Management from its ranks, naming a 25-year department veteran who at one time worked with Arakawa in the wastewater branch. Maui News.

ʻĪao Valley State Monument on Maui will be closed from Jan. 11-22, 2016 for various park improvements, including closures of the two large capacity cesspools in the park that were mandated via a consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. Maui Now.

Iao Valley State Monument will be closed from Jan. 11 to 22, while the park undergoes improvements and the shutdown of two cesspools at the site. Maui News.

Kauai
As part of the ongoing pavement work along Hardy Street, motorists are advised that a portion of Hardy Street, from Kuhio Highway to Eiwa Street, will be closed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, weather permitting. Garden Island.

Lanai

Maui County Council Planning Committee Chairman Don Couch had hoped Wednesday to move the revised draft Lanai Community Plan out of his committee with a recommendation for passage to the full council, but that proved to be overly optimistic. Maui News.