Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Monk seal succumbs to fish-hook surgery, Hawaii touts gay marriage tourism, court denies teacher certificate over views on sex with minors, Obama family snorkels, state and counties spar over hotel tax, humpbacks late to Hawaii, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA National Oceanic and Atmosphereic Administration
Monk seal surgery, courtesy NOAA
An 8-month old Hawaiian monk seal that swallowed a large fishing hook died following surgery to try and save it. Star-Advertiser.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal has died after swallowing a large fishing hook. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday the hook was lodged in the throat of the eight-month-old seal. Associated Press.

Federal officials are encouraging the use of barbless circle hooks and J hooks when fishing in Hawaii waters after the death of an 8-month-old endangered monk seal. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers should lift the cap on the counties’ share of hotel tax money and instead give them a 45 percent cut, so their funding can grow as the tourism industry does, according to a working group’s report released Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Circuit Judge Gary Chang on Tuesday halted a solar advocacy group’s lawsuit against the state Public Utilities Commission, which the group filed after it objected to how the PUC ended a popular solar incentive program. Star-Advertiser.

Despite its longtime leadership on issues such as anti-discrimination laws, civil unions and marriage equality, Hawaii has been shy about using that street cred to leverage more same-sex destination wedding tourism. Until now. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's high tech industry is trying to lure former residents back home as well as keep current residents who excel in the field from moving to the mainland. KITV4.

Been looking in vain for the flash of flukes and the awe-inspiring breach of the humpback whale? It’s not your eyes, and you’re not the only one. The giants really are late this year. West Hawaii Today.

While recent catches apparently aren’t approaching last year’s record-breaking levels, there should be a nice range of quality and prices to choose from for New Year’s ahi poke and sashimi. Star-Advertiser.

The first family headed off to Hanauma Bay on Tuesday morning, to enjoy the preserve on a day it’s typically closed to the public. President Barack Obama and his family went snorkeling at the bay with friends, pool reports said. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The University of Hawaii didn't violate First Amendment rights when it denied a teaching certificate for a Caltech-educated aspiring high school teacher who expressed views condoning adults having sex with minors, a panel of federal appeals court judges ruled Tuesday. Associated Press.

Officials report they’re keeping pace with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s goal to repave Oahu’s worst city-run roads in five years, although some of the island’s most-used and hardest-to-fix streets — the ones that leave a lasting impression on commuters — still need to be repaired. Star-Advertiser.

Dr. Michele Carbone—the former director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center who was asked to resign in November of 2014 after evidence that he had grossly mismanaged the Manoa unit was publicized, and who was at the center of the power struggle that led to the controversial decision by the Board of Regents to remove former Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple—failed to disclose significant financial conflicts of interest to either the university or the National Institute of Health. Hawaii Independent.

Calls about illegal fireworks are skyrocketing this month, surpassing all fireworks-related calls last year. Star-Advertiser.

Mericia Palma Elmore describes the large mound of illegally dumped Christmas trees, large appliances and furniture across the street from her Makakilo condominium as a disaster waiting to happen. Star-Advertiser.

He didn’t figure to live past his 50s. For almost six years, Robert Binnie lived on the streets of Waikiki. The words scrawled across his cardboard sign: “Anything helps. God bless.”  Civil Beat.

Office Depot is closing its location in Honolulu’s Ward Village in January to make way for a planned mixed-use condominium project that will include Whole Foods Market’s flagship Hawaii store. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday officially vacated a 3rd Circuit Court order and judgment that had authorized the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea, following the high court's decision in the case earlier this month. Pacific Business News.

An attempt to save the endangered palila has included the sound of rotors, gunfire, arguments and sheep and goats eating the trees the bird needs to survive. Now, as the number of sheep and goats drops, the pressure to end the aerial shooting is as high as ever. West Hawaii Today.

A new venture looking to successfully rear octopus on land has set up shop at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

With an empty field serving as the play area for more than 700 students at Puu Kukui Elementary School, a group is seeking help from the community as it continues fundraising to build a playground on the Wailuku campus. Maui News.

It's the busy time of year for people wanting to view the sunrise from the summit of the "House of the Sun," or Haleakala, said an official with the National Park Service, noting that there can be more than double the number of cars for available parking at popular overlooks during that time. Maui News.

The Maui Fire Department reminds residents of the following rules in relation to fireworks as the New Year holiday approaches: Fireworks and firecrackers can only be legally set off from 9 p.m., New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m., New Year’s Day. Maui Now.

Kauai

In observance of New Year’s Day, County of Kauai offices, all refuse transfer stations, the Kekaha Landfill, Kauai Resource Center, Puhi Metals Recycling Center and all HI-5 bottle redemption centers will be closed on Friday. Garden Island.

Molokai

When Molokai resident Nancy Gove got into the salt-making business in 1999, she was one of a handful of local artisans crafting the condiment. Her backyard-cultivated sea salt filtered from Molokai waters eventually turned into a thriving operation and gained national recognition. Maui News.