Monday, December 14, 2015

Ohia trees threatened, Ige defends Land Use Commission, greenhouses proposed for medical marijuana, albatross eggs removed from Kauai missile range, real estate rocking, Hilo Kamehameha statue to be repaired, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ohia lehua flower with raindrops © 2015 All Hawaii News
The bad news just got worse for Hawaii’s indigenous ohia trees. The trees are under attack by more than one strain of fungus, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo have found. Star-Advertiser.

As the Hawaii Department of Health finalizes interim rules for the state’s new medical marijuana dispensary program, one definition could mean the difference of millions of dollars for entrepreneurs hoping to get into the business. The law creating the dispensary program says that medical cannabis must be grown in “enclosed indoor facilities. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige admits that there are a fair share of impediments to constructing more affordable housing developments on state-owned lands but says that calls from developers and housing industry experts to eliminate the state Land Use Commission are not the answer. Pacific Business News.

The Coral Reef Conservation Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this year awarded more than $8.4 million in grants and cooperative agreements to support conservation and scientific studies that benefit coral reef management. Hawaii’s share is $1.48 million, which will go to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Civil Beat.

Dec. 13 marks the start of the Makahiki season and the Hawaiian new year. KHON2.

Oahu

The total assessed value of taxable property on Oahu rose 6.1 percent over last year, a slightly smaller jump than a year ago, city officials said Friday. Overall, the value of all Oahu taxable property rose to $227.9 billion, up from $214.89 billion, the city’s Real Property Assessment Division reported. Star-Advertiser.

Many businesses along the rail line are taking a hit due to all the construction during this holiday shopping season. So the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) offered free shuttle rides on Sunday to help bring in customers. Hawaii News Now.

In Kakaako Parks, State Wades Into Thorny Issue of Property Confiscation. Homeless encampments grew to about 180 people as the state created the rules for what do with their property when it clears them out. And those rules are already under fire. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has cleared the solar photovoltaic systems from its October 2014 backlog that included 2,749 customers, the Honolulu-based utility said in public documents this week. Pacific Business News.

It was broken for 50 years, but on Saturday, the fishpond at Paepae o He'eia has been restored. KITV4.

Hawaii

As officer-involved shootings make headlines nationwide, the Hawaii Police Department said it’s continuing plans to issue body cameras to officers. The department has completed a pilot program and is now researching their best option. West Hawaii Today.

Scientists involved in Hawaii astronomy have a message for the builders of a giant telescope planned for a mountain held sacred by some Native Hawaiians: Hang in there. Associated Press.

When the state Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 2 that the Board of Land and Natural Resources erred in issuing the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope, it sent a chilling message to the business community in general. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak appears to be the largest in the United States since World War II, according to various reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health sites. Tribune-Herald.

Home sales are on the rise countywide, with buyers coming from around the state, the mainland, and countries as far-flung as Switzerland — to say nothing of the increase in local homeowners. Realtor Nancy Cabral, owner of Day-Lum Properties, called 2015 “the best year since the crash of 2008.” Tribune-Herald.

There’s no easy fix to solving the problem of heavy traffic congestion in Pahoa. Traffic delays increased dramatically over the past week after the Dec. 2 opening of a detour that routes cars past the construction site of a future roundabout. The roundabout is being built at the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. Tribune-Herald.

The long spear tip stolen from the King Kamehameha statue soon will be reattached. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Officials with the company that's been contracted to build a state-of-the-art waste conversion facility at the Central Maui landfill say the project is still on target for completion in 2018, but at least one Maui County Council member isn't so sure. Maui News.

The Ma'alaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow Foundation are suing Maui County and the developers of the proposed fast-tracked Ma'alaea Plantation subdivision over the environmental assessment for the development. Maui News.

Sea urchins, seaweed and fish formerly reserved to be eaten by Hawaiian royalty are flourishing at a South Maui fishpond since volunteers began restoring the historic landmark 10 years ago. Maui News.

Raw oysters imported from Korea and distributed by at least two Maui retailers have been linked to the norovirus illness. Maui News.

Kauai

The U.S. military says it has shot down a missile off Kauai in a test of a missile defense system designed to protect NATO forces in Europe from attack. The Missile Defense Agency said Thursday that an Air Force C-17 aircraft launched a medium-range target over the ocean southwest of Hawaii on Wednesday. Associated Press.

Two dozen Laysan albatross eggs were collected from nests along the runway at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, a historically popular breeding spot for albatrosses. Garden Island.

Molokai

Monsanto Hawaiʻi has announced that its Molokaʻi farm has become the first company in Hawaiʻi to achieve “Wildlife at Work” certification by the nonprofit Wildlife Habitat Council.  Maui Now.