Thursday, January 14, 2016

Board seeks bridge over Ala Wai, dengue closes Waipio Valley, state lawmakers mull homelessness, budget, lottery, Kasich added to GOP ballot, Maui could swap hemp for sugarcane, DLNR warned not to hire officer accused of rape, Kauai advances barking dog ordinance, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Along the Ala Wai © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Waikiki Neighborhood Board is urging the city and state to kick-start a plan to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses the Ala Wai Canal linking Waikiki to the University of Hawaii at Manoa and nearby neighborhoods. Star-Advertiser.

Homelessness And Housing Top Legislative Agenda. Fiscal accountability is also a major concern for majority Democrats and minority Republicans as the opening of their 2016 session nears. Civil Beat.

The joint Senate and House money committees conducted another pre-session budget hearing today and lawmakers focused on homelessness -- one of the key issues in the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Powerball mania nationally is reigniting discussions about bringing the lottery to Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the third Republican presidential candidate to land on Hawaii’s caucus ballot. The March 8 vote already includes real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Civil Beat.

Growing issues with emergency sirens prompt state to take action. KHON2.

Is Hawaii Doing Enough To Oversee Commercial Tour Operators? It’s difficult for consumers to check up on tour companies, including their safety record or whether tour guides are qualified and trained. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The U.S. Labor Department has found the Honolulu Board of Water Supply violated federal labor law by routinely denying its investigators lunch breaks for a two-year period in a case that could have implications for government and private sector employers across the state. Hawaii News Now.

The head of the City Council’s Committee of Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability demanded answers Wednesday from the Department of Environmental Services to questions raised in a scathing report that found HPOWER’s contracts and procurement practices appear to have violated city policies and state procurement rules. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is closer to approving a five-year extension of a general excise tax surcharge to pay for cost increases on the municipal rail system, but there are still questions about just how much revenue will actually go to the project. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council now has before it a new version of a bill that it hopes will satisfy federal funders to release needed money to pay rail contractors going forward. KITV4.

After a year of heightened debate over bike lanes in Honolulu, local transportation officials on Wednesday pitched to the public their latest plans to gradually make the city’s car-saturated urban core more bike-friendly. Star-Advertiser.

Staff at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua continues to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay annually even though the number of inmates at the facility has dropped to just 23 youths, down from 80 to 90 several years ago. Star-Advertiser.

SunEdison Inc. is selling three of its major solar energy farms in Hawaii that are worth $350 million to a group that includes D.E. Shaw Group, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners IV LP and Northwestern University as part of a larger effort to get rid of $336 million of its debt. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Civil Defense announced Wednesday afternoon that it had shut down traffic access to Waipio Valley as a precaution in the ongoing fight against the dengue fever outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense shut down the Waipio Valley Access Road and valley area to all traffic effective 2:30 p.m. today, and a message from the agency says the access will be limited to valley residents only. Big Island Video News.

The Honolulu Police Department recommended that the state not hire an officer who had been fired by the police force in 2012, but the Department of Land and Natural Resources did so anyway, according to information released Wednesday in a sexual assault case. Ethan Ferguson, 39, of Hilo was arrested last week and charged with multiple criminal counts for allegedly sexually assaulting a female minor while on the job Jan. 1 at a Hawaii island beach park. Star-Advertiser.

Top Hawaii officials say they knew accused rapist Ethan Ferguson had been fired by the Honolulu Police Department before offering him a job in 2013 to be a law enforcement officer on the Big Island. They hired him anyway. Civil Beat.

West Hawaii lawmakers polled this week generally seem to support the idea of a lottery here — with certain conditions to minimize societal damage and maximize the social benefit of gambling profits. West Hawaii Today.

This Saturday, a hui made of telescope operators and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will host the first official tour of the Kama‘aina Observatory Experience, a new program established exclusively for Hawaii residents. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena) today announced via change.org that he and “hemp warrior” Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R-Kailua) are putting forth a bipartisan proposal to “transition HC&S’s cornerstone crop from sugar to industrial hemp.” Maui Now.

Two legislators are crossing party lines and a generational gap to join hands in support of rapid action to enable the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company to transition to hemp production as it ceases sugar cane farming later this year. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Barking dogs beware: the law could soon have some teeth when it comes to you, and your owners will be getting a notice from the Humane Society if you’re too noisy. Garden Island.