Monday, January 4, 2016

Government looks to eradicate mongooses, Ford Island to revert to 1941, Hana pier faces overhaul, Tax Department modernization, limited driver's license offered, Honolulu power brokers fuel island races, more news from all the Hawaii Islands

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Mongoose relaxes in Hawaii © 2016 All Hawaii News
The use of mechanical traps, compressed carbon dioxide and rodenticides are being evaluated as means of controlling and eradicating mongooses and rodents in Hawaii's native ecosystems and wildlife refuges as part of a draft federal environmental impact statement. Maui News.

Unauthorized immigrants and Hawaii residents who have lost important identification documents, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates and passports, can now get a limited-purpose Hawaii driver’s license under a new law aimed at sidestepping stringent federal ID requirements enacted in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Department of Taxation has completed the first part of its $59 million tax modernization plan, ahead of schedule and within budget. The state said it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees because it has replaced a third-party vendor that assisted for electronic tax filings with an electronic system. Pacific Business News.

Following on the heels of a 120-day emergency rule which had temporarily banned all harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaii, Gov. David Ige has signed a measure which severely limits collection of sea cucumbers. Garden Island.

A bill signed by Gov. David Ige in May mandates that any motion picture theater with at least two locations in the state is required to provide open captioning and descriptive narration, upon request, during at least two showings per week of each motion picture shown at the theater for one week or more. The law took effect Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Mobi PCS President and CEO Bill Jarvis, who plans to apply for one of Hawaii's eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses in January, says the medical marijuana industry is a lot like the telecommunications industry. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A bit of 1941 ambiance — and a more comprehensive telling of Ford Island’s military past — will emerge with a National Park Service plan to restore historic chief petty officer bungalows on the Pearl Harbor isle that was ground zero for the Japanese attack that launched America into World War II. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer Stanford Carr will develop a $300 million golf resort community with a four-star hotel on the site of the former Makaha Resort for landowner Pacific Links International as part of a joint venture that aims to create some 500 jobs for residents of the Leeward Oahu community. Pacific Business News.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine hopes to bring more awareness to the rich culture rooted in parks across the Leeward Coast by erecting signs, storyboards and other markers detailing the area’s Hawaiian history. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama and family ended what could be their last Hawaii holiday vacation of his presidency Saturday, but not before leaving several hundred Oahu motorists a little something to remember them by. Star-Advertiser.

After spending two weeks here in the islands, President Obama and the First Family have departed Oahu and are now back home in Washington, D.C. KHON2.

Groups are working together to formally invite President Barack Obama to be the keynote speaker at the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Associated Press.

Hawaii

You can follow the money, but first you might need to book a flight to Honolulu. Hawaii Island’s state representatives hosted 11 campaign fundraisers that charged at least $25 per person in 2015, with all but one held on Oahu, according to state Campaign Spending Commission records, Tribune-Herald.

Construction costs have come in higher than expected on several recent county projects, resulting in project downsizing, budget shifts and possibly the need to float more bonds. West Hawaii Today.

Owners of vacant land in agricultural zones would get a break on their property taxes even if they’re not actively farming the land, under a bill to be considered Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative aims to empower residents by creating an electric utility whose shareholders would be the island’s customers, a model put in place on Kauai more than a decade ago with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Civil Beat.

‘Homeless’ comes home: Dr. Kopp finishes his around-the-island awareness walk. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state Department of Transportation will decide this week whether to move forward with improvements to Hana's 90-year-old pier, a project fiercely opposed by Hana residents who fear the arrival of commercial activity and high costs. Maui News.

The state and Kaiser Permanente apparently will need more time to finalize an agreement for the health care provider to take over operations at Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai community hospitals. Maui News.

With officers in the Maui Police Department's new motorcycle unit hitting the road Monday, police are reminding drivers to slow down and follow traffic laws. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Community Correctional Center needs more space, and should Gov. David Ige’s executive supplemental budget proposal be approved by the Legislature in the upcoming session, the jail could get $15 million to expand housing. Garden Island.

Kauai Airports District Manager Dennis Neves’ goal is to make Lihue Airport into one that “is just like any other airport” in America. Garden Island.

For county officials, 2016 is going to be about increasing efficiency, unsnarling traffic, and finding ways to cut spending. Garden Island.