Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ige budget gets cool reception in Legislature, down-sized Pacific fleet worries China-watchers, Snowden attorney to teach University of Hawaii class, 2,600 complaints about fireworks, Honolulu police revive gambling probe, lava lake explosions at Kilauea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea eruption Saturday, photo courtesy of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.


Gov. David Ige’s proposed budget for next year got a frosty reception Monday from some leading state lawmakers who say they are worried about both how much the governor proposes to spend and about some upcoming expenses Ige didn’t include in his spending plan. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Finance Director Wes Machida sidestepped a host of questions from members of the House and Senate money committees Monday, but assured lawmakers that he will provide more details about the overall state spending plan in the coming weeks. Civil Beat.

US Pacific Fleet shrinks even as China grows more aggressive. Questions about whether the Pacific Fleet has enough resources are more of a reflection of regional anxieties than the Navy’s actual capability, said its commander, Adm. Scott Swift. Even if the entire fleet was in the South China Sea, he said, he’d still get asked whether the U.S. was bringing more forces. Associated Press.

Hawaii bankruptcies plunged in 2015 for the fifth year in a row, according to data released Monday from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii. The 1,569 cases last year were down 7.8 percent from 1,702 in 2014 and were the lowest since 1,381 cases were filed in 2007. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company looking to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion, is assisting HEI on the utility’s renewable-energy plan at no charge, which has raised concern among at least two groups involved in the sale’s review. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii chapter of the Better Business Bureau revoked 130 companies’ membership this year for owing thousands of dollars in membership fees to the BBB. Pacific Business News.

Federal wildlife officials reopened a public comment period for a draft environmental impact statement regarding the eradication of mongooses and rodents in Hawaii’s native ecosystems and wildlife refuges. Associated Press.

Oahu

The public, apparently fed up with illegal fireworks activity, made 2,600 complaints to police in December, said Honolulu Police Department Assistant Chief Alan Bluemke. Star-Advertiser.

A man arrested after National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration volunteers called police to report he was harassing a Hawaiian monk seal at a Nanakuli beach has filed an excessive force lawsuit. Associated Press.

A man who was pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested by a Honolulu police officer in 2014 after chanting on a beach next to an endangered monk seal filed an excessive use of force lawsuit in federal court last week. Civil Beat.

Ben Wizner, a national ACLU attorney and head lawyer for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, will co-teach a seminar at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law this month. Pacific Business News.

Four years after a major gaming rooms case was dismissed, the Honolulu prosecutor's office appears ready to try again. Hawaii News Now.

Why Are Online Classes, Degrees Hard To Get At The University Of Hawaii? UH Manoa offers two fully online degree programs, a stark contrast to the 16 programs offered on average at comparable institutions. Civil Beat.

The late Don Ho is alive and well — “Tiny Bubbles” and all — at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. The university’s ʻUluʻulu Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi recently acquired the complete collection of the entertainer’s films, videos and personal memorabilia from the Donald Tai Loy Ho Trust. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

After nearly 12 years in office, state Sen. Josh Green has built a massive campaign war chest of more than $500,000 — money he is considering using for a run for either governor or lieutenant governor in 2018. Tribune-Herald.

Rockfalls into the lava lake at Kilauea on Hawaii island triggered small explosions at the summit early Monday morning and Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The public is invited to learn about the eruptive events of Kilauea Volcano during a presentation by a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist later this week. Tribune-Herald.

A historical area of land on the Southern Coast of Hawai‘i Island will be protected from development. Hawaii Public Radio.

One of two people taken into custody by police in what was dubbed “Freedom Ride 2016” told a judge Monday he was “the only living being in this courtroom, a child of creation.” Tribune-Herald.

Road and Highway Builders LLC, an affiliate of the Texas based Sterling Construction Co., was the lowest bidder for the $61 million contract to reconstruct the Saddle Road on Hawaii's Big Island, the parent company said. Pacific Business News.

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.

Kauai

January is National Mentoring Month. A proclamation was issued by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Garden Island.