Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hawaii emojis a hit, Legislature kills gambling, assisted-suicide bills, road study ignored, Maui school could be named for Patsy Mink, Native Hawaiians to protest constitutional convention, Waikiki groin work mulled, future of Big Island mayor uncertain, Coco Palms may be demolished, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Bank of Hawaii
emojis courtesy Bank of Hawaii
Emojis are changing the way people communicate across cultures, which has led Bank of Hawaii to introduce a set of local emojis for Hawaii that features images such as Spam musubi, a loco moco, shaka and slippers. Pacific Business News.

It’s a bit early to pronounce any issue to be dead and buried for this session of the state Legislature, but the prognosis is poor for any legalized-gambling bill in 2016. Star-Advertiser.

Seventeen state legislatures across the country were considering physician-assisted suicide bills this year, but Hawaii’s effort is already over. Civil Beat.

Nearly eight years ago a national pavement consultant gave Hawaii’s Department of Transportation recommendations to help improve the condition of its crumbling roads — but the consultant’s report was largely disregarded, and DOT leaders say they’ve only recently begun to enact some of the steps he suggested. Star-Advertiser.

House lawmakers have gutted legislation that initially set out to strike a compromise between the interests of the burgeoning industry that provides long-term care for the elderly in neighborhood settings and the consumer advocates looking out for thousands of Hawaii residents who live in these facilities. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian community leaders are protesting the Naʻi Aupuni ʻAha today, and have issued a signed declaration rejecting the process and calling on other Hawaiians to do the same. Hawaii Independent.

University of Hawaii students would see modest tuition increases of no more than 2 percent annually from 2017-18 through 2019-20 under a three-year tuition schedule being rolled out by UH President David Lassner’s administration this week. Star-Advertiser.

China is likening its construction of islands and placement of surface-to-air missiles in the South China Sea to the U.S. military presence in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi is the highest-paid Hawaii Department of Education employee at $200,000. At the other end, office assistants start at $22,824. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Still In Session? Let’s Raise Cash! Nine members of the Hawaii Legislature are holding fundraisers Tuesday night. It’s all perfectly legal. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A 16-year-old passenger died Monday after being injured last week in a Pearl Harbor helicopter crash, hospital officials said. Associated Press.

Stakeholders have a couple of opportunities to pick the best method of shoring up the Royal Hawaiian groin, which is needed to keep Hawaii’s most visited beach from being swept away. Star-Advertiser.

Erosion continues to eat away at the Royal Hawaiian groin in Waikiki. It’s an issue that has been affecting the area for years. KHON2.

City officials will hold a hearing Tuesday to consider closing the main public access point to Maunawili Falls trail, which attracts more than 1,000 a week. Hawaii News Now.

The department of Planning and Permitting is holding a public hearing to reconsider a conditional use permit which currently requires public access to the popular Maunawili Falls Trail.  If approved, access to the trail head could be closed. KITV4.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations Begin On Oahu. Researchers say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population is on the rise. But so is the threat of a fatal virus that could wipe out the native species if it reaches Hawai‘i. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

People may line up on one side or the other over whether Mayor Billy Kenoi’s admitted misuse of his county-issued credit card was a criminal act, but there’s one thing Big Island residents seem to agree on — the investigation has gone on long enough. West Hawaii Today.

Following the completion of the much-anticipated audit of Hawaii County’s use of purchasing cards, or pCards, then-County Managing Director Wally Lau pledged the administration would follow through on all of its recommendations to prevent further misuse. But other than amendments to the County Code, it remains unclear how much progress the county has made in addressing the issue, sparked by the high-profile missteps of Mayor Billy Kenoi. Tribune-Herald.

The pension fund for Hawaii public employees has written off what it considers to be a bad $2.5 million investment it made in the Hu Honua Bioenergy project on Hawaii island after concluding the company won’t be able to resolve its engineering and other challenges. Star-Advertiser.

A California investor has pushed the pause button on the development of a 25-acre oceanfront estate at Puakea Ranch on the northern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii, the architect for the project confirmed to Pacific Business News.

In a week, it will be a year since a visiting bicyclist was killed in a vehicular collision by an on-duty police officer. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Kihei Kai Nani residents are asking the Maui Planning Commission to grant them intervenor status and to hold a contested case proceeding for Victory Development's proposed $13 million, 39-unit Nani Loa condominium-hotel. Maui News.

Senate Bill 814, which has a hearing Friday, would require the Hawaii Board of Education to name the new public high school in Kihei, Maui, after the late U.S Rep. Patsy Mink. Civil Beat.

Growing up in Hawaii, residents are ingrained with reef etiquette and ocean safety early on: Don't stand on the coral, give fish and turtles their space and "if in doubt, don't go out." But for many Mainland and international visitors, a trip to Hawaii may be their first encounter with marine life and the unfamiliar dangers of the ocean. Maui News.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is seeking advisory council applicants. Maui News.

Kauai

The county may revoke the permits necessary for the rebuild of the Coco Palms Resort. The shuttered hotel’s restoration is once again up for debate, this time in front of the Planning Commission in a meeting scheduled at 9 a.m. today. Garden Island.

Bill Peterson, a candidate for the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative board of directors, is passionate about rooftop solar. Garden Island.