Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hawaiian Electric sale faces June deadline, rift in Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, Wasserman Schultz rallying Hawaii Democrats tonight, doctors needed stat, county probe finds Maui tires missing, homeless have great view atop Diamond Head, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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NextEra Energy Inc. is likely to pull the plug on its proposed purchase of Hawaii’s largest electric utility if state regulators do not approve the sale by June, according to analysts. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Co. say they hope the Florida utility giant’s $4.3 billion proposed acquisition of Hawaii’s largest utility is finalized by March 14, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

The monthlong Na‘i Aupuni constitutional convention moved into its final two weeks Monday with a consensus to draft formal documents establishing a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

A hui calling itself Aha Aloha Aina 2016 plans a series of meetings on Oahu, Hawaii island and Maui later this month “to identify the very broad movement in the Hawaiian movement for Independence and educate the community on the various initiatives.” Civil Beat.

Hawaiian activist Bumpy Kanahele has walked away from the Hawaiian Constitutional Convention, saying the process is rigged. Hawaii News Now.

A growing number of Hawaii voters — 56 percent in the last primary — already request early ballots so they can vote from the comfort of their own homes and then mail in their ballots. But now there’s legislation, Senate Bill 2496, to phase in all-mail balloting in the islands. Civil Beat.

House Higher Ed Leader Takes Aim At the University of Hawaii. The nearly two dozen bills introduced by Rep. Isaac Choy may be indicative of a larger sense of frustration with the university. Civil Beat.

Home-growers can breathe a sigh of relief: A bill that would have prohibited patients from growing their own medical marijuana is essentially dead. The measure, HB 1680, had not been heard by the House Committee on Health by Thursday, which was the filing deadline for bills referred to at least three committees. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian and English are both official languages in the state but as of the 2010 Census only 3% of the islands' population actually speak Hawaiian. The push to increase the number of Hawaiian language speakers topped the agenda at the 2nd annual 'Aha Kumu at Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa on Monday. KITV4.

The state has hired the private company Securitas to provide security at all of Hawaii’s airports for at least three more years, despite recent allegations of bribery. The state says the new contract takes effect this week. KHON2.

Oahu
The Honolulu Traffic Code says street parking isn’t allowed within 4 feet of a driveway. A bill moving through the Honolulu City Council would allow an exception, under a pilot project, to that law in one tightly packed Ewa Villages neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

A bill expected to be heard Wednesday at the Hawaii State Capitol calls for $1.5 million to restore part of Waikiki Beach. Civil Beat.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz will lead a fundraiser at The Plaza Club in Honolulu Tuesday evening. Civil Beat.

They live on the best real estate in Hawaii, perched on cliffs above $10 million dollar oceanfront mansions on Diamond Head Road. The homeless of Diamond Head pay no rent or property taxes but enjoy postcard ocean views and the balmiest weather in the islands. Civil Beat.

When traffic is moving smoothly, it takes about six minutes for drivers to get from Maili to Nanakuli. On Saturday, it took drivers 90 minutes or more to travel that stretch. Hawaii News Now.

The Howard Hughes Corp. officially began construction Thursday on its third mixed-use condominium tower in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, with a groundbreaking ceremony for Aeo, which includes what will be Whole Foods Market’s flagship Hawaii store. Pacific Business News.

The federal government will soon list the endangered Oahu elepaio as a bird species distinct from other elepaio in what environmentalists describe as an attempt to better protect them. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A bill amendment to be introduced in the state Senate today would undo Hawaii County’s nighttime drilling ban for geothermal power projects and further restrict — if not entirely prohibit — efforts by counties to enact similar regulations. Tribune-Herald.

The chances of the majority of sitting County Council members facing opposition this election year is increasing, with new potential challengers pulling nomination papers last week. West Hawaii Today.

Calling all orthopedic surgeons, pediatric specialists, obstetricians and psychiatrists: Hawaii Island needs you. Those specialties and more have been identified as pressing needs on the Big Island, according to the latest assessment of the state’s physician workforce. Tribune-Herald.

A humpback whale can stretch more than 50 feet from nose to tail, but sometimes it takes a 45-foot Coast Guard station boat to keep it safe. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

More than $73,000 were spent in just over one year on nearly 200 tires, none of which can be accounted for, and they’re not to be found on any county cars and trucks. KHON2.

Coast Guard crews with Hawaiʻi Department of Natural Resources conservation officers conducted joint patrols off Maui Thursday in conjunction with Operation Koholā Guardian.  Maui Now.

Kauai

A measure scheduled to be heard before the Kauai County Council would restore a lobbying ordinance on the island that was eliminated some 20 years ago. Civil Beat.