Monday, February 1, 2016

Native Hawaiian constitutional convention begins today, homeless counted on all islands, $27M airport cargo building unused, Kauai voters prefer single-member districts, former Maui mayor opposes county manager government, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Native Hawaiians stand guard over Hokolia in Hilo © 2016 All Hawaii News file
A contested Native Hawaiian election canceled in December isn't stopping 151 former delegates from proceeding to the original plan of attending a conference starting Monday. KITV4.

A group is urging people to protest a gathering of Native Hawaiians who are set to discuss the possibility of establishing a governing body. Court disputes led organizing group Nai Aupuni to shorten the gathering and open it to 151 participants, with closed-door sessions starting today. Associated Press.

The historic Na‘i Aupuni constitutional convention convenes Monday with 151 Native Hawaiians charged with setting up the building blocks of a nation. Star-Advertiser.

Delegates to the native Hawaiian constitutional convention met at the Pagoda restaurant tonight. It was a social meeting designed to introduce delegates to each other. But behind the scenes, discussions between some delegates have become openly hostile, with some reverting to name calling and personal attacks. Hawaii News Now.

A shortage of volunteers hampered efforts to count homeless people throughout the state last week, potentially jeopardizing a federal funding formula that has provided millions of dollars for homeless support, according to service providers and outreach workers. Star-Advertiser.

A measure that has a hearing Tuesday would forbid the spending of state funds by state agencies for the purchase of single-serving bottled water, except under certain circumstances. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering limiting the number of years people can live in public housing if they agree to an incentive program in advance, hoping to create more movement in a system with a yearslong waiting list. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers are heading into their second full week of the 2016 legislative session, planning to tackle the housing shortage, dental needs for the poor, renewable energy and breast-feeding jurors. Star-Advertiser.

A recent state report estimates Hawaii missed out on more than $16 million of corporate income tax revenue last year due to a long-standing exemption for real estate investment trusts. Civil Beat.

Hawaii caregivers could see improvements in their financial bottom line in exchange for concessions that consumer advocates have long sought under a broad “compromise” bill that House Vice Speaker John Mizuno is pushing this legislative session. Civil Beat.

In a few months, the state Department of Health will select the state’s first licensees for medical marijuana dispensaries. The application process closed just Friday. KHON2.

Hawaii State Sen. Roz Baker wants to require children to get at least one dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to attending seventh grade, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Civil Beat.

Undeterred By Cancer, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai Wants A Second Term In Congress. The Hawaii Democrat says he is responding well to treatments for pancreatic cancer and has been told by doctors he can run for re-election. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission foresees a future when Hawaiian Electric companies get out of the power generation business and, instead, manage and dispatch electricity from dispersed independent operators and support clean energy generated by customers - from rooftop solar panels, for instance. Maui News.

Two Hawaii officials disagreed about whether Hawaii’s innovation sector should get its own dedicated source of funding at a panel discussion on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are reopening a public comment period and holding a public hearing and informational meeting about whether to add 49 plants and animals in Hawaii to the federal list of endangered species. Star-Advertiser.

Wildlife officials are seeking feedback from the public on whether to add dozens of plants and animals in Hawaii to the federal list of endangered species. Associated Press.

Oahu
Honolulu’s efforts last year to reduce homelessness resulted in 772 people getting off of Oahu streets, which Mayor Kirk Caldwell says represents an unprecedented success for a city struggling with the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the country. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting has recently identified properties in the rail transit station areas that are near areas of contamination, and has begun notifying property owners and lessees about the issue, according to a letter from the city to these parties obtained by Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A $27.4 million cargo facility built by the state at Hilo Airport has been standing empty since it was completed in March because the state was unable to finalize lease agreements with tenants, including Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Air Cargo, according to Department of Transportation officials. Star-Advertiser.

The appointment of a successor to the late state Sen. Gil Kahele could result in a game of political musical chairs, depending on who makes it through the Democratic Party’s nomination process in two weeks. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige didn’t budge Friday afternoon after U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called for him to declare a state of emergency in response to Hawaii Island’s ongoing dengue fever outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

Like a lot of people who are forced to sleep outdoors, Ronnie Lance doesn’t see much problem with taxing wealthy developers to pay for building new homes for those who don’t have one. West Hawaii Today.

Warm sunshine poured over Nadine Ageres’ tent encampment Monday morning, but the 52-year-old remained bundled up in a blanket. The night before, she’d slept outside — and temperatures had dipped into chilly overnight lows. Tribune-Herald.

Cinder crunched underfoot Friday as members of the Windward Planning Commission and a bevy of staff and residents inspected mining sites in anticipation of a vote next week on two permit applications. West Hawaii Today.

Residents who said they were never allowed proper input on earlier planning for the future of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park got a chance to be heard on Saturday as a consultant rolled out options for improving the increasingly popular area. West Hawaii Today.

Traffic fatalities were up in 2015 over the previous year, while arrests for impaired driving were down, according to the Hawaii Police Department. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists say a disease killing hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees on Hawaii's Big Island is spreading. Recent aerial surveys show the acreage of infected trees has more than doubled in the past two years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

The state Labor Department eliminated civil service employees who assist dislocated workers and help with job training in the weeks and months before Alexander &Baldwin announced that it was closing its Maui sugar plantation and laying off more than 650 workers. Star-Advertiser.

Haleakala National Park has received $312,000 to restore habitat for the endangered uau, or Hawaiian petrel, in the upper elevations of Nuu. Maui News.

Two new buildings for retail and restaurant businesses along with construction of more storage space for Whole Foods Market are among the improvements and additions on tap for the Maui Mall in Kahului. Maui News.

While former Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares neither opposes nor supports the new form of government currently under the county microscope, she said Thursday that the county should first consider improving its current system before moving to a county manager structure. Maui News.

Maui's largest no-kill cat rescue and sanctuary, which has sterilized thousands of cats on the island, needs to raise roughly $200,000 this year or it will lose its property, which could result in the death of countless cats, the executive director said. Maui News.

Kauai

A little more than 70 percent of those who responded to the Charter Review Commission’s online districting survey said they wanted some kind of change in Kauai’s voting system for the county council. Garden Island.

Domestic violence is rampant across Kauai, according to figures from the county prosecutor’s office and Kauai Police Department. Garden Island.

Molokai

A recent study on Maui County’s electric utility could play a large role in shaping the future of Molokai’s electric service. The independent study, contracted by the county to consulting company Guernsey, examined alternate forms of electric utility ownership and operation models. Released two weeks ago, it recommended that Maui County seek an Independent Systems Operator (ISO) or Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to oversee the electric grid and energy market. Molokai Dispatch.