Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nurses could prescribe medical marijuana, wait list trimmed for medpot cards, teachers on paid leave for sex with students, VA chief resigns, Honolulu pays homeless for lost possessions, unions protest Scott Walker talk, dengue fever canvassing continues, Hawaiian Electric cuts solar and biomass projects, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Advanced practice registered nurses, who already prescribe prescription drugs, could start certifying patients for medical marijuana under a bill passed out of committee Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Health Department says it has reduced how long it takes to process patients’ applications for medical marijuana from up to eight weeks to no more than five business days. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has less than two months before licenses are supposed to be awarded for medical marijuana dispensaries. But the state still has not chosen a panel to make those decisions. KHON2.

The state House Transportation Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would allow police to issue tickets to pedestrians for using mobile electronic devices, including cellphones, while crossing a street. Star-Advertiser.

Some state lawmakers want to strengthen the law against “vehicular lollygagging,” a term that describes motorists who drive slowly in the left lane as faster-moving traffic stacks up behind or streams around them on the right. Star-Advertiser.

The Department of Education reported four separate cases where two teachers, a counselor and a custodian are each accused of having sexual relations with a student. And in two of those cases, the employees have been on paid leave for more than a year. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is the only Western state without a citizen initiative process, but a few state senators here have begun efforts to change that. Civil Beat.

Wayne Pfeffer, the embattled head of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pacific Islands Health Care System, has abruptly resigned, effective immediately, and will be returning to the mainland.Star-Advertiser.

The Hawai’i Republican Party hosted its annual Lincoln Dinner Fundraiser last night in Windward O’ahu. Hawaii Public Radio.

The percentage of prison guards across the state who called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday was down from last year, but nearly a third of all guards were still absent from work. Associated Press.

The state has been through “a dramatic change” — Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s words — in ag land use over the last 35 years with the end of the plantation era in both sugar and pineapple production. Civil Beat.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, will hold a series of talk story sessions across the islands about methods to control and eradicate invasive rodents and mongooses to protect the state’s native species. Maui Now.

The State of Hawai‘i has issued a request for proposals to modernize its payroll, time and attendance systems to provide greater functionality and efficiencies in serving more than 75,000 full- and part-time employees statewide. Maui Now.

Commentary: It only took Hawaii officials slightly more than 26 years to follow through on a state Auditor’s recommendation to modernize its payroll system, the Department of Accounting and General Services announced yesterday. MauiTime.

Recent census data that included Pidgin as a language Hawaii residents speak at home has sparked pride. It also got people talking about its use and the stigma that limits its wider acceptance in the state. Associated Press.

Oahu

Embattled Honolulu police Maj. Ryan Borges, a 30-year veteran, has declined a promotion to assistant chief, HPD’s third highest-ranking position, following weeks of controversy because of his history of domestic abuse. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha announced Wednesday that Maj. Ryan Borges will not be promoted to assistant chief. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to pay a total of $48,500 to 21 homeless individuals to settle a lawsuit challenging the way the city applied its sidewalk-clearing laws. Star-Advertiser.

About a decade ago, the University of Hawaii Manoa set an aggressive goal to cut its energy consumption in half by 2015. It failed. Miserably. Civil Beat.

Public Utilities Commission Chair Randy Iwase blasted Hawaiian Electric Co. on Wednesday for terminating a contract for three solar farms on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu rail officials say they expect to know in about a couple of weeks what caused a temporary construction framework to accidentally “separate” from the elevated guideway over the weekend in Pearl City. Star-Advertiser.

It’s official: U.S. Rep. Mark Takai is running for re-election. Civil Beat.

Hawaii mixed-martial arts champion Egan Inoue has opened a cryotherapy treatment center in Moiliili. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to terminate its power purchase agreement with Hu Honua Bioenergy on March 1 after the developer of the large Big Island biomass plant missed several deadlines that were part of the contract between the two companies, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

The Big Island’s power utility wants out of its agreement with a troubled bioenergy production facility planned for Pepe’ekeo. Big Island Video News.

More than 30 volunteers, health workers and Civil Defense personnel spent Wednesday morning pounding pavement in Kailua Village, searching for standing water and educating entrepreneurs, residents and visitors on the dengue outbreak. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to control an invasive insect that has caused significant damage to Hawaii Island’s macadamia crop are moving forward in the state Senate. Tribune-Herald.

A place to wait for the bus, a rock wall sign proclaiming the entrance and picnic tables for community events and socializing will soon be coming to Na Kahua Hale O Ulu Wini, a transitional housing complex in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee gave its blessing Tuesday to the county's proposed $1.2 million purchase of the Waiakoa Gym in Kula. Maui News.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture on Wednesday shelved a bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to hold on to the rights of millions of gallons of water that it diverts from East Maui streams even as the company plans to close its water-intensive sugar plantation on Maui in the coming months and lay off more than 650 workers. Star-Advertiser.

A Maui police officer was arrested on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 for violating a warning citation. Carlos, Frate, 31, of KÄ«hei, was arrested and charged for violating a warning citation, which was issued as a result of an investigation into a case involving alleged abuse of a family or household member, according to department reports. Maui Now.

Kauai

After more than a year of clearing out garbage on a 75-acre piece of undeveloped land, ‘Aina Ho’okupu o Kilauea is making progress in establishing an agricultural park on the site. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai doesn’t collect reimbursements for airlift rescue expenses like those sometimes necessary on the Kalalau Trail, even though there are legal ways to recoup those dollars. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai Planning Department advises the Wailua Houselots community that personnel are walking door-to-door in the neighborhood Wednesday and this evening with a four-question survey. Garden Island.