Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thirty Meter Telescope goes back to Land Board, Hawaii County Council candidate indicted on voter fraud charge, $13M settlement for Tripler Army Medical Center, homeless emergency extended, Kauai mulls raises for officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Tour of Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea © 2016 All Hawaii News
The proposed Thirty Meter Telescope project on Wednesday landed back in the jurisdiction of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, which now must hold a new contested case hearing. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige and acting Gov. Shan Tsutsui have signed eight emergency proclamations since taking office in 2014, including four that waive procurement and other normal procedures to more quickly address the highest per capita homeless rate in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Health has made some major improvements in its ability to test for the Zika virus, following the confirmation of a child born in the state with possible Zika-related birth defects last month. Civil Beat.

Key lawmakers in the state House and Senate are making some major changes to Gov. David Ige’s plan to spend $100 million in energy efficiency funds to cool 1,000 public school classrooms. Star-Advertiser.

Senate Committee Passes Bill to Authorize Psychologists to Prescribe Medication . Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers are pushing a bill to make it easier to get medication that counteract the effects of overdoses, and provide immunity for people who administer them. Associated Press.

Why Do Business, Labor Groups Support The NextEra Merger? Many organizations have spoken out against the purchase of Hawaiian Electric, but not much has been heard from certain supporters. Civil Beat.

A proposed bill would make Hawaii’s current 100 percent renewable energy goal more clear and make sure that all resources being fed to the grid are by renewable resources, the head of the state’s Energy Office told Pacific Business News.

Democrat Lorraine Inouye was not alone when she held a campaign fundraiser Tuesday night at Mandalay in downtown Honolulu. It turns out that Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani were on hand as well, and also asking for donations of $150. Civil Beat.

It’s high time to take expanding mongoose and rodent populations in hand before they destroy more of a fragile native landscape. That’s the gist of a new joint state and federal proposal to launch a comprehensive control or eradication of the invasive animals from native ecosystems. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Following a successful first year of getting homeless people into so-called “Housing First” apartments and homes, the city is now seeking bids to expand the program across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Beretania Street should soon offer drivers a smoother ride now that road crews are finally repaving the major thoroughfare, resuming work more than a year after abruptly stopping when they encountered shallow utility lines. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are pushing for more details on Honolulu's backlog of untested rape kits, which supporters say can be crucial for catching repeat offenders. Associated Press.

The federal government has reached a $13 million settlement with the parents of a 7-year-old girl who as an infant suffered severe, permanent brain damage while being treated at Tripler Army Medical Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Tiffany Edwards Hunt, a blogger and former County Council candidate, has been charged with voter fraud, the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

State Sen. Lorraine Inouye is pushing a bill that would raise the speed limit on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, commonly called Saddle Road, from 55 mph to 65 mph — 5 mph faster than the state’s highest-speed roads currently allow. Tribune-Herald.

Hu Honua Bioenergy is firing back at the Hawaii Electric Light Company in a document filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, addressing what it calls incomplete and misleading information in HELCO’s status report to the PUC. Big Island Video News.

One of Hawaii’s last remaining dairy farms is asking the state for help building its own milk processing facility. Big Island Dairy, located in Ookala, says the $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds it is requesting would help it secure low-cost loans for the plant, which it sees as helping stabilize the industry. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Health Systems Corp. West Hawaii Region board of directors has selected Frank Sayre to serve as its new chair. Pacific Business News.

On Saturday, faculty, students and residents will celebrate the grand opening and open house of the Hawaii Community College-Palamanui. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The percentage of unused wind power by Maui Electric Co. in 2015 grew 3 percentage points to 10 percent compared to 2014, but the utility accepted its highest amount of power from wind farms in the year, according to a filing with the state Public Utilities Commission late last month. Maui News.

Victory Development's proposed 39-unit Nani Loa condominium hotel project in Kihei's "Kamaole Superblock" became a procedural hairball for the Maui Planning Commission on Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

The county is considering more than $800,000 in raises for elected and appointed officials. Garden Island.

A 3 percent assessment cap for homestead and long-term affordable rental properties was approved unanimously by the five members of the county council present at Wednesday’s meeting. Garden Island.

In their Tuesday meeting, the planning commission approved the zoning, use, and special permits for a middle and high school along the mauka side of Kuhio Highway in Kilauea. Garden Island.