Monday, March 28, 2016

Democrats flock to the polls for Sanders, Army reorganization could affect Hawaii, initial rail route cut by 10 miles, airline seats, DUIs on Legislature's agenda, Maui battles for new school, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger

Democrats crowd Pahoa polling place Saturday as Sanders takes Hawaii, photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger
Democratic voters who were both buoyed — and discouraged — by this year’s presidential hopefuls from both parties packed polling sites Saturday, hoping to influence the outcome of the November general elections. Star-Advertiser.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders scored a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Hawaii Democrats’ presidential preference poll Saturday, mobilizing a grass-roots campaign that signed up thousands of new Democrats and defied the wishes of almost the entire “old guard” of the party. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Democrats have spoken, and they much, much prefer Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Sanders, the Vermont senator, defeated Clinton, the former secretary of state, 70 percent to 30 percent in the state’s presidential preference poll Saturday, with 100 percent of all precincts reporting. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers will return from long holiday weekend and tackle a slew of resolutions and bills in committee hearings. They'll take up a resolution about driving under the influence of marijuana. And another resolution asks the federal government to set limits on how small airline seats can get. Associated Press.

NextEra Deal: What Happens If The PUC Loses A Member? PUC commissioner Mike Champley could be off the board on June 30. That puts a new card in Gov. David Ige’s hand. Civil Beat.

As laid out by the Army, the Army Reserve’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, headquartered in Hawaii, could lose some autonomy — and possibly its famed liberty torch shoulder patch — in its alignment with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks. Star-Advertiser.

Both the Hawaii House and Senate have passed their own version of bills that would ban the sale of certain wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and shark. The bills include some exemptions, including for the age of the ivory and cultural uses. Associated Press.

A top Hawaii lawmaker is delaying a public-records request because of a dispute that could hold up similar requests for years. The outcome will likely determine whether legislators may withhold emails, calendars and other information from the public, which watchdog groups see as crucial to government accountability.  Associated Press.

Oahu

Local rail officials have decided that for the opening of the transit system, they won’t extend the route to Middle Street after all. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and at least two other Council members want to mimic Seattle-style public showers and tent cities across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Both the city administration and the nonprofit Honolulu Zoo Society need to do more to ensure the longevity of the zoo, particularly providing more stable funding, current and former elected officials insist. Star-Advertiser.

Health officials are reminding Hawaii residents to get rid of mosquito-breeding grounds as the state Department of Health investigates whether four reports of travel-related mosquito-borne illness on Oahu could be the Zika virus, dengue fever or chikungunya. Associated Press.

Hawaii

The projects are being built and soon the bill will come due. A big bond sale last month by term-limited Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and the County Council will leave the next administration with a heck of a tab to pay. West Hawaii Today.

Three bills signed by the late state Sen. Gil Kahele hours before his death this past January, are moving full steam ahead through the House. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is moving forward with modified plans to improve Kukuihaele Park. A final environmental assessment was released Wednesday for the North Hawaii project. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Community College in Hilo announced its final four candidates for chancellor this week. The four candidates are Larry Buckey, Micheal Glisson, Anthony Munroe and Rachel Solemsass. Pacific Business News.

The public will get a chance next week to hear from four newly selected finalists vying to be Hawaii Community College’s next chancellor. Tribune-Herald.

About 2,412 more people resided in Hawaii County in 2015 than the year prior, newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. The bureau reports Hawaii Island’s population at 196,428 as of July 1, 2015, up from 194,016 the same day in 2014. That’s roughly a 1.2 percent yearly growth rate, or about a seven-person increase each day. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The County Council budget committee chairman Thursday announced a slate of countywide meetings on Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed $711.5 million budget while expressing concerns about its 14.6 percent spending increase over the current fiscal year and the assumptions on the county's take of the hotel room tax. Maui News.

Citing a Legislative Reference Bureau report showing declining enrollment at Maui High School beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, state Rep. Bob McDermott of Oahu says a new Kihei high school is not needed and that state funding should go toward building a new high school in West Oahu, which is "exploding in growth." Maui News.

Permit application requests Baldwin estate to become grand vacation rental. The former Baldwin estate in Haiku has a long history as well as a botanical garden with a collection of rare species of tropical trees collected from around the world. Maui News.

Kauai

Mix seasonal changes with chronic erosion, dash in some global warming, coral death and rise in sea level, and top all of that with one mean El Nino year — and you’ve got a cocktail of challenges for Kauai’s coastline. Garden Island.

On Sunday, the debris clogging the Morgan’s Ponds swimming pond and adjacent keiki pond kept people on land. Garden Island.

Lanai

A roughly 20-year dispute over whether a luxury resort golf course on Lanai is improperly tapping the island’s stressed drinking water supply appears headed back to the state Land Use Commission after a court ruling last week. Star-Advertiser.