Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ige pushes early inmate release, 16% pay raise for lifeguards, Honolulu mayor, council battle over recycling fees, Big Island lead cleanup to cost $6M, Kauai mayor seeks 3.4% budget bump, federal money for displaced Maui sugar workers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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ohia flower © 2016 All Hawaii News
In years past, hula students would make pilgrimages into ohia forests on Hawaii’s Big Island to gather blossoms and leaves from the trees to adorn dancers’ lei, hair, hands and feet for the world’s most prestigious hula competition. But at this year’s upcoming Merrie Monarch Festival, the red and yellow blossoms that normally adorn dancers will be missing. Associated Press.

Gov. David Ige is asking legislators to allow the state correctional system to grant “early release” to misdemeanor criminal offenders as a way to ease overcrowding in Hawaii jails. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of Hawaii inmates could be released from jail to help ease overcrowding issues. That’s if a bill making its way through the State Legislature becomes law. KHON2.

Hawaii lifeguards are set to receive a 16 percent pay raise starting July 1 under a new two-year union contract. Negotiations between the Hawaii Government Employees Association and state and county officials reached an impasse, but a neutral arbitrator took up the matter and issued an award in February. Civil Beat.

Industry experts say there are a lot of chemicals that could contaminate Hawaii's medical marijuana. Dispensaries are set to open in Hawaii in July, and state lawmakers are pushing a broad bill to address many of the obstacles the industry is facing. One is how to regulate marijuana testing. Associated Press.

A statewide series of public hearings will be held from March 28 to May 5 on proposed University of Hawaii tuition increases of up to 6 percent over three years. Star-Advertiser.

The number of public school employees on leave after being accused of misconduct has dropped substantially after a push to ensure cases are resolved faster and discipline is appropriate. Star-Advertiser.

Three major problems with the ʻAha Native Hawaiian constitution. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday again urged the City Council to stop a bill that he describes as a form of “corporate welfare” because it would largely help one recycling company: Schnitzer Steel Hawaii Co. The Council is scheduled to hold an override vote today on Bill 50, which would give metal recyclers a 25 percent discount on refuse disposal fees at the landfill or the city’s HPOWER waste-to-energy incinerator plant. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants the City Council to consider a proposal aimed at helping locally owned recycling companies instead of overriding his veto of another measure that would subsidize all recycling businesses that bring large amounts of solid waste to the landfill. Civil Beat.

Honolulu rail project's chief architect departs, warns of project's future. Pacific Business News.

Across the board, Oahu residents have fewer preventable deaths than the rest of the state — especially compared to Hawaii County. Civil Beat.

Rising Seas Could Displace Thousands Of Ewa Beach Residents. A new report demonstrates the vulnerability of the Oahu coastline from climate change and beach erosion. Civil Beat.

The State is relocating its Data Center from the flood-zoned Kalanimoku Building in Downtown Honolulu to one on higher ground. Hawaii Public Radio.

More than 200 emergency planners and government officials from across the Pacific are attending a conference on natural disaster planning this week at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has announced the 2016 season of its Creative Lab Hawaii Accelerator Program after receiving $550,000 in funding. Pacific Business News

Hawaii

According to the monitor of a bid process for a Big Island geothermal facility, poor planning by Hawaiian Electric may have undermined the idea from the start. Pacific Business News.

The bad news is, it’s going to cost at least $6 million to clean lead from the Kealakehe scrap yard. The good news, Hawaii County can borrow the money at a 1 percent interest rate. West Hawaii Today.

A former county employee who embezzled more than $30,000 from the Department of Finance Vehicle Registration and Licensing Division will serve a short jail sentence and her conviction will be wiped clean if she stays out of trouble for five years. Tribune-Herald.

State and federal wildlife agencies are creating an “encyclopedia” of sorts they hope will guide future efforts to control invasive mongooses and rodents in Hawaii and better protect native species. But first, they want input from the public. Tribune-Herald.

The man involved with the “Freedom Ride” movement, which holds that licenses and registration are not needed for private vehicles, did not show up to court regarding his traffic ticket on Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa called the state of Maui County "one of perpetual change" Monday night, as he lauded recent developments in parks and transportation and laid out plans for dealing with new issues, such as the end of the sugar industry, as well as recurring issues such as affordable housing. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa delivers his 2016 State of the County Address tonight before a full house at the McCoy Studio Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center saying the state of Maui County “is one of perpetual change.”  The address highlights the County’s achievements in 2015, as well as plans for the coming year. Maui Now.

In Monday night's State of the County address, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa highlighted the Valley Isle's growing homeless problem. Help for some could be on the way---a proposal to purchase housing units is awaiting council approval. KITV4.

Millions in federal dollars are expected to be available soon to displaced Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers to help them support their families while they train and educate themselves for new jobs, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and Gov. David Ige announced Monday. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co.'s fossil-fuel generation costs, lowered by declining oil prices worldwide that have benefited customers, have dipped below the fixed price the utility pays for wind power. Maui News.

Kauai

A preliminary 2016-17 county budget released this week by Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. proposes a $188.8 million spending plan — an increase of about 3.4 percent from the current $182 million budget. Garden Island.

Island Air bid farewell to Kauai nine months ago amid a companywide restructuring. On Tuesday the state’s second-largest carrier returned with a new ownership group to a festive welcome. Star-Advertiser.

Welcome Flight 109. Cheers, praise greet Island Air’s return to Kauai. Garden Island.