Friday, March 18, 2016

Popular tourist attraction to reopen following dengue scare, inter-island ferry bill advances, police power at issue in Honolulu, $37.5M for Maui high school, researcher loses arm in UH lab explosion, lifeguards to get watercraft on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waipio Valley lookout © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii County officials are considering reopening Waipio Valley to the public as the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak continues to subside. Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said he might know today whether the valley is safe to reopen after two months of limited access. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawai’i Democratic Presidential Preference Poll is less than 10 days away.   Mainland campaign organizers are now in town to help with the last minute push to get more votes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s hotel industry ushered in the new year by setting a trifecta of monthly records for revenue, average daily rate and revenue per available room. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is one step closer to getting serious about an interisland ferry system again. Senate Bill 2618, which would require the Department of Transportation to look into the feasibility of bringing back a ferry, cleared the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

It appears that Hawaii will continue to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to setting minimum training requirements for state and county law enforcement officers. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs employs 164 people to help it achieve its mission of improving the conditions of Native Hawaiians. Ten of those employees earn salaries in the six-figure range. Another four earn from $91,000 to $99,000. Civil Beat.

Dozens of public school employees remain under investigation by the Hawaii Department of Education over allegations of misconduct, with some cases having been open for longer than a year. Associated Press.

The Big Island Press Club‘s Lava Tube dishonor this year goes to DLNR Chair Suzanne Case for “setting up roadblocks to the media who have tried to gather information and gain access on matters large and small.” Civil Beat.

Civil Beat was at the Capitol on Thursday for Apathy and Influence, a panel discussion on how good government bills are faring in the legislative session.

Whether it’s utility executives or state regulators who are to blame, renewable energy projects often take years to come to fruition in Hawaii, something that’s deterring investors and hampering efforts to stop producing electricity from oil and coal. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A Honolulu Charter Commission subcommittee wants Oahu voters to decide whether the Police Commission should be given more authority over the Honolulu Police Department and its chief. Star-Advertiser.

The agency overseeing Honolulu’s rail project has agreed to help out the state by replacing outdated traffic signals along the future transit system’s western half, as construction proceeds there. Star-Advertiser.

The Air Force unit that defends Hawaii skies will get experimental energy technology that uses trash to generate power and relies on its own small electrical grid — a system intended to keep the unit operating if a bomb, cyberattack or natural disaster knocks out the local utility. Associated Press.

A longtime, local musician says he felt surprised and embarrassed after he was told to stop playing his guitar at Honolulu International Airport. KHON2.

Residents in a densely packed Ewa Villages neighborhood would be able to park less than 4 feet from their driveways under a pilot project approved by the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A structural engineer deemed the 20-year-old ocean sciences building at the University of Hawaii at Manoa safe Thursday, a day after an explosion rocked the basement laboratory, badly injuring a researcher, according to a UH official. Star-Advertiser.

Post-doctoral fellow Thea Ekins-Coward lost an arm and suffered other injuries in the explosion, which happened about 6 p.m. Wednesday in a basement lab at the Pacific Ocean Sciences and Technology Building. Hawaii News Now.

The state has agreed to pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit involving an eighth-grade science teacher at Kailua Intermediate School who accidentally drove his truck over a student on campus in 2012. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Two West Hawaii battalion chiefs who said they were stripped of their badges after they publicly criticized their boss failed in their appeal for lost overtime pay and benefits. West Hawaii Today.

A permit issued a quarter century ago to construct six 18-hole Championship golf courses, a golf teaching academy and five clubhouses at Aina Lea on 3,000 acres in South Kohala is no more after Hawaii County Leeward Planning Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to revoke the document. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Proposed hikes in water rates and fees are coming, and a shortage of five engineers in the Department of Water Supply will probably mean there won't be faster movement of applicants off the Upcountry water meter list, Water Director Dave Taylor told Maui County Council members Wednesday. Maui News.

The House Finance Committee voted to appropriate $37.5 million for the second phase of construction on the upcoming Kīhei High School, marking the single largest Department of Education appropriation in the House Budget. Maui Now.

The state House of Representatives approved a $13.5 billion supplemental budget Wednesday that included $37.5 million for construction of the Kihei high school and $200.7 million for a new Maui jail. Maui News.

Maui County was dethroned as the healthiest county in Hawaii, but retained its five-year run of providing the best quality of life, according to an annual study released Wednesday by a national health foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Maui News.

Maui and Hawaii are at the forefront of a nationwide "energy revolution," but everyone will have to evolve - consumers in their behavior, businesses in their practices and governments in their policy to continue to be leaders in the energy field, said experts on the opening day of the Maui Energy Conference on Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai

In a speech marked by energy and optimism, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. delivered his eighth State of the County address Thursday, acknowledging strides made in the past year and looking ahead to a vibrant future. Garden Island.

Three roving Jet Skis designated to preventing drownings could be on waters around Kauai next year. In his State of the County speech on Thursday, Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. said the Jet Ski patrols would perform daily periodic checks on unguarded beaches with relatively high rates of incidents. Those beaches include Lumahai, Anini, Larsen’s, Wailua, Kalapaki, Shipwreck’s, Mahaulepu, and Kekaha. Garden Island.

Lawful Hawaiian Government fights for signs. After losing court battles, DLNR has not released evidence. Garden Island.