Friday, April 22, 2016

Hawaii lawmakers beef up budget to fight dengue and zika, Hanabusa takes over board of struggling Honolulu rail project, Maui homeless plan heads to court, thousands of octopus born at new facility, Tulsi mum on Sanders aspirations, cancer center future uncertain, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Big Island Video News
Worker sprays for dengue mosquitoes, courtesy Visionary Video
House and Senate negotiators agreed Thursday to allocate $1.27 million to help combat dengue fever, the Zika virus and other disease threats — funding that would allow the state to hire 20 additional people for vector control and other tasks. Star-Advertiser.

House and Senate lawmakers resumed state budget negotiations Thursday, agreeing to add 20 positions and $1.27 million for the state Department of Health’s fight against the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island and the threat of the Zika virus. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers have agreed to a large increase in budget funding for vector control staffing in Hawaii, driven by concerns over mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and Zika. Big Island Video News.

The state Department of Health Vector Control Branch will receive a boost in funding after an agreement made between House and Senate conferees while discussing the state budget on Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

In 2014, 87 percent of Hawaii households had a computer, and 81 percent of Hawaii households subscribed to broadband internet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Star-Advertiser.

While U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard “felt the Bern,” and broke party ranks by resigning as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in February in order to back Bernie Sanders’ bid for president, Sanders’ camp has been quiet as far as whether Gabbard would join the Vermont senator as his running mate, should he win the nomination. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

As the Honolulu rail agency’s new board chairwoman, former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa must now help guide the largest public works project in state history as it faces growing financial uncertainty and eroding public confidence. Star-Advertiser.

Former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa was named Thursday chairwoman of the board for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, a semi-autonomous city agency in charge of building Honolulu’s $6.6 billion, 20-mile rail line. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation or HART increased its construction funding request by more than 2.3 billion dollars for the next fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

It’s no secret Oahu’s rail transit project struggles with money problem. Now, for the first time, the board overseeing the project could consider shortening the route. KHON2.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the Honolulu Board of Water Supply will have to move parts, if not large segments, of a large water main to make way for the $6.5 billion rail transit project.

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Six months after a mainland consultant issued a report outlining ways to turn around the financially struggling University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the Board of Regents has yet to take action, adding to lingering uncertainty around the research facility’s future. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Cancer Center has selected one of its professors and program directors to be its new interim associate director as the current executive transitions back to the adjacent UH John A. Burns School of Medicine. Pacific Business News.

Among proposed improvements at Ala Moana Regional Park are a widened walkway fronting the beach, more grass across the sprawling campus and new nonvehicular entry at the end of Piikoi Street. Star-Advertiser.

The clean-energy giant SunEdison, which owns a trio of incomplete renewable energy projects on Oahu, filed for bankruptcy Thursday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Kanaloa Octopus Farm, a recent startup at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in North Kona, on Wednesday welcomed its first batch of cephalopod larvae, said Jake Conroy, president and CEO of the first commercial octopus farm in the U.S. The venture, which got underway in the summer of 2015, is looking to successfully rear octopus on land first for aquariums and someday supply the market. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved a recommendation Thursday to hire Nevada community college administrator Rachel Solemsaas for the open post at HCC. Solemsaas will replace outgoing interim chancellor Joni Onishi. Tribune-Herald.

Three years after Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo held its first high school graduation, the Big Island charter school has announced plans to temporarily suspend its high school program for the coming school year. Civil Beat.

After years of infighting between apartment owners, and trouble paying its bills, Country Club Condos is hoping to renew its image — starting with a new name. Now called Oceanfront 121, the association-operated building at 121 Banyan Drive is advertising itself as a “healthy place to stay and live” on Hilo’s waterfront, with rooms starting at $700 a month. Utilities are included. Tribune-Herald.

A Honolulu attorney is asking the state to find another hearings officer to oversee the next contested case for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope over concerns of a conflict of interest. Associated Press.

Maui

The Maui County Council will be holding a public hearing on property tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers in the Kalana O Maui building in Wailuku. Maui News.

A proposal to build a campground for transient homeless in Lahaina is headed to 2nd Circuit Court after the state Land Use Commission unanimously decided Wednesday that it could not reconsider its previous ruling on the project's requirements. Maui News.

House and Senate conference committee members are set this morning to take up three bills that aim to help public hospital employees facing possible job disruptions when operations of Maui region facilities transfer this summer to the private Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC. Maui News.

First it was in, then it was out, and now it’s back in again. Alexander & Baldwin, the 145-year-old real estate developer and agriculture business, could be covered under House Bill 2501, a contentious water rights measure making its way through the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Completed ballots for the Philippines national elections may be dropped off at the Maui County Business Resource Center in the Maui Mall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, according to the county Department of Housing and Human Concerns Immigrant Services Division. Maui News.

Kauai

The police commission is investigating the Kauai Police Department after officers obtained a blood draw from a 25-year-old man involved in a car accident even though a judge denied a warrant request. Garden Island.

Mahina Anguay, principal of Waimea High School, won the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award Thursday Night. Garden Island.

Waimea High School Principal Mahina Anguay, who has linked classroom learning with real-life projects for students, received the $25,000 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.