Thursday, April 28, 2016

Inmates to be released early from overcrowded Hawaii jails, pregnant endangered Kauai monk seal attacked on video, dengue fever ebbs, hotel tax unchanged, Honolulu councilmen scrap church funding plan, 1.2M visitors to Maui's Haleakalā National Park last year, council airs rail audit battle, Department of Education drowning in teacher applications, igloos for homeless, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii jail exterior © 2016 All Hawaii News
The state correctional system will likely be able to begin releasing misdemeanor criminal offenders in the coming months as a way to ease severe overcrowding in Hawaii jails. House Bill 2391, part of Gov. David Ige’s legislative package, unanimously passed conference committee on Wednesday, a crucial hurdle in the final days of this legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

Loyalists, Dissidents, the Fab Four and the Three Amigos. These four factions, and others within the 51-member Hawaii House of Representatives, form alliances that determine leadership structures, influence what bills become law and affect who wins elections. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education has been inundated with thousands of applications from people all over the world after bringing attention to Hawaii’s teacher shortage, but officials say it has been frustrating to find that many applicants have little or no teaching experience. Associated Press.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed Wednesday to give the counties $103 million of state hotel tax money for fiscal 2017, which starts July 1. They left the percent each county receives unchanged. Civil Beat.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to provide the four counties with the same amounts of money in hotel tax revenues as they are receiving this year. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers rejected a bill Tuesday that would have allowed the University of Hawaii system to hire members of the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

A bill garnering support from advocates of both business interests and social services sets a state goal of developing at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units over the next decade. Civil Beat.

Unless state lawmakers change course in the coming days, Hawaii will continue to lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to certain policies and resources provided to ensure the health and safety of residents living in long-term care facilities. Civil Beat.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed Tuesday to sign off on the payment of nearly $11 million to resolve claims against the state. In all, House Bill 2279 appropriates the funds for 23 settlements or judicial orders involving seven departments. Civil Beat.

Let Hawaii Happen, the Hawaii Visitor Convention Bureau’s marketing campaign, has reached 54 percent of frequent U.S. travelers, via paid advertising, website, social media, or direct public relations. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii will recover more than $400,000 from a pharmaceutical products distributor that underpaid Medicaid drug rebates, state Attorney General Doug Chin announced today in a news release. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin has deleted his budget request for $250,000 to fund the expansion of an evangelical Christian megachurch in Sand Island on Oahu’s south shore. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Councilman Joey Manahan are backing away from New Hope Church Oahu’s request to have the city provide $250,000 in grants- in-aid for its expansion plans at Sand Island. Star-Advertiser.

Despite the political rhetoric surrounding Honolulu’s rail project, all that is certain when it comes to the final price tag: Nobody will know the ultimate cost until at least next January and it could exceed the current $6.6 billion estimate. Civil Beat.

City Auditor Edwin Young has claimed that rail officials tried to intimidate his audit team when they reviewed the rail authority's finances. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee focused on the Audit of Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Cooler heads prevailed at a council budget meeting. The tone appeared to be more about clearing the air, than being confrontational. KITV4.

A church in Hawaii looking to address the state's ongoing homelessness crisis has settled on a solution that on first look appears better suited for the frigid winters of Alaska than the islands' tropical climate: igloos. Associated Press.

A large solar energy farm planned for Central Oahu that was rejected by Hawaii regulators last year has been officially canceled, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

Prosecutor Files Complaint Over Police Officer Actions. Honolulu police are investigating whether an officer misrepresented himself in a high-profile manslaughter case to help a local reporter. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii says an independent investigation into what caused a laboratory explosion that seriously injured a visiting researcher has been delayed by several weeks. Associated Press.

Residents and local businesses in the Ko Olina area are being asked to conserve water as the city's Department of Environmental Services responds to a water main break at its West Beach Wastewater Pump Station. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii


With more than 30 days past since the last case of dengue fever on the Big Island, state and county officials could have declared “breakbone fever” officially pau. They didn’t. West Hawaii Today.

State officials said that the dengue fever outbreak is not over during a press conference held on Oahu Wednesday, even though the Big Island reached a “significant milestone” with no reports of locally acquired dengue fever in 30 days. Big Island Video News.

With no new cases of dengue fever reported in 30 days, it appears the Hawaii island dengue fever outbreak has come to an end. Star-Advertiser.

State officials celebrated a big milestone on Wednesday in the fight against dengue fever, but said it’s too soon to declare victory in the outbreak — and warned that Hawaii’s real battle may just be beginning. Civil Beat.

The county Department of Environmental Management isn’t exactly flush with cash, thanks to hundreds of people seriously behind on their sewer bills. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A new National Park Service report shows that 1,216,772 visitors to Haleakalā National Park in 2015 spent over $76 million in communities near the park. Maui Now.

Honopou taro farmer Lynn Scott sees more water flowing down East Maui streams since Alexander & Baldwin announced last week that it was "fully and permanently" restoring water to eight East Maui streams. Maui News.

A scheduling conflict between the first Maui County Carnival and the third annual Vietnam veterans' memorial ceremony has been resolved with carnival organizers deciding to observe "quiet time" during the veterans' ceremony in front of the War Memorial Gym on Saturday evening. Maui News.

Kauai

One of Kauai’s most popular Hawaiian monk seals was attacked on Tuesday night at Salt Pond Beach Park, and a video recording of the scuffle is circulating on social media. Garden Island.

A video posted on social media that shows a man repeatedly punching a pregnant Hawaiian monk seal at a Kauai beach has touched off an investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Star-Advertiser.

The video of a pregnant monk seal being attacked on Kauai has left many people outraged including Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho. KHON2.

A documentary that spotlights problems tied to illegal camping on Kauai’s Na Pali Coast is slated to air on KFVE to educate the public about the need to protect natural and cultural resources, particularly at Kalalau. Star-Advertiser.

Cyndi Ayonon of the Mayor’s Office coordinated the tallying of contributions from county agencies for transport by the Kauai Independent Food Bank toward its Spring Food and Fund Drive. Garden Island.