Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Legislative negotiators agree on $10M for preschools, bluefin tuna at risk, Martin pulls papers for Honolulu mayor, rail could mean more new schools, Maui named top island in the world, Oahu elementary school named for Inouye, igloos for homeless, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii House
Budget conference committee, courtesy Hawaii House
State Senate and House lawmakers began working out their differences on more than 300 bills today.  A high priority this session was homelessness and affordable housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to provide $10 million for Preschool Open Doors, which is expected to help 1,500 at-risk kids access an early education program for low-income families. It was the most significant of many budget decisions that House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and Senate Ways and Means Chair Jill Tokuda announced Tuesday in a packed conference room at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

Legislative leaders want to boost funding for a program that helps fund preschool for children from low-income families, and say they’ve agreed to increase the budget for the Preschool Open Doors to $10 million. Associated Press.

The latest scientific assessment paints a likely bleak future for the Pacific bluefin tuna, a sushi lovers’ favorite whose population has dropped by more than 97 percent from its historic levels. Associated Press.

Last year nearly a quarter of middle school students in Hawaii said they had seriously considered suicide, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Civil Beat.

At a recent press conference to show support for bills to help the homeless and provide affordable housing, state Sen. President Ron Kouchi quoted from scripture. Civil Beat.

Chevron Hawaii’s gas stations will be rebranded to Texaco once the sale of the company’s Hawaii assets closes later this year to New York’s One Rock Capital Partners LP, a spokesperson for One Rock Capital said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The answer to “will he or won’t he” took a new turn Tuesday when Ernie Martin pulled papers to run for mayor of Honolulu. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education anticipates future residential development along the city’s rail line in urban Honolulu will bring with it an additional 10,200 students to area public schools, far exceeding existing capacity and requiring several new schools from Kalihi to Ala Moana. Star-Advertiser.

The state could be saddled with some big school construction costs in coming decades if current housing and population growth predictions hold true for a 4-mile swath of urban Honolulu, according to a Department of Education report. Civil Beat.

A new Department of Education report says approximately 39,000 new residential units will be built between Kalihi and Ala Moana and that could bring in about 10,000 new students to the district. KHON2.

A month after approving a $4.7 million payment to settle two lawsuits filed by one current and two former Honolulu police officers who alleged discrimination, the Honolulu City Council is being asked to approve more money for attorneys’ fees. Star-Advertiser.

Plans to allow two managed homeless encampments on Oahu are moving forward, while the city also plans to build a hygiene center for the homeless. Hawaii News Now.

The City and County of Honolulu has denied a $180,000 grant to Mental Health Kokua Activity Center, a non-profit organization that serves severely mentally ill people in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown. Civil Beat.

Red Hill’s First Assembly of God church wants to erect a dozen igloo-­shaped domes from Alaska to create a “shelter village” somewhere in town for about 40 homeless people. Star-Advertiser.

Officials at an Oahu high school were negligent in not preventing an alleged rape between two special-education students, a lawyer told jurors Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Board of Education approved the renaming of Hale Kula Elementary School to Daniel K. Inouye Elementary School during its meeting on Tuesday. KITV4.

Hawaii

After hearing from supporters and critics of embattled Mayor Billy Kenoi, it was the Hawaii County Council’s silence that spoke the loudest Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

More than two dozen people showed up Tuesday evening to speak their minds on a proposed one-half percent general excise tax increase, with all but one opposed to the idea. West Hawaii Today.

A plan to create a 306-unit multiple family residential development just mauka of the popular Kahalu’u Bay goes before the Leeward Planning Commission this week. Big Island Video News.

After months of uncertainty, plans to build the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy’s long awaited permanent building are finally moving forward. The University of Hawaii on Monday awarded the project to Isemoto Contracting Co. for $31.3 million. Tribune-Herald.

BJ Penn told a mixed martial arts podcast Monday night that allegations of sexual assault that put his plans for a return to fighting on hold “definitely hurt my heart.” Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui is Nō Ka ʻOi once again. The island of Maui was just ranked the Top Island in the World and the Top Island in the US by the travel planning and booking website TripAdvisor. Maui Now.

Developers of a 1,500-home Olowalu development, which has been a decade in the making, have withdrawn their plans in a victory for those who opposed the project as inappropriate for the West Maui area. Maui News.

Developers have withdrawn plans to build 1,500 homes in a west Maui community, a decision that comes months after state officials rejected the project's environmental assessment. Associated Press.

Designs for the final phase of the long-awaited North Shore Greenway - a 7-mile pedestrian and bike-friendly pathway between Kahului and Paia - are "90 percent done," and the project could go out to bid by summer and be completed next year, county Department of Public Works engineers said. Maui News.

The Maui Young Democrats invites the public to attend their Upcountry County Council debate on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at the Pukalani Community Center. Maui Now.

Kauai

Bills covering smoking in a motor vehicle, homestays and vending on county-owned property are slated to go before the Kauai County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

The final report on pesticide use by agribusiness on Kauai is in the works. Garden Island.

State Rep. Dee Morikawa has a list of projects she wants done in her district. Garden Island.