Thursday, April 14, 2016

USS Arizona Memorial to close for repairs, Department of Health delays medical marijuana dispensary licenses, Hawaii House OKs empty shell bill, East-West Center on congressional pork list, council praises Kenoi and his budget, Maui County clerks rally for raises, Kauai council postpones general excise tax hike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy National Park Service
USS Arizona Memorial, courtesy National Park Service
Visitors will not be able to go call on one of Hawaii’s most memorable and popular attractions early this summer. The dock of the USS Arizona, across from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, will be dismantled, removed and replaced between June 13 and June 26. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Health Department confirmed Wednesday that it will miss the deadline for awarding licenses to the state’s first eight medical marijuana dispensary contractors. Star-Advertiser.

Despite a statutory deadline of April 15, the state Department of Health will wait until April 28 to announce the eight companies that will receive licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it's going to delay announcing the names of Hawaii's first medical marijuana dispensary owners. Officials say they planned to release the names April 15, but are delaying the announcement two weeks. Associated Press.

The Hawaii state Department of Health said Wednesday it is delaying its announcement of the state's first eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees by two weeks to allow all 66 applicants to submit fingerprints for background checks. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health is reviewing the criminal history records of applicants for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary licenses after announcing last week that applicants were given notice to provide consents and submit fingerprints. Maui Now.

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Resources have not kept pace with Hawaii’s rapidly aging population when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of residents living in long-term care facilities, according to health officials and state budget documents. Civil Beat.

On the House side, lawmakers took the extremely unusual step of approving on the floor a bill relating to geothermal power that does not actually have any content. That so-called “short-form” bill will now go to conference committee and can be amended there to insert language that can then become law. No public testimony is allowed in conference committee, effectively shutting out the public from providing input on a hotly contested issue. Star-Advertiser.

It’s been years since the country recovered from the Great Recession spurred by the subprime mortgage crisis, but economic conditions for Hawaii’s low-income residents haven’t fully rebounded, according to a report by the Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, a nonprofit law firm that advocates on behalf of the poor. Star-Advertiser.

The state says the construction industry will again lead Hawaii’s economy with the fastest growth rate. On Wednesday, the state released its employment forecast for the short-term. Officials predict the construction industry will increase 12.1 percent, creating 3,880 jobs between the first quarters of 2015 and 2017. KHON2.

Oahu

The  U.S. Department of Justice has awarded $200,000 to the Honolulu prosecutor’s office to kick-start a proposed mobile court aimed at clearing the court docket of thousands of homeless defendants who don’t show up and end up accruing bench warrants and additional penalties that keep them from getting jobs or housing. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office has received a $200,000 federal grant to implement a community court that is intended to help resolve a backlog of over 11,000 low-level, non-violent cases. Civil Beat.

The Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert law firm has sent a cease and desist letter to the Honolulu county permitting department, requesting that it cease issuing notices of violations for homeowners involved with vacation rentals in residential districts. Pacific Business News.

A Honolulu City Councilman is proposing a newly opened city homeless shelter in Sand Island be closed, and homeless living in their cars be allowed to park on the property and sleep instead. Hawaii News Now.

With news reports warning that the solar giant SunEdison could declare bankruptcy as early as this week, the fate of a trio of the company’s stalled solar projects on Oahu remains uncertain. Civil Beat.

The Catholic Church knew late Honolulu Bishop Joseph Anthony Ferrario had been accused of sexual abuse while a priest in Kailua, but appointed him to head the Honolulu diocese anyway, a Catholic priest who was in charge of managing the process in which candidates were vetted for the office of bishop alleges in a new 18-page court report. Hawaii News Now.

Three additional lawsuits were filed Wednesday accusing Catholic priests in the Diocese of Honolulu of sexual abuse. Associated Press.

Citizens Against Government Waste lists the East-West Center in Honolulu in its 2016 Congressional Pig Book, which flags congressional earmarks deemed unnecessary. Civil Beat.

Ocean Safety welcomes their first rescue boat ever. The boat will be stationed at Kewalo Basin Harbor. It will provide emergency ocean response to the Kakaako waterfront area. KITV4.

Hawaii

Council praises Mayor Billy Kenoi and his $462.7M spending plan. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi was critical on Wednesday of the State of Hawaii’s distribution of the Transient Accommodations Tax to the four counties, which is likely to be millions less than what Kenoi says the counties should be getting. Big Island Video News.

Two bills that would have provided funding to combat invasive pests on the Big Island are dead in the state Senate. The measures would have appropriated money to help treat infestations of little fire ants and macadamia felted coccid. Tribune-Herald.

Assuming they survive the haggling of conference committees later this month, tens of millions of dollars in funding and projects will be coming West Hawaii’s way in the months ahead. West Hawaii Today.

It’s been nearly 16 months since students and staff gathered for a formal groundbreaking of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy’s long-awaited permanent building. But since then, little at the South Ahoku Street construction site has changed. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County clerks and supporters wave signs outside the Kalana O Maui building Tuesday morning. Their chants included, "What do we want? Equal Pay! When do we want it? Now!" Maui News.

The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday to allow holdover state water diversion permits for farmers, ranchers and utilities, but not for Alexander & Baldwin and subsidiary Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. to continue to divert East Maui stream water for irrigation. Maui News.

For the eighth year, Maui Electric Company has been named one of the nation’s top utilities for connecting the most solar watts per customer to the grid, earning ninth place in the annual Top 10 list compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), formerly the Solar Electric Power Association. MauiWatch.

Maui Mall is a step closer to beginning its $10 million expansion and renovation project, which will be phased in over the next several years. Maui News.

Kauai

In a 4-3 decision Wednesday, the Budget and Finance Committee voted to defer a proposed general excise tax increase to May. Garden Island.

Residents in the North Shore community of Haena will most likely be teaming up with the state to manage the new Community-Based Fisheries Subsistence Area. Garden Island.

Fern Anuenue Rosenstiel filed papers to run for state representative for Kauai District 14, east and north Kauai. Garden Island.