Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hawaii counties count legislative blessings, IBEW taken over by parent as probe into nepotism widens, tax credits for organic farmers, 75th Pearl Harbor anniversary planned, University of Hawaii money has strings attached, no funding for UH Cancer Center, solar company cutbacks after incentive plan cut, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii elder hula © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii ranks seventh among the 50 states in which to grow old, according to a new Caring.com report. The report looked at several factors affecting people age 55 and up. The ratings incorporated data on quality of life, health care, long-term care, support for seniors and family caregivers, affordability of senior care and more than 100,000 ratings of senior care providers. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii would become the first state to pass a plan that would set up tax breaks for farmers to offset the cost of becoming certified as organic. Under the plan farmers could get up to $50,000 in tax credits for qualifying expenses. The state Legislature approved the proposal this year. Associated Press.

New Political Parties Get Their Shot On Hawaii Ballots This Year. The Hawaii Constitution Party, the Hawaii Independent Party and the American Shopping Party have qualified. Civil Beat.

The state’s newly selected medical marijuana dispensary operators could be permitted to grow under natural sunlight, and advanced practice registered nurses might be allowed to certify new patients. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s solar industry continues to struggle after the state ended a popular solar incentive program in October. The Hawaii Solar Energy Association, a solar advocacy group, said Monday a survey of 11 member companies showed 73 percent have decreased staff since the incentive program ended. Star-Advertiser.

The takeover of one of Hawaii's largest unions by its international parent comes amid longtime complaints of nepotism in the office. A Hawaii News Now review of the IBEW Local 1260's filings with the U.S. Labor Department shows that the union employed at least four people related to business manager Brian Ahakuelo. Hawaii News Now.

Only half of Hawaii’s public high schools with football teams have access to the top-rated helmets, and even at the campuses with the best helmets available, your child may still be handed a lower-rated piece of equipment. KHON2.

Oahu

The Legislature passed 275 bills and appropriated more than 7 billion dollars in state general funds before it adjourned last week. But the UH Cancer Center did not receive a single cent of what it asked for. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers are trying to prohibit the University of Hawaii from spending any of the nearly $50 million the Legislature has budgeted for the university’s repair and maintenance backlog on the College of Education at UH Manoa — unless the college is relocated. Star-Advertiser.

Kakaako Waterfront Park has a reputation as a giant, uninviting grassy mound with crumbly walking paths and shade pavilions popular with the homeless. But the state’s biggest park in urban Honolulu would become a grand public recreation destination under a new master plan. Star-Advertiser.

Planners of the 75th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks on Oahu are optimistic that either an aircraft carrier or “big deck” amphibious assault ship and vintage aircraft will participate in the milestone commemoration, which likely will be the last major hurrah for a rapidly dwindling number of Pearl Harbor survivors. Star-Advertiser.

The ordinance that bans sitting and lying on public sidewalks has been a handy tool for Honolulu Police Department officers to clear the homeless and other sidewalk dwellers off of busy sidewalks in Waikiki and the downtown/Chinatown areas over the past two years. But in the 15 neighborhoods from Waimanalo to Wahiawa that were added to the sit-lie law by City Council members, the law does not appear to have been used. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Kona International Airport improvements and an expansion of the Hawaii Community Correctional Center are among the big ticket items lawmakers approved for the Big Island this session. In total, the state Legislature approved $389 million in capital projects for the island during the session that ended last week. Tribune-Herald.

State lawmakers are touting the $389 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding secured for Hawaii Island under the state budget (biennium of Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 ) passed by the Legislature last week. The Big Island’s elected officials were also able to secure $8.5 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Hawaii Island nonprofit organizations. Big Island Video News.

Travel to and from Kahakai Elementary School will soon become smoother, and Principal Jim Denight hopes substantially safer after the State Legislature allocated $355,000 to improve safety conditions on Kahakai Access Road. West Hawaii Today.

Government and nonprofit groups are pitching in to keep the vision of botanist Amy Beatrice Holdsworth Greenwell alive. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Dozens gather in solidarity with Maui lifeguards fighting for better pay. KITV4.

In a follow-up to our March 6th MAUIWatch interview with Kai Pelayo, the new Monsanto Maui community affairs director, Pelayo forwarded a 32-page update to the company’s Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Maui for the year 2015.

The Department of Natural Resources was called to investigate the discovery of an unidentified object/device that washed ashore overnight at the beach in Spreckelsville off of Stable Road. Authorities say the item appeared to be some type of Naval sonar equipment, but the DLNR Maui Boating District Manager is looking into the case to assess what it is and how to get it removed. Maui Now.

Hana and Lanai high and elementary schools are among 23 schools statewide being added next school year to a U.S. Department of Agriculture free meal program, the state Department of Education announced Thursday. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai representatives secured over $141 million in Capital Improvement Project funding for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Garden Island.

The Kauai Community Correctional Center will be receiving $15 million for new housing and support offices after Kauai lawmakers secured more than $140 million in Capital Improvement Project funding this week. Garden Island.

Senate President Ronald Kouchi frequently drives on Puhi Road, which means he knows about its condition firsthand. Garden Island.