Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Honolulu unveils first rail cars; Legislature kills trespassing, crosswalk, media access, smoking in cars bills; dengue and Zika protections advance; Hawaii County Democrats want Roundup ban; Coco Palms developers get money for project; 'Styrofoam' ban looming, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Office of the Mayor
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in new rail cars, courtesy mayor's office
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation unveiled the first four-car train on the tracks at the rail operation center next to Leeward Community College today. Star-Advertiser.

Local island leaders and rail advocates got a tour Monday of Honolulu’s first public transit train — a transportation option that they’re betting thousands of Oahu commuters will eventually use to avoid daily gridlock heading in and out of town. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s A 360-Degree View Inside Honolulu Rapid Transit’s First Train Car. What does $6.6 billion and counting buy you in Honolulu? This, for a start. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation unveiled the city's first train car on Monday at the rail operations center next to Leeward Community College. Pacific Business News.

The media got its first look at the first train for Oahu's rail project. KITV4.

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The Senate leadership plans to kill a bill backed by Gov. David Ige aimed at making it easier for state officials to enforce criminal trespass laws on state land. That’s because senators from Hawaii island expressed constituents’ concerns that the measure targeted protesters of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project. Star-Advertiser.

Among the many bills that died Friday, the last day of conference committee at the Hawaii Legislature, was a measure that would have forbidden smoking in a motor vehicle when people under 18 are present. Civil Beat.

The state legislature will have marathon floor sessions Tuesday to pass bills on final reading before adjournment May 5th. These bills include the executive budget and a few controversial measures. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige joined U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono on Monday in urging the release of emergency federal funding that could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hawaii to prevent a major Zika virus outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Hawaii Gov. David Ige joined forces on Monday to continue the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Civil Beat.

Rep. Gregg Takayama's legislation, House Bill 1344, would have allowed journalists and newscasters to cover a hazardous situation, including accessing areas closed by emergency order from the governor or county mayors. But Takayama’s conference committee counterpart, Sen. Clarence Nishihara, told him Friday that the bill would be deferred — that is, killed. Civil Beat.

Airbnb visitors spent more per day than guests of any other accommodations category in Hawaii, a total of $353 million last year, according to an economic impact study conducted by Hospitality Advisors LLC on behalf of Airbnb. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allow online brokers such as Airbnb to collect taxes on behalf of people advertising private rentals on the websites, but they removed part of the proposal that would have targeted illegal camping ads by requiring online brokers to verify the legality of their listings. Associated Press.

Hawaii may waste less food per person than any other U.S. state; but we still wind up throwing out, or wasting, about a quarter of our food supply, according to a recent research report. Civil Beat.

A rare seabird whose population was wiped out of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is now hatching healthy chicks on the atoll. Associated Press.

Oahu

Open-government supporters say the Honolulu Ethics Commission is in shambles. There are critical staff shortages and a board keeping close watch on its executive director. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii Sold Three Marine Mammals To Sea Life Park Without A Permit. More than seven months after the transfer, state officials retroactively granted the required permit. Civil Beat.

The president and CEO of Honolulu's Bishop Museum is resigning amid a state investigation into whether he illegally gave himself a loan of more than $14,000. Associated Press.

As graduation approaches for local high school students, transgender advocates are pushing the Hawaii Department of Education for policies to prevent incidents such as one last year in which a transgender student at Kahuku High School said she wasn’t allowed to  participate in her graduation ceremony. Civil Beat.

Proposals aimed at creating a dedicated fund for the Honolulu Zoo and kick-starting development of a multistory parking structure are scheduled for votes at the City Council’s monthly meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Authorities struggle to curb drag racing at historic Ewa Field. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is considering approving a $1 million settlement in a case involving a 2-year-old boy who was permanently injured during a city-sponsored Easter Egg hunt in 2008. Civil Beat.

A federal jury awarded a 19-year-old woman and her family $810,000 Monday after it found Hawaii's public school system failed to protect her from a classmate's sexual assault in 2012. Hawaii News Now.

A jury has found that Hawaii’s public school system failed to protect a special education student who says she was raped by a classmate. Associated Press.

Hawaii

One County Council member wants to study the use of so-called “Styrofoam” containers on the island, while another council member wants to ban them outright. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii senators have scheduled a last-minute public hearing Wednesday on a proposed resolution that calls on the Department of Land and Natural Resources to “engage in earnest negotiations” for the state to acquire nearly 8,000 acres in south Kona. Civil Beat.

During a party convention on April 30, Hawaii County Democrats passed a resolution to stop Hawaii government from spraying the glyphosate herbicide in public places.Big Island Video News.

Calling in the big guns; National Guard troops assist in dengue fight by removing tires. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Developers of the proposed Hoku Nui Maui community planned on 258-acres in Piʻiholo seek approval for a sustainable agricultural project with components that include affordable housing and a hula hālau. Maui Now.

Environmental Coordinator to Discuss Coqui Frogs, Zika at Kiwanis Meeting. Maui Now.

Jerome "Tiger" Metcalfe, a candidate for the Maui County Council's South Maui residency seat, will be holding a series of events this month and will be accepting donations of canned food for the Maui Food Bank along with campaign donations. Maui News.

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. Maui Watch.

A Maui-based program that allows students to study under award-winning local musicians is now in the running for awards of its own. Maui News.

Kauai

Coco Palms developers have secured funding for demolition, representatives reported Monday. Garden Island.

Honolulu-based Coco Palms Hui LLC went before the Kauai County Planning Commission on Monday to present an update on the Coco Palms project. Pacific Business News.

After nearly four months, today marks the re-opening of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, just in the nick of time for their annual Lighthouse Day celebration. Garden Island.