Wednesday, May 11, 2016

School superintendent snubbed for new standards panel, embattled IBEW chief retires, tax collections up, ethics panel demurs in Kenoi pCard case, Turtle Bay plans unveiled, new form of government going to Maui ballot, rail lawsuit dismissed, lifeguard pay at issue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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In a high-profile snub that's raising eyebrows, the governor decided against appointing state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi to a newly-formed task force charged with overhauling Hawaii's public school standards and testing. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s general tax fund deposits rose 6.4 percent during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year when compared with the same period in the previous fiscal year, according to a statement released by the state Department of Taxation. Pacific Business News.

Brian Ahakuelo, the embattled leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260, retired from his position Tuesday amid an investigation into the Hawaii union’s finances. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Some $43 million earmarked for critical sewage treatment projects is being held up by the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee because of concerns over the future of a substance and mental health treatment facility that is on land proposed to be used for expansion of the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. Star-Advertiser.

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Ansaldo Honolulu JV, a contractor for Honolulu’s $6.6 billion rail project. John McCaughey, a former employee, filed the complaint last year arguing the Italian-based company was putting its workers in danger by failing to hire enough safety workers. Civil Beat.

The head of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation says he hopes to have an updated financial plan by the end of the year. KHON2.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department slashed over half a million dollars for Honolulu’s Continuum of Care program participants even though Hawaii has the worst rate of homelessness in the nation. While the cutback is relatively small — a 5 percent decrease from $9.7 million last year to $9.2 million this year — HUD estimates the expiration of funds will remove funding for 465 homeless people who are currently relying on services. Civil Beat.

Turtle Bay Resort's expansion plans for the 880-acre resort on Oahu's North Shore include a 452-room hotel, two golf courses, a spa, a stables and a golf clubhouse, according to a map obtained by Pacific Business News.

The HCDA is proposing a $45 million redesign of the 53 acres it owns next to Kewalo Basin over the next 20 years. Hawaii News Now.

The state says new self-service machines at Honolulu International Airport have significantly reduced average customs wait times for passengers arriving from other countries. Associated Press.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Board of Ethics remained no closer Tuesday to hearing an ethics complaint regarding Mayor Billy Kenoi’s misuse of a county purchasing card a year after it deferred the issue. Tribune-Herald.

Two recent actions by the County Council have ratcheted the county’s potential bond debt a little higher. But county officials say the authorization to float another $78.6 million in bonds isn’t likely to affect the county’s credit rating, or the annual payment made to debt service, because it is unlikely the bulk of that amount will go out to a bond sale. West Hawaii Today.

The legal fireworks over the Thirty Meter Telescope are expected to start up again Monday as retired Judge Riki May Amano called a pre-conference hearing in Honolulu for the attorneys representing all parties. Star-Advertiser.

A three-year effort to improve connectivity between upper Puna’s numerous subdivisions enters a new phase this week. Members of an ad hoc committee formed to address the connectivity problem will vote tomorrow on a draft report to be used by the Hawaii County Council and agencies such as the Department of Public Works for future planning. Tribune-Herald.

Boat moorings, dengue fever, land purchases and construction updates. Those were a few of the offerings Tuesday night as Kona Sen. Josh Green, Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen and leaders from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources addressed a standing-room only crowd at the West Hawaii Civic Center Council Chambers for a legislative update. West Hawaii Today.

The goal was straightforward: Determine the existing and future needs of the Kona-Kohala business community. The result was a complicated one, summed up in the Workforce Needs Study released Tuesday by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

After five months of deliberations, the Special Committee on County Governance recommended Monday that a new form of county government be placed on the ballot in November, though members remained deeply split in their support of a change. Maui News.

If Maui doesn’t sign off on a $1 million budget expenditure to pay an arbitration award, county officials say it could send everyone in the bargaining unit back to the table, based on their reading of a state attorney general’s opinion. So it wouldn’t just be the 55 lifeguards on Maui that would be affected, but several hundred public workers, including lifeguards on Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island, plus state law enforcement officers. Civil Beat.

Maui authorities are looking at ways to cut down on the number of people who become victims of financial crimes, an issue being dealt with in police departments across the state. Associated Press.

A 45-year-old man will receive $24,000 in damages from settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit filed against the Maui Police Department three years ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will hold two meetings on Maui this week, the agency announced. Maui News.

Some Maui County residents will receive a survey in the mail to identify how they use county parks and recreation facilities. Residents also may make recommendations for improvements to Maui County park facilities. Maui News.

Kauai

Transportation problems Kauai residents experience on a regular basis took center stage during the Community Advisory Committee meeting on Monday. Garden Island.

Hanalei Elementary School is growing. During a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners unanimously voted to approve a planning director’s report detailing the construction of two classroom portables on the school campus. Garden Island.

Meet Ollie, a courthouse facility dog who joined the Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney as the newest team member Tuesday. Garden Island.