Friday, May 20, 2016

Takai's decision not to run leaves rare vacancy in U.S. House, Maui study shows shallow ocean shelf attracts sharks, Pro Bowl likely moving to Orlando, medical marijuana scores released, Kauai bans smoking in cars with minors, National Park Service fights to limit Kona water use, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy office of the governor
Gov. David Ige, left, with U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, courtesy governor's offie
Saying he needs to focus on recovery instead of re-election, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai announced Thursday he will not seek a second term in Congress. Takai was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven months ago, and his decision to step down touched off much speculation about who will run to succeed him. Star-Advertiser.

Citing health concerns, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, the Democrat of Hawaii, announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election this year. Civil Beat.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Mark Takai said Thursday he will not seek re-election this fall and will step down when his term ends, because his cancer has spread. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has announced he will not seek a second term in Congress due to health problems. Associated Press.

US Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01) today announced his decision to step down after serving out the remainder of his term due to health concerns. Maui Now.

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Consumers and businesses in Hawaii risk getting ripped off in routine business transactions because the state agency tasked with inspecting gas pumps, weight scales such as those at supermarkets, and taxi meters still isn’t inspecting those devices as often as it should, according to a new state report. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has yet to receive a single application from anyone interested in replacing Les Kondo as executive director. The commission has been advertising for the position since May 3. Civil Beat.

The economy in Hawaii’s four counties has been strong in recent years and prospects remain good for the near future, although growth rates will start trending lower, according to the annual county-by-county forecast released Friday by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Pacific Business News.

The president of Hawaii’s Local 5 Unite Here, Hernando Ramos Tan, filed a lawsuit Thursday morning in U.S. District Court against the labor union’s secretary-treasurer, Eric Gill. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health has released the application scores for the eight companies who were awarded licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines unveiled its new seating that allows passengers to lie down completely flat and drift to sleep. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Once more Orlando, Fla., thinks it has won the tug-of-war with Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, only this time others are saying so as well. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu is moving one its busiest satellite city halls after more than a year delay. Hawaii Public Radio.

With the cost of Honolulu’s rail project doubling, transit officials are scrambling to figure out how much more of it they can afford to build, where it will have to stop short, and what to do from there. KHON2.

The head of the local electrical workers union is now the target of dueling investigations. Earlier this week, criminal investigators with the state Attorney General's office subpoenaed financial records from the IBEW Local 1260. That follows a separate federal investigation that was launched after the union was placed under trusteeship and its Business Manager Brian Ahakuelo was put on leave. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The National Park Service didn’t provide a requested gallon figure for how much water it needs at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park to sustain its ecosystems and the cultural practices that surround them. But the Park Service did bring the state Commission on Water Resource Management up to speed Thursday on the species that it feels would be threatened by any changes in water salinity due to future pumping of the Keauhou aquifer, which drains to the sea beneath it. West Hawaii Today.

Lawsuits against the county over a Kawa Bay police action and a zip line death are on their way to being settled, with votes earlier this week by the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, the developer of a $225 million biomass plant on the Big Island of Hawaii that is about 50 percent complete, is asking state regulators to investigate a Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary’s attempts to cancel the power purchase agreement with the two companies. Pacific Business News.

Dust, noise, health problems, lower property values and lawyers. Mix prime real estate and subdivisions with a plan for a commercial gravel crushing operation, and that’s what you get, said 20 residents who testified against a Bolton Inc. plan for that activity off of Hualalai Road above Queen Kaahumanu Highway. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

There’s a reason Maui sees more shark attacks than any other Hawaiian island, according to the results of a new study: It’s the large and protected shallow ocean shelf that acts as a magnet for tiger sharks near and far. Star-Advertiser.

Tiger shark bites peaked in 2012 and 2013, including two fatal attacks that spurred the state Department of Land and Natural Resources — working with the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System, a data collection project — to commission a nearly $200,000 two-year study of shark spatial behavior on Maui. The University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology conducted the research, which culminated this week in a report finding that the spike most likely isn’t due to changes in what humans are doing. Civil Beat.

New research released Thursday shows tiger sharks naturally favor waters near Maui that are close to some of Hawaii’s most popular beaches for humans. Associated Press.

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Department of Land and Natural Resources, with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System, to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui. Maui Now.

Scientists are getting a better idea of how sharks behave and why so many attacks have occurred off Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

A rising tide of shark bites off the Maui coast over the previous two decades appeared to indicate that sharks in the area had acquired a disturbing affinity for the taste of human flesh. West Hawaii Today.

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Buildings are being eliminated and the color scheme and other aesthetics are being altered in development plans to address public opposition to the Makena Resort's proposed 47-acre, 158-home and commercial project. Maui News.

A day after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order temporarily halted work to transfer Maui public hospital operations from state to private control, administrators first had to stop the momentum of what's been a "massive" effort to make the transition as of July 1, said Wesley Lo, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region chief executive officer. Maui News.

Days after the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction to halt the transfer of Maui hospital operations from the state-operated hospital system to private contractor Kaiser Permanente, Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Ron Boyd, characterized the delay as an “unfortunate expectation.”  Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve a bill that prohibits smoking in cars with children under the age of 18. Garden Island.

A resolution that seeks to institute a county manager was postponed until June 15 during the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday. Garden Island.

Genetically modified food has been cleared of connections to health problems in a 388-page report released Tuesday from the National Academies of Science. Garden Island.

The Board of Education’s vote to change a policy that required principals to consider test results in teacher evaluations is a win for educators, said several local teachers. Garden Island.