Thursday, June 2, 2016

Confidential patient records in Health Exchange limbo, construction booming, crystal meth still plagues state, three counties pass budgets, Oahu windmills killing endangered bats, Duke Aiona mulls 3 races, coral graveyard found in Pacific, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Construction crane looms over Honolulu © 2016 All Hawaii News
Honolulu was the nation’s third-fastest-growing construction job market during the past 12 months as employment in the local industry hit an April high, according to new analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America. Star-Advertiser.

A former Hawaii Health Connector contractor claims to be holding on to Hawaii state residents' personal health information in what appears to be a favor to the state government, which has failed for months to give the company direction on what to do with the sensitive data. Pacific Business News.

When it comes to financial health, Hawaii ranks 45th. Civil Beat.

Crystal Meth in Hawaii: Demand, Supply and Local Culture. Hawaii Public Radio.

On July 9, the Hawaii Education Summit will be held to discuss the benefits of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, according to a statement released by Gov. David Ige’s office. Civil Beat.

More than 300 people who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, primarily on Oahu, received assistance from a portion of the $900,000 in state funds that Aloha United Way distributed to 18 social service agencies in April in an effort to reduce the highest per capita homeless rate in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Under the state’s policy, the Hawaii Department of Public Safety cannot decide where to place transgender inmates based only on their anatomy; it must make an individualized assessment that takes into account each inmate’s gender identity and personal concerns about safety. Civil Beat.

Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona Jr. pulled papers Wednesday for three different seats. KHON2.

Lei Ahu Isa is running to represent Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. A former state legislator and current trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Isa said she filed her papers Wednesday. Civil Beat.

The NFL said Wednesday its decision to move the Pro Bowl to Orlando, Florida, for the next three seasons is unrelated to funding, Aloha Stadium or Hawaii's ability to host the game. Associated Press.

Federal scientists reported what they’ve dubbed a “coral graveyard” off the coast of Jarvis Island in the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument on Wednesday, saying an emergency undersea expedition found 95 percent of the coral dead. Garden Island.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a $2.33 billion operating budget and $940 million capital improvements package for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a $2.3 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2017 Wednesday that includes millions of dollars for nonprofits and homelessness initiatives, and a separate rail budget that caps spending at a figure $1.3 billion short of what the federal government estimates the project may cost. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday approved operating and capital improvements budgets for the city’s troubled rail project, but in doing so slashed funding for the project’s staff and office space, and tightened the screws on construction money. Star-Advertiser.

Rail and disputed Kakaako roads on collision course. KITV4.

The number of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats killed by spinning wind turbines on an Oahu wind farm is on pace to far exceed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projections. Star-Advertiser.

A group of Kailua neighbors is up in arms after volunteers from two canoe clubs hacked away vegetation from a vacant lot on state land Monday, clearing the way for a canoe launch site along the Kawainui Canal, or Oneawa Channel. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc. paid about $2.3 million for the historic Honolulu Advertiser building on Kapiolani Boulevard, which it plans to renovate and use as its headquarters. Pacific Business News.

Water problems at Lahainaluna High School have not been ignored. The Department of Education told KHON2 Wednesday that it wasn’t aware of them.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi is adding 14 new positions to the county's $462.9 budget. But even that wasn’t enough for most County Council members, who on Wednesday added one more. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council voted on Wednesday to approve a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Big Island Video News.

Lt. Col. Jacob Peterson relinquished command of Pohakuloa Training Area to Lt. Col. Christopher Marquez in a ceremony Wednesday morning at the Army installation’s theater. Tribune-Herald.

Contaminated soil has halted redevelopment of a Hilo public housing complex. The housing site has been empty for over 10 years. Associated Press.

The County Council’s Finance Committee will get a chance to weigh in on the future of Hakalau Point today as it considers a resolution authorizing the purchase of the nearly 9-acre property, a former home to the Hakalau Plantation Co. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County could soon have its first tenant at the Kapulena Agricultural Park since seeking farming leases in 2012. Tribune-Herald.

Eighteen months later, there is still no answer from the state Office of Information Practices on whether the Commission on Water Resource Management violated the Sunshine Law during Kona site visits in 2014. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee deferred action Wednesday on a proposal that would restrict certain county employees' participation in political campaigns. Maui News.

The Hawaiʻi Ecotourism Association today announced the receipt of a $50,000 contract from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority to expand their Sustainable Tour Certification Program. Maui Now.

A coalition of social service agencies, Maui County, the Governor's Office and the Realtors Association of Maui is launching a program to encourage property owners and managers to make more housing available to those most in need of shelter. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously finalized the $189 million fiscal year 2016-2017 operating budget Wednesday. Garden Island.

A 20-year-old boardwalk at Kauai’s Kokee State Park is getting replaced with recycled plastic as state officials aim to protect the area’s rare species and improve safety for the thousands of people who visit each year. Associated Press.

A flight plan for a Cessna 182H that crashed and burned last week, killing five people, was never filed, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. Garden Island.

Leona Perez, Kauai Independent Food Bank’s programs manager, said school hasn’t been out for a week and they’ve already seen an increase in the number of families coming in for emergency food. Garden Island.