Monday, June 6, 2016

New Hawaii website helps hikers find safer trails, big pukas in medical marijuana law, Hawaii County Council kills polystyrene ban, Maui Council approves $659.5M budget, Kauai pesticide study questioned, Land Board again confirms judge for Thirty Meter Telescope, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hiker on Pauoa Flats Trail © 2016 All Hawaii News
The state has launched its newly revamped website designed to help hikers easily find sanctioned trails in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Find the Hawaii trails website here.

Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t participate in the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics Program. Instead, state officials currently compile their own hate crimes report with information collected from local prosecutors rather than police. Associated Press.

There’s a “gray area” in Hawaii’s up-and-coming medical marijuana dispensary program that few are talking about: In order for dispensaries to procure their first batch of cannabis, someone’s going to have to break the law. Tribune-Herald.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Co., the two companies involved in a $4.3 billion acquisition, were both silent on Friday, the day two companies contractually agreed that either could walk away from the deal. Pacific Business News.

Rat lungworm, a debilitating, sometimes fatal disease caused by parasites that worm their way into the human brain is the focus of a newly created state joint task force, but some say that’s not what’s needed. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The cost to build the rail transit system has already increased from $5.3 billion to $8 billion. But the project will cost city taxpayers another $100 million a year once it's finally operating. Hawaii News Now.

A jump in offers above asking price, key market indicators showing continued strong demand and the rapid pace of condominium sales indicates strong competition continues for available residential properties on Oahu, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

Loretta Sheehan, a former prosecutor, was nominated to the Honolulu Police Commission only on Friday, but she already has big ideas for how to rebuild trust in the agency after watching its stature crumble under the weight of scandals involving officer misconduct and excessive use of force. Civil Beat.

Police want to make it easier to become a radio dispatcher. The Honolulu Police Department’s Communications Division, which includes civilian police dispatchers who answer emergency and nonemergency 911 calls, says it streamlined a previously cumbersome application process to allow more people to apply and be hired. Star-Advertiser.

Videos of daredevils on a swing atop the summit of the forbidden Haiku Stairs hiking trail, thousands of feet above the H-3 Freeway, have been popular on social media. The Board of Water Supply, however, is hiring a contractor to take it down in the next few weeks. KITV4.

A state Circuit Court jury awarded the association of Lagoon Tower timeshare owners $5.7 million in damages to be paid by the association’s former board president after a 10-day trial in April. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

County Council kills bill banning foam food containers. West Hawaii Today.

Despite a continuing problem fielding enough members to vote on important issues, there will be no changes to the Board of Ethics this year. Nor will there be more than four consecutive terms for County Council members. West Hawaii Today.

The state Land Board on Friday again affirmed a retired judge to oversee Thirty Meter Telescope permit proceedings despite calls for her removal from the project’s builder and those who opposed building the telescope on Mauna Kea. Associated Press.

Big Island’s New Marine Reserve Was A Long Time Coming. The state’s decision to establish a “no take zone” along a popular stretch of the island’s west coast is hailed by some, derided by others. Civil Beat.

Forty or so fishermen lined Queen Kaahumanu Highway waving signs on Saturday to protest the establishment of the Kaupulehu Marine Reserve, the island’s first initiative to put a reef off-limits to fishing while a subsistence plan is drafted for the 3.6 miles of coastline at Kaupulehu Bay. West Hawaii Today.

In the four years since the county ordinance known as “Aliyah’s Law” went into effect, Hawaii Island police have ordered 2,168 vehicles towed at the drivers’ expense. Tribune-Herald.

A planned affordable- housing project on Hawaii island that is more than four years behind schedule is close to breaking ground on its first homes, but the master developer of the envisioned community with 2,330 residences on state land wants out. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Maui County Council members gave final approval Friday to the $659.5 million fiscal 2017 budget, making a last-minute change to eliminate proposed increases in commercial ocean recreation activity permit fees. Maui News.

A bill that would require residents to own a property for five years before applying for a short-term rental permit could soon be headed to the Molokai, Lanai and Maui planning commissions for input from the public and commission members. Maui News.

After hearing sharply divided public testimony Friday, Maui County Council members referred to committee a proposal to switch from the current mayor-council form of county government to a council-manager system that includes an elected, but less powerful mayor. Maui News.

Offshore sand could help deter beach erosion in west Maui. The county planning department has been working with consultant Moffatt &Nichol since February on a study that resulted in the discovery of 300,000 cubic yards of sand off Kahana Bay in April. Associated Press.

Maui County shoreline planners are "elated" after discovering more than 300,000 cubic yards of "beach-quality sand" off Kahana Bay, which could replenish the beachfronts of numerous condominiums that have been slowly disappearing into the ocean. Maui News.

Officials at Lahainaluna High School are working to fix a water discoloration issue in bathroom sinks and hope to have it resolved by the beginning of next school year, acting Principal Joanne Dennis said Friday. Maui News.

The cross-country odyssey of a pair of glamorous twin sisters who found fame teaching yoga to the elite of South Florida and ignominy in a series of criminal incidents in Utah ended in bizarre tragedy May 29 when a white 2016 Ford Explorer veered off Hana Highway and plunged 200 feet onto a rocky shoreline. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

State regulators and experts in the fields of health and environmental science say that many of the recommendations put forward by a joint fact-finding group convened to study the potential hazards of pesticide use by large agricultural operations on the west side of Kauai likely aren’t useful, would cost millions of dollars annually and in some cases exceed state resources and expertise. Star-Advertiser.

For Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro, allowing Kauai residents to build multiple family dwellings on their property is a step in the right direction toward addressing the island’s affordable housing problem. Garden Island.

As of Friday, 20 Kauai residents filed papers, announcing their candidacy for different posts. Garden Island.

James “Jimmy” Tokioka (D-15, Wailua, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Koloa, Omao) — first elected to the state house in 2006 — is seeking his sixth, two-year term as a state house representative for Kauai. Garden Island.