Friday, June 24, 2016

Sunscreen killing coral reefs, Ige signs gun control database bills, lawmaker seeks criminal probe of school AC bids, vandals damage Hawaiian king's summer palace site, Health Department crackdown on HI-5 recycling programs, Maui restaurant to be on 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,' more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Personal care products like shampoo, soap, lotion and especially sunscreen are decimating coral reefs and weakening their ability to mitigate the effects of climate change, scientists said Thursday at the International Coral Reef Symposium. Oxybenzone and about 10 other chemicals are the real culprits, which is why groups have started ramping up campaigns to educate the public, service industries and government officials about the problem and what they can do about it. Civil Beat.

The bigger picture surrounding the state of our reefs just became a bit clearer. New technology and imaging data are helping scientists quickly survey coral reefs from around the world. Hawaii Public Radio.

In the case of global climate change, convincing the world that time is of the essence has been no easy task for the scientific community. Coral reefs, however, which have been devastated by the “longest and most widespread“ bleaching event on record, are telling a story that may shine a global spotlight on the the seriousness of the threat. HuffPost Hawaii.

Scientists using facial recognition technology and 360-degree underwater photos said Wednesday they have developed new software to quickly assess coral bleaching and other damage to the world’s imperiled reefs. Associated Press.


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Gov. David Ige is signing a bill that makes the state the first to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country. Star-Advertiser.

As the U.S. Congress failed to agree on meaningful gun-control measure this week, the governor of Hawaii quietly signed three bills regarding local firearms ownership. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige signed SB 2954 (ACT 108) which authorizes county police departments in Hawai‘i to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms, in a criminal record monitoring service. The system, also known as the “Rap Back” system, is a service of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides continuous criminal record monitoring for authorized government agencies such as law enforcement agencies. Maui Watch.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige is signing a bill that makes the state the first to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country. Associated Press.

Scores of people headed for Hawaii Kai for the two-day Shooting Sports Fair and a chance to try out firearms ranging from tactical shotguns to high-powered rifles. Civil Beat.

With construction bids coming in significantly over budget for the state’s plan to cool 1,000 public school classrooms, one state lawmaker is calling for a criminal investigation into possible collusion among contractors. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Matthew LoPresti, a Democrat who represents the Ewa area on Oahu, wants Hawaii’s attorney general to investigate “if there is a conspiracy to defraud taxpayers by artificially inflating bids for profit at the expense of school children — who will suffer through yet another unbearably hot summer in stifling classrooms.” Civil Beat.

The term “Asian American” is too general to describe ethnicity in Hawaii, said Jonathan Okamura, an ethnic studies professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Garden Island.

One more sure sign that election season has come to Hawaii is on Civil Beat’s website, where we’ve begun publishing candidates’ answers to Civil Beat questionnaires. Nearly 200 surveys have been emailed to candidates for every Hawaii office in the Aug. 13 primary ballot.

Oahu

A relatively rare vacancy in the state House in urban Honolulu has attracted a crowded field of five candidates to the Democratic primary to compete for the chance to represent Chinatown, Iwilei and parts of Kalihi. State Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is abandoning his House seat in an effort to move up to the state Senate this year. Star-Advertiser.

Soaring construction costs have caused Outrigger Enterprises Group to abort plans to build a new 32-story hotel tower at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Instead, Outrigger plans to spend its $100 million budget on a new plan that adds a few hotel rooms to the property and creates about a half-acre of open space that runs from curb to ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Vandals etched crosses on the crumbling remains of the 180-year-old palace of a former Hawaiian king, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Thursday. Associated Press.

The National Park Service announced $1.19 million in grants Thursday to preserve American battlefields — including $63,000 to help place Ewa Field’s World War II aircraft revetments on the National Register of Historic Places. Star-Advertiser.

A plan by two nonprofits to buy a long-vacant residential estate in East Honolulu and preserve a rare freshwater spring is still in jeopardy. Star-Advertiser.

An August deadline for a rail recovery plan is unlikely to be met as the feds’ own numbers now raise the question: Could the project hit $11 billion? KHON2.

The Hawaii State Department of Health made an example of a Costco store while cracking down on beverage distributors to make sure they meet state reporting requirements for the state's HI-5 recyclable beverage container fees. Pacific Business News.

The Haleiwa Beach House has a temporary liquor license that will expire at the end of this month. But the Honolulu Liquor Commission won't hold a hearing on renewing that license until August. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Plans to remove Hoku Kea, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s teaching telescope, from Mauna Kea are being delayed after a group of Native Hawaiians who support astronomy on the mountain and others urged officials to consider the impact to students. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council is so concerned about the island’s trees it added $120,000 to the budget to hire and equip a professional arborist. But a committee charged with protecting trees has languished for eight years without ever having members appointed. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County officials plan to reopen a lava-viewing and parking area if a lava flow that began last month reaches the Pulama pali and becomes visible from Kalapana — something that could happen soon or not at all. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s population is growing — and graying. Hawaii County has the highest percentage of residents older than 65 (18.3 percent) and the highest median age (41.3 years old). Tribune-Herald.

Making Hawaii Island the breadbasket it was in antiquity — but also increasing modern jobs and shifting county employees into areas where they will be most useful. Those themes, along with reducing pollution and keeping a cautious hand on the purse strings dominated center stage as West Hawaii heard from eight mayoral candidates Wednesday evening. West Hawaii Today.

Eight candidates for Hawaii County Mayor – Eric Drake Weinert Jr., Timothy Waugh, Shannon McCandless, Wally Lau, Harry Kim, Pete Hoffmann, Marlene Hapai, and Paul Bryant – are asked about how they would handle the Big Island’s budget, including personnel and capital improvement projects. The candidates spoke at a mayoral forum held on Wednesday night at Kealakehe High School. Big Island Video News.

The decision of some Big Island pharmacists to stop filling a doctor’s prescriptions after his arrest made its way to the state pharmacy board in Honolulu on Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Hana Steel is one of five individuals running for the Maui County Council seat representing Wailuku, Waihee and Waikapu, which is currently held by Mike Victorino (who can’t run again because of term limits). She is/was the County’s Recycling Coordinator, but has been on paid leave for the last two years. MauiTime.

An upcoming episode of the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" will feature Maui restaurant Da Kitchen, co-owner Mariah Brown confirmed to Pacific Business News on Wednesday.

The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa has embarked on an at least $13 million renovation of its Kaanapali property, including work on its ballroom, meeting rooms and event lawn. Maui News.

A 5-megawatt capacity limit was reached this week for rooftop solar systems connected with the islandwide power grid, Maui Electric Co. reported Wednesday. Maui News.

Representatives from Maui, along with Florida residents with Hawaii ties, place a milelong ti leaf lei Wednesday afternoon at a memorial for victims of the Orlando shooting. Nearly 200 volunteers spent four days creating the lei on Maui, which contains shells inscribed with the names of the 49 victims killed at the Pulse nightclub on June 12. Maui News.

A mile long Lei of Aloha from Maui was placed at three memorial sites in Orlando on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, as a demonstration of good will and a reflection on the 49 people who lost their lives in last week’s night club shooting. Maui Now.

Kauai

Growth, climate change, taxes and affordable housing were just some of the survey topics recently sent out by County Councilman Gary Hooser to 21,000 Kauai households. Garden Island.

A Kauai legislator said the majority of the Hawaii Senate identified three major areas affecting the state in the recent legislative session. The next step was finding funds for homelessness and housing, education, and health service. They managed to do it. Garden Island.

Three Kauai companies were cited by the Hawaii Department of Health for HI-5 violations, ranging from failing to inspect deposit containers for redemption labels and not turning in their semi-annual report to missing payments. Garden Island.