Friday, June 17, 2016

Train to nowhere: Honolulu rail could stop miles short of destination, Chinese RIMPAC warships on the way, Thirty Meter Telescope hearing today in Hilo, Kauai seeks road repair fund without GET, Schatz wants expanded marine sanctuary, Ige signs CARE Act, other bills, lawsuits challenges Thielen candidacy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HART, as edited
HART rail transit map, with edits
With rail facing a more than $1 billion budget hole, Honolulu’s top elected leaders now aim to stop construction four miles and eight stations short of what was planned, leaving crews to build the most challenging, expensive and critical stretch at some future date, if possible. Star-Advertiser.

In an abrupt turnaround, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday he supports cutting the city’s rail line nearly five miles short and stopping the elevated guideway at Middle Street in light of an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall and pressure from the feds. Civil Beat.

In a significant shift, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city must live between "revenue boundaries" and should focus on shortening the rail route so that it ends at Middle Street rather than Ala Moana Center. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is urging the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to hold a public meeting that would consider ending rail at Middle Street, at least for now. KHON2.

Buildings have been knocked down and businesses have moved to make way for the rail. So now that it looks like rail will not make it past Middle Street, businesses that have already been bought out or forced to leave are left wondering what happens now. KHON2.

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A Chinese flotilla participating in the upcoming Rim of the Pacific maritime exercises left port Wednesday and will meet up with two U.S. Navy destroyers for the sail back into Pearl Harbor later this month, the Navy said. Star-Advertiser.

The Governor signed  the so-called Care Act into law, making Hawai'i the 31st state to mandate caregiver requirements for hospitals. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige Thursday signed Senate Bill 2453 authorizing alternative sentencing for aquatic violations. The new law provides clear legal authority to judges, allowing them to more effectively tailor sentences when aquatics statutes are violated. Associated Press.

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U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz made the proposal to expand the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument official Thursday in a letter to President Barack Obama. Schatz called for the monument to grow to 582,578 square miles, which would make it the world’s largest marine protected area. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Thursday joined Native Hawaiian groups and environmentalists working to expand Papahanaumo- kuakea Marine National Monument and make it the largest marine sanctuary on Earth. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is proposing to expand one of the world’s largest marine conservation areas in a way that preserves some fishing grounds for local fishermen. Associated Press.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz threw his support behind the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Thursday in a proposal sent to President Barack Obama. Garden Island.

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Hawaiian Airlines’ pilots union, claiming that further mediation would be futile in its contract negotiations with the company, has petitioned the federal government to be released from mediation and instead be offered arbitration. Star-Advertiser.

The head of the military agency that searches for and identifies the remains of missing servicemen is resigning after just one year to take over a troubled nonprofit that cares for wounded troops. Associated Press.

Alternate Energy Inc., the Honolulu solar energy company that recently reached a $38,000 settlement with state regulators for allegedly misrepresenting information related to requirements for interconnecting solar energy systems, is blaming Hawaiian Electric Co. for creating the issue, one of its executives told Pacific Business News on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A Democratic state senator is the target of a lawsuit that seeks to keep her name off the 2016 election ballot. Sen. Laura Thielen, who represents a district that includes Kailua, Lanikai, Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai, is accused of submitting incomplete nomination papers to the state Office of Elections. Civil Beat.

Djou Challenges Mayor To Call For Return of Honolulu Ethics Director. The mayoral challenger says Chuck Totto’s resignation was “the direct result of political pressure from the administration.” Civil Beat.

Portable toilets, public showers, better coordination between businesses and even a government-sanctioned tent city were among the ideas proposed by lawmakers Thursday to address concerns about a growing — and increasingly hard-core — homeless population in Iwilei. Star-Advertiser.

BIC Tacos will open its second location on June 27 in the former Bistro! Downtown ground-floor space at the Davies Pacific Center office building in Downtown Honolulu, its owner told Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

More than 80 demonstrators waved signs in support of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hilo on Thursday. This comes just a day before DLNR is scheduled to hold a hearing in Hilo to decide whether or not to allow the telescope to be built atop Mauna Kea, land Native Hawaiians deem sacred. Hawaii News Now.

The management of a charter school on the Big Island faced criticism from the state teachers’ union and state education officials during a State Public Charter School Commission meeting Thursday. Civil Beat.

Ka‘u Learning Academy’s first year of operations was “very challenging” for the school and the state’s Public Charter School Commission, staff monitoring the school’s operations and finances said this week. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council passed a resolution Wednesday that authorizes the administration to negotiate for the purchase of land at Hakalau Point. Big Island Video News.

Internship program relies on Thirty Meter Telescope: Loss of key contributor would impact aspiring scientists, engineers. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A joint filing with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by the state and the United Public Workers on Wednesday reports "productive discussions" on a possible settlement of a dispute stemming from Kaiser Permanente taking over operations of Maui County public hospitals. Maui News.

Testifiers urged the Maui County Council's Water Resources Committee Wednesday not to go forward with amendments that would revise water allocation standards in the "Show Me the Water" bill and to halt any related action until the water department's Water Use and Development Plan is completed. Maui News.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization will be meeting at 9 a.m. Monday to discuss its purpose and operational document and its budget. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai residents may decide how they want the county to pay for road repair. During the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday, the council unanimously voted to approve a resolution that proposed putting a County Roads Resurfacing and Reconstruction Backlog Fund on the charter, for residents to vote on in November. Garden Island.