Friday, July 15, 2016

Biden visits Hawaii as Pacific RIMPAC war games continue, state still needs 625 teachers, poverty and rail on tap in mayoral debates on two islands, Maui Mayor Arakawa's ties to land deal probed, Chinatown development brisk, Kauai council punts auxiliary housing bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu Chinatown © 2016 All Hawaii News
Economic development in Honolulu’s Chinatown is brisk but faces lingering challenges with homelessness, crime and sanitation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Vice President Joe Biden flew onto the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis off Hawaii on Thursday to thank the crew for their service and role in helping maintain economic prosperity and stability in the South China Sea. Star-Advertiser.

Joking that it's a "terrible sacrifice to come to Hawaii," Vice President Joseph Biden launched into his quick stopover in the 50th state, joining high-ranking officials from the Republic of Korea and Japan. Hawaii News Now.

With the new school year just three weeks away, the state Department of Education is still trying to fill 625 teacher vacancies. Hawaii News Now.

Federal officials plan to hold two public meetings next month — one on Oahu and the other on Kauai — to discuss the proposed expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, according to a draft notice that’s expected to go out Friday. Civil Beat.

The search for an executive director for the state agency overseeing Hawaii’s public charter schools is starting again following an announcement that a finalist who was offered the job has declined it. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige signed into law on Tuesday a bill that will alleviate some economic pressure on Hawaii’s working poor who care for minors, the elderly or infirm individuals. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu
The city’s troubled rail project took center stage Thursday in an often fiery exchange between Honolulu’s leading mayoral candidates, who appeared together to field questions in their first forum before the August primary election. Star-Advertiser.

In Honolulu Mayoral Forum, It’s All About The Rail Project. Kirk Caldwell, Charles Djou and Peter Carlisle clashed over differing approaches to the costly mass transportation project. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has collected significantly more contributions — and spent exponentially more — than either of his two major rivals, former Mayor Peter Carlisle and onetime U.S. Rep. Charles Djou. Star-Advertiser.

Former congressman Charles Djou raised nearly $260,000 in the first three weeks of his campaign for Honolulu mayor, a sign that he’s a strong challenger, but one who is up against an incumbent with close to $1.2 million in cash on hand. Civil Beat.

The board overseeing Honolulu’s rail project spent another 2-1/2 hours Thursday discussing its CEO’s job performance behind closed doors but didn’t have anything to report publicly afterward. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu rail project has suffered from severe budget issues, and the numbers recently changed drastically within days. Pacific Business News.

Duane Kurisu’s vision to reduce Oahu’s homeless population by creating a plantation-era-style community has brought together the state and city to help turn the idea into reality. Star-Advertiser.

A group that advocates for the vacation rental industry has filed a lawsuit against the city of Honolulu over the way it enforces its bans on certain bed-and-breakfasts and transient vacation rental units. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Four candidates for mayor tried to stand out from a crowded field Thursday during a forum that concentrated on the island’s problems of homelessness, poverty and lagging infrastructure. West Hawaii Today.

A Hilo Circuit judge this week issued a ruling that gives Hawaii County the legal green light to begin construction of planned improvements to Kukuihaele Park. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa said he and officials from a photovoltaic company that is leasing property rights from him and his brother visited Maui Electric Co. to discuss a possible PV park on the Omaopio properties owned by the brothers. Maui News.

All satellite DMVL offices in Maui County will close on Friday, July 15 to accommodate the reopening of the Kahului location, county officials announced earlier this week. MauiTime.

On the second Saturday of every month, a small group of hikers is led into the Waikamoi Preserve, Hawaii’s largest private nature preserve at 8,951 acres on the windward slope of Haleakala, Maui’s dormant volcanic giant. Civil Beat.

Kauai

The intention of a bill that would allow people to build additional rental units on their property was to increase inventory, not affordable housing options. Because of that confusion, the Planning Committee for the Kauai County Council unanimously voted Wednesday to defer Bill No. 2627 until the purpose of the bill is clear. Garden Island.

Alleviating traffic gridlock is a top priority for two Democratic candidates vying for the state House seat on Kauai representing Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa and Wailua. Star-Advertiser.

An open house is scheduled Saturday, July 23 at Haena State Park to discuss changes and updates to the draft master plan and environmental impact statement. Garden Island.