Friday, July 8, 2016

Hawaii coffee production down, schools to get fresh food, new teaching methods, Ige signs industrial hemp bill into law, Honolulu council upheaval continues, Maui whistle-blower lawsuit tossed, senior living facility for Kona, big meth problem on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Coffee drying at Ka'u farm  2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii produced an estimated 34.7 million pounds of unprocessed coffee during the 2015-16 season, a 5 percent drop from the previous season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pacific Business News.

Farmers and vendors have until Wednesday to tell the state what locally grown fruits and vegetables they’d like to provide to public schools. The state is making a special effort to boost supply and demand for food from the islands in its cafeterias. Star-Advertiser.

Working through a selected group of 19 voluntary advisers, the governor has called for a “blueprint” to guide a revamping of the state’s public school system to improve outcomes for students. The public will have an opportunity to add its ideas at an all-day summit the group is hosting Saturday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Thursday signed into law a bill that establishes a pilot program through the state Department of Agriculture allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of hemp seed “for purposes of agricultural or academic research.” Civil Beat.

Burgeoning grass-root groups are ramping up their campaigns for and against the proposed expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as President Obama weighs whether he should single-handedly create the world’s biggest marine reserve around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s energy company has started doing a pilot program for a residential property manager in Hawaii, a spokeswoman for one of his companies confirmed to Pacific Business News this week.

Learning To Live In The Electric Century. Hawaiian Electric Co. saw its profits skyrocket as people began using newfangled electric appliances. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Forest Legacy Program is seeking new projects that will protect working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses. Applications from state and county agencies, conservation nonprofit groups and private landowners are due by Aug. 10 for funding in fiscal year 2018. Garden Island.

Oahu

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson has lost his post as head of the Zoning and Planning Committee to Trevor Ozawa in a shakeup announced Thursday by Council Chair Ernie Martin. Civil Beat.

After being stripped of the chairmanship of the influential City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday, Council Vice Chairman Ikaika Anderson lashed out at the man who dumped him: Council Chairman Ernie Martin. Star-Advertiser.

Due to a scheduling conflict, Charles Djou said he is unable to attend the Hawaii Public Radio debate that was scheduled for Monday evening. That prompted Mayor Kirk Caldwell to issue a press release Thursday. Civil Beat.

Hawai’i Public Radio is cancelling its scheduled Honolulu Mayoral Candidate Forum on Monday, July 11. Hawaii Public Radio.

A popular local food item has been mentioned as a possible culprit in an outbreak of hepatitis A that has sickened 31 people on Oahu. But the state Department of Health said it isn't anywhere close to identifying a single source in what's become out of the larger food-borne disease outbreaks in recent memory. Hawaii News Now.

A campaign is raising funds for a solution to the Ala Wai’s pollution problem. Hawaii Public Radio.

Portions of Kewalo Basin remained closed Thursday after a sewage spill that went unreported for days. More warning signs went up and the state Department of Health took water samples. KHON2.

It was Christmas in July at Kakaako’s Next Step shelter, where homeless workers Thursday morning unpacked new, heavy-duty air mattresses and $30,000 worth of donated slippers and shoes. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

With a roomful of supporters at their back, former Mayor Harry Kim and former Senior Deputy Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela pleaded Thursday with the County Council to keep the county band in the county charter. West Hawaii Today.

A Kona senior living facility cleared a major hurdle Thursday, when the County Council unanimously granted $1.8 million in exemptions. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Airlines’ new nonstop service between Kona International Airport on the Big Island and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport will start on Dec. 20, the Honolulu-based airline said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Maui

A Second Circuit Court Judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a former Maui County employee who alleged that he had been retaliated against by his workplace. Justin Dobbs was a former liquor control officer trainee with the Department of Liquor when he was fired in 2011. Maui Now.

Ground is finally moving on the island's much-anticipated West Maui Hospital and Medical Center, as hospital officials announced Wednesday that a groundbreaking ceremony would be held for the facility Aug. 15 in Lahaina. Maui News.

The final half-mile length of the Kahului Airport access road from its intersection with Hana Highway through to the terminal area will open to traffic on July 23, state Department of Transportation officials said Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai

In just five months, the Kauai Police Department saw a 150 percent increase of crystal methamphetamine in 2016 compared to the entire year of 2015. Garden Island.

A Kauai neighborhood association isn’t planning to do anything about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s rock wall that has some residents grumbling. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai’s Civil Defense Agency is working with the state Department of Health to develop a statewide plan to get a handle on mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika. Garden Island.