Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Oahu voters support Thirty Meter Telescope in poll, Hawaii sends 19 delegates to Republican National Convention, Schatz, Gabbard sitting pretty in congressional races, Hawaiian Electric stocks plummet after failed buyout, Maui hospital plan in limbo, UH tuition increase looming, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Tour guide explains telescopes atop Mauna Kea © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Thirty Meter Telescope might be a Big Island project, but Oahu is clearly TMT country. In the latest Hawaii Poll, more than three-quarters of Oahu’s likely primary voters say they support construction of the controversial $1.4 billion astronomy project, and more than half say it would negatively affect Hawaii’s business reputation if it does not go forward. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sent 19 delegates to Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention over the weekend and they were easy to spot. Dressed in red Aloha shirts and adorned with red lei, members of Hawaii's delegation held signs that said "Make America Safe Again." They even got a warm welcome from former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz will likely have almost a decade of senatorial experience the next time his name appears on an election ballot. Hawaii’s senior U.S. senator, who was appointed to the position in December 2012 after the death of Dan Inouye, is seeking his first full six-year term this year. Civil Beat.

Tulsi Gabbard raised more than $420,000 in the April-June period. According to her July quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission, the Hawaii Democrat is sitting on $1.88 million in cash. Civil Beat.

There are other companies interested in Hawaiian Electric Industries, Gov. David Ige said Monday, the same day that the state’s largest utility and Florida-based NextEra Energy announced they would abandon plans to merge. Civil Beat.

Other companies want Hawaiian Electric after failed NextEra merger. KITV.

Following regulators’ rejection of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion bid to acquire Hawaiian Electric Industries on Friday afternoon, shares in Hawaii’s largest utility fell sharply, losing 7.3 percent of their value by the end of Monday. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. saw its share price fall over 7 percent on Monday, and it could have plummeted further but benefited from a strong utility market, said Charles Fishman, an analyst with Morningstar. Pacific Business News.

Starting this fall, the state’s public elementary school students will learn reading, writing and language skills under a single curriculum. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha
fares poorly in the latest Hawaii Poll, but Oahu residents generally have confidence in the Honolulu Police Department. The nine-member Council received a 45 percent favorable rating, the second lowest. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly half of Hawaii's registered voters want Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to step down.  That's according to the Hawaii News Now, Star Advertiser Hawaii poll. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Department is testing out body cameras on officers as it prepares to launch a pilot program for the devices by the end of the year. Associated Press.

Uber is threatening to pull out of Honolulu if a proposal passes that would require city-issued driver certificates for all who are interested in carrying the public. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu’s city bus drivers are working more hours and it’s raising concerns about the safety of passengers and the drivers themselves. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii is seeking approval this week from the UH Board of Regents to increase undergraduate tuition at its flagship Manoa campus over a three-year period starting in the fall of 2017. Star-Advertiser.

Longtime news anchor and reporter Kirk Matthews has died. KHON2.

The affable TV news reporter and anchor Kirk Matthews, who spent more than 30 years on the air here, died Monday at his Honolulu home with his wife, Linda Coble, by his side. Matthews retired from KHON2 in 2014 after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He was 69. Star-Advertiser.

How We’re Hurting Endangered Monk Seals. This North Shore monk seal mom had a tough week fighting off things that could harm her weeks-old pup. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Property tax breaks for farmers and ranchers will cost Hawaii County $39.6 million in lost revenue this year, slightly less than 10 percent of the county’s $463 million annual operating budget. The County Council Finance Committee on Monday dug into the issue of the county’s agricultural programs, trying to balance a desire to encourage agriculture with the need for more tax revenue. West Hawaii Today.

Park brings in drones to survey while trees are dying. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to combat coqui frogs dwindling. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Lawmakers again deferred action Monday on a bill to assist public workers who will lose their state jobs when three Maui County hospitals are turned over to Kaiser Permanente. Star-Advertiser.

The state House and Senate agreed Monday to meet later this week to amend legislation designed to give financial help to unionized workers at two hospitals on Maui and one on Lanai. Those hospitals are awaiting privatization, in a deal approved by the Legislature in 2015. Civil Beat.

Tiare Lawrence, candidate for District 12, Upcountry State Representative has received five endorsements from a broad range of organizations. Endorsements of her candidacy have come from the Hawaii State Teacher Association, The Sierra Club, The Hawai’i Center for Food Safety, The Patsy Mink Political Action Committee and Local 5, Hawai’i’s hospitality and healthcare union. MauiWatch.

Kauai

Friday’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejection of sonar rules have Kauai biologists and conservationists shouting victory, but they’re reserving absolute celebration until the matter is put to rest. Garden Island.

The chairman of the Kauai police commission is calling out the Hawaii Paroling Authority by saying a recent decision to grant parole to an inmate was based “on overcrowding in the prison.” He also said the parolee would likely reoffend. Garden Island.

A temporary principal has been appointed at Hanalei School. Garden Island.