Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Honolulu mayoral candidates spar over ethics, Hawaii inmates to stay in Arizona, state trails in housing homeless vets, Maui hospital deal falters, Kauai may appeal to regain mayor's power over police, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gov. David Ige’s decision to defer indefinitely almost all major new projects to increase highway capacity and reduce traffic congestion on state roadways is a major policy shift, but Ige says he had little choice. Star-Advertiser.

On Monday, the Obama administration released new numbers that show from January 2015 to January 2016 the total number of homeless veterans in America fell by 17 percent. But in Hawaii the drop was only 3 percent. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii will continue housing hundreds of inmates on the mainland — at an estimated cost of nearly $45 million a year. The Hawaii Department of Public Safety awarded a new, three-year contract last week to Nashville, Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America, the largest for-profit prison company in the country, to house up to 1,926 Hawaii prisoners in Arizona. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education has yet to fill hundreds of teaching positions across the state as school has started for more than 180,000 students. Associated Press.

Two years from now, Hawaii residents may see labels on some food products at the grocery store indicating that they contain genetically modified ingredients. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. President Alan Oshima says his company is clear on what it is supposed to do; now HECO just has to do it. In a series of discussions about the past, present and future of Hawaiian Electric, Oshima comes across as an agent of change as he talks up the company’s devotion to renewable energy. Civil Beat.

First Hawaiian Bank is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange by the end of this week in an initial public offering that is expected to raise as much as $558 million. Pacific Business News.

A push to survey the seafloor for undersea mining has revealed an abundance of life on the seafloor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) — an area the size of the US mainland in the equatorial Pacific Ocean being targeted for deep-sea mining. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou and former Mayor Peter Carlisle ganged up on Mayor Kirk Caldwell at a live mayoral candidate forum Monday night, accusing him of engineering the resignation of longtime Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto. Star-Advertiser.

There were a couple of offensive strikes from two leading candidates for Honolulu mayor Monday. Civil Beat.

As early primary election voting got underway Monday throughout the state, it was a slow first day at Honolulu Hale with just a few hundred residents casting ballots. Star-Advertiser.

A public meeting at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu Monday night drew more than 300 people. The topic was whether to expand the current boundaries of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. KHON2.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge ruled Monday to dismiss Honey Bee’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. The company had been desperately seeking new investors to revive its $24 million plan called Waikiki Landing. Star-Advertiser.

The cost of renting an apartment in Honolulu declined in July, according to the apartment rental website Zumper, which analyzes data from more than 1 million active listings. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment during the month was $1,790, down 2.7 percent from June, and for a two-bedroom unit was $2,520, down 3.1 percent. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A property owner has agreed to tear down an illegal seawall built on the shore of Hilo’s Lalakea Pond. Tribune-Herald.

Meet the challengers. More needs to be done, they say, about ethics. About the cost of government. About listening to the public. All four West Hawaii County Council races will be decided in the Aug. 13 primary, as each incumbent faces a single challenger. West Hawaii Today.

The opening of the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) station at the Hilo International Airport was celebrated today. Big Island Video News.

Maui

The historic privatization of three Maui County hospitals is in jeopardy, following another setback Friday when the state was unable to reach a settlement over benefits for unionized workers. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Association of Public Accountants has endorsed Deidre Tegarden, who is running for the South Maui residency state House seat. Maui News.

Maui Research & Technology Park is close to updating its master plan, which will allow for housing aimed at park workers, new business opportunities, a site for Kihei Charter School and upgrades at Maui Brewing Co., officials said last month. Maui News.

Kauai

The Office of the County Attorney is requesting $45,000 to take the mayor and police chief feud to Hawaii’s highest court. The request comes after an Intermediate Court of Appeals decision in June, which said the mayor could not suspend and or discipline the chief of police and that the authority lies with the police commission. Garden Island.

Ron Kouchi, seeking re-election to the state Senate, said the Kauai legislative team made impacts in several areas, and if re-elected, he will continue to push and advocate for residents. Garden Island.

Kanoe Ahuna says that more and more people are coming to Kauai, and if elected Hawaii state senator for District 8 serving Kauai and Ni‘ihau, her goal is to ensure that residents and travelers alike continue to enjoy the Garden Isle. Garden Island.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the state Health Department to post signs at Gillin’s Beach on Kauai to alert the public of high bacteria levels. Star-Advertiser.