Thursday, August 11, 2016

Obama may address World Conservation Congress, Ige resists Thirty Meter Telescope testimony, DEA won't approve medical marijuana use, state's Section 8 housing wait list opened, hepatitis spreads, early voting down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands



photo by Jerker Tamelander, courtesy World Conservation Congress
Seabird at Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Jerker Tamelander, courtesy World Conservation Congress
The World Conservation Congress, a major international event next month in Waikiki, may attract President Barack Obama as the opening-day speaker, but local organizers expect far fewer attendees than original estimates, and say they might be up to $1 million short on funding to host the 10-day summit. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is seeking to fill eight primary seats and one alternate seat on its advisory council. Maui News.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is set to announce today that it will not approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes. KITV.

The state’s public housing office is opening up the waiting list for federally subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers for the first time in a decade as Hawaii struggles to reduce its rate of homelessness, which is the highest per capita in the nation. The program serves primarily Oahu, with the neighbor island counties administering their own voucher programs. However, the vouchers administered by the housing authority can be used on any island and in any state. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority plans to open its wait list for Section 8 rental housing vouchers for the first time in 10 years. Applications will be accepted online in 11 languages between Tuesday August 16 and Thursday August 18. Civil Beat.

People struggling to find housing in high-cost Hawaii will be able to apply for Section 8 housing assistance for the first time in a decade. But Oahu residents can no longer apply to get into public housing, because the waiting list for those coveted housing slots was closed last week. Associated Press.

Two more food service workers are among the 33 new cases of hepatitis A confirmed by the state Department of Health on Wednesday, bringing the number of Hawaii cases to 168. Star-Advertiser.

Two more food service workers have been diagnosed with hepatitis A as the Hawaii outbreak continues to grow. The state Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed 33 additional cases, bringing the total number of peopled sickened to 168. Associated Press.

Depressing and frustrating. That’s how health officials are describing the state’s hepatitis A outbreak as they struggle to find the source. KHON2.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Rising Fortunes Didn’t Prevent A Feisty Challenge. Shay Chan Hodges says the congresswoman doesn’t truly represent her district, so she decided to give voters a choice. Civil Beat.

Authorities intercepted a package mailed from California to Hawaii containing more than 4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and four children’s coloring books. The package led to arrests of three men and the seizure of more than $500,000. Associated Press.

Oahu

The number of Oahu voters choosing to enter ballot booths at the city’s two absentee voting walk-in locations appears to be dropping this primary election year compared with the 2014 and 2012 primaries, although the number of absentee mail-in ballots apparently is on the upswing. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha wants the city to hire private attorneys to defend him in a series of lawsuits alleging police misconduct. Hawaii News Now.

Motorists gave mixed reviews to the state's latest effort to ease traffic heading into the Waianae coast. While it seemed to improve traffic for people headed westbound toward Waianae, the new contraflow lane on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli caused a huge backup heading to town. Hawaii News Now.

Some 30 homeless teenagers per day now get to use a new bathroom, new washers and dryers, refrigerators, freezers and brightly painted lockers after Oahu builders pitched in to refurbish Waikiki’s Youth Outreach drop-in center. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to the unfinished rail line, Kirk Caldwell and Peter Carlisle agree on many things, including how much it will cost to complete the route to Ala Moana Center: $1.5 billion. Civil Beat.

The developer of Ward Village plans to open its latest shopping and dining concept — known as South Shore Market — with 17 merchants in November. Star-Advertiser.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) has released the names of most of the tenants that will occupy its 25,125-square-foot South Shore Market in Honolulu’s Ward Village beneath T.J. Maxx. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Executive privilege could keep Gov. David Ige from testifying during the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case. Tribune-Herald.

Thirty Meter Telescope supporters and opponents attended a “community connection” Tuesday evening at University of Hawaii at Hilo to question Gov. David Ige about his positions on the controversial project and Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Councilman Danny Paleka has been fined for campaign finance violations. The Campaign Spending Commission says that Councilman Danny Paleka's spending reports show several discrepancies amounting in tens of thousands of dollars. KITV.

The Democratic primary in the race for state House District 7 features two seasoned politicians. Long-time incumbent Cindy Evans is seeking her eighth consecutive term. Opposing her is David Tarnas, who previously served in the state House of representatives and is a former Hawaii County chairman for the Democratic Party. West Hawaii Today.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard will be in Kona today hosting a “Tulsi in Your Town” meeting to engage in discussions with constituents, assist with federal agency casework and talk over her priorities for the rest of the 2016. West Hawaii Today.

An outdated and overpriced tariff scheme. An entrepreneur who exploited loopholes in a law intended to benefit small farms. And a residential community that is seething over the prospect of more than two dozen photovoltaic arrays, intended to generate more than six megawatts, scattered across a rugged landscape that ranges from near desert conditions to dense ohia forest. These are just a few of the elements that have combined to create a controversy over a renewable energy project in the remote subdivision of Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos in the Kau district of the Big Island. Civil Beat.

There’s a new figure in the black robe at the combined District/Family Court in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

A 57-year-old Hilo man is suing the state Department of Public Safety, alleging he was kept in jail more than two months longer than his court-imposed sentence. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A $40,000 generator to operate a water well was stolen from Maui Economic Opportunity's Waiehu farm over the weekend, the latest in recent thefts and vandalism on the 11-acre property designed to help people transition from being incarcerated to living in the community. Maui News.

A Kahului chiropractor agreed to pay $100,000 in a settlement with Maui County over multiple fraud counts involving a county employee's back injury. Maui News.

The state Employees' Retirement System filed a lawsuit Tuesday to stop a law that the ERS said is unconstitutional and will affect its tax-exempt status and retirement benefits for its 120,000 members. Maui News.

With no candidates from another party seeking the Upcountry 12th House seat, the Democratic primary will be a winner-take-all contest Saturday between incumbent Rep. Kyle Yamashita and challenger Tiare Lawrence. Maui News.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife will close the Kula Forest Reserve, Walpoli Access Road, Kahananui Forest Reserve – Papa‘anui Tract, and Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area from Monday, September 12, 2016, through Friday, September 23, 2016, to allow scheduled road repairs, road safety improvements, and fuel mitigation work (such as removing underbrush) and to be completed for both the unpaved and paved sections of the road. Maui Watch.

Kauai

Bike lanes will not be constructed on Malae and Puaole streets, Planning Department officials said Wednesday. Garden Island.

Members of the Kauai County Council Planning Committee unanimously voted to defer a bill that would allow residents in the Lihue Planning District to apply for permits to build additional rental units on their property. Garden Island.

Some 25 people from state, federal and county agencies kicked off emergency scenario exercises with the Hawaii National Guard at Kauai Community College on Wednesday. Garden Island.