Thursday, September 8, 2016

Foreign fishermen held captive in Hawaii, native honeycreepers in peril, Honolulu police chief feels heat in midst of federal corruption probe, school flu shots delayed, human-dolphin interaction rule draws Kona crowd, Kauai to allow multiple housing units, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii honeycreeper
Amakihi honeycreeper, Lucas Behnke USGS
Native forest birds on Kauai are rapidly dying off and facing the threat of extinction as climate change heats up their habitat and allows mosquito-borne diseases to thrive, according to a study released Wednesday. Associated Press.
honeycreeper
‘I‘iwi honeycreeper, Lucas Behnke USGS

Pier 17 doesn’t even show up on most Honolulu maps. Cars whiz past it on their way to Waikiki. Passing tourists, let alone locals, are unaware that just behind a guarded gate, another world exists: foreign fishermen confined to American boats for years at a time. Associated Press.

Though federal laws and rules don’t mention Hawaii’s fishing fleet by name, technicalities buried in immigration law, maritime regulations and agency rule books have combined to give it a rare distinction: In the Aloha State hundreds of foreign fishermen are stuck on their boats for years. Associated Press.

Angry Democrats want a Bernie Sanders delegate who made an obscene gesture on national television kicked out of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hepatitis A outbreak holds up school flu program for now. KHON2.

Under a $39 million plan for the next decade, the state would not only escalate its fight against invasive species at home but take measures to prevent them from reaching the islands. The draft of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, scheduled to receive an airing at public hearings across the state early next month, was unveiled Wednesday in a news conference at the World Conservation Congress at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

A proposed biosecurity plan for the state seeks additional funding and increased cooperation between government agencies to stop the spread of invasive species. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii officials plan to unveil a plan to cope with coral bleaching that's threatening the state's reefs. Warmer ocean temperatures have stressed Hawaii's coral, forcing them to expel algae they rely on for food. Vast stretches of reef have turned white, increasing the risk that the coral will get sick and die. Hawaii News Now.

Members of an international environmental group are debating a proposal to urge leaders in every country to ban trading ivory. Associated Press.

Although there’s a lot of focus on the IUCN this week…there’s a different conference beginning today that focuses on native rights issues. The International Indian Treaty Council is hosting its annual meeting this year in Hawai‘i.  Indigenous leaders from First Nation groups around the world use the annual meeting to discuss issues around decolonization, sovereignty and self-determination. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige has appointed Edmund Hyun as the interim chair of the Hawaii Paroling Authority. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Federal prosecutors investigating a case involving possible public corruption by Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, a deputy prosecutor, have sent out a target letter to at least one person, saying he is a possible suspect in the investigation. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s newest police commissioner turned Wednesday’s Honolulu Police Commission meeting into a detailed inquiry about the department’s lax handling of police misconduct. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police Chief Louis Kealoha faced heated questioning Wednesday about allegations of police misconduct and several high-profile incidents in which officers found guilty of abuse of power were never punished. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council delayed final approval of the Mana‘olana condominium-hotel tower Wednesday, sending the issue back to the Zoning and Planning Committee for further work. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to push back decision-making on a luxury hotel and condominium project that’s planned for the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Atkinson Street in Ala Moana. Civil Beat.

Oahu residents looking to get rooftop solar energy systems soon won’t be able to send their excess energy into the grid. Hawaiian Electric Co. said Wednesday that Oahu has nearly reached the capacity that the state Public Utilities Commission put on solar systems that export energy to the power grid. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A decision on a rule that would regulate human-dolphin recreational activity off the Kona coast and throughout Hawaii isn’t likely to be made for at least a year. But heated public conversations on the topic, which will be held across the state, began Wednesday night on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

Riders using the county’s new Hele-On Kakoo paratransit system will pay a $4 fare each way, after an attempt Wednesday by Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi to halve the amount was killed by a County Council majority. West Hawaii Today.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that Mid Pac Petroleum LLC paid a settlement of $600,000 for federal Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Kawaihae facility on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

A failure to install vapor pollution controls and obey pollution limits under the Clean Air Act will cost a a Hawaii-based petroleum company $632,000, according to an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state director of the United Public Workers and Gov. David Ige on Tuesday quietly signed a supplemental contract agreement for the union's Maui County public hospital workers along the outlines of a pact forged during a legal fight borne of the state's efforts to privatize the facilities. Maui News.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, Airports Division is conducting a public information meeting for the Kahului Airport Master Plan Update from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 at the Kaunoa Senior Center, Room 101-102 in Spreckelsville. Maui Now.

A two-story commercial, retail and hotel building is being proposed for an empty lot on a corner of Kaunakakai's main street, which could provide lodging for visiting island residents, though some said they'd rather see it become housing for Molokai families. Maui News.

Manpower and mechanical problems have affected trash pickups in Lahaina, Haiku and Makawao and the hours of the Molokai Landfill this week, the county Solid Waste Division announced Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously passed a bill on first reading Wednesday that allows multiple family dwelling units in all residential zoning districts. Garden Island.

Several people in support of a petition that would preserve about 21,000 acres of agricultural land on the Westside testified in front the state Land Use Commission on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Adolescent center moves ahead. Council approves $5 million in CIP funds from Legislature. Garden Island.