Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Humpback whales taken off endangered list, new butterflyfish discovered off Hawaii, state school chief gets good reviews, housing market tightens, OHA spends to boost image, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Danielle Cholewiak, NOAA
Humpback whale, Danielle Cholewiak, NOAA
 Federal authorities took most humpback whales off the endangered species list Tuesday, saying their numbers have recovered through international efforts to protect the giant mammals. Associated Press.

Scientists have named a new species of butterflyfish discovered in the deep reefs of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument after a veteran Kona diver who has assisted in collecting reef fishes in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for numerous scientific studies and educational displays. Star-Advertiser.

Greg McFall, NOAA
Pete Basabe’s Butterflyfish

Scientists from Bishop Museum and NOAA have published a description of a new species of butterflyfish from deep reefs of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Maui Now.

Here Are The Actions The IUCN Is Considering Taking. The IUCN kicked off its Members’ Assembly deliberations this week in which more than 1,300 members will debate issues like wildlife trafficking and protecting the rights of indigenous people. Civil Beat.

A potentially game changing new tool for business has been launched at the World Conservation Congress in Hawai‘i.  It’s called the Natural Capital Protocol and was tested with over fifty companies including Coca-Cola, Dow, Nestlé, and Shell. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is urging the public to be cautious when choosing sunscreen. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Department of Education is considering a proposal to seek from legislators next year a $50 million boost in per-pupil funds aimed at helping public schools narrow achievement gaps between high-needs students and their peers. Star-Advertiser.

For the third consecutive year, Kathryn Matayoshi is exceeding expectations in her role as Hawaii Department of Education superintendent, according to the Board of Education’s annual job performance evaluation. Hawaii News Now.

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi for a third straight year received high marks on her annual performance evaluation by the state Board of Education. Star-Advertiser.

The State Public Charter School Commission will undergo a performance review following a “pattern of well-founded complaints” from multiple charter school leaders, the state Board of Education decided Tuesday during its regular meeting. Tribune-Herald.

A quasi-governmental agency that has sometimes received negative press has hired a major public relations firm to improve how people think of it. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has retained the services of Honolulu-based Stryker Weiner & Yokota. The $293,969 contract is for a two-year period. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The City Council is expected to approve a $6 million settlement of a lawsuit brought by a man who was severely injured when his motorcycle was struck by an on-duty Honolulu Police Department officer’s SUV. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to build a 36-story luxury condo and hotel across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center is facing resistance from affordable housing advocates on the eve of its final vote before the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

A controversial resort development in Ewa Beach prompted tempers to flare at the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands of homeless patients frequent Hawaii hospitals, many of whom have chronic health conditions that often lead to costly emergency room visits and repeat admissions. Star-Advertiser.

Areas closed for rail construction may no longer reopen as businesses struggle to survive. KHON2.

Condominium sales surged on Oahu during August while median sales prices jumped for both condos and single-family homes, according to a Honolulu Board of Realtors analysis of Multiple Listing Service data. Pacific Business News.

Oahu "desperately" needs more housing inventory to meet high demand, the president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors said Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees met on Oahu Tuesday, and Mauna Kea was on the agenda. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County is nearing the end of the waiting list for its geothermal relocation program more than four years after it saw a surge in applicants. Joaquin Gamiao-Kunkel, deputy planning director, said offers are pending with the last two of the 39 applicants. Tribune-Herald.

Residential home sales on Hawaii Island are continuing along an upward trend for the first half of 2016. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

From 2012 – 2014, 90% of the Department of Health’s water quality samples collected on Maui failed to meet state standards for nutrients, bacteria, and turbidity (a measure of water clarity). Program leaders say these results, combined with other data, raise concerns about the health of Maui’s coral reefs. Hui O Ka Wai Ola, a citizen science, coastal water quality monitoring program was launched under a joint effort from the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative and University of Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

The major walkway along the coastline of Wai‘ānapanapa State Park in East Maui will be replaced beginning today, Sept. 6, 2016. Maui Now.

Kauai

The euthanization of five kittens by the Kauai Humane Society has upset some community members, while those who work within the nationwide animal shelter sector say KHS’s actions are acceptable. Garden Island.