Monday, September 12, 2016

Ige postpones food sufficiency goal, green sea turtles decline, attorney general says Kenoi bought 'exorbitant' amount of alcohol on taxpayer dime, $10B estimate for Honolulu rail, Maui mulls parking charge, Kauai closes homeless camp, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Sonia Matinez
Farmer in Hawaii, courtesy Sonia Martinez
Gov. David Ige has pushed back by a decade his campaign pledge of doubling local food production in Hawaii by 2020. Star-Advertiser.

With the newly expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument taking center stage at the World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, a conservation group is warning of a “dangerous drop” in the number of nesting Hawaiian green sea turtles in the Northwest Hawaiian islands. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is investigating a complaint that Hawaii’s public housing authority doesn’t provide enough units that are accessible to disabled people. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Hawaii Democrats are increasingly aggressive in imposing partisan purity on party members, even in nonpartisan elections. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Oahu taxpayers will foot the bill to hire three Honolulu law firms at up to $100,000 each to defend the city Ethics Commission, former Executive Director Chuck Totto and former investigator Letha DeCaires in a case filed by Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his family. Star-Advertiser.

The rail route to Ala Moana will easily cost $10 billion, according to people who have worked directly on the project, and they say HART’s management of the project is to blame as much as if not more than inflation. KHON2.

The Hawaii State Department of Health has given approval to Genki Sushi to reopen all of its restaurants after closing them during the hepatitis A outbreak that had sickened 252 people as of Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Summit finds ways to protect Waikiki, Ala Wai in disasters. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The deputy attorney general prosecuting Mayor Billy Kenoi for theft said in a court document the mayor used his county-issued credit cards to buy “exorbitant amounts of alcohol.” Tribune-Herald.

The prosecutor in the theft case of Mayor Billy Kenoi is seeking the judge’s permission to treat the state’s witnesses as hostile at trial. Tribune-Herald.

A proposed spaceport at the Kona International Airport could open up new economic opportunities for “space tourism” on the island. West Hawaii Today.

A small room meant to greet cruise ship passengers at Hilo’s Pier 1 remains locked and off limits, more than three years after renovations were expected to be complete. Tribune-Herald.

State highways officials say they are trying to determine whether it is possible to re-stripe or make other modifications to Highway 130, a major, clogged Big Island highway that serves the fast-growing Puna region as a temporary substitute for widening the highway, as residents were promised. Star-Advertiser.

State officials say the fungal disease called Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death is continuing to threaten native ‘ōhi‘a trees on the Big Island. 'Ōhi'a covers about 865,000 acres statewide. Recent surveys show the disease has now impacted nearly 50,000 acres on the Big Island, an increase of a little more than a third from earlier this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

A nonprofit hoping to build senior housing and a veterans service center say plans are underway with early phases of construction set to finish this month. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County is looking at charging for parking in municipal lots, instead of having police officers monitoring time limits and writing tickets, and it has put out a bid for a consultant to study the possibility. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation will hold a public informational meeting Sept. 22 on the Kahului Airport master plan update, but the plan itself wasn't available as of Friday, officials said. Maui News.

The Hana Highway, particularly the portion that stretches from Paia to Hana, is scenic and popular, but that appeal among tourists is causing problems that appear to be escalating, as motorists slow or stop to take pictures or park on both sides of the highway, including its narrow bottlenecks. Maui Now.

Hana High and Elementary School is running the state's first off-the-grid public school classroom, built by youths in the community and equipped to handle the school's growing energy needs for years to come. Maui News.

Kauai

A homeless encampment that at one point housed about 20 people was shut down by the county early this month. Garden Island.

A $2.5 million project to provide a pedestrian and vehicle bridge over Keahua Stream at the end of Kuamo’o Road in Keahua Arboretum in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve is set to begin. Garden Island.