Thursday, September 1, 2016

Obama speaks of climate change at IUCN World Conservation Congress, exhibits open to the public, one hurricane down, one to go, hospital beds to be cut on Maui, rules could curb manta ray dives, construction worker shortage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Obama opens World Conservation Congress, pool photo by Cindy Ellen Russell
Climate change and cooperation emerged as key themes Wednesday when President Barack Obama addressed Pacific Island government leaders and others at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

On the eve of the largest environmental conference in U.S. history, President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged island leaders to do more to preserve the planet and work together to fight climate change. Star-Advertiser.

The world's nations must start working together to address climate change and "save the one planet we've got," President Barack Obama told Pacific Island leaders at the East-West Center on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

President Barack Obama announced the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Honolulu Wednesday evening using an old Hawaiian proverb that loosely translates to “unite to move forward,” linking the effort to quadruple the amount of protected waters in Hawaii to climate change. Pacific Business News.

President Barack Obama focused on the impacts of climate change and the importance of conservation in Honolulu Wednesday evening. KHON2.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii to deliver remarks at the 2016 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders. Big Island Video News.

Video: Pres. Barack Obama spoke at the University of Hawaii at Manoa at the 2016 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders about the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and other topics. KITV.

The World Conservation Congress kicks off today with more than 9,100 registered attendees from nearly every country — enough to make it a record-setting event for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the largest environmental conference ever in the United States. Star-Advertiser.

Should Hawaii Be A ‘Guinea Pig’ In Gene Drive Technology? A panel at the World Conservation Congress will discuss whether editing genes at the DNA level holds more promise or peril for nature. Civil Beat.

The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or IUCN starts today at the Hawai‘i Convention Center and the Neal Blaisdell Center. Hawaii Public Radio.

Public can take in exhibits at conservation meeting. Star-Advertiser.

Olelo Community Media announced Tuesday that it will provide over 20 hours of “exclusive” live local coverage of the IUCN World Conservation Congress. Civil Beat.

The number of hepatitis A cases in Hawaii has increased nearly 6 percent to 241 with 13 new cases over the past week, according to state health officials. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reports that third-quarter data shows Hawaii’s economy “continues to expand,” according to a press release. Civil Beat.

The U.S. is suffering from a shortage of construction labor, and in some important categories in Hawaii, it’s even worse. Those are the findings of a survey released Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America, which for the fourth year asked its members how hard it was to find workers in various categories. Civil Beat.

Jeff Ono served his final day as state consumer advocate on Wednesday. Dean Nishina, Ono’s predecessor, will take over as acting consumer advocate today. Star-Advertiser.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the Big Island and Maui County as Lester continues to move on a westward path toward the islands. Hawaii News Now.

At 5 a.m., forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center issued a Hurricane Watch for Lester, which was last classified as a Category 2 Hurricane (96-110 mph winds) with the current forecast track taking the system over or near the island chain over the Labor Day weekend. Maui Now.

Oahu

Both remaining candidates for Honolulu mayor are now on the same page, saying the city must build an elevated rail line all the way to Ala Moana Center. Former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, who is challenging Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s re-election bid, said Wednesday that the message federal transit officials gave to the city this week requires him to back off his position to seek alternatives to heavy rail to get from Middle Street to Ala Moana. Star-Advertiser.

Djou: No Tax Increase For Honolulu Rail — Yet. The mayoral challenger says he wants to explore other options before considering whether to extend the tax that goes to pay for rail. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council member is proposing a permanent extension to the general excise tax, and it’s an idea Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell thinks should be considered. KHON2.

President Barack Obama is now in Honolulu, after causing a major shift in rush hour traffic Wednesday evening. Now, we’re learning more traffic changes may be in store Thursday morning, when he departs for Midway Atoll. KHON2.

The Massachusetts-based parent company of the largest industrial landowner in Hawaii is looking to bolster its substantial portfolio in the state, the company’s top executive in Hawaii said Wednesday at an industry event. RMR Group, owner of Select Income REIT, owns 17 million square feet of industrial space in Hawaii primarily in the Honolulu neighborhood of Mapunapuna and the First Insurance Center office building in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii Island’s dance with Mother Nature will continue through the weekend as Hurricane Lester arrives on the heels of Tropical Storm Madeline. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii island residents can begin to get back to normal today after spending Wednesday hunkered down monitoring Tropical Storm Madeline, but they still face a threat in the weekend ahead from Hurricane Lester. Star-Advertiser.

VIDEO: Mayor Kenoi Gives Tropical Storm Madeline Update. Big Island Video News.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is looking at new rules that could limit the number of manta ray viewing tours that can operate at two popular tour sites. West Hawaii Today.


Maui

Maui hospitals’ regional board announced Wednesday it would begin the process of reducing the number of hospital beds and services since Kaiser Permanente has delayed until July 1 the privatization of three state hospitals in Maui County. Star-Advertiser.

Hospital services and about 10 percent of beds in Maui County's three public hospitals could be shut down this year, following Kaiser Permanente's Maui Health System announcement to delay the takeover of the hospitals until next summer, officials said. Maui News.

Kauai

Penny Cistaro announced Wednesday her plans to retire as the head of Kauai Humane Society. Garden Island.

Kauai is home to more than 5,000 species of native insects and many of those are pollinators, with an integral part to play in the balance of some of Hawaii’s oldest ecosystems. Garden Island.