Monday, October 17, 2016

Feral cats plague Hawaii, clean energy rut, Maui mayor stops community projects, state Ethics Commission seeks public input, Kenoi trial starts this week, charter amendments on county ballots, rail a factor in Honolulu mayoral race, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Feral cat with petrel on Kauai, courtesy Hawaii DLNR
Two wildlife issues have collided in Hawaii, pitting one group of animal defenders against another in an impassioned debate. The point of contention? Deadly cat poop and the feral felines that produce it. Associated Press.

It’s no secret that invasive species have stuck Hawaii with a series of ever-mounting bills. Battling fruit flies alone costs about $300 million a year. Estimates for future costs of little fire ants push past $200 million. Tribune-Herald.

When it comes to clean energy use, Hawai‘i is in a bit of a rut. That’s according to the Blue Planet Foundation, who released their 4th annual energy report card. Hawaii Public Radio.

While Maui Electric Co. is re-examining the idea of an undersea cable between Maui and Oahu, the utility understands that it’s a “very culturally sensitive issue,” a MECO official said Thursday night during a community energy forum in Spreckelsville. Maui News.

The State Ethics Commission is asking the public to share ideas on how it can best promote integrity in government, inviting written comments and active participation at its meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

There are 42 real estate investment trusts (REITs) doing business in Hawaii with an estimated net income of $720.6 million, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

Nearly 500 people linked to more than 50 companies competed for licenses to operate Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensaries. Civil Beat.

Isles fare well in new shooting study. Associated Press.

The state agency in charge of commercial fishing licenses has rejected a petition to change its rules, a request that sought to ensure foreign fishermen understand what they’re signing. KHON2.

Hawaii’s longline fishermen will be able to go after similar amounts of bigeye tuna next year under a policy passed last week by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Civil Beat.

It took a few small conversations to kickstart the statewide talk about concussions in high school athletes. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his mayoral challenger, Charles Djou, have traveled very different paths since 2005 to get to the same conclusion: Honolulu’s elevated rail line, both of them now say, must be built to Ala Moana Center. But the candidates still disagree sharply over how to pay for the severely cash-strapped project. Star-Advertiser.

Both Mayoral Candidates Ask: Better Off Than 4 Years Ago? Mayor Kirk Caldwell steals challenger Charles Djou’s frequently asked question, but supplies very different answers. Civil Beat.

There are no less than 20 charter amendment questions on the ballot for voters living on Oahu, and it may prove challenging to determine what to do with all of them. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Oahu voters next month may be deciding not only who will lead the city for the next four years, but also for the following four years through 2024. That’s because of controversial proposed City Charter amendment No. 15, which would perpetuate our political elite by extending term limits for City Council members and mayor from two consecutive four-year terms to three. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s a little-known fact: Honolulu’s charter currently says that the city police chief and prosecuting attorney have discretion over what records from their departments get released to the public, with the exception of traffic accident information. Civil Beat.

Unlike many police agencies across the country, the Honolulu Police Department excludes violent crimes from the public mapping service it provides online, giving residents only a partial picture of the types of offenses happening in their neighborhoods. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu rail contractor is getting paid $1 million to come up with a plan for an electric bus system that would connect Waikiki to a rail station that may never see the light of day. Civil Beat.

The once rat- and crime-infested Mayor Wright Homes in the heart of Kalihi could be torn down and reborn as a series of high-rise towers designed to shed the stigma of low-income housing beginning with groundbreaking in early 2018. Star-Advertiser.

Decades of waiting end for 44 families awarded Hawaiian homestead lots. Star-Advertiser.

Folks in Leeward Oahu say erosion is creating a safety concern for visitors at a local beach. KHON2.

Hawaii

For the Big Island, it's one of the biggest trials in decades. A crowded courtroom is expected in Hilo Tuesday as Mayor Bill Kenoi becomes the first mayor in Hawaii since Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi to defend himself against criminal charges while still in office. Hawaii News Now.

Don’t let the lack of registration and regulation fool you. The Big Island has a thriving agricultural tourism industry, where visitors tour workplaces, sample everything from vanilla to chocolate to coffee to honey to mushrooms and visit the gift shop to buy value-added farm products. West Hawaii Today.

In June, the County Council defeated a bill that would have heavily restricted the use of expanded polystyrene products, more commonly known as Styrofoam, across Hawaii Island’s food industry. But proponents of the legislation aren’t ready to put the issue to bed. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Department of Public Work’s Building Division went before the county Board of Ethics on Tuesday to answer accusations of unfair treatment. Big Island Video News.

The Thirty Meter Telescope debate placed Native Hawaiian activist Kealoha Pisciotta in the spotlight, making her name and face recognizable across Hawaii island. Pisciotta, considered a long shot against incumbent Rep. Richard Onishi, said the Democratic nominee garnered just 3,346 votes in the primary out of more than 14,600 registered voters in sprawling District 3, which extends from Hilo to Kau. Star-Advertiser.

Dentist, homeless advocate, community supporter dies suddenly at 60. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa has directed the Department of Planning to suspend work on upcoming Maui island community plans and focus instead on revamping the county’s long-range planning process. Maui News.

Kihei association to host candidate forum Candidates for three competitive Maui County Council races will be appearing at a Kihei Community Association forum Tuesday at Kihei Charter Middle School. Maui News.

Bail was maintained Friday at $650,000 for West Maui-north Kihei Republican state House candidate Chayne Marten, who allegedly sexually assaulted a preteen female family member over the course of three years. Maui News.

The end of incentive programs doesn’t mean the door has closed on rooftop solar, but customers and businesses will have to start relying more on the still-growing technology of energy storage, industry experts explained at a community forum Thursday night. Maui News.

Forest City Hawaii plans to develop an affordable rental project on Maui, Pacific Business News has learned.

Using newly declassified documents, we examine the legacy of Elmer Cravalho, Maui County’s most important political leader. MauiTime.

Kauai

Proposed modifications to the TIGER Grant projects and measures amending the county’s operating budget will be discussed Wednesday during the Kauai County Council meeting. Garden Island.

The state proposes to install an aluminum bridge over a stream at Hanakapiai Valley on Kauai’s North Shore to keep hikers from trying to ford the stream during flash floods. Star-Advertiser.

When Kauai residents take to the polls on Nov. 8, they will have more to vote for than just state and county officials. Seven amendments to Kauai’s Charter, which was adopted in 1968, will appear on the ballot. Garden Island.

Ross Kagawa, incumbent, is seeking re-election. He is running on a platform that includes cutting government spending and trimming the county budget. Garden Island.

Two years ago, Kauai was the lowest in the state for incidents of property crime, according to a Crime in Hawaii Report. Garden Island.

Two more Newell’s shearwater chicks fledged from Crater Hill last week, bringing the number of babies under the care of the Pacific Rim Conservancy team to five. Garden Island.