Friday, October 28, 2016

Maui hospital transition set for July, new Honolulu rail CEO is temporary, Hawaii Island police chief retiring, solar firms buckling, hepatitis A death suspected, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii’s tourism industry had its best September, setting records for visitor arrivals and spending and keeping the state on track for a fifth consecutive year of gains. Star-Advertiser.

Despite 65 seats up for election Nov. 8 in the Hawaii Legislature, only a handful of races are expected to be even remotely competitive in this Democrat-dominated state. Civil Beat.

The ideological differences couldn’t be more stark in the two races for seats on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s solar industry is going through a shakeout with a 40 percent loss in jobs, a nearly 30 percent drop in building permits and at least one company shutting down. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has signed up 471 customers in just a week for a program that will charge residential customers less for power used during the day — when solar energy production is highest — and more at night, the utility confirmed  Thursday. Pacific Business News.

Specific data on hepatitis A not forthcoming from state. Star-Advertiser.

A 68-year-old Honolulu woman who got hepatitis A after eating tainted scallop sushi died last week after being in and out of the hospital since June, her lawyer said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Another case of hepatitis A has been confirmed in an Oahu McDonald’s employee and the death of an Oahu woman has been confirmed in connection with the June disease outbreak. Garden Island.

Oahu

As rail’s new interim executive director and CEO, Krishniah Murthy will step into a giant transit project mired in severe cost overruns, schedule delays and an uncertain future. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board has hired a veteran transit official as its interim director in hopes that his year-long tenure will help turn around the troubled rail project. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board has chosen a Los Angeles engineer to be the interim executive director for one year beginning in December. KITV.

Oahu’s multi-billion dollar rail project has a new leader — a man with 40 years of rail transit experience who says he’s ready to accept the challenges. KHON2.

Eight jammed-up Kakaako streets that were considered privately owned actually belong to the state, according to the Department of the Attorney General. That opinion could provide the city with a shortcut to address community concerns that the streets are clogged and hazardous due to parking slots that are being rented out by a private company that also claims ownership. Civil Beat.

Caldwell Campaign: We May Have Been Duped With Newspaper Ad. A campaign ad in the Star-Advertiser listed “Dennis Francis” — the name of the paper’s publisher — as one of the mayor’s supporters. Civil Beat.

Crews are repairing a broken water sewer main that spilled more than 5,000 gallons of wastewater at the Aliamanu Military Reservation. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Police Chief Harry Kubojiri leans his chair back in his stripped-down office and contemplates, for the first time in almost 38 years, a life off the force. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Police Chief Harry Kubojiri will retire at the end of this year, wrapping up a 37-year police career that spanned dramatic growth and change in his island community along with a troubling increase in the violence that his officers encounter in the field. Star-Advertiser.

An East Hawaii woman accused of voter fraud entered a no contest plea Monday as her trial started in Hilo. Tiffany Edwards Hunt was charged with the Class C felony for being registered to vote in a separate County Council district than where she lived. Tribune-Herald.

It was a long day at the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing in Hilo Thursday. Big Island Video News.

A special reintegration program has documented its ability to lower costs for treating mental illness — and its efforts could potentially prevent many individuals from getting arrested again. Tribune-Herald.

A long-awaited subsidy program for farmers battling the coffee berry borer came online in September, more than two years after the state legislation creating it was passed. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation – Maui Region announced today that it has set July 1, 2017 as the date when Maui Health System, Kaiser Permanente, will assume responsibility for the operation of its three hospitals, Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lāna‘i Community Hospital. Maui Now.

A date has been set for the transition of three state-run medical facilities on Maui. The Board of Directors of the Maui regional Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation voted that starting July 1, 2017, Kaiser will take over operations. Hawaii Public Radio.

Alexander &Baldwin Inc. reported its fourth consecutive quarterly loss Thursday as costs to close Hawaii’s last sugar cane plantation ate up profits from other business operations. Star-Advertiser.

In January, 2016, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. announced that it is transitioning out of farming sugar and will instead pursue a diversified agricultural model for its 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company plantation on Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

After two failed tries at takeoff, the fledgling ‘a’o (newell’s shearwater) perched on the edge of a stand near Lydgate Park’s Kamalani Kai Play Bridge and peered over the edge. Garden Island.