Monday, December 19, 2016

Ige administration may nix union's call for more pay hikes, schools to get more money, Obama family enjoys Hawaii vacation, new trial mulled for special agent Deedy, electric rate hike for Oahu, Abercrombie weighs in on Maui innkeeper, DOT neglects right-turn lanes in highway construction plans, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Lance Luke
Elevated rail construction, courtesy Lance Luke
Honolulu leaders say they’re determined to find a way to build their “Plan A” — a nearly $10 billion elevated transit line that runs all the way to Ala Moana Center — despite the giant budget obstacles that still block that goal. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige says he again wants to invest a large portion of next year’s state budget in public education through funding that would be disbursed at the school level. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige’s administration has made a series of closed-door presentations to the public worker unions in recent months warning that the state’s record-setting $1 billion budget surplus is essentially spent, a message apparently meant to tamp down expectations as the unions negotiate for new contracts and raises. Star-Advertiser.

The first family’s Christmas vacation is well underway here in Hawaii, and on Sunday morning, the president, the first lady and friends visited Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe. KITV.

The latest on President Barack Obama's annual two-week vacation in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Every holiday that President Barack Obama and his family have spent on Oahu, a group of protesters has gathered to greet them. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is getting closer to deciding if Special Agent Christopher Deedy can be tried a third time for the death of Kollin Elderts. Civil Beat.

Blue Startups, a Honolulu-based startup support program, said it will bring investors managing more than $1 billion to Hawaii in January. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Oahu customers could face an $8 increase in their electrical bills if Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request for a 6.9 percent raise in rates is approved. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is proposing to raise rates by nearly 7 percent, which would be the first increase in base rates on Oahu in nearly six years, the utility said Friday. Pacific Business News.

A political action committee that sought to defeat Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s re-election bid is accruing daily fines because it has not filed a campaign financing report. Star-Advertiser.

New regulations aimed at bolstering privacy at homeless shelters and moving clients into permanent housing more quickly are forcing a Waipahu shelter to close its doors, officials said Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Take a tour around the $1 billion Park Lane Ala Moana luxury condominium project construction site at Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center and you’ll quickly notice that it’s something you’ve never seen before in Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Riki May Amano, hearings officer for the Thirty Meter Telescope’s contested case, denied a request Friday to put the process on hold following a recent ruling on the project’s sublease. Tribune-Herald.

A site-specific Environmental Radiation Monitoring Plan has been finalized for the Pohakuloa Training Area. Big Island Video News.

Impacts to historic sites caused by construction along Queen Kaahumanu Highway were the result of a failure to account for right-turn lanes associated with the project. West Hawaii Today.

Continuing to foster a strong relationship between police officers and the community will remain at the forefront for Assistant Chief Mitchell Kanehailua as he leads West Hawaii’s men and women in blue. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo says efforts to improve four-year graduation rates are beginning to pay off. Tribune-Herald.

The right to operate an outdated Hilo waterfront hotel is headed for public auction early next year in the wake of disagreements over a land lease and misuse of the property that became the Pagoda Hilo Bay Hotel in February. Star-Advertiser.

A new assisted-living facility for elderly residents is planned for Hilo along Highway 11 (Kanoelehua Avenue) at its intersection with East Kahaopea Street, where a greenhouse once existed. Tribune-Herald.

In search of answers to the semi-slug: Researchers track carrier of rat lungworm parasite. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie wrote a letter in support of Paia businessman Michael Baskin’s request for a special use permit to operate the Paia Inn, a nine-bedroom transient vacation, at 93 Hana Highway. Maui News.

A ban on disposable polystyrene food service containers moved closer to reality Friday as the Maui County Council approved a bill on first reading to restrict the use and sale of the containers in the county. Maui News.

Restaurants in Maui County would have to pack food in eco-friendly containers free of plastic foam under a measure that could be approved early next year. Associated Press.

One of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees announced Sunday that it has opened an educational center as it waits for the “green light” from the state to begin dispensary operations. Star-Advertiser.

For four years the world’s largest digital camera has been quietly snapping pictures of the nighttime sky above Maui, capturing images of all the stars, planets, galaxies and other celestial bodies above three-quarters of Earth. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education announced that Hāna High & Elementary School in East Maui will be closed tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, due to a lack of water in the area. Maui Now.

Now, sugar really is gone. On Friday, the same day that Puunene Mill smokestacks stopped puffing, the last shipment of Maui-made sugar was carried out of Kahului Harbor. Maui News.

Kauai

Public is asked to help plan the future of the bus system. Garden Island.

The island saw record lows in crimes involves property, burglary, larceny- theft and motor vehicles, according to the Crime in Hawaii 2015 report, which was released by the Hawaii Crime Prevention and and Justice Assistance Division earlier this month. Garden Island.

Avian malaria is a threat to many of Kauai’s native and endangered birds, and an ongoing study of the way they adapt to disease could lead to ways to rehabilitate some species. Garden Island.

The Kalalau Trail and Napali Coast State Wilderness Park will be closed to day hikers from Monday through Wednesday for a rockfall mitigation project (weather permitting), according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.

Hundreds gather at Lydgate Park to honor Tim Bynum. Garden Island.