Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Defending Hawaii against missiles, Honolulu rail school impact fee fails, Omidyar-backed Kauai dairy pauses EIS, felons to remain in jail, 'Styrofoam' ban advances on Big Island, biofuel crops planned for Maui, state Capitol crumbling, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Pacific Missile Range, Kauai © 2017 All Hawaii News
At the request of Congress, the federal Missile Defense Agency is evaluating the threat to Hawaii from ballistic missiles and possible defenses against them. Civil Beat.

A bill that would have authorized the head of the state Department of Public Safety to release some convicted felons to ease overcrowding in state-run jails appears to be dead for the session. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Count On Hawaii To Ignore Logical Prison Report. In the rush to build a new prison, the Legislature is likely to shunt aside the work of a task force it created just last year. Civil Beat.

A state agency hopes to sell carbon offset credits linked to reforestation. Star-Advertiser.

Representatives from Hawai’i’s hospitality industry converged on the State Capitol today to brief lawmakers on their legislative priorities. Hawaii Public Radio.

High-schoolers are some of the loudest champions of a bill seeking to ban the use of disposable foam containers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmaker Accepted Junket From Turkish Opposition Group. Sen. J. Kalani English is among 151 state legislators nationwide whose official travel has been tied to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corp. has donated $790,000 to establish the HCRC Distinguished Professorship in Affordable Housing at the University of Hawaii to teach the next generation about affordable housing strategies and develop policy alternatives. Pacific Business News.

State officials believe falling exterior ceiling tiles at the Hawaii State Capitol are the result of strong winds on Monday and this past weekend. Civil Beat.

Matson Inc. delivered more containers and automobiles to Hawaii in 2016, but the largest ocean cargo company serving the state had rough sailing in other areas, which resulted in a 22 percent profit decline last year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The state school board for a second time has rejected an impact fee the Department of Education contends it needs to accommodate the estimated 10,000 students expected to enroll in urban Honolulu schools as developments pop up along the city’s rail line. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to charge developers along the rail line hundreds of millions of dollars in school impact fees has stalled. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmakers say they’re unlikely to get the briefing they want from the city rail system’s federal partners before they must decide what to do about Oahu’s cash-strapped transit project. Star-Advertiser.

While Honolulu may be the eighth-most traffic-congested city in the U.S., Oahu residents can take some solace in the fact that the problem isn't getting any worse, according to data from the 2017 TomTom Traffic Index. Pacific Business News.

A new bill before the Honolulu City Council would expand the city’s law banning people from sitting and lying down on certain public sidewalks to parts of Kalihi and Iwilei. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of Airbnb listings in Honolulu are raking in six figures in annual revenue, according to a monthly market report by Airdna, the analytics arm of the online vacation rental platform, which ranked the top 10 highest-performing vacation listings for all accommodation sizes. Pacific Business News.

The state Public Utilities Commission is holding a hearing tonight about Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to increase rates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Biotech Inc. moved into its new research and development laboratory and headquarters at Dole Cannery in Honolulu on Tuesday, with staff hopeful the new 11,000 square foot space will facilitate greater efficiency as well as provide the company with access to much-needed emergency power. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Biotech Inc. opened a $3 million laboratory at Dole Cannery this week to continue its research of vaccines that can combat viruses such as Zika, West Nile and Ebola. Star-Advertiser.

The man who breached airport security in Honolulu and later died was court-ordered to be at a drug rehabilitation center just a week and a half before the incident. KHON2.

Hawaii

Foam food containers were back on the table Tuesday, when the County Council Environmental Management Committee on a 5-3 vote advanced a bill restricting those made of polystyrene. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management gave a positive recommendation to a bill that would reduce the use of Styrofoam food containers on Hawaii Island. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County will not pay any penalties for terminating its composting and mulching contract, according to Mayor Harry Kim. Tribune-Herald.

The chief financial officer of Youth With a Mission’s University of the Nations in Kona stole $2.5 million from the international Christian school, owns a gold mine in Africa and kept loose diamonds in a safe deposit box, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Public scoping meetings for Alexander & Baldwin’s application to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a 30-year lease (holdover water permits) for water from streams in Nahiku, Keanae and Huelo are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 22 and 23, at two different locations on Maui. Maui Now.

Biofuel crops, including sunflowers, will be grown on 115 acres in Maui’s central valley as part of a demonstration project this month, according to an announcement from Pacific Biodiesel. Maui News.

The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas has named Chris Rabang as general manager ahead of the time-share resort’s April opening. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Hawaii Dairy Farms, the planned dairy operation on Kauai being funded by Pierre Omidyar’s social investment firm Ulupono Initiative, has withdrawn the project’s final environmental impact statement to expand responses to comments submitted during the process. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Dairy Farms took a step back in its plan to put a dairy on Kauai by withdrawing its Final Environmental Impact Statement from state consideration on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Hundreds on Kauai may have faulty solar parts. Garden Island.

A hearing is scheduled March 22 for Kauai Community College’s proposal to reclassify 148.5 acres of land from agricultural to urban usage. Garden Island.

Misuse of funds, poor record keeping, and violations of state animal euthanasia laws are just some of the findings of a recent audit of the Kauai Humane Society. Hawaii News Now.

A man accused of beating up a monk seal last year is expected to change his plea today. Garden Island.

Representatives of the Kauai Beer Company are proposing a private-public partnership to renovate Kalena Park. Garden Island.