Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mosquito birth control could save endangered birds; Hawaii No. 1 in state tax withholding; DLNR officer found guilty in rape of 16-year-old; lawmakers mull election recount, tax hikes, commercial fishing; no opposition to HECO rate hike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kaua‘i Amakihi, courtesy Lucas Behnke USGS
State wildlife officials will investigate a “birth control method” they hope can be unleashed on the mosquito population that threatens Hawaii’s endangered forest birds. Star-Advertiser.

Scientists are testing what they’re calling “mosquito birth control” to stop a major threat to Hawaii’s most rare endangered birds. Garden Island.

Two Hawaii beaches ranked in Trip Advisor’s 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards for U.S. beaches, including Kaanapali Beach on Maui and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is ranked No. 1 when it comes to states that take the most in taxes out of your paycheck, based on a $50,000 salary, according to a new study by GOBankingRates. Pacific Business News.

Bill Would Require Recounts In Close Hawaii Elections. The proposal would make recounts automatic if a race’s victory margin is less than 250 votes or less than 1 percent of votes cast. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal with the potential to cripple the state’s commercial fishing industry after an Associated Press investigation found foreign fishermen confined to boats and living in subpar conditions.

State lawmakers are considering pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into research and prevention efforts aimed at combating rat lungworm disease, a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people’s brains.  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

No one spoke in opposition to Hawaiian Electric Co.’s proposed 6.9 percent rate increase Wednesday night at the only scheduled public hearing on the request. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council advances three bills that could make your commute much more costly. The measures raise vehicle and fuel taxes, plus double metered parking rates. KITV.

A new bill is moving through the state Legislature that would increase the general excise tax on Oahu from 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent. KHON2.

Homeless people in Iwilei and Kalihi may need to pack up their tents if the Honolulu City Council passes two new bills aimed at expanding the city’s sit-lie ban. Civil Beat.

There are no requirements to serve on the board charged with civilian oversight of a scandal-ridden police department. Civil Beat.

Council OKs bill on defibrillators in buildings. Star-Advertiser.

A wave of high-rise development plans on or near Kapiolani Boulevard close to one end of the city’s envisioned rail line just got bigger with a local developer’s purchase Wednesday of three two-story commercial buildings in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Farrington High School’s 2,396 students have been asked to wear Governors maroon today when Farrington dedicates its first football stadium — a facility that Principal Al Carganilla hopes will spur new traditions for his students and the Kalihi community at large. Star-Advertiser.

HPD investigating 'sextortion' crime in which UH student wired hundreds of dollars overseas. Hawaii News Now.

The Army’s 25th Infantry Division says the death of a Hawaii soldier’s infant is under investigation. Associated Press.

The Army did not notify state Child Protective Services, as required by law, after learning that an infant was taken to the hospital recently with suspicious injuries, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Hilton Grand Vacations is looking to fill scores of positions at its new Grand Islander hotel. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A state conservation officer, who once worked for the Honolulu Police Department, was found guilty Wednesday of raping a 16-year-old girl at a beach park on the Big Island in 2016. Civil Beat.

A Hilo Circuit Court jury of seven men and five women took less than three hours to convict 40-year-old Ethan Ferguson of two counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault for the Jan. 1, 2016, assault at Lalakea Beach Park in Keaukaha. Tribune-Herald.

A state law enforcement officer was found guilty of rape on Wednesday, following a jury trial in Hilo. Big Island Video News.

Recent tests of the sewer main along Alii Drive are showing highly elevated levels of chloride, indicating seawater is getting into the line. West Hawaii Today.

Meeting for the first time since November, the Banyan Drive Redevelopment Agency took stock of ongoing changes to the local political landscape. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County’s housing department is proposing a 36 percent rent hike at its Kula‘imano Elderly Housing Project in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Demands for Alexander & Baldwin to be more transparent and to disclose the impacts of its proposed 30-year lease for water from East Maui streams were heard Wednesday evening at a crowded Maui Electric Co. community meeting room. Maui News.

The Department of Management has announced the formation of a Cost Reduction Unit aimed at reducing costs for all county operations. Maui Watch.

The House Committee on Health has amended and recommended passage of a bill to provide a state subsidy that would allow Hale Makua Health Services to admit more wait-listed patients who are no longer in need of acute care but are taking up valuable beds at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Maui News.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday on a Maui man who breached security Saturday at Honolulu International Airport and died after being apprehended. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County councilmembers want to be able to order investigations if they believe they are not getting sufficient answers from the county administration. Garden Island.