Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Legislature begins conference committees, homeless efforts stall, few use cesspool replacement tax credit, Kauai water agreement restores stream, Maui audit shows post office demolition errors, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Sen. J. Kalani English
Legislative conference committee, courtesy Sen. J. Kalani English
The Legislature’s critical conference committee period kicked off Tuesday at the Capitol with Hawaii lawmakers making earnest statements about how they have found a lot to agree on when it comes to the state’s $28 billion budget. Civil Beat.

The traditional Hawaiian value “hookipa” prompted state lawmakers to push a resolution to make Hawaii a sanctuary state, honoring Hawaii’s history as a home to a diverse group of immigrants who dramatically shaped the island state’s economy and culture. Associated Press.

Homelessness: A Lot Of Talk But No ‘Game-Changer’ At The Legislature. Some bills are still alive, with their fate to be decided in conference committees. Civil Beat.

There's nearly 90,000 cesspools across Hawaii, and many could be polluting our groundwater. That fact prompted the state to offer tax-credits to home-owners to clean up and clear out their sewage, but very few have switched to safer septic systems. KITV.

A new poll sheds light on some of the most controversial issues facing the state, and shows opinions aren't as divided as some might think. Hawaii News Now.

The Department of Education closed out 19 employee misconduct investigations during the first three months of the year, resulting in six terminations and five resignations or retirements in lieu of termination, according to data shared Tuesday with the state school board. Star-Advertiser.

New school lunch program emphasizes fresh local fare made from scratch. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines said a shift in the wind blew it off course in February and resulted in the worst monthly on-time performance in more than a decade. Star-Advertiser.

Federal legislation to improve tsunami detection and climate forecasting, long championed by Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Commentary: The United Public Workers, the union which represents some 13,000 state and county blue collar workers, including about 1,200 prison guards, believes the Department of Public Safety is violating the state constitution and state law by refusing to promote prison guards into supervisory positions if they have been suspended from their jobs within the previous two years. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Commission said late this afternoon that it had received 38 applications for police chief, roughly 25 to 30 percent of them from out-of-state candidates. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens are applying to be the next chief of the embattled Honolulu Police Department. Associated Press.

Under a new lease deal, the Missouri memorial will stay in Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

As sit-lie ban expands, businesses wonder: Where will volatile homeless camp go next? Hawaii News Now.

Waimanalo Gym Closure Leaves A Town Feeling Sidelined. Residents are frustrated by the long wait to start a $3.12 million repair job on the damaged gym, which was a “safe haven” for kids. Civil Beat.

Manoa residents want their rough roads fixed, and some would rather not wait for the city to get around to fixing them. They’re offering to do the work themselves. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric Co.’s time-of-use program, which makes energy use cheaper during the day and more expensive at night, is proving popular among retirees. Star-Advertiser.

PacRim Marketing Group, one of the largest public relations firms in Hawaii, is rebranding following its acquisition by Vector, Inc., a Tokyo-based communications firm. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Substance abuse programs, elderly transportation, domestic violence and Native Hawaiian health care took top billing Tuesday as a Hawaii County Council panel recommended disbursing $1.5 million to 85 community nonprofits. West Hawaii Today.

Kolekole Park has been closed due to lead levels in excess of safe amounts, according to Mayor Harry Kim’s office. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Medical Center received a top grade from the nonprofit Leapfrog Group — a leading proponent of patient safety. Tribune-Herald.

Veterans troubled over newly tapped director of Hawaii VA health system. West Hawaii Today.

Moanike‘ala Akaka, longtime Hawaiian activist and advocate, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and a founding mother of the renaissance of Hawaiian language and culture in the 1970s, died Saturday at Hospice of Hilo Pohai Malama Facility after a monthslong battle with cancer. She was 72. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


A 47-page audit was released today by the Maui Office of the County Auditor on the demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office. Maui Now.

Another 6 megawatts — enough for possibly 850 residential rooftop photovoltaic systems — will become available for hookup to the grid on Maui, according to Maui Electric Co. Maui News.

VIDEO: Support Waiehu Golf Course Rally. Maui Now.

Controlling snail and slug populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease, health and agricultural experts said Monday evening during a meeting at the Haiku Community Center. Maui News.

The new California owners of the Safeway and Longs Drugs-anchored Lahaina Cannery Mall on Maui plan to spend $18 million to renovate the 15-acre mall that will include nearly doubling the size of the Safeway store, the company said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

In a move all sides are calling historic, the Hawaii State Water Commission on Tuesday approved a mediated settlement that restores tens of millions of gallons of water a day to the Waimea River on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

In what’s being dubbed a “historic” agreement, groups representing cultural, environmental, agricultural and development interests have reached a settlement in a longstanding dispute over the diversion of millions of gallons of water on the west side of Kauai. Civil Beat.

After more than 100 years, water is being returned to the Waimea River. Garden Island.

Access and safety at Kee were among the top concerns at the Hanalei School Cafeteria on Tuesday, as community members gathered to hear updates about the Hanakapiai Bridge project and the Haena State Park Master Plan. Garden Island.

The state has cited a 39-year-old Lihue man after he allegedly tried to pry open the shell of a live Hawaiian green sea turtle using a knife and rock. Star-Advertiser.

Two gardeners said they were evicted from Kalihiwai Community Garden because they refused to sign a contract they claim didn’t match their original agreement. Garden Island.

Lanai

Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp. and majority owner of the Hawaiian Island of Lanai, is looking for someone to run the operations of the 21 resort residential properties he purchased three years ago near the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. Pacific Business News.