Thursday, April 27, 2017

PACOM warns Congress of North Korean nuclear missile threat, Maui mayor to run for lieutenant governor, two candidates for schools superintendent, Legislature spars over rail, Honolulu council advances tax hike, lifeguard liability protection at risk, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

CSPAN TV
Adm. Harry Harris C-SPAN3 screenshot
The head of the U.S. Pacific Command told Congress on Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today,” adding that a defensive radar for the islands is being planned and that installing intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors here is being discussed. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Command Head Calls For Missile Interceptors In Hawaii To Defend Against North Korea. Adm. Harry Harris said Hawaii needs missile interceptors and improved radar capabilities. American Military News.

U.S. ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, Navy Adm. Harris testified, but it can be overwhelmed. Big Island Video News.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaii. Garden Island.

Does Hawaii face a nuclear missile threat from North Korea? The top U.S. commander in the Pacific says yes. KHON2.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command, confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current US missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk. Maui Now.

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Two mainland schools chiefs are in the running to become the next superintendent of Hawaii’s public school system. The Board of Education announced Linda Chen and Christina Kishimoto as the top candidates for the position. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Board of Education is one step closer to finding the state’s next schools superintendent. KHON2.

The state Department of Transportation wants to transfer management of Hawaii's airports from the DOT's Airports Division to a separate entity that it would no longer manage. KITV.

Hawaii airports chief admits failure to bring about changes addressed in airport authority bill. Pacific Business News.

State lawmakers have less than a week to agree over a bill that would protect county lifeguards on state beaches or to let it expire and open the state up to the possibility of personal injury lawsuits — and it appears neither side is budging, a Maui senator said Wednesday. Maui News.

Despite the upswing in rat lungworm cases, researchers who have been studying the disease for years at the University of Hawaii at Hilo are still pleading for state funding. Hawaii News Now.

Extensive environmental protections put in place by former President Barack Obama in waters surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands could be in jeopardy following an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday that requires a review of national monuments. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Key state lawmakers gathered Wednesday to discuss a new plan to extend the Oahu excise tax surcharge for rail by another 10 years, but it isn’t clear whether the idea has the support it would need to win approval in either the Senate or the House. Star-Advertiser.

Feuding over the future funding of Honolulu’s rail project, normally confined to behind-the-scenes negotiations, broke out into the open Wednesday at a crowded legislative hearing. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers clashed Wednesday over plans to extend a tax to cover a $3 billion shortfall for Honolulu's rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Some called it a drastic departure for Honolulu's train. A new Senate draft of the bill that would fund rail extends the tax by 10 years. That's longer than the two years the House proposed. KITV.

In a series of 5-4 votes, several of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposals to increase taxes and fees won preliminary approval Wednesday from the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

In bid to boost revenues, council passes bill to allow sponsorship of city properties. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a bill banning sitting and lying on sidewalks in parts of Kapalama and Iwilei. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s Water Pipes Keep Rupturing. Customers pay millions annually to repair main breaks, but the Board of Water Supply would need far more to fully upgrade the infrastructure. Civil Beat.

Sears is planning a homecoming of sorts at Ala Moana Center, where the retailer closed a store in 2013 after spending more than 50 years at Hawaii’s largest shopping mall. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The state’s proposed budget includes $40 million for additional widening of Highway 130, according to Puna lawmakers. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Parker Land Trust, the sister entity of Parker Ranch Inc., one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States, has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against German industrialist and clean energy pioneer Michael Saalfeld for not paying the trust the full amount for the 3,509 acres of land he purchased in 2010 at the Big Island ranch, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

After decades of discussions, adjustments and scrapped plans, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has released an environmental impact statement preparation notification for the master plan for Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park in South Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Several cases of rapid ohia death were confirmed in the main unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, marking the first instances of the deadly fungal disease in one of the most visited locations on the island. Tribune-Herald.

Father reportedly said he disposed of Peter Boy’s body in ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Family members of Peter Kema Jr. were escorted Wednesday morning to the Puna site where Peter Kema Sr. said he left the body of his son, also known as “Peter Boy,” in 1997. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said Wednesday that he is “very strongly inclined” to run for leiutenant governor, the second-highest office in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

On the surface, it seems that the more than 600 workers who lost their jobs with the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar last year have been absorbed by the labor market with Maui unemployment rates below 3 percent and falling, a University of Hawaii economist said Wednesday. Maui News.

An Upcountry dance academy has until Monday to vacate its longtime studio at the Old Kula Community Center, after Maui County condemned the 82-year-old building earlier this week. Maui News.

With worries about rat lungworm disease in the East Maui community, the Kaupo Community Association and the Jonathan Starr Foundation will be sponsoring a free rat trap giveaway during the East Maui Taro Festival on Saturday at the Hana Ballpark. Maui News.

Kauai

Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School will not be opening in August. That decision came after an almost eight-month endeavor to find a space for the school came up short. Garden Island.

Speedie Lube closing Saturday after 30 years in business. Garden Island.