Monday, May 22, 2017

Honolulu Zoo struggling; schools superintendent, tourism officials, PUC appointee named; Maui and Kauai advance budgets; tropical storms, high seas expected for summer; Caldwell, Honolulu officials to get 5% raise, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu Zoo © 2017 All Hawaii News
A year after the Honolulu Zoo suffered an embarrassing loss of accreditation from the Association of Zoos &Aquariums, three zoo exhibits are shuttered and the facility lacks a permanent director. Star-Advertiser.

A rare convergence of rising sea levels with some of the highest tides of the year could cause episodes of serious coastal flooding in Hawaii over the next few months, scientists are warning. Star-Advertiser.

More than 30,000 online public comments have already poured into the U.S. Department of Interior’s web-based docket system since the agency opened a review of more than two dozen federally protected areas, including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Pacific Remote Islands, at the direction of President Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

After years of legal wrangling, the state and advocates for foster parents thought they had a deal to help cover the cost of caring for foster children — but one state lawmaker torpedoed the settlement. Star-Advertiser.

An Arizona school district superintendent was tapped to serve as Hawaii’s next chief of public schools. Tribune-Herald.

The state Board of Education said Friday it has selected Christina Kishimoto as the new superintendent to lead the Hawaii State Department of Education. Pacific Business News.

Christina Kishimoto, superintendent of a public school district in Arizona, has been selected as the new Hawaii public schools superintendent, the state Board of Education announced Friday. Maui News.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto is expected to face tough questioning from members of the Democratic Party as she seeks their acceptance after ditching the Republican Party earlier this year amid a political dust-up over critical comments that she made about President Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige on Friday appointed James “Jay” Griffin, a natural energy researcher at the University of Hawaii Manoa, to an interim seat on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Business News.

Two business and tourism veterans will join the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the government agency responsible for statewide tourism marketing. The state Legislature has confirmed Sherry Menor- McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, and Kelly Sanders, area managing director of Marriott Hotels and Resorts Waikiki, as HTA’s newest board members. Star-Advertiser.

Investigators Try To Figure Out Why Man Tried To Disrupt Flight. The man who created a disturbance on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu faces possible federal charges of interfering with a flight crew. Associated Press.

A University of Hawaii faculty member is causing a stir in conservative media circles by suggesting that white men need to quit their jobs to make room for minorities and women. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Souki’s House career lasted 35 years for good reason. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu


The Honolulu Salary Commission is recommending 5 percent raises for the mayor, police chief and other top city officials. Civil Beat.

Even with the official number of homeless people soaring in their communities, some state and city lawmakers on Oahu say the latest homeless census gives them a better idea of how to plan for possibilities that could include hygiene centers and even tent cities. Star-Advertiser.

A former employee of DuPont Pioneer on Oahu is suing the company, claiming she was retaliated against for raising concerns about its use of pesticides. Civil Beat.

A planned public school envisioned to be a “vertical” prototype for urban Honolulu areas near transit stations is on track to be built sooner rather than later as part of a Kakaako project with two residential apartment towers. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council is advancing a bill aimed at addressing long-standing concerns about foul odors emanating from waters around the Honolulu Country Club in Salt Lake. Star-Advertiser.

Public comments wanted for study on future of Haiku Stairs. KHON2.

A $300 million waterfront retail village would be a welcome amenity for many Hoakalei Resort and Ocean Pointe homeowners in Ewa Beach, but some of them still want something else: $27 million from a jury award two years ago and more in pending claims. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation plans to begin resurfacing Farrington Highway from Kili Drive to Kaena Point in Makaha in the coming weeks. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu International Airport’s name will be officially changed to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport at a ceremony on Memorial Day weekend, but the new sign is already up on the main airport building. Star-Advertiser.

AT&T workers in Hawaii continued their three-day strike on Sunday to fight for better wages and benefits. Four of Oahu's nine AT&T stores remained closed while workers rallied near Ala Moana Beach park. Hawaii News Now.

Resort Fees: A Hidden Pain For Tourists, A Windfall For Hotels. While consumer advocates decry costs for amenities like swimming pool access and in-room safes, the fees bring in an estimated $2.6 billion annually for hotels. Civil Beat.

Natives are recolonizing urban Honolulu. Native birds, that is. The white tern or Manu O Kū is thriving in Hawaiʻi’s most populous city, and so is its fan base – the Hui Manu O Kū. Hawaii Public Radio.

Commentary: Rail debacle should prompt developers, bankers to step up. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Chlamydia infections are circulating unchecked in Hawaii County, state Department of Health data shows. Tribune-Herald.

Kona led Hawaii Island in auto thefts in 2016 and is on track to do so this year, as well, according to data from the Hawaii Police Department. Tribune-Herald.

Dr. Sharon Bintliff left county councilmembers smiling after a vote in support of her nomination to sit on the ethics board. Big Island Video News.

In a case of justice grinding slowly but exceedingly fine, the Hawaii Island Board of Registration on Tuesday is scheduled to pick up a 2014 election dispute that first took a trip to the Hawaii Supreme Court. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo’s state senator says it “is really, really unfortunate,” that Hawaii County is still without an East Hawaii representative on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Big Island Video News.

The state Land Board rejected a petition from a Thirty Meter Telescope opponent seeking an online transcript of the project’s contested case hearing. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Office of Housing and Community Development has prepared its list of projects it plans to fund with allocations from a long-standing federal initiative, but it’s not clear how long that program will continue. Tribune-Herald.

After the rescue of more than 80 dogs from a South Kona property, the Hawaii Island Humane Society is looking to the community to give the animals temporary homes. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council passed on first reading Friday an approximately $705.2 million fiscal 2018 budget. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission will hold a hearing Tuesday on ATC Makena Holding’s application for a special management area permit, but under a court order last week the panel will only acknowledge and accept petitions to intervene. Maui News.

The National Weather Service is expecting an “above-average year” for tropical cyclones, which could destroy huge sections of Honoapiilani Highway and isolate West Maui residents from the rest of the island for months — possibly a year, a senior forecaster and hurricane specialist said. Maui News.

A pesticide-free pilot program will launch in four Maui parks over the coming year in the county’s quest to find greener measures that won’t break the bank. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council voted 6-1 to approve $201 million for the next fiscal year on May 12. Oahu, Maui and the Big Island councils are expected to make decisions on their respective budgets by mid-June. Highlights of Kauai County budget, which is the highest in a decade, include reducing the mayor’s original proposal by $2 million without increasing property taxes. Garden Island.

Even with the threat of being open to lawsuits, lifeguards will continue to man their respective towers this summer. Garden Island.

Seventeen health-care professionals on Kauai are adding their voices to a request that Gov. David Ige ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos in Hawaii. Garden Island.

Kauai’s lawmakers will recap the legislative session at the Lihue Business Association’s Thursday meeting at Duke’s Canoe Club. Garden Island.