Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Milestone for Honolulu rail, Big Island coffee farmer faces deportation, China invited to 2018 RIMPAC, airport rename official, Portlock surfers seek access, Maui council passes $705M budget, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Mayor's Office
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at rail trial run, courtesy photo
Honolulu rail officials tested a rail car on the partly-built elevated guideway for the first time today. They took it for a 3-mile ride, towing it between the Waipahu Transit Center and the West Loch Station. Associated Press.

The rail project got on track — literally — Tuesday afternoon when the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation ran a train along a portion of its guideway. Civil Beat.

The public got its first glimpse of a train car moving along Oahu’s partly built elevated guideway Tuesday, as testing began on the vehicle in Leeward Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

It was a moment nearly a decade in the making. On Tuesday, the first rail cars slowly made their way across the elevated guide way in Waipahu. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s rail project took a step forward Tuesday when cars moved along the elevated guideway for the very first time. KHON2.

The unexpected sight of the train on the tracks startled people going about their business in Waipahu town. KITV.

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The Hawaii Council on Revenues left its quarterly fiscal forecast for the state general fund unchanged Tuesday, opting to not speculate on whether the Legislature will raise taxes to maintain funding for Honolulu’s over-budget rail project. Civil Beat.

China has been invited to return to Rim of the Pacific exercises off Hawaii in the summer of 2018 despite a new round of challenges between the United States and the rising Asian nation in the East China and South China seas. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii’s nearly 4,000 faculty members would receive annual pay increases of at least 2 percent over the next four years under a tentative deal reached with the state. Star-Advertiser.

The days of pizza and ice cream parties in Hawaii’s public schools are coming to an end. Garden Island.

Health insurers received a reprieve from an Obamacare fee this year, which in part helped to bolster the earnings of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, the state’s largest health maintenance organization. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Hawaii’s largest airport was formally renamed the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport this morning in a poignant ceremony in the Honolulu facility’s atrium building, which sits under the new signage. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu International Airport is now officially known as the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu International Airport renamed to honor late U.S. senator. KITV.

The notion of reselling workforce housing units — and whether the profits should be shared with the state — is at the crux of an ongoing debate over a state proposal to change the affordable housing rules in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

Residents and surfers expressed outrage Tuesday night about a new gate on a private lane blocking public access to a Portlock beach. Star-Advertiser.

A gate blocking public access to the ocean in East Oahu continues to be a hot topic issue for area residents and lawmakers. Hawaii News Now.

Residents demand action in battle over East Oahu beach access. KHON2.

An Oahu school has been without a fire alarm system for years. KHON2.

​Honolulu falls behind Mainland cities as sought after summer destination. Pacific Business News.

Three state representatives hosted a town hall meeting on medical marijuana Tuesday evening at Kapolei High School. KITV.

The sentencing of a college student charged with animal cruelty in connection with the killings of Laysan albatrosses at Kaena Point has been postponed until July. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii mechanical engineering professor admitted Tuesday in U.S. District Court that he allowed someone else to download child pornography video from his computer using a file-sharing program. Star-Advertiser.

A longtime restaurant in Honolulu featuring authentic Hawaiian cuisine is preparing to close its doors after serving customers for more than 50 years. Associated Press.

Hawaii Island

The plight of a Hawaii island coffee farmer facing deportation came under the national spotlight Tuesday as a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge took a broad swipe at the Trump administration and its immigration policies. Star-Advertiser.

A Trump administration order to deport a man who entered the country illegally and became a respected businessman in Hawaii was “inhumane” and “contrary to the values of the country and its legal system,” a judge on the nation’s largest federal appeals court wrote today in an unusually impassioned opinion. Associated Press.

How folks feel about a proposed fuel tax hike may depend on how close they sit to the road. West Hawaii Today.

Parties in the ongoing Thirty-Meter Telescope contested case have submitted their final arguments for consideration by hearings officer Riki May Amano. Tribune-Herald.

An undeveloped oceanfront parcel on Hawaii’s Big Island that includes 16,455 acres of land and some six miles of coastline, including Pohue Bay, is on the market for an asking price of $18 million. Pacific Business News.

A big piece of the Big Island has been put back up for sale after its owner never went through with a remote coastal resort development plan. Star-Advertiser.

Papakolea Beach at South Point was named among the world’s 28 “most extraordinary beaches.” Beaches were selected by the travel site Expedia for their “quirky features, breathtakingly divine vistas and memorable characteristics.” Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui County Council gave its final approval Tuesday to the county’s $705.2 million fiscal 2018 budget, which will include slightly higher motor vehicle weight taxes to pay for more roadway improvement projects, which the community asked for, council members said. Maui News.

Maui corrections officer: Understaffing, overcrowding putting lives at risk. Hawaii News Now.

Public comments are due June 7 on an environmental impact statement preparation notice for a project to revamp Kaanapali Resort properties owned by the State of Hawaii Employees Retirement System. Maui News.

Fair coordinators are hoping Gov. David Ige will identify Neighbor Island fairs as a “purpose for public good” and waive wharfage fees to ship carnival rides and games to keep the popular events running in the face of rising shipping rates. Maui News.

Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. will receive a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant of $1,047,514 to help fund 13 Head Start centers on Maui and Molokai, according to an announcement from U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Maui News.

The High Technology Development Corp. has partnered with entrepreneurs Nick and Brittany Heyd to share their business knowledge with tech innovators in the state. Pacific Business News.

Two New Care Providers Join Kaiser on Maui. Maui Now.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard gave the keynote address at Kihei Charter High School’s 16th commencement ceremony at the Maui Nui Golf Club in the Maui Research & Technology Park on Friday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s recently released visitor statistics show an 18.9 percent increase in visitor expenditures on Kauai for the first four months of 2017 over the time in 2016 — from $536.4 million in 2016 to $637.6 million in 2017. Garden Island.

Conservationists at National Tropical Botanical Garden have discovered new populations of a number of species listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, including laukahi (Plantago princeps var. anomola). Garden Island.