Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hawaii Gov. Ige unpopular in poll, state tries to grow teachers, Hurricane Fernanda weakening, Honolulu condo fire investigation continues, Hawaii County cracking down on alcohol at beaches, Police Commission secrecy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige © 2017 All Hawaii News
A new state-by-state poll ranks Hawaii’s governor among the least popular chief executives in the country. Gov. David Ige, according to a Morning Consult poll, has an approval rating of just 48 percent in the islands. Civil Beat.

To help address the state’s perennial shortage of qualified public school teachers, the Department of Education is launching a pilot program aimed at encouraging educators already in classrooms, such as educational assistants, to become licensed teachers with a stipend incentive. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education closed out 11 employee misconduct investigations during the past three months, resulting in five terminations and one resignation in lieu of termination, according to data shared Tuesday with the state school board. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Fernanda continues to weaken as the forecast brings it close to the Hawaiian islands. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, the storm was still a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Hawaii News Now.

Last week, Gov. David Ige officially vetoed 13 bills that were passed during the 2017 legislative session, including one that takes away lifeguards’ protection against lawsuits. Garden Island.

Cameron Nekota, a Hawaii real estate veteran who helped to spearhead D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes’ 11,750-home Hoopili project, has joined First Hawaiian Bank, overseeing the bank’s real estate and government affairs. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Fire Sprinkler Retrofit Mandate Will Hit Affordable Housing. City Lawmakers will be considering a bill next month that could require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in older residential condominiums. Hawaii Public Radio.

The high-rise fire that killed three residents and seriously injured five others damaged more than a third of the apartments in the 36-story Marco Polo, the Honolulu Fire Department said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Investigation into fatal Marco Polo fire expands to include other agencies. Hawaii News Now.

Fire investigators from Hawaii island arrived in Honolulu today with an arson dog to search for ignitable liquids in the apartment where a deadly high-rise blaze broke out last week. Star-Advertiser.

Fire investigators from the Big Island have arrived in Honolulu with an arson dog to search for ignitable liquids in the apartment where a deadly high-rise blaze broke out last week. Associated Press.

New details from fire officials paint the dangerous, and ultimately deadly, scenario at Marco Polo as changes are considered that could prevent a future disaster. KHON2.

Local musicians to host benefit concert for displaced Maro Polo residents. Hawaii News Now.

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The Honolulu Police Commission is scheduled to hold closed-door hearings Wednesday to decide whether taxpayers should pay the legal fees of two officers who were sued in relation to an ongoing U.S. Justice Department corruption investigation tied to former Chief Louis Kealoha. But legal experts, including the only two lawyers who sit on the commission, say the public and the media should not be barred from the proceedings. Civil Beat.

Several petitions are circulating urging the Caldwell administration to remove 11 traffic bulb-outs or curb extensions that were installed along key intersections of Chinatown several weeks ago. Designed as a traffic-calming measure, a bulb-out extends the sidewalk at an intersection, thus shortening the distance a pedestrian needs to cross. Star-Advertiser.

State enforcement officers say Hawaii's booming tourism industry is encouraging more and more illegal commercial activity in state ocean waters. Hawaii News Now.

In June, sales of single-family homes in the Windward Oahu neighborhoods of Kaneohe and Kailua increased by 60 percent and 23 percent, respectively, while the median price decreased, according to a local market update by the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

The Hawaii County Council advanced a bill Tuesday banning alcohol at James Kealoha Beach Park in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

As the county considers a crackdown on drinking at a popular Hilo park, some West Hawaii residents say they don’t think the issue’s out of control at parks and beaches on their side. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island drivers are guaranteed to see a boost in gas prices Aug. 1 as higher fuel taxes take effect. Tribune-Herald.

A 9-year-old Hilo girl whose parents and grandmother are alleged to have starved her to death last year was on the radar of Child Welfare Services since at least 2007, according to court documents. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s state-funded aerospace center will share a $118,690 NASA Small Business Technology Transfer grant with New York-based Honeybee Robotics Ltd. to develop an in-situ resource utilization technology to convert natively sourced materials into usable resources, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy will start the new school year for the first time with a full eight-year accreditation under its belt, though completion of its new building could be pushed back further into 2018. Tribune-Herald.

The developer of a more than $1 billion planned residential community on Hawaii Island filed for bankruptcy last month in the face of two foreclosure actions that threaten to repossess land slated for the 2,300-home project called Villages of Aina Lea. Star-Advertiser.

A Big Island resort hotel has been named "Best Hotel in Hawaii" by price comparison platform HotelsCombined. Kolea at Waikoloa Beach Resort beat out four other Hawaii finalists to win the top honor. Pacific Business News.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, who has been playing softball since the 4th grade, recently came under fire from the state Campaign Spending Commission for using campaign funds to support senior softball teams he played on, managed and sponsored. Maui News.

Critics of a controversial development proposed in South Maui plan to voice their concerns when the state Land Use Commission meets on Wednesday and Thursday to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Hawaii News Now.

A Stage 1 water shortage declaration for Upcountry, which calls for voluntary cutbacks by consumers, goes into effect today due to drier-than-normal trade wind flows so far this summer. Maui News.

A man broke into a Makawao store early Monday morning, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shell lei, handmade by Niihau residents, the store owner said Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Pilot stops on Kauai while retracing Earhart’s final voyage. Garden Island.

The West Kauai Business Association will host a community meeting Monday at the Waimea Historic Theatre. Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney, and representatives from the YWCA will be on hand to talk about domestic violence. Garden Island.

The Kauai-based owners of Brick Oven Pizza are selling their four Oahu restaurants — including one opening next month at The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu — in order to focus on their Garden Isle business. Pacific Business News.