Friday, July 7, 2017

NOAA begins survey of marine life, Hawaii first state in nation to pay family caregivers, federal judge knocks down travel ban challenge, taxes at issue in rail special session, Maui audits pCards, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette off Maui in 2004, NOAA Photo by Ray Boland
A research ship was launched Thursday on the first leg of a six-month mission to survey whales, dolphins and seabirds across the Hawaiian archipelago, a vast expanse of 1.8 million square nautical miles. Star-Advertiser.

Scientists and researchers kicked off the Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey on Thursday. Garden Island.

Using high-powered binoculars, hydrophones and, for the first time, drones, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will spend the next six months documenting whales, dolphins and other marine life around the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Maui News.

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A federal judge in Honolulu on Thursday denied an emergency motion by the state of Hawaii to clarify what constitutes a close family relationship in the rules of President Donald Trump’s partial travel ban. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge in Honolulu declined Thursday to second-guess how the Trump administration is implementing the scaled-back version of the travel ban. Civil Beat.

With the Hawaii Legislature poised to hold a special session in July or August to address paying for the over-budget, $10 billion rail project, the question of which tax is best to pay for rail will take center stage. Civil Beat.

Supreme Court hears arguments on constitutionality of city, state rail tax issue. Hawaii News Now.

Free or low cost legal services for residents in need is in jeopardy as funding for civil legal services has been cut from the Hawaii State Judiciary’s budget for at least the next year. Civil Beat.

The Kupuna Caregivers Act passed Thursday, making Hawaii the first state in the nation to offer money to caregivers who also work full-time. Hawaii News Now.

United Airlines has apologized to a Hawaii teacher who was forced to hold her 2-year-old son on her lap for three-and-a-half hours after an employee gave the toddler’s purchased seat to a standby passenger. Associated Press.

Hawaii State Attorney General Doug Chin was among the Democratic attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia who sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos today over her decision to suspend rules that were meant to protect students from abuse by for-profit colleges. Associated Press.

The state Health Department announced Thursday that 10 more people in Hawaii have been diagnosed with mumps, including four on Kauai, raising the statewide total to 143 cases. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is awarding more than $4 million in federal to three community health centers in Hawaii. They include the Community Clinic of Maui ($1.3 million); Bay Clinic on Hawaii Island ($1 million); and the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center on Oahu ($1.7 million). Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Christian Gutierrez is serving a 45-day state jail term for killing Laysan albatrosses in the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve during his 2015 winter school break from New York University. Star-Advertiser.

Christian Gutierrez, 19, has been sentenced to 45 days in jail and must perform 200 hours of community service and pay $1,000 in restitution for his part in the killing of Laysan albatrosses at Kaena Point. Civil Beat.

A man accused of killing federally protected Laysan albatross birds on Oahu has been sentenced. KHON2.

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State fires execs at OCCC as jail's care for mentally ill inmates declines. Hawaii News Now.

The City and County of Honolulu is reviving a plan to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Ala Wai Canal. Hawaii Public Radio.

As of Thursday morning, Bikeshare Hawaii has reported more than 11,000 total rides. KITV.

Honolulu police dispatchers, beset with a bedbug infestation, have left their offices after bedbugs were discovered earlier this week. Star-Advertiser.

Workers at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport say dust from construction is causing a health hazard, and we’ve learned some people have gone to the hospital because of it. KHON2.

Single-family houses on Oahu soared to a median price of nearly $800,000 last month, prompting local real estate experts to forecast that the $1 million threshold could be breached within the next five years. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu was the only city among major U.S. metropolitan areas to see a decline in construction costs in April, but costs to build in Hawaii's largest city are still among the highest in the nation, according to a comparative cost index compiles by Rider Levett Bucknall. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra celebrated the conclusion of its fifth season, and current fiscal year, by meeting a $150,000 matching challenge by the family of its board chairman, the owner of Hawaii's ABC Stores, with the help of donors. Pacific Business News.

At Hawaiian Hope's tech center in Kakaako, tall stacks of computers wait to be cleaned, tested then repaired. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Residents planning to build in flood-prone areas will be required to take an additional step to get an exemption, under a bill advanced Thursday by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

The owners of a biomass facility and Hawaii Electric Light Co. have a lot riding on a state Public Utilities Commission decision expected to come at month’s end. Star-Advertiser.

Responding to increased community complaints, the Hawaii County Council Committee on Public Works and Parks and Recreation voted Thursday to ban consumption of alcoholic beverages at James Kealoha Beach Park. Tribune-Herald.

Drinking alcohol at James Kealoha Beach Park in Keaukaha could soon be a thing of the past, legally speaking. Big Island Video News.

A farmers market at Hakalau Veterans Park will be allowed to resume its activities. Tribune-Herald.

The entire upper floor of the Lyman Museum is closed until late next year as the museum reconstructs its popular Island Heritage Gallery. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Auditor Lance Taguchi will examine county vehicle use and county employee travel as part of a planned list of audits for the current fiscal year. Maui News.

For the first time in more than a century, land titles held by Hawaii’s former sugar companies are being opened to challenge. At their peak in the 1930s, sugar plantations cultivated approximately 250,000 acres across the island chain. Hawaii Public Radio.

Former HC&S equipment being moved. Maui News.

The Community Clinic of Maui will receive $1,350,479 in federal funds as part of a larger $4,069,396 appropriation for three community health centers in Hawaii. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Department of Water has scheduled a water shutdown for select Hanamaulu customers on Hipa Road, Hehi Road and on a portion of Kuhio Highway; mauka side, near Laukona Street. Water will be turned off on Tuesday, July 11 from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday July 12; weather permitting. Garden Island.

A Kalaheo woman happily paid $10,000 when she was reunited Wednesday with her dogs that were missing for almost two weeks. Garden Island.