Monday, July 31, 2017

Tax hikes loom as state spends more than it collects, universal basic income debated, dock strikes unlikely, snorkel deaths studied, Honolulu official leaving in wake of critical audit, Big Island biomass gets PUC approval, Kauai Syngenta changes hands, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Charles Freedman
Hawaii state Capitol, courtesy Charles Freedman
For the second time in five years, the state is being warned that its tax collections likely won’t be enough to cover its costs in the years ahead, which may mean tax increases in Hawaii’s future. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Recently, some very notable people including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have been championing the idea of “universal basic income,” which basically is a payment from the government to individuals simply for being alive. Our Legislature latched onto that idea, passing House Concurrent Resolution 89. West Hawaii Today.


Ocean safety advocates are working on ways to gather more data to determine why so many more visitors die snorkeling in Hawaii than local residents. Civil Beat.


With the impacts of climate change bearing down on Hawaii, government officials and community members need to make some important decisions about the islands’ iconic coastlines, said Dolan Eversole, a coastal hazards expert with the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program. Civil Beat.

A political scientist, acting as an agent for the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom in international proceedings, believes the time is right to go forward with an International Commission of Inquiry at the Hague. Big Island Video News.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said that early West Coast election results show an existing labor contract with waterfront employers represented the Pacific Maritime Association will be extended by three years. Pacific Business News.

New cases of mumps statewide have risen by close to 40 percent since late June, prompting health officials to continue monitoring the infection and encourage vaccinations. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu

An audit of the Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance Program administered by the city finds key deficiencies in several areas but says it generally meets federal requirements. Star-Advertiser.


City Community Services Director Gary Nakata is resigning from his post at the end of the week, Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya said in a memorandum to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Cabinet officials late Friday. Star-Advertiser.

When the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission issued an order earlier this month accepting Hawaiian Electric Co.’s long-term plan for supplying power to customers, one part of the plan stood out: a 44 percent rate increase on Oahu over 10 years. Civil Beat.

A Hawaiian Electric Co. pilot program meant to encourage customers to shift energy use to the daytime has seen little interest. Star-Advertiser.

A leak in the basement of Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport may be a pricey problem to fix. Star-Advertiser.


The Fight To Save Ancient Hawaiian Archeological Sites. Fearing future development of a Leeward valley rich with cultural history, some community members are pushing for preservation. Civil Beat.

After months of fielding complaints from residents, the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board wants to stop what it sees as overuse of the Waianae Coast by commercial tour groups that locals say clog the beaches and prevent easy public access. Civil Beat.


A third Oahu neighborhood will be getting a restricted parking zone. KHON2.

Friday night's plane crash above Kunia is the latest incident in a string of single engine aircrafts that have gone down in Hawaii over the last year. Hawaii News Now.


The plane that went down is the second plane from Aircraft Maintenance and Flight School Hawaii to crash on Oahu in the last month. KITV.


The bodies of Dean Hutton, Gerrit Evensen, Heather Riley and Alexis Aaron were discovered late Saturday afternoon at the wreckage of the aircraft in the Waianae Mountains above Kunia. The Beech 19A, manufactured in 1969, took off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for a sunset flight Friday. Star-Advertiser.

For months, Hawaii store owners and residents have prepared for the end of Ward Warehouse — and now it's finally here. Hawaii News Now.

Hotel executive Kelly Hoen has managed six Hawaii hotels in a career that now sees her as area general manager for Outrigger. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

The state Public Utilities Commission approved Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s contract with a half-built biomass facility on the Big Island on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Public Utilities Commission informed Hu Honua Bioenergy on Friday that it approved its amended and restated power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company. Tribune-Herald.

The state Land Board will hear oral arguments on a hearings officer’s recommendation in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope land use permit Sept. 20 in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A long-awaited public gun range for Hawaii Island may finally get a shot at success, depending on how the County Council handles a resolution up for vote next week. West Hawaii Today.

International competition and retirements are decreasing the number of commercial orchid growers in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Once a $90 million project expected to wrap up in September, phase two of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening has grown to a $105 million project now planned to be substantially completed next August. West Hawaii Today.

Access to the shoreline park at Kohanaiki should be easier, now that a new frontage road has been completed by developers of a luxury community there. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County and a property owner have been unable to agree on a purchase price for a large parcel in Hakalau Valley. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui hospital raises fee but retreats after moms protest. The hospital raised the price for a private room to $672 from $152 on July 1 when Maui Health System, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, assumed control of operations of Maui Memorial, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lanai Community Hospital in the largest privatization in state history. Star-Advertiser.

Construction costs could hit as much as $75 million for the Wailuku Parking and Events Facility, which includes a multilevel parking structure and three-story building for retail, Maui County offices and special events space. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. has been given the green light to expand its “Fast Demand Response” program from four to a projected 13 Maui businesses, which would receive bill credits to reduce their energy use with 10 minutes’ notice to stabilize the grid when demand exceeds generation. Maui News.

At least four repair projects are planned for sections of Piilani Highway in the vicinity of Kaupo, and one of them — the repair of Waiopai Bridge — has the remote community concerned because work could close the road for a month or more, according to Jonathan Starr, a board member of the Kaupo Community Association. Maui News.


Kauai

About three months after announcing a six-month freeze on filling new vacancies in county jobs, the administration is changing course. Garden Island.

Hartung Brothers take over Syngenta Kekaha operations. Garden Island.

A new affordable housing project in Poipu has an aggressive construction timeline. Garden Island.

Kauai’s strong tourism season seems to be good for some, but not all, businesses. Garden Island.

The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs approved lease agreements to build community-based outpatient clinics on Kauai and Maui. The project construction will total $9.9 million. Garden Island.

Molokai

Molokai’s south shore is knee-deep in invasive algae. A new report from a team of scientists and volunteers provides a ‘good reality check for the community’ Maui News.

Engineers to present plan for ex-bombing range on Molokai. Public comment will be accepted during meeting scheduled for Kaunakakai. Maui News.