Thursday, August 24, 2017

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument could be spared, state sued over harbor lights, Lehua rat poison drop commences, special session on rail funding nears, Board of Regents poised to vote on Thirty Meter Telescope resolution, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument map
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is on the list for consideration. Associated Press.

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House and Senate negotiators have tentatively agreed on a plan to bail out the city’s rail project by raising hotel room taxes statewide and extending the general excise tax surcharge on Oahu for another three or four years, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Star-Advertiser.

A decision to move forward with a special session to address funding for Honolulu’s rail project could be made Thursday. KHON2.

Saying they are frustrated with the city's failure to talk about new ideas on how to find money for rail, state lawmakers are looking to place tighter reins on money collected to pay for system's project $2.8 billion shortfall. Hawaii News Now.

Could recent plunge in public transportation ridership spell trouble for rail? KHON2.

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Three conservation groups filed suit against the state Wednesday, claiming it has failed to address the harm to imperiled seabirds on Kauai, Maui and Lanai caused by bright lighting at its facilities in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Star-Advertiser.

Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit against the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to address injuries and deaths of three species of critically imperiled seabirds.  The lawsuit claims the deaths and injuries are the result of by bright lighting at state-operated airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai. Maui Now.

In response to a lawsuit filed by environmental activists over the death of endangered birds, the state Department of Transportation says their facilities don't violate any environmental regulations. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is facing a lawsuit over lights at its airports and harbors. KHON2.

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that police officers working off-duty jobs at private events may not qualify for legal protection. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Community Foundation today will bring together more than 200 island nonprofit organizations to prepare for potentially devastating cuts in federal funding under the Trump administration. Star-Advertiser.

State civil defense officials say they are prepared to add air-raid sirens to monthly exercises as early as Nov. 1, but will meet with mayors before setting a date. Tribune-Herald.

The advent of Donald Trump on the national stage has had a galvanizing effect on many Democrats in the country, and none more so than U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who is running for re-election in 2018. Civil Beat.

The who’s who of Hawaii’s medical cannabis dispensary program will be meeting today. The Medical Cannabis Working Group has been meeting every month for the past year. This will be the first meeting since dispensaries have opened. Hawaii Public Radio.

During a hearing at the state Capitol Wednesday, Department of Health officials weren't able to provide lawmakers with a clear timeline for the certification of medical marijuana testing labs. Hawaii News Now.

Pasha Hawaii has ordered the construction of two new ships that will join its Hawaii-Mainland trade lane. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Building several hundred affordable rental apartments on state land in the Liliha- Palama area is now likely 15 months or more away from getting started, pushing back construction from what had been an anticipated start late last year. Star-Advertiser.

Kunia Village, an affordable rental housing development reserved for farmers and their families making less than 60 percent of the area median income, has been completed. Pacific Business News.

The city could start cracking down on sleeping along Oahu streams. After an increase in homeless along our waterways, a bill to block this type of illegal camping advances at the Honolulu city Council. KITV.

Oahu’s Cheapest Source Of Power Is About To Go Away. How HECO plans to replace that electricity for Oahu customers is still unknown but Hawaii’s last coal-fired power plant intends to shut down in just five years. Civil Beat.

The Caldwell administration is considering switching back to a call-in, by-appointment-only system for bulky item trash pickup on Oahu, Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Valuable crime fighting tool credited for a decrease in crime in Oahu neighborhood. KHON2.

Hawaiian Airlines and the Honolulu International Airport have each scored top spots in a new ranking by free travel service RewardExpert. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

With the Thirty Meter Telescope project nearing a key regulatory hurdle, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents is expected to reassert its commitment to the stewardship of the Mauna Kea summit in a resolution on the board’s agenda today. Star-Advertiser.

A foam food container ban will be back on the table next month, following a unanimous endorsement by the county Environmental Management Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Amazon.com Inc. said it has no intention of pulling the Kindle online book series “Peter Boy: Hawaii’s Most Notorious Case of Child Abuse and Murder” from its website. Tribune-Herald.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees unanimously approved the Wao Kele o Puna Comprehensive Management Plan during a Resource Management Committee meeting on Oahu Wednesday. Big Island Video News.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s efforts to draw more students to its Hale Alahonua residence hall appear to be paying off. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Agricultural shipments from Kahului Harbor were down 40 percent in the second quarter with interisland shipper Young Brothers blaming the closing of Maui’s oldest and largest farming cooperative at the end of June for the severe drop-off. Maui News.

With talk of the impeachment of President Donald Trump stirring on Capitol Hill, Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz addressed the possibility of the president’s removal from the White House a couple of times Tuesday during a town hall meeting before a mostly progressive crowd of about 150. Maui News.

Maui Family Support Services will receive $1.3 million for its Early Head Start program, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced last month. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College registered a slight uptick in enrollment as it began the fall semester Monday with 3,318 students enrolled, up from 3,298 a year ago. Maui News.

Kauai

The state proceeded Wednesday with the first of three rodenticide bait drops in the latest effort to eradicate rats on a tiny island off Niihau. Star-Advertiser.

The clouds cleared around Kauai and Niihau Wednesday morning and the Lehua Island restoration project began. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources began aerial application of rodenticide today in an attempt to control the rat population at Lehua Island, an area managed as a State Seabird Sanctuary. Maui Now.

Molokai

Molokai Planning Commission Chairman Rob Stephenson said Tuesday that he hasn’t made a decision yet on how he’ll respond to the calls for him to step down from his post. Maui News.

Building a new police station in Kaunakakai, capping vacation rentals on Molokai’s east end and finding ways to ease tax burdens on kuleana land owners are just some of the goals for Molokai as the island’s updated community plan nears completion. Maui News.