Friday, August 25, 2017

Rail deal reached-- special session starts Monday, lawmaker seeks recreational marijuana, Maui police suspended in probe, mumps could linger another year, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mayor's Office photo
Caldwell unveiling rail, May 30, 2017, Mayor's Office photo
State lawmakers announced their new plan Thursday to raise $2.37 billion to bail out the city’s financially troubled rail project, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned the money is “not sufficient” to cover the budget shortfall for rail. Star-Advertiser.

Four days ahead of a planned special session, state House and Senate leaders outlined their proposal to save Honolulu’s struggling rail project. Civil Beat

Full text of SB1, rail funding bill to be heard Monday can be found here.

State lawmakers have struck a breakthrough compromise to keep Honolulu's rail project going, but the city says the deal falls short. Hawaii News Now.

Just days before a special session, Hawaii lawmakers announced late Thursday they've come up with a measure that could fund Honolulu's mass transit rail project. KITV.

Hawaii lawmakers reached a tentative agreement Thursday, which means a special session to address funding for Honolulu’s rail project can begin Monday. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers have reached a tentative deal to solve the funding shortfall of Honolulu's rail project by drafting a bill that combines extending Oahu's general excise tax surcharge as well as raising the transient accommodations tax by one percent. Pacific Business News.

A bill to fund completion of the $8.2 billion rail project on Oahu will be considered during a special legislative session next week. Garden Island.

Governor and lawmakers react to new rail funding ideas. KITV.

The ongoing friction between several state lawmakers and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is a key subplot in the drama playing out this week in the Legislature as it decides whether, and how, to raise the money to bail out the city’s financially strapped rail project. Star-Advertiser.

State House and Senate leaders have come up with a compromise measure to help the City and County of Honolulu pay for cost overruns on its rail project that includes raising the hotel room tax — assessed in all state counties — by 1 percent and increasing Maui County’s share of the revenues by $2.3 million per year. Maui News.

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Homeless shelters are bracing for change — and the potential loss of funds — as the state begins requiring them to move the homeless more swiftly into permanent housing. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s desire for higher tax revenue could eventually lead to the legal sale of recreational marijuana, a state legislator said. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of America’s largest protected conservation area — the 580,000-square-mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands — remains in doubt after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday sent undisclosed recommendations to President Donald Trump about 27 national monuments that Trump ordered reviewed. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii again ranked No. 1 in a national nonprofit’s survey of state investments in energy efficiency projects. Star-Advertiser.

Fundraising accounts have been set up for two of the five Hawaii Army aviators missing from the Aug. 15 nighttime crash of a Black Hawk helicopter off Kaena Point as a sonar search for wreckage and the crew continues about a mile offshore. Star-Advertiser.

Royal Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa wants a state judge to issue a gag order to her former attorney, James Wright, saying he has inappropriately revealed sensitive details about her and her partner, Veronica Gail Worth. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it could be a year or more before the state's mumps outbreak finally subsides. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu


City audit discovers high costs in employee overtime in the bulky waste pick-up program. KITV.

Grandmother who launched Kealoha corruption probe believes indictments are coming. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that would establish a special entity to manage parking and traffic in Waikiki will go before the full Honolulu City Council for a final vote. KITV.

Risking fines, thousands of moped owners flout new requirements. Hawaii News Now.

According to a report from the Honolulu Police Department, the department paid more than $171,000 for overtime and expenses over the last fiscal year on protecting visiting dignitaries. KHON2.

Matson Inc. on Wednesday said it reached a deal with Paceco Corp. for the purchase of three new 65 long-ton capacity cranes and modifications to upgrade three existing cranes at its Sand Island Terminal in Honolulu Harbor. Pacific Business News.

Bank of Hawaii’s renovation of its main branch downtown will be unveiled Wednesday after five months of construction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. ranks among the top 10 utility companies in the United States for solar capacity per customer, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance "2017 Utility Solar Market Snapshot." Pacific Business News.

A live boa constrictor found in a shipment of household goods was spotted Thursday morning by workers who were unloading a pallet and then used a stick and bucket to capture it. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents adopted a resolution Thursday in Honolulu stating it affirms its commitment to the “collaborative stewardship” of Mauna Kea and its resources. Tribune-Herald.

Pohakuloa seeks citizens for advisory board. West Hawaii Today.

Fall enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo appears to be lower than predicted, but interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai said she’s optimistic the campus can reverse the decline. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's state-funded aerospace agency, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, has launched a new credit-based internship program for students at the Big Island's Hawaii Community College to gain high-tech skills. Pacific Business News.

The lawsuit over the state’s Kaʻū Forest Reserve Management Plan reached the Hawaii Supreme Court. Big Island Video News.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $646,886 in grant funding to restore the Kawaihae watershed in West Hawaii. Garden Island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will temporarily close portions of the popular Thurston Lava Tube, also known as Nahuku, and its rainforest loop trail for maintenance work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County will become the first county in the United States to receive a Blue Zones designation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Maui Police Department investigations lead to suspensions. Maui News.

Two people testifying Wednesday in a sand mining lawsuit recalled seeing earthmoving work in a Maui Lani development in February without a required archaeological monitor. Maui News.

A single family residence located at 150 Luna Place in Paiia, is being proposed for transformation into a commercial building. Maui Now.

Ocean water levels remain unseasonably high, said a University of Hawaii coastal expert. Maui News.

Kauai

Watershed restoration: Waipa Foundation’s holistic management of the ahupua’a is showing signs of success. Garden Island.

Bus shelters on the way: Project expected to cost nearly $900k. Garden Island.

When it comes to converting to renewable energy, the biggest success story in the islands is on Kauai. Hawaii Public Radio.