Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rail funding unresolved after 7-hour hearing, dog kills Kauai shearwaters, marijuana dispensaries plan reopening, employee retirement system rebounding, Kona well failure, no jail time for manager in deadly fireworks blast, Maui family sues Las Vegas police over deadly chokehold, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Rail construction June 15, 2017, PC: HART
With the special session on rail looming in two weeks, legislators still don’t have a deal. But leaders from both chambers appeared open to raising the state’s hotel room tax to help rescue the beleaguered transit project during a marathon hearing Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmakers Not Sold On Rail Tax Extension. Legislators attending a briefing Monday appeared more favorable to tapping hotel tax money to help pay for the $10 billion rail line. Civil Beat.

Joint Legislative Hearing on Honolulu Rail Transit Project Conducted. Hawaii Public Radio.

With a funding plan due to the Federal Transit Administration in just about a month, state lawmakers held a marathon hearing Monday to consider different ways of paying for the Honolulu's controversial rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's tourism industry is finally getting a chance to sound off on a plan to raise the hotel room tax. It's one solution to generating money to complete the city's rail system to Ala Moana. KITV.

A special session on how to pay for the rest of Honolulu’s rail project may be in jeopardy. State lawmakers told us they were committed to holding one, but now things are up in the air. KHON2.

Neighbor Island rail taxes still on the table. West Hawaii Today.

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The state Employees’ Retirement System, Hawaii’s largest public pension fund, chipping away at a $12 billion shortfall, nearly doubled the investment return targeted by its trustees and posted its best fiscal year performance since 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Marijuana dispensaries that ran out of product within days of opening are blaming the state Department of Health, which in turn is blaming the only marijuana testing lab, Steep Hill Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s only two medical marijuana dispensaries plan to reopen on Wednesday with more inventory. Civil Beat.

Roughly 900 people have drowned over the past 10 years in Hawaii, with the rate of visitor deaths continuing to far outpace that of local residents, according to the latest data from state and county officials. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Kahala Hotel &Resort is withdrawing its request to obtain a rare nonexclusive easement to use about an acre of public shoreline for commercial enterprises. Star-Advertiser.

Construction on the Airport Guideway and Stations segment of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project will begin Tuesday night near Aloha Stadium. Hawaii News Now.

Will Native Hawaiians Be The Victims In This Fight Over A Royal Fortune? The legacy of a Hawaiian princess who has spent her life supporting Hawaiian causes is at stake in a struggle over control of her $200 million estate. Civil Beat.

Six years after a deadly explosion at a Waikele bunker that killed 5 people, a company manager tied to operations at the site of the blast won't spend any time behind bars. Hawaii News Now.

The former project manager of a munitions storage and disposal company was sentenced Monday to probation and a fine of $250 for improperly storing explosive material. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu-based BAE Systems Hawaii on Monday received a $24 million modification to a previously awarded contract for scheduled maintenance on the USS Port Royal, the U.S. Department of Defense said. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County Department of Water Supply has grappled with the question of why deepwell failure has been so widespread and simultaneous across North Kona over the last year, a development that has resulted in usage restrictions and sparked public fear and frustration. West Hawaii Today.

For the second time this year, water supply customers are under an emergency water restriction following the failure of the Honokohau Deepwell located in North Kona. It is the fifth off-line water well serving the Kona area. Big Island Video News.

Among the tenants at Hawaii Island's new homeless safe zone: The mayor's executive assistant. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

A stay that temporary blocks Maui Lani Partners from conducting sand mining and excavation work at its development in Central Maui, remains in place as a hearing resumes next week. Maui Now.

Hawaii family sues Las Vegas police department after fatal officer chokehold. Hawaii News Now.

Some suspended school bus routes in West Maui could be back in service as soon as Monday. KHON2.

Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation segment in Maui County grew around 33 percent in the second quarter as compared to the same time last year, resulting in 700 more jobs, according to state figures. Maui News.

The Central Maui Landfill and Olowalu Recycling and Refuse Convenience Center were operating normally Monday, following a stubborn fire at Maui EKO Systems green waste and composting operations that began Friday. Maui News.

According to a recent housing report by the Realtors Association of Maui, year-to-date closed sales for condominiums on Maui are up 7.3 percent, with the median price up 10 percent, while single-family home sales inched up only 1.6 percent. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

A stray dog killed 33 adult wedge-tailed shearwaters in a colony at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai’s Westside in early August. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative said Monday it asked the state Public Utilities Commission to approve new ways to credit solar system owners on the island. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai’s Shifting Sands Offer Clues To Beach’s Future. A local scientist is trying to understand how development might affect Wailua beach near the Coco Palms resort site. Civil Beat.

Lihue Airport reported a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit that broke the Aug. 12 record of 88 set in 2007. Garden Island.