Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Rail funding unresolved as deadline nears, poison drop begins on Lehua, Honolulu defers high-rise sprinkler bill, electric rate hike for Big Island, fray over Maui bus driver shortage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State lawmakers have until Friday to file paperwork to call a special session to deal with rail next week. But it's not clear if they will also take up a bill to fund pay raises for University of Hawaii Faculty or the United Public Workers. KITV.

Honolulu Rail Transit: Potential 16% Savings: The State Legislature is currently looking at ways to allow for the funding of the 8.2 billion dollar Honolulu Rail Transit System. Hawaii Public Radio.

Two of the highest-­ranking military commanders in Hawaii and the Pacific were in Asia on Tuesday for an exercise geared toward war on the Korean Peninsula and to deal with an alarming four U.S. Navy ship accidents this year in the western Pacific — including two fatal collisions in nearly as many months. Star-Advertiser.

Rich outside investors are offering to pay in full, in cash to purchase real estate in Hawaii. It’s something that’s made home-buying more difficult for the middle and working class. KHON2.

Hawaii car and light-truck registrations were flat in the second quarter, but the overall trend remained upward with new vehicle registrations poised to rise for the seventh year in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Abigail Kawananakoa’s mental health has become the focus of an ongoing legal battle over who should have control of her $200 million Campbell Estate fortune. Civil Beat.

Young Brothers Ltd. said that its interisland cargo volumes increased slightly in the second quarter of 2017, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period of 2016. Pacific Business News.

Young Brothers Limited announced that intrastate cargo volumes between Honolulu and six Neighbor Island ports increased slightly in the second quarter of 2017, up 1.2 percent compared to the same period of 2016. Garden Island.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council members Tuesday signaled they may be backing away from requiring more than 350 older residential buildings on Oahu to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems within five years. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s bill to retrofit sprinkler installations in older residential high rises remains in limbo until a newly formed advisory committee presents its fire safety recommendations. Star-Advertiser.

The Council Public Health, Safety and Welfare Committee voted to advance Bill 70, banning smoking in vehicles when there are minors present. Star-Advertiser.

As the search for a permanent Honolulu Police Chief continues, some city leaders think the mayor should be given more power to decide who will fill the spot. Hawaii News Now.

Commercial and industrial swaths of Kalihi in urban Honolulu would be redeveloped into mixed-use housing projects and new businesses along with recreational areas under a “vision plan” state officials unveiled Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Could Kalihi be the new Kakaako? With plans to move the aging Oahu Community Correctional Center currently in the works, Gov. David Ige has had his eye on upgrading the neighborhood, especially with plans for the rail to pass through. KHON2.

The Hawaii Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health, arguing the agency should have updated rules ensuring the safety of underground storage tanks. Civil Beat.

Imagine Waikiki without its world-renowned beach. That’s a future that’s possible this century, scientists say. Hawaii News Now.

Marine life artist Wyland and Hawaiian Airlines have reached an agreement regarding their recent legal battle over the ownership of two Hawaii whale murals. Pacific Business News.

Lack of lavatories leads to unsightly problem at historic Pali lookout. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

The state Public Utilities Commission issued an interim order Tuesday granting a 3.4 percent increase to Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s base rate. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has tentatively approved Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s first rate increase in more than six years. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is planning to overhaul its testing and inspection processes of incoming deep well equipment in the wake of several premature failures that have led to a water crisis in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Traffic along a portion of Queen Kaahumanu Highway will transition to the newly paved makai section Wednesday night as part of the ongoing widening project. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

An ongoing shortage of school bus drivers on Maui has turned into a heated exchange of words in recent days between Department of Education officials and the bus vendor that lost some of the island’s bus routes to a competitor last year. Civil Beat.

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sat down for a one-on-one interview at Maui Now to discuss congressional updates during a visit to Maui on Tuesday.  Prior to the interview, Sen. Schatz held a town hall meeting at the Binhi At Ani Filipino Community Center in Kahului that drew an estimated 100 people. Maui Now.

The Department of Planning is getting back on track to update Maui island’s six regional plans, but this time it’s coming with a dose of budgetary realism and more input from county departments, according to Deputy Director Michele Chouteau McLean. Maui News.

Irrigation system work continues at Waipuilani Park in Kihei but the parking lot, restrooms and tennis courts will remain open during the current phase of work. Maui News.

An informational briefing on the conveyance of 3 acres of state land to the county near the Lahaina Civic Center will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the center social hall. Maui News.

Kauai

The Lehua Island restoration project has been given the green light and the first round of poison-laced bait could be dropped as soon as 6 this morning. Garden Island.

An ongoing rat problem on Lehua Island is prompting the DLNR to go ahead with plans to bait the island with rat poison. But some are worried that could pose a health risk to other animals on the island. Hawaii News Now.

James Jasper Enterprises, the owner of the Anchor Cove Shopping Center on Kauai, is planning to expand the Lihue property and add a new oceanfront restaurant with outdoor seating, as well as a new market or convenience store. Pacific Business News.

The Kauai Police Department recently launched a new, online, crime-mapping program called LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which replaces the former program, RAIDS Online. Garden Island.