Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hawaii lawmakers huddle on North Korea threat, iiwi honeycreeper named threatened species, students show slight STRIVE test improvement, tourism v. natural resources, Maui mulls steep tax hike for vacation rentals, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pacific Iiwi at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge USFWS
Hawaiian iiwi bird named to list of threatened species. With its bright red plumage and down-curved bill, the iiwi is a living symbol of Hawaii that for so long seemed to resist the tide of extinction that overcame so many of its native Hawaiian cousins. Star-Advertiser.

Facing extinction due in large part to the effects of climate change, the iiwi — a scarlet honeycreeper only found in Hawaii — will receive federal protection as a threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Dozens of legislators and their staffers met behind closed doors Tuesday to hear a briefing by state Emergency Management Agency officials on preparedness for a North Korea nuclear strike on Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Students in Hawaii’s public schools did better in science this year, but their English and math performance stagnated, according to the Strive HI report presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday evening. Star-Advertiser.

In a new report released by the DOE Tuesday, numbers of students meeting or exceeding Strive HI benchmarks continues to grow. Hawaii News Now.

Tourism in 2018 is expected to surpass 2017, which so far is shaping up to be the best tourism year on record, according to experts at the annual Global Tourism Summit, which kicked off Tuesday at the Hawaii Convention Center and is expected to attract some 1,689 attendees through Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s annual visitor-industry conference is being expanded to the first-ever Global Tourism Summit.  About 25-hundred attendees are registered for the 3-day event. Hawaii Public Radio.

Global tourism leaders look at balancing surging industry with preserving natural resources. Hawaii News Now.

From hiking trails to beaches, the feeling of being overrun by visitors can be inescapable on some weekends here in Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii’s only cannabis laboratory received approval Tuesday from the state Health Department to begin testing cannabis-­infused concentrates and tinctures so that patients who don’t want to smoke the drug can buy alternative products. Star-Advertiser.

Two federal class-action lawsuits were filed this week against consumer credit reporting giant Equifax on behalf of Hawaii consumers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has joined a coalition of states in seeking documents and information from manufacturers and distributor of prescription opioids. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii has been declared one of the most diverse states in the United States, according to a new report by personal-finance website WalletHub. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

In the only recovery plan they ever hope to write, Honolulu rail officials say it’s “realistic and achievable” to build the full line to Ala Moana Center with the $9 billion total they now expect to receive. Star-Advertiser.

Full report: rail recovery plan can be found here.

Firefighters Union Protests Lack Of Information On Marco Polo Investigation. The Honolulu Fire Department knows the cause of the fire, but is refusing to reveal it — even to their own firefighters — until reports are finalized. Civil Beat.

Diamond Head Cliffs, one of Hawaiiʻs most iconic surfing areas, was the scene of a homeless sweep involving the Honolulu Police Department and 20 groundskeepers from the city Department of Parks and Recreation on Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The mother of Peyton Valiente, the toddler who was severely abused more than two years ago while under the care of his baby sitter, is seeking a federal investigation of the way the state Department of Human Services handled her son’s case. Star-Advertiser.

The mother of a Honolulu toddler who almost died from apparent abuse while under the care of a babysitter in 2015 is seeking a federal agency’s help in figuring out whether the sitter was ever put on the state’s child abuse and neglect registry. Civil Beat.

A proposal to build an emergency bypass road through a section of Nanakuli is meeting strong resistance that could derail the plan. Hawaii News Now.

The wheels are beginning to turn on a $1.3 billion project to transform a rundown federal public housing complex in Kalihi. On Wednesday, the state plans to sign a master development agreement for Mayor Wright Homes with a development team led by Hunt Companies Inc. Hawaii News Now.

Costco is expanding the gas station across from its warehouse store in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

Costco members will need to find a new place to fill up their tanks for the next month. Signs posted at the almost always crowded Iwilei location say the station will be closed from Thursday Sept 28 and reopen on Friday Nov. 3. Hawaii News Now.

American Fast Freight has purchased a 26,153-square-foot warehouse in West Oahu from Kraft Heinz Foods Co. for $7.1 million. Pacific Business News.

Caught on camera: Strange lights spotted floating over Oahu. KHON2.

An attorney defending a man accused of inflight behavior that prompted military fighter jets to escort an airplane wants a hearing on his mental competency and detention to be closed to the public. Associated Press.

Pamela Burns, president and CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society, died at her home Monday night. She was 65 years old. Star-Advertiser.

Pamela Burns, the longtime president and CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society, has died, the nonprofit said Tuesday. She was 65. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

One audit of the North Kona water system isn’t enough, at least not for the county government. West Hawaii Today.

On Tuesday, September 19 at the West Hawaii Civic Center, the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee will take up a resolution requesting the Legislative Auditor conduct a review of the Department of Water Supply. Big Island Video News.

An igloo village could pop up in Kona over the next few years, as Hawaii County works on a homeless settlement across from the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Dozens of East Hawaii hospital patients got eye-popping medical bills last week. Nearly 200 patients served by Hawaii Health Systems Corp. received the “incorrect billing statements” in the mail from third-party billing vendor Healthcare Resource Group. Tribune-Herald.

The Kailua Village Design Commission on Tuesday gave its approval for a proposed new hotel on Henry Street. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Department of Education’s new superintendent on Monday said delivery of special education services is among the areas eyed for improvement this year. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, who took the reins in August, spoke about her plans for those programs and others to parents and faculty at Kealakehe High School. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Based on current rates, a nearly 29 percent property tax hike could be in store for homeowners who rent out their non-primary residences as transient vacation rentals. Maui News.

The state is proposing improvements to the Lower Waiohuli Trail that would heighten public safety and allow for bicycle use on the 1.5-mile path on Haleakala’s western slope. Maui News.

The Maui County Department of Public Works invites the South Maui community to a public meeting on the Kihei Drainage Master Plan on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Kīhei Community Center. Maui Now.

The Kihei drainage master plan will be discussed at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kihei Community Center. Maui News.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public information meeting on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the West Maui Senior Center, 788 Pauoa St. in Lahaina. Maui Now.

Coaches, league organizers, school athletic directors and other sports officials will need to start applying for recreational facilities months before each season begins as part of the county’s new triennial permit process, the county has announced. Maui News.

An official with Maui County has confirmed that the rumor regarding a fee at Kihei Aquatic Center is untrue. Maui Now.

The Fairway Shops at Kaanapali on Maui recently sold for nearly $14 million in a leasehold transaction. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Hawaii representatives toured Kauai Tuesday and liked what they saw. Members of the House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke, visited sites to see projects and programs supported by the Legislature. Garden Island.

The Kauai Police Department’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team conducted a special mission on Monday in the Lihue and Kapaa areas, which led to arrests, the removal of illegal campsites and the removal of abandoned property. Garden Island.

Stadium lights could once again come to life for a few night football games on Kauai this season, if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signs off. Garden Island.