Monday, September 18, 2017

Papahanaumokuakea spared in Trump cuts; study recommends sugary drink, 'sin' taxes to balance budget; a few leave voter rolls after Trump commission data request; $1.4M for Honolulu electric buses; Kauai protestors stop Hanalei gate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo NOAA
Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument, PC: NOAA
Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument spared from Trump cuts. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that two marine national monuments in the Pacific and four other national monuments be reduced in size. Star-Advertiser.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his immediate predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.

Higher liquor, tobacco and marijuana taxes, fees on sugary drinks among proposals. A consultant hired to study the Hawaii tax code is recommending a potentially controversial package of tax cuts and increases as a way of rebalancing the state tax system and potentially raising hundreds of millions of extra tax dollars for the state. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii voters aren’t leaving the rolls in droves over the prospect of some of their information being sent to a commission impaneled by President Donald Trump, but there have been a few. West Hawaii Today.

Helping Those Who Help Their Kupuna: State Aid Program Takes Shape. The Legislature approved a $600,000 effort to help people who give up their time, work and financial security to help relatives. Civil Beat.

The recent hurricanes in Texas, the Caribbean and Florida are a reminder of just how vulnerable Hawaii is to disaster. That includes the islands’ food supply. Last year Governor David Ige called for a doubling of food production in the Islands by 2020. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is one of the few congressional Democrats who broken from a consensus in the party to hold fire on climate change politics while hurricane victims in Florida and Texas recover. Star-Advertiser.

Another Growing Threat To Hawaii’s Coral Reefs: Invasive Algae. Several years ago, the state stopped the infestation of leather mudweed by pulling up 3 million pounds of the algae. Now it’s back. Civil Beat.

Scientists are asking the public for help tracking green sea turtles as they return to Hawaiian islands after their nesting season. Associated Press.

Shipping companies’ expansion in isles could go bust for some. A glut could result if the company, TOTE Inc., executes its plan to haul containers on four new ships while two existing carriers, Matson Inc. and Pasha Hawaii, maintain or increase their fleets. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines, one of the state’s largest private employers with a workforce of about 6,500, is increasing its ranks by 300 as part of a major expansion. Star-Advertiser.

Travelers will now have more options when heading to New Zealand. Hawaiian Airlines is expanding its weekly service to Auckland in response to high demand for the 5-year-old route. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Honolulu will receive more than $1.4 million in federal funds for electric buses in an effort to reduce carbon pollution, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spokesman Bill Brennan said that the local rail agency sent its complete “recovery plan” to the FTA’s Washington, D.C., and San Francisco offices late in the afternoon on Friday, the latest deadline to submit that report. Star-Advertiser.

Final approval for a major expansion of the city’s Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant in Ewa now rests with the state Land Use Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Proposal advancing to form dedicated group to oversee traffic, ease congestion in Waikiki. KHON2.

Water wagons set up for east Oahu residents as BWS works to fix leak. A transmission line leak in east Oahu is causing low water pressure in Kalama Valley and Queen's Gate. Hawaii News Now.

Low water pressure for some East Honolulu communities due to leaking transmission line. KHON2.

Permanent shutdown of Waialua kitchen foils farmers. Waialua Community Kitchen was forced to shut down in June over what some thought was a correctable permit problem. Star-Advertiser.

Aloha Green Holdings Inc. is changing its name to Aloha Green Apothecary. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Wait For Drug Treatment On Big Island Can Stretch Months. For those coming out of prison, there are only a handful of residential treatment centers. Civil Beat.

Japan Airlines returns, daily flights resume between Kona, Narita. The airline suspended service to Kona in 2010 as part of a corporate reorganization. West Hawaii Today.

Six NASA-backed research subjects who have been cooped up in a Mars-like habitat on Mauna Loa since January emerged from isolation Sunday. They devoured fresh-picked tropical fruit and fluffy egg strata after eating mostly freeze-dried food while in isolation and some vegetables that they grew during their mission. Associated Press.

Return to Earth: Mars simulation participants leave dome after 8 months. West Hawaii Today.

After eight months sequestered away in a geodesic dome on the slopes of Mauna Loa, the six HI-SEAS crew members “felt the sun and wind on their faces and ate fresh tropical papaya, pineapple and bananas with friends and family,” University of Hawai‘i officials report. Big Island Video News.

Several hula halau are scrambling to find alternate accommodations for Hilo’s Merrie Monarch Festival, now that Hawaii County has ruled out overnight stays in county-owned gyms, citing fire code violations. Star-Advertiser.

Jim Channon, corporate shaman and basis for Hollywood character, dies at 77. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

New documents reveal state system that failed abused boy. Star-Advertiser.

Having affordable rentals, hot showers, a place to do laundry and a resource center are some ideas that around 35 people, some homeless, came up with Saturday as ways to help the homeless population in South Maui. Maui News.

Maui Disposal reported that six tons of materials were collected from Lahaina streets, harbors and beaches from Puamana to the Māla Boat Ramp by over 300 volunteers, including residents and visitors and members of school groups, civic clubs and local businesses. Maui Now.

Four years after Puu Kukui Elementary School opened its doors, its students finally have a playground to play on. Maui News.

Kauai

Residents stop county from erecting gate in Hanalei. Community members stop gate installation at Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei. Garden Island.

Bacteria levels in Hanalei Bay have spiked again and the state Department of Health has issued another advisory for the bay. Garden Island.

The executive director of Animal Balance is on Kauai for the next week with a team of 16 people — including five veterinarians — to do 600 spay and neuter surgeries in six days. Garden Island.