Monday, February 5, 2018

Slew of bills include plastic straw ban, raises for teachers, DUI jail times; Rapoza to run for Kauai mayor, GET hike mulled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Snorkeler in Hawaii ©2018 All Hawaii News
Years of drownings highlight critical gaps in ocean safety education. Drowning — mostly while snorkeling at beaches with no lifeguards — is the biggest killer of tourists and has been for over a decade. KHON2.

Officials working to get a handle on spate of ocean-related deaths. Ocean safety urged as deaths spike: Over about 2 weeks last month, 9 men died in the waters off Maui. Maui News.

Overwhelming support at an initial hearing for a ban on plastic straws led to tentative approval last week from state lawmakers who were urged to act in a plea from 10-year-old Rylee Brooke Kamahele of Kipapa Elementary School. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Gene Ward wanted Gov. David Ige to release “security tapes” from the morning of Jan. 13 when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency issued a false missile attack alert, but a spokesman for the agency says there are no such audio or video recordings. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige said Saturday he is confident last month’s false alarm about a ballistic missile heading toward Hawaii won’t happen again and he stands by his decision to begin the drills in the first place. Tribune-Herald.

State Rep. Kaniela Ing is proposing a state task force to study whether a government job can be provided for everyone who needs one. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would cap public school class sizes at 20 students and increase the new teacher salary to $55,000 per year. Tribune-Herald.

Private school enrollment shrinks in favor of public charter schools. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Auditor Demands Investigation Into Leak Of OHA Audit. Les Kondo says a release to the media of a draft audit into problems at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs violated state ethics law. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Is An Official Language So Why Isn’t It Used More? The dispute about whether a protester could testify in Hawaiian in court highlights the gap between the state’s two official languages. Civil Beat.

Critics race to stop bill to ban youth runners in long-distance events. Hawaii News Now.

New bill would require all boaters to purchase insurance for their vessels. KITV.

Bill aimed at extending jail time for those convicted of drunk driving. KITV.

A slew of bills focused on revising the state’s medical marijuana dispensary system have been introduced during the 2018 legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

Commentary: When Does Hawaii’s Famous ‘Aloha Kiss’ Become Sexual Harassment? In Hawaii’s hugging culture, it’s hard to tell when the traditional hug and kiss is innocent or inappropriate. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Fascinating to see who’s donated, and how much, to Ige and Hanabusa. Star-Advertiser.

The number of patients visiting the hospital for influenzalike illnesses has been on the rise, and now places Hawaii in the same category as most of the nation for flu activity, according to the state Health Department. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii bankruptcies jumped 8.3 percent in January after finishing 2017 down for the seventh year in a row. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Seniors in a Kakaako housing complex are worried they will end up on the street after receiving notices that their rent is scheduled to go up to $916 per month, a sharp increase from the current monthly rate of $675. Civil Beat.

The FBI is investigating four Honolulu police officers who are accused of forcing a man to place his mouth on a urinal inside a public restroom, according to the police department’s top official. Associated Press.

Kealohas stopping mortgage payments could threaten legal team. Hawaii News Now.

The second of three new Coast Guard cutters to be stationed in Hawaii arrived Sunday, strengthening the capabilities for search and rescue operations around Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Mighty Mo’s $3.5M upper-deck renovation done. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s A Novel Idea To Help The Homeless — Vending Machines. A British charity plans to set up vending machines where homeless people can get items they need to survive on the streets. Civil Beat.

Rents decline in Honolulu, but Zumper, Apartment List reports differ on how much. Pacific Business News.

Officials with Haseko (Hawaii) Inc. intend to appeal a Circuit Court judge’s ruling that ordered the developer of Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei to pay $20 million to homeowners because of the company’s decision to change the plan from a marina to a recreational lagoon at the resort community in Ewa Beach. Pacific Business News.

Spectrum Hawaii, formerly Oceanic Time Warner, will shuffle the channel lineup as part of its plan to switch its signal from analog to digital. It says that switch result in increased broadband speeds and more HD channels. But local station Olelo may be left out in the cold. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

GET hike coming to council. Are smoother roads and better buses worth an extra half-penny at the register? West Hawaii Today.

Challengers in two key state legislative races are literally giving incumbents a run for the money, according to reports filed with the state Campaign Spending Commission. West Hawaii Today.

A bill to fund lifeguards at a popular, yet perilous, North Kona beach passed its first reading in the state House. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Upholding a lower court decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a Lahaina sewage treatment plant is violating the U.S. Clean Water Act by allowing wastewater to reach the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Invasive species officials estimate that 2 to 3 acres in Kaeleku in East Maui are infested with little fire ants and treatments of the area will be ongoing for a little over a year. Maui News.

During the first half of fiscal year 2018, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development issued nearly $6 million dollars in grant monies to various local organizations. Maui Now.

A proposed 67 percent fee increase from $30 to $50 for annual passes for three Hawaii national parks, including Haleakala National Park, will be reviewed during a Feb. 12 public hearing in Pukalani. Maui News.

Kauai

Mel Rapozo files for mayoral run. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced Friday that the board has put money toward environmental studies for the Blue Hole and Waikoko diversions, which support the cooperative’s request for a long-term lease for the two diversions. Garden Island.

County officials are reminding Kauai property owners that the second installment of real property taxes for the 2017-18 tax year are due on Feb. 20. Garden Island.