Monday, March 19, 2018

Hawaii adds cats to invasive species list, Senate wants to double HI5 container deposit, Schatz to hold false missile hearing, bills alive and dying at legislative session midpoint, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Feral cat with endangered Hawaiian petrel in this DLNR webcam file photo
Feral cats make invasive species list. Feral cats have been added to Hawaii’s list of most impactful invasive species, and advocates of trap-neuter-release say the state should reconsider. Garden Island.

Bills sink or swim at session’s midpoint. The Hawaii State Legislature passed the midpoint of the 2018 session last week, with lawmakers considering bills that would allow physician-assisted death, would increase the 5-cent deposit for bottles and cans, and would impose a new mandate for paid family leave. Star-Advertiser.

Airlines Pushing To Take Over Honolulu Airport Operations. Supporters say improvements could happen more quickly if the state Department of Transportation was out of the way. Civil Beat.

The state Senate is proposing to double the 5-cent deposit on bottles and cans as part of an effort to increase the redemption and recycling rates for the tens of millions of containers used by Hawaii consumers each year. Star-Advertiser.

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U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled “Hawaii False Missile Alert: What Happened and What Should We Do Next?” April 5 in Honolulu. Garden Island.

Hawaii Picks New Leader For Agency That Sent False Missile Alert. Thomas Travis has commanded a submarine squadron and was deputy commander of an aircraft carrier strike group. Associated Press.

Kim: Travis the right man for the job. Tribune-Herald.

Apparently taking the recommendation of Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim to heart, the State of Hawaii has appointed retired U.S. Navy Captain Thomas Travis to serve as Administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Big Island Video News.

Survey shows more people in Hawaii felt relatively calm, rather than panicked during false missile alert. A team from the Department of Psychology and Communication at Hawaii Pacific University conducted the online survey, and found that a majority of the participants felt like the missile was actually inbound to Hawaii. KITV.

A new report produced by researchers at Hawaii Pacific University revealed more in-depth about how Hawaii residents reacted to January's false missile alert scare. Hawaii News Now.

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Democratic congressional candidates were given a chance to explain their evolving views on such topics as marriage equality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights during a candidates forum Saturday in Kakaako. Dozens packed into the small office space to hear Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim and state Rep. Kaniela Ing speak about their candidacy and answer questions from the three caucuses, with each allotted 40 minutes to talk. Star-Advertiser.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Record On Gun Control Is A Moving Target. The Hawaii congresswoman talks tough on gun control but she’s often lagging behind Democratic colleagues in pushing firearms legislation. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Charles Djou: Why I’m Leaving The GOP. The former Republican congressman from Hawaii says he can no longer remain in a party led by Donald Trump. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Medical Aid In Dying Bill Passes Key Senate Panel. Sen. Roz Baker shepherded the measure through her health committee with comparatively little fanfare. Civil Beat.

A rapidly progressing state Senate bill would mandate that sellers of properties featuring cesspools upgrade to a septic or sewer system after the purchase. Senate Bill 2567, which passed the Senate and is moving through House committees, aims to replace cesspools with more modern waste management systems so as to protect the state’s groundwater. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism remains one of Hawaii’s economic pillars. And while 2017 was another year of records, the industry faces some new challenges this year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii is scrambling to fill teacher vacancies. This analysis on salaries won't help. The average salary for Hawaii public school teachers in 2016 was $57,431. Hawaii News Now.

Crime victim restitution up 70 percent. The state over the past several years has dramatically increased its collection of funds that inmates and parolees owe to their crime victims, forging a path that national experts say is a model for other states. Star-Advertiser.

Study: Pesticides In Hawaii Waters Well Below Federal Standards. State officials call the results reassuring but some environmental experts aren’t so sure. Civil Beat.

Petition seeks protection for cauliflower coral. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday to afford protection to cauliflower coral under the Endangered Species Act. West Hawaii Today.

University of Hawaii astronomy professor Paul Coleman, the first Native Hawaiian to earn a doctorate in astrophysics and an outspoken supporter of the Thirty Meter Telescope, has died at the age of 62. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Ponzi schemer and professed secret agent dies at 76. Ronald Rewald, Hawaii’s most notorious branded conman, a Wisconsin native who claimed to be a CIA agent but swindled money from hundreds of island residents and served barely 10 years of an 80-year prison sentence, has died. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu Police Chief Defends Reassignment Of Union Leaders. Union head testifies the actions caused fear among members and that he was maligned in a news interview. Associated Press.

Safety measures for fuel tanks could take billions — and decades, Navy says. The least expensive method of double-walling the Red Hill fuel tanks could cost between $500 million and $2 billion, the Navy said in a newly released estimate. Star-Advertiser.

Developing condos tricky near last station site. The city’s mass-transit line is supposed to move people and spark development of affordable housing, but these two objectives are on paths that could clash at the end of the line. Star-Advertiser.

Appeals court rejects Kawananakoa’s challenge to rail votes. The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals this month reaffirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit that sought to invalidate votes cast by certain Honolulu City Council members in support of the city’s rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu has a new sprinkler law in place - 8 months after the deadly Marco Polo fire. Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two bills into law yesterday afternoon. They do not mandate sprinkler installation but do provide tax breaks to encourage installation. Hawaii Public Radio.

Among ongoing gun law debate, thousands attend major gun show at the Blaisdell. It was the Hawaii Historic Arms Association's 82nd semi-annual gun show. Hawaii News Now.

Southwest Airlines has been granted a revocable permit for space at Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Star-Advertiser.

Urban Honolulu water plan to be discussed. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is holding a series of meetings starting this week to seek public input on its planned Primary Urban Center Watershed Management Plan. Star-Advertiser.

IHeartMedia Inc.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy won’t impact the eight radio stations it operates in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

New Gold Star monument in Kaneohe honors families of fallen Hawaii servicemen and women. It's a first of its kind in the state - a  monument that honors families that lost loved ones in the military who died while in service to our country. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

A new permanent building for pharmacy students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo hopefully will be up and running by this time next year. Tribune-Herald.

The state commission for public charter schools has yet to make a decision on allegations that a Kona charter school violated its contract by failing to maintain accurate enrollment data, reportedly netting them more than $300,000 in overpaid funding. West Hawaii Today.

A comprehensive look at the effects of short-term vacation rentals on the Big Island was shared with the Hawaii County Council on Tuesday. Big Island Video News.

Kilauea’s summit eruption will become 10 years old Monday and scientists say they don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. Tribune-Herald.

Vaping shop raises concerns, sparks debate in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

The Village 9 Homeless and Affordable Rental project in Kealakehe will serve as the template for an island-wide approach to the helping the houseless. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Stant’s ‘side job,’ gambling match county paycheck. Good luck in Las Vegas and a Midas touch with a direct marketing “side business” combined last year for Stewart Stant to match his annual salary as Department of Environmental Management director, financial disclosure documents show. Maui News.

White reports variety of investments in his financial disclosure. Maui County Council Chairman Mike White jointly has investments in 37 different companies doing business in Hawaii, including Hawaiian Electric, Verizon Communications and Amazon. Maui News.

Panel seeks more reasonable parking and ohana rules. Flexibility sought in cases where current mandates don’t make sense. Maui News.

This year’s real property assessment notices have been mailed or emailed to property owners, the Department of Finance’s Real Property Assessment Division announced Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Two candidates for mayor of Kauai recently shared their views on two key issues facing the island: homelessness and traffic. Garden Island.

The county Department of Public Works Wastewater Division concluded sewer maintenance work on Kuhio Highway Sunday evening in the vicinity of the Kapaia Bridge. A sewer spill was reported about 4:15 p.m. Saturday when a manhole cover overflowed.  Garden Island.

After completing a rigorous three-year program, Kauai Christian Academy has finally gained accreditation. Garden Island.