Monday, November 19, 2018

DLNR land policies scrutinized, PUC chair Iwase retiring, new homeless camp for Waianae, lawsuit over Leilani access, Molokai plan advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Booming market, idle lands. Hard up for cash, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources nearly a decade ago identified 14 mostly vacant properties as having the best potential among its inventory of idled lands to start generating badly needed funds for park maintenance. Star-Advertiser.

Examples raising questions about DLNR’s oversight of state land. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has a poor track record of leasing idled lands on several islands that it described nearly a decade ago as having the best revenue-generating potential. Star-Advertiser.

Lease extensions stir controversy. When a ground lease expires, the buildings or other improvements on the land typically become the property of the landowner. Star-Advertiser.

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New Shipping Rules May Drive Up Hawaii’s Power Bills. But experts say there is a silver lining: higher fuel prices will make renewable energy sources in Hawaii even more competitive. Civil Beat.

Hawaii PUC Chair Iwase to retire in late December. Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Chair Randall Iwase is retiring from public office in late December to spend more time with his family. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: Lt. Gov. needs a real job or save us the big salary. If Lt. Gov.-elect Josh Green wants to make a difference, he should convene a working group to conceive a real job description for the office, with meaningful constitutional responsibilities independent from the governor, and sell it to the Legislature and voters as a constitutional amendment. Star-Advertiser.

$1 Million Grant Keeps ‘Super Coral’ Research Alive. Scientists will continue the work of the late Ruth Gates to develop corals that are more resistant to the effects of climate change and create reefs that provide natural coastal protection. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii hotel workers strike, now at day 42, is likely to continue for at least another eight days. Star-Advertiser.

Conference spotlights Hawaii’s budding hemp industry. Hawaii has eight farms growing industrial hemp under a state-regulated project exploring the viability of the versatile plant as a commercial crop, and an upcoming conference aims to expand and share knowledge on the subject. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

New location discussed for Waianae homeless. Discussions are under- way to move the 270-person homeless encampment next to the Waianae Small Boat Harbor to unspecified, privately owned land farther mauka, and to erect wooden “tiny homes” for its residents. Star-Advertiser.

City Council Takes On Building Permit Backlog. The Honolulu City Council has given final approval to a bill that aims to streamline the process for getting a building permit. Hawaii Public Radio.

All aboard: HART invites public to explore rail cars. HART hopes to begin operations and welcome passengers aboard by Dec. 2020. Hawaii News Now.

Pearl Harbor shipyard changes planned to meet submarine need. The Navy says it wants to spend $5 billion over 20 years to improve Pearl Harbor shipyard’s aged infrastructure and to accommodate an expected increase in Virginia-class attack submarine work. Star-Advertiser.

City asks windward Oahu residents to weigh in on plans for aging bridge. Waiahole Stream bridge is 96 years old. Hawaii News Now.

The Battle Over the Waikiki Natatorium Continues. A new round over what to do about the Waikiki Natatorium has been touched off with a new alternative for a swim basin replacing the crumbling walls with a fiberglass mess. Former war veterans weighed in on the controversy over the weekend on veterans day...against the backdrop of the war memorial and ceremonies held there. Hawaii Public Radio.

Police, abuse victims call for stronger court system to end domestic violence. The state auditor found, over a four year period there were more than 7,000 arrests by Honolulu police for misdemeanor and felony domestic violence. KITV.

First-time buyers crowd seminars on The Central tower near Ala Moana. Technically, they’re not for sale yet, but condominiums in a planned tower next to Ala Moana Center are in high demand, and potential buyers are facing long odds in getting one of the designated affordable units. Star-Advertiser.

Dockless bikeshare rolls into Honolulu, but smooth ride not guaranteed. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Lax oversight by DLNR allows businesses to use state land for free at a Kona harbor. The Department of Land and Natural Resources for years has allowed fishing charters, a submarine tour operation and other private businesses at a public boat harbor on Hawaii island to use state land without paying rent, a Honolulu Star-Advertiser investigation has found. Star-Advertiser.

Judge calls inspections at Pohakuloa training area ‘grossly inadequate’. The spotty inspection record came to light as a result of a lawsuit Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners Clarence “Ku” Ching and Mary Maxine Kahaulelio filed against DLNR in 2014, alleging the department and its governing board breached their trust duties by failing to enforce the Pohakuloa lease. Star-Advertiser.

‘Local boy’ wants PTA to be a good steward. Self-proclaimed “local boy” Lt. Col. Loreto V. Borce Jr., commander at U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area, hit the ground running when he took over PTA in late May, with goals of readiness, workforce and community. West Hawaii Today.

Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara has introduced a resolution urging Hawaii County to grant temporary control of Leilani Avenue to the Leilani Estates Community Association. Tribune-Herald.

Leilani Estates homeowners are asking the federal courts to order Hawaii County officials to maintain the security checkpoint that keeps out nonresidents, and to order the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue paying for it. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians concerned DHHL housing development dragging. The Department of Hawaiian Homelands issued a request for proposal in February of 2016 to develop 163 single-family lots across two sections of the Villages of Laiopua Hawaiian home lands properties. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Health will hold a series of public hearings next month on the Big Island to discuss proposed changes to the state’s immunization requirements for school attendance. Tribune-Herald.

Funding for next step in Kealakehe Regional Park up for council vote this week. West Hawaii Today.

Updated county website in the works. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The 324-unit Wailuku apartment project planned across from Longs Drugs in Kehalani advanced Thursday as the Maui County Council approved a resolution and a bill to pave its way. Maui News.

The state Department of Health will hold public hearings next month in Maui County to get community input on proposed amendments to state requirements for health examinations and immunizations for school attendance in Hawaii. Maui News.

In recent years, West Maui community members have been organizing to protect their shorelines. From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7, the broad umbrella group Na Papai Wawae Ulaula and the West Maui Preservation Association, along with other sponsoring organizations, will host a one-day symposium, “Disappearing Shorelines and Managed Retreat: A Conversation,” at Wai Ola Church. Maui News.


Kauai

Free meals for Thanksgiving. Garden Island.

The Blood Bank of Hawaii announced its schedule of upcoming blood drives, calling on Kauai residents to give “the ultimate gift this holiday season.” Garden Island.

Molokai

Updated Molokai island plan closer to final approval. New plan calls for maintaining Molokai’s rural character, farming. Maui News.