Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ige slowly filling Cabinet, Abercrombie asks that Aila stay at DLNR, state Medicaid plan misleads 318k beneficiaries, Honolulu prosecutor mislaid rape cases, Maui council defers polystyrene bill, Kapoho fish kill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gov.-elect David Ige will bring Ford Fuchigami back to the state Department of Transportation as its director. Fuchigami had served as the department's interim director before taking a post Nov. 1 as director of the city Department of Enterprise Services. Star-Advertiser.

Outgoing Governor Fired Up About Climate Change. On a night of passionate statements about the planet's future, Gov. Abercrombie urges Gov.-elect Ige to keep William Aila as head of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has enlisted a familiar face to lobby for federal research dollars in Washington, D.C., under a new contract signed last month. Jennifer Sabas, the former chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, will be part of a two-person lobbying team from The National Group that will try to secure funds in fields such as astronomy, ocean sciences and food sustainability. Civil Beat.

The state Medicaid health insurance program, which has more than 318,000 beneficiaries, mailed out fliers in August incorrectly stating that Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is not accepting new Quest members. Star-Advertiser.

A new study analyzing poverty and income inequality in U.S. counties concluded that Hawaii County has high levels of poverty and inequality. The report by the Population Reference Bureau also found that while Maui County has relatively low poverty rates, it has high inequality. Civil Beat.

Thousands of veterans in Hawaii have started to receive "Choice Cards" from the Department of Veterans Affairs that are meant to provide health care in the community as an alternative to long waits for VA appointments. Star-Advertiser.

An Air Force colonel is joining the Hawaii public school system's leadership team. The state Department of Education said Tuesday Dan Carlson will head the Office of School Facilities and Support Services as an assistant superintendent. Associated Press.

They are essential to the success of Hawaii's child welfare system.  They take in abused and neglected children, some with complicated physical or emotional problems, and temporarily care for them, house them and nurture them. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Let’s Tackle the Public Policies Promoting Obesity. A soda tax is just one idea. There are other public policies to be considered. Civil Beat.


About one month after officials implemented a new reservation system and policy, Handi-Van users are still outraged by the service they're receiving. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu doctor to serve in Ebola hot zone. Death rate among health care workers infected with virus nearly 57 percent. KITV4.

City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro stunned Honolulu City Council members Tuesday when he admitted several rape cases were never prosecuted because the office lost track of them. KHON2.

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro apologized and took personal responsibility for the mishandling of a negligent-homicide case that has left the grieving family of an Ewa Beach man continuing to seek answers two years after he died from injuries he sustained when hit by a truck near his home. Star-Advertiser.


A new building will be cropping up at the West Hawaii Civic Center in a few years, thanks to initial action Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee. The committee unanimously agreed to forward to the council with a positive recommendation a $9.6 million appropriation to plan and construct a building for the county Prosecutor’s Office. West Hawaii Today.

Following a wave of testimony supporting new regulations on aquarium collectors, a County Council committee on Tuesday postponed action, saying more scientific information is needed before a bill is implemented. Most council members said, however, they would, if they could, favor a total ban on commercial aquarium fish collection. West Hawaii Today.

A significant fish kill in the Kapoho tide pools this weekend represents yet another worrisome event within a fragile ecosystem that is seemingly under siege from all sides. Tribune-Herald.

Residents seemed to hold mixed views on a county project to bring sewer lines to the Lono Kona subdivision. But even those in support of the plan at a public hearing Tuesday night in Kailua-Kona worried about how the system would impact their wallets. West Hawaii Today.

A $28 million program aimed at benefiting farmers will continue in its current state a little longer, despite fears some landowners are abusing the program at the expense of other taxpayers. West Hawaii Today.

Geologists say a tube system that has supplied lava to the outer reaches of the June 27 flow could slowly be refilling several miles upslope of Pahoa while breakouts continue to keep the threat far from homes. Tribune-Herald.

As lava continues to move slowly toward Pahoa, costs are increasing for Hawaii County, including those for emergency services and road construction.  But there's another cost:  the county's long term potential for revenue. Hawaii Public Radio.


After listening to more than two hours of public testimony, the Maui County Council's Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee deferred action Monday on a bill that would ban the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food containers in Maui County. Maui News.

The Maui County Council will form a Committee of the Whole next term to handle litigation matters, the hiring and payment of special counsels, indemnification and settlements, according to Council Member Mike White's office. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is accepting applications for seats on two dozen county boards and commissions. Associated Press.

A workshop on a draft West Maui watersheds study will be hosted this month by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Maui News.

The University of Hawaiʻi will offer four financial aid workshops in Maui County for Native Hawaiian students interested in attending college, and those interested in applying for college scholarships. Maui Now.

Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co. are challenging a law in Maui County. The law, approved by voters Nov. 4, bans cultivation and experiments with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Hawaii Reporter.


Outgoing Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro is sponsoring a measure that encourages Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his administration to create a low-interest loan program that would help qualified Kauai residents living near steams, rivers, oceans or shorelines convert their cesspools to septic systems. Garden Island.

A Kauai County Councilmember is asking the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to help preserve the character of Hanalei Bay by restricting large vessels from its waters. Garden Island.

Animals — chickens, sheep, geese and feral pigs — on Grove Farm Company land are the likely source of pollution ending up in Waiopili Stream in Mahaulepu. Garden Island.

Each day, at the picnic tables fronting the Historic County Building, dozens of people gather. They are a community of homeless. Garden Island.

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