Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Officials mull private prison partnerships, Finance Director Machida to retire, local banks share tax savings with employees, entangled humpback freed off Maui, homeless problems persist, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State prison officials consider private partnerships. State prison officials are asking lawmakers for $1 million to study the potential for forming “public-private partnerships” that could be used to help expand and modernize the crowded state correctional system. Star-Advertiser.

State Finance Director Machida to retire, following 2 surgeries. State Director of Finance Wesley Machida, who has served as the state’s budget director since 2014 and previously led the state’s $16 billion public employees pension fund, will retire effective New Year’s Eve. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Ige Makes Two Cabinet Appointments. The governor named a temporary replacement for the outgoing State Budget Director, and a new head for the Human Resources Development Department. Civil Beat.

‘From Bad To Worse:’ Hawaii’s $1.75 Billion Cesspool Problem. The risks posed by the state’s 88,000 remaining cesspools will likely be amplified by climate change. Civil Beat.

Reducing liability for rescue tube landowners. The threat of being sued may be stopping lifesaving equipment from getting to the waters edge, where it is needed the most. KITV.

Local banks to save millions from corporate tax cut. Hawaii’s four largest banks gave unexpected stocking stuffers to employees over the long holiday weekend in the form of bonuses and minimum wage increases. Star-Advertiser.

Four Hawaii banks raise minimum wage, award cash bonuses. Pacific Business News.

Price for Island Air’s assets to be reduced by $125,000. The sale of Island Air’s operating certificate and other assets is not going to generate as much money from Hawaiian Airlines’ parent company as initially expected. Star-Advertiser.


Obama a sight on Oahu this holiday season. Unlike the eight years Obama spent in the Oval Office, there are no machine gun-mounted boats patrolling the waters off of Kailua this year. And there have been no presidential motorcades to snarl Oahu traffic. Star-Advertiser.

HECO asks for $6 million more from the state PUC. Hawaiian Electric Co. is asking the state Public Utilities Commission for slightly more than the 2.5 percent base-rate increase that was approved Dec. 15. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric files motion with state regulators to recover pension contributions. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu Police Try Building More Trust With The Homeless. In a new program, officers work with outreach workers to help steer the homeless to services rather than just write tickets. Civil Beat.

In just two years Christina Bush has solicited donations through Facebook and Instagram that have generated thousands of dollars’ worth of new and used donations for hundreds of homeless and low-income children and families across Oahu while building a small but loyal group of volunteers. Star-Advertiser.

Can Hawaii end homeless crisis for good? There's a new push to make affordable housing a reality. It's called the Puuhonua Villages Bill -- and the idea would tackle the homeless crisis head-on. KITV.

Councilwoman: Giant treehouse in Manoa is site of illegal 'retreat'. A Christmas Day accident at a Manoa treehouse is renewing calls by neighbors to investigate the landowner. Hawaii News Now.

Wastewater discharges prompt advisories for Pauoa, Kailua. The state health department advises the public to stay out of the waters of Pauoa Stream from Olomana Lane to Hialoa Street bridge due to wastewater discharge. Star-Advertiser.

The badly decomposed carcass of a humpback whale that nearly washed ashore at Haleiwa on Christmas Day, is in the process of being towed out to deep ocean waters this afternoon, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County negotiates state approval to move forward with permanent homeless development. Hawaii County continues to move forward with plans to relocate Camp Kikaha out of the Old Kona Industrial Area and expand it to accommodate several hundred homeless on a permanent basis — but both the process and pace of that change have been altered in recent weeks. West Hawaii Today.

Rarest of the rare: Colony of endangered seabirds discovered at PTA. In a discovery that surprised researchers, a nest of the endangered band-rumped storm-petrel has been found at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level on Mauna Loa, making it the seabird’s only confirmed colony in the state. Tribune-Herald.

Rat lungworm disease can be devastating. The overwhelming majority of cases have been on Hawai'i Island. State legislators on that island have made several requests to fund ongoing research and outreach efforts at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy and Hilo Medical Center. In the last legislative session, funds WERE allocated—but not to institutions on the Big Island. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH-Hilo pharmacy study could have nationwide impact. A University of Hawaii at Hilo study designed to decrease medicine-related re-hospitalizations of older adults is garnering national attention. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Ag Shipments Down 65% in Third Quarter. Young Brothers, Limited announced that intrastate cargo volumes between Honolulu and six neighbor island ports increased 0.3% in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the same time last year. Maui Now.

Meeting to discuss administrative rules for harbors planned. Maui News.

Unemployment rates in county at historic lows. Maui News.

Whale freed off Lahaina. Adult humpback had been entangled in 340 feet of heavy line. Maui News.

Entangled Humpback Whale Freed Off Maui. An entangled adult humpback whale was freed by a team of trained responders off Lahaina, Maui on Christmas Day. Maui Now.


Debris threatens whales. A buoy is floating about 200 yards offshore at Ahukini Landing, seemingly snagged on something in the water below. Garden Island.