Friday, March 29, 2019

Audit blasts state handling of rail money, Aloha Stadium to stay in Halawa, UH president under fire, Health Department reaches settlement with dairy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
Train car assembly PC: Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
State Auditor Blasts DAGS For Failure to Verify Rail Invoices. The Office of the Auditor has issued a blistering report on the failure of state accounting officials to adequately verify invoices from the transit agency developing the Honolulu rail system. Hawaii Public Radio.

Latest Audit: Agency ‘Arbitrary,’ ‘Inconsistent’ In Reviewing Rail Costs. The Hawaii agency that oversees rail spending lacks the proper rules, training and procedures to make sure its reviews are sound, the latest audit finds. Civil Beat.

The state auditor released another report Thursday relating to Honolulu's $9.2 billion rail project. KITV.

Full audit rail oversight report. Lack of Fundamentals: Review of the Department of Accounting and General Services’ Verification of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s Invoices. Hawaii Office of the Auditor.

HART work went off the rails, report says. One of the new Honolulu rail cars was damaged in an “incident,” and another work vehicle that runs on the rail line derailed twice in January, prompting the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation to issue a “safety stand-down” letter last month suspending vehicle operations, according to rail officials. Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii Island’s tourism decline contributes to state softening. Tourism performance was mixed across the isles in February with double- digit dips in spending and arrivals from Hawaii island contributing to statewide softening. Star-Advertiser.

Push To Increase Spending On Schools Loses Momentum. Policymakers say more transparency about current spending is needed before more public money is earmarked for schools. Civil Beat.

Faculty union blasts UH president, but stops short of calling for his resignation.  During a contentious Board of Regents meeting Thursday, members of the University of Hawaii’s faculty union blasted school President David Lassner for his handling of proposed budget cuts that would have forced dozens to lose their jobs. Hawaii News Now.

Former high-ranking ILWU official Nate Lum pleaded guilty Thursday to identity theft in federal court. Lum also admitted he failed to file federal tax returns. But under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop a theft charge against him. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Review affirms keeping stadium in Halawa. An alternative site analysis released Thursday by the Aloha Stadium Authority marked a step in the process of replacing the 44-year-old facility and recommended a new stadium and ancillary development be built within the same 98-acre parcel. Star-Advertiser.

Planning For New Stadium Assumes It Would Be Built In Halawa. The current site of Aloha Stadium is the preferred site for construction of a new facility that would include an adjacent business district. Star-Advertiser.

The Stadium Authority marked the beginning of the Environmental Impact Statement and master planning process for a new proposed Aloha Stadium. KHON2.

The Stadium Authority announced Thursday that it is beginning the Environmental Impact Statement and master planning process for a replacement for Aloha Stadium. Pacific Business News.

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Arizona Memorial access to be restored ‘by fall,’ officials say. The National Park Serv­ice said Thursday it has awarded a $2.1 million contract for repairs to a faulty USS Arizona Memorial dock that should be completed “by fall” — in time for the next Dec. 7, 1941, remembrance. Star-Advertiser.

The National Park Service has awarded the contract for repair of the anchoring system for the USS Arizona Memorial dock.  KHON2.

Homelessness dominates public safety concerns at Waikiki conference. Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard pledged to improve public safety by working with Waikiki stakeholders to make the state’s top tourism district “uncomfortable” for homeless people. Star-Advertiser.

Couple defies city by attending to Kakaako homeless. A Kaimuki couple with a new city contract to provide mobile hot showers for Oahu’s homeless are defying the city in two ways: by continuing to operate twice a month next to the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center and by regularly feeding about 50 homeless people in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Moanalua ‘workforce’ housing complex expansion completed. A 50-year-old affordable rental home complex in Moanalua received a blessing Thursday following the addition of nearly 500 new midprice homes. Star-Advertiser.

40 residents, employees at Honolulu senior facility fall ill; officials suspect norovirus. Hawaii News Now.

Library re-stocking shelves a year after flooding damaged contents. The Aina Haina Library has been closed for almost a year now since just after the historic flooding. KHON2.

Summer Palace of King Kamehameha III vandalized again. KHON2.

Oahu Publications Inc. has sold its 152,574-square-foot print production facility in Kapolei and the 11.61 acres of land beneath it in a $40 million leaseback transaction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

A bill to provide Hawaii County with $60 million to assist with recovery from last year’s Kilauea eruption is expected to have its final vote today in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism official: ‘It hasn’t been that great of a start to the year’. Big Island tourism has fallen to near-2017 numbers in the aftermath of the 2018 Kilauea eruption. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory To Move To Oahu? Senator Mazie Hirono pressed the Interior Secretary Nominee to get more feedback before making any decision to relocate the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory HVO to Oahu. Big Island Video News.

The state Department of Health on Thursday entered into an agreement with the owners of Big Island Dairy as its operations draw to a close. Under the agreement, Big Island Dairy’s owners are required to terminate dairy operations, remove all cows from confinement on the site, clean and remove the existing wastewater system, and pay $79,000 by June of 2019, either as an administrative penalty or to fund an environmentally beneficial project in the area. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Dairy, Health Department Sign Consent Agreement. Big Island Video News.

A second case of rat lungworm disease has been contracted on Hawaii Island this year, the Hawaii Department of Health announced Thursday. No cases have been reported on any other island in 2019. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Harbor District Office Relocated, Blessed. This work is part of the Harbors Division’s facility improvement projects planned throughout the commercial harbor system that is aimed at supporting the state’s economic growth and maritime industries. Maui Now.

The battle against climate change got a boost Wednesday when Hawaii and California public utility commissions announced that they’ll be teaming up to fight the green fight. Maui News.

Police and courts dealing with more mental health cases. Another round of Crisis Intervention Team training completed. Maui News.

Kauai

Local health clinic awarded $1.4M. A community health center on Kauai focused on providing care to Native Hawaiians will be getting over a million dollars in federal funding. Garden Island.

The Lihue Business Association’s Thursday meeting at Duke’s Canoe Club focused on medical marijuana. Garden Island.

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