Monday, March 25, 2019

Solar farms could take over prime ag land, $4.3M more to house inmates on mainland, boat people of the Ala Wai, pieces of Zuckerberg Kauai estate sold at auction, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Taro fields on Kauai ©2019 All Hawaii News
Bill to put solar farms on prime ag land elicits stiff opposition. Developers would be allowed to put solar farms on prime agricultural land under a measure that has passed key legislative committees but is eliciting strong protest from Gov. David Ige’s cabinet while dividing farmers and environmental groups. Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii officials request $4.3 million for mainland prisoners. Hawaii's government has requested additional funds to house inmates on the mainland while upgrades continue at a state prison. Associated Press.

Cost grows for delayed upgrade at Halawa Correctional Facility. Gov. David Ige’s administration has requested an additional $4.3 million to house Hawaii prison inmates on the mainland while contractors finish a long-­delayed overhaul of the electronic locks and video surveillance systems at Halawa Correctional Facility. Star-Advertiser.

Ige Turns To Private Prison Firm For New Oahu Jail. Hawaii officials are struggling to find the hundreds of millions of dollars in state money needed for a new correctional facility. Civil Beat.

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Further Review Of UH Positions Complete, None At Risk Of Being Cut. Senator Donna Mercado Kim has completed a review of more than a hundred positions at the University of Hawaii that were in jeopardy of being dropped. Hawaii Public Radio.

Senate resolution wants more restaurants to give leftovers to homeless shelters. KITV.

Free app allows users to get more involved in certain bills. The Kakou app was launched last month by Pacific Resource Partnership, which represents the Hawaii construction industry and advocates for the Honolulu Rail Transit project. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor is flexing his political muscle, saying city taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay ex-police chief Louis Kealoha’s legal fees as he fights almost two dozen federal criminal charges. Hawaii News Now.

After City Offered Help, Kealoha Says He Wants To Stick With His Federal Lawyer. Details must still be worked out regarding whether Honolulu or the federal government will cover the former police chief’s legal costs. Civil Beat.

Deadline looms for public comment on 2nd Draft EIS of Ala Moana Regional Park improvement plan. For several years the city has wanted to improve Ala Moana Regional Park and Magic Island, and officials have a plan that's being reviewed in an Environmental Impact Statement. KHON2.

Today is the last day to comment on a proposed plan to change Ala Moana regional park. The city is looking at reconfiguring parking, widening walkways, opening a dog park and constructing a playground. KITV.

New law now gives neighborhoods the option to require permits to street park. Honolulu’s Mayor signed a new law Friday that would allow restricted parking zones in residential neighborhoods. Hawaii News Now.

Following infuriating Kalihi gridlock, drivers wonder if it could’ve been avoided.  A traffic nightmare in Kalihi Friday night had some drivers running low on both fuel — and patience. Hawaii News Now.

A popular Oahu hiking trail could see money for much-needed repairs. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to set aside $1 million for work on the Koko Crater Trail. Hawaii News Now.

The Boat People Of The Ala Wai Fear They’re Getting Forced Out. For years a lucky few have lived aboard their vessels at the gateway to Waikiki. But a bill in the Legislature portends big changes. Civil Beat.

Sailing club faces an uncertain future as their lease is set to expire in April. La Mariana Sailing Club has survived two tsunamis, a swindler’s attempted takeover and more than 60 years in business. But the waterfront fixture at Keehi Lagoon could be facing its biggest survival test yet. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Political Mailers: Shamelessly Exploiting The News Media. News organizations have no say over how their material is used. In fact, we often don’t even know it is being used. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Speak out about county government: Charter Commission schedules public hearings. What’s your opinion about four-year council terms? How about a 1 percent disaster fund? The power of council members to discipline one of their own? Should the Police Commission and Fire Commission be authorized to discipline their respective chiefs? West Hawaii Today.

Vacation rental rules updated. After taking community input during two public hearings last month, the county Planning Department late Wednesday published what may become its final draft of rules regulating short-term vacation rentals. West Hawaii Today.

Permits for TMT backup proceed amid Mauna Kea obstacles. As the developer of the Thirty Meter Telescope works to fulfill the requirements of its permit for construction atop Mauna Kea, it also is drawing closer to gaining final approvals for its backup site in the Canary Islands. Star-Advertiser.

Pahala residents hear sewer financing options. The head of Hawaii County’s Department of Environmental Management met with Pahala residents Thursday evening to present options for financing mandated sewer hookups that will cost some homeowners thousands of dollars each. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige on Thursday released $2.4 million in construction funds for renovations at Kona Community Hospital. That will include work on operating rooms as well as upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning. West Hawaii Today.

Economist talks about future of state, post-eruption. A leading Hawaii economist believes the state’s economy might not completely recover from the Kilauea eruption before the next major economic recession. Tribune-Herald.

The fresh lava flows in Puna may appear lifeless and barren. But to one insect in particular, known as the lava cricket, it’s prime real estate. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Controversy flows at water meeting. Upcountry water users get 27% of their supply from East Maui, not 80%. Maui News.

Water director: East Maui streams are protected regardless of permit decision. The county’s top water official clarified what he called a “misconception” in the murky debate over the connection between East Maui waters and the debated HB1326 in the state Legislature, which would extend revocable water permits for Mahi Pono, the company that recently acquired 41,000 acres of Alexander & Baldwin’s farmland. Maui News.

Maui’s new medical care provider has hired five doctors in the last four months, bringing to 11 the number of new physicians Maui Health System has brought in since Kaiser Permanente took over management of Maui County’s three public hospitals nearly two years ago. Associated Press.

State Withholds Names Of Inmates Transferred After Maui Riot. A total of 37 prisoners were flown to Oahu after their suspected involvement in the disturbance, but five have been returned to Maui. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Ohia Rapid Death Prevention Efforts Stepped Up on Kauai. State officials are ramping up efforts on Kauai to prevent the spread of diseases that are killing ohia trees. Hawaii Public Radio.

In a University of Hawaii laboratory, scientists are researching the newly identified fungus that’s causing rapid ohia death (ROD) in the endemic trees on Kauai and Hawaii Island. Garden Island.

Kuleana lands on Zuckerberg's Kauai estate sold at auction. The four kuleana parcels within Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s estate on Kauai were sold at public auction Friday — three to a retired University of Hawaii professor and one to a group of relatives, all descendants of the land’s original owner. Pacific Business News.

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