Monday, April 22, 2019

Waikiki faces floods, beach erosion; lower property taxes for Honolulu homeowners, federal transit funds at stake in grant mismanagement, electric rate hike on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ige Assures Caldwell Of Ala Wai Flood Control Financing Plan. The latest letter in the saga over canal flood control informs city leaders that at least some dollars have been committed to the project. Civil Beat.

Waikiki flood concerns spur push for Hawaii shore protection. Predicting Honolulu will start experiencing frequent flooding within the next 15 to 20 years, state lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would spend millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations. Associated Press.

VIDEO: Oahu’s Disappearing Beaches. Touring the south shore in the Civil Beat van, climate experts Chip Fletcher and Sam Lemmo talk with us about sea level rise and beach erosion. Civil Beat.

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Big shifts hit Hawaii’s farm landscape. Hawaii lost its last sugar cane plantation in 2016, but the amount of land in farming and number of farms grew during the most recent five-year statewide census of agriculture. Star-Advertiser.

Biomass Included In Renewable Energy Bill Changes. A House Bill that aims to broaden the definition of “renewable energy” as used in the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission law will have to go through a state legislative conference committee if it is to become law, after being amended in the State Senate. Big Island Video News.

Employers wary of bill protecting medical pot cardholders. A bill to prohibit employers from discriminating against workers with prescriptions for medical marijuana who test positive for using cannabis has resurfaced in the final weeks of the legislative session, and was unanimously approved by the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Budget battle: Nonprofit seeks financial data on Hawaii public schools. The Education Institute of Hawaii wants to take a deep dive into the finances of the state’s public schools and let everyone know precisely where the money is going, campus by campus. Star-Advertiser.

Charter Schools Have By Far The Highest Rates Of Unvaccinated Kids. The statewide percentage of students exempted by their parents from being immunized is 8.1% at charter schools, 2.7% at private schools and 1.4% at traditional public schools. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu officials have approved a bill that would lower property taxes by about $70 for most Oahu homeowners. The measure would raise the standard home exemption from $80,000 to $100,000, marking the first increase of this exemption since 2006. The bill also would increase the standard senior home exemption from $120,000 to $140,000. Associated Press.

The state wants to redevelop the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. That’s got boaters worried. Tuesday is the deadline for private developers to submit notices of intent to develop more than 11 acres at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. Hawaii News Now.

DLNR seizes suspected illegal lay nets filled with undersized fish, coral. Suspected illegal lay net nearly 1,000 feet long was confiscated Friday on Sand Island by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Star-Advertiser.

A city proposal to give people more options to get around could mean losing some parking. The measure will be heard by the council budget committee on Wednesday. KITV.

Kahana homeowners defaulting on state loans. Some families who have gone years without performing cultural activities in lieu of monthly rent at a state-owned Kahana Valley “living park” also are way behind on loan payments to the state. Star-Advertiser.

Committee to vet agreement for park plans. The City Council delays formalizing the public-private partnership to build Centennial Park in a first and final vote and instead schedules a public hearing for Tuesday to allow the public to provide feedback to the city’s parks committee. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to develop a Waimanalo beach park once had widespread support ... until now. An expensive beach park makeover is running into resistance now that the project is finally starting. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Mass Transit mismanagement could hurt entire state’s federal funding. Millions of dollars in federal funding could be in jeopardy because the county Mass Transit Agency didn’t submit its required paperwork for three of the past six years. West Hawaii Today.

Another delay for building permits. New software that is supposed to expedite the building permit process ran into some glitches, and won’t be ready until the end of the year. West Hawaii Today.

Two Kona residents pushing back against a proposed five-story, 11-unit condominium on the makai side of Alii Drive had their petitions granted for contested case hearings Thursday by the Leeward Planning Commission. West Hawaii Today.

Sunscreen Ban May Come Too Late For Popular Snorkeling Spot. Tests detect high levels of oxybenzone, which is toxic to coral, at Kahaluu Beach Park. A ban on the chemical starts in 2021. Civil Beat.

Bill would give couple $3M for injuries. A joint state House-Senate conference committee recommended on Thursday the passage, with amendments, of a bill that would appropriate $3 million for an Ocean View couple seriously injured when a rockfall crushed their car a dozen years ago on Highway 11 in Ka'u. Tribune-Herald.

Funding Rolls In For Milolii Community Center. A $74,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is in addition to the $200,000 in construction funds recently released by the governor. Big Island Video News.

Kalani retreat put up for sale. Kalani Oceanside Retreat in lower Puna, which has remained closed following the eruption of Kilauea volcano last May, is for sale — and at least one creditor is crying foul. Tribune-Herald.

Home sales down in first quarter. Home sales on the Big Island are down while home prices are up after the first quarter of 2019. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

PUC Approves First Maui Electric Rate Increase in 6 Years. Maui Electric filed tariffs and rate schedules for a final increase of 3.7% – about $12.1 million in annual revenue – which helps pay for operational improvements, including system upgrades to increase reliability, improve customer service and to integrate more renewable energy. Maui Now.

State’s First Forest Carbon Offset Project Underway on Maui. Over the past three years, partners have planted 250,000 native trees and shrubs on the Leeward slopes of Haleakala. The state is now converting the carbon collected in those trees into offset credits for the state’s first-ever forest carbon sequestration program. Maui Now.

Open house set for S. Maui park plan. An updated version of the South Maui Community Park Master Plan will be available to the public at an open house on May 8, the county Department of Parks and Recreation announced. Maui News.

As stream water returns, efforts move to taro patches. After years of overgrowth, stream diversion and watershed mismanagement, taro patches in Honomanu Valley are on a path toward restoration, according to a group of East Maui residents working to clear the area and replant taro. Maui News.

Kauai

Mayor’s request: $229,964,627 for 2020. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami submitted his requested budget for the fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) to the county council on March 15. Garden Island.

New Plan Aims to Limit Human Impact on Na Pali Coast. On May 1st, a stretch of Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s North Shore will reopen to the general public for the first time in more than a year. Hawaii Public Radio.

An ocean-access debate rages again in Princeville, with a committee of concerned residents and the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association uniting to find a safe solution for iconic Queen’s Bath. Garden Island.

North Shore highway, shuttle to open. Officials are finalizing the registration and shuttle system for getting to Haena State Park and other places on the North Shore. Garden Island.

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