Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hawaii challenged by high cost of living, stagnant population, 325 jobs cut at Pearl Harbor as new drydock planned, Maui council shakeup, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands





Economists: High Living Costs Continue Driving Hawaii Residents Away. A new UH study predicts tourism to drive moderate growth in 2020, despite recent population declines. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Do Hawaii Folks Really Work 91 Hours A Week? A new study’s methodology is skewered, but our cost of living in general and housing in particular are certainly out of reach for many. Civil Beat.

Federal Policies Threaten Hawaii’s Flora, Fauna. Lack of scrutiny over invasive species threatens the Aloha State’s native wildlife. U.S. News and World Report.

New pot law goes into effect Jan. 11. Legislation passed by lawmakers earlier this year that decriminalizes the possession of three grams or less of marijuana and allows such past possessions to be expunged from criminal records will take effect early next year. Tribune-Herald.

Case throws liability for Hawaii charter schools in doubt. A $75,000 payment to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who tripped and fell at Waimea Middle School is raising questions about who is liable for accidents at charter schools. Star-Advertiser.

Six Hawaii Companies Cited For Air Pollution Violations. Six Hawaii companies — half of which are electric companies — were fined for violating emission standards. Civil Beat.

Comedian Mel Cabang, who entertained Hawaii for decades, dies at age 77. Mel Cabang, one of Hawaii’s comedic legends, died Saturday in Las Vegas at age 77. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Pearl Harbor could get first new dry dock since 1943. A surge in demand for attack submarines and the lengthening of Virginia-class subs to carry more missiles has the Navy examining building its first new dry dock at Pearl Harbor since World War II or creating a 650-foot floating dry dock to better maintain its Pacific- based undersea fleet. Star-Advertiser.

Change in Navy contracting eliminates jobs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Defense giant BAE Systems is exiting the surface ship repair business at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after a more than 10-year run, eliminating about 325 jobs and leaving some uncertainty whether the work sometimes topping $50 million per ship can be fully retained in Hawaii under new Navy contracting terms. Star-Advertiser.

Sweep at Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor uncovers hundreds of violations. Illegal homeless encampments, derelict and sinking boats, and piles of smelly trash were back at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor only weeks after the state finished a November enforcement sweep that netted 550 violations. Star-Advertiser.

Irritated neighbors want to lower the boom on illegal fireworks. Oahu has long had a problem with illegal fireworks, especially the aerials that temporarily transform many neighborhoods into dazzling landscapes on New Year’s Eve but terrorize pets, frighten small children and stress residents — especially those with health problems — who aren’t into the booming celebrations. Star-Advertiser.

City auditor slams Honolulu Zoo. Despite the city’s efforts to regain accreditation for the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki attraction continues to be plagued by an ineffective and ill-defined relationship with the Honolulu Zoological Society, as well as operational deficiencies and staff shortages that have led to unnecessary overtime costs, according to a report released by the city auditor this month. Star-Advertiser.

Low Pay, Reputation Of Corruption Hinders Hiring at Honolulu Liquor Commission. The city agency charged with regulating Oahu’s liquor industry is struggling to fill positions. Civil Beat.

HPD to propose ban on so-called ‘ghost guns’ amid increase in gun violence. Ghost guns have no serial numbers so they’re impossible to track and you don’t need a background check to get one. And right now, they’re completely legal in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

In Waimanalo, residents battle illegal dumping blocks from free city trash center. Waimanalo residents say their neighborhood is being plagued by a series of illegal dump sites. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii Island continues to lead the state in population growth, but some of the 42 small towns that dot the island have seen population drop, according to detailed estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. West Hawaii Today.

Mauna Kea Status Report Given To BLNR After Follow-Up Audit. The annual report on the status of the implementation of the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan, or CMP, was on Friday’s agenda of the HawaiĘ»i Board of Land and Natural Resources. Big Island Video News.

Police commission rejects complaint by retired sergeant. The Hawaii County Police Commission on Friday found insufficient evidence to support the allegations in a complaint made by a retired Hawaii Police Department sergeant concerning enhanced traffic enforcement that occurred on Daniel K. Inouye Highway between Aug. 15 and Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Group shows interest in opening new Ookala dairy. Although Big Island Dairy has “satisfactorily completed” all closure requirements set forth in an agreement with the state Department of Health, others have shown interest in the Ookala property for future dairy operations. Tribune-Herald.

Mass Transit moves forward with Pahoa bus hub. The Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency is taking the next steps for a new bus hub in Pahoa and will seek additional funding for the project from the County Council. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Council Chair Kelly King to step down; Alice Lee tabbed to takeover. Her resignation comes on the heels of reports of dissatisfaction with her leadership. Maui News.

Maui Under the Influence Tow Bill Signed Into Law. With five days until Christmas and already 22 fatalities on Maui County roads, lawmakers passed an ordinance Friday aimed at keeping the roads safe from drunk and impaired drivers. Maui Now.

Lahaina gets a new $10M chocolate factory and cacao farm, with all the profits going to charity. It would be too indulgent to say that Hawaii is about to be drenched in locally made chocolate, but the fledgling industry is on the verge of a sweet surge with a $10 million factory slated for a public opening next month on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

‘Where am I gonna go’. Laws prohibiting unpermitted camping are enforced by county park rangers during frequent early morning raids at public spaces and ignored by prosecuting attorneys, who refuse to pursue cases against people whose only crime is not living in a house. Garden Island.

There's a free way to get around Kauai until Christmas. It's an offer that's part of recovery efforts after historic flooding on the island last year. KITV.

Hemp Growers Battle Both State Restrictions And Medical Skeptics. They hope the Legislature will move decisively to liberalize regulations that limit the marketing of hemp products. Civil Beat.

Saving Kanaele. Water was running in peaceful streams out of Kanaele after days of rains drenched Hawaii’s last, intact, lowland bog, protected on all sides by steep mountains and the Kauai Watershed Alliance’s first predator-proof fence. Garden Island.

Avain botulism taking a toll on endangered waterbirds. Since July, the team has found 140 sick or dead birds in the refuge, the majority being koloa ducks. Garden Island.

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