Monday, December 9, 2019

Hawaii state bird no longer endangered, OHA audit finds $7.8M possible fraud, Honolulu B&B tax hiked, mixed results in Kauai sonar study, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Nene in Hawaii wetlands ©2019 All Hawaii News
Nene Downlisted From “Endangered” To “Threatened”. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt traveled to Oʻahu on Sunday to announce that the nene can safely be "downlisted" under the Endangered Species Act. Big Island Video News.

Nene’s status to be downgraded from endangered to threatened. Hawaii’s state bird is no longer on the edge of extinction. West Hawaii Today.

Feds: Nene Is Still Threatened But Not Endangered. The Interior Department has reduced the level of protection for Hawaii’s state bird. Civil Beat.

The Nene species is on the road to recovery. Hawaii’s state bird, the Nene, is on the road to recovery. That’s according to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. KHON2.

Hawaiian nene taken off endangered species list. 52 years ago, there were only 50 Hawaiian nene birds in the state and had to be declared endangered species. There are now 3,000 birds in Hawaii thanks to an intensive breeding program. KITV.

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OHA investigation identifies $7.8M of possible fraud. An independent financial review of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has identified transactions worth $7.8 million as potentially fraudulent, wasteful and abusive. Star-Advertiser.

OHA Trustees Differ Over New Audit’s Analysis. Colette Machado says it confirms the office is moving in the “right direction” but Kelii Akina sees fraud and abuse. Civil Beat.

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Lawsuit: DOE Retaliated When Staffer Reported Misuse Of Federal Funds. Carol Young says her troubles began when she blew the whistle on faulty payments to a DOE office worker. Civil Beat.

New Solicitor General Named. Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry has been named the new Solicitor General for the State of Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

Health officials urge travelers to stay away from Samoa as measles death toll rises to 70. At least 70 people have died from the infectious virus in Samoa, while nine cases have been reported in American Samoa. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Council approves B&B property tax increase. Owners of bed-and- breakfast vacation rentals will likely pay more in property taxes starting next year after the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday approved a bill creating a new B&B tax category. Star-Advertiser.

How The Gas Company Plans To Fight A Bill Banning Gas Water Heaters. Hawaii Gas, the 115-year-old supplier of natural gas for Hawaii now at a crossroads amid the state’s shift from fossil fuels, is considering creating a separate community organization as part of a campaign to fight a Honolulu City Council bill. Civil Beat.

Nonplastic foodware might cause problems — or not. A bill banning the use of nearly all plastic plates, forks, knives and other food service items on Oahu was passed Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council, but there’s sharp disagreement about whether there will be enough nonplastic replacement goods available at a reasonable price when the prohibition takes full effect in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Wahiawa has struggled since the collapse of the pineapple industry. But new projects, some supported by political leaders, are giving city leaders new hope. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

County throwing away more, recycling less. Hawaii County’s rate of recycling or otherwise diverting garbage from the landfill has dropped 48% in the past decade, according to a comprehensive report released Friday by a commission that meets once a decade to evaluate solid waste practices. West Hawaii Today.

Fujino named interim chief judge of Third Circuit. In addition to his criminal and civil court caseload, drug court and veterans court, Kona Circuit Court Judge Melvin H. Fujino is taking on a whole lot more. West Hawaii Today.

Study of Hilo Bay breakwater expected to begin in early 2020. A state and federal study to determine whether the Hilo Bay breakwater should be modified likely will begin early next year. Tribune-Herald.

Demonstration project seeks to reduce reliance on Christmas conifer imports. After five years of growing, an ongoing project to establish a Christmas tree farming industry on the Big Island is closer than ever to completion. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County bill wants police to tow cars from drunken drivers. It's a bill some lawmakers hope could save lives. KITV.

Inventory for single-family homes in Maui falls to new low. Maui County’s inventory for single-family homes dropped to a new low in November, with 442 properties available for sale in active status at the end of the month, according to the Realtors Association of Maui monthly report. Maui News.

DMVL is set to move into new service center in late 2020. The bottom floor of the new two-story Maui County Service Center — which will include the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing — in Alexander & Baldwin’s Maui Business Park II is set to be operational by the end of 2020, a county spokesman said. Maui News.

Kauai

Mixed results in sonar study. Scientists studying sonar’s effect on marine mammals near the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands have released another report in an ongoing study for the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet, and it’s showing the same kind of mixed results they’ve been documenting since 2011. Garden Island.

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