Monday, August 22, 2022

New panel seeks to align factions over Mauna Kea telescope construction, businesses raked in profits on COVID testing, iconic Coco Palms Resort back before planning commission, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Protester sign on Mauna Kea ©2022 All Hawaii News
Hawaii seeks end to strife over astronomy on sacred mountain. Telescopes and the needs of astronomers have dominated the summit of Maunakea for 50 years but that’s changing with a new state law saying the mountain sacred to Native Hawaiians must be protected for future generations and that science must be balanced with culture and the environment. Associated Press.

‘The Three Climateers’: Hawaii’s Brian Schatz among new generation of Senate climate hawks. Schatz, 49, embodies a new type of climate hawk on Capitol Hill — one that resonates with a younger generation of climate activists determined to win buy-in not just from environmentalists but also from farmers, ranchers, Native people, labor groups, low-income communities and corporations, too. Washington Post.

New Law Expanding Benefits For Exposure To Harmful Toxins Helps Hawaii Veterans. The PACT act makes veterans who served in several countries as well as those who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll eligible for VA health care and benefits. Six years after Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai died of pancreatic cancer, one of his signature pieces of legislation has finally become law. Civil Beat.

Update on renewable power plant plans for Hawaii. With the all the increases in power bills recently, many people are wondering what's next for the state of electricity in Hawaii. If you look on Hawaiian Electric's renewable status area of their website, you can see 14 power plants and storage facilities are set to go online in the next 2 years. While one is a geothermal plant, the rest are solar. KITV4.

Democratic running mates Josh Green and Sylvia Luke fine-tune roles. So far they’re still in their political honeymoon phase following their separate Democratic primary victories Aug. 13 to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Experts: Nonprofit’s non-bid COVID contract was a lucrative ‘sweetheart deal’ that gouged taxpayers. COVID testing in Hawaii early in the pandemic was extremely lucrative for government contractors, experts say. They also say the city’s airport testing program meant big profits for a local non-profit and its partners. Hawaii News Now.

Complaints pour in about Honolulu Liquor Commission as critics call for overhaul. The agency in charge of overseeing liquor sales on Oahu is under fire again, facing more allegations of corruption and discrimination. An amended complaint, filed Monday by LGBTQ business owners, cites civil rights violations by the Honolulu Liquor Commission and the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, along with individual employees. Hawaii News Now.

Developer plans to sell 222 acres in Wahiawa to local farmers. Developer Peter Savio is offering local farmers a chance to buy small lots on 222 acres in Wahiawa at what he says are below- market prices as part of his push to make available more affordable agricultural land. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council considering measure to protect historic cultural sites.
In an effort to better protect historic cultural sites, the Honolulu City Council is considering a measure that would activate the Historic Preservation Commission, which has remained dormant for the past 29 years. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

City of Honolulu takes ownership of controversial area - Leahi Avenue. City and County of Honolulu now owns the privately owned area between Leahi Avenue and Noela Street – effective Monday. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Affordable housing credits: Finance Committee approves downsized audit request. A “boiled down” request for an audit of county affordable housing credits got the nod Tuesday from the County Council Finance Committee after concerns were raised earlier this month about possibly impeding a federal criminal investigation. West Hawaii Today.

Waikoloa Solar + Storage Project to begin full operations next spring. Work is wrapping up at the Waikoloa Solar + Storage Project in South Kohala with AES Clean Energy on track to begin next spring full operations producing power for Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Video News.

Emergency call center projected to be finished late next year. A new facility to consolidate the dispatch centers for the Hawaii Police Department and Hawaii Fire Department is now expected to be finished late next year. Tribune-Herald.

Puna boat ramp blues: Four years after Kilauea eruption, community mulls three options. Dozens of Puna residents, many of them fishermen, gathered at Pahoa Community Center on Thursday for a public meeting about a predesign report for an eventual reopening of the ramp, which was cut off from the ocean in 2018 by a sandbar raised by lava entering the ocean during the Kilauea eruption that year. Tribune-Herald.

Hunt Companies sells Palamanui property. The land slated for a university village around Hawaii Community College-Palamanui has changed hands, but development of the massive project isn’t expected to change much under new ownership. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui camper van owners push back on plans to regulate, prohibit mobile vacation dwellings. As Maui lawmakers mull plans to regulate or prohibit mobile vacation dwellings to curb overtourism, some camper van businesses are saying leaders are unfairly targeting some of the island’s most respectful visitors.  Maui Now.

Safety, operational concerns raised over new pier. Residents and a Maui lawmaker have multiple safety and operational concerns about the new Lahaina Small Boat Harbor pier located near a popular surf break in West Maui. Maui News.

$15M released for a new dedicated teacher affordable housing project on Maui. State Representative Angus McKelvey, who currently represents District 10 (which includes the areas of West Maui, Māʻalaea, and a small section of North Kīhei), announced the release of $15 million for the construction of dedicated teacher housing in Lahaina. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Surfers, beachgoers push for earlier access to Hoʻokipa amid parking concerns. County officials confirm that hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and lifeguards are on duty from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the location. The mayor's administration said any change first requires a cost analysis, changes to Administrative Rules, and a mutually agreeable plan with the union and the Department of Fire and Public Safety for staffing changes. Maui Now.

New tool developed by University of Hawaii researchers predicts coastal flooding in West Maui. With the beaches having a limited sand supply and seasonal waves striking shores from both north and south, West Maui is probably Hawaii’s most vulnerable coast when it comes to the effects of sea level rise. Star-Advertiser.

The No. 1 Reason Maui Residents Call 211? They Need Help Buying Food. When Maui families call 211, the service that directs people to social services, the No. 1 reason isn’t the need for medical care, utility assistance or even rental assistance in a place that’s experiencing a dire shortage of affordable housing. It’s because they need help buying food. Civil Beat.

Kauai

Kauai Wants To Disaster-Proof New Buildings By Putting Them On Stilts. Kauai would become the state’s first municipality to regulate construction based on flood projections spurred on by sea level rise. As scientists warn of a merciless rise in sea level that could render more than 25,000 acres of statewide land uninhabitable this century, Kauai County planners are plotting new rules to defend homes and businesses from a watery demise. Civil Beat.

Controversial development of Coco Palms Resort draws renewed concerns. A Planning Commission meeting Tuesday could decide the fate of the iconic Coco Palms Resort at Wailua, which was featured in the Elvis Presley film, ”Blue Hawaii.” Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative welcomes new CFO. Stacie Dellamano was appointed to the position of chief financial officer of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative as of Aug. 15. Garden Island.

Shearwater deaths alarm residents. Five wedge-tailed shearwater seabirds were found dead in Ha‘ena in the area between Tunnels (Makua) Beach and Camp Naue in two separate incidents this summer. Garden Island.

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