News Bites

Wikimedia Commons

  

A lawsuit filed by tenants of a Lahaina affordable housing project has become a bellwether case for the future of affordable housing in Hawaii. Victor Geminiani, an attorney with Lawyers for Equal Justice, is representing some of the plaintiffs in the case.

 

Heather Lusk

 

Heather Lusk is the Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center, created from a merger of the Life Foundation and the Community Health Outreach Work (CHOW) Project, that seeks to provide services and combat the stigma of HIV/AIDS in Hawai'i.

 

 

 

NASA

Tonight Hawaii Emergency Management officials will be in Maui for an open house meeting. They are winding up a series of meetings to get feedback on a draft plan to help make us more resilient as a state in the event of a natural disaster. We spoke with HI-EMA’s David Kennard about this latest effort.

Wikimedia Commons

NOAA

Biologists are seeking the public’s help in tracking green sea turtles in the state.

U.S. Geological Survey

A total of 24 fissures have appeared since May 3rd in Leilani Estates. The eruption has destroyed more than 650 homes, and lava has covered more than 6,000 acres of land. 

Wikimedia

The impact of this week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban is only beginning to be understood. It has far-reaching implications for immigration law and for the future exercise of Presidential power.  Hawaiʻi immigration lawyer John Egan sees the decision as one that opens the door to racism in national jurisprudence.

 

  

NOAA's National Ocean Service / Flickr

Today is World Oceans Day. And for the first time, a study has analyzed the condition of Hawaiʻi's ocean environment. 

Lava Flow Takes Toll on Big Island Agriculture

Jun 6, 2018
Pixabay

More than 2,500 acres on Hawaii Island are in papaya production. The majority is in the Kapoho area, which is now being affected by lava from Kilauea volcano. The Conversation's Catherine Cruz spoke with Scott Enright, the Director of the State Department of Agriculture, about the potential losses of an industry that is tied to hundreds of jobs.

Volcano Byproducts Impact Solar Panels

Jun 4, 2018
Wikipedia Commons

On Hawaiʻi Island, officials have been meeting with residents of neighborhoods affected by the vog and noxious gases to address concerns about air quality. But if you live in an area that's being affected by the volcano, should you also be concerned about the corrosive effects of volcanic ash, Pele's hair, and acid rain on things like your solar panels?

State Cracks Down on Monster Home Builders

Jun 4, 2018
Catherine Cruz

Scrutiny over monster home construction triggered a complaint about a contractor who lost his license, yet continued to build. The Hawaii Construction Alliance flagged the problem to the City Department of Planning and Permitting and the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Mandatory Evacuations Strain Residents and Responders

Jun 1, 2018
U.S Department of Defense

Yesterday, Mayor Kim ordered the mandatory evacuations of neighborhoods in lower Puna as fast advancing lava flows puts more families at risk. Residents had until noon today to get out of harm's way or take the chance that they may not be able to be rescued - or face incurring the costs of a rescue. 

Lava, Loss of PGV Capacity Create Electricity Challenges

May 24, 2018
Puna Geothermal Venture / Facebook

The Big Island's electric utility, Hawaii Electric Light Company, has been working around the clock to react to the on going Kilauea eruption. Utility crews were recently pulled out of Leilani Estates due to unsafe levels of sulfur dioxide. Additionally, the loss of capacity from the Puna Geothermal Venture has reduced to overall supply of electricity on the island.

Kosta Stamoulis

It’s not too late to restore reef fisheries that have been overfished.

Hawaiʻi Island Sees Drop in Visitor Bookings

May 21, 2018
Meyer Werft / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier today, Governor David Ige, through the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, reassured the world that "travel is safe to the Hawaiian Island." Ige emphasized that the volcanic activity is having no effect on other islands.

But even though Kīlauea's latest eruptive phase is mainly affecting the Puna area, there have been a rash of island-wise cancellations for June and July because tourists mistakenly think the entire state is a disaster area. Some cruise ships are avoiding Hilo and even Kona as a port of call.

Changes Coming to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport

May 17, 2018
Flickr

The state is in the throes of a three billion dollar modernization project at the Honolulu airport. If you plan to travel next month, heads up! This week transportation officials announced it is changing the gate numbers, all in advance of big changes at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

New Virus Discovered in Kāneʻohe Bay

May 17, 2018
Christopher Schvarcz / UH News

Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa have discovered a new type of virus. This new species has been found inhabiting algae on Windward Oʻahu.

Electric Scooter Rentals Run Afoul of City

May 16, 2018
Casey Harlow

Limebike is a bikeshare and electric scooter rental company from the San Francisco Bay area. The company's entry into the Hawaiʻi market this past weekend is getting a cold reception from Mayor Kirk Caldwell. The city sent a letter warning the company to discontinue putting the vehicles on the streets and sidewalks. 

cogdogblog / Flickr

State and federal officials are investigating and responding to the deaths of several ʻōhiʻa trees on Kauaʻi.

Lawsuit Filed in Case of Faulty Ala Moana Railing

May 10, 2018
JDNX / Flickr

Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa introduced Bill 17 after a rusted railing ended the life of one man and critically injured a second at Ala Moana Shopping Center. However, the bill has come up against stiff opposition and has not advanced. The issue is back in the spotlight as a lawsuit has now been filed against General Growth Properties on behalf of the families of the two men involved in the fall at the popular mall.

Jhana Young / Conservation International

Conservationists and researchers now have an estimation of how much fish is being caught from Hawaii’s near-shore reefs.

Homeowners Face Insurance Dilemma in Lava Prone Areas

May 9, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

There are obvious perils of living in an area prone to volcanic activity. Since the 1970's, the U.S. Geological Survey has produced a map of Hawaii Island identifying each geographic area's lava risk. Leilani Estates is rated at the highest possible risk level. That makes homeowners insurance expensive and difficult to obtain for landowners, leading some to eschew protection. 

Department of Education

A new payment system for public school lunches is being unveiled next week.

Legislature Funds 'Safe Zones' for Homeless

Apr 30, 2018
NPR

On Friday, legislators announced an agreement to set aside $30 million to address the homeless crisis. Conferees want to creat special zones for homeless. Some call them "safe zones," or ʻohana zones or kōkua zones. It's not an approach state and county homeless coordinators fully embrace.

TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

Hawaiʻi County is the only county in the state without some form of restriction on temporary vacation rentals. Last week, County Councilmembers introduced Bill 108 – a measure that would regulate how and where properties can be rented short term.

The 2018 Legislative Session is winding down. HPR's Political Reporter Wayne Yoshioka gives The Conversation's Catherine Cruz an update on what passed, what died, and which bills are still in committee.

State Legislators Unveil Affordable Housing Initiative

Apr 25, 2018
Honolulu Habitat for Humanity

House Bill 2748, dubbed the "Bob Nakata Act," recognizes the former state senator and lobbyist for his many years of advocacy for affordable housing. At a news conference yesterday, legislators said they made good on their resolve to do something bold to address the shortage of affordable rental housing. The $200 million agreement aims to jumpstart construction by reducing building costs.

Schatz Pushes for Debt Free College

Apr 23, 2018
Sakeeb / Flickr

$1.4 trillion. That is how much Americans nationwide owe in student loan debt. All of that debt has some policy makers worried, including Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. He sponsored the Debt Free College Act of 2018 - with the goal of making public higher education affordable without the need for student loans.

Honolulu Councilmember Goes After Monster Home Violators

Apr 23, 2018
Catherine Cruz

City enforcement of zoning and building laws has been a chronic problem. After one local contractor, Brilliant Construction, continued building after receiving an order to stop. City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson is trying to get tough on violators.

Radio Reading for the Blind

Apr 20, 2018
Catherine Cruz

Throughout the week, The Conversation looked at various volunteer opportunities across the state. To close out the series, The Conversation's Catherine Cruz looked into the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled; which provides services for only a fraction of the thousands of people across the state who are either born blind, or have lost their vision later in life.

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