Makena beaches on the south shore of Maui are closed for a second time this week after an aggressive shark chased two spear fishermen out of the water on Wednesday.
On Monday, a shark killed a kayaker in the same vicinity, prompting beach closures.
The fishermen told lifeguards that an 8- to 10-foot Galapagos shark made several passes at them while fishing off of Black Sand Beach, according to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
"They tried to fend it off with their spears but the shark kept coming, so they let it take their catch of speared fish and headed back to shore at Little Beach," according to a DLNR press release.
There have been a record number of shark attacks in Hawaii this year. In addition two fatalities, 11 other people have been injured by shark bites.
Photo: Makena Beach, Maui (Credit: Hawaii Savvy)
— Sophie Cocke
The Hawaii Community Development Authority is moving forward with a plan to develop an Italian restaurant at the Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kakaako despite resistance from local fishermen.
The agency’s Kakaako board voted Wednesday to authorize HCDA’s director Anthony Ching to enter into a one-year exclusive negotiations agreement with Bellavita Inc., a Japanese Italian restaurant, to potentially lease and develop the charter boat building at the harbor.
Wednesday’s vote was a reversal of the agency’s initial vote to reject the plan and required that the board waive the rules limiting how long the members can wait before reconsidering previous decisions.
Last month the proposal to enter into exclusive negotiations failed after one board member, Randy Grune, said he was worried about how a 200-person restaurant would affect the fishing operations at the harbor.
The affirmative vote came as a surprise to commercial fishermen who testified on Wednesday that the restaurant would hurt their business and clog traffic in the boat basin.
Michael DeRego, the owner of Maggie Joe Sport Fishing who has been fishing in Hawaii since 1950, said the proposal for a luxury restaurant doesn’t fit with the character or needs of the harbor.
He and other fishermen criticized what they saw as the lack of public input in the board’s decision and said more options besides the restaurant should be considered for the building.
Ching from HCDA said Wednesday that the fishermen had spent time over the past several months discussing their concerns with the agency. Ching said in a previous hearing that the cost of eating at the restaurant would likely be modest at about $20 per person.
Kewalo Basin Harbor in Kakaako (Civil Beat)
— Anita Hofschneider
The Hawaii Community Development Authority has approved an application by Downtown Capitol LLC to build a 400-foot tower at 801 South St. in Kakaako.
The decision came Wednesday afternoon following a 4.5-hour hearing at the HCDA that included dozens of concerned Kakaako residents who cried out in opposition when the vote (6-0, plus one abstention) was announced.
The state agency has been under pressure from community members and lawmakers to slow down development in Kakaako because of infrastructure problems and questions about affordability.
The 801 South St. Phase 2 project is the sixth building proposal that HCDA has approved this year. Last year the agency approved just two.
Check www.civilbeat.com later for a full story.
— Anita Hofschneider
Hawaii’s U.S. representatives, Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard, were in the minority on a 254-159 vote to amend the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 “to provide a registration exemption for private equity fund advisers.”
In a statement, Hanabusa’s office said of the Republican-sponsored legislation, “Instead of improving the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act, H.R. 1105 exempts the vast majority, if not all, of private equity investment advisors from registration and reporting requirements with the Securities and Exchange Commission that make the financial market more transparent and protect investors.”
“The ability to manage and monitor risks in all investment areas is crucial to ensuring that another 2008 financial crisis does not happen again, and I could not vote to create a loophole that would exempt almost all private equity firms from oversight, while weakening investor protections,” said Hanabusa.
The measure heads to the Senate, where its prospects of passage, according to Hanabusa’s office, are slim.
Photo: D.C. (Nouhailler)
A Waipahu fisherman has been fined $250 for catching undersized ulua at Kalaeloa Deep Draft Harbor on Oahu, according to a Wednesday press release from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Lionel Tunac pled guilty to the offense in Waianae District Court late last month.
It’s illegal to catch ulua that are smaller than 10 inches. The offense is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail.
Tunac was cited by state officers in October after being reported by an anonymous caller. Officers responded and found that Tunac had three undersized ulua.
“Taking undersized ulua presents a threat to Hawaii’s near shore fisheries. DOCARE continues to patrol ocean waters and shorelines to ensure compliance with fishing regulations,” said Randy Awo, DOCARE chief, in a statement.
Ulua are large predatory fish that can grow up to six feet in length and weigh up to 190 pounds. (The juveniles are called papio.)
— Sophie Cocke
Hawaii has a ban on billboards, but that’s not stopping Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell from wanting to plaster advertising on the side of city buses.
The hope is that the ads could bring in $8 million a year that would go toward supplementing the cost of bus operations.
But there are a few caveats. The ads can’t be for elected officials or candidates for office. They also can’t depict ethnic prejudice or obscene photos or gestures.
Caldwell introduced Bill 69 late Tuesday, which lays out his plan in more detail.
The front page of the Honolulu-Star-Advertiser also had a story about it today. Check out the story here. (Subscription required.)
Photo: A Honolulu city bus in Chinatown. (Nick Grube/Honolulu Civil Beat)
From The Garden Island:
Sunday marked the beginning of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s “Good Neighbor Program” on Kauai.
And each large agricultural company — the same five mentioned in controversial Article 22 (formerly Bill 2491) — has expressed its willingness to comply.
And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t and politics:
Photo: Supporters of Bill 2491 celebrate on the steps of the Kauai County Building. (Sophie Cocke/Civil Beat)
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs says it’s pleased with a ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court over how it uses its trust funds.
Four plaintiffs had challenging OHA’s funding for the Akaka bill, Nā Pua No‘eau education program, Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. and Alu Like Inc.’s social services program.
According to an OHA press release, the agency argued that trustees “have discretion under trust law to decide how to benefit native Hawaiians and all Hawaiians.”
OHA Attorney Robert Klein said “the decision settles once and for all whether OHA can create or fund programs to serve Hawaiians with any level of blood quantum.”
OHA Chairperson Colette Machado said, “This is a landmark decision. This issue has now been decided in both state and federal court. This is a great day for all Hawaiians.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May.
Photo: Imua. (Civil Beat)
A community group called Keep the North Shore Country is suing the City of Honolulu for accepting Turtle Bay Resort’s supplemental environmental impact statement describing the hotel’s expansion plans on Oahu’s rural north shore.
Gil Riviere, director of Keep the North Shore Country, said Tuesday that the study proposing hundreds of new rooms is inaccurate and insufficient and that the city should have rejected it.
Riviere wants the resort to conduct another, more thorough, analysis of the potential impacts of more development.
Turtle Bay Resort LLC and George Atta, the director of the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting, are also named defendants.
“I’m equal parts disappointed but not surprised,” said Drew Stotesbury, CEO of Turtle Bay Resort. “I believe that we have more than met the expectations of anybody engaged in this process.”
The city declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.
The lawsuit is another chapter in a long-drawn-out legal battle between North Shore residents who oppose the hotel’s expansion plans and the companies who have owned the resort.
Keep the North Shore Country and the Hawaii Sierra Club won a case in the Hawaii Supreme Court in 2010 that required Turtle Bay Resort to conduct a supplemental environmental impact statement. The company had attempted to move forward with development plans based on an environmental analysis completed in 1985 but the Supreme Court found that a new study was needed.
Keep the North Shore Country isn’t the only community group fighting North Shore development. Defend Oahu Coalition, an organization dedicated to protecting the North Shore, is in the process of appealing the resort’s land classification before the state Land Use Commission.
Kevin Kelly, a board member at Defend Oahu Coalition, said the group does not have any current plans to file a lawsuit regarding the resort’s supplemental environmental impact statement. Tim Vandeveer, co-chairman of the organization, told Civil Beat last month that the organization was mulling the possibility of a lawsuit.
Robert Harris, executive director of Hawaii’s Sierra Club chapter, said the environmental organization is still considering litigation and may join Keep the North Shore Country’s lawsuit.
Because the city accepted Turtle Bay Resort’s analysis in late October, the deadline to challenge the report is late December.
Keep the North Shore Country’s legal complaint argues that the resort didn’t adequately describe its development plans; didn’t accurately analyze the impacts on traffic, wetlands, ocean water and endangered species; and should have evaluated the benefits of leaving the existing development as it is.
“You can’t just make up what you want to study and what you cannot,” Riviere said. He added that the city “unfortunately did not take a hard look and demand an adequate report.”
Stotesbury from Turtle Bay Resort said the criticisms are unfounded. “We have more than complied with the requirements of the process,” he said.
The company later issued a statement criticizing the lawsuit as “simply a tactic to delay responsible and balanced development that will protect open areas, create jobs for North Shore residents, and provide new sources of revenue for local businesses and government.”
Traffic clogs Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore. Opponents to Turtle Bay Resort’s expansion argue that traffic will increase if the development moves forward. (Dan Zelikman/Honolulu Civil Beat)
Read Civil Beat’s past coverage of the issue:
— Anita Hofschneider
Makena beaches on Maui’s south shore reopened Tuesday after a man died from a shark attack.
The victim, 57-year-old Patrick Briney of Stevenson, Washington, was kayaking near Big Beach on Monday morning when a shark bit his leg, severing his foot. A friend who was paddling nearby and a charter boat tried to rescue him, but Stevenson died before they could get him to shore.
Maui County lifeguards and state ocean officials reopened beaches from Little Beach to Makena Landing around noon on Tuesday after not sighting any sharks, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The Maui County Fire Department also did a flyover in a helicopter.
The shark attack marks the 13th this year for Hawaii, making it a record-breaking year. Most shark attacks are not lethal, but a young, German woman also died after being bitten by a shark while snorkeling off Maui’s south shore earlier this year.
— Sophie Cocke
Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele can now get a Hawaii driver’s license or state ID card that will fit her full name.
The state system had capped the characters at 35, which meant dropping off the last letter of Lokelani’s surname. She took offense to this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is her last name carries Hawaiian meanings and remains a strong connection to her late husband.
Lokelani complained to her elected officials and told a local TV news station about the problem. KHON2 ran a story in early September and within two days the state Department of Transportation said it was changing its policy.
A blog post on the DOT website last month says the state has since worked with the county Departments of Motor Vehicles to expand the character limits to a total of 120 characters (40 last name, 40 first name, 35 middle name, five suffix). That’s almost a full Tweet in length.
There’s no mention of Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele in the DOT announcement. Only a blurb about how the state’s “enhanced requirements” for driver’s licenses and ID cards were deemed fully compliant with the Real ID Act of 2005 after a federal review.
The change took effect in early November.
— Nathan Eagle
From Maui Now:
A stretch of shoreline in South Maui remains closed until at least noon today following a deadly shark attack in waters off of Makena on Monday. …
Some of the tips that frequent ocean goers are familiar with, but those less accustomed to the ocean may not know include the following list of “Safety Dos and Don’ts” published by the DLNR on their agency Hawaiʻi Sharks website. Read more.
And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t and politics:
Photo: Predator. (steve.garner32)
Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii’s largest private landowner, is planning to sell the buildings that make up Hawaii Kai Towne Center and Windward Mall.
The trust, also known as Bishop Estate, announced its plan to sell the buildings but not the land underneath on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Hokada, vice president of the trust’s endowment, said in a statement that the decision to transition the properties to ground leases is in line with the trust’s strategy to aggressively grow its $9.2 billion endowment.
The trust announced a similar sale of the buildings making up the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki in October.
Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s estate is the largest private landowner in Hawaii. (Courtesy of cliff1066 via Flickr)
— Anita Hofschneider
In the United States, student performance on a set of prominent international exams hasn’t budged much over the past decade. Meanwhile, students in East Asian countries such as China, Singapore and South Korea are still performing ahead of the pack — and a few unexpected countries are making significant gains.
Like many standardized exams, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Programme for International Assessment faces widespread criticism from experts who question its cookie-cutter approach and its ability to adequately reflect the academic performance of such a diverse array of student populations. But others say the results from the 2012 assessment, which were released today, offer a useful and unmatched tool for education policymakers who want to better prepare today’s students for an increasingly globalized economy.
The results suggest that while American students are just about average compared to their peers in other countries in reading, math and science, their stagnant scores are falling flat against a backdrop of notable improvement in some countries — Vietnam and Poland included — and continuing excellence in others. And that’s causing some consternation among federal education officials, according to the Huffington Post.
The exams were administered last fall among 28 million students ages 15 and 16 in 34 countries. The U.S. ranked 26th in math (with a slightly-below-average score of 481), 17th in reading (with an average score of 498), and 21st in science (with an average score of 497).
Check out this Education Week piece for an in-depth overview and interactive dataset.
Photo courtesy stevecadman via Flickr
— Alia Wong
Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced today that he’s appointed Grant Y.M. Chun, vice president of A&B Properties Inc., to the Hawaii Board of Education.
Chun is taking over the board’s Maui seat, which had been vacant for the past month or so since former member Wesley Lo resigned. Chun is filling in on an interim basis.
Before assuming his position at A&B Properties — the real estate subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, the state’s fourth largest landowner — Chun served as managing director of Maui County. He’s also a practicing attorney.
Outside of his professional roles, Chun serves on the boards of a range of community organizations and public agencies, including the Maui Economic Development Board, the Maui Regional Board of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and the Chancellor’s Advisory Council for UH Maui College.
The appointment is effective immediately and is subject to Senate approval.
Photo: Grant Y.M. Chun (Courtesy Gov. Neil Abercrombie)
— Alia Wong