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Monday, May 21, 2018
May 21, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:05 PM :: 2947 Views

Banning Styrofoam Creates All Kinds Of Problems Including Environmental Ones

Best States for Military Retirees -- Hawaii Ranks 37th

Lava Flows Wipe out Supply of Affordable Housing

SA: …Haymer and his family have lived at their house for nearly six years — paying $650 a month for three bedrooms and one bath — and feel invested and rooted there.

“It’s rough because we’re on welfare income and we only have so much,” Haymer said, noting that it’s only by pooling their resources that they’re able to stay at the house. “We have a set income and a set food amount,” the Sacramento, Calif., native said. “That’s what we survive on.”….

Smith said he and his family had just gone to their Pomaikai Street house to mow the lawn and “clean the place up a little bit” before lunching at Puuhonua….

The family has been at their place for almost two years, paying $500 a month for a two-bedroom, one-bath house with a big yard and lots of fruit trees. The same type of house in Hilo would cost at least three times that much, Smith said….

“We tried to the buy the place, and we went to try to get a loan for it but they told us it’s in Lava Zone 1, so they can’t loan us,” Smith said. “Thank the Lord we hadn’t because I’m glad we don’t own it now. I may still try to buy later, if things settle down.”…

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said at least 47 structures have now been destroyed — officially. “But I was looking at some of the inundation maps, and it’s probably more,” he said, noting that the count doesn’t include any structures destroyed Thursday night in Malama Ki. Officials say it’s hard to determine which are actual houses because they only have aerial views of the destruction….

read … Affordable rents will bring some Lower Puna residents back home

Climate Change Commission to Make Housing Even More Expensive

SA: …The devastation brings renewed importance to efforts from the city and county of Honolulu’s Climate Change Commission, which meets today to consider adopting a brief outlining the potential seriousness of future climate change impacts in Hawaii and to review a proposed plan to provide city decision makers with sea-level rise guidance.

The recent flooding has provided real-word examples of projected harms and a reminder that things could get worse from here. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that “sea-level rise can make Hawaii’s existing coastal hazards — such as waves, hurricanes, tsunamis, and extreme tides — even worse.”

Today’s discussion is a major step for the commission, which was formed after voters in a 2016 election approved the creation of an Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. The commission is expected to consider controversial recommendations about where future construction of infrastructure and buildings should take place and how risks, including real estate, should be disclosed….


read … Flooding renews interest in climate-change planning

Rate Hike Coming: Lava Set to Wipe out State’s Only Clean, Cheap Geothermal Plant

SA: A relatively small lava flow has begun to move in the opposite direction from the lava river pouring into the ocean along the Puna coastline, and that flow is advancing through the Puna Geothermal Venture property.

A Hawaii County Civil Defense spokeswoman said the flow from fissure 22 next to the PGV site broke out on its northwest side, and “there’s very active fountaining.”

The flow last night was approaching the well pad at PGV, but had stalled at a berm on the property, said county spokeswoman Janet Snyder.

Residents of the surrounding area have been worried that a lava flow or earthquake could damage one or more of the geothermal wells on the property, causing an uncontrolled release of potentially dangerous volcanic gases. 

(Now, after decades of mindless frothing hysteria, we will find out that their fears were unfounded.  The lava will likely soon cover PGV and there will not be any gas release because of it.  There is, however, plenty of volcanic gas being released by the ... uh … volcanic eruption.)

The wells are 6,000 to 8,000 feet deep and are used to tap into extremely hot water and steam that is used to run turbines to produce electricity. The plant has been closed since shortly after the May 3 eruption began, and PGV officials relocated 60,000 gallons of flammable pentane away from the site as a safety precaution.

There are three active wells on the PGV site, and the state has been working to “kill” those wells by pumping cold water into them, and then plan to use an iron plug to seal them.

Tom Travis, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said through a spokeswoman this morning that those efforts are in the “final stages” for geothermal wells KS9 and KS6, but crews encountered difficulties with quenching another well known as KS14….

read … Rate Hikes Coming

Caldwell’s Bloated Budget Adds 40 New ‘Positions’

SA:  Just last month, the City Council’s Budget Committee was sizing up potential budget cuts to cover Honolulu’s $44 million share of rail costs next year. Now, with swiveling budget choreography in the works, city leaders have put away that scalpel.

What’s more, with its last go-around last week on Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposed $2.61 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2019, the Budget Committee further loosened its tight grip on spending by folding in funding to hire additional paramedics, firefighters, zoning inspectors and stream cleaners.

Given the city’s ever-growing service needs, the move to create more than 40 new jobs may be a worthy one. But before final sign-off, the Council should double- check workforce efficiency. Also due thorough consideration: long-term costs tied to expanding the employee roster, such as the steep price tag tied to pensions — the Employees’ Retirement System now provides benefits to more than 122,000 active, retired and vested former state, city and county employees….

read … Control growth of city’s payroll

Haseko Lagoon Gets the LimeBike Treatment

SA:  The water quality of a 52-acre basin at Hoakalei Resort residences in Ewa Beach is better than at popular swimming spots including Magic Island, Lanikai and Ko Olina. But the state doesn’t want people swimming there any more.

Earlier this month, the state Department of Health warned Hoakalei’s developer, Haseko Hawaii, the company would be operating an illegal public swimming pool if it allows people to swim in the basin.

The action forced Haseko to inform about 1,500 Hoakalei homeowners that swimming is prohibited in what the company calls a “recreational lagoon.”…

(See how this works? Redefine a lagoon as a swimming pool, just like Caldwell redefines electric scooters as mopeds.) 

SA: Haseko’s lagoon in regulatory limbo

read … State bans swimming at Haseko lagoon

Honolulu’s Vanishing Crosswalks

SA: Crosswalks are disappearing on streets across Oahu, a move the city says will improve pedestrian safety. 

But some residents argue the lack of crosswalks will just encourage people to take bigger risks crossing busy streets.

The city has removed 34 crosswalks since September 2016, when the Honolulu traffic engineers finished the Complete Streets Design Manual. The manual guides infrastructure changes that make streets safer for bikes, public transportation users and pedestrians.

The Honolulu City Council passed a Complete Streets policy in 2012, ushering in streetscape changes that include adding curb extensions known as “bulb outs” in Chinatown and bike lanes on the city’s major arteries….

HNN: Bill 82 that would ban Chinatown bulb-outs vetoed by mayor

read … Honolulu’s Vanishing Crosswalks

HSTA, Carpenters Select Josh Green for Lt Governor

SA: HSTA President Corey Rosenlee and carpenters union Executive Secretary and Treasurer Ronald Taketa made the joint announcement Sunday.

The two unions have different picks for governor. HSTA is backing incumbent Gov. David Ige for a second term. The carpenters union is throwing its support behind Colleen Hanabusa….

read … Selection

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