The opinions expressed in this news summary are mine unless otherwise stated.
As Hawaii Island enters mid-week, these are some of the news stories we are covering:
Source: Honolulu Civil Beat.
Reporter: Alia Wong.
According to “Honolulu Civil Beat” reporter Alia Wong, the University of Hawaii at Manoa has received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help fund its ongoing research on the use of hydrogen energy. The grant is part of a nationwide effort to advance hydrogen technologies so that the energy “can be produced, delivered and dispensed for less than $4 per gallon.
According to a UH-Manoa press release, expanding the use of hydrogen “can help reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, save people money over the long run and lessen carbon emissions.”
The grant is funding ongoing research at UH-Manoa that is examining the use of specialized cell known as “photoelectrodes” to collect solar radiation. The research is exploring how these cells can split water molecules into separate hydrogen and oxygen parts so that the hydrogen can be used as fuel.
Analysis: I surely hope UH-Manoa researchers aren’t reinventing the wheel. It’s been known for years that the process of electrolysis can divide liquid water into its component gases, hydrogen and oxygen. Apparently, UH-Manoa scientists are using photoelectrodes to provide the electricity needed to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. Researchers may want to check on hydrogen fuel research being done in the North Atlantic nation of Iceland by the Shell Oil Company. Shell Oil scientists have set up hydrogen fueling stations in Iceland to service a limited amount of commercial and private vehicles. Before hydrogen can be used as a universal fuel, several issues need to be resolved. Foremost among them is flammability. Hydrogen, in its gaseous state, is very dangerous. Remember the “Hindenberg” Zeppelin disaster in the late 1930s, when a stray spark ignited a hydrogen cell as the airship was landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey? The airship crashed to the ground with the loss of several lives. Hydrogen can be handled safely in a cryogenic (cold) state. Another way to make the gas useful is to make it into a fuel cell to generate electricity. Such devices were used to supply power in manned spacecraft. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it can be used successfully if it is treated with respect. I welcome any effort to wean us from our dependence on imported oil.
HAWAII ISLAND WILL RECEIVE LARGER SHARE OF THE TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAX (TAT)
Source: Stephens Media Hawaii.
Reporter: Nancy Cook Lauer.
According to reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, Hawaii County has received a significant tax break “after learning Governor Neil Abercrombie isn’t going to veto a bill giving (county officials) a larger share of the transient accommodations tax (TAT).”
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi says he’s glad that HB 1671 isn’t on a list of potential vetoes. The TAT bill doesn’t remove the cap the state Legislature put on the county’s share of the transient accommodations tax, but it does increase the amount, giving the counties some tax relief. Mayor Kenoi told reporter Lauer that “All of the mayors and the county councils worked together this year to make a strong and compelling case for lifting the cap…we appreciate the decision by the state Legislature and the governor to increase the counties’ share…and we look forward to continuing this discussion next year.”
Hawaii County is using the entire amount of the extra tax income to “bolster” the county’s GASB 45 acount for future health benefits for county retirees.
NEW DOCK AT KAWAIHAE HARBOR ALMOST DONE
Source: Stephens Media Hawaii.
Reporter: Bret Yager.
By the end of June, Kawaihae Harbor will have a new home for vessels docked at the South Kohala port. If all goes according to plan, contractors should finish a new floating dock, trailer park, and wash down area at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor by 30 June 2014. According to Kris Maile, assistant superintendent for Hawaii Dredging Construction Company, the 445-foot floating dock has space for 25 slips. The $4.7 million project is design to lessen the strain of crowded facilities at the harbor. Maile told reporter Bret Yager that “boaters will be fairly impressed wit it when it’s done…there’s been a long waiting period for these so they’ll be happy to get them.”
HONOLULU MAN MUST REPAY $200,000 HE TOOK FROM THE STATE
Source: Associated Press (Honolulu).
A federal judge is sentencing a Honolulu man to five months in prison and five months of home detention for collecting disability check for his dead mother. Stemen Splater must also repay $200,000 he took from the state. Defense attorney Alexander Silvert told the AP his client is also being sentenced to three years of supervised release. Splater pleaded guilty in March to mail fraud. According to the indictment, Slater filed documents with the state Department of Labor in 2003 saying he had power of attorney for his mother, who he claimed was still alive. Court documents say that Splater depositied his late mother’s benefits into an account with her name that he accessed. He told the court he collected the checks because his mother wanted him to do so.
HAWAII ISLAND WEATHER FOR WEDNESDAY, 25 June 2014:
Partly cloudy with a few passing showers. Highs near 83. Lows near 68. Winds from the Northeast, 6-12 mph.
HAWAII ISLAND TIDES FOR WEDNESDAY, 25 June 2014:
Hilo High Tide–2:14 a.m./3:45 p.m. Hilo Low Tide–8:26 a.m./10:20 p.m.
Kailua-Kona High Tide–2:52 a.m./4:23 p.m. Kailua-Kona Low Tide–9:05 a.m./10:57 p.m.
HAWAII ISLAND SURF FORECAST FOR WEDNESDAY, 25 June 2014:
Honolii/Hilo–2 to 3 feet. Hamakua/North Kohala–1 to 2 feet. Kona/Banyans–1 to 2 feet. South Point/Pohoiki–1 to 2 feet.
SUNRISE WEDNESDAY, 25 June 2014–5:43 a.m.
For more state of Hawaii, Hawaii County, and National News, please check the updated news feeds on the blog sidebars. You can also vote in our news poll, which is listed on the right hand sidebar.
You can leave comments on the form at the end of this post.
You can follow our blog community with a free email subscription or by tapping into the blog RSS feed.
Thanks for joining us today!
Russ Roberts, site administrator.