State briefs for April 20
Solar permit numbers decrease
HONOLULU (AP) — Officials say they are seeing a decrease in the number of solar permits being issued in some counties.
Maui County saw a 71 percent decrease in the number of permits issued for rooftop solar systems. Only 155 permits were issued during the first quarter of 2017. By this time last year, 540 permits had been issued.
“The solar PV carnage is being acutely felt on the Valley Isle,” said Marco Mangelsdorf, who compiles the rooftop solar permit data and is president of Hilo-based ProVision Solar.
State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism officials say that on Oahu, residential rooftop solar system permits had a 62 percent decrease this quarter compared to the first quarter of 2016.
Officials say the number of photovoltaic systems that were issued permits also dropped by 19 percent.
The decrease comes after state regulators ended a solar incentive program called net energy metering that credited customers the full retail rate for excess energy in the solar energy systems sent to the grid, in October 2015. The grid-supply program also came to a halt after it reached its cap.
The state Legislature is working on two bills that would establish incentives for customers who buy energy storage systems.
Program to offer help to victims of abuse by clergy
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam Catholics said they are in support of a program that offers professional counseling, treatment, spiritual healing, compensation and justice to victims of sex abuse by clergy on Guam.
Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan on Monday said he was in favor of the Hope and Healing Guam program.
“We support the approach that Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes is taking in helping clergy sex abuse cases,” Sablan said. “We also appreciate the efforts of others who help provide healing to the victims.”
The Archdiocese of Agana is facing 50 clergy sex abuse lawsuits. At the same time, Concerned Catholics of Guam is pushing for the removal and defrocking of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was accused of sexual abuse by former altar boys and the mother of a deceased altar boy. Byrnes replaced Apuron in November.
While the plaintiffs and their counsels settle the matter in court, Hope and Healing invites people to receive spiritual and mental therapy.
Though the program is funded through the archdiocese, it will be administered by an independent body. California-based attorney Michael Caspino serves as the program’s executive director and will assist its independent board of directors.
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