Friday, December 9, 2011

Surf's up! Lesbians sue Hawaii for right to marry, Big Island redistricting carves out incumbent, ambulance audit shows waste, inefficiency, Honolulu considers property tax overhaul, lava approaching neighborhood and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Banzai Pipeline photo courtesy Boardistan
Historic surf rolled into the Banzai Pipeline for the opening day of the Billabong Pipe Masters. Hawaii News Now.

The North Shore was pumping with wind-blown waves on Thursday that were big enough to stage the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons surf contest — and to help realize the island fantasies of new Hawaii arrivals Air Force Staff Sgt. Joe Rucker and his wife, Dawn. Star-Advertiser.

In a political tit for tat that foreshadows Hawaii's U.S. Senate race next year, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his predecessor Linda Lingle are clashing over who's done the better job managing the state's finances. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Thursday that the state is back on track financially, and suggested he would share quarterly reports on state spending to make the budget process more transparent. Star-Advertiser.

Two women are suing Hawaii in federal court because they want to be married and not simply have a civil union. Associated Press.

Two Honolulu women are suing Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state health director in federal court over the state's denial of same-sex marriages. Star-Advertiser.

Advocates of the local food movement say increasing the amount of food grown across the islands could benefit the state in several ways, improving both the health and wealth of the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye recently found themselves on opposite sides of controversial votes on how the United States should handle the detention of terrorism suspects, including American citizens. Civil Beat.

Hawai’I’s Charter School System will be undergoing a complete overhaul in 12-to-16 months. That’s the recommendation of a State Senate Task Force charged with developing more stringent laws and rules to govern local Charter Schools. Hawaii Public Radio.

A state organization that oversees thousands of acres of prime agricultural land and millions in income from agricultural leases spent just a little over a week in a low-key search for a new leader. KITV4.

Oahu

About 150,000 Oahu homeowners, including elderly and disabled ones, would lose their property tax exemptions if the City Council adopts politically dicey recommendations made by an advisory panel aiming to bring more equity, fairness and simplicity to the tax system. Star-Advertiser.

Only a handful of ambulances met response time guidelines, and emergency responders made as much as two hundred thousand dollars each a year due to overtime. KHON2.

The city is trying to fire two managers who oversaw a former parking manager accused by prosecutors of stealing as much as $400,000 from city parking facilities in Honolulu and Chinatown. KITV4.

State investigating claims of welfare fraud. KHON2.

Assistant Chaminade University basketball coach Mike Mathey resigned today, four days after mistakenly sending a text with a racial slur to one of his players. Hawaii News Now.

About 20 houseless people, advocates, and Occupy Honolulu supporters turned up to voice their opposition to City Council Bill 54 at Honolulu Hale on Wednesday. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

A last-minute change to the new County Council district map has saved Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi from having to square off against fellow incumbent J Yoshimoto. West Hawaii Today.

The cost of acquiring and improving land for the Hawaii Judiciary’s Kona court complex on the Big Island varies from $4.5 million to $10.8 million, depending on which of seven sites the state chooses, according to a final environmental impact statement published Thursday in the state’s Environmental Notice. Pacific Business News.

The CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is meeting with the public today and Saturday to talk about a plan to settle a decades-old claim on revenue generated by Hawaiian monarchy lands. Tribune-Herald.

The would-be developer of a South Kona project is arguing the Kona Community Plan does not apply to its proposed planned unit development. West Hawaii Today.

Astronomers have identified the future mission of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, if they can secure funding for it. Tribune-Herald.

Lava continues to flow through the Royal Gardens subdivision on Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

The state would purchase 65 acres in Waikapu for a major new Central Maui park complex, under a proposal being discussed Friday by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in Honolulu. Maui News.

A final environmental impact statement has been released for A&B Properties' 2,550-home, 545-acre development in Central Maui. Maui News.

In less than a year, the tiny Hansen's disease settlement of Kalaupapa could be the site of the ministry of not one but two Roman Catholic saints. Maui News.

Kauai
Initial University of Hawai‘i reports estimated that up to 20 million tons of tsunami debris from Japan could reach Hawaiian shores by early 2013, but new findings suggest it may start to arrive as early as next month. Garden Island.

Princeville Ranch Adventures announces the opening of its Kids’ Adventure Center. Garden Island.