What they're saying about Hawaii

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spam to get 'spokescharacter,' Oahu legislators' gerrymandering claims halt maps, Honolulu plastic bag ban advances, Maui backs off 'Show Me the Water' ordinance, expired bus inspection stickers no problem, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Spam jammers (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Spam, one of the most popular food items in Hawaii, is getting its own “spokescharacter,” Hormel Foods Corp. said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Charges of gerrymandering and a last-minute proposal by a dissident faction of House Democrats led the state Reapportionment Commission to delay a vote Wednesday on approving new district maps for state House and Senate seats. Star-Advertiser.

Accusations of voting maps being drawn to punish a state House faction that opposes Speaker Calvin Say have caused a delay in the reapportionment process. KHON2.

A group called Americans Elect this week qualified to place a presidential ticket on the Hawaii ballot, with plans to hold an online nominating convention this summer to select a balanced ticket — a presidential and vice presidential candidate from different political parties — to appear on ballots in all 50 states. Civil Beat.

Some middle and high schoolers in Hawaii are getting up to six hours less of class time per week than their peers, thanks to the state's historic lack of a minimum instructional time rule. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are advancing legislation to approve paying out a $909,000 settlement, one of several claims this year that add up to $5.8 million in state funds. Civil Beat.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has high hopes that "transformative" laser drilling technology could be a boon to geothermal energy developments, especially in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii is still trying to get caught up on payments, including stipends, scholarships and utility bills, more than two weeks after a fire caused $1.25 million in damage to a fiscal building. Associated Press.

State Health Director Loretta J. Fuddy said Wednesday that Hawaii's No. 1 ranking in the nation for the third year in a row in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index just proves the old adage "lucky we live Hawaii." Maui News.

State roundup for March 1. Associated Press.

Oahu

A Honolulu City Council committee advanced a bill Wednesday to ban the distribution of nonbiodegradable plastic bags by most Oahu retailers, despite opposition from business interests and concerns raised by the official who would be tasked with enforcing such a ban. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Managing Director Douglas Chin Wednesday apologized for failing to notify the City Council he had suspended debt guidelines for the multibillion-dollar rail project, as the city administration came under fire for lack of transparency. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin says Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration has a credibility problem. KHON2.

A bill that would lift development restrictions on two prime real estate lots along Ala Moana Boulevard is pending at the Hawaii State Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

Lawmakers are considering a plan to exempt two lots from a law prohibiting residental development. on the makai side of Kakaako. KITV4.

The Abercrombie administration has come out in favor of the Hoopili development, but this week one of its top officials will be called as a witness by opponents of the project. Civil Beat.

It was hard to tell who was having more fun in the mud — the Marines in their 26-ton amphibious assault vehicles or the endangered Hawaiian stilts reveling in the churned-up food. Star-Advertiser.

A private consultant hired by the federal government to oversee Honolulu's rail transit project is worried that passengers who ride the train — to run from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center — might find the trip to be so uncomfortable that they may not use the system. Star-Advertiser.

Passengers arriving in Honolulu could face delays in the coming days, but not because of their flights. Some airport taxi drivers won't be picking up passengers for up to three days due to a dispute over new rules. Hawaii News Now.

A Honolulu police officer charged in an alleged overtime pay scam involving members of the DUI enforcement team was granted a one-year deferral after pleading guilty for his role in the case. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Many of Hawaii County's public buses have been driven around the island for the past month with expired state inspection stickers, but Mass Transit Administrator Tom Brown says the buses are perfectly safe. West Hawaii Today.

Laupahoehoe's new conversion charter school faces the possibility of having to fill vacancies left by the majority of the faculty at the current Department of Education school, with the start to its inaugural academic year just five months away. Tribune-Herald.

Kulani Correctional Facility on Hawai’i Island was abruptly shut down more than two years ago by the Lingle administration as a cost-cutting measure. Proposals in both Houses are now making their way through the legislative process to re-open the East Hawai’i facility. Hawaii Public Radio.

The county could save more than half of the almost $200,000 it spends annually on courier service if it brought the duties in-house, according to a study by the county Legislative Research Branch. West Hawaii Today.

Farm to table is one of the hottest culinary trends across the country, and it hasn't missed Hawaii, where high-end restaurants and resorts tout the local origin of their ingredients. West Hawaii Today.

Small groups of people engaged in lively discussions Wednesday night in Hilo to identify transportation problems in East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Vog, volcanic smog, sulfur dioxide — no matter what you call it — Kilauea's emissions are impacting Hawaii Island in a multitude of ways, Ka'u residents said Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council's Water Resources Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend revisions to the county's "Show Me the Water" ordinance, which has drawn the ire of developers who've maintained it has stifled island construction. Maui News.

Armstrong Pacific has won the nearly $1.8 million contract to build the first phase of Easter Seals Hawaii's new Maui campus in Kahului, a project expected to provide at least 50 construction jobs and boost the Valley Isle's rebounding building industry. Maui News.

The Maui Policy Committee today recommended the disapproval of two nominees–Ralph Black, and James Clemens–to the Lanai Planning Commission. Maui Now.

A coalition of community groups are joining together this weekend to rally against the planned removal of four monkey pod trees along South Kihei Road. Maui Now.

Kauai
Solette Perry, the wife of Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry, testified before the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday night on the authority of the mayor to suspend the police chief and then place her husband on leave. Garden Island.

The ongoing crisis at the Kaua‘i Police Department meant there wasn’t a report from the police chief at the monthly Kaua‘i County Police Commission meeting last Friday. Garden Island.

Kauai police use stun gun on Kapa'a High student. Hawaii News Now.

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday approved a bill that extends for an additional six months a pilot program that allows Kaua‘i Community College students to use The Kaua‘i Bus at no cost. Garden Island.

Molokai
Researchers recently discovered that land-based plant material found in underwater canyons supports increased abundances of bottom fish, like those off the north shore of Molokai. Molokai Dispatch.

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