What they're saying about Hawaii

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sierra Club sues for solar tax credits, Honolulu rail back in court, Abercrombie touts land buy, Akaka honored on Senate floor, OHA officers installed, Kauai rethinks property tax exemptions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photovoltaic Hawaii
Honolulu solar panels courtesy photo
The Sierra Club Hawaii chapter and Earthjustice filed a lawsuit Tuesday to try to prevent the state from enforcing new restrictions on solar tax credits, prompting Gov. Neil Abercrombie to accuse the environmentalists of protecting "people who cheat." Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka was praised on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The head of Hawaii's public school teachers union says the decision to turn down a take-it-or-leave-it two-year settlement offer that included annual 2 percent raises was because of the lack of clarity about a revised teacher evaluation system linked to student performance. Star-Advertiser.

A new performance-based teacher evaluation system and reduced sick leave are the key issues preventing the Hawaii State Teachers Association from agreeing to a new contract with the state, union leaders and educators said. Civil Beat.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs honored a newly elected trustee and four re-elected trustees during an investiture ceremony Tuesday at Central Union Church. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs today officially added one new face to its Board of Trustees and applauded the re-election of four incumbents amid the splendor of an investiture ceremony attended by an estimated 500 guests. Hawaii Reporter.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a mainland conservation group, has taken the unusual step of pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian islands and parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a Superfund cleanup site. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is the nation’s second-healthiest state behind Vermont, with broad health insurance coverage and better lifestyle choices than the rest of the country, according to America’s Health Rankings 2012 issued Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

A growing number of Hawaii drivers convicted of drunk driving are installing ignition interlock devices in their cars. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for December 12. Associated Press.

Oahu

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments this morning on whether to issue a court order halting the city’s $5.26 billion rail project linking East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of acres of rich Oahu farmland and a site where Hawaiian royalty once went to give birth will be protected from development under a plan announced Tuesday by public agencies and a nonprofit organization. Associated Press.

The Trust for Public Land is transferring more than 1,700 acres of land in Central Oahu acquired from the George Galbraith Trust to two Hawaii state agencies, which will preserve the former pineapple fields for farming. Pacific Business News.

The state plans to grade approximately 1,200 acres of land it purchased from the George Galbraith Estate within the next few months to make it available to farmers by the middle of next year. Star-Advertiser.

Demise Of Community Recycling Bins A Policy Failure. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi has been hired as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the county Prosecutor’s Office in Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Items before the county Board of Ethics today range from accusations the county acted improperly in securing $10 million in bond anticipation notes from a local bank, to allegations a former County Council member lied when he said his polling place did not open on time in the primary election. West Hawaii Today.

Kealakehe High School returned to a normal finals week schedule Tuesday, Principal Wil Murakami said. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

No retailers in Maui County made underage tobacco sales during an operation this spring where minors attempted to purchase cigarettes, the state Department of Health said Monday. Maui News.

Maui County saw double-digit increases in both the percentage of homes and condominiums sold last month and the median prices for those categories. Maui News.

Seabury Hall's Izabela Hamilton's gouache creation inspired by the Na Pali Coast on Kauai was named one of three state finalists in the he Alaska Airlines' "Paint the Plane" student contest, where the winner will have his or her design painted on an Alaska Airlines 737 jetliner. Maui News.

Kauai

The Cost Control Commission recently asked the Kaua‘i County Council to raise by 300 percent the bare-minimum real property tax on Kaua‘i. Now, the commission is considering raising the age limit for senior citizens to qualify for a hefty exemption. Garden Island.

The new Kaua‘i County Council, with two new members, has an action-packed agenda today for its first committee meeting. Garden Island.

Only a handful of people were present early Tuesday morning at a Kaua‘i Planning Commission meeting to witness the nail in the coffin on Kealiakealanani Agriculture Subdivision, a project that five years ago promised to become a model ag community, with nearly 200 ag lots and a diversified crop production including taro, tea and cacao. Garden Island.


Niihau

The clouds cleared and Niihau's cliffs burst into view as we hovered over the nearly 4,000-foot-deep Kaulakahi Channel looking for whales. A red light on the helicopter's control panel flashed and beeped, only adding to my excitement for exploring the not entirely "forbidden island." Star-Advertiser.