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Monday, April 30, 2012

Money problems threaten Pisces V, Hawaii Historic Preservation Division in trouble again, newspaper lobbies for legal ads, toxins polluting Hanalei Bay, Legislature finalizes budget, enters final week, UHH salaries spike, Molokai tweets, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pisces V launch, courtesy photo


Mere weeks after filmmaker James Cameron plunged to the deepest reaches of the ocean and at the same time that China is testing a new submersible in undersea mining grounds 600 miles south of Hawaii, federal funding is in jeopardy for the only two U.S. deep-diving research submersibles in the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

The state agency charged with safeguarding Hawaii's historic and archeological treasures is in such disarray that the federal government is threatening to revoke its certification and funding. Civil Beat.

Nearly four dozen bills have received lifelines under an extended deadline at the state Legislature, including a bill that would provide money to preserve a safety net of health, human services and education programs. Star-Advertiser.

In Lazarus-like fashion, the Hawaii Legislature on Sunday resurrected 47 measures that had failed to meet a Friday deadline. Civil Beat.

A handshake just before 3 a.m. Saturday ended the state’s budget impasse. Associated Press.

There is an agreement on the state's $11.2 billion budget. But it took lawmakers negotiating into the early morning hours to hammer out the deal. KITV4.

Lawmakers say they were happy negotiators were able to come to a compromise and say time is critical. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers passed out a number of bills in advance of a 6 p.m. internal deadline on Friday, but the $11.2 billion budget bill wasn’t among them. Associated Press.

Organizations offering services to Hawaii’s needy have had their budgets slashed by 19 percent since the financial crisis hit in 2008, and they’ve lost 16 percent of their staff, an advocacy group for the poor said Tuesday. Associated Press

Administrators at the 18 public schools trying out a new teacher evaluation system need as much as three hours per teacher to conduct the comprehensive observation that is a central component of the process. Star-Advertiser.

The state Legislature will vote this week on a bill that would overhaul Hawaii's charter school management structure. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser’s bid to keep monopoly control of non-judicial foreclosure newspaper ads has failed at the Legislature and a key state senator said she was “appalled” by the newspaper’s lobbying tactics. Hawaii Reporter.

The details still may be unclear about how many Marines could be headed to Hawaii after a U.S. and Japanese agreement to transfer 9,000 of them out of Okinawa was reached this week, but contractors anticipate that it could mean more work here to house the additional troops. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Christian Coalition presents its annual Prayer at the Capitol May 3, Thursday 6:30-8:00pm State Capitol Auditorium. Hawaii Reporter.

Na Maka O Ka ‘Aina is an independent video production company that has documented social and environmental struggles in Hawai’i since the 1980’s.  Because of their dedication and the unique history they’ve preserved, they are the 2012 honorees for Maoli Arts Month in May. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

The House and Senate might vote Tuesday on a bill that would allow the Friends of the Library — the Big Friends — their affiliates and independent nonprofits like the volunteers from Aina Haina — the Little Friends — to hold book sales and have concession stands on state library property and maintain their own financial accounts.  Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will hold a series of public meetings next month to discuss Honolulu’s $5.1 billion rail-transit project. Pacific Business News.

Major construction on some of Waikiki's busiest streets will begin next month. The $5.7 million project is scheduled to begin on May 20, and is slated to last about 500 days. Hawaii News Now.

A misfired arrow closed an aging archery range in Waikiki. Now concerns over safety could keep it closed for good. KITV4.

Hawaii

Despite making across-the-board pay cuts in 2009 and freezing salaries in 2010, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is spending 61 percent more on executive pay than it did five years ago. Tribune-Herald.

Come November, voters in Hawaii County will revisit the 2 percent land fund, contemplate changes to public meeting notices and decide on other amendments to the county’s governing document. Tribune-Herald.

GASB 45 obligations came to the forefront of discussions on the county budget last month when Mayor Billy Kenoi announced he planned to postpone the payments for the second consecutive year in order to balance the county’s $365.3 million budget. West Hawaii Today.

A marine mammal center designed to treat injured Hawaiian monk seals is scheduled to break ground this summer on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

A three-year-old community medical center in Puna wants to set up an emergency room to serve the fast-growing Big Island district. Associated Press.

Maui

Lee Imada has been named managing editor of The Maui News and will supervise all phases of the news operation, it was announced today by Publisher Joe Bradley. Maui News.

When the Auwahi Wind project comes on line late this year, it will be "a building block for the future," Maui Electric Co. President Ed Reinhardt said Friday during the wind farm's Hawaiian blessing and groundbreaking ceremonies. Maui News.

A new community organization has been formed "in response to the need for another independent, credible grass-roots voice with the goal of sustainable economic viability within the context of historic preservation and cultural practices," according to the group's announcement. Maui News.

A Maui woman is about to set sail from the Marshall Islands to Tokyo. Her 3,000 mile journey is part of a research voyage to study marine pollution, including debris from Japan's tsunami. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Tests show toxins polluting Hanalei river mouth, bay. Garden Island.

Kauai County's Open Spaces Commission has recommended its top priorities for county property acquisitions. Garden Island.

Agriculture has become a tourist draw in Hawaii, which imports about 85 percent of its food but used to export almost everything it grew — tons of pineapples and sugar cane. Los Angeles Times.

Molokai

While time often seems to stand still here on Molokai, new technologies are becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life. Molokai Dispatch.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Improved Waikiki Beach greets Japanese 'Golden Week,' Honolulu sewer moratorium halts development, Oahu travel agent disappears with Arkansas band's money, Molokai group fights undersea cable, Kauai regulates ag solar, Hannemann stumps in Kona, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Waikiki Beach (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Beach users gave good reviews Thursday to the just-completed sand replenishment proj­ect that widened Waikiki Beach from the Duke Kahanamoku statue to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Star-Advertiser.

Riding on three months of strong momentum, Hawaii's tourism industry is already anticipating a healthy summer. Star-Advertiser.

A 27 percent gain in visitors from Japan last month bodes well for this weekend’s start of Golden Week, traditionally a high-volume period for Japa­nese tourists in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The official at the center of the General Services Administration scandal over a lavish Las Vegas conference was reprimanded in 2011 for appearing in a campaign ad for Sen. Daniel Ino­uye, Roll Call, a Washington, D.C., magazine, reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature

State House and Senate negotiators were still working late Thursday to reach an agreement on the state budget, a stalemate that left dozens of bills in limbo ahead of tonight’s procedural deadline to complete work before the legislative session ends. Star-Advertiser.

Passage of the single-most important bill at the Hawaii Legislature is being held up by the single-most controversial bill before lawmakers this session. Civil Beat.

A measure that would bring most of Hawaii's 1,600 mainland-incarcerated prisoners back is nearing key deadlines at the Capitol. The trend is already starting. KHON2.

The state Legislature will be voting on Hawaiian language mandates in the coming week. Associated Press.

Legislators effectively killed a bill Thursday that would have extended the University of Hawaii's controversial exemption from the state procurement code, a move hailed by some as a victory for government fairness and transparency but which UH lamented as likely to increase construction costs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are poised to pass two bills to overhaul the state's charter school system. But the focus has centered more on what the proposed law says charter schools don't have to do than any new requirements or expectations. Civil Beat.

Selling or smoking the synthetic drug "spice" is now a felony in Hawaii. KHON2.

Laura Thielen
Civil Beat has obtained portions of an email exchange between members of the party's State Central Committee conducted between April 10 and April 13 — the latter date just four days before Laura Thielen announced that she would run in the primary without the party's blessing. Civil Beat.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has its first woman president. Hawaii Public Radio.

About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on Okinawa will be moved to Hawaii, Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific under a U.S.-Japa­nese agreement announced Thursday. Associated Press.

Hawaii is one of only two states where consumers won’t see a piece of an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from health insurers who spent more on administrative expenses and profits than allowed by the federal health care reform act, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for April 27. Associated Press.

Oahu

The City and County of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services has issued a moratorium on new sewer connections from Halawa to Pearl City. Hawaii News Now.

The state granted owners of the Hale‘iwa Farmers' Market a second extension to vacate the site where they've held the popular weekend event for three years. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi has introduced a bill to amend the historic residential property tax exemption. Hawaii Reporter.

The plastic bag ban is still three years from starting, if Mayor Peter Carlisle approves it, but the movement toward biodegradable bags has already begun. Hawaii News Now.

Public housing getting modern renovations with private help. KITV4.

Nearly four decades since starting a renowned cookie empire, Wally Amos is poised to launch a company using the original recipe that made him Famous Amos. Star-Advertiser.

Officials at Southside High School in Fort Smith, Ark., have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice after an Oahu travel agent told them via email he had lost $267,500 paid by the school for a summer trip to Waikiki. KITV4.

Hawaii

Mufi Hannemann

A U.S. representative’s job, congressional candidate Mufi Hannemann told Rotarians Thursday, is to advocate first for state residents. West Hawaii Today.

The site of the Big Island’s first geothermal power project may once again be put back to use. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Doppler radars will be shut down, one at a time, beginning in May for upgrades to a next-generation system that will allow for better weather forecasts. Tribune-Herald.

We’ve failed: Hawaii County’s air is the second worst, by county, in the country for annual particle pollution, the American Lung Association says. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The new hearing officer in the case challenging a University of Hawaii telescope project on Maui is also UH president M.R.C. Greenwood's personal attorney. Civil Beat.

Maui Electric Co. is installing new, "smart" power meters that will enable the utility to remotely monitor electricity fed to more than 100 residents taking part in the Maui smart-grid demonstration project. Associated Press.

Maui Electric Co. has begun installing new, "smart" power meters in Maui Meadows, enabling the utility to remotely monitor electricity fed to more than 100 residents taking part in the Maui smart-grid demonstration project. Maui News.

Judge Adrianne Heely
The state Senate confirmed Adrianne Heely on Wednesday as a District Family Court judge for Maui's 2nd Circuit Court. Maui News.

Adrianne Heely has been confirmed as a family court judge on Maui. Associated Press.

Maui Judge Joseph E. Cardoza today was named Chief Judge and Administrative Judge for the Second Circuit Court. Maui Now.

The long-awaited Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport hotel is set to open in June, a month earlier than previously announced. Maui News.

Kauai

After a few deferrals and various amendments, a bill to regulate solar farms on agricultural lands passed a final vote Wednesday by the Kaua‘i County Council, although some council members wanted more time for scrutiny. Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution to encourage schools to adopt anti-bullying policies and regulations. Garden Island.

Reid Judson is suing Norberto Garcia and Kaua‘i County for alleged negligence in an officer-involved automobile crash. Garden Island.

Molokai

A high-voltage undersea transmission cable planned for Massachusetts has been killed by one of the nation’s major utilities because it would be a “high-risk” installation, too expensive to construct, with too many severe environmental impacts and too difficult to maintain. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gender gap at Honolulu Hale, groups fight public record restrictions, Honolulu council bans plastic bags, Kauai leads state in income growth, Kahuku now top landfill site, securities chief resigns amid probe, monk seal killings spark new reward, Hawaii Island pool drains behind the times, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Hale (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
Men and women work different jobs at Honolulu Hale, and the men's jobs pay more. Civil Beat.

House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro and Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige indicated conferrees have come to agreement on the operating side of the budget — but are still working toward a deal on the capital improvements portion of the budget. Civil Beat.

A range of organizations – from the Sierra Club to the Hawaii Independent – are petitioning legislators to protect government transparency. More than a dozen community, media and open-government organizations are waging a desperate fight today to save Hawaii’s Freedom of Information Law from its most serious erosion in its 24-year history. Hawaii Independent.

Lawmakers are poised to include $25 million for student transportation in the supplemental budget bill for next fiscal year, $17 million shy of what the Department of Education said it needed to preserve school bus services statewide. Star-Advertiser.

The state Legislature will be voting on Hawaiian language mandates in the coming week. KHON2.

Duane "Dog" Chapman and Beth Chapman seek to derail the Abercrombie administration's "Justice Reinvestment" initiative, a data-driven approach to reforming Hawaii's criminal justice system, which would include freeing up prison space. Civil Beat.

As contract negotiations continue between the state and its public school teachers, a newly adopted teacher evaluations policy remains a sticking point. Tribune-Herald.

State lawmakers reached agreement today on a bill requiring motorists to "move over" when approaching a traffic or crime scene where emergency responders are working. Star-Advertiser.

Peter Hsieh has resigned as chief attorney in the state Securities Enforcement Branch after the state began an investigation of his past professional and financial problems. Hawaii Reporter.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have cautioned Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that an agreement between the U.S. and Japan over transferring more than 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam, Hawaii and other locations should not be considered final without congressional approval. Pacific Business News.

The Oahu group that’s fighting the new legislative maps has asked a federal judge to halt the upcoming election until new districts can be drawn. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a bill that would impose a fee on plastic bags retailers and restaurants provide to customers before banning them altogether effective July 1, 2015. Pacific Business News.

Oahu consumers will have until summer 2015 to get used to the idea of not getting a plastic bag when they shop at a grocery store or other retailer. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu could soon become the fourth and final county in Hawaii to implement a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council passed a bill today to ban single-use shopping bags on O’ahu in 3 years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu is the only county in the state not to regulate plastic shopping bags, but now the city council has approved the plan to ban plastic shopping bags and some paper bags as well. Hawaii News Now.

A much-debated ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags was passed Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council, but if signed into law by Mayor Peter Carlisle, the ban would not take effect until July 1, 2015. KITV4.

A correction to a consultant's "data error" has upended the city's recently announced list for potential landfill sites, catapulting two upland Kahuku locations to the top spots while knocking the previous No. 1, Ameron Quarry in Kailua, halfway down the ranking. Star-Advertiser.

A military site in Kahuku has replaced a Kailua quarry as Honolulu's top choice for a new landfill. But that doesn't mean Kailua should start celebrating. Civil Beat.

People in Kailua are breathing a collective sigh of relief while people from Kaneohe to Haleiwa shudder at the latest news regarding a new landfill. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a plan to make an extra $450 million available for Honolulu's rail line in case the project runs out of money because of some unexpected mishap or disaster during construction. Star-Advertiser.

North Shore residents were given a big Wednesday announcement they were not expecting, that Kahuku and Pupukea are now top of the list for the City's next potential landfill sites. KHON2.

Honolulu's City Council split a vote, four to four, in a resolution that would have urged the State Legislature and the Food and Drug Administration to mandate labels of genetically modified food. KITV4.

State health officials inspected a two mile area along Kea'ahala stream today, from Kahukipa down to Kaneohe Bay. KITV4.

Hawaii

Concerns about an Elections Division in disarray have prompted Hilo Councilman Dennis Onishi to ask the state Office of Elections to intercede. Among the problems, Onishi said Wednesday, are clerks not qualified to accept state filings, voter lists for candidate campaigns delayed until June and longtime volunteers bowing out because of controversies over Elections Office firings. West Hawaii Today.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation is finally complying with a federal law mandating the replacement of swimming pool drain covers by December 2008. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council could soon be discussing new legislation aimed at protecting Big Island residents from geothermal power plant leaks and blowouts. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Maui Planning Commission approved a county special use permit Tuesday for Verizon Wireless to install a 35-foot-high pole and cellular antenna - disguised as a palm tree - on agricultural land mauka of the Waiehu Golf Course. Maui News.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case said he's not afraid to tell people things he feels they need to hear, even if he and his campaign for U.S. Senate draw fire for it. Maui News.

A special native Hawaiian initiative is seeking the help of volunteers around the world to typescript thousands of pages of Hawaiian-language newspapers into a searchable database. Maui Now.

Kauai

The head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources described the latest monk seal death as a "despicable act" as the reward for information grew to $40,000. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaiian monk seal was found killed on Kauai over the weekend, officials said Wednesday, bringing to four the number of suspicious deaths for the critically endangered species in six months.Associated Press.

Foul play is again suspected in the second death of a Hawaiian monk seal found on Kaua‘i this year, with the latest victim discovered Sunday, authorities said Wednesday. Garden Island.

The personal income of Kauai residents increased 3.7 percent in 2010 from 2009 on a per capita basis, the fastest growth rate of any county in the state, the federal government reported Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Owners of transient vacation rental properties, also known as TVRs, will now have to pay commercial rates for county trash collection services, the county Public Works Department reported Wednesday. Garden Island.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hawaii beefing Marine presence, map opponents file election injunction, religious exemptions for civil unions mulled, new high in medical marijuana permits, Puna residents oppose geothermal, Kauai utility considers opt-out of smart meters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Marines at Pohakaloa Training Area Hawaii (c) 2012 All Hawaii News


The U.S. will move more than 2,500 Marines from Japan to Hawaii — a more than 20 percent increase in the islands — as the Pentagon scales back a $21.1 billion blueprint for Guam, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Ino­uye confirmed Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

It looks like 2,700 more Marines may be on their way to Hawaii as the Pentagon scales back a $21.1 billion plan to move troops from Okinawa to Guam. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. military is expected to announce it will transfer up to 2,700 Marines from the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa to Hawaii, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Tuesday. Associated Press.

Hours before any formal announcement from Washington, the offices of Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Sen. Dan Inouye said the Pentagon intends to move about 2,700 Marines from Okinawa to Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

The military is expected to announce plans to transfer up to 2700 Marines from Japan to Hawaii. KHON2.

The top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee voiced concern Tuesday over an imminent U.S.-Japan agreement on reorganizing U.S. forces based on the southern island of Okinawa. More than 2,500 Marines would come to Hawaii under the plan. Associated Press.

Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's reapportionment plan on Monday filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to halt the upcoming election. Civil Beat.


A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction stopping the state from requiring that air cargo carriers charge customers a fee to help pay for efforts to protect the islands from invasive plant and animal species because state law conflicts with federal laws. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal to the state's civil unions law to allow religious organizations to deny use of their facilities for a solemnization ceremony. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers last night agreed to use the state general fund to support agricultural inspector positions, rather than using a special fund to supplement the associated costs.  Lawmakers say the move is expected to free up more funds for invasive species control. Maui Now.


State funding for school buses has been confirmed at the state Capitol tonight. KHON2.

With the state budget nearly settled, state lawmakers will consider how much to invest in new bond-financed state construction and whether to streamline permitting and procurement to get proj­ects started faster and help with economic recovery. Star-Advertiser.

A bill before the state Legislature could eliminate certification requirements for coffee that's grown in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Hawaii Politicians Received $2.2 Million in Illegal Campaign Contributions. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Rep. James Tokioka
State Rep. James "Jimmy" Tokioka has voted nearly two dozen times on bills related to telecommunications, broadband and cable television in the 2012 Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

In just more than nine months the number of medical marijuana permits issued in Hawaii jumped 27%. At the end of June, 2011 7,593 people held medical marijuana cards. By April 11, 2012 that number had climbed to 10,454. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for April 25. Associated Press.

Oahu

Mayor Peter Carlisle's Advisory Committee on Landfill Site Selection ranked the 361-acre Ameron site, which is near the old Kailua landfill that was shut down after reaching capacity in the 1990s, ahead of locations in Nana­kuli and Kahuku. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Member Tom Berg (District 1 -'Ewa, Kapolei, Waianae Coast) is outraged the city administration has issued the rights to real estate acquisitions and other real estate related work along the designated rail route to a mainland firm. Hawaii Reporter.

A briefing prepared by the office of a Honolulu City Council member shows the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation may access a $450 million line of credit as it builds the city's controversial $5.3 billion elevated rail system. KITV4.

A more than 80 million dollar freeway project aims to shave time off the afternoon rush hour, but not without nearly a year's worth of road repairs. KHON2.

Several agencies are testing Tuesday if Hawaii's first responders are ready should an incident with weapons of mass destruction happen in the islands. KITV4.

People who live alongside Keaahala Stream couldn't believe their eyes when they looked at the water Tuesday morning. It was a blanket of white. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

At a county council meeting attended by more than 300 people in Pahoa, the Pele Defense Fund and other geothermal opponents called for better monitoring of Pahoa’s geothermal plant, protested past leaks, and urged the council not to allow more facilities to be built on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Council held a special hearing on renewable energy development in Pahoa on Tuesday night – specifically, a hearing on geothermal development and expansion on Hawaii Island. Big Island Video News.

Ask someone on the Big Island about electricity prices and the conversation, inevitably, turns to geothermal. West Hawaii Today.

Shiny, black and quiet-running, Hawaii County’s five electric hybrid fleet vehicles will hit West Hawaii roads this week. West Hawaii Today.

Here on Hawaii Island, there’s only one choice for electricity. Residents must buy their power from Hawaii Electric Light Co. regardless of the energy price or quality of service — unless they’re living off the grid. West Hawaii Today.

In 1958, two Colorado businessmen bought over 12 thousand acres about a half hour south of Hilo on Hawai’i Island.  They created over four thousand lots and sold them for 500 to a thousand dollars each---they sold well, even with no infrastructure.  Today in Hawaiian Acres, few roads are paved, water is still by catchment, and the community has gone through a lot of changes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Almost a quarter of a million dollars that previously had been earmarked for the Wailuku Main Street Association would instead be available to a variety of local community groups for small-town planning projects, under a proposal by Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

Maui's nonprofit community members turned out Monday to ask the council Budget and Finance Committee to support their programs, hoping to retain - or gain - a slice of the funding proposed for county grants. Maui News.

Kauai

Federal and state conservation enforcement officials are investigating the death of a Hawaiian monk seal found Sunday in northeastern Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

The Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board is considering an opt-out program for members who do not want smart meters installed on their property, but meanwhile will defer installation upon request, KIUC CEO David Bissell said Tuesday. Garden Island.

A decade ago, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative became the first utility in Hawaii to switch from private to public ownership — a process that took roughly 40 months. West Hawaii Today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A message from All Hawaii News (commentary)

Merrie Monarch festival (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
There is a definite downside to being a solo daily news blogger.

For 884 weekdays over the past three-plus years, I have compiled the day's top government and political news and provided it here by 7:30 a.m. so you can begin your day in the know.
But sometimes, life intervenes and makes that task impossible.

Unfortunately, today is one of those days.

Circumstances beyond my control mean there will be no daily news update today, other than the automatic feeds running on top of and at the side of this space. I've also provided a photo from the Merrie Monarch parade for your enjoyment.

While you're here, feel free to throw a couple of bucks in the tip jar at the lower right. This blog doesn't accept advertisements, so the sponsors are the true lifeblood. 

Think of it as a mini-Pledge Week.

 By the way, I found this interesting article from LiveScience that says, "People want to do the right thing, paying more when given the option of getting something quite cheaply, a behavioral study indicates."
 
And never fear, All Hawaii News will be back tomorrow,
with all the top news from around the state that you've come to expect!

Mahalo for your support.

Aloha,

Nancy

Monday, April 23, 2012

'Exceptional' trees get tax breaks, Honolulu seeks $450M line of credit for rail, Green Party certified for state ballot, Kauai daily newspaper goes to 6-day schedule, Hilo newspaper hit with labor ruling, electric company makes big profits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mynah bird on African tulip tree (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The focus of some ridicule is a state law that allows Hawaii residents to claim up to $3,000 in personal income tax deductions for qualified expenses related to maintaining "exceptional" trees on their private property. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal headed to the state Senate could help Hawaii double its locally grown food supply by 2020. Associated Press.

By weight, Hawaii’s honeybees may be the state’s most valuable export as farmers struggle to replenish bee populations suffering from colony collapse. Associated Press.

The Green Party of Hawaii announced that it has been certified to be included on Hawaii partisan election ballots. Tribune-Herald.


The Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter on Sunday endorsed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate, giving the congresswoman an edge in the environmental community to go with her support from labor unions and traditional Democrats. Star-Advertiser.

Consumer advocates are pushing Hawaii senators to pass a bill that excludes health insurer representatives from holding voting positions on a state board. Associated Press.


Cuts in the number of inspectors who check cargo and passengers entering Hawaii have some worried that more pests will get established in a state that is especially vulnerable because of its subtropical weather and few natural predators. Associated Press.

State roundup for April 23. Associated Press.


Oahu

The Navy wants to cover Ford Island's historic runway with photovoltaic panels — an addition the service said would "define and interpret" the original runway while providing environment-friendly power. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Peter Carlisle's administration has formally asked the City Council to approve a $450 million city-backed line of credit that could be used to complete the rail line in the event of a "catastrophic, unforeseen event" that causes the project to run out of money. Star-Advertiser.

Construction of the elevated portion of Oahu's rail project starts Monday, as more groups step forward to support the City's transit plan in court. Hawaii News Now.

The city's $5.7 million, 500-day Waikiki sewer project has been backed up for a couple of months but is expected to get moving in May. Star-Advertiser.

Keeping Kakaako-makai free from residential development was the motivation behind a loud rally held earlier today in an effort to stop a bill that would allow high rises on one of Honolulu's last public oceanfront land. KITV4.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle’s landfill advisory committee has named a site in the Windward Oahu town of Kailua as the top choice for the location of a landfill to replace the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu’s monopoly newspaper has again slashed advertising rates in the face of new government objections to the charges as well as competition from a newcomer to the market. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

An average Hawaii Electric Light Co. customer doles out around $225 every month for 500 to 600 kilowatt hours of electricity, a far cry from the nation’s average of $63 for the same usage. West Hawaii Today.

While the electric grid itself may not be operating at peak efficiency, shareholders in the investor-owned corporation aren’t feeling the pinch. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii isn’t well-known for consumer advocacy, said Jack Gillis, public affairs director for the Consumer Federation of America. West Hawaii Today.

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a National Labor Relations Board's decision that two reporters fired from a Hilo newspaper should be reinstated with back pay. Associated Press.

Maui

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Maui Economic Development Board. Maui News.


Kauai

The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai will be combining its Friday and Saturday publications into a weekend edition starting May 4. Pacific Business News.

Construction is expected to begin during the second half of this year on a second Kaua‘i Safeway supermarket and retail center. Garden Island.

Meeting the demand of an increase in felony cases was among concerns expressed by Office of the Prosecuting Attorney staff members during a Kaua‘i County Council fiscal year 2013 budget hearing Friday. Garden Island.

Molokai

The Friendly Island will be well represented at the 35th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The Awards Show, hosted by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA), is an annual event held to celebrate “the connections between music, our culture, and the spirit of aloha,” according to their website. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Case-Hirono debates not so great, groups rally for solar energy tax credits, plastic bag fee, $3.2M award in Maui cliff death despite alcohol, marijuana use, state financial securities enforcer demoted after probe into his past, Hawaii councilors wonder whether tax hike was necessary, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Ed Case, Mazie Hirono

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono will appear with former U.S. Rep. Ed Case at five joint forums and debates before the Demo­cratic primary for U.S. Senate in August, but she agreed to only one televised forum and bypassed debates offered by the state's major news outlets. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono's decision not to accept any debates on major television networks has prompted her opponent to call the decision "an insult to Hawaii voters." Civil Beat.

After months of prodding from Congressman Ed Case (D-HI, 2002-2007), Congresswoman Mazie Hirono has finally agreed to debate him. Hawaii Reporter.

Mazie Hirono and Ed Case are at odds over the number of debates and joint appearances scheduled before the primary election in their race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. Hawaii News Now.

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono will participate in five debates with former Congressman Ed Case leading up to Hawaii's Primary Election, in her bid for the U.S. Senate. KHON2.

Seeking elected office means defending your positions against your rivals' — including within your own party. But when U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono refused any debates on network TV with her Democratic primary opponent Ed Case, she did a disservice to the people of Hawaii. (commentary) Civil Beat.

With Earth Day just days away, environmentalists and retail merchants made a last-ditch effort Thursday to convince state lawmakers that a bill that would impose a statewide 10-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper checkout bags deserves to be heard and voted on. Star-Advertiser.

With the Legislature set to adjourn in just two weeks, supporters of solar energy tax credits are ramping up their efforts to hang on to incentives they say are needed to ensure the industry's continued success.Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s renewable energy tax credits, which are credited with helping the state’s solar energy industry to reach new heights, are now backed by a report saying that they yield a clear, significant net fiscal benefit to the state. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawmakers are on the verge of lopping off some $22 million from the Department of Education's school bus budget, which officials say will force thousands of students to find new ways to get to class. Civil Beat.

House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro said the state Department of Education's repeated warnings about possible massive cuts of school bus service are "irresponsible fear-mongering." Star-Advertiser.

House and Senate conference committee members have just over a week to reach agreement on measures they want to see passed this legislative session. Associated Press.

Three Board of Education members have been confirmed by the Senate for terms through June 30, 2015. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate has confirmed the appointment of four new members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, effective July 1, and renewed the appointment of two others, effective immediately. Tribune-Herald.

Peter Hsieh, the newly-hired head of enforcement in the state office that regulates financial securities, has been demoted following news stories in Hawaii Reporter about his serious personal financial problems, the state said today. Hawaii Reporter.

A federal grand jury yesterday indicted a Correctional Officer at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, on five counts of sexual abuse of a prison ward. Maui Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $34 million to upgrade state facilities. KHON2.

Oahu

The first mayoral debate of 2012 is scheduled for less than two weeks from now, when Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle and Ben Cayetano all participate in what organizers are calling “pupus and politics” at the Plaza Club. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Senate appropriations committee is supporting a bill allocating $250 million for a rail line in Honolulu.  Associated Press.

A major rail contractor won approval for a $15.9 million change order Thursday to cover increasing prices for steel and other materials for the 20-mile Hono­lulu rail system. Star-Advertiser.

More than a dozen Traffic Division officers with the Honolulu Police Department left the state Capitol disappointed Thursday after House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a compromise on the so-called "Move Over" bill. KITV4.

City transportation officials want to make changes to 21 of Oahu's 100 city bus routes this summer, giving riders until May to have a say in the final plan. Star-Advertiser.

You could tell who was at the Kaimuki Community Park Thursday night by the dozens of bicycles that were parked and locked all over the park and surrounding areas. Hawaii News Now.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is calling an emergency meeting for authorization to enter private property where boulders rolled down a Honolulu mountainside and crashed into houses. KHON2.

Hawaii

Two West Hawaii council members are asking why Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration had urged the County Council to raise property taxes in 2010 to the tune of $23 million when the county ultimately ended that year with a $24 million surplus. West Hawaii Today.

Three County Elections Office employees who say they were wrongfully terminated and publicly humiliated by county of Hawaii officials have made their Settlement Offer with the county public. Hawaii Reporter.

The attorney representing three fired election workers stood outside council chambers Thursday, blasting the “gang of four” inside who denied his offer to settle their claims without a lawsuit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Fire Department will soon be getting at least five new trucks, free of charge. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A dangerous scenic Maui overlook remains open despite a $3.2 million court decision that found the state liable for the death of a 16-year-old in a car that plunged off the cliff, according to the teenager's mother. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza ruled this week that the state was entirely at fault, writing: "The court finds and concludes that the condition of the accident site, and not the presence of alcohol and/or marijuana in Denis Callo's body, was the sole cause of the accident." Civil Beat.

A Maui judge found the state was liable for the deaths of two people in a car that plunged 150 feet from a scenic overlook in 2005 and must pay more than $3.2 million in damages. Associated Press.

Board members of the embattled Wailuku Main Street Association appealed to the Maui County Council on Wednesday to restore their $243,000 county grant, saying they had been "good stewards" of taxpayer dollars. Maui News.

The Walmart Foundation today donated a $115,000 refrigerated food truck to the Maui Food Bank in Wailuku as part of the Feeding America campaign. Maui Now.

Kauai

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative on Thursday jointly broke ground on what will become the largest solar energy facility on Kaua‘i, a 6-megawatt utility-scale solar photovoltaic facility at Port Allen. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hawaii Legislature down to the wire, plastic bag fee unlikely this session, Obama declares Kauai disaster, Honolulu rail argued in court, Maui wind farm set to break ground, fired Big Island workers willing to settle, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii state Capitol (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
House and Senate conference committee members have just over a week to reach agreement on measures they want to see passed this legislative session. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s first lady is joining environmental groups in calling on state lawmakers to take a vote on a bill that would charge a fee every time a shopper chooses a disposable paper or plastic bag. Associated Press.

Once touted as one the biggest environmental measures of the year, a bill that would charge consumers for single-use bags at the check-out counter appears to be on its deathbed. Civil Beat.

Senate Democrats Help Each Other Raise Campaign Cash. Civil Beat.

An overhaul of Hawaii's criminal justice and corrections system is moving forward at the state capitol. KHON2.

Two bills that had proposed raising fees on state-chartered banks and other financial institutions have failed to pass the Hawaii Legislature — leaving the state’s Division of Financial Institutions with budget deficits in the coming years. Pacific Business News.

Lawmakers approved a bill that will require cell phone or communication service providers to assist law enforcement agencies in determining the location of a cell phone in emergency situations. Maui Now.

Incumbent Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and her Republican challenger, former Congressman Charles Djou, are building their campaign warchests in anticipation of a November showdown. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants will see their wages rise by 15 percent over the next four years under the terms of a new contract. Star-Advertiser.

A new educational exchange program is planned for students and teachers in the Asia Pacific region. Hawaii Public Radio.

A little more than a year after the Times named Alvin Kuo Wong the Happiest Man in America, he's now trying to create a nonprofit think tank devoted to happiness while continuing to run his company, which helps physicians cope with reduced medical reimbursements. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu

The city of Honolulu has agreed to pay $1.2 million for water quality improvements on the Waianae Coast to settle a state Health Department fine for dumping truckloads of concrete slabs into a West Oahu stream used by endangered Hawaiian birds. Associated Press.

The state Department of Health and Honolulu have agreed on a $1.2 million settlement in one of Hawaii’s most controversial water pollution cases. Associated Press.

The environmentalist who brought to the forefront one of Hawaii's most controversial water pollution cases ever says the state's $1.4 million fine against the city is an insult to taxpayers. KHON2.

A motion to dismiss portions of a federal lawsuit challenging Honolulu’s $5.3 billion rail project was argued in court this morning, with U.S. Senior Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima to issue a ruling later. Hawaii Reporter.

A Honolulu City Council committee has approved a measure that would ban commercial beach activities at Kailua and Kalama beach parks, seven days a week. Hawaii News Now.

A majority of an estimated 200 people at a meeting at Kailua High School on Wednesday night told City Council members that they want a blanket ban of all commercial activity at the popular Kailua and Kalama beach parks. Star-Advertiser.

The city will seize and sell a derelict three-story Waikiki apartment building if its owners do not pay the taxes on the property that has sometimes been used by squatters and drug abusers in recent years. Star-Advertiser.

The city will spend nearly $1 million to renovate nine Waikiki public restrooms that residents, business owners and tourists have described as gross and, at times, unusable. Star-Advertiser.

It's Your Money: Council Spends on Travel and TVs. Civil Beat.

Grand opening ceremonies were held Wednesday  for the latest Whole Foods Market in Hawaii. KITV4.

Hawaii

Three fired election workers who threatened a $1.5 million lawsuit were willing to accept $10,000 each, a public apology and their jobs back, according to a settlement offer obtained Wednesday by West Hawaii Today. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Billy Kenoi on Wednesday defended his $365.3 million budget before a County Council largely skeptical about whether the administration has trimmed the size and cost of government as much as he’s said. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Sempra US Gas & Power breaks ground on the new 21-megawatt Auwahi Wind Farm project in Ulupalkua on Maui next week. Maui Now.

Children from Wailuku's Kehalani master-planned community would attend the new Puu Kukui Elementary School, under attendance boundaries being considered by the state Department of Education. Maui News.

Real estate developer Peter Savio will meet with Lanai residents today to offer fee-simple ownership in a 24-unit town house complex built in 1990.Maui News.

Kauai
President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Kauai County on Wednesday, making available millions in federal money to repair damage incurred by flooding and landslides on the Garden Isle March 3-11. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday issued a disaster declaration for Hawai‘i, clearing the way for federal funds to cover 75 percent of the costs of emergency work and repairs or replacement of public property damaged by the storms and flooding that hit Kaua‘i in early March. Garden Island.

Molokai

Paschoal Hall in Kalaupapa is one of the historic preservation projects chosen state-wide to be honored by the Historic Hawaii Foundation. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hawaii Board Of Education adopts teacher evaluations, state sees record gun registrations, judge strikes rail procurement rule, Thielen defies Dems, runs for state Senate, Hawaii mayor meets with Hawaiian dissident, Maui council considers ag land exemptions, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Neil Abercrombie at BOE, courtesy photo
Gov. Neil Abercrombie made a rare appearance by a governor before the Board of Education on Tuesday to support the transition to a performance evaluation system for teachers and principals, saying such education reforms can wait no longer. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously voted in favor of a plan that would tie teachers’ and principals’ pay to their performance, as well as develop evaluation criteria at Hawaii’s roughly 250 public schools. Associated Press.

A week after the Legislature abandoned its effort, the Hawaii Board of Education unanimously approved three policies regarding performance evaluations for teachers and principals. Civil Beat.

The Board of Education voted in favor of creating new educator evaluations at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii State Board of Education unanimously approved a plan today that would base teacher and principal salaries on their performance, but it's not a done deal yet. KHON2.

The Hawaii State Department of Education has expanded its teacher evaluation pilot program for the 2012-13 school year. KHON2.


U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa




U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa reported raised $224,000 in the first quarter of 2012, compared to GOP challenger former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou's $84,000. Star-Advertiser.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case said Tuesday that he raised $138,000 in the past three months for his Demo­cratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate, trailing U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, his primary opponent, who raised more than $1 million in that period, and Former Gov. Linda Lingle, the leading Republican candidate, who raised $1.3 million in the past quarter. Star-Advertiser.

Defying the guidance of state Democrats, Laura H. Thielen, a director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, said Tuesday that she will run as a Demo­crat for state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate confirmed two of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's appointees to the state Commission on Water Resources Management despite some senators' concerns about their qualifications and the nomination process. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate confirmed Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s nominees to the water commission on Tuesday amid rising opposition toward the candidates and concerns about irregularities in the nominating process. Civil Beat.

A concerted effort by environmental groups and dozens of individuals to block the appointment of Maui businessman Ted Yamamura to the state Commission on Water Resource Management fell fall short of the mark today in the state Senate. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Department of the Attorney General reported Tuesday record levels of firearm registrations and permit applications in 2011. A record 36,804 guns were registered in Hawaii in 2011 — a 17.2 percent increase from the previous high, set the year before. Star-Advertiser.

A Circuit Court Judge has approved a settlement for victims of five data breaches that occurred at the University of Hawaii and its campuses over the past two years. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Electric Co. and Hawaiian Electric Co. ranked among the top 10 utilities nationwide in the amount of photovoltaic generating capacity installed by their customers, an industry trade group said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii did nothing wrong in GSA scandal. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for April 18. Associated Press.

Oahu

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto on Tuesday struck down a procurement rule that the city used to award more than $144 million in rail-related contracts, declaring the 1995 rule invalid because it conflicts with state procurement law. It was not immediately clear what effect, if any, the ruling might have on the city's contracts with rail consultants PB Americas Inc. and InfraConsult LLC. Star-Advertiser.

The City Council Transportation Committee chair, Mayor Peter Carlisle, along with other city officials and community members, are planning to walk the streets of Moiliili this afternoon. The city is looking for ways to improve the sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists. KITV4.

Hawaii Research Services Group LLC has been awarded a $7 million indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract by the Army for the procurement of information management and software engineering support services. Pacific Business News.

Teen runs for Honolulu City Council. Hawaii News Now.

Kea‘au update: “The Governor will not be intervening”  on homeless evictions. Hawaii Independent.

The homeless are on the move in Leeward Oahu.  About 200 people have been moved out of Keaau Beach Park. Now the massive cleanup effort begins. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi and staff on Tuesday visited Abel Simeona Lui at Kawa Bay, but left without rendering a decision on Lui’s future at the Ka’u site. West Hawaii Today.

After spending its second two-hour closed-door session in as many weeks, the Hawaii County Council on Tuesday apparently rejected a settlement offer from three fired election workers who have threatened a lawsuit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is looking to spread its nonprofit funding to a few more programs in its next budget. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County had 6,603 gun registrations last year. Based on the population, that was “a 36 percent greater-than-expected share of processed applications,” an Attorney General report said. The county also had the highest rate of rejected applications — 3.8 percent. Tribune-Herald.

Coffee farmers and processors remain at odds over proposed legislation that would get rid of mandatory coffee inspections and grading. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Among Junket Destinations for GSA Official. Big Island Now.

Maui

After a contentious debate about a proposal to tax homes on ag land the same as residential properties, Maui County councilors could push back that plan in favor of first creating a system for farmers to receive tax benefits by dedicating their land to agriculture. Maui News.

Maui Electric Company is ranked seventh in the nation in a list of top utilities for solar power. Maui Now.

Four community groups are suing Maui County in federal court over alleged environmental violations at a Lahaina treatment plant. Associated Press.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i County Housing Agency wants to help more low-income residents with rental assistance this year, Housing Director Eugene Jimenez told the County Council at a budget meeting Tuesday. Garden Island.

Contractors Association of Kaua‘i celebrates 20 years. Garden Island.

Molokai

Maui County Council candidate for Kahului, Don Guzman will be hosting a “Talk Story” meeting on the island of Molokai this Thursday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. Molokai Dispatch.