Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abercrombie seeks redo of Public Land Development Corp., Hawaii union membership rises, Legislature mulls sugar tax, legal marijuana, $750M to fix Honolulu airport, Hawaii County Council fights geothermal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ala Wai boat harbor (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The Abercrombie administration wants state lawmakers to create a new development authority for state harbors and parks that would partner with the private sector on recreational and leisure projects to bring new revenue for the state. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's efforts to strengthen its lobbying laws have consistently fallen victim to a resistant Legislature. Civil Beat.

Allowing a greater swath of the population to take advantage of solar energy and save money on their electricity bills is a top priority for Gov. Neil Abercrombie this legislative session. Civil Beat.

Union membership in Hawaii rose in 2012 even as the unionization rate declined nationally. Star-Advertiser.

Several key Hawaii lawmakers want to legalize marijuana in the Aloha State. Associated Press.

Bills that reform Hawaii’s marijuana laws are likely to gain traction in the state Legislature this year, bolstered by a change in House leadership and a new poll that reassures lawmakers of broad public support. Honolulu Weekly.

Four Hawaii senators want to charge 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar in each drink and use the revenue to fund community health centers and help trauma victims.  They say the tax would translate to about 10 cents per 12-ounce soda. KITV4.

Hawaii governors have a lot of appointment power. They include Cabinet members and deputy directors, judges and justices, members of board and commissions. Civil Beat.

Federal attorney Derrick Watson appeared Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering whether to send his nomination as Hawaii's fourth full-time U.S. district judge to the Senate floor for a vote. Star-Advertiser.

As tourism fuels recovery in Hawaii, the state's tourism marketers are focusing on getting more visitors to sample neighbor islands, where hotels have more free rooms. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii President MRC Greenwood Goes to Washington During Inauguration to Lobby for Presidential Center. Hawaii Reporter.

The largest supplier of flu vaccines in Hawaii has run out of some products. KHON2.

State briefs 1/24. Associated Press.

Oahu
Travelers passing through Honolulu Airport can expect to see construction start later this year on a $750 million effort to erect new terminals, larger gates, a new rental car building and other improvements at Hawaii's busiest ­— but aging — commercial airport. Star-Advertiser.

A developer's request to raise the height limit for a new $275 million hotel in Waikiki gets its first airing before the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee today. Star-Advertiser.

The city of Honolulu has paid an exterminator $17,372 to eradicate bedbug infestations at two city-owned affordable housing complexes. Civil Beat.

Schofield soldiers train for mission as 'key leaders' of Afghan troops. Star-Advertiser.

A fiber optic cable near one that broke during a fire last Tuesday was intentionally cut Wednesday night, affecting phone and cable services around the state for the second time in less than two weeks. Hawaii News Now.

Eddie Sherman, the longtime three-dot columnist who wrote about celebrities for the Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and MidWeek, died Tuesday at Straub Clinic & Hospital after a massive heart attack at home, said his wife, Patty Sherman. He was 88. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Newspaper Columnist Eddie Sherman Dies at 89. Hawaii Reporter.

A bus rider was caught off guard by an army of rats. He couldn't believe his eyes and had to pull out his cell phone to catch it all on video. KHON2.

Olive Garden tops a list of national retailers eyeing a Hawaii debut. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii
Hawaii County residents offered a unified front against actions the Legislature took last year regarding what areas of the state could be used for geothermal energy. West Hawaii Today.

Almost three months after Hawaii County evicted Abel Simeona Lui and a group of Native Hawaiians claiming indigenous rights to the 784-acre oceanfront parcel, the property, purchased with taxpayer money through the public lands and open space fund, remains in limbo as the county works with community groups on how best to proceed. West Hawaii Today.

A Big Island lawmaker believes it’s “high time” for Hawaii to legalize marijuana. Tribune-Herald.

February marks the start of the Year of the Snake on the Chinese calendar, and the traditional celebration of the Chinese New Year nearly slithered away from downtown Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Three Projects Critical to the Big Island Economy. Big Island Now.

Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph, the Tribune-Herald’s running columnist who promoted health and fitness as his life’s motto, died Tuesday night. He was 65. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui Planning Commission members reviewed and recommended approval Tuesday of a bill to permit transient vacation rentals at the 230-unit Puamana oceanfront resort complex in Lahaina. Maui News.

During more than 40 years as an attorney, B. Martin Luna represented developers at state and county hearings for many resorts and other large projects in Maui County. Maui News.

The 2013 OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the US included three Maui restaurants. Maui Now.

Kauai

The proposed Waimea Sports complex would feature facilities for all ages when it opens. Garden Island.

Wednesday was a good day for the Kaua‘i County Council to push decisions to another day, as all four bills worked by different committees were deferred to February. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County Department of Public Works is offering the public a bus tour of the proposed site for the new landfill and resource recovery park located about a mile north of Hanama‘ulu off Ma‘alo Road. Garden Island.

Molokai

A fisherman and conservationist is being honored for a lifetime of work protecting Molokai's northern coast. Associated Press.