Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taxes, bag fee sought for watershed protection, homeless, public housing smoking ban mulled in Legislature, Maui to monitor vehicle use with eye in the sky, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Freshwater stream flows into Kawa Bay (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Environmental advocates are urging the Hawaii Legislature to help preserve Hawaii’s water by increasing taxes on high-end property sales. Associated Press.

Boosting funds for watershed and forest preservation programs, either through an increase in taxes on expensive real estate transactions or a fee on single-use plastic checkout bags, remains a priority for the Abercrombie administration, the state's land and natural resources director said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Legislature: Thousands of Bills, So Little Time. Civil Beat.

Several Hawaii lawmakers want tougher ethics laws for lobbyists and public officials. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Filipino Chamber of Commerce says Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will lead the organization's upcoming trade mission to the Philippines. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s consumer advocate has reached a settlement with the state’s major electric utility that rejects $60 million in expenditures that Hawaiian Electric Co. was hoping to recover from customers. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has agreed to reduce by $60 million the amount of revenue it will seek to recover from ratepayers as a result of a settlement the utility negotiated with the state consumer advocate. Star-Advertiser.

The number of new foreclosure lawsuits filed against Hawaii property owners stayed above 300 for a second consecutive month in December, as lenders continue to file more cases since state foreclosure law was overhauled in June. Star-Advertiser.

A bill seeking the establishment of a return-to-home program for homeless in Hawai’i is being considered at the state Legislature. Maui Now.

A bill that would provide an overnight parking lot for homeless persons narrowly survived a committee hearing at the House Monday morning. Garden Island.

More than 10-thousand families are on the wait-list for Public Housing in Hawai’i. As a result… state lawmakers want to curb systemic abuse and tighten the rules to qualify for low rental housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Anyone living in public housing can forget about smoking at home if a proposed ban passes. KHON2.

Rock climbers lobby lawmakers. Bills to limit liability for rock climbing on state land. KITV4.

Conservationists say they've successfully eliminated harmful, non-native rats from remote, uninhabited Palmyra Atoll. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for January 29. Associated Press.

Oahu

The film industry brings roughly $180 million and 2,500 jobs to Hawaii each year, but productions that choose to film here are met by a dilapidated studio that has suffered from scarce funding and years of wear and tear. Civil Beat.

With tuition at the University of Hawaii rising 141 percent over the last 11 years, female students have found an unconventional method to cover the cost of education that can now cost nearly $10,000 a year for an undergraduate degree. They are signing up in record numbers with SeekingArrangement.com, a dating web site that openly boasts it will find them their perfect "Sugar Daddy." Hawaii Reporter.

The 40th Honolulu Marathon generated a record $132.8 million in visitor spending in December, according to a study released Monday by Hawaii Pacific University. Hawaii News Now.

Two boulders dislodged during heavy rain tumbled about 20 feet down a Kalihi Valley hillside early Monday morning, damaging a home and narrowly missing four people sleeping inside. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, former Governor Ben Cayetano, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, State Senator Sam Slom and former Senator Richard Henderson were among the people who spoke at a memorial service for Wilfred Clinton "Buddy" Soares on Saturday at Holy Trinity Church in Hawaii Kai. Hawaii Reporter.

On Facebook he describes himself as a "wounded warrior … very wounded." Schofield Barracks soldier Brendan Marrocco, the first service member to survive losing all four limbs in the Iraq War, received a double arm transplant Dec. 18, doctors revealed Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state of Hawaii and Hawaiian Electric Co. have reached an agreement that will result in the withdrawal of a rate increase request submitted for the Big Island, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. Pacific Business News.

Big Island legislators say they have serious concerns about a construction company’s decision to withdraw its bid for the Hawaii Community College at Palamanui project. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Medical Center and other public health care facilities across the state face having to resort to “painful choices” as they deal with diminishing resources, according to an editorial distributed Monday by CEO Howard Ainsley. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. filed on Friday a final request for proposals for expanding geothermal power on the island. Tribune-Herald.

Flying steerage just took on a whole new meaning. Pacific Air Cargo, using 727 airplanes leased from Kalitta Air, is taking Big Island cattle to the West Coast on a weekly basis, CEO Beti Ward said. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County has adopted a comprehensive vehicle use policy and has taken steps to use eye-in-the-sky technology to track employees' use of official vehicles. Maui News.

The Legislature is again trying to serve the counties with a footloose challenge, as two state senate bills are trying to get the counties find the elusive definition of dancing. Garden Island.

Five Mauians, including the late planner Chris Hart, will be honored for their work to preserve Maui's environment by the Maui Group of the Sierra Club at its annual meeting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i’s elected leaders say that Hawai‘i has tough gun laws and that it may be premature to enact more legislation without a deeper look. Garden Island.

County employees donated $18,900 in total to the Kaua‘i United way in 2012, officials announced this week. Garden Island.