Monday, February 4, 2013

Farm bills up for debate, disclosure sought for long-term car homes, pioneering legislator Hale dies, gas prices spike, Kauai council seeks garbage plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waipio Valley taro farms (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
From protecting taro lands to regulating genetically modified food, the House Agriculture Committee is expecting to have a full plate when it meets today in Honolulu. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers will consider a number of proposals this week related to the budget, university tuition and local farms. Hawaii News Now.

Unlike the majority of states, Hawaii does not place its state inspection results for long-term care facilities online. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Human Services, which oversees some of the care homes, isn’t so much concerned with having to post the records online as it is in clarifying the legislation to reflect which department oversees which care homes. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers want to spend $100,000 to get unwanted guns off the streets, saying it will help the state avoid a mass shooting like those seen in Colo­rado and Connecticut last year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's four mayors are aligned with the president when it comes to strengthening federal gun laws. But they don't think we need stricter regulations here at home. Civil Beat.

Sleeping at a bus stop could soon come with a stiff penalty. KHON2.

To provide the best education, higher education facilities must look to industries in their vicinity and businesses must look to how they can support research universities in a critical partnership, University of Hawai‘i President M.R.C. Greenwood said recently. Garden Island.

The number of bankruptcies in Hawaii last month dropped 25 percent to the lowest level in January since 2008, according to statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

There is nothing wrong with rejoicing over a record visitor year in 2012 - but it's useful to take note of areas where more growth will be needed to attain the last peaks of the local hospitality industry. Hawaii News Now.

Prices at the pump have jumped seven cents in just one week, 17 cents from a month ago.  And local economists say prices are only expected to rise. KITV4.

State roundup for February 4. Associated Press.

Oahu

Should the State Buy Turtle Bay For $50M to Keep Country, Country? That’s what one bill before lawmakers would seem to suggest. Civil Beat.

Economists think the closure of the Tesoro refinery was unavoidable, given the small size of Hawaii's oil market and the state's pursuit of alternative energy policies designed to make the local oil market even smaller. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Helene Hale, whose political career started before Hawaii’s statehood and who, as chairman of the county Board of Supervisors in the 1960s, was the first woman mayor in the state, died of natural causes Friday night at her Hilo home. She was 94. Tribune-Herald.

A specific memory came to mind when Brian DeLima learned that Helene Hale, Hawaii's first female mayor and a Merrie Monarch Festival founder, had died. It was one he said encompasses her widely known spunk and fearlessness. Star-Advertiser.

County crews were able to divert only 5.6 percent of the 12,524 tons of garbage brought to the sort station during its first eight months of operation, a far cry from the up to 40 percent diversion rate originally anticipated by county officials. West Hawaii Today.

Several Big Island lawmakers are once again seeking to put someone else in charge of Hilo’s resort district. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

An appeal pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court is holding up the start of construction on the $300 million Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, a joint project atop Haleakala by the University of Hawaii and the National Science Foundation. Maui News.

Maui High School has captured its fifth state title at the Hawaii Regional Science Bowl since 2002 and is headed to the nation's capital after defeating private and public schools from across the state. Star-Advertiser.

Work has begun on two fenced enclosures in the West Maui Mountains that aim to attract two threatened native seabirds to protect them from predators and to encourage them to nest with techniques including broadcasts of their calls. Maui News.

Following a record-breaking year for Hawaii’s visitor industry, Honolulu, Kahului and Lihu’e airports have won US ANNIE Airport Awards for traffic growth and success in establishing new routes and increasing air sets in 2012. Maui Now.

Kauai

A $1.8 million contract with a consulting firm — which includes the environmental consequences of a new landfill and a feasibility study on a mega-recycling center piggy-backing on the landfill —allows for only two informational meetings with the Kaua‘i County Council. Garden Island.

Kauai's second-largest private landholder wants the state to designate about 11,000 acres it owns as "important agricultural land" under a 2005 state law, but advising agencies are divided on whether the entire area deserves the special status. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is issuing an executive order to allow the state to take emergency actions to restore fire-damaged forest on Kauai. Garden Island.

Molokai

After 40 years in the same location, Molokai Fish and Dive is being moved into the gas station next door in a process that will bring several changes to the popular ocean gear and tour provider. Molokai Dispatch.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, a unified group of charter school students and teachers, environmentalist, conservationalist, Hawaiian rights activists, people of all ethnic backgrounds, and families trekked a three mile march, from Buckman Hall on the University of Hawaii campus to the State Capital, in an effort to push for labeling GMO foods. Molokai Dispatch.