Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Land Board considers Thirty Meter Telescope, Hawaii Legislature snuffs out pot bill, Honolulu rail opponents file appeal, Coco Palms resort seeks more time, power for Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Thirty Meter Telescope rally in Hilo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Dozens of supporters, and an even larger cadre of opponents, lined the streets outside and the hallways inside the Hawaii County Building in Hilo on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the final hearing for a construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii will not be following Colorado and Washington state on legalizing marijuana — at least not this year. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Hawaii died in the state House on Tuesday. Associated Press.

State tax credits for residents who install rooftop solar systems are no longer a good deal for the state and could end up costing Hawaii taxpayers $1.4 billion over the long term, according to a new report by University of Hawaii economists. Civil Beat.

Hawaii representatives are pushing forward a bill that would require certain businesses to post signs with information on resources for victims of human trafficking. Associated Press.

Critics are taking aim at a bill moving through the Legislature that they say is an attempt to shield one member of the now-defunct Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force from state ethics laws. Civil Beat.

House lawmakers advance gambling measure. Bill clarifies gambling laws to cover 'sweepstakes' machines. KITV4.

Tenacious anti trafficking advocacy organizations are working to get passed new laws that increase penalties for patrons of prostitution. Hawaii Reporter.

A bill working through the Legislature would impose a penny per ounce fee on sugary beverages — sports drinks, juice and soda — at the distributor level. West Hawaii Today.

The Tourism industry experienced record visitor arrivals and spending last year … prompting the Governor to propose a bill to raise hotel room taxes. Hawaii Public Radio.

University Officials Find It Hard to Break Habit of Secrecy. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim has chosen a Monsanto lobbyist to be on the group that recommends candidates for the state water commission. Civil Beat.

State roundup for February 13. Associated Press.

Oahu

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano and other plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit trying to stop Honolulu’s elevated-rail mass-transit project filed an appeal Tuesday in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Pacific Business News.

Representatives of the city Department of Planning and Permitting got more than an earful of negative comments at a public hearing Tuesday about the orientation of a planned $180 million condominium-hotel tower proposed for Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is asking the mayor for a moratorium on enforcing certain components of a parks commercial-activity ban. KHON2.

A city law that took effect last summer has all but canned this year's nonprofit Pineapple Festival in Wahiawa, and the Hale­iwa Arts Festival will also have to be scrapped unless a change is made. Star-Advertiser.

Bill to increase chicken ownership. Hawaii News Now.

A planned project to build two homes near the entrance of a popular hiking trail in Aina Haina has stirred questions from some area residents who worry the project will lead to more construction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The federal Social Security Administration on Tuesday resumed face-to-face visits in Kona and has scheduled two more visits at the West Hawaii Civic Center before once again discontinuing the service. West Hawaii Today.

A 3rd Circuit Court judge has stopped at least some development at the Villages of Aina Lea project in South Kohala until the land owner files a supplemental environmental impact statement. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Community College at Palamanui may soon clear a hurdle if the University of Hawaii Board of Regents decides to issue revenue bonds to cover the remaining cost of the long-awaited project. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Upcountry Maui is the heart of the island’s agricultural community, with a bounty of flowers, produce, livestock and, of course, world-famous Maui onions. Star-Advertiser.

For a second time, Haiku clothing designer Lisa Letarte Cabrinha has landed one of her bikinis on the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover, which hits newsstands today. Maui News.

Goodfellow Bros. says that it is laying off 100 workers as a result of a Land Use Commission ruling against the Kihei Malls development (aka “Kihei Mega-Mall”). Maui Now.

Maui County has been awarded a grant for technical assistance to develop green streets strategies that would use a combination of vegetation and innovative engineering techniques to manage storm water, the Environmental Protection Agency and members of Hawaii's congressional delegation announced last week. Maui News.

Kauai

Retired car dealer James Henry Pflueger lied about how much in taxes he owed on the sale of a commercial property in San Diego because he needed the money for his legal expenses in the Ka Loko Dam disaster and other judgments, federal prosecutor Les Osborne said Tuesday in opening statements of Pflueger’s conspiracy and tax evasion trial. Star-Advertiser.

The owner of Coco Palms Resort, after allowing a set of key permits to expire last month, has requested an extension, saying that they are in negotiations with a “Hawaiian group” to develop the property. Garden Island.

Hawaii regulators have approved the power-purchase agreement between the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and Unitek Solvent Services Inc. Pacific Business News.

Senator Mazie Hirono will be on Kaua‘i Feb. 18 to meet with U.S. military veterans of all eras. Garden Island.

Molokai

A kapa pattern symbolizing ancestry, family and transportation will mark the turboprop aircraft flown by Hawaii’s newest interisland operation when `Ohana by Hawaiian inaugurates service to Molokai and Lanai this summer. Molokai Dispatch.