What they're saying about Hawaii

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hawaii restricts kayaking, Steven Tyler paparazzi bill up for Senate vote, teachers fear for pay hikes, Legislature mulls arcane Maui dance ban, big Puna marijuana bunker busted, 220,000 barrels of Kona beer, Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto arrested, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii kayakers (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
There are more fees and restrictions on kayaking. The Department of Land and Natural Resources said it's to protect the wildlife, but kayak companies say it's hurting their business. KITV4.

The state Senate is expected to vote Tuesday  on a bill that would give celebrities in Hawaii a new legal tool against paparazzi. Star-Advertiser.

The state treasury has gotten itself out of a $1 billion investment pickle. The Department of Budget and Finance has arranged to cash out its remaining position in a huge investment that was hard to exit and attracted withering criticism from the state auditor three years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Citigroup Inc. has agreed to buy back from the state of Hawaii the last $231 million of $1.1 billion in auction-rate securities that it had sold to the state five years ago, before the market began to collapse. Pacific Business News.

The union for public school teachers says contract talks are at a critical point as a deadline for budget legislation looms at the state Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s old schools need more than a fresh coat of paint to make them new again, state officials say. The facilities need to be overhauled to ensure students are learning in a 21st century environment, which involves flexible floor plan designs and advanced technology. Two school land bills, which face a big test Tuesday, propose public-private partnerships to help the district upgrade existing facilities and build new schools. Civil Beat.

The federal government has started sending out furlough notices that may affect tens of thousands of workers in Hawaii as a result of sequestration. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the state's largest industrial employer, held a town hall meeting Monday to discuss the issue, the first of about 10 such meetings scheduled for this week with more than 4,000 affected civilian workers, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Budget fights are continuing in Washington this week. The jury’s still out on what the impact of Friday’s so called sequestration will be for Hawaii. But it’s left many of the state’s non-profits worried about the loss in federal funding. Hawaii Public Radio.

As more people vote absentee, the potential for voter fraud and voter intimidation also grows. There are at least two bills moving through the Legislature that bar candidates from handling ballots or helping voters fill them out. Civil Beat.

Flooding and drought hit Hawaii taro farmers hard last year, reducing estimated production of the crop to its lowest level in at least 20 years. Star-Advertiser.

Lanai’s owner, Larry Ellison, wasn’t the only billionaire with strong Hawaii ties to make Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people this year. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the only full-time Hawaii resident on the list, tied for No. 123 with four other global tycoons. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for March 5. Associated Press.

Oahu

Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto was arrested in Tokyo on Tuesday, Japan time, on suspicion of violating corporate tax law, the Japanese television network NTV reported. The money was used to buy art for the museum Kawamoto was building in Hawaii, the network reported. Star-Advertiser.

Plans to develop the Ala Wai Boat Harbor will shut down its one and only fueling dock. KHON2.

U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi says the sweepstakes machines that police seized from six Oahu arcades in September appear to be gambling devices prohibited under state law. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Liquor Commission Administrator Greg Nishioka told his investigators to refrain from arresting people and stop using handcuffs and other gear following an incident of alleged excessive force by two investigators about one year ago. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and supporters of the (de)Occupy Honolulu movement agree on at least one thing: The trees in Thomas Square should be trimmed and other park improvements made. Star-Advertiser.

Under Mayor Kirk Caldwell's newly proposed budget, Old Stadium Park and dozens of other areas around Oahu would get new life. Hawaii News Now.

Despite a series of construction delays and concern about risking NCAA certification, the University of Hawaii said the $13 million Clarence T. C. Ching Athletic Complex will be completed by its end-of-December deadline. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Despite an annual budget of only $12,600 for travel-related costs for three county professional associations, five County Council members are currently attending the National Association of Counties convention in Washington, D.C., a trip that is likely to cost $3,000 per council member. West Hawaii Today.

A two-year investigation ended with the dismantling of an elaborate underground bunker used to grow marijuana in Glenwood, the confiscation of more than 500 marijuana plants, about 10 pounds of dried marijuana and some hashish and the arrest of two people. Star-Advertiser.

A mainland-based developer has completed the purchase of 52 lots from The Club at Hokulia. West Hawaii Today.

A former Hakalau man is being accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing boys he had adopted and using them for cheap labor on his farm. Tribune-Herald.

Attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of two men accusing Father George DeCosta, a revered Big Island priest, of sexually abusing two boys while he worked as a chaplain at a Catholic school on Oahu. Tribune-Herald.

Kona Brewing Co.’s shipments totaled 220,000 barrels of beer in 2012, an increase of 27.3 percent from the 172,800 barrels that were shipped in 2011, the Hawaii-based company said. Pacific Business News.

Maui

Establishments that serve alcohol on Maui are required to limit dancing to dance floors, which have to be at least 100 square feet, clearly designated and alcohol-free. The Senate is planning to vote today on a bill that would require county liquor commissions to define the term “dancing” in response to many complaints about the regulations. Associated Press.

About 25 state Department of Land and Natural Resources employees and volunteers from the Maui Community Action Committee joined together to plant more than 50 Haleakala silverswords within the Kahikinui Forest Reserve on Saturday morning. Maui News.

Four small-town projects have been awarded an estimated total of $67,000 in the county Planning Department's first round of "small town planning" grant program awards, the county announced. Maui News.

The state House unanimously passed a bill out of its chamber for the purchase of land at Lipoa Point on Maui for permanent preservation. Maui Now.

A talk show will focus on Maui County's recent efforts to convert the island's solid waste into energy in an effort to cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene. Maui News.

Kauai

More than 300 hundred people gathered at Waimea Canyon Middle School Sunday afternoon for a presentation about the effects of Atrazine, a herbicide used in agricultural fields near Waimea — a town described by Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte as the “central battle ground” in a fight against biotech companies and genetically modified organisms. Garden Island.

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