Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Abercrombie launches re-election bid, UPW contract inked, elections, solar credit, ag bills die, beach-born baby rescued, Maui councilor proposes no-new taxes budget, DLNR tackles Native Hawaiian protesters, Tesoro postpones layoffs, Caldwell staff get pay hikes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

United Public Workers contract
UPW Director Nakanelua, Hawaii Gov Abercrombie courtesy photo
More than 9,000 blue-collar workers for the state and counties have a new four-year contract that their union says acknowledges the sacrifices they made during tough budgeting times. Star-Advertiser.

The state inked another union contract Monday, the latest deal to come down before the legislative session comes to a close this week. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and county mayors signed a four-year agreement with United Public Workers Unit 1, which represents some 8,000 blue-collar employees. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has formally launched his campaign to win a second term in 2014, saying Hawaii has built momentum coming out of recession and he wants it to continue. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie formally launched his re-election campaign Monday, citing the state's financial rebound and progress toward his "New Day" agenda as reasons voters should give him a second four-year term. Star-Advertiser.

Joined by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and dozens of friends and supporters at Ward Warehouse Monday, Neil Abercrombie formally kicked off his 2014 re-election. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie launched his re-election campaign Monday, as the Republican Party searched for an opponent to run against him in 2014. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie launched his 2014 campaign for re-election on Monday, promising to keep the state’s economy strong and to improve the educational system. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii lawmakers are preparing to vote on the final bills of the legislative session after a heated week of negotiations, but some advocates are disappointed several initiatives failed in the final hours after gaining momentum earlier. Associated Press.

Hawaii Lawmakers Set to Debate and Pass About 150 Bills in Final Hours of the 2013 Session. Hawaii Reporter.

A bill that would have required an evaluation of the chief election officer after each general election died because of a procedural gaffe in a legislative conference committee last week. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would have changed the state tax credits for solar photovoltaic systems in Hawaii has failed to progress, leaving in place the administrative rules set by the state Department of Taxation that went into effect in November. Pacific Business News.

A contentious but at times comical scrap between Rep. Jessica Wooley and Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz has left in limbo $175 million in revenue bonds to preserve agricultural land. Star-Advertiser.

The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity is underway in Honolulu this week, and one thing they will be looking at is the connection between disabilities and prison incarceration. Hawaii Public Radio.

As a younger member of the Hawaii Supreme Court at age 46, Steven Levinson wrote the landmark opinion issued nearly 20 years ago that launched the debate over same-sex marriage that still reverberates today across the country and in the nation's highest court. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric said on Monday that a record 13.9 percent of energy came from renewable sources last year. KITV4.

Hawaii Teacher: New Teacher Evaluation System Will Damage Education. Civil Beat.

State roundup for April 30. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is taking a pay cut, but those closest to him are already making more than their predecessors in the Carlisle administration. Civil Beat.

Whoever abandoned a newborn girl at Sandy Beach late Sunday night could have avoided prosecution by turning the baby over to the proper authorities, state officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A shocking discovery was made on a south shore beach overnight. A baby just hours old was found abandoned on the sand. KHON2.

There are about 4,000 bus stops on Oahu, and right now there are no restrictions on where people who are waiting for the bus can smoke. Hawaii News Now.

The owner of a local wheel boot company may lose his business if a bill is approved this week at the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Tesoro Hawaii Corp. now says that it will hold off on laying off about 210 of its employees while the Texas-based refiner and marketer of petroleum products remains in discussions with potential buyers for its Kapolei refinery. Pacific Business News.

On Monday, as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell led a walking caravan of local officials through downtown, traffic consultant Dan Burden challenged the group to make the streets there safer for pedestrians. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Sovereignty activists who planted a garden twice without permission near the King Kamehameha the Great statue in Hilo will be billed for the cost of removing their crops, William Aila, state Department of Land and Natural Resources chair, said Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Abel Simeona Lui, the colorful and controversial figure behind recent acts of Hawaiian sovereignty protests and civil disobedience around the island, will spend his 70th birthday in jail Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Real estate agents and appraisers agree — West Hawaii’s real estate market is hot again. West Hawaii Today.

A Fire Department hazardous materials team was unable to determine what caused people in the District courtroom at the Kona Courthouse in Kealakekua to begin coughing Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

On Friday, state legislators approved $100,000 to fund early efforts to launch an international flight training center and advanced aviation degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Safeway has settled a lawsuit filed by a customer over the labeling of its “Kona Blend” coffee. Big Island Now.

Maui

Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mike White is seeking to cut Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed county budget for next fiscal year by $23 million and is proposing to not raise any real property taxes. Maui News.

Council Member Mike White today proposed the stabilization of real property tax rates in fiscal year 2014. Maui Now.

Hale Makua Health Services is accepting applications for financial assistance to its Adult Day Health program in Kahului, thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Maui News.

Results of a remedial investigation of the ‘Āhihi Kīna‘u Natural Area Reserve in South Maui will be discussed during an upcoming public meeting, officials said. Maui Now.

Kauai

Seed crop producer Syngenta will move its Hawaii research operations from Oahu to Kauai in June, a company official said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

County building applications are set to go paperless this week. Effective Wednesday, building applications submitted electronically will receive priority over paper-based applications. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i’s unique topology and weather allows some of the best star gazing conditions at sea level, said Dr. James Dire. Garden Island.