Monday, June 10, 2013

Hawaii media track whistleblower Edward Snowden, GMO crops analyzed, monk seals under attack, pickup truck drives into ocean, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

The Guardian newspaper
Edward Snowden, as seen on The Guardian
The man who detailed two top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs gathered some of the information at his workplace in Hawaii before leaving several weeks ago for Hong Kong, media sources reported Sunday. The Guardian newspaper identified Edward Snowden, 29, as the source of the leaks, which have touched off the latest national debate about secret government monitoring of Americans' activities. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii real estate agent says Edward Snowden and his girlfriend moved out of their home in a quiet neighborhood near Honolulu on May 1, leaving nothing behind. Century 21 real estate agent Kerri Jo Heim says Sunday that the owner of the house wanted the couple out so that the home could be sold. Associated Press.

A weathered American flag sticker on the front window of the Waipahu neighborhood where fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden lived until recently fleeing to Hong Kong reads: “Freedom isn’t free.” The 29-year-old may prove to be one of the most consequential whistleblowers in years, if not decades, for orchestrating intelligence leaks that have left the Obama administration defending widespread domestic monitoring of American citizens. Civil Beat.

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who exposed secrets about government surveillance activities, worked and lived on Oahu before leaving the country to seek asylum. Hawaii News Now.

Residents living on Eleu Street in Waipahu say they are a tight-knit community. Neighbors say Andrew Snowden and his girlfriend didn't speak to anyone in the neighborhood. KITV4.

The whistleblower who leaked classified information about the U.S. government’s secret surveillance programs was identified Sunday as a man who had been living here in Hawaii. KHON2.

The British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ identified the man as Edward Snowden- a 29-year-old contractor who claims to have worked at the National Security Agency and for the CIA. KHON2.

Hotels in Hawaii set monthly records in April for room revenues, revenue per available room and average daily room rates. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a law increasing tax credits for filmmakers to help expand Hawaii's movie industry. Abercrombie signed the measure last week boosting film tax credits from 20 to 25 percent in counties with fewer than 700,000 people. Star-Advertiser.

A bill to create a public financing option aimed at lessening corporate influence on campaign elections died in the final hours of the last state legislative session, which ended May 2. But supporters of election reform are hoping it will resurface next session. Maui News.

Hawaii's congressional delegation has proposed changes to the composition of the state's advisory council on Native Hawaiian educational issues. Under changes proposed Thursday, the Native Hawaiian Education Council would have to include elected officials, and all members would be required to have at least five years of experience in Native Hawaiian education. Star-Advertiser.

Public discussions among University of Hawaii regents about the future of the university's presidency Thursday turned into deep deliberations about the UH's mission and whether its priorities and values are in need of some fine-tuning. Civil Beat.

On Thursday, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents said it will launch a nationwide search for Greenwood’s replacement. In the past, that work has required a head-hunting firm that costs taxpayers more than $100,000. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii chefs and restaurant owners will play a role on two upcoming episodes of the Cooking Channel’s “Man Fire Food with Roger Mooking” airing this month. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for June 10. Associated Press.

Oahu

The percentage of Oahu voters casting ballots in the biennial Neighborhood Board elections increased slightly this year, the third such election conducted entirely online and by phone. Star-Advertiser.

City crews came out to work on Sunday to begin dredging a stretch of Makiki Stream that has been prone to flooding. Hawaii News Now.

Two beachfront houses in Aina Haina once marketed as potential destination wedding locations by former swimsuit model Kathy Ireland have suspended business while owners attempt to resolve more than $140,000 in unpaid city fines over charges of illegally conducting weddings in at least one of the homes. Star-Advertiser.

The president of a group that helps the elderly and disabled asked a Pearl City contractor for a $90,000 donation as she was giving the company a job worth millions of dollars, a request that appears to violate anti-kickback laws. Civil Beat.

Just days after announcing it was shutting down the Honolulu Weekly says it’s coming back. How it’s coming back remains unclear at this time. KHON2.

Hawaii

Food is no longer what it used to be. Over the last two decades, the commercialization of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has transformed how some of the world’s crops are produced. Tribune-Herald.

Biotech companies have mostly focused on corn and soybean for creating genetically modified crops. But research is also under way in Hawaii that would impact one of the state’s most widely consumed staples — rice. Tribune-Herald.

If anyone could be crowned the King of Corn in Hawaii, it would be Jim Brewbaker. As a scientist with University of Hawaii at Manoa, he has spent a half century studying and breeding different varieties, finding ways to cross-breed disease resistance and improve the production of one of the world’s most widely grown cereal crops. Tribune-Herald.

A hindrance to the growth papaya industry is the acceptance of transgenic crops abroad. Japan, which has historically been a major consumer of Hawaii papaya, didn’t accept the Rainbow variety until December 2011, and it still makes up a tiny fraction of exports to the country. Tribune-Herald.

Yet another delay in the prosecution of Roger Christie will keep the Hawaii cannabis advocate jailed without bail for well over three years before a jury trial is held in the case. Star-Advertiser.

The address says it all — 1 Crater Drive — the quintessential visitor experience at the Kilauea summit in a newly refurbished hotel and restaurant overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater. That’s the Volcano House, a historic lodge that reopened in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park June 1 after being closed for nearly three years. Tribune-Herald.

A long-awaited highway construction project in West Hawaii may be closer to to finally getting underway. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

California-based developer Brian Hoyle is more optimistic than ever that funding will come through in the next several months and he can finally build the long-awaited West Maui Hospital and Medical Center. Maui News.

Puu Kukui Elementary School has yet to open it doors for the first time but is already just 50 students shy of its capacity. Maui News.

While Alexander & Baldwin Inc. reached agreement this week to acquire Grace Pacific Corp. in a $235 million deal, company officials expect day-to-day operations to be "business as usual." Maui News.

Entering its 14th year, the 2013 Maui Film Festival will be bringing dozens of films to our island over a five-day stretch later this week. The films will be screened from June 12 to 16 at the Celestial Cinema located at the Wailea Gold and Emerald Golf Course, the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, and the Seaside Cinema located between the Four Seasons Maui and the Grand Wailea. Maui Now.

Kauai



In this two-part series, The Garden Island takes a look at the Hawaiian monk seal and how folks from two sides see the same creature so differently. Garden Island.

Here on Kauai, the mere mention of a Hawaiian monk seal can quickly stir up conversations about their origin, eating habits and whether references to the seals can be found in traditional Hawaiian chants. Garden Island.

Locally-produced products and the outlets which distribute them were pulled together on Thursday in an effort to re-energize the Kauai Grown program. Garden Island.

A Lihue man who was arrested Saturday after driving his pickup truck into the ocean has been identified. Garden Island.

The Kauai National Wildlife Refuge Complex will fence off a 7-acre area to protect native coastal planes and birds, including Hawaiian geese, endangered nene, and moli, or Laysan albatross. Associated Press.