Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Abercrombie's job approval same in poll, legislators get $12k raise, Honolulu evicts homeless, Ellison airlines buy still a go!, laws fight sex trafficking, protect children, University of Hawaii to digitize Inouye's life work, sequestration hits Kauai military, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu H1 traffic, courtesy Danny de Gracia II
Hawaii has the smallest state highway system in the nation and spends nearly the most among all the states to maintain its roads. But the Aloha State still ranked 48th out of 50 in overall performance and efficiency for its state highways, a new study by a Los Angeles-based think tank found. Star-Advertiser.

A Civil Beat Poll shows that 48 percent of registered voters disapprove of his job performance while just 45 percent approve.  Abercrombie's approval rating is about where it was in January, when Civil Beat last conducted a survey. In other words, he hasn't seen his numbers drop.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed three pieces of legislation into law Monday aimed at combating sex trafficking in Hawaii and increasing services for victims. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's prostitution and human trafficking laws just got a lot tougher. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed four bills into law this year — three on Monday — that increase services for victims and heighten penalties for those who solicit prostitutes. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a domestic workers bill of rights Monday, making Hawaii the second U.S. state to give nannies, housekeepers and others protections on wages and other labor issues. Associated Press.

Currently, Hawaii legislators receive $46,273 per year for their part-time position at the legislature.  But that is about to increase by $10,000. As of July 1, legislators’ salaries will rise to $55,896. On January 1, 2014, lawmakers will receive another $2,000 pay hike. Hawaii Reporter.

The life work of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will be digitized through a partnership between the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the Library of Congress. A ceremony was held Monday at Hamilton Library to celebrate the collaboration as Ino­uye's widow, Irene Hirano Ino­uye, and representatives of UH and the Library of Congress signed an agreement on the partnership to establish the Daniel K. Ino­uye Project, honoring his legacy in public service. Star-Advertiser.

Will Hawaii Guava Jelly Win Friends and Influence Members of Congress? Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co., the largest power provider in the state, unveiled Monday a five-year plan that includes shutting down the Honolulu power plant near Aloha Tower, incorporating more renewable energy on its grids and converting customers to smart meters. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiian Electric Cos. said Monday that it is shutting down its Downtown Honolulu power plant, as well as others on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island as part of its plan to meet future electricity needs, which it recently submitted to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Pacific Business News.

HECO Releases New Five-Year Energy Plans. Civil Beat.

The federal Housing and Urban Development offices will be closed nationwide, including Hawaii, on Friday, as part of spending cuts, the agency said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Reporter received six awards at the Society of Professional Journalists awards banquet on Friday, June 28, including three first places awards.

State roundup for July 2. Associated Press.

Oahu

City employees and private social workers will spend this week implementing the county's new law designed to remove homeless campers and others from Hono­lulu sidewalks. On Monday the city raided three spots used by the homeless campers: the Ala Wai Promenade at the Ewa entrance to Waikiki, Hono­lulu Stadium Park and Moiliili Field. No one was arrested in the three sweeps. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of homeless campers are off of Honolulu's sidewalks and on the move. The city used a new law to seize their belongings without warning in Waikiki and Moiliili on Monday morning. Hawaii News Now.

Last week, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said enforcement of the city's new sidewalk nuisance law would involve "compassionate disruption." On Monday, the mayor lived up to his promise more than two months after Bill 7 was signed into law. KITV4.

Too much crime pushes business out of Chinatown. KHON2.

The Honolulu Police Department has begun an internal affairs investigation into the actions of a veteran police officer who was caught on video in a confrontation with a man trying to file a complaint against him. The police union confirmed the officer had been previously fired by HPD in another incident but regained his job. Hawaii News Now.

More than 400 artist applications were submitted for the chance to decorate Honolulu’s 21 future rail stations. Civil Beat.

Labor union Unite Here and Hyatt Hotels Corp. have announced an agreement to resolve a long-standing contract dispute and end a 2-year-old global boycott against the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. Star-Advertiser.

Waianae family waits 5 months for solar power switch, blames HECO & City. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation said Monday that it is now accepting applications for 11 acres in the second of several parcels in the 182-acre Kunia Agricultural Park. Pacific Business News.

State government and military officials broke ground Monday at Hale Kula Elementary campus at Schofield Barracks where a planned $33 million renovation project for the 54-year-old school is now underway. Star-Advertiser.

As a state representative and a stalwart pillar of the Democratic Party, Ernest "Juggie" Heen Jr. was a tireless worker for civil rights and workers' rights, tracing his passion to the 1940s, when as a teenager he accompanied his father, Ernest Sr., to his job as city clerk. Star-Advertiser.

On O'ahu, the Kailua fireworks display is back! And communities across the state are gearing up for their own 4th of July festivities. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

The debate over genetically modified organisms has Big Island farmers sitting on both sides of the fence. Tribune-Herald.

Stephens Media Hawaii newspapers took home 11 trophies, including four first-place honors, in the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii chapter 2012 Excellence in Journalism awards, presented Friday in Honolulu. West Hawaii Today.

A real-life accident didn’t interrupt a disaster drill, but it did provide valuable insight for the employees at Hale Hoola Hamakua, a 77-bed hospital and long-term care facility in Honokaa. West Hawaii Today.

Pahoa High and Intermediate School leads Big Island schools in the number of cases of serious misconduct committed by students over the last five years. Tribune-Herald.

An open ocean aquaculture company has received another international patent for its fish pens. Hawaii Oceanic Technology Inc. received a Canadian patent for its oceanspheres, CEO Bill Spencer said Monday. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii Island senator will be taking over a new committee this legislative session. The state Senate’s leadership selected Sen. Gil Kahele, D-Hilo, to chair the newly formed Tourism Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza denied a motion by Public Access Trails Hawaii on Friday morning to expedite the discovery period in an ongoing lawsuit against Haleakala Ranch. The ranch, which has sought to retain ownership of Haleakala Trail from the state for the past two years, was granted 90 days to respond to expert reports yet to be provided by the hikers' group. PATH has until July 17 to produce the documents. Maui News.

Water customers on Maui will see their rates increase by an average 5% when the Maui Department of Water Supply implements a planned water rate increase on July 1, 2013, official said. Maui Now.

The state Senate has split the Committee on Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs into two committees, with Central Maui Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran appointed as vice chairman of the Senate Tourism Committee. Maui News.

Kauai

Overall sequestration efforts by the Department of Defense will affect up to 13 percent of employees at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kekaha, who will have an additional 11 days off from now until mid-September. PMRF Public Affairs Matthew Diendorf said the facility employs about 1,000 people, including about 800 contractors, 70 military and 130 government employees. Garden Island.

Two months after the Hawaii Army National Guard announced and later withdrew its proposal for an expanded danger zone in the waters fronting the shooting range in Kekaha, the U.S. Navy has followed suit. Garden Island.

Kauai County Managing Director Gary Heu announced Monday that he will be retiring effective Oct. 31 after serving more than a decade as the county’s second-in-command and a brief stint as mayor. Garden Island.

Kauai County’s Managing Director Gary Heu announced that he will retire in October. Star-Advertiser.

To improve access to public services, the county recently began making modifications to the parking lot at the Lihue Civic Center. The work, which consists of several concurrent projects that follow the LCC master plan, is expected to be completed by the end of January 2014. Garden Island.

Lanai

The sale of go! airlines to the majority owner of Lanai, Larry Ellison, is still happening, despite the lack of an official announcement, Pacific Business News has learned.