Monday, July 1, 2013

Early Hawaii poll gives Schatz edge over Hanabusa for U.S. Senate, Hawaii shippers reach contract, federal public defenders in budget crunch, 'Rainbow' returns to Warriers' name, axis deer worry Maui and Big Island, Kaui upping dog license, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Democratic battle for U.S. Senate seat
Brian Schatz, Colleen Hanabusa vie for U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has a narrow lead over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic Senate primary, 36 percent to 33 percent, according to the latest Civil Beat Poll. But with a 3.3 percent margin of error and nearly one-fourth of voters surveyed saying they are undecided, neither candidate has a clear advantage in a race that will be decided just over a year from now, on Aug. 9, 2014.

A four-year contract agreement reached this weekend between Matson Inc. and three unions that represent workers on its cargo ships does not include any cutbacks for workers, a president of one of the unions said Sunday. The new contract, which is subject to ratification by members of the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, the Seafarers International Union and the Marine Firemen’s Union, was agreed upon Saturday, less than a day before Sunday’s midnight strike deadline. Star-Advertiser.

Three seagoing unions, the Sailors' Union of the Pacific, Seafarers International Union and Marine Fireman's Union, reached an agreement with the shipping giant Matson Saturday afternoon.  Hawaii News Now.

To avoid a projected budget deficit, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state lawmakers made the painful choice in 2011 to temporarily suspend general excise tax exemptions on nearly two dozen business activities. The move was supposed to generate $173 million in fiscal year 2012 and $220 million in fiscal year 2013, the largest tax adjustment taken by the state during the recession. But the state does not know how much money was actually generated. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie plans to sign two bills designed to prevent human trafficking. Abercrombie’s office says the governor will sign a bill that puts children who are victims of sex and labor trafficking within the scope of the Child Protective Act. Associated Press.

Fiscal years begin July 1 on most financial calendars, and a slew of state government spending regulations kick in each year on that date. Policy laws also hit the books in a wave, though states often mark their independence by enacting such legislation on their own time. Associated Press.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has for years wrestled with how to make sure people abide by the gifts law. It’s finally come to the point that commissioners on Wednesday realized they need to do a comprehensive review of the statute and all the advisory opinions surrounding it. Civil Beat.

A third or more of the Hawaii federal public defender's staff might have to be laid off in coming months as a result of sequestration and other budget cuts, said Peter Wolff, the federal public defender for the District of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

In an effort to improve the state's educational system, the Hawaii Department of Education is working to trade expensive management consultants for teams of specialists with specific knowledge of local schools. Civil Beat.

The 'Rainbow' is making its return to Manoa on Monday, as previously announced name changes for University of Hawaii athletics teams have officially gone into effect. In May, University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics Director Ben Jay announced that all men's teams at the school—including football—would be known as the Rainbow Warriors, effective July 1. Hawaii News Now.

New findings from the University of Hawaii about how molten rock pushes against Earth's crust could help better predict earthquakes across the globe and shed new light on the Hawaiian Islands' geological origins, university officials say. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for July 1. Associated Press.

Oahu
Starting today, Oahu's popular — and free — Freeway Service Patrol will expand its coverage of the H-1 freeway three miles eastward to Aina­koa Avenue in Wai­alae, the Department of Transportation announced Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Monday, July 1, Oahu’s sidewalks will start to look a lot cleaner because the city will start enforcing the new sidewalk law. The new law will allow city crews to immediately remove personal property deemed a “sidewalk-nuisance.” KHON2.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing in July on a proposed land use change for Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc.’s planned 5,000-home Koa Ridge development in Central Oahu. Pacific Business News.

Flight crews from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade conducted training with divers from the U.S. Navy Sea, Air, Land Delivery Vehicle Team One, Naval Special Warfare Group 3 here June 18. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii
East Hawaii healthcare providers say that their decision to make an early conversion to an electronic medical record system has saved them both money and trouble, compared to other Hawaii facilities. Tribune-Herald.

It’s part of a reverse birthday tradition. In celebration of its 52nd anniversary of establishment, Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park gives priceless presents of culture and experiences, said Chief of Interpretation Eric Andersen. West Hawaii Today.

Hunters hired by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee have killed their fourth axis deer. The deer was hunted last May in Ka‘u, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi says he's confident a plant that burns solid waste to generate electricity can be built before he leaves office in 31⁄2 years, but the Big Island's newly appointed environmental management director says the life of Hilo landfill should be extended in case it is not. Associated Press.

Maui
The Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative, known for its rifle-hunting operations, has found a more cost-effective way to capture deer that could create a new market for meat. Maui News.

Maui News staffers snapped up 13 awards, including five first-place honors, from the Society of Professional Journalists' 2012 Excellence in Journalism Awards held Friday night on Oahu. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai Humane Society’s executive director says a proposal to increase dog license fees is “fair and equitable across the board to all people that own dogs.” Garden Island.

In observance of Independence Day, County of Kauai offices will be closed on Thursday along with all refuse transfer stations, all HI-5 bottle redemption centers and the Kekaha Landfill. In addition, the Kauai Resource Center, Puhi Metals Recycling Center and the Kapaa and Waimea swimming pools will be closed. Garden Island.