Friday, July 26, 2013

Hawaii gay marriage: economic boost, Dem panel wants to reprimand legislators for proposing traditional marriage, Schatz shakes off early campaign statement; security guard license backlog; pricy vacations; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu gay marriage rally (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
A new economic analysis from the University of Hawaii says legalizing gay marriage in the state would boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years. The study from the university’s Economic Research Organization says that would boost state and local general excise tax revenues by $10.2 million from 2014 through 2016. Associated Press.

A new University of Hawaii study estimates an additional $217 million in visitor spending over the next three years if Hawai'i legalizes same-sex marriage. Hawaii News Now.

Message to Hawaii lawmakers: Legalize same-sex marriage or risk losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars warns University of Hawaii economics professor Sumner La Croix in a report released Thursday. Civil Beat.

An investigative panel of the Democratic Party of Hawaii has recommended that state Sen. Mike Gabbard be reprimanded and Rep. Sharon Har be censured for introducing a constitutional amendment last session on traditional marriage. The panel determined that Gabbard and Har were acting contrary to the party's platform on equal rights by introducing the bills, which would ask voters whether marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has consistently supported gay marriage. But as a 26-year-old, first-time candidate for the state House, the Demo­crat clarified for voters in Makiki, Tantalus and Manoa that he supported traditional marriage and traditional family values. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is concerned about the increasing costs of a Hawaii vacation. HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney told the board at its Thursday meeting that the costs of a Hawaii vacation have outpaced personal income growth in the United States for the last two years. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii tourism officials say visitors spent $1.3 billion in the Aloha State in June as the state saw more tourists overall and more spending from domestic travelers. The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday that the state welcomed nearly 717,000 visitors in June, up 5.5 percent compared with the same month one year ago. Spending was up 7 percent compared with June 2012. Associated Press.

Limited staffing and a last-minute rush by security guards to comply with a new law governing the industry has resulted in a backlog of more than 2,300 applications for identification cards awaiting processing by the state Board of Private Detectives and Guards. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane forecasters continue to watch Tropical Storm Flossie as it moves toward the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii News Now.

Native Hawaiian cultural practices for the first time will be considered when drawing up statewide management plans for protecting and conserving Hawaii's ocean and coastal resources. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to ensure the sustainable use of Hawaii’s ocean and coastal resources was signed by the governor today on Oahu. The Ocean Resources Management Plan identifies 11 management priorities for the next five years with the goal of conservation for current and future generations. Big Island Video News.

The state of Hawaii on Wednesday launched a center to train people to defend computer systems from attack. The so-called “cyber range” is a collection of servers and routers in a room on the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus. The equipment will allow people to practice hacking computer systems as a way to learn about network vulnerabilities. Associated Press.

Federal regulators are cracking down on practices that led to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis that crippled the national economy. One of their first targets is Castle & Cooke, a huge real estate developer that also operates as a mortgage lender in 22 states, including Hawaii.  Civil Beat.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $1.5 million in grants to conservation projects in Hawai‘i to protect some of the nation’s rarest species. Maui Now.

State roundup for July 26. Associated Press.

Oahu
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday introduced the new head of Honolulu's Transit Oriented Development Program — the city's long-term push to create high-density, walk­able communities around its planned rail stops and to curb urban sprawl. Star-Advertiser.

Motorists using the H-1 freeway in town after work and overnight can expect a year's worth of increased traffic delays starting this fall as state transportation officials tackle what they say are much-needed repairs on the Oahu's busiest highway. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Education is investigating a teacher's allegations against a former Pearl City High School principal, including claims that she practiced favoritism and egregiously misused funds during her six-year tenure at the school. Civil Beat.

A man caught 24 rats in traps on one day around his Waialua home. Because of budget cuts, the city has one inspector for Oahu. KHON2.

A close friend of the 23-year-old Kailua man killed at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki testified Thursday that he did not hear or see U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy identify himself as a law enforcement officer or show a badge before he fired the fatal shot. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County’s top union negotiator is retiring, leaving the county looking within its ranks for a successor. Ron Takahashi, who was appointed to the $99,000 annual Cabinet-level position of director of the Department of Human Resources in late 2009 after four years as deputy, is retiring effective Aug. 30, taking with him more than 32 years of county administrative experience. Stephens Media.

The state Department of Transportation has closed the Umauma Bridge to oversized loads as a contractor prepares to embark on a $37.2 million project to rehabilitate the 102-year-old span. Stephens Media.

A Paradise Helicopters tour with five people aboard made a crash landing Thursday in a field not much more than 700 feet from a runway at Hilo International Airport. Preliminary reports were that no one was injured in the crash, said Caroline Sluyter, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Stephens Media.

Maui

Judge turns a critical eye toward man’s medical pot card. Maui News.

More than 14,000 new gravesites and niches could eventually be constructed in an overall expansion plan for the state's Makawao Veterans Cemetery, which officials say is nearing capacity as its current site was "roughly" 85 percent full last year. Maui News.

The final results of a University of Hawaii study on the impacts of injection wells at the Lahaina wastewater treatment plant "conclusively demonstrate" a connection between the wells and their flows to nearshore waters. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council announced the public hearing for Bill 2491 will be held at Kauai Veterans Center, rather than the previously announced location at Kauai Community College. The controversial bill proposes disclosure of pesticide use and sets up buffer zones for crops of genetically modified organisms. Garden Island.

A Kauai fisherman who was pulled under water by a huge tuna that capsized his boat received little sympathy from PETA. Garden Island.

The county Department of Parks and Recreation unveiled Wednesday a draft of the plan that will guide the development of county recreational facilities in years to come. Garden Island.