Thursday, July 11, 2013

Smoking ban looms for Honolulu, group wants Dems to drop closed-primary lawsuit, Maui dumps wind power from the grid, solar owners get big break, tax review panel gets off the ground, new home for Hawaii Five-0, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki beach scene (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Lighting up cigarettes and other tobacco products at bus stops and city-run parks and beaches would be illegal come Jan. 1 under bills the Honolulu City Council passed unanimously on Wednesday. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he expects to sign both bills, assuming they clear routine legal reviews. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council is moving to ban smoking at city parks, beaches and bus stops. The council passed two bills covering the bans on Wednesday. Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to sign the measures. Associated Press.

The Honolulu City Council is sending a strong message against smoking. The nine members unanimously approved two measures that bans lighting up at all bus stops and city parks, beaches, athletic fields and facilities. Hawaii News Now.

With nine ayes for the two laws banning smoking in more public areas, it was clear Wednesday morning that the city is aiming for a cleaner environment. KHON2.

A national organization representing independent voters is calling for the Democratic Party of Hawaii to withdraw its federal lawsuit that seeks a closed primary election system. The lawsuit filed in federal court last month claims Hawaii's primary system that allows every registered voter to participate in the party's nomination process is tantamount to forced political association and is unconstitutional. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Department of Health says the availability of tuberculosis testing solution is returning to normal. Health department clinics statewide will resume providing tuberculin skin tests on Monday. Associated Press.

Does the University of Hawaii even need a new president? That’s the argument being raised by the university’s faculty union — the University of Hawaii Professional Association. UHPA has for years urged UH to overhaul its governance structure, including eliminating the president's post, so it can better manage its finances and establish clearer, more efficient lines of authority. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Ethics Commission is taking a whack a free golf outings for state officials. In a July 3 advisory letter, the commission said that dozens of state contracting officials and lawmakers have accepted complimentary entry and green fees to charity golf tournaments from companies that do business with the state. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced $1,204,918 in grant awards to 14 Hawaii health centers operating 79 sites to enroll the uninsured in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act.  In Hawaii, health centers served 144,427 patients last year, 24 percent of whom were uninsured. Hawaii Reporter.

HECO Says Residents With Solar Aren't Paying Their Fair Share of Costs. Civil Beat.

The Federal Communications Commission has fallen short in its effort to reform a government program that subsidizes telephone service in rural areas, including Hawaiian Home Lands, according to a report released Wednesday by a Las Vegas-based think tank. Star-Advertiser.

Car booting is now banned statewide.  It is illegal for any person, business—even the police department— to clamp a boot on vehicles.  The bill passed through the Hawai'i State Legislature in April and became law Tuesday without the Governor's signature. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s military still follows green building standards, despite 2012 law. Pacific Business News.

Federal officials say studies of white shark populations along the West Coast show no need to list the animal as threatened or endangered. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

The surveillance video that captured an altercation and subsequent fatal shooting at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki early Nov. 5, 2011, was shown Wednesday to help a Circuit Court jury decide whether U.S. State Department special agent Christopher Deedy murdered a 23-year-old Kailua man or shot him in self-defense. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu police officer who testified in the Christopher Deedy murder trial was accused of bias Wednesday after defense attorneys found he'd posted information about the case to his Facebook page. Civil Beat.

Jurors in the murder trial of federal agent Christopher Deedy on Wednesday were finally able to view a much-talked-about security video of the shooting of Kollin Elderts inside a Waikiki McDonald's. But the video is of such poor quality that it does little to help jurors see what really happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 5 when the two men scuffled and Deedy shot and killed Elderts. Civil Beat.

As George Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial for the killing of Treyvon Martin crawls to a close in Florida, Hawaii is in the midst of its racially charged murder trial. Claims of self defense and the right to bear arms are central in both cases. Hawaii Reporter.

With the cost of public worker pay raises expected to surge during the next fiscal year, Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to begin a dialogue with Oahu residents about the creation of a tiered system for property taxes. KITV4.

The Honolulu City Council gave the go-ahead for the long-awaited update Ewa Development Plan on Wednesday but not before some three hours of heated testimony, mostly against the controversial 12,000-home Ho‘opili housing project. Star-Advertiser.

Six months after announcing an ambitious push to fix the city streets in most need of repair, Mayor Kirk Caldwell says work remains on course to repave 300 lane miles of degraded road on Oahu this year. Star-Advertiser.

Filming of the new season of "Hawaii Five-0" got underway Wednesday with the Hawaiian blessing of the production at the show's new home at the Hawaii Film Studio near Diamond Head. Star-Advertiser.

UH West Oahu, HCC Offer New Cybersecurity Degree. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Big Island residents will find themselves with a bigger bill the next time they register their car or truck. The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday voted 8-1 to approve higher vehicle taxes and registration fees, a move intended to support infrastructure and make costs more comparable with other counties. Tribune-Herald.

The confirmation Wednesday of Bobby Jean Leithead Todd as Environmental Management director hinged on the definition of “related field.” West Hawaii Today.

The fifth time proved to be the charm Wednesday, when the County Council finally agreed on the makeup of a task force to make recommendations on revamping the county’s property tax code. The resolution, introduced in December, was debated at four previous council sessions before its unanimous vote.  West Hawaii Today.

Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy will retain its accreditation following a late June meeting of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

In the first five months of this year, more than a quarter of collected wind energy reported from three wind farms that deliver electricity to Maui Electric Co. has been dumped from the grid, according to the utility's website. Maui News.

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, Harbors Division announced plans to host an informational meeting to discuss proposed improvements to Hāna Pier in East Maui. Maui Now.

Billionaire Larry Ellison's purchase of Island Air and his interest in go! airlines has garnered most of the headlines in recent months but flying under the radar has been Mokulele Airlines, which has been growing and expanding its reach and operations. Maui News.

The Hōlua area of Haleakalā National Park will be closed on Thursday evening July 11, 2013, as park biologists work to control the spread of non-native Argentine ants, officials said. Maui Now.

Kauai

Just when it appeared that Coco Palms would never be rebuilt, there seems to be new hope for the iconic Wailua Beach resort. “A new, Hawaii-based group of investors has stepped up and is willing to restore the property to its former glory,” states an online petition launched by the Save Coco Palms Committee Wednesday.Garden Island.

Planning Director Michael Dahilig on Tuesday gave the Kauai Planning Commission an outline of efforts to enforce transient vacation laws. The Kauai County Council passed four ordinances in the last five years to stop new TVRs in residential neighborhoods and agricultural lands, and grandfather those that could prove they were operating in those areas and paying their taxes prior to March 2008. Garden Island.

Molokai
The 36-passenger Safari Explorer yacht begins a new itinerary in the Hawaiian islands that includes one-way travel between Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island, company officials announced today. Maui Now.