Monday, August 19, 2013

Abercrombie 'very likely' to call special session on gay marriage, GMO fight flares on Big Island, military Stryker plan advances, sand for Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hilo, Hawaii gay pride parade (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Sunday it is "very likely" there will be a special legislative session on gay marriage. The governor, speaking to a Demo­cratic Party of Hawaii gathering at Ward Warehouse, appealed for patience while his administration drafts a gay-marriage bill that can withstand a potential legal challenge from opponents. Star-Advertiser.

For years, the stiffest opposition to same-sex marriages came from Hawaii's largest churches. But there's a growing movement within the religious community backing gay marriages. On Monday, representatives from 30 faith-based organizations will sign a resolution calling for the state legislature to pass a same-sex law during a meeting at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu in Nuuanu. Hawaii News Now.

With the departure of Associate Justice Simeon Acoba from the Hawaii Supreme Court when he turns 70 next year, the Judicial Selection Commission is seeking applicants for his replacement. Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint the new justice, which means he will have named three jurists to constitute a majority on the five-member high court. Star-Advertiser.

There has been so much focus on the 2014 race between Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa that many forget that the very same seat is up again in 2016. Civil Beat.

Members of New Hope Ministries are speaking up after their church is accused of underpaying to use public school facilities. Out of  five churches being sued, three are New Hope ministries: New Hope Oahu, Hawaii Kai, and Kapolei. KITV.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Hawaii could face millions of dollars in fines for the highest-grade health plans it offers public workers, adding to the already skyrocketing cost of health care for the state. Civil Beat.

The first foreign-flagged cruise ship of the season has sailed into port in Honolulu, kicking off the start of the visitor industry’s cruise season. The Sea Princess, a Princess Cruises ship, is the first foreign-flagged cruise ship to sail into port this season, which runs from August through May. Pacific Business News.

Rumbling through the Pentagon, the regional military formations like the Pacific Command and the ranks of defense intellectuals in think tanks is a proposal to rearrange the way the U.S. defends its worldwide interests. Civil Beat.

State roundup for August 19. Associated Press.

Oahu

Sometime this year the Army for the first time may have unfettered use of a $42 million Battle Area Complex for Stryker armored vehicle training at Schofield Barracks, a proj­ect that started in 2005. Star-Advertiser.

A plan proposed more than 30 years ago to build a dedicated fuel pier at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor is finally advancing as part of the state's effort to meet the changing needs of Hawaii's fuel and energy markets. The state Department of Transportation recently filed an environmental impact statement preparation notice for the proj­ect that will consolidate the handling of bulk fuel imports and exports at Piers 3 and 4 at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Several residents living downwind of a 169-year-old Nuuanu cemetery are making a stink about the odors from its old cremation units. Star-Advertiser.

To build, or not to build, the most expensive per mile heavy rail line in the country. It’s a sticky question. Three members of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco were asked during oral arguments Thursday to put a stop to the construction of the city’s planned $5.2 billion, elevated steel rail project that runs along a 20-mile corridor from West Oahu to Honolulu. Hawaii Reporter

Hawaii
Big Island Rainbow papaya farmers may have to tear out their trees within 30 months, or face fines and jail time, if a bill making the rounds on the Big Island is enacted. The law, which is expected to be submitted to the Hawaii County Council by council member Brenda Ford, proposes fines of up to $1,000 per day and 30 days in jail for farmers or landowners who are growing genetically modified crops. Civil Beat.

Hawaii County Council members can expect to debate dueling bills regarding genetically modified crops the next time they try to tackle the issue. Both Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille and South Kona/Ka‘u Councilwoman Brenda Ford are working on their own legislation that they plan to introduce shortly. Tribune-Herald.

The debate over genetically modified food is attracting the attention of some of the Big Island’s business leaders. On Monday, two island business groups are hosting what they are calling the “Hawaii Island GMO Summit” to allow their members to delve into the controversial issue. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

With island housing prices recovering from a recession-induced slide for the past few years, A&B Properties' 103-unit 'Aina O Kane condominium development in Kahului is gaining traction. Maui News.

Applications are due Sept. 30 for two alternate Native Hawaiian seats on the advisory council to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The reserve is part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Maui News.

Maui Ranchers Struggle with Drought Conditions. Hawaii Public Radio.

Although single-family home sales prices dipped in July, Maui's real estate market nevertheless is on its way to recovery since the 2009 economic downturn, Realtors said last week. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation has issued a reminder to motorists about several road projects that will impact traffic in isolated areas of Maui in the upcoming week from Aug. 17 to 23, 2013. Maui Now.

Kauai

In a few days, state officials will open a bid for a contract to replenish the sand on the beach west of Kikiaola Small Boar Harbor in Kekaha, and also fix damages to the harbor’s breakwall. “Construction, pending the receipt of the permits, is scheduled to start in December 2013, and the completion is scheduled for June 2014,” said engineer Eric Yuasa, of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. Garden Island.

After meeting with county attorneys behind closed doors Wednesday, the Kauai County Council unanimously approved up to $50,000 to be spent on private attorneys to represent the county in dozens of appeals filed after denials of transient vacation rental permits. On June 12, the council voted 4-3 to defer for 90 days a resolution to prompt an investigation into the county Planning Department’s handling of TVR permits. Garden Island.

The 2013 edition of the Kauai Marathon is less than two weeks from unfolding, while organizers announced some complimentary events for the public. Online registration for the Fifth annual Kauai Marathon is being accepted at www.thekauaimarathon.com through Aug. 29. Spots are being accepted for the half or full marathon. Garden Island.