Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hawaii, Kauai counties retreat on GMO bills, state backs off fly homeless to Mainland plan, Schatz 'vulnerable,' DOE mismanagement hurts neighbor island schools, Deedy takes stand, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii County GMO protest (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii County Council plans to start from scratch on legislation to regulate genetically modified crops. Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille withdrew Bill 79 on Tuesday following a lengthy discussion and pledged to introduce an entirely new, fine-tuned version. Tribune-Herald.

The Kauai County Council will wait for legal opinions before deciding whether to approve a measure that would require agricultural operations to disclose if they are growing genetically modified crops and their use of pesticides. Associated Press.

It’s not an honor Sen. Brian Schatz wants. The National Journal ranked the top ten incumbents in Congress who could lose their seats. And Schatz was second on the list. Civil Beat.

Outdated policies and a lack of staff have hamstrung the Department of Education's ability to efficiently manage school construction and repair projects, according to an internal audit released Tuesday. As a result, some neighbor island schools have been using general education funds to pay for urgent campus repairs, essentially taking money away from academics and other educational uses. Other inefficiencies have led to delays and cost overruns for school projects. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of media outlets around the world want to know more about a pilot program to send homeless in Hawaii back to their families on the mainland. On Tuesday, the Department of Human Services decided not to implement the program. The money — $100,000 — will go back to the general fund. Civil Beat.

A program that would help fly homeless people in Hawaii back to the mainland is being greeted with skepticism by the state’s human services officials and groups that help the homeless. Associated Press.

Left as it is, the new state law authorizing airfare for homeless people heading back to the mainland could cause more problems than it solves. Star-Advertiser.

A project of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, created by the legislature in 2011, seeks to rekindle momentum for Hawaiian self-governance after the Akaka Bill stalled in Congress. This latest push via the roll commission was originally seen as a one-year effort that was to have been wrapped up by now, but it has been extended through January 19, 2014. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii task force of archeologists, lawyers and others are planning to meet to figure out how to deal with thousands of homes turning 50 years old. Associated Press.

Oahu

State Department special agent Christopher Deedy portrayed Kollin Elderts on Tuesday as an aggressive and belligerent man who challenged Deedy to a fight before the agent kicked him to ward off an assault. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu attorney James H. Ashford was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate on Tuesday to a six-year term as a district judge on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

City officials hope a pilot program started last week at the Division of Motor Vehicles office in Kaneohe will eventually help ease the frustrating, excessive waits that residents encounter at motor vehicle branches across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

The three days when the highest numbers of corrections officers at Oahu Community Correctional Center called in sick during the first six months of the year coincided with a major holiday, a major sports game and a parade for a local football star, according to an investigation by Hawaii News Now.

Three major development projects will get their first airing today before the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu's housing market reached a new height in July, setting a price record for condominiums. The record $345,500 median price for condos was reported by the Hono­lulu Board of Realtors, which also said sales volume and median prices for single-family houses rose in July. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC, which has a plan to cool downtown Honolulu buildings with a revolutionary air-conditioning system, has received $1 million investment from the Ulupono Initiative, a Honolulu-based impact investment firm founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, the two organizations said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Ala Moana Center’s owner will sign a second major anchor for the redeveloped Ewa end of the mall soon and add 1,000 new parking stalls as part of the project to be completed in 2015. Star-Advertiser.

Sister cities forever linked by warfare came together Tuesday as a sign of peace. Honolulu and Hiroshima are essentially the bookends of World War II. And just as Dec. 7 is Hawaii's day of infamy, Aug. 6 marks Hiroshima's. KITV4.

Hawaii

The county administration may have to dip into other departments’ funding to find almost $4 million for police raises that weren’t in the budget. West Hawaii Today.

An Oahu representative offered Kona residents a glimpse at a possible major energy overhaul in the next few years. State legislators, with the Public Utilities Commission’s approval, are looking to push energy providers away from energy creation and toward energy distribution, said Rep. Charles Lee, who represents Windward Oahu, during a meeting with state House leaders Tuesday at Kealakehe High School. West Hawaii Today.

A 25-year-old Mountain View man is suing the county and three police officers for a beating he alleges he received in the Hilo police cellblock after being arrested for drunken driving. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

During a recent visit to Maui, Governor Neil Abercrombie stopped at Camp Maluhia, located along the Kahekili Highway, below the Waihe╩╗e Ridge Trail. Maui Now.

Kauai

A recent change in the county’s real property tax system has upset some residents when they realized their annual tax bill more than doubled. Meanwhile, the Kauai County Council is working on a bill that could potentially alleviate some of the issues. Garden Island.

The Kahuaina Plantation, a 357-acre beachfront estate on Kauai’s North Shore, is back on the market with a slightly higher asking price of $70 million, according to owner Falko Partners. Pacific Business News.

Marine biologist Katherine Muzik has a dream of the Kapaa Swimming Pool becoming a coral garden. Garden Island.