Monday, August 26, 2013

Hawaii looks to China for tourism, war games, churches wrestle with gay marriage, schools want $34M, UH Maui to run hotel, Inouye library has big price tag, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu gay rights protest (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Resigned to the political reality that gay marriage might soon become state law, several state lawmakers who are uncomfortable with gay marriage are calling for a broader exemption for churches that do not want religious facilities used for gay weddings. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in seven years, Chinese navy ships will pull into Pearl Harbor next month in conjunction with a search and rescue exercise that is part of a growing number of military-to-military exchanges. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's new marketing representative in China is asking the state's travel industry to do more to accommodate travelers from China, a country the Hawaii Tourism Authority has identified as a major growth market. Associated Press.

As Hawaiian Electric Co. has committed in recent weeks to drive down electricity rates that are three times the national average, there are signs that biofuels may not be able to compete with other energy sources. Yet, the utility could be locked into long-term commitments to buy the fuel at a fixed cost. Civil Beat.

Public schools will need an additional $34 million next year to help meet increasing demands with new teacher evaluations, tougher curriculum and other initiatives, according to a committee that analyzes the per-pupil funding Hawaii schools receive. The money is spent at the school level and is mainly used for payroll. It also can cover special projects and programs or supplies and equipment. Star-Advertiser.

The Regents Candidate Advisory Council is looking for people to fill the remainder of Eric Martinson’s term on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. Council Chairman L. Thomas Ramsey says the deadline to apply for the vacancy is Sept. 16. Associated Press.

The group that nominates candidates to serve on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents says it will be moving fast to fill an unexpected vacancy. Thomas Ramsey, the Regents Candidate Advisory Council chair, said Friday that there will be a special recruitment to fill the seat of Eric Martinson, who resigned this week for personal reasons. Civil Beat.

The proposed University of Hawaii center that will house the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye's congressional papers is projected to come with a hefty price tag. The estimated cost already has reached $25 million, up as much as 56 percent since June, according to UH documents. Star-Advertiser.

An independent researcher who has worked with the National Geographic Channel tracking great white sharks has begun a study on the movement of tiger sharks around Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

Visitors who come to Hawaii as the result of a company reward or incentive program have made up one of the fastest-growing segments of the state’s visitor industry so far this year. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for August 26. Associated Press.

Oahu

A Navy judge at Pearl Harbor who found that a comment by President Barack Obama about sexual assaults in the military could illegally influence two trials is being given the chance to reconsider his decision after the secretary of defense issued a memorandum on the matter. Star-Advertiser.

Historic preservation advocates are opposing plans to raze up to half of the iconic Honolulu Advertiser Building. The Kapiolani Street frontage of the 84-year-old Advertiser Building will not be touched but the back half of the building will be demolished to make way for a parking lot. Hawaii News Now.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists and island residents dart across the highway at Laniakea Beach to marvel at the sea turtles that swim ashore there — a chaotic scene that often imperils pedestrians and grinds North Shore traffic to a halt. Star-Advertiser.

With the proliferation of surveillance and cellphone cameras, more Hawaii juries could end up watching videos like the one in federal agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial, legal experts say. Star-Advertiser.

A traditional Hawaiian stone marker was destroyed by vandals just a few weeks after its dedication. Hawaii News Now.

Many people probably don't know that Earl Derr Biggers, author of the popular Charlie Chan series, got his inspiration for the famous fictional detective from the real deal, Honolulu Police Officer Chang Apana, and the setting from the Halekulani Hotel, where he liked to stay. Halekulani guests can learn more about Biggers and the mystery of Waikiki during a recently added Halekulani historic walking tour. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A Honolulu-based developer wants to put three-story time- share buildings with 321 units and 17 single family homes on 42 acres the developer is under contract to acquire from Kamehameha Investment Corp. mauka of Kahaluu Bay, doubling the residences near the popular beach park. West Hawaii Today.

When Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui released a one-time appropriation of $1.8 million last month to help fund Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center, it represented a major boost for the fledgling program, organizers say. Tribune-Herald.

A Big Island charter school that educates students in the Hawaiian language claims the state Department of Education's recently released rankings unfairly imply the school is failing. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

The proposed desalination system on Lanai could be ready by the end of 2015, with the first phase of the project generating 2.5 million gallons of water per day, said officials from developer Pulama Lana'i. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College is looking to start work on a fully functioning hotel that would provide "hands-on experience" for students and executive suites for guests, officials said. Maui News.

The proposed Mokuhinia Ecosystem Restoration Project at the site known as Mokuʻula in West Maui is the subject of an upcoming public meeting. Maui Now.

It’s been 30 years since the Kihei Youth Center first opened its doors in 1983, but the core values that guide day-to-day operations have not changed. Maui News.

Kauai

A postcard sent 106 years ago from Kauai has made it back to the island. Associated Press.

Condominium and single-family home sales continue to rise since 2011, but experts caution that low supply and slow development could cause long-term problems. According to MLS statistics from Kauai Board of Realtors compiled by Old Republic Title and Escrow, the 35 condo sales islandwide in July resulted in a $98,778,424 volume — a  53.8 percent increase over July 2012. The average price islandwide price is $323,750, with Hanalei the highest at $509,000, and Lihue the lowest at $163,000. Garden Island.

Lanai

Honolulu attorney Carl Caliboso, former chair of the Public Utilities Commission, has recused himself from further participation as Castle & Cooke’s legal counsel in the regulatory review of its proposed Lanai wind project. Civil Beat.