Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Abercrombie jumps into GMO debate as Hawaii County Council mulls bills, goat-rustler hits Oahu, Mexican immigrants need Hawaii consulate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kauai GMO protest filephoto
The state will create standards and guidelines for seed companies to voluntarily disclose the types of restricted pesticides they use and will set up buffer zones near schools and hospitals, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday. But backers of a bill on Kauai to regulate pesticide use and genetically modified crops say the governor's initiative doesn't fully deal with their health and environmental concerns. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Monday that the state will put forth standards and guidelines for seed and diversified agricultural companies to voluntarily comply with certain health and safety requests of the Kauai community. Garden Island.

The state is setting guidelines for farmers on Kauai after community concerns over pesticides. Agriculture companies are being asked to disclose the types of pesticides they are using and create a buffer zone around schools and hospitals. KHON2.

People of Mexican descent are unfairly targeted by local police and federal agents in Hawaii, according to the authors of a new study that was unveiled Monday. Although most unauthorized immigrants in the Aloha State are Asian, half of all those detained in and deported from Honolulu immigration facilities are Mexican, the study found. Civil Beat.

As more people of Mexican heritage settle in Hawaii, many feel targeted by immigration enforcement even though nearly 9 out of 10 are here legally, according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute. The study made public Monday calls for establishing a Mexican consulate here to better serve the needs of the growing population, and for the local government to add Spanish to the languages in which documents are translated. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers from a Washington think tank and the University of Hawaii at Manoa are recommending that Mexico’s government open a permanent consulate in Hawaii to serve a small but growing population. The Migration Policy Institute and the university included the recommendation in a study presented Monday that said people of Mexican origins in Hawaii have different experiences on the islands than in other U.S. states. Associated Press.

The number of food stamp recipients here has nearly doubled over the last six years. Civil Beat.

Kathryn Xian, an activist who has pushed the state to address human trafficking and has sought to empower women through Girl Fest, said Monday that she will run for Congress. Xian will seek the Democratic nomination in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District, which is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary. Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, state Sen. Will Espero and state Rep. K. Mark Takai are the other declared candidates for Congress. Star-Advertiser.

As Congress scrambles to come up with an emergency funding plan and avoid a government shutdown before Oct. 1, coordinators of federal programs with big chunks of money on the line are crossing their fingers that the congressional gridlock doesn’t lead to another round of cutbacks on top of already devastating sequestration. Civil Beat.

For the first time, the Hawaii Department of Education is looking into the numbers of chronically absent students. Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student that misses 15 or more school days in a in a school year. It's the only way elementary schools performance is judged in the new Strive HI “Readiness” category. KITV.

Words Before Dying — a Micronesian Oral History, from Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Oahu

More than 20 purebred Boer goats— most of them pregnant — were stolen from a Hawaii farm on the night of a full moon, with duct tape used to keep the animals from making noise, their owner said. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Navigation Co. is picking up the cost of more than 10 days of cleanup and containment efforts following the 233,000-gallon molasses spill off Sand Island earlier this month, but the shipping company isn't committing to covering any of the tab on the long road to restoration and revival of Hono­lulu Harbor's underwater ecosystem. Star-Advertiser.

The Environmental Protection Agency will conduct its own investigation into the Matson molasses spill, Hawaii News Now has learned. Sources say that EPA's investigation will be conducted separately from the state Health Department's investigation, which has been the lead investigative agency since the spill was discovered.

Honolulu Community College has been placed on warning accreditation status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the only of the University of Hawaii's ten campuses to get such a warning. The accrediting panel gave the 4,400-student campus the warning after an evaluation visit to the Kalihi school last fall. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A day of fact-finding by the Hawaii County Council on genetically altered crops ended without a resolution Monday, ensuring that the marathon debate would continue at least another week. The council adjourned until Oct. 1, following nearly eight hours of discussion regarding Bill 113, during which council members pored over questions while addressing experts on topics ranging from the plight of bees to the use of pesticides and herbicides. Tribune-Herald.

The new self help desk in the Keakealani Courthouse in Kealakekua isn’t a full center like some courthouses have, but it will give West Hawaii residents access to assistance when serving as their own attorney in some Family and District Court cases, Judiciary officials said Monday. West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii residents from Pahala to Waikoloa spent nearly 20 hours without phone and Internet service, after a tree damaged a Hawaiian Telcom fiber optic cable near Waikoloa. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Those planning Hawaii's future power system believe Oahu might have something to offer Mauians other than business, shopping and a big city getaway - cheaper power and a more stable power grid. The Public Utilities Commission has launched a study of the feasibility of a Maui-to-Oahu power interconnection. Maui News.

Texas-based Sarofim Realty Advisors has submitted an environmental impact statement preparation notice to the state outlining plans for its Piilani Promenade mixed-use project on Maui that would include about 200 apartment units along with light industrial and business and commercial uses on around 75 acres in Kihei. Pacific Business News.

A planned photovoltaic facility that would provide enough renewable energy to power up the Maui High Performance Computing Center in Kihei would be able to move ahead, according to a a draft environmental assessment that said the project wouldn’t have a significant impact on the environment. Pacific Business News.

A portion of Wakea Avenue in Kahului is closed as construction crews continue work on an asphalt rehabilitation project. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai Charter Review Commission on Monday amended a proposal to divide elections for Kauai County Council members into seven districts, which could mean less votes but potentially more power to constituents. Final decision on the proposed Charter Amendment, however, was deferred to October. Garden Island.

The Kokee State Park Advisory Council will meet tonight to continue talks on the revised master plan — including the controversial entry station — for Kokee and Waimea Canyon state parks. The discussion begins at 5 p.m. at NTBG headquarters in Kalaheo. Garden Island.