Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Native Hawaiians' lifespan shorter, pot minister to plead guilty, Hawaii inmates in prison gang probe, counties worry about GMO home rule, more news from all the Hawaiian Island

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Native Hawaiian poi pounding (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders still have shorter life spans than other Hawaii residents and a higher proportion suffer from diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A new study released today by the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine found that Native Hawaiians typically die six years earlier than other populations. This is an improvement from 1970 when the life expectancy of Native Hawaiians was 13 years less than that of other residents. Star-Advertiser.

Life expectancy for Native Hawaiians is 6.2 years lower than the state average, though life expectancy has increased by nearly 12 years since 1950.While much progress has been made to improve the health and quality of life of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders living in Hawaii, their lives are still shorter than whites and Asians. The "big three" killers are diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Civil Beat.

Researchers from the John A. Burns School of Medicine presented a landmark, 20-year health study on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to an audience of four legislative committees at the state capitol Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii BioEnergy, which has a signed agreement with Alaska Airlines to provide the Seattle-based carrier with locally-grown biofuel, is “intending to” approach Hawaiian Airlines about providing the state’s flagship carrier with biofuel as well, Joel Matsunaga, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Hawaii BioEnergy told Pacific Business News.

Seventeen Hawaii inmates are accused by federal prosecutors of running a prison gang that bribed personnel, distributed drugs and assaulted other inmates. Star-Advertiser.

Up until now, there have been just four Congressional candidates vying to fill the vacancy that will be left by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa when she runs for U.S. Senate in 2014. Now Kathryn Xian has entered the race. Xian, who has never been elected to office, is nevertheless well known at the state capitol for her advocacy for human trafficking victims and her work to stop violence against women and children. Hawaii Reporter.

Amid congressional bickering in the 11th hour of fraught federal budget deliberations, officials at all levels of education in Hawaii say they’re bracing for painful funding cutbacks and delays to crucial grants that support the neediest students. Civil Beat.

State roundup for September 25. Associated Press.

Oahu

A proposal to ask Oahu voters whether they want to give the City Council oversight of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's budget was shelved Tuesday by a key Council committee. Several Council members indicated that instead of seeking to change the governing structure of the semiautonomous water board, they were more inclined to support an audit of the agency. Star-Advertiser.

Federal environmental regulators are teaming with state health officials to investigate whether Matson, the shipping company that has taken responsibility for the Hono­lulu Harbor molasses spill, committed any violations that helped cause the disaster. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Community College has taken action to address concerns raised by an accrediting committee that put the campus on a "warning" status earlier this year, its chancellor says. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu police have arrested a man suspected of using duct tape to steal goats from a Hawaii farm under the light of a full moon. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s announcement Monday that he and the Kauai legislative delegation had negotiated some temporary, volunteer rules regarding pesticide use on that island has some Hawaii Island legislators wondering if similar moves are coming for the county’s genetically modified organism debate. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island cannabis advocate Roger Christie is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to marijuana trafficking, charges that have kept him behind bars for more than three years awaiting trial. Christie’s wife, Sherryanne, is also scheduled to plead guilty, the two having reached a plea agreement in the case. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island lost one of its trailblazers Monday, with the death of 78-year-old Harold T. Tanouye Jr., CEO and founder of Panaewa’s Green Point Nurseries Inc. Tribune-Herald.

A Big Island man claiming that he had been billed incorrectly by Hawaii Electric Light Co. took his objections to the utility’s front door. In chains. Big Island Now.

Maui

A power distribution control system that could shut down appliances or lower air-conditioning thermostats for participating customers to meet power demands during peak periods, a battery storage system and smaller fuel-powered generation units have been thrown into the mix of options as Maui Electric Co. considers alternatives to a proposed 69-kilovolt transmission line in South Maui. Maui News.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a $1.1 million grant to improve the appearance of Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao. Star-Advertiser.

Shark deterrent device savior for record swim feat. Maui News.

Kauai

Thanks, but no thanks. That has been the reaction of several key supporters of County Bill 2491 to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s announcement that the state will begin paying closer attention to community concerns about pesticide use on Kauai. Garden Island.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is trying to cool the heated debate over GMOs and pesticides on Kauai by promising that the state will increase its oversight of pesticide use. Yet the governor’s sudden entry into the escalating fight over biotech, which comes just as the Kauai County Council is considering tough restrictions on pesticides, has angered GMO opponents more than it has pacified them.  Civil Beat.

The Salary Commission approved a resolution last week to reinstate an annual $6,000 cell phone and car allowance  to each Kauai County Council member, but it would only affect the council after the next elections. Resolution 2013-1 also confirms the same allowance to the mayor, and gun-cleaning and uniform allowances to some high-ranking public safety officers. Garden Island.