Friday, September 27, 2013

Pesticide tests in streams to begin, Abercrombie goes abroad, Capitol security upgraded, Oahu kids want cool school, students lag on SAT tests, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The Hawaii Department of Health has received $75,000 to begin testing for pesticides in streams and waterways throughout the state. Garden Island.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will be acting governor for the next few weeks as Gov. Neil Abercrombie travels out of state for meetings and vacation. The governor's office said Wednesday Abercrombie is in Los Angeles and New York to meet with credit agencies about the state's economy and fiscal condition. After the meetings wrap up on Friday, the governor will join his wife in France for personal travel. Associated Press.

The state is spending $450,000 in federal grant funds upgrading security systems at the State Capitol in what officials call a "modest upgrade." Since Hawaii has one of the most open Capitol buildings in the country, public safety officials are trying to make it more secure without cutting off access to the public. Hawaii News Now.

Major advances in battery storage technology, not to mention sharp cost reductions, could help light the way for Hawaii’s troubled solar industry. The path forward could, it seems increasingly plausible, involve do-it-yourself solar users disconnecting themselves from the power grid altogether, and still flourishing. Civil Beat.

The solar photovoltaic sector, one of Hawaii’s fastest growing industries and one that has been experiencing a recent slowdown, may lose hundreds of jobs if issues such as the changes to building permit fees and the state solar PV tax credit as well as the increasing saturation of some key geographic areas aren’t resolved, according to members of an industry trade group. Pacific Business News.

Students in Hawaii continue to underperform on the SAT compared to the national average, according to scores released Thursday by the College Board. Tribune-Herald.

Arrivals from Hawaii's largest visitor market contracted in August after 20 straight months of increases — and spending declined as well — but state tourism officials stopped short of saying the drop-off in the U.S. West signified a trend. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for September 27. Associated Press.

Oahu

Toting handmade signs to "Cool Our School," nearly 500 students from Campbell High School in Ewa Beach converged on the state Capitol with their teachers and principal Thursday to rally for air conditioning in the public schools. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 500 frequently overheated students from Campbell High School came together at the Capitol Thursday morning to send a loud message to Hawaii lawmakers: It is too hot to learn well in their school. Civil Beat.

Molasses fish kill now turned into farm fertilizer. 26,000 dead fish sent to processing plant, not landfill. KITV

Large concrete barriers will likely go up by the end of the year to block cars, buses and vans from parking at Lani­akea Beach, transportation officials announced at a meeting this week to address the traffic problems there. The state Department of Transportation considers those 20-foot-long barriers the best possible fix for the growing safety hazards and congestion at Lani­akea, where some 600,000 tourists and local residents venture each year to encounter Hawaiian sea turtles in their natural environment. Star-Advertiser.

It was a sunset marked by star power, a singing boy band and thousands of screaming fans of “Hawaii Five-0.” For the fourth year in a row, the cast of the state’s most celebrated TV show dressed up to walk a red carpet on the sand and say mahalo to fans who had come to see the crime drama’s Sunset on the Beach premiere. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The county Department of Parks and Recreation closed Ahalanui Park today after a park-goer apparently became sick after swimming in its hot pond. Big Island Now.

The Leeward Planning Commission is sending a controversial Hualalai Road development to the Hawaii County Council with a positive recommendation. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island cannabis advocate Roger Christie will spend about another six months behind bars after pleading guilty today in his marijuana trafficking case, according to his lawyer. But Christie will continue his quest to become the first legal marijuana minister by appealing the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pretrial rulings denying his bid to dismiss the charges, attorney Thomas Otake said Thursday in an email statement. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Maui County Auditor Lance Taguchi probably won't know until January if his office will be able to commit to an audit over the county administration's handling of the Old Wailuku Post Office demolition. Maui News.

State officials are seeking a $1,000 fine and $580 in administrative costs from Maui Kayaks Inc. for allegedly conducting unauthorized commercial activity at a state beach reserve at Olowalu. Maui News.

Contractors will open a portion of road today that runs through the Maui Business Park under construction in Kahului. Maui Now.

Kauai

The state Department of Health and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center reported that the rates of cancer on Kauai aren’t higher than throughout the rest of the state. The one exception, according to a joint report released Thursday, was the rate for skin melanoma, a cancer related to ultraviolet exposure. Garden Island.

The state's intent to address health and environmental concerns tied to the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops is being met with caution by supporters of a bill that would impose regulations on large agricultural biotech companies on Kauai. Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced earlier this week that the state will create standards and guidelines for biotech companies to voluntarily disclose use of pesticides and genetically modified crops, and will implement buffer zones near schools and hospitals. Star-Advertiser.