Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gov. Abercrombie loses popularity, Schatz-Hanabusa neck-and-neck, gay marriage bill filed, union contracts, hospital money added to special session, Monsanto calls for crop controls, Maui High band invited to Rose Parade, Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Center for sale, buyer for Naniloa, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
A majority of registered Hawaii voters who plan to vote in the Democratic primary — 51 percent — do not like the way Gov. Neil Abercrombie has been doing his job, according to a new poll. Just 39 percent said they approve of the governor's job performance, while 10 percent said they are unsure. Abercrombie's numbers have worsened since a Civil Beat Poll in June showed 48 percent of registered voters disapproved of his job performance while just 45 percent approved.

Hawaii's Senate primary is a pure toss-up, according to a new poll. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) by 38 percent to 36 percent, according to the poll conducted for the Honolulu Civil Beat. The Hill.

The state Senate's draft of a gay marriage bill would carve out a narrow exemption to the public accommodations law for churches that do not make religious facilities or grounds available to the general public for weddings for a profit. State lawmakers have been reluctant to interfere with the public accommodations law, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but lawmakers are interested in finding a balance between marriage equality and religious freedom. Star-Advertiser.

The "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013" bill was officially filed Tuesday.  Senate officials confirm they will introduce the bill next week Monday, October 28 at the start of the same-sex marriage special session. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the Hawaii State Legislature to expand the agenda for the upcoming special session to include measures relating to health services on Kauai and the funding of two recent collective bargaining agreements. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the Legislature to expand the agenda for the special session that begins Monday to include measures relating to health services on Kauai and the funding of two collective bargaining agreements for United Public Workers and Hawaii Government Employees Association. Abercrombie ordered lawmakers back to work to take up same-sex marriage legislation. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers will take up new contracts for public workers and emergency money for public hospitals on Kauai in addition to gay marriage during a special session. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers spend thousands of taxpayer dollars each year on refreshments for themselves, their staffs and guests at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

Monsanto Co. is calling for more controls on agrochemicals, including its Roundup line of glyphosate-based weedkillers, in response to an Associated Press report about concerns that illegal pesticide applications are harming human health in Argentina.Monsanto and other large agricultural firms have recently been the target of protests against, and legislation controlling, the use of pesticides and GMO crops in Hawaii. Associated Press.

State roundup for October 23. Associated Press.

Oahu

Kamehameha Schools said Tuesday that it is putting the buildings at the Royal Hawaiian Center on the market in a leasehold sale expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Hawaii’s largest private landowner, which would retain ownership of the underlying lands. Pacific Business News.

Waikiki's biggest shopping center is for sale, and the price likely will be big. Really big. Perhaps the second-biggest price ever for a retail property in Hawaii. Kamehameha Schools announced Tuesday that it will seek a buyer for Royal Hawaiian Center in a deal that includes the mall buildings but not the underlying land. Star-Advertiser.

This time next year, a new owner may have control over the retail heart of Waikiki. Kamehameha Schools announced Tuesday that it is planning to sell the buildings that make up the iconic Royal Hawaiian Center, a mall that spans three blocks in Hawaii’s tourism center. Civil Beat.

Kuykendall Hall, a major hub for students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa sits in disrepair when it could have been a model for sustainable architecture, planning and design in the state. Hawaii Independent.

Kahala residents say their neighborhood is looking better, since A&B Properties bought a number of homes from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. KHON2.

Reynolds Recycling's Hauula redemption center closed its doors to the public Tuesday after the city put up "no trespassing" signs on the Kamehameha Highway property. The 20,000-square-foot property is the focus of a long-running dispute between the city and real estate agent Choon James, who bought the property in 2006. Star-Advertiser.

With its success running a private, all-girls school for nearly 150 years, the St. Andrew's Priory School for Girls' board has approved plans to open an elementary school next fall tailored to the educational needs of young boys. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines is trying again for Kona-Tokyo direct flights. Airline officials on Tuesday announced their intent to apply Thursday with the U.S. Department of Transportation for operating slots at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda that American Airlines intends to return later this year. West Hawaii Today.

America Asia Travel Center Inc. submitted the top bid for the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort last week, according to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court. The Los Angeles-based travel company is offering $3.5 million for the 383-room hotel and nine-hole golf course on Hilo’s Banyan Drive. Tribune-Herald.

Despite a mountain of bad press, a tangled heap of creditors and a political firestorm over the management of its lease, the troubled Naniloa Volcanoes Resort may soon have a buyer. Big Island Now.

About 100 people, many sporting red-and-white palaka armbands symbolizing their support for 24-hour public access to Papaikou Mill Beach, met Tuesday night with the area’s council member and the county’s top civil attorney. Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Nine hardworking contestants are dedicating time and talent as they vie to represent Kona’s specialty crop as Miss Kona Coffee. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Those who work in the juvenile criminal justice system say that there's a need for more youth services, including a safe house on Maui for girls, who constitute an increasing percentage of admissions to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility on Oahu. Maui News.

Arrivals of South Korean tourists on Maui are growing by the thousands each year, and the Valley Isle offers a perfect match for these visitors and what they are looking for, tourism officials said Monday. Maui News.

Maui High School's Saber Marching Band & Color Guard has been invited to the 126th Annual Rose Parade in California. KITV.

All 10 people aboard a small Cessna commuter aircraft, including eight passengers and two pilots, were uninjured after the plane made an emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway in South Maui last night. Maui Now.

A single-engine Mokulele Airlines plane with 10 people aboard turned Piilani Highway into a makeshift runway, making an emergency landing safely in the northbound lane on the normally busy South Maui thoroughfare Monday night. Maui News.

An investigation has been launched into eight suspicious brush fires reported early this morning in Lahaina. Maui Now.

Kauai

Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked legislators Tuesday to consider a bill that would provide emergency funding for Kauai’s two public hospitals when the Legislature convenes for a special session on same-sex marriage next week.   The request comes less than a week before the House and Senate are set to begin talks and at a time when Hawaii Health Systems Corporation officials are working to ease financial woes across the state public hospital system. Garden Island.

In 1995, the Hanalei River bank broke down in a bad way. Today, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing to return the river back to its original form to the tune of nearly $2 million. Garden Island.