Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hawaii lawmakers mull solar glut, attorney general bows out of GMO debate, Kauai, Hawaii county councils take up GMO bills today, Matson paying businesses for molasses spill, public records pricey, helmet law unlikely, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The Hawaiian Electric Company answered to lawmakers Monday afternoon about a new policy requiring its approval before solar photovoltaic installations.  HECO says the change, which went into effect, September 6, ensures its circuits have the capacity to remain reliable as PV growth skyrockets in Hawai'i. Hawaii News Now.

HECO warns that so much solar power is passing through its circuits that the extra energy could cause power disruptions for others and possibly jeopardize the safety of some of its employees. When the utility reviews proposed solar systems, it decides whether the customer may have to pay for studies of its electrical grid, as well as costs associated with upgrades of the grid so that it can handle power that the solar customer generates. Civil Beat.

Safety first. That's what Hawaiian Electric Company is telling people who are still waiting to get their photovoltaic systems approved. KHON2.

The Hawaii Health Connector expects to launch its online marketplace for health insurance policies today, two weeks after failing to meet its original Oct. 1 start date. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Agriculture wants to fill several positions in its pesticides branch, including jobs for inspectors that were eliminated because of budget shortfalls. The department said it will seek funding from the Legislature next year to fill positions statewide. Star-Advertiser.

A mandatory helmet bill is periodically introduced in the state Legislature, and it often doesn’t get a committee hearing, much less get passed. The 2014 legislative session may be no different, despite a move by the Honolulu City Council to include mandatory helmets for riders of motorcycles, mopeds and motor scooters in a package of priorities being put together by the Hawaii State Association of Counties. West Hawaii Today.

The Aloha State is ranked sixth among the top 10 best states for young adults, according to MoneyRates.com. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents and visitors spent more money in the third quarter on convenience store items, insurance, furniture and other goods and services, according to the bank that handles most credit and debit transactions in the state. Associated Press.

Hawaii's Public Records: Law's Creators Didn't Expect Cost To Be An Issue. Civil Beat.

Documents requested from state and county agencies under the Uniform Information Practices Act are often handed over with black streaks through words, sentences, paragraphs and even entire pages. Agencies are supposed to provide a legally justified reason for every redaction, but they're often chalked up to privacy concerns or broad categorical exemptions such as the ubiquitous "frustrates a legitimate government function."  Civil Beat.

State roundup for October 15. Associated Press.

Oahu
Matson Inc. is starting to cut checks to businesses hurt by last month's molasses spill disaster. About a dozen companies have filed claims against the shipping giant after the spill shutdown Keehi Lagoon and much of Honolulu Harbor for nearly two week. Hawaii News Now.

Sections of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station are returning to the "wild, wild West" vandalism and lawless days that followed the base closing in 1999, a local historian and preservationist charges. Some residents and officials agree with that assessment by Ewa Beach's John Bond, while others do not, as the old 3,700-acre military base continues to occupy an awkward place between the ongoing departure of the Navy and redevelopment somewhere down the road. Star-Advertiser.

State coastal lands officials Monday reached out to Sunset Beach residents threatened by such severe shore erosion that it has left their homes dangerously close to the edge of a newly carved 20-foot cliff. A team from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources met with residents, talked to lifeguards and examined the eroded stretch of North Shore beach at Ke Nui Road that includes the home of pro surfer Fred Patacchia Jr. Star-Advertiser.

For nearly 90 years, Camp Kokokahi has weathered the salty breezes of Kaneohe Bay with a spiritual, if not physical, grace. While thousands of Hawaii families and visitors enjoyed the waterfront facilities, the buildings deteriorated, held together by an occasional new coat of paint, and the camp seemed to slip from people's minds. Star-Advertiser.

Local real estate developer Dick Gushman, who helped develop the Waikiki Beach Walk retail complex and Waikele Center, is donating $100,000 to Hawaii Public Radio as part of a philanthropic partnership that will translate into at least 1 million HawaiianMiles for the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A Big Island lawmaker has raised questions regarding Hawaii County’s ability to regulate genetically altered crops. On Thursday, state Sen. Malama Solomon sent Hawaii Attorney General David Louie an email asking for an opinion on the issue. Tribune-Herald.

A bill seeking to ban genetically modified crops in Hawaii County passed the Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee (PSMTC) on Oct. 1 and moves on to first reading in front of the full council on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. KHON2.

Brightly colored flotation devices, mounted to plastic pipes topped with orange flags, now adorn five North Kona beaches, thanks to the Alex and Duke De Rego Foundation. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

GMO Free Maui hosted a Maui March Against Monsanto over the weekend as part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about GMOs and pesticides. Maui Now.

Hundreds march to ‘Bee The Change’ against Monsanto. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa hosts a news conference this afternoon to share his vision for a “Central Maui Regional Park” in WaikapÅ«. Maui Now.

Hui o Wa‘a Kaulua is calling for volunteers to help with finishing and outfitting Maui’s voyaging canoe, Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, prior to its planned launched on Dec. 21 during the winter solstice. Maui Now.

Kauai

Once outgoing member Nadine Nakamura steps away from the County Council in about two weeks, the rest of the commission will have one month to choose her replacement. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council will reconvene on Tuesday, Oct. 15, to continue the discussion over Bill 2491 regulating GMOs. KHON2.

Resurrecting the cemetery. Eleele resident cleaning up a piece of Kauai’s history. Garden Island.

Lanai

Pulama Lanai, the company formed to handle operations for Lanai majority owner Larry Ellison, is expected to reveal details about a planned $27 million makeover of its Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay at a meeting next week on the island. Pacific Business News.