Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hawaii County Council bans GMOs, Brower puts down sledgehammer, group wants minimum wage increase, sentencing in police extortion case, keeping the country country, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all righst reserved
Hawaii County GMO rally (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Efforts underway to raise Hawaii's minimum wage. Last increase in minimum wage 2007. KITV

State Rep. Tom Brower is packing away the sledgehammer he has used through the past few weeks to wreck stolen and abandoned shopping carts homeless people use to carry their belongings. Brower's unusual cart-destroying tactics made national news and sparked a storm of controversy after the Star-Advertiser on Monday first reported his actions.

A bill banning "lying on sidewalks" was shelved by the Honolulu City Council Public Safety and Economic Development Committee today after it became clear it did not have enough support to pass. Star-Advertiser.

Stanley Chang's Bill 59, CD1 was deferred by the Honolulu City Council Committee on Public Safety and Economic Development earlier today. Bill 59, Relating to Public Sidewalks, would have (with a few exceptions) made it illegal to lie down on sidewalks in Honolulu.  Hawaii Independent.

A labor arbitration panel has reached a draft contract with the union that represents 2,000 firefighters statewide, although details are not expected to be made public until the end of the month. Bobby Lee, president of the Hawaii Fire Fighters Association, said the union was informed of the draft award Friday. He declined to provide details such as the length of the contract, pending a 15-day review period by the parties, but said he was pleased with the plan. Star-Advertiser.

State agriculture inspectors found slugs in six of 60 shipping containers of Christmas trees arriving over the past weekend in Hawaii and held them. Last year, 50 percent of containers were infested with slugs and other pests. Star-Advertiser.

Russell Kokubun is stepping down from his post as chairman of the state Department of Agriculture to return to his Volcano farm and, to some extent, help friend and former Hawaii Senate colleague Colleen Hanabusa campaign for the U.S. Senate. West Hawaii Today.

Russell Kokubun, director of the state Department of Agriculture, is retiring at the end of the year. The former Hawaii island state senator and county councilman said he will return to his family farm in Volcano. His wife, Anne, an administrator for the state Department of Education, also plans to retire. Star-Advertiser.

Internationally renowned architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners of New York City has been selected along with Honolulu-based Clifford Planning & Architecture to design the Daniel K. Inouye library at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

One or both of Hawaii's two oil refineries are likely to close by 2020 as their already thin profit margins are squeezed further by a shift to renewable energy sources, tougher environmental standards and other factors, members of a state task force warned. Star-Advertiser.

Doctors already contending with reams of paperwork brought on by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its 30,000 new pages of rules and regulations say a 2008 federal law set to go into effect next year will compound their misery. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

A government witness who told a federal grand jury that she and retired police Maj. Carlton Nishimura schemed to accept protection money from the operator of an illegal gambling house, recorded herself later telling her lawyer that she lied to the grand jury, then went in front of the grand jury again to say she didn't lie, could be released from custody as early as Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu City Council committee is meeting Wednesday to hear a new version of a resolution urging the city to address the sewer problems in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

A group adamant about keeping the country country sought answers from Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell Tuesday night. KHON2.

The co-owner of the Assaggio restaurants said business is continuing as usual despite her husband admitting in federal court last week that he laundered more than $1 million of illegal gambling proceeds through the popular Italian eateries. Star-Advertiser.

The state attorney general is conducting a theft investigation of teachers and staff at the Myron B. Thompson Academy who may have been paid improperly for compensatory time, chief investigator Dan Hanagami told a state judge Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council passed Bill 113 today in a landmark 6-3 vote. The bill restricts the expansion of transgenic crops grown on the Big Island by limiting most of their use to enclosed structures, such as a greenhouse. Tribune-Herald.

Despite opposition from most of Hawaii’s farming industry, the Hawaii County Council passed a bill Tuesday that prohibits biotech companies from operating on the Big Island and bans growing any new genetically altered crops.  Civil Beat.

Maui

Three public hearings are planned this week to collect testimony on proposed rule changes for Maui and Lānaʻi fisheries bag and size limits. The hearings are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. on the following dates and locations: Nov. 19 on Lānaʻi at the Senior Center on 7th Street; Nov. 20 in Hāna at Helene Hall at Hāna Bay Beach Park; and on Nov. 21 in Kahului at the Maui Waena Intermediate School cafeteria on Oneheʻe Avenue. Maui Now.

DT Fleming Beach Park in West Maui was closed at around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, following the discovery of possible unexploded ordnance offshore. Maui Now.

Tommy Russo has a nose for bullshit. Political malfeasance? Animal cruelty? Police corruption? Environmental hazards? The Maui Time publisher and his shoestring staff routinely sniff out stuff people in power don’t want discovered — and then air it out in the alternative weekly Russo founded in 1997. Civil Beat.

Kauai

To an untrained eye, it can appear to look like just a pile of rocks. But the structures signify much more than that. Garden Island.