Friday, November 22, 2013

State may pre-empt county GMO, pesticide laws, Hanabusa lags Schatz in fund-raising, Kauai police probe Bieber security attack on cameraman, homeless up 8.6%, Hawaiian Affairs, Home Lands, under fire, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo by Georgette Deemer
Christmas tree goes up at Honolulu Hale, courtesy of Georgette Deemer
A Christmas tree need not come from the Pacific Northwest to be beautiful. Locally grown Christmas trees are plentiful on Oahu and Maui, and state officials and online searches identified additional growers on Oahu and Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering legislation affecting genetically modified crops and pesticides now that several counties have taken steps to regulate them. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Sen. Clarence Nishihara said he hopes the governor will make clear the state has the authority to pre-empt the county initiatives. But Nishihara said he will likely propose a state pre-emption bill next year if Gov. Neil Abercrombie doesn’t take the lead. Associated Press.

Colleen Hanabusa, a U.S. representative, is far behind Brian Schatz, a U.S. senator, in the chase for campaign contributions. According to their most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, Schatz has a 3-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over his 2014 Democratic primary challenger. Civil Beat.

Clayton Hee, the chairman of the Senate committees on Judiciary and Labor revealed he was wearing a Kevlar vest during the first day of hearings on Senate Bill 1, which would eventually become the Marriage Equality Act. Civil Beat.

A national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization released a report Thursday that rates four Hawaii cities above the national average in LGBT inclusion in municipal law. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines said Thursday it will begin allowing customers to use their own personal portable electronic devices on "airplane mode" during all phases of domestic flights, from takeoff through landing, and during more phases on international flights. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines passengers will now have the opportunity to snap photographs of world-famous Waikiki Beach and other scenic aerial views of Hawaii with their smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices during takeoff and landing. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines on Thursday announced it has completed the certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is now allowing customers to use their own personal Portable Electronic Devices (PED) on "airplane mode" during all phases of domestic flights, from takeoff through landing, and during more phases on international flights. Hawaii News Now.

Federal officials say the number of homeless people in Hawaii is up 8.6 percent since 2010 to more than 6,000, despite a drop in the national estimate. Star-Advertiser.

If the Office of Hawaiian Affairs doesn't get its act together and do a better job of fulfilling its mission, the Legislature will take action. That's the message from a legislative hearing on Thursday where officials from OHA sought to defend their management of the agency's land and grants in the wake of a scathing audit released in September. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has initiated a variety of measures intended to improve its lending program, including lowering interest rates for the first time in 17 years and launching a pilot program to address the most severely overdue loans on the east side of Hawaii island, an area with a particularly acute delinquency problem. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Tom Brower might have put his sledgehammer back in the tool shed, but there’s still one question we haven’t seen answered. How many laws did Brower actually break while on his wheel-bashing crusade against the homeless and their shopping carts? Civil Beat.

Assaults on workers at the Hawaii State Hospital are all too common, and taxpayers are picking up the tab for the cost of treatment and workers compensation. Hawaii Reporter.

Honolulu

Honolulu City Council members will have to make key decisions in the coming year about how users of TheBus, Handi-Van and, eventually, the new elevated rail system will all pay their fare under the same system. Star-Advertiser.

It's the nightmare before Christmas at Ala Moana Center, where this year's busiest shopping season is colliding head-on with the mall's largest redevelopment project. Star-Advertiser.

The former operator of the now-closed Senor Frog's restaurant and bar in Waikiki will pay $350,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit on behalf of 13 female workers, including three teenage girls. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii


The Hawaii County Leeward Planning Commission on Thursday approved a special management area use permit for the Alii Kai park, allowing the long-promised project to move forward. West Hawaii Today.

An ambitious plan released late last week includes a new prison for West Hawaii and a new East Hawaii correctional complex that would combine the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, Kulani Correctional Facility, Hale Nani and associated facilities. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii island man who claims he was forced to get a liver transplant after taking the diet supplement OxyELITE Pro is suing the manufacturer and the retailer that sold it to him. Lawyers for Kenneth Wai­kiki, 22, of Kailua-Kona filed the lawsuit against Dallas-based USPlabs, company principals Jonathan Vincent Doyle and Jacob Geissler, and GNC Corp. in U.S. District Court in Hono­lulu on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Lawyers for the family of a New York teen killed during a kayak excursion at Kealakekua Bay last year said Tuesday that the trip’s organizers didn’t properly vet or train its leader. Associated Press.

Maui

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office has announced the signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding” agreement with the biotech giant Monsanto. HuffPost Hawaii.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Monsanto, “obtaining assurances from the company that they will engage in safe practices involving restricted-use pesticides.” Maui Now.

Rare dolphin carcass washes up on Maui's north shore. KITV.

Maui Memorial Medical Center has been certified as a level 3 trauma center, meeting standards that should improve care and survivability of injured patients, Health Department and hospital officials said. Maui News.

An 18-year veteran police officer on Maui was arrested and released after being charged with abuse of a family or household member, for an incident involving the injury of his 13-year-old daughter, police said. Maui Now.

Kauai

A pair of Kauai residents claim they watched one of Justin Bieber’s security guards assault a man trying to take pictures of the 19-year-old celebrity Wednesday at Shipwreck’s Beach in Poipu. Garden Island.

Kauai County officials say they are no longer considering an area near Isenberg Park as a potential site for an adolescent drug treatment center first envisioned nearly seven years ago by former Mayor Bryan Baptiste. Instead, now Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. said he and other county officials identified a site along Maalo Road in Kapahi and currently owned by Lihue-based Grove Farm Company as the best site for the facility. Garden Island.