Tuesday, November 12, 2013

U.S. and China military train in Hawaii, state responds to Philippine disaster, same-sex marriage bill heads to Senate, Tulsi Gabbard getting lots of Mainland support, HECO mum on power plans, vets recognized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

September 2012
U.S.-China naval exercises Sept. 2012 DOD courtesy photo
Army officials from China and the United States are meeting in Hawaii for an annual disaster relief exercise that will include field training for the first time this year. Specifics of the exercise scenario starting Tuesday have not been publicly released. U.S. Army Pacific officials have only described it as a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation requiring U.S. and China military cooperation in a fictional third country.  Associated Press.

Chinese troops are taking part in disaster relief exercises in Hawaii today, in what China's state media billed as the first time the country's soldiers have drilled on U.S. territory. People's Liberation Army soldiers are taking part in humanitarian assistance drills in Hawaii until Thursday with their U.S. counterparts, simulating relief operations after an earthquake hits a third country. Star-Advertiser.

At the request of the Philippines, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith to support humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines. Associated Press.

Hawaii organizations are offering ways for Hawaii residents to reach friends and relatives affected by Typhoon Haiyan. West Hawaii Today.

How to donate or help Philippine typhoon victims. Hawaii News Now.

The state Senate is poised to approve a same-sex marriage bill today and send it Gov. Neil Abercrombie for approval, setting up Hawaii to become the 15th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Abercrombie is expected to sign the measure into law soon after, and the state Department of Health says it is ready to implement the law by its Dec. 2 effective date. Star-Advertiser.

The jubilation is expected to continue for same sex marriage supporters. The Senate already voted 20 to 4 backing the bill and the amendments aren't expected to change any minds in Tuesday's final vote. Then it goes to the Governor for final approval. Hawaii News Now.

Civil union versus marriage. Some wonder what's the difference? Supporters of gay marriage say the rights and benefits. There are more than 1,000 federal benefits for same-sex couples, if they're allowed to marry. And it's not just federal tax benefits. KHON2.

In the past three years, the total number of homeless residents in Hawaii seeking help from publicly funded services has dropped slightly, indicating modest gains in the effort to curb homelessness across the state, a report released today shows. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tulsi Gabbard (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii candidates for federal office love to play up their local support. But a Civil Beat analysis of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's most recent campaign filing shows a candidate who has been traveling a lot and raising money throughout the country. The filing, covering July 15 through Oct. 15, with the Federal Election Commission shows that Gabbard had three times as many donors on the mainland — 146 total — as compared with Hawaii.

Severe assaults on employees at the state's only public mental hospital have resulted in some of them being out of work for months and even years, a Hawaii News Now investigation revealed. Four employees came forward to say the State Hospital is understaffed and they don't feel safe going to work.

Hotel revenue through the third quarter rose above $4 billion for the first time ever, putting Hawaii's hotel industry on track to set an annual revenue record, according to a hotel flash report set for release today by Hospitality Advisors LLC. Star-Advertiser.

International students contributed $108.5 million to Hawaii's economy in tuition and living expenses in the 2012-13 academic year, an institute reported Monday. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 12. Associated Press.

In brief | State Nov. 12, 2013. Associated Press.

Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Co. is hoping to fast-track nine solar farms on Oahu that could mean hundreds of thousands of solar panels stretching across areas equivalent to 40 Ala Moana Shopping Centers. The power is expected to lower consumer electricity bills, in addition to moving Hawaii away from its dependency on oil-fired generators. But where will all of these solar panels go? HECO won’t say. Civil Beat.

About 1,000 people — many of them current or former service members — came to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Veterans Day to pay respect to past and present military members for their service to the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Twelve additional sets of video cameras are expected to be placed at intersections through Waikiki and other neighborhoods that will be traveled by Honolulu Marathon runners next month. The new cameras are part of a series of security measures being put in place by the city in advance of this year's marathon, which runs Dec. 8, in the wake of April's Boston Marathon bombing. Star-Advertiser.

Soon Honolulu residents will get a chance to own a piece of Genshiro Kawamoto. Alexander and Baldwin Inc. is planning to soon auction off all the naked women and lion statues it removed from Kawamoto’s Kahala Avenue properties. Civil Beat.

24 violate Department of Hawaiian Home Lands rules, review finds. Star-Advertiser.

Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children began demolition of the 35-year-old Bingham parking garage on Monday, marking the start of a multi-phase master plan to rebuild the hospital, starting with a $120 million five-story tower that will house new neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care units. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hundreds of people gathered Monday at the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery in North Kona, where they paid tribute to Americans who have given selfless service to our country in times of war and peace. West Hawaii Today.

On November 6, Hawaii Public Radio initiated broadcast of its HPR-2 programming stream on KAHU-FM 91.7, serving the southernmost district of Hawai‘i Island. KAHU had gone off the air earlier this year and ownership of the broadcast license for this community radio station was transferred to HPR in August 2013. Yesterday’s resumption of service also returns to the communities of Pahala and Na‘alehu critical access to emergency information.

Maui

Attorney files appeal, challenges Rock & Brews’ minor SMA permit. Maui News.

While Maui veterans are hopeful that the Department of Veterans Affairs will soon eliminate the disability claims backlog, some say more needs to be done, especially for those disabled veterans who need the help the most. Maui News.

Kauai

As Philippines President Benigno Aquino III declared State of National Calamity Monday in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan, Kauai residents had already been at work trying to raise relief funds for those affected. Garden Island.

About 10 percent of Kauai’s population, said Capt. Bruce Hay, is composed of former and current soldiers. “That’s a pretty impressive statistic that no other town of equal size, that I am aware of, has,” said the commanding officer of the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana. “So Kauai, in particular, answers the call of service and continues to do so.” Garden Island.

A group of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative members wants to reverse a utility decision to charge $10.27 per month to customers who chose not to have a wireless smart meter installed at their home. Star-Advertiser.