Monday, December 2, 2013

Couples wed as Hawaii gay marriage law takes effect, public records priced out of public range, new film commissioner for Maui, new publisher at Big Island media, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Equality Hawaii

Hawaii's first gay marriage, courtesy Equality Hawaii
Same-sex couples are taking advantage of Hawaii's new-found aloha for gay weddings. Associated Press.

Forty-five minutes past the stroke of midnight today, six couples became Hawaii’s first same-sex couples to marry. The New Civil Rights Movement.

Same-sex marriage took more than two decades of activism to reach Hawaii, but the first ceremonies only took a few minutes. Forty-five minutes after midnight Monday — the moment state marriage license applications became available online — six same-sex couples began to exchange their vows at a festive, historic celebration on the 30th floor of the Sheraton Waikiki. Civil Beat.

Today the wait is over for local same sex couples looking to get married in the Aloha State. Hawaii recently became the latest to legalize marriage equality and the law will go into effect starting today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Same-sex couples marry on historic first day in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Supporters of gay marriage were set to celebrate their impending midnight unions Sunday afternoon with bouncy castles, food trucks and musical performers, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Marriage Equality Family Day and Celebration at Thomas Square had to be canceled because of inclement weather. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Business News reports that a major private corrections company is "very interested" in helping Hawaii solve its prison overcrowding problem by building new prisons here. It's the same company, Corrections Corporation of America, that houses hundreds of Hawaii prisoners in its Arizona facilities. Civil Beat.

One way to keep tabs on the public’s money is to review the governor’s travel records. That’s pretty standard procedure for journalists in most states, especially when an incumbent is up for reelection. But it’s tough to do in Hawaii. The cost of public records effectively invalidates the state public records law in many instances. It’s just too expensive for the public to pay the price the agencies charge to review records that are legally available under the Uniform Information Practices Act, Hawaii’s decades-old public records law. Civil Beat.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Robert Lee saw the battleship USS Arizona turn red hot and heard it hiss like a tea kettle after it was hit. He shot at Japanese warplanes with a .22 rifle, and joined the Hawaii Territorial Guard the next day for fear the island would be invaded. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Budget talks for Fiscal Year 2015 are already taking place inside Honolulu Hale, and the conversation isn’t pretty. The city is facing a projected $156 million shortfall in the coming year, which has caused Mayor Kirk Caldwell to institute a strict spending cap on all departments. There’s already a $28 million deficit in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, and that has already resulted in some cuts. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Almost a year after county Legislative Auditor Colleen Schrandt resigned, the position has not yet been filled and it’s unclear how much, if any, auditing has actually gone on. West Hawaii Today.

Work on a Hawaii biomass facility that was expected to generate 10 percent of the Big Island’s electricity needs has been halted until developer, Hu Honua Bioenergy, receives the final regulatory permits and approvals, leaving up to 20 workers, a mix of contract workers and employees, off the job, according to John Sylvia, the company’s CEO. Pacific Business News.

David Bock takes over today as publisher of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Bock, 47, succeeds Ted Dixon, who is retiring. Dixon was publisher since 2003. Bock, who is editor of the Tribune-Herald and director of news services for Stephens Media Hawaii, will retain his news-related responsibilities. Stephens Media Hawaii.

Maui

Newly selected Maui County Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett is looking to "really push hard" over the next few months to bring a television series to the island next year. Maui News.

Already burdened with the nation's highest electricity bills, Hawaii residents are paying even more for renewable energy development, and what they pay depends on whether they're among the "haves" or the "have-nots." Maui News.

Kauai

A $12 million energy project is underway  at Kauai schools. In the first phase, four schools will be fitted with 22 photovoltaic energy systems through a $1.2 million state initiative. Garden Island.

Kauai Chief of Police Darryl Perry said that with the County Council’s approval of the CrimeNtel intelligence sharing program, the department has an enhanced ability to prevent criminal or terrorist acts by working in conjunction with state and national intelligence and law enforcement networks. Garden Island.

The state Department of Health's Clean Water Branch has issued a brown water advisory for the east-northeast areas of Kauai from Nawiliwili to Hanalei. Star-Advertiser.