Friday, January 3, 2014

Hanabusa-Schatz race catches national eye, Hawaii's first gay divorce, tour guide says he was forced to lie about shark bite, Hawaii Supreme Court makes judge hold hearing on closing courtroom, Kaui museum director fired, police called to block Big Island surf spot, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

U.S. Senate campaign 2014
Schatz, Hanabusa (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
In Colleen Hanabusa’s U.S. Senate candidacy, what remains of former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s mostly Japanese American political machine is fighting for supremacy against a younger and whiter progressive wing led by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz that is trying to become Hawaii’s new ruling class. Washington Post.

Politico, one of the nation's top political magazines, issued a report December 26, citing the race between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI, and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, D-HI, as one of the top 10 political races to watch. Hawaii Reporter.

Same-sex couple files for divorce. KHON2.

Hawaii taxpayers have among the nation’s highest return when it comes to funding of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by WalletHub, a financial resources website that analyzed tax dollar benefit by state. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has ordered a state judge to hold a hearing on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's request to unseal closed court proceedings in federal agent Christopher Deedy's murder trial. But the order issued Thursday did not address the newspaper's other request for a court order prohibiting Circuit Judge Karen Ahn from closing the courtroom in the future unless she gives the public and media a chance to object. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn must explain why she closed certain proceedings during a high-profile murder trial last year, including on the final day of deliberations when she cleared her courtroom of spectators and the media before announcing a deadlocked jury. On Thursday, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered Ahn to provide a legal explanation for her decision to exclude the public from some parts of the trial of Christopher Deedy, the U.S. State Department agent who shot and killed a Kailua man in a Waikiki McDonald's. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama hit the golf course in Hawaii with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Thursday. Associated Press.

How President Barack Obama spent Day 13 of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Thursday. Associated Press.

Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection
Kim
Bruce Kim signed on as executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection in July 2011 and it's been a wild ride ever since. From the mortgage foreclosure crisis ascendant when he first took the post to the current worries about the data breach at Target stores nationwide that could have affected as many as 121,000 Hawaii shoppers, Kim has been applying his legal background and the resources of his office to make sure consumers are not abused. Star-Advertiser.

Social Media Breathes New Life Into Hawaii Activism. Civil Beat.

Oahu
A former deck hand for a Haleiwa shark tour company said he lied to medical personnel at the direction of his bosses to cover up an on-the-job shark bite he suffered last year, a charge the company denied Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

A collection of North Shore residents and surfers started the new year Thursday with a lawsuit against state transportation officials to remove the controversial new parking barriers at Laniakea Beach. Star-Advertiser.

A Houston-based energy company estimates Hawaiian Electric Co. could save 30 percent or more on its fuel costs by burning the firm's compressed wood pellets instead of fuel oil to generate electricity. Zilkha Biomass Energy conducted a series of studies in 2012 and 2013 that demonstrated the feasibility of burning its "Black Pellets" in steam boilers at the Waiau and Kahe power plants. Star-Advertiser.

An army of city workers and volunteers swarmed over Sunset Beach on Thursday, hauling away truckloads of debris from a stretch of coast where high surf and tides left at least a half-dozen Rocky Point homes in danger of being washed away. Star-Advertiser.

The damage exposes Oahu’s long-term inability to adequately regulate construction on its shores. Hundreds of homes, businesses and pieces of island infrastructure have been built too close to the ocean. And with scientists forecasting that coastal erosion will worsen in the coming years, the state's failure to prepare for the future leaves beachfront residents increasingly vulnerable, state and county officials concede. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
There could soon be a bumper crop of logos identifying locally grown produce, if a resolution proposed by Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille takes root at Tuesday’s Governmental Relations and Economic Development Committee meeting. West Hawaii Today.

The owners of Mill Road in Papaikou hired off-duty police officers to restrict access this week, frustrating residents who said they weren’t given a warning from the owners nor a sufficient explanation from police. Tribune-Herald.

A sinkhole that swallowed a truck earlier this week near Paauilo could be filled as early as today. Crews with Goodfellow Bros. were working “around the clock” to repair a portion of Pohakea Mauka Road damaged Monday when a culvert collapsed during heavy rainfall, said foreman Clifford Cox. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will close the Puako boat launch ramp on the Big Island for two days next week to remove a loading dock damaged by high surf. Associated Press.

Maui

The Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will begin charging admission on Jan. 15. Maui News.

The state Real Estate Commission will hold its monthly committee meetings on Maui next week, allowing residents to participate and learn about licensing laws and other regulations. Maui News.

Kauai

Ballots for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s special election related to smart meters are in the mail. All co-op members have a chance to weigh-in on the KIUC board’s recent decision to charge additional fees to the roughly 3,000 customers who have chosen not to use a wireless smart meter. Garden Island.

After 27 years of living in Kokee State Park and working as executive director of Hui o Laka Kokee Museum, Marsha Erickson claims museum Board of Trustee president Frank Hay offered her a choice — resign or be fired for cause. Garden Island.