Monday, January 13, 2014

Hawaii homeless count to begin, Maui mayor signs waste-to-energy contract, seed companies sue over GMO, pesticide law, congressional delegation's wealth, votes tallied, Honolulu food truck law mulled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii homeless (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
An annual count of the homeless in Hawaii, which will get underway next week, is part of a national snapshot taken on a single night to track the problem and target where resources are needed. Similar "Point-in-Time" homeless counts are conducted across the country under guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Star-Advertiser.

How Rich Are Hawaii’s Congressional Representatives? Compared to the rest of Congress, Hawaii's reps are middling, at best, in their personal wealth. Hawaii Independent.

Mazie Hirono missed only one vote in 2013, Colleen Hanabusa reached across the aisle a lot to co-sponsor legislation and Tulsi Gabbard and Brian Schatz each had a bill enacted. All four also worked with each other to push legislation jointly. Those are some of the highlights from the 2013 Report Cards for All Members of Congress, released last week by GovTrack.us, a government transparency website. Civil Beat.

Kingdom still in place, courts told. Some homeowners fight foreclosure by claiming that the United States is illegally occupying Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii this week is hosting a series of events as part of its first "Chamber Week," coinciding with the start of the state legislative session, in which the group plans to aggressively promote a pro-business package of bills. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Bob McDermott has at least one good point. State education officials should have turned over a copy of Hawaii's controversial sex education program as soon as he asked for it. Civil Beat.

State roundup for January 13. Associated Press.

Oahu

Oahu's food trucks and lunch wagons could bid for exclusive rights to park in stalls designated for them under a bill proposed recently before the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

35 Honolulu Police Department officers were suspended or discharged for misconduct in 2013, according to the department's latest annual report that county police agencies are required to file with the Legislature. That’s more than in 2012, when 30 officers were punished for 35 incidents of misconduct. Civil Beat.

Honolulu's Chinatown is an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and markets. But, when nature calls, you may be on your own.... there are no public restrooms. KITV4.

Hawaii

From living off the land to exploring space, from shielding constituents from eyes in the sky to legalizing Granny’s banana bread, Hawaii Island’s delegation of state representatives and senators is gearing up to present a host of new ideas — as well as time-worn ones that have yet to be fulfilled — to their legislative colleagues starting next week. West Hawaii Today.

There will once again be a doctor in the House. Just days before the regular legislative session is set to begin, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Friday appointed Richard Creagan, 68, a Naalehu physician, to fill the District 5 post vacated by former state Rep. Denny Coffman. West Hawaii Today.

A man soliciting people at Kealakekua Bay to rent kayaks will pay more than $3,000 following an undercover operation conducted by the state. The Board of Land and Natural Resources authorized Friday a civil penalty fine of $2,500 and associated administrative costs of $750 against Captain Cook resident Alexander Aquino, 39, for violating Hawaii Administrative Rules prohibiting commercial activities without a written permit from the board of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks, according to a prepared statement from the DLNR. West Hawaii Today.

The Kailua Village Business Improvement District — tasked with making historic Kailua Village a better place to live, work, play and invest — is rolling out a new series of events and activities, in addition to its mainstays, that it hopes will promote the downtown area to residents and visitors alike. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa announced the signing of an agreement this week to finance and build an Integrated Waste Conversion and Energy Project on Maui. Maui Now.

The controversial demolition of the Old Wailuku Post Office is on a list of proposed audits that Maui County Auditor Lance Taguchi plans to conduct by the end of the fiscal year in June. Maui News.

The Maui County Council gave its final approval Friday for the $13 million purchase of 186 acres at Launiupoko. Maui News.

Single-family home prices in Maui County rose 13 percent last year, while the median price of a condo in 2013 rose 5 percent, compared to 2012, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Three seed companies have sued Kauai County in an attempt to block the implementation of a new law that would regulate their use of pesticides and the growth of genetically modified crops on Kauai. Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Agrigenetics Inc., doing business as Dow AgroSciences, filed a joint complaint at the U.S. District Court Friday against the county, requesting a permanent injunction on Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491), claiming the new law is flawed and invalid. Star-Advertiser.

It was a move many expected and one the industry itself had promised. On Friday, three of Kauai’s biotech seed companies filed a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking implementation of County Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491) related to pesticides and genetically modified crops. Garden Island.

The battle over genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, on Kauai continues as three companies sue the County of Kauai, hoping to stop the county from implementing a new law. The three companies are Syngenta, Agrigenetics and DuPont Pioneer. They claim that the new law is invalid. KHON2.

It’s clear that gambling is illegal in Hawaii, but that doesn’t stop advocates from pushing for legislation to allow casinos, lotteries and even church bingo each year. Many hotels, stores and organizations on Kauai aren’t publicly supporting a pro-gambling idea. And there isn’t a legislator on island who has signed on to any pro-gambling bill. Garden Island.

Billionaire Brad Kelley, one of the largest private landowners in the United States with more than 1.5 million acres of ranch lands in Kentucky, Tennessee, New Mexico, Florida and Texas, has recently purchased “thousands of acres” of agricultural land in Hawaii on the island of Kauai from landowner Grove Farm, according to sources close to the situation. Pacific Business News.