Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hawaii voters want GMO labeling, Kauai continues GMO fight in court, police discipline records destroyed, homeless increasing, voters unsure about Kakaako development, fishing, surfing, kayaking could be forbidden on 'Forbidden Isle,' more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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GMO sign in Hilo grocery (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Three-quarters of voters interviewed in a new Hawaii Poll want the state Legislature to pass a law requiring that all food from genetically modified organisms sold in Hawaii carry labels. The poll found that only a quarter of voters consider themselves very familiar with GMOs. Yet those with the most knowledge about GMOs tend to be the most concerned about the issue. Star-Advertiser.

SB 2591 — introduced by Sen. Will Espero — aims to make more information available about police disciplinary actions as well as require county police agencies to maintain fired officers’ disciplinary files for six months after the annual legislative summaries are filed. Civil Beat.

A majority of Hawaii residents think the homeless problem has grown worse over the last year and even threatens the state's economy by discouraging visitors from returning. In addition, most folks who responded to the Hawaii Poll say the homeless are reducing the quality of their own lives by their increasing presence on or near beaches, parks, sidewalks and other places where they hang out. Star-Advertiser.

The state’s technology office is in the process of rolling out a half-million dollar system that allows the governor’s office to better manage thousands of communications from constituents and track bills that are moving through the Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hunting for sport and subsistence is popular on the neighbor islands and rural Oahu where wild game is more plentiful and accessible. A number of lawmakers are supporting a measure this session to preserve land set aside for Hawai’i’s hunters. Hawaii Public Radio.

New solution to help combat graffiti. HB 2391: “Requires all persons offering aerosol spray paint containers for sale to restrict public access to the containers so that access to them cannot be gained without employee assistance." KHON2.

The io population is secure so this revered Hawaiian hawk can be removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a proposal that’s ruffling feathers with some residents. West Hawaii Today.

The Kamehameha butterfly was once found on all the main Hawaiian Islands. But researchers say the insect, which is found only in the state of Hawaii, is now on the decline. Hawaii Public Radio.

Three Hawaii high schools are preparing for national competitions. The state Department of Education says Maui, Mililani and Waipahu high schools will head to the mainland for national competitions in April. Associated Press.

Oahu

Complaints about condominium tower development being too rampant in Kakaako have gushed this year at the Legislature and at meetings of a state agency governing such development. Yet a new poll suggests that this view is held by only about half of Oahu residents. Star-Advertiser.

Voters asked about development in Kakaako echo the stand protesters took at the State Capitol two weeks ago against the rise in condo projects. 54 percent say, "there's been too much development, too quickly." However, 43 percent believe it's better there than other areas of Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Honolulu this week. A three-judge panel of the court plans to hear three appeals of decisions by immigration authorities and by the U.S. District Court for Hawaii. Associated Press.

Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is heading back to the islands for his first performance here in 16 years. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Ethics reform just may be the last 2008 campaign promise still on Mayor Billy Kenoi’s plate. He’s hoping the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee finally bites when it meets at 4 p.m. today to consider a bill that’s been twice spurned by the county Board of Ethics and killed by a previous County Council. West Hawaii Today.

A recently signed memorandum of understanding between Hawaii Electric Light Co., Hawaii County and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority lays out one of the biggest difficulties in adding more renewable energy to a grid: energy storage. West Hawaii Today.

Unexpectedly high water in the Humuula saddle region, between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, has prompted a University of Hawaii researcher to seek a new site for additional tests. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui Federal Credit Union and Kula Community Federal Credit Union have received final approval from the National Credit Union Administration to merge, with an effective back date of Jan. 2. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

A release of the Office of the County Attorney’s confidential legal opinion on the final draft of Bill 2491, regulating GMO and pesticides, is one of the reasons why an outside firm is being sought to defend it in federal court, County of Kauai officials said. That Oct. 24 opinion, penned by Deputy County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask and stamped “DO NOT DISCLOSE” in large, red letters, was released publicly a week later by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. along with an announcement of his bill veto. Garden Island.

The Attorney General’s Office said it won’t get involved in a statute dispute centered around whether the mayor should have to vacate office. Garden Island.

Molokai

Urban development in Hawaii has left native butterflies with dwindling habitat, but on Molokai, butterflies will soon enjoy a buffet in downtown Kaunakakai. A specially-designed garden in front of the Molokai Public Library, created last week through volunteer community efforts, offers butterfly flower favorites, beauty for passersby and an agriculture education for keiki. Molokai Dispatch.

Niihau
Fishing restrictions around Niihau would be set by a single individual on the island under a bill approved last week by a Senate committee. Senate Bill 180, passed 5-0 with amendments Friday by the Committee on Water and Land, would establish a private fishery around the island under the auspices of a so-called kono­hiki, a term referring to the "village elder" or head of an ahupuaa land division. Star-Advertiser.

A handful of lawmakers in the state Legislature are not only seeking to prohibit fishing within two miles of the “Forbidden Island” of Niihau but also keep out tour boats, kayaks and even surfers. Garden Island.