Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wilson confirmed to Hawaii Supreme Court, Legislature to mull GMO, ILWU backs Abercrombie, go! loss could hike interisland fares, Kaui mayor seeks tax hikes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Supreme Court (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
The state Senate voted Monday to confirm Circuit Judge Michael Wilson as an associate justice of the state Supreme Court after finding that Wilson has the experience, temperament and legal insight to serve on the state's highest court. The 23-1 vote sent a forceful message that senators rejected the Hawaii State Bar Association's rating that Wilson was "unqualified." Star-Advertiser.

Mike Wilson's fate was in the hands of 24 elected officials Monday, and 23 of them decided to approve his nomination to the Hawaii Supreme Court. The lone "no" vote in the state Senate came from Roz Baker, who questioned Wilson's work ethic, his diligence and his behavior toward subordinates, especially women. Civil Beat.

Wilson
The state Senate overwhelmingly approved the nomination of Circuit Judge Michael Wilson to the state Supreme Court Monday, but not without detailed criticism from the lone senator who voted against him. Hawaii Public Radio.

It took not just one, but two marathon confirmation hearings before Judge Michael Wilson was elevated to the high court. KITV4.

The names of police officers who are suspended for a year or more could be disclosed to state lawmakers under a measure moving through the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

House lawmakers are working to revive an effort to label genetically modified food in Hawaii.  The Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Jessica Wooley, is set to hear a gut-and-replace bill Thursday morning. The proposed House Draft 1 of Senate Bill 2435 would require genetically modified food sold in Hawaii to be labeled as such starting July 1, 2015. Civil Beat.

Wayne Yoshioka visits the town of Waialua on O’ahu’s North Shore, home to a large biotech farm located right next to a public school and residential area. Hawaii Public Radio.

The head of Hawaii’s health insurance marketplace under President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul says it has to trim costs to remain sustainable. Tom Matsuda, the interim executive director of the Hawaii Health Connector, told lawmakers at a Senate hearing Monday that the nonprofit is woefully behind its projections of individual enrollment, with only about 5,400 people fully through the process of buying coverage. Associated Press.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Monday endorsed Gov. Neil Abercrombie's re-election campaign. The state's largest private-sector labor union, with 18,000 members, said the Demo­crat has consistently supported workers' rights. Abercrombie is facing state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary. Star-Advertiser.

Decision making was deferred Monday for a measure that would allow the state to study implementing noncommercial fishing permits. West Hawaii Today.

An analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that 16 percent of Hawaii’s roughly 214,000 school-age children attended private schools during the 2010-11 school year, the most recent year for which comparable national statistics are available. Hawaii leads all states. Civil Beat.

Hawaii interisland airline go! will end its operations after nearly eight years in service effective April 1, the airline's Phoenix-based parent, Mesa Air Group Inc., announced Monday. Pacific Business News.

The departure of go! airlines could hurt neighbor island tourism and lead to higher interisland fares, but the impact will be muted due to the small size of go! Star-Advertiser.

Keoni Kali has been confirmed by the Senate on Monday as the Chief Information Officer for the Hawai’i Office of Information Management and Technology. KHON2.

Robbie Melton is the new chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tech Development Corp., the state agency charged with the development of our tech industry. She has her work cut out for her. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
A historic Oahu home is being opened up to generate revenue for state parks, Hawaii officials said. The Nutridge Estate was built in 1922 for Ernest Shelton Van Tassel, who leased out 22 acres of land for Hawaii’s macadamia nut industry. Associated Press.

The Japanese developer of a $31 million redevelopment project at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki has revealed new renderings and details, including a Hawaii Nui Brewing brewpub and a Tropics on the Landing bar, the project developer’s attorney told Pacific Business News.

Waikiki Parc Hotel, the midpriced sister hotel of the uber-luxurious Halekulani, is slated to close in the fall of 2016 for a 16-month renovation designed to upgrade the guest experience and cut the number of rooms at the boutique hotel. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The former general contractor for a bioenergy plant under construction in Pepeekeo expanded its $35 million lien request against the power plant’s developer to include several surrounding property owners. Tribune-Herald.

A California investor is trying to sell 10,019 acres of land in South Kohala for $34 million. The properties are separated into 14 parcels, located near Waikoloa Village along Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Mamalahoa Highway and Waikoloa Road, according to the broker, Honolulu-based NAI Chaney Brooks. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Motorists are advised of two road construction projects being conducted by Maui Master Builders on Wākea Avenue in Kahului that will impact traffic this week. Maui Now.

Kauai

To pay for a proposed budget increase, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is proposing some new fees, including raising the hotel and resort class real property tax rate from $9 to $11 per $1,000 of valuation and the annual transient vacation rental (TVR) renewal fee from $500 to $750, a move that would offset an estimated 90 percent of the TVR program cost. Carvalho is also resurrecting a move from last year’s budget proposal to raise the county’s solid waste tipping fee from $90 to $119 per ton and the vehicle weight tax by $0.005 for commercial vehicles and $0.0075 for all others. Garden Island.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced the release of more than $36.6 million for various capital improvement projects, administered by the Departments of Land and Natural Resources. About $500,000 will go for the Mana Drag Strip on Kauai to complete the current construction phase to repair the facilities on the site and remove and resurface the pavement. Garden Island.