Monday, May 12, 2014

Hawaii farmland growing, controversial Sen. Hee runs for lieutenant governor, Waikiki homeless roundup, brouhaha over OHA letter to John Kerry, sailing vessel Hokulea off to worldwide voyage, Kauai credit downgraded, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Hawaii Island dairy farm courtesy photo
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture farm census, published every five years, showed that Hawaii farmers put 8,000 more acres into production between 2007 and 2012, increasing total land used to grow food and other products to 1,129,000 acres from about 1,121,000 acres. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. Clayton Hee has announced he is running as a Democrat for lieutenant governor, challenging incumbent Shan Tsutsui. Hawaii News Now.

lieutenant governor candidate
Hee
By running against Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui in the Democratic primary this year, state Sen. Clayton Hee shakes up not only that race — Tsutsui is a former Senate president who took the LG job after Brian Schatz was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2012 — but also the governor's race. Gov. Neil Abercrombie faces a spirited challenge by state Sen. David Ige, who is backed by former Govs. Ben Cayetano and George Ariyoshi. Civil Beat.

Former state Rep. Gil Riviere said Sunday that he will enter the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Clayton Hee, who is running for lieutenant governor. Star-Advertiser.

An increase in grassroots organizing this year around highly controversial issues related to same-sex marriage, development in Kakaako and genetically modified farming have spurred the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to take a closer look at several citizens groups to ensure that they’re complying with the state ethics law. Civil Beat.

A 33-year-old madam who said her elite escort business offered prostitution services to some of Hawaii’s most prominent judges, politicians and entertainers, has made stunning allegations in a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division. Hawaii Reporter.

On May 5th, 2014, Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO, Dr. Kamana Ľopono Crabbe, sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry asking for “advice” on OHA’s possible breaches of international law given the evidence for the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Universe.

The Hawaiian Kingdom blog reports that Dan Ahuna, a trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, has taken his name off of a recent letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Civil Beat.

The chief executive of Hawaii’s largest health insurance company is calling on Hawaii to shut down its beleaguered health insurance exchange, which was set up as part of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Associated Press.

State lawmakers expressed dismay Friday over Hawaii Medical Service Association chief Michael Gold's contention this week that Hawaii should seek an immediate exemption from the federal Affordable Care Act's requirement for the state to have an online health insurance exchange. Maui Now.

The Hawaii Legislature Can Stop Time. Civil Beat.

This Saturday, the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea and its sister vessel the Hikianalia, will leave Oahu and set sail for Hilo, where they’ll continue on to Tahiti. Over the next few days, the public will get their last chance to bid the two canoes a final farewell before they embark on a worldwide voyage called Malama Honua, caring for our Island Earth. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hokule'a is still designed to sail and perform as its ancestral wa'a (canoes) did, when centuries ago they pulled much of Polynesia out of the sea. But in many ways this is Hokule'a 2.0. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha said they are pushing back to make the community safe and accessible for all. In doing so, they say, police have begun to round up hundreds of offenders, some of whom have violated court orders or are committing crimes while living in makeshift communities throughout Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

In May the city joined with the private vendor Service Systems Associates to open an oceanside cafe in a former Kuhio Beach public pavilion that had become a haven for homeless people. Star-Advertiser.

Ticket sales were down by 20 percent for the first quarter of this year compared with last year at the Pacific Aviation Museum, one of three paid attractions at Pearl Harbor, resulting in reduced hours for workers there. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill remains uncertain 15 months after the city endeavored to reach a resolution with the community group that's fought the hardest to shutter Oahu's only municipal dump. Star-Advertiser.

On a rural expanse of Oahu’s leeward coast, a line of concrete pillars snakes through fields of corn stalks and pumpkins toward downtown Honolulu where distant high rises jut into the sky through a muggy haze. Honolulu rail — now five decades in the making — is taking shape. Civil Beat.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has reached contractual agreements for about half of the 482 units in its two ultra-luxury high-rises in Kakaako — Anaha and Waiea — part of its Ward Village master-planned community, according to its first-quarter earnings report released Thursday. Pacific Business News.

A rise in recent citations for people trespassing at Sacred Falls State Park prompted the Department of Land and Natural Resources to remind the public that the park is closed due to danger from falling rocks. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is recommending approval of its first subdivision application on the Big Island since it lifted a moratorium for agriculture land last year. The ranch land, leased to Flora Solomon, the mother of state Sen. Malama Solomon, is the only subdivision application that has been submitted. Tribune-Herald.

The Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee will weigh a report recommending several dozen new emergency routes for the district’s large subdivisions at its Tuesday meeting. Tribune-Herald.

Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers have cited the owner of a 47-foot sailing vessel that caused damage to coral reef in Kailua Bay on May 2. Approximately 80 feet of chain was in the water, with about 30 to 40 feet in the coral. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Wailuku representative and House Speaker Joe Souki has endorsed Justin Woodson for election to the Central Maui 9th House seat he was appointed to by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, according to an announcement from Woodson. Maui News.

Maui County will pay $25,000 in attorneys' fees and damages to settle a federal lawsuit brought by a part-time employee who alleged his First Amendment right to free speech was violated when county officials interfered with his work on his MAUIWatch Facebook page. Maui News.

Kauai

Fitch Ratings, a global credit rating agency, has downgraded the County of Kauai’s long-term credit grade, citing consistent rises in expenses, stagnant growths in revenues and waning balances in county reserve funds. Garden Island.

The Legislature provided $5 million in planning money for a replacement jail on Oahu, and $1.5 million to Maui — but funding for Kauai and the Big Island will have to wait another session, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Garden Island.