Thursday, May 1, 2014

Still legal to eat cats and dogs in Hawaii, governor signs hemp bill, Kauai GMO rules published, Maui budget fights, Turtle Bay funds in limbo, Waste Management officials indicted, sweepstakes machines illegal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Hawaii Rep. Cynthia Thielen in hemp field, courtesy photo
Hawaii plans to plant industrial hemp this summer for the first time in 15 years, thanks to a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Star-Advertiser.

Today is the final day of the 2014 Hawaii Legislature, but there is still some unfinished business. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Rida Cabanilla says she was standing up for her community when she sought a grant-in-aid from the state Legislature so the Ewa Historical Society could restore the dilapidated Ewa Plantation Cemetery, where plantation workers are buried. But many of her fellow lawmakers who approved the $100,000 grant on Tuesday were not aware that Cabanilla essentially controls the Ewa Historical Society. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers failed to pass legislation this session that would have outlawed the slaughtering or trafficking of dogs or cats for human consumption. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie personally called several state House lawmakers Wednesday and urged them to approve the financing for land preservation at Turtle Bay Resort, while House leaders said a vote count was still fluid. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said it’s strengthening its ability to penalize those who intentionally or negligently damage coral on a large scale. Associated Press.

Public sector collective bargaining is at least partly to blame for unsafe conditions at the Hawaii State Hospital, according to the tearful testimony of a top nurse who works at the facility. Civil Beat.

By the end of May, Hawaii teachers should know how they fared under a new evaluation system that has administrators sitting in on classrooms and students filling out assessments of how well teachers are meeting their needs. West Hawaii Today.

Starting Thursday, Hawaii residents applying for a driver's license or renewal will need to present two documents showing proof of principal residence in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Norbert Bajurin, commodore of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, which is the current holder of the America’s Cup won by Larry Ellison’s Team Oracle USA, is not shutting the door completely on the prospects of having the next America’s Cup in Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

In heavily Democratic Hawaii, Republican candidates often face an uphill battle in elections. But Republican Charles Djou, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Congress, said his political affiliation could be an asset for the state. Associated Press.

Commentary: Hanabusa prioritizes military money. Hawaii Independent.

Living Hawaii: Where Child Care Can Cost More Than College. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Two top officials for the operator of the city's Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill knowingly committed violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act and then conspired and made false statements to the state Health Department, according to a 13-count federal indictment Wednesday. The indictment names Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. General Manager and Vice President Joseph Whelan and environmental protection manager Justin Lottig. Star-Advertiser.

A federal court judge has settled the question over whether sweepstakes machines are really gambling devices after raids dating back to September 2012. KHON2.

A heated legislative debate – and now the arrest of two alleged prostitutes – have put an international spotlight on Honolulu Police Department vice investigation tactics. Hawaii Reporter.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa was named on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the 55 higher education institutions nationwide that are under investigation for the mishandling of sexual violence complaints. Hawaii News Now.

Another major development in Kaka’ako was approved today by the Hawai’i Community Development Authority.  This one features more than 600 residential units and space for the community’s first grocery store. Hawaii Public Radio.

A residential high-rise envisioned to become a major catalyst for a new neighborhood master-planned by Kamehameha Schools in Kakaako was approved Wednesday by a state agency regulating development in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

County planners can’t meet the deadline to update the General Plan, so they’re asking the County Council to delete the deadline from the law. West Hawaii Today.

A former University of Hawaii at Hilo employee is suing the university for alleged racial discrimination. Tribune-Herald.

The loss of librarian positions at West Hawaii schools continues to be a sore point for some residents. West Hawaii Today.

The state Legislature failed to pass a hunting bill because of questions about funding. The bill in its final version would have created a statewide hunting advisory commission and established a pilot program on the Big Island that would have involved cooperation between hunters and the state on game management. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Some proposed budget cuts made to Mayor Alan Arakawa's fiscal 2015 budget went too far, so much so it could negatively impact county residents and services, the Arakawa administration told a council committee Tuesday. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced plans for an inaugural “Made in Maui County” Festival, to be held November 7 and 8 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Maui Now.

Kauai

Draft administrative rules pertaining to a new law regulating pesticide use and the growth of genetically modified organisms by large-scale commercial agricultural operations on Kauai are posted on the county's website for review and public comment. Star-Advertiser.

The proposed administrative rules for the ordinance can be downloaded as a pdf here.

The state Land Board unanimously voted to move a $2 million Hanalei River restoration project forward despite U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to sign a Use and Access Agreement. Garden Island.

Free medical care will be returning to Kauai, courtesy of the federal government. A 10-day program, known as Tropic Care will provide free optometry and dental care to residents islandwide between June 16 and June 26. Garden Island.