Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chinese warships arrive in Hawaii, Abercrombie and Ige debate, tobacco purchase age turns 21 on Hawaii Island, Honolulu to ban sitting on sidewalks, Maui sugar mill fined $1.3M, Native Hawaiians continue recognition opposition, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Chinese Navy in Hawaii RIMPAC
Chinese destroyer Haikou, courtesy Chinese navy
Four Chinese navy ships arrived at Pearl Harbor on Tuesday as the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise gathers steam as the biggest ever held. The missile destroyer Haikou, flying Chinese and American flags, pulled in at Kilo pier just before 9 a.m., while the hospital ship Peace Ark tied up at 9:45 a.m. The missile frigate Yue­yang and supply ship Qian­daohu followed. Star-Advertiser.

The military's Rim of the Pacific exercise, or RIMPAC, which will bring 25,000 people from 23 nations to Hawaii starting on Thursday through the end of July, is expected to have an initial economic impact of $52.5 million based on the number of exercise participants and their time in port, according to a state report. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Navy has dispatched numerous ships to Hawaii as it prepares for Rim of the Pacific 2014, the world’s largest international maritime exercise. It will involve 49 surface ships and six submarines from 23 countries this year, but the inclusion of one — China — will get an inordinate amount of attention. The People’s Liberation Army of China will participate in the exercise for the first time, sending ships that include the missile destroyer Haikou, the missile frigate Yueyang, the oiler Qiandaohu and the hospital ship Peace Ark. Washington Post.

John Takase has been in the garage door business in Hawaii for 15 years, and as the biennial Rim of the Pacific military exercise, or RIMPAC, gets underway around the Islands on Thursday for the next five weeks, he expects he'll be inundated with phone calls from homeowners complaining that the garage doors he sells are not working properly. Pacific Business News.

A debate between Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige on Tuesday revealed few major differences in their visions of Hawaii's future. Both Democratic candidates want to solve Hawaii's housing problems, support Native Hawaiian sovereignty and improve the state's troubled health exchange. They also both want to keep gambling out of Hawaii and improve its public education system. But the primary rivals are split more on who's to blame for Hawaii's issues than they are on how to solve those problems. Associated Press.

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David Ige, Neil Abercrombie
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige on Tuesday set the contours for their Democratic primary, with the governor reminding voters of the state's economic rebound during his first term and Ige offering himself as a more thoughtful, sensible alternative as chief executive. Star-Advertiser.

For much of 90 minutes Tuesday, Neil Abercrombie reminded a lot of folks why they may have voted for him all these years. The occasion was a Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum at the Japanese Cultural Center in Moiliili. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige faced off in a debate Tuesday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, as the two gear up for a primary election showdown. KHON2.

It was a rare event, seeing the two 2014 Democratic candidates for Hawaii governor square off in the same venue. Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his primary election challenger, state Sen. David Ige, are scheduled for only two more joint appearances. Civil Beat.

A federal panel hearing opinions on a possible relationship with a potential Native Hawaiian government has heard the passion pouring out over two days of testimony, a Justice Department official said. Star-Advertiser.

Obama administration hearings in Hawaii incite racial disputes. A proposal by the Obama administration to create a new relationship with ethnic Hawaiians backfired on the administration Monday as native Hawaiians rallied in force against the proposal to reestablish a “government-to-government relationship” between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community. Hawaii Reporter.

Overthrow redux? An American Indian scholar asks if the lure of federal benefits is worth Hawaiians' cession to the U.S. of Hawaiian political and territorial claims. Hawaii Independent.

Native Hawaiians meet in West Oahu over self-governance. Video only. KITV4.

State lawmakers want to hear the Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s plan to streamline operations and address anticipated budget shortfalls in preparation for next legislative session when they expect to once again consider proposals for potential privatization of the financially strapped system. A series of statewide briefings, which will include details from members of the various regional boards, is scheduled to begin Wednesday before heading to Kauai on Monday. Briefings are expected to be held on Hawaii Island and Maui in July and August. Star-Advertiser.

Despite recent efforts to cool down Hawaii’s most sweltering classrooms, just one school has gotten the go-ahead to install campus-wide air conditioning since that campaign intensified nearly a year ago. Civil Beat.

Oahu

With the Honolulu City Council scheduled to hear bills Thursday that make it illegal to sit and lie on sidewalks in two parts of Hono­lulu, Councilman Ikaika Anderson said he will press to have colleagues consider a third proposal that imposes the same prohibition throughout Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents will pay more for sewer and water service come Tuesday as a result of rate hikes approved in previous years. Star-Advertiser.

A bill allowing Oahu consumers to set off sparklers and fountains on New Year's Eve has been deferred by a Hono­lulu City Council committee. Star-Advertiser.

A chimpanzee made a brief escape from its enclosure at the Honolulu Zoo Tuesday afternoon. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A county ordinance raising the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 goes into effect in less than a week and Big Island retailers are gearing up to comply with the new law. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island could be completely powered by renewable sources within 10 years, an advocate said Tuesday evening. West Hawaii Today.

Attendees of Monday’s Tech Pau Hana got a glimpse of off-the-grid living at Puu Waawaa Ranch, as well as a look at a test of hydrogen fuel cells in action. Blue Planet Research, which has a laboratory at the ranch, hosted the monthly technology gathering, with Director Paul Ponthieux giving the tour and explaining what the organization has been working on here on Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

University of Hawaii researchers were set this morning to kick off an exploration of the deepest reaches of the erupting undersea volcano located about 20 miles southeast of the Big Island. Including scientists from the University of Minnesota, France’s IFREMER Centre de Brest and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the expedition will seek to map the largely unexplored base of the volcano. Tribune-Herald.

A Honokaa plantation development that has languished almost 40 years is being reborn as a retirement community, thanks to action taken Tuesday by the county Water Board. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The primary election for the West Maui County Council seat is a litmus test for how Maui feels about the genetically modified organism (GMO) issue. Maui Weekly.

The state of Hawaii is seeking $1.3 million in fines from Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. for 400 alleged violations over a five-year period at its Maui sugar plantation. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health Clean Air Branch today announced that it cited Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company for excess emission and reporting violations for alleged incidents between 2009 and 2013 in Puʻunēnē on Maui. Maui Now.

Suspensions ranging from one to 10 days were ordered for five Maui Police Department officers as part of internal investigations concluded in March and April, police reported. Maui News.

Kauai

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Nihoku, also known as Crater Hill, this week within the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge in preparation for the construction of Kauai’s first predator-proof fence. The project will create a seven-acre refugium for native plant and animal communities, and enhance existing seabird colonies on the refuge by using the latest technology in predator-proof fencing. Garden Island.

Koloa Rum Company is one step closer to finding a new home and expanding its operations. The seven-member Kauai County Planning Commission unanimously approved a pair of permits on Tuesday that will allow officials from the Kauai-based rum maker to move forward with plans to construct a new company hub across the street from Anne Knudsen Park in Koloa. Garden Island.