Thursday, June 26, 2014

HI-5 recycling programs suspended, marijuana dispensaries mulled, Honolulu Hale could move to Kapolei, Kaui chamber hopes to limit charter petitions, Honolulu police problems, Hawaii County building inspector dinged for ethics, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The state’s largest beverage container recycler Reynolds Recycling will not be collecting bottles and cans beginning Thursday, and there is no definite date on when it can resume. Reynolds says the state owes the company more than a million dollars, and without that money it cannot keep most of its staff on the job, about 100 people. That means no one will be manning the 40 redemption centers statewide on Thursday. KHON2.

The 21 members of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force met for the first time Tuesday to begin the work of developing recommendations to the 2015 Legislature for establishing a medical marijuana distribution system. Without dispensaries, patients must grow it themselves, have a caregiver to grow it for them or obtain it illegally. There are 13,000 people registered for the state medical marijuana program — among the first in the nation when formed 14 years ago. Star-Advertiser.

At the capitol, a series of public meetings began Wednesday so lawmakers can learn more about why Hawaii Health Systems Corp. is facing a $48 million shortfall. KITV4.

Federal hearings that began this week about a future relationship with a potential Native Hawaiian government have tapped deep emotions — spurring anger and fury among hundreds who have testified. But the first four sessions have also raised concern that not all Native Hawaiian views are being reflected in the process. Star-Advertiser.

A state senator is calling for lawmakers to override a potential veto by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on a bill requiring more financial disclosures from people serving on more than a dozen state boards and commissions. But Republican Sen. Sam Slom said Wednesday he doubts his colleagues will be inclined to override a veto even though the bill unanimously passed the Senate and House. Associated Press.

The waters off Hawaii Island are home to a half-million brightly-colored tropical fish that are scooped up into nets each year and flown across the globe into aquariums from Berlin to Boston. Scientists say the aquarium fishery off the Big Island is among the best managed in the world, but it has nevertheless become the focus of a fight over whether it's ever appropriate to remove fish from reefs for people to look at and enjoy. Associated Press.

Oahu

A measure now moving through the City Council would require the administration to study the feasibility of moving the City and County of Honolulu's seat of government — the familiar California-Spanish building on King and Punchbowl streets — to spacious new digs in Kapolei. Star-Advertiser.

A bill adding bags described as biodegradable and compostable to the list of plastic bags that retailers cannot give to Oahu customers starting in 2015 continues to move through the Hono­lulu City Council. Bill 38 advanced out of the Public Works and Sustainability Committee on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

City Councilman Stanley Chang is behind a bill to ban foam food containers for environmental reasons. But the bill's opponents insist most containers are burned at HPOWER and don't go to the landfill. Hawaii News Now.

In June 2013, the Honolulu Police Department paid $238,988  for 12 automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to help it recover stolen cars and solve other crimes. A year later, the department is still assessing the effectiveness of its purchase, and there are concerns about whether the technology is spying on innocent citizens under the guise of law enforcement. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu Police officer has been indicted on multiple federal charges. According to police sources, Roddy Tsunezumi was involved in an elaborate scheme involving stolen cars. Hawaii News Now.

Chimpanzees at the Honolulu Zoo will be kept in a pen near their sleeping quarters until an investigation is done into how one of the primates escaped from the exhibit for a short time Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The latest piece of a master-planned community of residential towers by Kamehameha Schools in Kakaako has been fleshed out with details that include a putting green, guest suites and unit prices projected to start at $900,000. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developers the Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group have received approval from the Ala Moana/Kakaako Neighborhood Board to move ahead with its Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury condominium high-rise on a 3.5-acre site in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

As the state's largest private landowner, Kamehameha Schools prides itself as a good steward of its land and natural resources. But just several hundred yards from its flagship Kapalama Heights campus, an illegal dump site has been discovered. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii
A county construction inspector who became too involved in a Holualoa neighborhood dispute was found Wednesday to have violated the county ethics code. West Hawaii Today.

Puna County Council candidate and former Councilwoman Emily Naeole gave the Board of Ethics a piece of her mind Wednesday after the board voted it had no jurisdiction over an ethics complaint against her. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is drafting a request for proposals for a study on whether geothermal development in Puna is having an impact on the health of residents. The study is one of the recommendations made by the Geothermal Public Health Assessment Study Group in its report to the county last year. Tribune-Herald.

The Environmental Protection Agency is giving Puna Geothermal Venture another month to respond to a report that alleged Clean Air Act violations. The 14 violations cited in the April report apply to the act’s general duty clause and risk management program requirements. Tribune-Herald.

A plan to recommission the Lalamilo wind farm to power county water wells could save ratepayers $1 million a year. A draft environmental assessment released this month found no significant impacts to repowering the old South Kohala site with five Vestas 660 kilowatt wind turbine generators. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Hawaii’s rising movement against genetically modified farming has seen successes in Kauai County and Hawaii County, but the latest proposal in Maui County will test how far residents are willing to go to get rid of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Maui County Council — which represents Maui, Molokai and Lanai — recently began considering the county’s first-ever citizens initiative, which seeks to temporarily ban genetically modified farming until biotechnology companies pay for a study to analyze its health effects. Civil Beat.

A Maui man who sued the county then attempted to run for mayor was blocked from the race Wednesday because of how he filed financial disclosure statements. Associated Press.

Judge Peter Cahill today ruled to uphold the invalidation of Neldon Mamuad’s mayoral nomination, which the County Clerk’s office had determined was incomplete. Maui Now.

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill disqualified Neldon Mamuad as a candidate for mayor on Wednesday afternoon. Maui News.

A Final Environmental Impact Statement for proposed ferry pier improvements at Lahaina Small Boat Harbor will be discussed during a public informational meeting on Wednesday, July 2, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Chamber of Commerce hopes to succeed where the County Charter Review Commission did not. It wants to quadruple the number of signatures required to put a proposed amendment to the Kauai County Charter to a public vote. And it’s organizing a petition drive to do just that, one week after the review commission killed off similarly proposed legislation. Garden Island.

Officials from the state’s public health care provider say they are working to develop financial plans to stabilize operations on Kauai and reverse the region’s cash-strapped path. What that could mean, however, are cuts or consolidations in services and medical staff, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation officials from Kauai acknowledged to state lawmakers. Garden Island.

A NASA flying saucer designed to test Mars lander technology could be launched on Earth this weekend. Associated Press.

Molokai

For the first time as the state’s new Department of Health (DOH) Director, Dr. Linda Rosen visited the Kalaupapa settlement last week and was warmly welcomed by residents. Molokai Dispatch.