Monday, July 21, 2014

Hawaii's largest newspaper endorses Schatz, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala, generate millions, Maui vacation rentals illegal, Kauai council to tackle GMO and pesticides, saving Ka'u hospital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ohia blooms at Kileaua volcano ©2014 All Hawaii News
A new National Park Service report for 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, haunted politically by an unpopular pension tax proposal, has sought to assure seniors he will not support taxes on pensions or senior benefits if re-elected. Star-Advertiser.

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui is unlikely to appear at any public forums or debates with his top Democratic challenger, state Sen. Clayton Hee, before the Aug. 9 primary election due to scheduling conflicts. Star-Advertiser.

Giving birth on the islands is relatively cheap, but the high cost of goods and services makes raising a child here an expensive proposition. Civil Beat.

An exchange of letters between a Hawaiian political leader and a U.S. senator in 1897 reflects the central questions of today's Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Hawaii Independent.

The Hawaii Office of Veterans Services is surveying women veterans to determine how to better meet their needs. Associated Press.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Lori J. Robinson has been nominated to be the new commanding general of Pacific Air Forces, which would make her the first U.S. female four-star commander of combat forces, the Pentagon announced last week. Star-Advertiser.

The Star-Advertiser endorses Brian Schatz, who has held the seat since his appointment in 2012, for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.

Opinion: In this year's election, a big question is whether voters are ready to start transferring power to younger lawmakers who will have to live with the future we're building. Our state has lost a generation of potential leaders as the old have jealously clung to power, leaving many of our best and brightest waiting for their turn that never came. Star-Advertiser.

If residents of Hawaii are going to have affordable electricity, the state needs to break up Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., the parent of the Hawaiian Electric Co., a former lawmaker contends. Hawaii Reporter.

As the largest animals on Earth, great whales play a role in maintaining Hawaii's ecosystems by bringing in nutrients from their migrations. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A former campaign manager for Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell was one of several consultants working on the Pacific Resource Partnership’s 2012 political takedown of former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano. Civil Beat.

Kakaako is an ideal spot for Hawaii's growing homeless population. On a recent weekday, nearly 100 tents crowded the sidewalks and open spaces around the discovery center, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, the UH Cancer Center and other buildings and parks in the area. Star-Advertiser.

The former executive director of an organization that encourages people to adopt foster children has been charged with sexual assault involving two girls. Star-Advertiser.

Land use issues, road repairs and the financial health of the city top concerns among the two candidates challenging Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin for the Council District 2 seat. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

The need to keep Ka‘u Hospital operating as a “safety-net” facility was major topic of discussion during a public meeting Saturday of the Hawaii Health Corp. East Hawaii Board of Directors. Tribune-Herald.

The Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center had its door open for free on Saturday to celebrate its 23rd year and to put kids in touch with the awe-inspiring forces that shape the universe. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui-based mbloom Ventures LLC, which is partially funded with state funds, has been embroiled in controversy since it announced its investment in two companies founded by the fund’s general partners, Arben Kryeziu and Nick Bicanic. Pacific Business News.

Only a 10th of all short-term vacation rentals currently being marketed in Maui County are legal, according to the Maui County Planning Department. Maui News.

Tourism to Haleakalā National Park in 2013 generated more than $47 million in visitor spending and supported 536 jobs in the area, according to new data released by the National Park Service. Maui Now.

The number of visitors to Haleakala National Park and the spending and jobs supported by those visitors dropped significantly last year due to the 16-day government shutdown in October, a National Park Service report said. Maui News.

The Department of Health is warning residents and visitors to stay out of the waters contaminated with storm runoff. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

A petition calling for the regulation of the use of pesticides and growth of genetically modified crops on Kauai could face its demise at an upcoming meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Kauai County Attorney’s Office is asking the County Council to approve $50,000 for special counsel services for the lawsuit aimed at blocking implementation of a county law targeting pesticides and genetically modified organisms. The council is expected to vote on the matter during its meeting Wednesday. If approved, the money would bring the amount spent on the case to $125,000 so far. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council will take up a measure on Wednesday that would let general election voters decide whether more taxpayer money should be allocated for public access and open space projects. Garden Island.

In all, there are 60 stretches of roads — distributed across Kauai between Hanalei and Mana — that are, either as a whole or in part, not formally owned by the state or the county, according to the county Department of Public Works. Garden Island.