Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Obama records Abercrombie radio ad, Kauai GMO lawsuit in federal court today, hundreds die awaiting Hawaiian Home Lands lawsuit settlement, Kauai property owners get steep tax hikes, restaurants adjust to new health inspections, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Stronger hotel room demand in May broke a yearlong occupancy slump, helping Hawaii's hoteliers hit three monthly performance records while achieving the nation's highest room rates. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama has recorded a radio advertisement for Gov. Neil Abercrombie's re-election campaign, describing the governor as a partner who made "gutsy decisions" to tackle a state budget crisis and invest in early childhood education. Star-Advertiser.

Candidates for Hawaii Governor Jockey for Credit in Fixing State Pension System. Ige, Abercrombie, Aiona share views on plugging Hawaii's $27 billion hole in unfunded liabilities. Civil Beat.

There are less than 20 days left before the Primary Election, August 9th, and there are no polls to provide a point-in-time look at how political candidates are doing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Four years after the state was found liable for breach of trust in a class-action lawsuit, more than 2,700 Native Hawaiians or their heirs are still waiting for the state to pay damages for failing to deliver Department of Hawaiian Home Lands homestead lots on a timely basis. Star-Advertiser.

Two federal court rulings on health exchange subsidies won't affect business owners or residents in Hawaii, which has its own state-run exchange called the Hawaii Health Connector. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley said the company's financial performance is on an upward trajectory and that the second half of the year should be even better. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Some 40,000 gallons of raw sewage had flowed into Palolo Stream as of Tuesday afternoon as city workers scrambled to plug an overflowing manhole that had been polluting the waterway for 14-plus hours. Civil Beat.

City to halt free trash pickups for condos, non-profits in 2015. KHON2.

Oahu restaurants are working to improve the food safety ratings they received from the state. On Monday, health inspectors visited 12 restaurants and handed out six yellow cards and six green cards. KHON2.

The state Health Department is giving Kamehameha Schools 60 days to clean up three alleged illegal dump sites on its Kapalama Heights campus. Hawaii News Now.

Construction Boom Leaves Behind Residents With Greatest Housing Need. Just 5 percent of about 4,500 new housing units in Kakaako are affordable for low-income people, according to a state agency. One 204-unit building is the exception. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Bob Benyo, owner of the company cited for towing advertising banners behind a plane over Honolulu in violation of a 36-year old city law, is no neophyte blindsided by a local ordinance. So why has he provoked a legal and political confrontation over Honolulu’s ban on aerial ads? Civil Beat.

Hawaii

It was a crowded house at Tuesday’s forum for House and Senate hopefuls at Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona — crowded with candidates, that is. About 80 people listened to the contenders make their cases as the electorate prepares to thin the field next month. West Hawaii Today.

Sen. Malama Solomon and former Sen. Lorraine Inouye: Two Hawaii Island career politicians. Two women in agriculture. Two very different personalities. Star-Advertiser.

The county Department of Water Supply followed its regular policies and procedures in awarding spigot permits for commercial water haulers in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, the county’s legislative auditor told the Water Board in a recent letter. West Hawaii Today.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee explains position on Thirty Meter Telescope. Hawai‘i Island Trustee Robert Lindsey tells the Independent why he pushed for OHA to withdraw from the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case. Hawaii Independent.

Heavy brush resulting from recent rains, followed by abnormal dryness, has created the ideal conditions for wildfire, and a Waimea-based nonprofit is urging residents to take precautions before the threat occurs. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Maui County officials say they are looking for a new home for its motor vehicle division and some of its tax offices because the new owners of the Maui Mall want to rent space to commercial enterprises instead. Associated Press.

Maui County will have a little more time to find a new location for its Maui Mall service center, with mall owners agreeing to a one-year extension to 2016 with an option to extend the lease into 2017. Maui News.

The state Department of Health launched a new Food Safety Code program in Hawaiʻi that utilizes color-coded placards to indicate compliance status. Maui Now.

Kauai

The legal battle over GMOs continues. Today a U.S. district court judge will take up the case of a lawsuit filed by 4 large agribusinesses against the county of Kaua‘i. They’re suing to overturn a new law that would require them to disclose the presence and use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Kauai County Council’s decision to repeal the county’s annual Permanent Home Use tax credit last year, coupled with rate hikes, is bringing tax bill shock to many residents. Garden Island.