Monday, September 8, 2014

Appeals court to hear gay marriage bans today, medical marijuana problems outlined in new report, lava veers away from homes, Maui to audit Solid Waste Division, new GMO group spends thousands on TV ads, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Gay in Hawaii, courtesy photo
The federal appeals court in San Francisco has already issued two significant gay rights rulings: In 2012, it struck down California's same-sex wedding ban and this year it extended protections against discrimination to gay and lesbians. Now, three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- all appointed by Democrats and two of whom joined in the civil rights ruling this year -- are set to hear arguments Monday on gay marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. Associated Press.

Three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are expected to hear arguments on Monday on gay marriage bans in Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada. Civil Beat.

A new report released Sunday details some of the difficulties that 13,000 medical marijuana patients go through trying to obtain the drug because there are no dispensaries or legal ways to buy pot in Hawaii, 14 years after passage of legislation to help suffering patients. Hawaii News Now.

Medical Marijuana Program Marked By ‘Glaring Uncertainties’. Dispensary task force report details recommendations to Hawaii Legislature; public testimony sought. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force has just released a report on ways to fix the system governing medical marijuana. The 87-page report could decide the future of a dispensary system for medical marijuana. KHON2.

Pat Saiki, the chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, told party leaders on Saturday that the Republican National Committee has invested in the islands to help Republican candidates win in November. Star-Advertiser.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona has reintroduced himself to voters this year in a softer hue of Republican red, as a former judge, youth basketball coach, substitute teacher and grandfather who would restore trust, respect and balance to Washington Place. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Department of Education will reinstate the controversial “Pono Choices” sex education curriculum, but after pressure from some parents and lawmakers, the program for middle school students will include some key revisions. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii regulators have given the state approval to issue $150 million in bonds to provide low-cost capital for a proposed loan program that would expand access to solar energy systems and other clean energy improvements for Hawaii consumers who have had a hard time getting financing for such projects. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Operations at the city's Emergency Medical Services Division appear to be running smoothly following a conversion to 12-hour shifts that took place Aug. 31 for most of the roughly 200 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, EMS officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Work to carve out a lane of South King Street reserved only for bicyclists is set to begin Monday and be open by the end of the year, city officials said. Star-Advertiser.

There is a high risk of a fire at the Navy’s Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility in Halawa, according to Department of Defense budget documents. The federal agency wants nearly $50 million for the 2015 fiscal year to make improvements to the facility’s fire suppression and ventilation systems. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii is reviving plans to lease excess land surrounding its West Oahu campus for commercial development in hopes of both generating revenue and preventing other interests from cashing in on the lucrative real estate. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Lava advance continues, still no threat. County Civil Defense said in a Sunday morning message the June 27 lava flow advanced about 200 yards in the previous day and was continuing to move very slowly northward. Tribune-Herald.

Lava flow takes a northern turn away from Ka'ohe. Lava about 0.7 miles away from Ka'ohe Homesteads. KITV4.

Lava flow creeps north, no threat to Puna homes. Star-Advertiser.

A flyover on Sunday morning shows that lava from Kilauea is still slowly advancing. Hawaii News Now.

As the June 27 lava flow continues its advance on populated areas in lower Puna, one question consistently pops up during community discussions on the subject: Is there anything we can do to stop or redirect nature’s fury? Tribune-Herald.

Turns out you can fight City Hall after all. That’s the experience of Arlene Kimata, a petite middle-aged Hilo woman who single-handedly waged a successful campaign against the operation of an industrial baseyard in her residential neighborhood. West Hawaii Today.

State biologist Bill Walsh offered two slightly different takes Thursday on the state of reef fish in West Hawaii at the Symposium on Kona’s Marine Ecosystem. West Hawaii Today.

A conflicted Windward Planning Commission, faced with two dozen speakers asking it to slow down a study of health impacts of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, on Thursday told the county administration to seek input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
Maui County’s debate over genetically modified farming hit the airwaves last week as a new organization ran its first TV spots. Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban spent more than $80,000 last week running ads on four local TV stations during news hours and shows like “Criminal Minds” and “Hawaii 5-0,” according to data from the Federal Communications Commission. Civil Beat.

Maui County Council Member Mike White says Mayor Alan Arakawa wants voters in November to elect a more compliant County Council to advance his agenda in another four-year term. Maui News.

The Maui Police Commission has selected Tivoli Faaumu as the new Police Chief for Maui County. Maui Now.

Tivoli Faaumu, a 29-year police veteran who won support from both police officers and the community as captain of the Kihei Patrol District, was selected Friday as the new Maui County police chief. Maui News.

The Maui County Council voted Friday to conduct a performance audit of the Solid Waste Division in light of what some council members are calling a "crisis" situation created by a reduction in trash collection and landfill services in a clash with Mayor Alan Arakawa over staffing and budgeting for the division. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Planning Commission, during a recent meeting, unanimously gave its initial stamp of approval to a proposed subdivision, which would be built on one of the last vacant lots on Makahuena Point. Plans by Anchorage, Alaska-based company Cook Inlet Region, Inc. would develop 10 homes on the now vacant 14-acre property on Makahuena Point. Garden Island.

The Kauai Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a series of political forums leading up to the Nov. 4 general election. Garden Island.