Monday, October 27, 2014

Lava buries cemetery, Ige tops in latest poll, Maui GMO a big ballot issue, constitutional amendments galore, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii County Civil Defense
Lava buries Puna cemetery courtesy Hawaii County Civil Defense
Hawaii County Civil Defense closed Pahoa Village Road as a fast-moving finger of lava moved to within 600 yards of the main street of Pahoa town. Residents in the immediate downslope path of the lava were also urged to prepare to evacuate Sunday night and the Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the Sure Foundation Church in Keaau. Star-Advertiser.

Evacuations have not been ordered, but Red Cross Hawai'i opened an emergency shelter Sunday night at the Sure Foundation Puna in preparation for residents who may be displaced by the Puna lava flow. Hawaii News Now.

A small, primarily Buddhist cemetery in Pahoa fell victim to advancing lava on Sunday, marking yet another sobering milestone in the ongoing June 27 flow. Tribune-Herald.

Civil Beat Poll: Ige Up by 6 Over Aiona. The Democratic nominee for Hawaii governor leads Republican Duke Aiona 40 percent to 34 percent. Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann is at 11 percent. Libertarian Jeff Davis is at 6 percent while 8 percent of voters are undecided.

Approval of a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow the state to spend public funds on private preschool programs is uncertain as support for the initiative continues to wane and opposition has mounted in recent months, according to new Hawaii Poll results. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s constitution allows for age discrimination against judges, say proponents of a constitutional amendment to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges and justices from 70 to 80. West Hawaii Today.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has brought back an attempt to allow private landowners to access special purpose revenue bonds to finance the preservation of reservoirs and dams. A similar measure failed on the 2012 ballot. West Hawaii Today.

Before stepping into the voting booth or casting a mail-in ballot, voters may want to familiarize themselves with the following five proposed statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot. Star-Advertiser.

Which Hawaii Candidate Spent the Most Money Per Vote? The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission has crunched the numbers and it's an interesting look at how the 2014 election is playing out. Civil Beat.

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle spoke to Cornell University students and faculty on Thursday in a presentation that recounted her vision for a sustainable energy future and her role in implementing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. Civil Beat.

A battle continues to brew between the Building Industry Association of Hawaii and historic preservation officials in the state over a law that subjects homes built more than 50 years ago to a historic preservation review whenever a homeowner applies for a building permit for a rebuild or remodel. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

New Hope’s Evangelism Has a Distinctly Political Flavor. The megachurch is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Hawaii civic affairs. It recruits candidates, registers new voters and organizes political events. Civil Beat.

Lifeguard beaned by falling coconut. Haunama Bay was closed for several hours Sunday morning for emergency tree trimming. A county lifeguard claims the work should have been done weeks ago and he was injured because of the delay. KITV4.

There’s a new twist in criminal case against Matson Navigation Company for the Sept. 2013, 220,000 gallon molasses spill into Honolulu Harbor that killed 26,000 fish and caused substantial damage to the area reefs and ocean.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi did not accept all of the terms of its plea agreement Friday, saying he isn’t certain whether the donations are legal. Puglisi will look into the matter further, he said. Hawaii Reporter.

A federal judge accepted a guilty plea by Matson Inc. to criminal charges stemming from the spill last year of more than 230,000 gallons of molasses in Honolulu Harbor, but expressed concerns that the company agreed to make a $600,000 community service payment but didn't agree to any probation. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The timeframe to resume the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project is back in federal hands. State Department of Transportation officials confirmed this week they submitted the Section 106 memorandum of agreement to the Federal Highways Administration Sept. 22. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

There's a rising chorus of Hawaii opposition to the biotechnology seed companies that have moved into the state's former sugar cane lands and have quietly become the state's top agricultural industry. A Nov. 4 ballot measure proposes a moratorium that would make it illegal to cultivate, grow or test genetically modified crops in Maui County until environmental and public health studies show their practices are safe. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of Maui mothers are going door-to-door to urge voters to back a ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops because they think they are unsafe. A group backed by companies growing the crops counters with ads playing heavily on the airwaves that urge rejection of what they are calling the “farming ban.” Associated Press.

It’s a controversial issue Maui County voters will see on the Nov. 4 ballot. They’re being asked whether to approve an initiative that would make it against the law to grow, reproduce, or test genetically modified crops until an environmental public health study is completed. KHON2.

In the hotly contested race for the Maui County Council's Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat, challenger Mike Molina is attempting to turn the tables on incumbent Mike White on the charge of being a "rubber stamp." Maui News.

The decline in fall enrollment at University of Hawaii Maui College from its Great Recession peak of 4,527 students in 2011 continued this year, with student numbers dipping below 4,000 for the first time since 2008. Maui News.

Kauai
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday unanimously approved Hawaii’s first community based fisheries subsistence area rule package for Haena on the island of Kauai. Associated Press.

As a longtime County of Kauai department manager and the current mayor, Bernard Carvalho Jr. said he is not afraid to make tough decisions. Garden Island.

County officials are reminding the public that the deadline to submit applications for the waiting list lottery for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is Wednesday. The waiting list will be utilized to fill vacancies in the federally funded program. Garden Island.