Tuesday, October 14, 2014

State bans e-cigs from buildings, Tropical Storm Ana strengthens, Ige has double-digit lead, Honolulu police settle lawsuits, Hawaii County mulls $20M bonds for lava roads, water flows for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
e-cig in use © 2014 All Hawaii News
The users of electronic cigarettes — those controversial smoking devices that some claim are safer than traditional smokes — are taking a couple of hits in Hawaii this week. The state Department of Health announced Monday that electronic smoking devices, or e-cigarettes, are now banned from 49 state government buildings across Hawaii, including the state Capitol and Washington Place. Star-Advertiser.

Electronic cigarettes — aka electronic smoking devices or e-cigarettes — are now prohibited in all state government buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Accounting and General Services. Civil Beat.

Some people are in favor of a new policy which prohibits electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, use in state government buildings. Garden Island.

Politico’s Morning Score — “your guide to the permanent campaign” — reports that David Ige has a double-digit lead in the Hawaii governor’s race. Ige, a state senator, is ahead of Republican Duke Aiona 45-33 percent, “according to a Global Strategy Group poll for Hawaii Forward, a DGA-backed independent expenditure group.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii Republicans and religious conservatives wanted to significantly increase voter registration for the November elections to potentially help Republican candidates in a state dominated politically by Democrats, but the drive has fallen flat. The state Office of Elections said Monday that voter registration is at 706,890, a marginal, 0.17 percent increase from the 705,668 registered in 2012 and a 2.3 percent bump from 690,748 in 2010. Star-Advertiser.

As independent groups continue their efforts to influence Hawaii elections by flooding airwaves with ads about ballot issues and stuffing mailboxes with fliers about candidates, voters are mostly left in the dark about who is spending the money and where it’s coming from. These political action committees last filed finance reports with the state Campaign Spending Commission in August, which shed some light on who contributed the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent before the primary election and how those funds were used. Civil Beat.

Gubernatorial hopefuls in Hawaii will talk about their ideas for the state's energy policies at a forum Tuesday. The University of Hawaii's Energy Policy Forum is hosting the event. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s county officials are still clamoring for a greater share of a tax on short-term lodging that was originally intended to help defray the cost of hosting tourists. West Hawaii Today.

Tropical Storm Ana continues to strengthen early Tuesday as it makes its way toward the Big Island, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center said. The storm is currently located about 885 miles east-southeast of Hilo and 945 miles east-southeast of Kailua-Kona and moving toward the northwest around 5 mph. The storm as of 5 a.m. Tuesday was packing 50 mph winds. West Hawaii Today.

Officials at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center are urging Hawaii residents to remain vigilant as Tropical Storm Ana continues its leisurely approach toward the state. The system was upgraded from a tropical depression to a tropical storm Monday afternoon as maximum sustained winds topped 45 mph. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The city settled two lawsuits involving the Honolulu Police Department last week, bringing to $2.6 million the total that taxpayers paid this year for alleged police misconduct and other cases. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu has a new housing strategy that focuses on building more affordable rental units for residents around rail transit stations. Hawaii Public Radio.

One of the companies being sued over the deaths of five men in a fireworks explosion and fire at a Wai­kele storage facility in 2011 has agreed to pay the families of the victims $1.5 million. Ford Island Ventures holds the master lease to the former munitions bunker complex owned by the Navy. Star-Advertiser.

A long-time city prosecutor is accused of stalking and harassing a former co-worker. Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong is a 29-year veteran of the office who is assigned to challenging and high-profile cases. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The state Airports Division and tourism officials are hoping the third time is the charm when they petition U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow them to reopen Kona Airport as a second international port of entry. Honolulu has been Hawaii's only international point of entry since Customs and Border Protection shut down the Kona port of entry in 2012 because its Federal Inspection Service site no longer met their requirements. Star-Advertiser.


Two of the three gubernatorial candidates at a forum Monday evening said they would like to reconsider the state’s Land Use Commission. Republican Duke Aiona and Independent Mufi Hannemann both mentioned the commission during the forum at Kealakehe High School in response to a question about areas of state government they believed could be delegated to the counties. About 200 people attended the forum. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County is preparing to borrow up to $20 million for emergency road work to ensure Puna residents have a way in and out of their communities should lava cross Highway 130. The County Council is scheduled to discuss Resolution 554 on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Iao Stream is flowing to the ocean for the first time in 100 years. Wailuku Water Co., which diverts the water in connection with various business interests, allowed the release of water Monday to increase the in-stream flow up to 10 million gallons a day, as part of a settlement with Native Hawaiians and community groups. Star-Advertiser.

Leaders on both sides of the contentious battle over water rights in Central Maui, emerged to witness waters flow freely below Kepaniwai Park in ʻĪao Valley and the water mouth at Paukūkalo today. Maui Now.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources today announced the addition of 3,721 acres at Waikamoi to be included in the state’s Natural Area Partnership Program. Maui Now.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed plan that would remove unexploded ordnance from the former Makanalua Bombing Range on Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula. Maui News.

Maui Memorial Medical Center is in talks with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii about a possible partnership. Associated Press.

Kauai

Scientists say higher-than-normal sea surface temperatures are threatening corals around Kauai. Garden Island.

Retired car deal James Pflueger will be sentenced in state court Wednesday for his role in the deaths of seven people on Kauai in 2006. Pflueger, 88, was originally charged with seven counts of manslaughter. However, in a deal with the state, his company, Pacific 808 Properties, pleaded no contest last year to the manslaughter charges, and Pflue­ger pleaded no contest to felony reckless endangering. Star-Advertiser.