Thursday, December 18, 2014

Judge bans state aerial hunting, Hawaii council OKs GMO appeal, Kauai kills biotech land tax, super PAC fined for campaign violations, Aloha United Way cleared in no-bid state-run giving program, Hawaiian Home Lands telecom contractor indicted, Honolulu Police commission bows out of police chief probe, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Feral goats, sheep, graze on Mauna Loa © 2014 All Hawaii News
A judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to exempt state employees and contractors from county and state laws banning aerial hunting. The ruling by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara thwarts state plans, at least for now, to conduct aerial hunting of feral ungulates such as sheep, goats, swine, cattle and axis deer beyond critical habitat of the native palila bird on Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, a partnership of the Hawaii Carpenters Union and trade contractors also known as the Pacific Resource Partnership, has been fined $3,100 over campaign activities supporting a ballot initiative and two county council races in the last election. Campaign Spending commissioners voted 4-0 on Wednesday to accept the fines rather than send the complaint to the city prosecutor. Star-Advertiser.

The state Ethics Commission on Wednesday rebuffed a staff recommendation to advise Gov. David Ige to consider replacing Aloha United Way as the state's workplace giving program with a combined state-run campaign. Star-Advertiser.

A federal indictment alleges the president of Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. telecommunications company that serves Hawaiian home lands residents siphoned off $4 million of the corporation's money for a decade to pay for personal expenses, including $92,000 in massages, a $1.3 million house and $1.3 million in false wages for his wife and three children. Star-Advertiser.

A company that receives heavy federal government subsidies paid more than $4 million for its founder's personal expenses, a new indictment alleges. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii Athletics Department has faced a series of fiscal and staffing troubles in recent months, leading legislators, administrators and regents to debate the future of the state’s only athletic program. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Before taking action on allegations of police misconduct, the Honolulu Police Commission will wait until the conclusion of a possible FBI probe into the Honolulu Police Department's handling of a federal case involving police Chief Louis Kealoha's stolen mailbox, commission Chairman Ron Taketa said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Commission will not launch its own investigation into Police Chief Louis Kealoha for his actions related to a family dispute involving his prosecutor wife and her estranged uncle, who they accused of stealing their mailbox. Civil Beat.

A nonprofit developer wanting to build loft-style apartments for low-income artists has secured the land for the project in Kakaako. The developer, Artspace, was awarded a 65-year lease for a 30,000-square-foot lot on Waimanu Street by the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which agreed to nominal rent of $1 a year. Star-Advertiser.

A new construction project in Kaka’ako was unveiled today. It’s one-fourth the height of a high-rise and targets individuals who earn 20-thousand dollars annually. Hawaii Public Radio.

They camp, people complain and the city cleans up. It's a cycle happening more and more when it comes to dealing with Oahu's homeless. KITV4.

Debit cards for Halau Lokahi Charter School's bank account have been canceled and the co-director of the school placed on administrative leave in the wake of a raid by the Attorney General's office. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: The King Street protected lane is a great start. But Honolulu needs to work quickly to beef up its bike-friendly projects. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council voted 5-4 Wednesday to appeal a federal judge’s ruling striking a law that restricts genetically modified crops on the island. “This is an important decision with far-reaching impact on home rule,” said Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, author of the original bill limiting GMO. “It’s not just about GMO.” West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow could reach Pahoa Marketplace by Christmas. Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said Wednesday the flow was about five to six days from reaching the shopping center based on its current rate. Tribune-Herald.

Wednesday was the first day of public viewing of lava at the former transfer station on Apa’a Street. This is the spot where the lava from the June 27 flow first entered Pahoa in October, covering the road and inflating before eventually stalling out. Big Island Video News.

The Hawaii State Department of Health has installed three temporary particulate monitors to measure and inform residents on the Big Island of the air quality levels from the lava flow from Kilauea volcano. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii State Judiciary and Department of Accounting and General Services unveiled preliminary design concepts Tuesday of the proposed $90 million Kona Judiciary Complex slated for a 10-acre parcel in Keahuolu, North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council is set to vote Friday on a housing ordinance that would drastically reduce how much affordable housing developers are required to build on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Civil Beat.

Maui-based sustainability group SHAKA Movement will be allowed to intervene in Maui County's GMO case; Judge Kurren has reassigned the case. Hawaii Independent.

Experts hope to control rampant little fire ants that have infested more than 20 acres in East Maui by shooting a gellike insecticide onto tall trees in which the ants are known to nest. Maui News.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers will be at the Maui Mall this weekend to tell people know about new fishing rules that took effect last month. Associated Press.

The Makawao History Museum moved to a new location last month to gain more exposure within the Makawao community. The museum now is at 3643 Baldwin Ave., the main street of Makawao town, in a "quaint little spot right at the heart of town," project coordinator Cheryl Ambrozic said Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday officially killed a bill that would have used lease rents, rather than fair market values, to help calculate real property tax assessments for biotech research land users. The decision, by a 5-1 vote, affirmed Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s veto against the bill earlier this month in which he expressed concerns about the bill’s impact on the agricultural industry on Kauai and the county’s ability to enforce it. Garden Island.

Kauai County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa said he believes the seven-member board made a mistake two months ago when it passed the state’s first variable rate structure for refuse services, called pay as you throw, that’s based on how much people throw away. That bill is now headed for a public hearing on Jan. 14 after the board agreed, by a 5-2 vote, to consider the proposal. Garden Island.