Monday, September 28, 2015

Environmentalists seek tougher tuna rules, Maui mulls tax breaks for affordable housing, butterfly arrives in Hawaii, IRS probe shows Hee's political spending, charter changes coming to Honolulu, trial on Pohakuloa munitions cleanup, Supreme Court seeks lawyer rules on medical marijuana dispensaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii fish market © 2015 All Hawaii News
Environmentalists on Friday asked a federal judge to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service from allowing Hawaii-based fishermen to attribute some of the bigeye tuna they catch to U.S. territories. They argue the agency is enabling the fishermen to circumvent international agreements aimed at controlling the overfishing of a popular tuna species known as ahi. Associated Press.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii say they’ve identified a tiny newcomer to Hawaii that’s been settling across the islands with “remarkable” speed. The Sleepy Orange, a butterfly commonly found across the Americas — from the Southern United States all the way to Brazil — was first spotted on Oahu in 2013. It has since become common on Maui, and also spotted on Kauai, Molokai, Hawaii Island and even Kahoolawe. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is seeking public input on whether to amend its rules to allow attorneys to help clients who are applying for high-stakes licenses to run medical marijuana dispensaries. The court’s Disciplinary Board issued a formal opinion last month saying lawyers shouldn’t provide legal services to help establish or operate medical cannabis businesses because that would assist in committing a federal crime. Civil Beat.

The IRS investigation into Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. also exposed some eye-popping spending in a politically connected corner of Hawaii’s business community that benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in federal subsidies and contributed generously to the campaigns and causes of many of the state’s leading politicians. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers have confronted the issue of how to allow charitable giving by candidates in a way that creates a public benefit but doesn't give incumbents an unfair advantage over those seeking to challenge them politically. Maui News.

Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Co. has given the green light to nearly 10,000 rooftop solar systems on Oahu this year, and still the rush of applicants outpaces what the utility can approve. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents have until Oct. 31 to submit proposals to the Honolulu Charter Commission for improving the city and county government. As of Friday only six proposals have been submitted, but the commission chair still anticipates that the ultimate response will be similar to 2005, when 180 proposals were made. Civil Beat.

Is the City Violating the Law in Destroying Homeless People’s Property? As the ACLU launches a legal battle against Honolulu’s sweeps of homeless encampments, it points to a case in Los Angeles in which that city’s sweeps were ruled unconstitutional. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A lawsuit claiming the state breached its duties to protect public lands used for the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area will go to trial this week. Filed by Big Island residents Clarence Ching and Mary Kahaulelio, the suit says the Department of Land and Natural Resources failed to ensure that munitions are cleaned up after military exercises as the Army’s existing 65-year lease for the lands between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa requires. Tribune-Herald.

Flooding that turned coffee fields into wastelands of rock this week has Kainaliu coffee farmers asking how the water can be managed in a way that doesn’t pit neighbor against neighbor. West Hawaii Today.

Only one Hawaii County Council seat will be open because of term limits next year, and two political neophytes are already planning to run for it. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A Maui developer is seeking to create a largely rural residential subdivision near Lahaina on 271 acres of land zoned for agricultural use. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would provide a $75,000 property tax assessment exemption for landowners who rent to lower-income residents in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development voucher program was introduced Thursday by Maui County Council Member Robert Carroll. Maui News.

After 2nd Circuit Court implements its upgraded security system for Hoapili Hale on Oct. 9, all courthouse visitors will go through a single screening location on the first floor before they can enter the building. Maui News.

Kauai

A Navy-funded project landed five scientists on a research boat in the waters between Kauai and Niihau earlier this month in an effort to learn more about the effects of sonar on whales and dolphins. Garden Island.

A group of homeless people in Lihue have set up a semi-permanent tent city in the forested lot between Walmart and Wilcox Memorial Hospital. The owners of the lot are in the process of clearing it and have given the homeless people who live in tent city three weeks to vacate the premises. Garden Island.

Molokai

After dangerous winds and huge swells led to the cancellation of a world-renowned canoe race, stranding competitors on Molokai, some say Hawaiian Airlines increased fares in the rush to fly off the island. About 750 paddlers were left looking for flights off the island Saturday when race officials called off Na Wahine O Ke Kai, which is sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Associated Press.