Friday, October 9, 2015

Hawaii to make crop pesticide information public, Honolulu council tackles ethical legal cloud over rail project, Kakaako homeless sweep, police chief sues Ethics Commission, Stryker Brigade on its last legs, Kaʻu coffee land being sold, Kauai historic one-lane bridges to get upgrades, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii residents can expect to have more information soon about what pesticides large agricultural companies are applying to crops statewide. The state Department of Agriculture is planning to expand the Good Neighbor Program, a voluntary effort on Kauai in which large agricultural companies — Dow AgroSciences, Pioneer, Syngenta, BASF and Kauai Coffee Company — voluntarily report the types and amounts of restricted-use pesticides that are sprayed each month. Civil Beat.

The state Health Department last month halted the delivery of Thai basil from a farm in Waianae and ordered crops destroyed after finding unacceptable levels of pesticide residue. The health department said 5,000 pounds of Thai basil grown at Wong Hon Hin, Inc.’s farm was destroyed on Sept. 30. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Health ordered approximately 5,000 pounds of Thai basil grown at an Oahu farm to be destroyed after inspectors found dangerous insecticide levels on the crops during routine testing last month. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case has chosen Curt Cottrell to serve as the next administrator of the State Parks Division. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Schools trustee Janeen-Ann Olds has stepped down from the board, just hours after a state judge rejected her bid for a second term. Hawaii News Now.

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries still support their proposed $4.3 billion merger agreement despite continued opposition from Gov. David Ige’s administration. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A legal cloud hanging over a vote taken by the Honolulu City Council in 2012 is pushing current Council members to rush through a new measure to ensure the rail project doesn’t incur millions of dollars in late payments and debt. City officials say Bill 73, essentially a revote of a bond OK given in 2012, needs to be given final approval by January to avoid late payment or interest that could cost taxpayers about $3 million a month. Star-Advertiser.

It was the end of an era Thursday for the sometimes contentious Stryker Brigade in Hawaii, with the speedy eight-wheeled vehicles blasting away, likely for the last time, at targets at a big Schofield Barracks range ahead of an Army plan to move the vehicles out of the state to cut costs, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

After spending the day picking up tons of discarded debris, a cleanup crew will return today for what the city hopes will be the last of the Kakaako homeless encampment. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu city crews on Thursday began clearing the final section of one of the nation’s largest homeless encampments, once home to hundreds of people. Associated Press.

Many of Kakaako’s Homeless Are Not Shelter-Bound. The city says there’s sufficient space in shelters for everyone, but critics point out a lot of people don’t qualify for admission, and others just don’t want to go. Civil Beat.

Stanford Carr Development’s planned Keauhou Lane Kakaako mixed-use residential project held a blessing on Thursday, with plans to break ground soon. Pacific Business News.

In an unusual if not unprecedented move, Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has sued the city Ethics Commission, trying to get a court to stop an ethics probe targeting him and his wife. Hawaii News Now.

When people talk about political campaigns, the focus these days is usually on the presidential primary elections.  But locally, among the races coming up is the one for Honolulu Mayor.  There are less than four months remaining until candidates can file to run - and there’s already a bit of tension between two potential rivals. Hawaii Public Radio.

More taxicab drivers are headed to court to face substantial fines and/or jail time for violations since the city Customer Services Department resumed group field inspections of taxicabs — a practice that had ceased in 2013 due to staff constraints. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to build a luxury condominium-hotel tower on the site of King’s Village in Waikiki received a largely favorable response at a city public hearing Thursday, though some objections were raised over the tower exceeding standard height, density and setback rules. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii News Now's Investigation into deplorable conditions at one of the University of Hawaii's College of Education buildings has uncovered another example of neglect -- millions in insurance money that was left unspent for years. Hawaii News Now.

People whose homes are near the trailhead to Maunawili Falls are asking a state judge to order the state, city and the private landowner of the popular hiking trail into mediation with them to address their complaints over how hikers are negatively affecting their neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A 6,000-acre swath of Ka‘u land has a likely buyer, but the farmers who have coaxed world-class coffee from the soil are still haggling for licenses to continue their work. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Liquor Control Commission defined dancing Wednesday after years of pressure from Maui dance advocates, who now hope the ruling will allow customers to bob their heads or tap their toes outside a designated dance floor. Maui News.

Kauai

Federal highway officials and the state Department of Transportation are in the process of designing a permanent replacement for Wainiha’s trio of historic one-lane bridges. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council approved a resolution Wednesday night supporting raising the minimum wage in Hawaii. The resolution says the council encourages the Legislature to consider increasing the minimum wage in 2020 following the increases that are already currently scheduled through 2018. Garden Island.