Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Oldest known bird hatches chick; bills would set term limits, ban pedestrian cellphone use, require pesticide buffer zones, tighten police oversight; Kahele's son seats Senate seat; Kahoolawe munitions cleanup seeks funds, competition lowering airfares, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Laysan albatross
Wisdom's mate with new chick, Feb. 8, 2016, by Kiah Walker/USFWS Volunteer


A 65-year-old Laysan albatross named Wisdom — the oldest known bird in the wild, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — is a mother again following the hatching of a chick Feb. 1 at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Star-Advertiser.

People who use their cellphones while crossing the street could be cited and fined under a bill being considered by state legislators today. Star-Advertiser.

The state Health Department said Tuesday it will neither release the names of committee members who will select the winners of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses nor disclose any information about the selection process. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. Russell Ruderman, a Democrat representing Puna and parts of Ka‘u who is seeking his second term, thinks state lawmakers should have term limits, and he introduced a bill capping the time a lawmaker can stay in the same office at 12 consecutive years. Tribune-Herald.

As Ethan Ferguson awaits trial on multiple sex assault charges on the Big Island, state Sen. Will Espero has continued his quest for more clarity on how Ferguson could have been hired as a state law enforcement officer in the first place. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are looking to take control over how police cameras are used and who manages footage as increasing numbers of officers throughout the state are expected to wear video recording devices. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would establish requirements for body-worn and vehicle cameras for county police departments was deferred Tuesday at the Hawaii State Capitol. But Senate Bill 2411 is not dead. Rather, the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs plans to take the measure up again Feb. 16. Civil Beat.

With drone use taking off in Hawaii, lawmakers are reviewing several bills involving the popular gadgets, including several that would add privacy restrictions and one that would require users to have liability insurance. Hawaii News Now.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing two bills to amend the State Constitution to provide equal rights for victims and survivors of crime. Hawaii Public Radio.

Concerned parents are calling on Hawaii lawmakers to establish buffer zones around schools to protect their children from chemicals found in pesticides. But the large agriculture companies that spray pesticides say their practices are safe, and some smaller farmers worry that buffer zones could cut into their food production. Associated Press.

Lorna Cummings Poe was one Kauai resident who testified at a state hearing Tuesday for a bill relating to pesticides and schools. Garden Island.

Should elections be conducted exclusively by mail in Hawaii? Is it time to increase fines for failing to disclose campaign expenses and contributions? Do lobbyists need to be held to a higher standard of conduct? State lawmakers are weighing a slate of so-called “good government” bills this session that could boost voter turnout and lessen the influence of money in politics. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are looking to fund an educational program aimed at getting students, primarily those who come from low-income families, more involved in after-school activities. Associated Press.

The number of Hansen’s disease patients in Hawaii has fallen to 14 following the recent deaths of two patients at the state Department of Health’s Hale Mohalu Hospital on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Competition from Virgin America is driving down California-Hawaii flight fares. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved Larry Ellison's sale of his controlling interest in Island Air to a group of Hawaii investors and the Hawaii interisland airline's former chief has returned to the post, the airline said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Nine Hawaiʻi restaurants have received the 2016 AAA Four or AAA Five Diamond Award, the highest rating issued by AAA Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council on Thursday will consider four measures that address regulation of taxicabs, as well as their ride-hailing competitors like Uber and Lyft that use smartphone applications to connect independent drivers with passengers. Star-Advertiser.

Aiea Public Library’s photovoltaic solar panels are finally up and running. The Hawaii State Public Library System made the announcement Tuesday evening. KHON2.

The beach at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve reopens at 6 a.m. Wednesday for the first time in six days. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Kai Kahele says he will seek the nomination this Saturday to fill the state Senate seat vacated by his late father, Gil Kahele. Kahele, a 41-year-old Hawaiian Airlines pilot and Hawaii Air National Guard major, said he is not taking anything for granted, but hopes to be able to see his father’s legislative priorities through the rest of the session. Tribune-Herald.

Farmers and ranchers on the Big Island concerned about the impact of agricultural theft on their business operations could get help in the coming year thanks to legislation currently proposed in the state House of Representatives. Tribune-Herald.

Tourism officials worked Tuesday to counteract negative impacts to the visitor industry following Monday’s declaration of a state of emergency in Hawaii County because of the ongoing dengue fever outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

It’s a busy place, but these days, most folks are just stopping for a restroom break and perhaps to let the kids burn off a little steam at the almost-halfway point along Daniel K. Inouye Highway between Hilo and Kona. That could all change by the end of the year, however, as a $10.5 million renovation project aims to transform the old cabins, bunkhouse and dining hall of Mauna Kea Recreation Area into a facility worthy of much longer stays. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Vendor applications and sponsorship forms for the third Made in Maui County Festival, set for Nov. 4-5 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, are currently available, the Mayor's Office of Economic Development announced Monday. Maui News.

Kauai

There hasn’t been a Chevron gas station built on Kauai for more than a decade. That changed starting Tuesday morning at the Hokulei Shopping Village. Garden Island.


Kahoolawe

Kahoolawe Reserve Commission Scrabbles For Funding. The state body that manages the former bombing range has nearly exhausted its federal funds. Civil Beat.