Monday, March 7, 2016

New octopus discovered, prison corporation wants federal court to clarify Native Hawaiian religious practices, Legislature enters crossover week, gun control advances, Kona courthouse delayed by bid protest, Kauai seeks gas tax hike, Maui coffee comes to fore, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy NOAA
Octopus, courtesy NOAA
Scientists say they have discovered what might be a new species of octopus while searching the Pacific Ocean floor near the Hawaiian Islands. Associated Press.

Corrections Corporation of America is asking the federal court to force a final settlement in a class-action lawsuit over religious rights of Native Hawaiian inmates in Arizona. Civil Beat.

Despite heavy opposition from federal recognition advocates and an agenda deliberately primed to produce a federal recognition-friendly constitution, Hawaiian independence advocates at the Native Hawaiian Convention, better known as the  ĽAha, succeeded in planting a stake in the ground for the “pursuit of independence.” Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii lawmakers are heading into a busy week when bills have to be passed out of the House and Senate and sent over to the other chamber. Those that don’t make it over the hurdle will die. Associated Press.

Hawaii already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but state House and Senate lawmakers are advancing a half-dozen new proposals this year to further restrict access to firearms for people who have criminal records or are being treated for mental illnesses. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would prevent known and suspected terrorists from purchasing a firearm is moving forward in the House. Star-Advertiser.

Opposition is mounting to bills that would let the online vacation rental giant Airbnb and similar companies arrange to collect general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of hosts and pay the money to the state. Star-Advertiser.

Some lawmakers at the Hawaii Legislature think the state could do more to attract major national and international sports and entertainment events. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The University of Hawaii-Manoa campus is now accredited internationally as an arboretum, a designation that recognizes its more than 500 species of trees as an important collection. Star-Advertiser.

The number of single-family homes sold on Oahu jumped 19.4 percent to 240 homes sold in February, from 201 homes sold during the same month in 2015. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Recent tourism statistics suggest Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak hasn’t had the overall negative impacts some feared. Tribune-Herald.

A bid protest on the new $90 million judiciary complex means that West Hawaii might have to wait a bit longer for justice to be served in a secure setting. A protest letter filed late last month by contractor Nan Inc. alleges that two lower bidders failed to respond to all of the requirements of the project. West Hawaii Today.

Sales of single-family homes on Hawaii’s Big Island soared in February as prices dropped, while sales of condominiums dropped and prices soared, according to statistics from the Hawaii Island Realtors via Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.

Maui

While much of the focus of Hawaii's coffee industry centers on the Big Island's Kona brand, Maui farmers are proving it's not the only coffee from the Aloha State worth tasting. Maui News.

Kaanapali's hotel and condominium owners are baffled by a proposed 33 percent increase of their water bill for this year. Maui News.

A random sampling of Maui County residents will receive a mailed Department of Parks and Recreation survey seeking help in prioritizing future parks facilities, programs and services. Maui News.

Single-family home sales soared 15 percent to 69 homes sold, compared to 60 homes sold in February 2015. The median price of a single-family home in February was $595,000, an increase of 6.5 percent from $558,625 during the same month a year ago. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal to increase the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon beginning Jan. 15. Garden Island.

Single-family home sales on Kauai jumped in February, even as condominium sales and prices dropped, according to statistics from the Kauai Board of Realtors via Hawaii Information Service. Pacific Business News.