Thursday, September 15, 2016

Racial bias claimed in civil rights complaint over pesticides, attorneys say Kenoi had more important things to do than repay pCard, Kim builds Cabinet, congressional delegation vows to help fishermen, Maui mayor signs emergency proclamation for flood relief, Kauai seeks transportation money, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hilo, Hawaii 2015
Spraying pesticides in Hilo waterway, 2015 file photo
A complaint filed Wednesday charges the state Department of Agriculture and the state Agribusiness Development Corp. with discrimination by allowing pesticides to drift into neighborhoods that are largely Native Hawaiian. Star-Advertiser.

Two Hawaii community groups have filed a civil-rights complaint against the state Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corporation for not doing enough to protect Native Hawaiians from pesticides sprayed on fields near schools, hospitals and homes. Civil Beat.

Environmental lawyers are asking federal agencies to investigate pesticide dust drifting into Native Hawaiian communities in West Kauai and Molokai. Earthjustice said Wednesday it filed a complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Associated Press.

A Civil Rights violation complaint has been filed against Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Agribusiness Development Corporation on Wednesday for leasing land near Native Hawaiian communities to heavy pesticide users. Garden Island.

State and federal agencies supporting agriculture partnered with vegetable seed developer Monsanto on Wednesday to encourage small Hawaii farmers to produce more local produce. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard each said Wednesday that they were “disturbed” by the conditions that Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet is subjecting its predominantly foreign workforce. Civil Beat.

Members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation said Wednesday that they are looking at ways to improve the safety and working conditions of hundreds of foreign workers that crew Hawaii fishing vessels following an Associated Press investigation that found instances of human trafficking, wages as low as 70 cents per hour and unsanitary boat conditions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s three-person congressional delegation expressed outrage on Wednesday following an Associated Press report on alleged labor abuses and human rights violations endured by crew members on some Hawaii fishing fleets. Pacific Business News.

Fishing industry pushes back following questions about labor practices. Hawaii News Now.

The Military Tries To Sell Itself As Positive Environmental Force. The U.S. Army, Navy and Marines made a pitch to conservationists from around the world that they share the same goals. Not everyone is buying it. Civil Beat.

Speaking of his own experience after his son Beau’s death, Vice President Joe Biden consoled the family of the late Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday, telling them to “hang on to each other” to make it through the rough days. Associated Press.

Oahu

A $4.2 million settlement has been reached in a medical malpractice lawsuit by the family of a 32-year-old Nanakuli man who went to the emergency room with a sore throat and died. Star-Advertiser.

Heavy rains prompted the state Department of Health to issue a brown water advisory for Oahu. Associated Press.

Every year, tens of thousands of Hawaii schoolchildren get a free flu shot at their school. But this year, many of them may end up going to a doctor's office for the vaccination instead. The shots usually happen in the fall, but have been delayed until January because of the Hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Attorneys defending Mayor Billy Kenoi on theft and other charges said in a legal document “the big picture, big thinking mayor had bigger things to do than think about monthly reimbursements” of personal charges made with his county-issued credit card. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor-elect Harry Kim is bringing back some old hands and adding new blood to county government as he puts his Cabinet together. West Hawaii Today.

The Umauma Bridge rehabilitation project is now scheduled to finish in March — about a year later than initially expected. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is calling for an “immediate review” of the care that the Department of Veterans Affairs provided to a 68-year-old Vietnam combat veteran who died of lung cancer Saturday on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

It was teamwork that led Jason Foxworthy to being honored as the Officer of the Year. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa signed an emergency proclamation today following torrential flooding through ʻĪao Valley that knocked out a waterline, flooded several homes with mud and debris and destroyed a significant portion of the County’s Kepaniwai Park parking lot area. Maui Now.

The Mayor's Office has rescheduled an East Maui fiscal 2018 budget meeting from Tuesday evening to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at Helene Hall in Hana, according to an announcement. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission supported two council-proposed bills Tuesday, one designed to strengthen enforcement on illegal short-term rentals, and another aimed at deterring buyers from turning affordable homes into short-term rentals. Maui News.

Maui County Council hopefuls Alika Atay and Dain Kane distinguished themselves as "very different" candidates Monday night, as they tackled multiple issues during a public forum in their home district. Maui News.

Kauai

From taxing car rental companies and charging port fees on cruise ships to simply making cuts in the budget, Kauai County councilmembers bounced ideas off each other in an effort to get the projects off the ground. Garden Island.

It will definitely be darker on Pacific Missile Range Facility beginning tonight as the base begins its “Dark Skies” program. PMRF will be turning off all non-essential lighting on the base and modifying night time operations to help protect rare Hawaiian seabirds and prevent “shearwater fallout.” Garden Island.