Monday, February 13, 2017

Polystyrene foam food container ban advances, Ige releases new set of budget cuts, marijuana crop in the ground, lawyers reject judge reconfirmation measure, repairs coming to Mighty Mo, Kauai GOP holds Lincoln Day Dinner, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Polystyrene food containers at farmers market © 2017 All Hawaii News
A proposal before state legislators that would ban foam food containers drew considerable support at a packed hearing last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has proposed across-the-board cuts to his $28.5 billion spending plan for the next two years due to tax revenues coming in lower than expected. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers tackle affordable housing, health, fishing. Associated Press.

Prominent lawyers including former Attorney General Margery Bronster turned out in force at a hearing last week to oppose requiring Hawaii judges seeking to serve more than one term on the bench to be reconfirmed by the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii authorities may have been violating their own state law for years by issuing commercial fishing licenses to thousands of foreign workers who were refused entry into the country, The Associated Press has found.

State Sen. Glenn Wakai has directed a series of scathing attacks at officials with the Hawaii Tourism Authority in recent months, but denies the suggestion he may be using his office to retaliate or pursue a personal agenda after his wife resigned from her executive position at HTA following disagreements with management. Star-Advertiser.

A review of a critical audit issued five years ago that revealed a lack of oversight and accountability over the hiring and compensation of so-called casual hires at Hawaii public schools finds few improvements have been made. Star-Advertiser.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Anti-Immigrant Sentiment ‘Disheartening’. The U.S. Supreme Court Justice, in Honolulu for a UH law school program, spoke to high school students Saturday. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the value of vegetable crops produced by commercial farmers statewide rose 6 percent to $47.9 million last year from $45.2 million the year before. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard overreaches in lofty comparisons with Mink and Eisenhower. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

One of Oahu’s state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries has started growing Hawaii’s first legal cannabis plants, and anticipates sales can begin in early summer. Star-Advertiser.

The contentious proposal to spend a share of Oahu rail tax dollars on state transportation projects is still alive in the state Senate after all. It’s one of a host of ideas the chamber might pack into the bill that aims to rescue the island’s beleaguered rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Reports about Honolulu’s ongoing rail issues can seem to come in alarming and disjointed bursts. Hawaii Public Radio.

Environmentalists and businesses are being given an opportunity to develop a proposal to stiffen Oahu’s plastic checkout bag ban. Star-Advertiser.

Effective immediately, commercial activity is being shut down along most of the eastern Oahu coastline from Makapu’u to Kailua. KHON2.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, the key state agency that regulates such utilities as Hawaiian Electric Co., is consolidating its staff into one building next year, the head of the agency told Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has spent more than a decade trying to make higher and better use of its only land in urban Honolulu: a former bowling alley in Moiliili. Now state lawmakers are considering helping to kick-start redevelopment of the site. Star-Advertiser.

New video shows the moments right before Honolulu police officers shot and killed a man inside a stolen vehicle on Saturday. Hawaii News Now.

The USS Missouri Memorial Association, the nonprofit owner of the “Mighty Mo” in Pearl Harbor, has embarked on a $3 million project to repair some extensive corrosion high up on the superstructure and add some historical features to the 887-foot battlewagon. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

As the March 1 deadline approaches for Mayor Harry Kim to submit his preliminary budget to the County Council, the administration is working feverishly trying to cover a roughly $12 million difference between anticipated revenue and anticipated expenses. West Hawaii Today.

The National Park Service is asking the state Commission on Water Resource Management to step in and designate the Keauhou Aquifer, which covers a vast region from Makalawena Beach to north of Kealakekua Bay, a water management area. A hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. West Hawaii Today.

Sammy Hagar, take heart. Saddle Road motorists can’t drive 55 either. West Hawaii Today

Mauna Kea’s oldest telescope will get a makeover later this year, but an internal upgrade will have to wait for additional funds. Tribune-Herald.

The County has responded to complaints of static electricity shocks at island playgrounds, officials said at this week’s council committee meetings. Big Island Video News.

Bills that would create the first-ever community economic district on Hawaii Island are inching their way toward a final form. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. says it still needs around 115 million gallons of water per day for its plans to transform most of its 36,000 acres formerly used for sugar cane into diversified agriculture. Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. is marching toward 100 percent renewable energy for Maui County, and that will come without an undersea interisland cable, utility President Sharon Suzuki told about 75 people during a community discussion Thursday night at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Maui News.

Tens of thousands of introduced plants present in Hawaii. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County is the first in the state to convert all its streetlights from high pressure sodium lights to energy-saving LED lights as a result of a joint project between the County of Kauai and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.

90 attend GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. Garden Island.

Project to fix Alaka‘i Swamp boardwalk in full swing. Garden Island.

From educating beachgoers about conditions to responding to swimmers in distress, Kauai’s roving patrol unit is protecting the island’s unguarded beaches. Garden Island.

Molokai

The clock is running on the Maui County Council’s yearlong deadline to take action on the Molokai Community Plan update, which has been sitting in the council’s Planning Committee docket since May 4. Maui News.