Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hawaii is the happiest state, legislator's racial slurs revealed, government stuck in a time warp, Kauai's only press shuts down, Abercrombie pushes public-private partnerships in Kona, plastic bag ban a success, minimum wage, GMO, election bills advance, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

surf surfing contest
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi courtesy photo
People in Hawaii are the happiest and healthiest in the nation, according to an annual national survey released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Faye Hanohano — unhappy with the paintings installed in her state Capitol office as part of a public exhibit — used racial and ethnic slurs in a tirade Monday, according to an email from a state exhibit specialist. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday may have been the last day of recess for the full Hawaii Legislature, but for some lawmakers it was a marathon of voting on bills. Associated Press.

It could be up to voters to decide whether candidates have to actually live in the district they want to represent. And Hawaii could count military just like most everyone else does on the mainland — as residents, according to several measures before lawmakers. Civil Beat.

The first state minimum wage increase in six years became closer to reality Wednesday after lawmakers passed a bill mandating regular pay hikes through the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii small business owners are imploring lawmakers this session to make changes that will allow them the freedom to make a profit, reinvest in their business and employ more people. Instead, key committee chairs are planning to increase the minimum wage and add even more regulations. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii lawmakers are doing more this session than ever to plug a multi-billion-dollar hole in health and retirement benefits promised to thousands of county and state workers. Civil Beat.

Walking into the windowless office where payroll is processed for the state of Hawaii is like stepping back in time. Associated Press.

Earlier this month, opponents of Genetically Engineered Food lobbied State lawmakers to encourage them to pass legislation to require the labeling of GMO foods.   Today, workers from Hawai’I’s five GMO companies … the  producers of Hawai’i’s largest agricultural commodity … visited the Capitol to tell their story. Hawaii Public Radio.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has introduced a bill she says will help avert defense cuts that are due to the continuing resolution and avoid the need for layoffs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal is making its way through the State Legislature, that would raise the age limit for foster kids who receive support. KHON2.

Part 4 of a 5-part series. Read all the stories in Civil Beat's special report, In The Name Of The Law.

The number of foreclosure sales in Hawaii during the fourth quarter of 2012 fell 11 percent compared to the year before, but the average sales price of a foreclosed home jumped 24 percent, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac. Pacific Business News.


Some 3,585 Oahu families who receive rental housing subsidies have been notified that massive federal budget cuts set to kick in Friday could leave them without a roof over their heads. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is suing the city and Waste Management of Hawaii Inc., the operator of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill in Leeward Oahu, over gas emissions. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii senators are moving forward with a bill to direct the governor to purchase land owned by Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort on the North Shore. Star-Advertiser.

After hearing hundreds of complaints from riders who had longer waits for overcrowded buses, city leaders unveiled a plan Wednesday to reverse many of the cost-saving service changes for TheBus system that serves more than 200,000 riders daily. Star-Advertiser.

The company that oversees all police-initiated automobile tows for the city is continuing to overcharge motorists even though the city says it is closely monitoring the contract because of previous problems with overcharging, according to testimony at a hearing Wednesday and towing invoices reviewed by the Star-Advertiser.

Police disciplinary records are supposed to be released when an officer is discharged. But getting those records can be tough — and so expensive that most people likely can’t afford it — as Civil Beat has learned in researching this special report.

For some disabled students at Kipapa Elementary School, it was a nightmare of physical abuse, verbal assaults and emotional attacks. Hawaii News Now.

Chevron Corp.’s Hawaii operation is planning to develop a solar thermal demonstration project at its Kapolei refinery, which will be used to offset burning fossil fuels utilized to generate heat and steam for internal use. Pacific Business News.

Developer accused of ruining Hawaiian cultural site. Hawaii News Now.

Three bills aimed at clearing the homeless and their possessions from city sidewalks passed first reading at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting. Honolulu Weekly.


The first month of Hawaii County’s plastic bag ban seems to have been a resounding success, members of the county Environmental Management Commission learned Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Five of the nine County Council members will travel to Washington, D.C., this week for the National Association of Counties legislative conference. Tribune-Herald.

Neil Abercrombie came to Kona on Wednesday to push one message: Hawaii needs public-private partnerships. West Hawaii Today.

Police Chief Harry S. Kubojiri gave an overview of crime and traffic trends in Hawaii County on Tuesday to members of the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce. Tribune-Herald.

A state transportation official will hold a meeting next week to update the public on the status of an expansion project at Kona International Airport. Big Island Now.

The former home of Miko Meats is undergoing transformation to a new business incubator, creating jobs and building community in East Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

A new county office building on the old Wailuku Post Office site moved a step closer to being built as a Maui County Council committee recommended approval of $1.5 million for planning and design. Maui News.

Maui Planning Commission members approved Tuesday a special management area permit for HFM Maui to build a 45,000-square-foot warehouse at 120 Kane St. in Kahului on the 2.5-acre former site of Maui Land & Pineapple's administrative and corporate offices. Maui News.

With a 6-3 vote, the state Land Use Commission determined that owners of Kihei property slated for retail--Pi'ilani Promenade and Maui Outlets--and apartment development violated three conditions of the original 1995 order that changed the permitted land use from "Agricultural" to "Urban." Maui Weekly.


Kaua‘i is the first major Hawaiian island to not have a press. Starting with Friday’s edition, The Garden Island will be printed on O‘ahu Publication Inc.’s $80,000,000 state-of-the art printing facility launched in 2004 at Kapolei. Out of 42 staff, the new operations retained 17 workers.

The Kaua‘i Planning Commission on Tuesday approved an office building in Hanalei in the front portion of a highway-facing lot, despite the outcry of members of the Hanalei to Ha‘ena Community Association, who wanted the building far from the highway as possible. Garden Island.

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