Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hawaii Senate passes gay marriage bill 20-4, lawmaker sues to stop special session, religious exemption at issue for House, big pay raises for Hawaii County officials, Kauai mayor to decide GMO bill today, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

20-4 vote passes historic measure
Hawaii Senate passes gay marriage courtesy Senate majority
The Hawaii Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to approve a gay marriage bill, casting the decision as an important leg in the long march toward equality for gays and lesbians. The 20-4 vote sent the bill to the state House, where the House Judiciary and Finance committees will hold a public hearing today. If the committees amend the bill, which is likely in order to win over some House lawmakers worried about the scope of a religious exemption, then the bill would return to the Senate for another review. Star-Advertiser.

The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday legalizing gay marriage, sending the measure to more uncertain prospects in the House. After nearly two hours of discussion on the Senate floor on the merits of allowing same-sex couples to marry, the bill passed easily, 20-4, with one senator abstaining. The Hawaii Senate is dominated by Democrats, with only one Republican. Associated Press.

The tide of history flowed smoothly through the Hawaii Senate chamber Wednesday, where same-sex marriage legislation passed 20-4. Democrats Donna Mercado Kim, Ron Kouchi and Mike Gabbard voted "no," as did lone Republican Sam Slom. Democrat Glenn Wakai was excused because of a death in the family. Senate Bill 1 now heads to the House of Representatives, where the gay-marriage wave is sure to encounter rougher waters. Civil Beat.

Senators passed SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013", on their third reading Wednesday afternoon and sent it over the House where it passed its first reading, but not without a fight and a lot of political posturing.  Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Senate voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, moving the issue over to the House, where two committees are expecting hundreds of people to testify at a Thursday hearing. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii. Hawaii Reporter.

Some House lawmakers want an exemption in the same-sex marriage bill that gives small businesses, especially those in the wedding industry, an "opt out" option. Hawaii News Now.

I was there the day the battle for same-sex marriages began in Hawaii. It was December 17, 1990. A KITV cameraman and I followed three homosexual couples as they marched ceremoniously down Beretania Street to the State Health Department to file for marriage licenses. Civil Beat.

In 1998, Hawaii voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that supporters said was against same-sex marriage. Today, supporters of gay marriage say the same amendment supporters their side. State Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa, Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point) filed a lawsuit in state Circuit Court Wednesday to try to settle the question. Hawaii News Now.

At least one lawmaker is taking his fight against same-sex marriage to court. Rep. Bob McDermott filed a lawsuit to try and stop the special session. KHON2.

A number of people on both sides of the gay marriage debate say the current draft of Senate Bill 1, which would legalize same-sex ceremonies, infringes on religious liberty. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii Department of Education announced today that it’s had to revise 37 high schools’ Strive HI scores after finding flaws in graduation rate data used in part to evaluate how well schools are closing the achievement gap. Civil Beat.

A national report praises Hawaii for being one of only a few states with a teacher evaluation system that ties teachers’ compensation to their performance. Associated Press.

An eyeless shrimp and 14 other Hawaii creatures and plants have been added to the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Associated Press.


A civilian procurement official for the Navy is facing criminal charges for allegedly steering federal work to government contractors that hired his wife. Federal prosecutors have charged 56-year-old William Nesmith of Ewa Beach with two counts of conflict of financial interest involving the awards of more than $15 million in naval contracts. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii's Department of Health will use a $2.1 million federal grant to run a three-year program expected to serve at least 120 people who are considered chronically homeless. Associated Press.

Oahu residents will have to fend off wild chickens on their own and gripe directly to police about noisy roosters because of a cost-cutting measure by the Caldwell administration. In a move to reduce spending, Managing Director Ember Shinn decided in late August or early September to not award an $80,000 contract for crowing rooster and feral chicken control services, city Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara told the City Council Budget Committee on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The city insisted Wednesday that its sewage system in Kakaako can handle new condominium tower projects in the area, but acknowledged that foul odors escaping the system are a problem that needs to be fixed. Star-Advertiser.

Architecture firm Perkins+Will said Wednesday that it opened its 24th worldwide office in Honolulu, to focus on work related to the city’s planned $5.16 billion rail transit project. Pacific Business News.


Double-digit raises are coming to 12 county officials Friday under a pay plan unanimously approved Wednesday by the Hawaii County Salary Commission. The salary plan, designed to make Hawaii County officials’ salaries more on par with those on other islands and to make sure no department head is making less money than his or her subordinates, adds from $10,218 to $17,598 to salaries of the 12 officials. West Hawaii Today.

Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have created a thermal image video of the lava lake in Halemaumau Crater that shows lava upwelling in the lake and spreading out like sheets of ice on the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Ocean View Food Pantry reopens after short hiatus. West Hawaii Today.

Halloween in Lahaina will go on this year Thursday - without the legal protests of the past couple of years - as preparations are made for more than 30,000 revelers along Front Street. Maui News.

Maui County water officials called on Upcountry residents Wednesday to double their voluntary water conservation, reducing normal use by 20 percent, due to the dry weather conditions. Maui News.

A Maui County Council committee Tuesday recommended a new independent appraisal for Launiupoko lands the county administration wants to purchase for open space and park use, with the committee chairman calling the current appraisal "fundamentally flawed." Maui News.

To encourage Central Maui residents to exercise more every day, Maui County has teamed up with local groups to come up with a 20-year master plan that identifies areas in Kahului, Wailuku and Waikapu that could be made more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Maui News.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie abruptly withdrew the name of his nominee to the state Land Board after his pick for the Kauai seat said for personal reasons he no longer wanted to be considered, a development that was welcomed by critics who said a land developer shouldn't have been selected. Star-Advertiser.

Shawn Smith, general manager of land investment company Falko Partners, LLC, withdrew his nomination to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources Wednesday, state officials said. Garden Island.

The corporation overseeing Kauai’s two public hospitals will seek $7.3 million in emergency funding at a public hearing today before the state Legislature to keep the state-funded public health system afloat. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council, as well as many members of the public, are waiting anxiously to see whether Mayor Bernard Carvalho will veto the bill which requires biotech companies to disclose pesticide use and farmers to report any genetically engineered crops they are growing. The mayor has until Thursday (Oct. 31) to decide what he’s going to do with the bill. Civil Beat.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is China spying on Hawaii? Top Hawaii news of the day, including gay marriage progress, Omidyar's and Ellison's plans, underwater electric cable, endangered species, hospital woes and more from all the Hawaiian Islands

People's Liberation Army-Navy ship Qingdao (DDG 113) as it arrives in Hawaii for a scheduled port visit Sept. 6, 2013
People's Liberation Army-Navy ship Qingdao (DDG 113) as it arrives in Hawaii for a scheduled port visit Sept. 6, 2013. Courtesy photo.
Media sources in Asia reported that a Chinese Navy spy ship has recently been placed near Hawaii in response to the continuing U.S. naval presence in the South China Sea and recent drills with Japan and South Korea. But U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday that no People's Liberation Army ship was detected either within or just outside of Hawaii's 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone — leaving a bit of a mystery regarding the spy ship reports. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced the launch of a bipartisan oversight effort entitled the HASC Asia-Pacific Oversight Series, which will focus on educating both Members of Congress and the general public about long-term national security challenges the United States faces in the Asia-Pacific. Hawaii Reporter.

The state Senate advanced a bill to legalize gay marriage during a special session Tuesday, sending it to a final floor vote that would get the legislation to the House. The final Senate vote is planned during a session that starts Wednesday morning. The bill is expected to pass there easily, then travel to the House where its prospects are less certain. Associated Press.

Expecting gay couples in Hawaii to travel to other states to marry in order to obtain federal tax benefits would impose a "heavy burden" and create an inequality compared to other married couples, state Attorney General David Louie has told state lawmakers. Louie submitted a seven-page analysis to lawmakers on Tuesday after facing questions from the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Monday about whether access to federal tax benefits for gay couples in Hawaii is as close as a trip to California or another state that has legalized gay marriage. Star-Advertiser.

The House Judiciary and Finance Committees will take testimony from 10 a.m. until midnight on Thursday, Oct. 31, at the public hearing on SB1 on equal rights. KHON2.

The House Finance and Judiciary committees are set to hold a joint hearing on the gay marriage legislation, Senate Bill 1, Thursday morning. To up the odds of defeating it, House Republicans tried to pull Rep. Cynthia Thielen from the 13-member Judiciary Committee. She’s the lone Republican in the Legislature who supports gay marriage. Civil Beat.

A power play to remove the sole House Republican who plans to vote for same-sex marriage stirred up controversy and political tension at the Capitol Tuesday, but failed. Hawaii News Now.

There were fireworks on the House floor Tuesday after Rep. Bob McDermott introduced House Resolution 5, which if passed, would have replaced the hierarchy of the Republican leadership with a more conservative faction and dissolved support by the Republican caucus for the current Democratic faction in power. Hawaii Reporter.

House Republican Bob McDermott introduced several resolutions that would change House committee assignments today. Speaker Joseph Souki and Scott Saiki also introduced their own committee assignment resolution to counter McDermott’s. Hawaii Independent.

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi heads to the Senate for third and final reading at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Maui Now.

In a major change that could effectively nix plans for the long-debated industrial-scale wind farm proposed for Lanai, state policymakers have in recent months shifted their interest toward connecting the Oahu and Maui electric grids. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii did not select an executive search firm Tuesday as planned to help with recruiting presidential candidates but said it will ask three finalist firms to make in-person presentations over the next two weeks. Star-Advertiser.

Time Warner Inc., the nation’s second-largest cable TV provider is doubling the download speed of its top-tier “Ultimate” service to 100 Megabits per second. The speed upgrade is being rolled out now to customers in Los Angeles and will come to New York City and Hawaii by the end of the year. Associated Press.

Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture now has a temporary name — NewCo — and a temporary home page as well as two more journalists — Dan Froomkin and Liliana Segura — who are now known to be affiliated with the project, according to The Omidyar Group website. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for October 30. Associated Press.


A plan to ask Oahu voters if they want to take away the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's ability to recover "back payments" from customers who are undercharged gained preliminary approval from the City Council's Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday. A number of Council members grilled board Chief Engineer Ernest Lau about a spate of estimated bills issued by the agency during the first nine months of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Problems created by the Board of Water Supply's estimated billing system came under scrutiny on Tuesday by a Honolulu City Council committee. After getting grilled by members, the agency's chief vowed to make changes to help prevent inaccurate estimates. Hawaii News Now.

Questions have been swirling about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s plans to develop Kakaako, with many residents concerned about whether the area has adequate sewer, water and street capacity to handle new high rises and thousands of additional people. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council Public Safety and Economic Development Committee Tuesday deferred Bill 59, which would ban lying down on sidewalks except under specific circumstances. Committee Chairwoman Carol Fukunaga said she wants to incorporate new language proposed by city attorneys that would limit the ban to only the Chinatown, Honolulu Capitol and Waikiki districts, and only between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Star-Advertiser.

Seller, Beware! Discrimination Lawsuit Raises Eyebrows. Civil Beat.


Wildlife protection officials added 15 imperiled species to the federal endangered list Tuesday for Hawaii, where native plants and animals are among the most vulnerable to extinction in the nation. The species are all native to Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined endangered species status for 15 species on the island of Hawaii. Thirteen plants, a picture-wing fly and an ultra-rare “anchialine” pool shrimp have gained final protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Big Island Video News.

Although the number of admissions to alcohol and drug abuse programs increased statewide between 2011 and 2012, they dropped in Hawaii County, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Health. West Hawaii Today.

Groups looking to restore historical Hawaiian fishponds need as many as 17 county, state and federal permits to do so, Department of Land and Natural Resources officials say. The permitting process itself could take years and cost as much as $50,000 to $80,000. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County has settled a free-speech lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and two Maui Peace Action members that will involve changes to the county sign ordinance. Maui News.


A public hearing will be held Friday as part of the special legislative session to deal with a bill seeking an emergency appropriation to keep two Kauai rural hospitals afloat. House Bill 3 requests $7.3 million in stopgap funding to sustain Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s Kauai regional health care system through next spring. The hearing will be held by the Senate Health and Ways and Means committees. Star-Advertiser.

The state Legislature’s Senate Committee on Water and Land will conduct a hearing today to consider Shawn Smith as the island’s representative to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources. Some have hailed Smith to be the right pick for the position based on his community service and balanced business approach, but others say his role as the general manager of Falko Partners, LLC, a land investment group, puts him at odds with his duties. Garden Island.

Water and agriculture have been identified by members of the Kauai Planning and Action Alliance as top issues impacting Kauai and its future. Both will be addressed during a panel discussion Monday as part of the KPAA’s fall membership meeting. Garden Island.

It didn’t matter that smart meters weren’t on the agenda. A handful of people still testified about them Tuesday during Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s regular board meeting. Garden Island.

Island Air has been operating under a cloak of secrecy since billionaire Larry Ellison purchased the local interisland carrier in mid-February. It was no different Tuesday when CEO Paul Casey, the keynote speaker at the Pacific Asia Travel Association luncheon, spoke for less than four minutes and then dashed out from the banquet room without taking questions. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Same-sex marriage advances in Hawaii, Ellison wants to build university on Lanai, ACLU settles Maui sign-waving lawsuit, Abercrombie withdraws environmental pick, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

gay marriage rally
Hawaii United for Marriage courtesy photo
The state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee voted Monday night to advance a gay marriage bill after a daylong public hearing that explored themes of equality and religious liberty, first-class citizenship and the word of God. The 5-to-2 vote came after the debate over marriage equality engulfed the state Capitol during the first day of a special legislative session called by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Star-Advertiser.

After nearly 12 hours of passionate, repetitive, sometimes heated and often ill-informed testimony, the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee passed a same-sex marriage bill late Monday. The vote on Senate Bill 1 was 5-2, with Democrat Mike Gabbard and Republican Sam Slom in the minority. Civil Beat.

Day 1 of the marriage equality bill hearings. Yes, the Senate committee passed SB1. Hawaii Independent.

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi passed its first hurdle today, advancing out of committee in its unamended form.  It is now headed to the full Senate for a vote. Maui Now.

The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee voted to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The vote came after nearly 12 hours of testimony from the public, as more than 400 people addressed lawmakers during Monday's public hearing before the Senate committee. Hawaii News Now.

A Hawaii Senate committee has advanced a bill legalizing gay marriage to the full Senate after a marathon session of testimony that ended nearly 12 hours after it began. KITV2.

A state Senate committee has approved a bill that could legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The decision by the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee came after nearly 12 hours of public testimony Monday on SB1. KHON2.

Thousands of people gathered on the state Capitol grounds Monday evening to demand that lawmakers let the people decide how to define marriage, waving signs along Beretania Street that read "God Created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve," "1 Kane 1 Wahine" and "Honk for traditional marriage." Star-Advertiser.

Thousands rallied on both sides of the gay marriage debate Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Beat is hosting a live blog and chat for the special legislative session convened to address same-sex marriage.
Hawaii’s battle over gay marriage brought state lawmakers back to work Monday after the governor called a special session that could make the islands a wedding destination for more couples. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Legislature opened the second special legislative session of 2013 on Monday and got right down business with hearings on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Nearly 2,000 people on both sides of the issue were set to testify. Pacific Business News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has withdrawn Genevieve Salmonson's appointment as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control after it appeared she would not be confirmed by the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Facing a tough Senate confirmation hearing, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has withdrawn Genevieve Salmonson's nomination as director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Civil Beat.

A spokesperson for Gov. Neil Abercrombie confirmed Monday evening that the governor's nominee for director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, Genevieve Salmonson, has withdrawn from the confirmation process just hours before her confirmation hearing. Hawaii Reporter.

GMO, geothermal, Hokulia and the Superferry are all being brought into the conversation about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s nominees to several important environmental and land-use boards and offices. Abercrombie so far is defending his appointees in the face of opponents who are lobbying the state Senate not to confirm them. The Senate has a list of 36 nominees to confirm or deny during the special legislative session that began Monday. West Hawaii Today.

As Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie asks lawmakers to confirm dozens of appointees to state boards and committees during the special session this week, he's facing resistance over a nomination to replace a member of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, which votes on land leases and new rules governing natural resources. Civil Beat.

UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest Medicare provider, is eliminating certain Medicare Advantage health plans next year for nearly 4,000 members in Hawaii. The majority of affected members live in Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties, and fewer than 100 are on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Friday, vehicle inspectors will use iPads, provided by a contractor hired by the state Department of Transportation, to relay safety inspection results immediately to the DOT instead of mailing in the filled-out forms on a monthly basis. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for October 29. Associated Press.

Honolulu rail officials report that the island's massive public transit project, which recently resumed construction, will receive a record influx of $63.8 million in general excise tax revenue for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 4 out of 5 of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's roughly 166,000 customers received at least one bill between January and September that was based on estimated usage, meaning they were undercharged or overcharged for at least a month. Star-Advertiser.

Two more (de)Occupy Honolulu protesters are serving jail terms for interfering with city crews attempting to enforce the stored property ordinance at Thomas Square. Star-Advertiser.

Late last week, Hawaii Department of Agriculture officials said that the coffee berry borer, an invasive pest that has plagued isle coffee growers since it was first identified in South Kona in August 2010, has now made its way to a farm in the Hilo area. Tribune-Herald.

Of all the challenges Hawaii’s organic farmers face, one kept coming up during a daylong growing organics workshop as a definitive barrier to entering the market: lack of land. West Hawaii Today.


The American Civil Liberties Union and Maui County have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over rules against holding signs along public roadways. Associated Press.

The people of Maui need no longer fear arbitrary enforcement of harsh County rules against holding signs along public roadways. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has settled a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of the ACLU's members and Maui plaintiffs Chuck Carletta and Mele Stokesberry. Hawaii Reporter.

A shipping company is temporarily halting all shipments of molasses to the mainland after a minor leak into a Maui harbor. Associated Press.

Hundreds of Maui residents attended a prayer gathering Sunday afternoon in Kahului that included calls against same-sex marriages and the special legislative session that begins today and is expected to make gay nuptials legal in Hawaii. Maui News.


Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will likely wait until the eleventh hour to make a decision about whether to sign or veto Bill 2491, limiting GMO and pesticides. Garden Island.

Kauai residents Terry Lilley and Michael Sheehan took advantage of Sunday’s weakened surf to collect 10 sediment samples from North Shore streams and reefs. On Monday, the collected samples were sent to Test America in Sacramento, Calif., where — for $2,900 apiece — they will be tested for a variety of toxic chemicals, including dioxins, pesticides, heavy metals and more. Garden Island.

The 135-foot rail launcher to be used in Hawaii’s first space launch, known as ORS-4, was unveiled Monday at the National Technical Systems facility in Albuquerque, N.M. The launcher was built by NTS and Western Fabrication. It will now be disassembled and moved to the Pacific Missile Range Facility, where it will be reassembled for the 2014 launch. Garden Island.

Kauai County will hold public meetings over the next few months to gather input on a proposal to elect the county’s seven councilmembers by district rather than at-large. Garden Island.


A research university campus on 524 acres — nearly twice the size of the University of Hawaii’s flagship Manoa campus in Honolulu — is being planned for Larry Ellison’s island of Lanai. Pacific Business News.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hawaii Legislature to tackle gay marriage today. Rallies, editorial opinions, prayer vigils precede historic special session and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilo gay pride parade file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Just hours before the opening of the same-sex special session, advocates on both sides of the issue are lining up at the State Capitol and Iolani Palace to voice their concerns. A gathering organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party attracted hundreds people at the state Capitol. The GLBT gathering came moments before the New Hope Church and New Hope Chapel Nanakuli hosted its own prayer vigil at Iolani Palace. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers are coming back to the Capitol for a special session to consider legalizing gay marriage. Legislators say the bill to be introduced Monday morning has overwhelming support in the Senate and enough support in the House to pass. Associated Press.

Hawaii, which had a pioneering role in the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States two decades ago, could become the 15th state to extend marriage rights to gay couples when state lawmakers meet this week for a special session. Reuters.

A rally and worship service were preludes to activism planned for today at the state Capitol. Hundreds of gay rights advocates are staging a "lobby day" this morning. Thousands of opponents of gay marriage are expected for an afternoon demonstration. Star-Advertiser.

It's a pretty good bet that the Aloha State will become the 15th state to allow marriage between same-sex couples. If all goes as planned — that is, if legislators are able to agree on language that satisfies supporters of marriage equality while granting deference to religious expression — Hawaii will follow New Jersey, where gay marriages became legal just last week. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters filled the state capitol rotunda Sunday afternoon as lawmakers get set to tackle the controversial same sex marriage bill on Monday. KITV.

Lawmakers will gather at the State Capitol Monday morning for a special session on several bills, but the most highly anticipated is a controversial proposal to legalize same-sex marriage. Senate leadership says the bill is expected to pass 21-4, but the real question has always been if the same-sex marriage bill will have the 26 votes it needs to pass in the House. Hawaii News Now.

Staffers at Senator Clayton Hee's office have been busy all weekend, sorting through dozens requests to testify in person. "We have evidently well over 1,000 who have indicated a desire to testify," Senator Clayton Hee said. KHON2.

State House Speaker Joseph Souki has rejected a request by House Republicans to remove Rep. Cynthia Thielen, the only Republican who supports same-sex marriage, from the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans, who are part of Souki's leadership coalition, wanted to replace Thielen with another Republican who opposes gay marriage. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol Auditorium. Hawaii Reporter.

We all know that a special session of the Hawaii Legislature is looking to elevate Hawaii to the ranks of states that offer equal treatment to adults who want to marry each other, regardless of a couple’s differing or similar anatomies. The surprise is that these laid-back islands famed for tolerance and a love of celebration — and home to the gayest population in the U.S. — will be the 15th state to let more people say “I do.”  Civil Beat.

Enormous social changes have come in the 23 years since three same-sex couples sued the state over their access to a marriage license. The Hawaii Constitution was amended by a popular vote, giving the Legislature the power to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples, the amendment passing with 53 percent of the vote. The lawsuit itself precipitated similar debates nationwide, culminating in Congress passing the Defense of Marriage Act. But now, amid a wave of changing attitudes across the country, DOMA has been struck down and Hawaii is one of more than a dozen states that have been rethinking the whole proposition. This is a development that we applaud. Star-Advertiser.

Some tribes allow gay couples to marry despite state bans. Associated Press.

Thousands of people working for the state’s 12-facility, community hospital system are making more money this year than last, according to a review of the latest salary information. But it’s not really a sign that things are getting better at the beleaguered Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which canned its CEO last summer and needs an emergency appropriation from the Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education says it will need another $10.6 million to pay for utilities next year, a situation district officials blame on Hawaiian Electric Co.'s problems hooking up new solar. Civil Beat.

Nine environmental groups oppose nomination of Genevieve Salmonson as the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Hawaii Independent.

State roundup for October 28. Tribune-Herald.


While the recent pickup in Waikiki real estate values has been good for some property owners, it has created problems for senior renters displaced when long-term owners raise rents or sell. Leasehold evictions, expected to grow in Waikiki as owners take back their more valuable assets, could displace more seniors. Star-Advertiser.


A tiny beetle that damages coffee beans continues its destructive march across the island of Hawaii, home to the famous Kona brew. State agriculture officials say at least one Hilo-area coffee farm is infested with the destructive coffee berry borer. Associated Press.

Anaergia Services, the California-based company selected by the county to create and operate a waste conversion facility at the Central Maui Landfill, pledged Tuesday to make an effort to incorporate more recycling into project plans. Maui News.

A piece of tsunami debris will become a display of tribute and education, if negotiations go the right way. Those on board say talks are positive, meaning the Japanese buoy found floating near Kauai could become a memorial at Port Allen soon. Garden Island.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hawaii economy down, but not out; Army gets permission for depleted uranium; Maui movie to employ hundreds; students favor gay marriage rights; Abercrombie opens immigration center, new species found in Kilauea Caldera; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki shoppers (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Tighter federal spending, a weaker yen and higher hotel room rates are combining to take a bite out of Hawaii's economic recovery this year, says a team of University of Hawaii economists. In a report released today, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization cut its forecasts for growth in both 2013 visitor arrivals and gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the state's economic activity. Star-Advertiser.

The recent federal government shutdown didn’t shut down Hawaii’s economy, and the future looks particularly bright for the neighbor islands, where job growth is expected to outpace that of Oahu over the rest of the decade. That’s according to reports released this week by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization and the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. West Hawaii Today.

With the launch of the Obamacare health care exchange Hawaii Health Connector, expect to see more state and  federal dollars flowing to Hawaii’s needy. Hawaii’s Legislature appropriated $2.75 billion for fiscal year 2013 and $2.83 billion for FY 2014 — or about 20 percent of the state general fund budget — for “social services” operating expenses. Hawaii Reporter.

Students aligned with Hawaii United for Marriage have collected more than 400 signatures on a petition favoring marriage equality as the state Legislature convenes in special session next week to consider a gay marriage bill. Jeremy Divinagracia, a UH sophomore, said at a news conference Thursday at the UH Campus Center that a vote against equality would be "a terrible message" for a state that prides itself on diversity and the aloha spirit. Star-Advertiser.

A growing number of University of Hawaii at Manoa students are signing a petition urging lawmakers to pass a same-sex marriage bill that’s up for debate in next week’s special session. As of of Thursday afternoon, more than 400 students have signed on. The petition drive, students said, was inspired by recent student government debates on campus about the pros and cons of same-sex marriage. Civil Beat.

Two local advocacy groups are sponsoring Hawaii legislation next session that would ban a type of mental-health counseling that aims to change the sexuality of children who identify as gay, bisexual or transgender. "Conversion therapy," as it’s known, is typically nonconsensual counseling imposed on children by parents or other adult figures and is widely seen as ineffective and intolerant. It’s already banned in California and New Jersey. Civil Beat.

With four legislators on hand to field questions at the Lihue Business Association, it took just a few minutes for the conversation to get to what was on many minds: the upcoming special session on the marriage equality bill. Garden Island.

In an increasingly crowded special session, Abercrombie's nomination for Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control may be cause for concern. The agenda for next week’s special session is becoming increasingly crowded. On Tuesday the governor asked legislators to add three additional measures to the session agenda. Along with these measures, 31 additional gubernatorial nominations will be heard in the senate on Tuesday, October 29th beginning at 10am. Hawaii Independent.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license for the possession of depleted uranium at the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island and Schofield Barracks on Oahu. The license, granted Wednesday, is in response to the revelation about six years ago that spotting rounds used as part of the Davy Crockett program were fired at both locations in the 1960s. Tribune-Herald.


Ripple effects from rule changes that Hawaiian Electric Co. abruptly implemented last month are leaving solar customers especially vulnerable to unscrupulous salespeople who are desperate to close deals amid a tightening market. HECO put new controls on customers who want to hook up solar systems to protect the reliability of the utility's electric grid. The new policies have confused solar companies, left hundreds of customers who were in the middle of the installation process in limbo and cut deeply into solar sales at what is normally the busiest time of year. Civil Beat.

One of the companies responsible for disposing of sludge dredged from the Hawaii Kai Marina is apparently again looking at dumping the material on the site of a controversial and long-stalled cemetery in the back of nearby Kamilo Nui Valley. The marina's dredging project angered the public when sludge from there was spilled on the H-1 freeway Aug. 31 and was found on a private lot in Waianae in violation of city and possibly state and federal permits or regulations. Star-Advertiser.

Major decisions about new skyrises in Honolulu loom, but Hawaii’s state development agency may have to make them at a time when it is understaffed in a way that critics say favors developers. The Hawaii Community Development Authority has been missing two members of its Kakaako board since May, prompting lawmakers to urge Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the seats in time for the Legislature’s special session next week. Civil Beat.

It isn't exactly the majestic image often thought of with whales. There is believed to be a 30 to 40 foot dead sperm whale floating off the coast of Windward Oahu. It appears to have been dead for a while. Hawaii News Now.

The Marine Corps is warning windward Oahu residents to expect more aircraft noise for a short period. The Marines say people can expect to see multiple helicopters conducting maintenance and readiness flights from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday. Residents may also hear more noise. Associated Press.

Six years ago, the city removed the playground equipment at Waimanalo Beach Park because of safety concerns. But the new equipment that's there is raising those same concerns. KHON2.


Governor on hand as state’s first immigration resource center opens. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Judiciary said Thursday that it has selected a 10-acre parcel of land in North Kona owned by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust for the site of the new $9 million Kona Judiciary Complex. Pacific Business News.

Puna Community Medical Center is moving forward with plans to construct a comprehensive medical center to help meet the needs of the increasing population in the Puna District, according to a draft Environmental Assessment released Wednesday by the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. West Hawaii Today.

Kona home, condo and land sales will top last year’s numbers easily, even as sales slowed in September, a West Hawaii real estate agent says. West Hawaii Today.

A new species has been found – so far in only one cave in Kilauea Caldera on Hawaii Island – and scientists at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa say it has not been found anywhere else in the world. “We cultivated a new cyanobacterium from an almost 100-year-old lava cave in volcanically active Kilauea Caldera,” said Associate Professor Stuart Donachie in the Department of Microbiology at the College of Natural Sciences. Big Island Video News.


By early next year, Maui Film Studios will be home to the next "Lord of the Rings"-style movie, with hundreds of positions from extras to makeup artists open to Maui County residents, studio officials said. Maui News.

Maui County will enjoy a 15.1 percent growth in jobs during the current decade, with annual openings of more than 3,000 jobs during the period, according to projections in a state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations report released Wednesday. Maui News.

The neighbor islands are forecast to lead job growth in the state through 2020, according to new data released by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Maui County is forecast to have the second fastest growth in the state, with a projected 15.1% increase in industry growth over the 10 year period from 2010-2020. Maui Now.

Plans for resurfacing Kahului Airport's main runway would lead to late-night jet takeoffs from the airport's secondary runway and cause "serious and substantial" noise impacts on Spreckelsville residents, according to their attorney. Maui News.

A team from the University of Hawaii just launched a new study to track the movement of tiger sharks in Maui waters. Hawaii News Now.


The state is projecting big things for the County of Kauai. Specifically, it thinks The Garden Isle will outpace neighboring islands when it comes to industry and occupational growth by 2020. The Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said in a report Wednesday that Kauai’s forecasted expansion rate of 15.4 percent in both sectors will be tops in the state. Garden Island.

Repealing an ordinance that expedites the permit process to rebuild structures destroyed by Hurricane Iniki will put an end to restoration plans for the Coco Palms Resort, the iconic Kauai hotel where Elvis Presley filmed "Blue Hawaii," argues Bob Jasper, who holds guided tours at the property. The Kauai County Council held a public hearing Wednesday on Bill 2502, which would repeal the so-called "Iniki Ordinance," which offers an expedited permit process to rebuild structures and buildings destroyed by the Category 4 storm that devastated the Garden Isle on Sept. 11, 1992. Star-Advertiser.

Library opens new chapter. $1.9M renovation unveiled. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gay marriage debate intensifies as Hawaii Legislature nears special session, HECO seeks big photovoltaic plant, church and state, Maui to regulate home-based businesses, Hawaii County department head case dismissed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy USGS
Kilauea scientist courtesy USGS
The northeast spatter cone in Kilauea Volcano's Puu Oo vent continues to feed the Kahaualea 2 lava flow, which is burning through forests to the north, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports. Star-Advertiser.

Legal and sociology scholars critical of gay marriage warned state lawmakers on Wednesday night that allowing same-sex couples to wed in Hawaii could weaken traditional marriage, influence the curriculum at public schools and threaten religious liberty. Star-Advertiser.

Why the neighbor islands won't be getting similar informational sessions on the Marriage Equality bill. Hawaii Independent.

The gay marriage debate is heating up on the Big Island. The state is one week away from an October 28th special legislative session, where the topic of same sex marriage will be taken up by Hawaii’s elected officials. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii could begin issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples on Nov. 18 if a bill passes during a special session that begins next week. A Senate draft of the bill to be considered starting Monday says couples would be able to obtain licenses and be married the same day. Associated Press.

We're days away from the start of a special session that could legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. While some believe there's enough votes in support of it, others say it's too close to call. KHON2.

In what has become almost a fall tradition, the Hawaii State Association of Counties — made up of the four county councils — is again flirting with asking the Legislature for a new exemption from the state’s Sunshine Law. Civil Beat.

As students across the state are forced to sweat it out in hot classrooms some school leaders can't take the heat, literally. We've learned that some Department of Education employees went home when their air conditioning didn't work recently. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is seeking regulatory approval to build the state's largest solar photovoltaic energy project that would deliver power to the grid at a cost significantly below what the utility pays to generate electricity by burning oil. The 15-megawatt project, planned for a 50-acre undeveloped parcel next to HECO's Kahe Generating Station, would be the first PV facility owned and operated by the utility. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has selected SolarCity to build one of the largest solar farms in Hawaii, a 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic system next to the electric utility’s Kake Generating Station in Leeward Oahu, SolarCity said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Tensions between Hawaiian Electric Co. and the solar industry may be at an all-time high. Last month, HECO informed solar companies that customers in areas where there is already a high concentration of solar could have to pay more for studies and technology upgrades if they want to hook a solar system up to the utility's electric grid. Civil Beat.

Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Church’s charismatic founding pastor, has collected hefty salaries in recent years, sometimes more than $300,000 a year, according to tax disclosure forms. Critics say Cordeiro’s pay is a reflection of the megachurch’s corporate business model and an indication that the New Hope churches — three of which are embroiled in a lawsuit alleging they underpaid the state for their use of facilities and utilities at schools such as Farrington High — are in fact shortchanging public education.  Civil Beat.

Honolulu transportation officials aim to replace 18 old city buses with new, fuel-efficient models by next week. Star-Advertiser.

An oceanfront hotel or time share could be part of new plans for Hoakalei Resort as part of a developer's move to build a recreational lagoon instead of a small-boat marina at the master-planned community in Ewa Beach. Star-Advertiser.

More than 250 acres have been scorched at a Schofield Barracks range from a fire that began more than a week ago. The brush fire flared up again Wednesday morning, blanketing the area in dense smoke. Star-Advertiser.

The new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island is getting a child care center. Associated Press.


A 3rd Circuit Court judge dismissed a case against a Hawaii County official Wednesday because she had not been properly served notice. Councilwoman Brenda Ford, South Kona/Ka‘u, filed a petition against Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd in August, asking the court to compel Leithead Todd to justify her qualifications for the position. West Hawaii Today.

Faced with an almost 300 percent increase proposed in state surcharges on landfill operations, Hawaii County may have to raise tipping fees for commercial garbage haulers, a price hike likely to be passed on to consumers. West Hawaii Today.

Shizuko “Mary,” “Grandma” Teshima, a fixture in the Kona community who exemplified altruism, hard work and entrepreneurship, died Tuesday. She was 106. West Hawaii Today.


Six hearings on a proposed bill to permit and regulate home-based businesses in certain zoning districts will be held throughout the county by the Maui County Council Planning Committee. Maui News.

The Planning Committee will hold six public meetings from Monday, Oct. 28, to Dec. 3 to receive input on the pending Home Business Bill, Councilmember Don Couch announced last week. Maui Weekly.

The Maui Planning Commission approved a special management area permit Tuesday for a T.J. Maxx store and another retail building on the southwest corner of the Maui Mall. Maui News.

A federal jury Tuesday found two Maui women guilty of conspiracy and mail fraud offenses tied to a scheme by a Hawaiian sovereignty group that bilked about 200 financially strapped residents of a total of $468,000. Star-Advertiser.

A U.S. District Court jury took a few hours Tuesday to convict two Maui residents of using Hawaiian sovereignty claims to bilk approximately 200 people out of nearly $468,000 in fees charged for a bogus debt-elimination program. Maui News.

A federal jury found two Maui residents guilty of conspiracy and mail fraud for offenses stemming from a “marketing of a debt elimination scheme” carried out through their involvement in the group known as Ko Hawaiʻi Pae ʻAina, the Registry and Hawaiʻiloa Foundation, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.


A bill to repeal the last existing building ordinance created after Hurricane Iniki is a concern for those wanting the Coco Palms Resort returned to its former glory. Garden Island.

The state is projecting big things for the County of Kauai. Specifically, it thinks The Garden Isle will outpace neighboring islands when it comes to industry and occupational growth by 2020. Garden Island.

The state has proposed spending nearly $2 million restoring a 100-foot section of eroded stream bank on Kauai's Hanalaei River. The Department of Land and Natural Resources says a breach dating back to the mid-1990s is polluting the environment, degrading the stream and reef and reducing water flows to nearby taro fields and wildlife refuge. Associated Press.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gov. Abercrombie loses popularity, Schatz-Hanabusa neck-and-neck, gay marriage bill filed, union contracts, hospital money added to special session, Monsanto calls for crop controls, Maui High band invited to Rose Parade, Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Center for sale, buyer for Naniloa, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Gov. Neil Abercrombie file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
A majority of registered Hawaii voters who plan to vote in the Democratic primary — 51 percent — do not like the way Gov. Neil Abercrombie has been doing his job, according to a new poll. Just 39 percent said they approve of the governor's job performance, while 10 percent said they are unsure. Abercrombie's numbers have worsened since a Civil Beat Poll in June showed 48 percent of registered voters disapproved of his job performance while just 45 percent approved.

Hawaii's Senate primary is a pure toss-up, according to a new poll. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) by 38 percent to 36 percent, according to the poll conducted for the Honolulu Civil Beat. The Hill.

The state Senate's draft of a gay marriage bill would carve out a narrow exemption to the public accommodations law for churches that do not make religious facilities or grounds available to the general public for weddings for a profit. State lawmakers have been reluctant to interfere with the public accommodations law, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but lawmakers are interested in finding a balance between marriage equality and religious freedom. Star-Advertiser.

The "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013" bill was officially filed Tuesday.  Senate officials confirm they will introduce the bill next week Monday, October 28 at the start of the same-sex marriage special session. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the Hawaii State Legislature to expand the agenda for the upcoming special session to include measures relating to health services on Kauai and the funding of two recent collective bargaining agreements. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has asked the Legislature to expand the agenda for the special session that begins Monday to include measures relating to health services on Kauai and the funding of two collective bargaining agreements for United Public Workers and Hawaii Government Employees Association. Abercrombie ordered lawmakers back to work to take up same-sex marriage legislation. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers will take up new contracts for public workers and emergency money for public hospitals on Kauai in addition to gay marriage during a special session. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers spend thousands of taxpayer dollars each year on refreshments for themselves, their staffs and guests at the Capitol. Civil Beat.

Monsanto Co. is calling for more controls on agrochemicals, including its Roundup line of glyphosate-based weedkillers, in response to an Associated Press report about concerns that illegal pesticide applications are harming human health in Argentina.Monsanto and other large agricultural firms have recently been the target of protests against, and legislation controlling, the use of pesticides and GMO crops in Hawaii. Associated Press.

State roundup for October 23. Associated Press.


Kamehameha Schools said Tuesday that it is putting the buildings at the Royal Hawaiian Center on the market in a leasehold sale expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for Hawaii’s largest private landowner, which would retain ownership of the underlying lands. Pacific Business News.

Waikiki's biggest shopping center is for sale, and the price likely will be big. Really big. Perhaps the second-biggest price ever for a retail property in Hawaii. Kamehameha Schools announced Tuesday that it will seek a buyer for Royal Hawaiian Center in a deal that includes the mall buildings but not the underlying land. Star-Advertiser.

This time next year, a new owner may have control over the retail heart of Waikiki. Kamehameha Schools announced Tuesday that it is planning to sell the buildings that make up the iconic Royal Hawaiian Center, a mall that spans three blocks in Hawaii’s tourism center. Civil Beat.

Kuykendall Hall, a major hub for students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa sits in disrepair when it could have been a model for sustainable architecture, planning and design in the state. Hawaii Independent.

Kahala residents say their neighborhood is looking better, since A&B Properties bought a number of homes from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. KHON2.

Reynolds Recycling's Hauula redemption center closed its doors to the public Tuesday after the city put up "no trespassing" signs on the Kamehameha Highway property. The 20,000-square-foot property is the focus of a long-running dispute between the city and real estate agent Choon James, who bought the property in 2006. Star-Advertiser.

With its success running a private, all-girls school for nearly 150 years, the St. Andrew's Priory School for Girls' board has approved plans to open an elementary school next fall tailored to the educational needs of young boys. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaiian Airlines is trying again for Kona-Tokyo direct flights. Airline officials on Tuesday announced their intent to apply Thursday with the U.S. Department of Transportation for operating slots at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda that American Airlines intends to return later this year. West Hawaii Today.

America Asia Travel Center Inc. submitted the top bid for the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort last week, according to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court. The Los Angeles-based travel company is offering $3.5 million for the 383-room hotel and nine-hole golf course on Hilo’s Banyan Drive. Tribune-Herald.

Despite a mountain of bad press, a tangled heap of creditors and a political firestorm over the management of its lease, the troubled Naniloa Volcanoes Resort may soon have a buyer. Big Island Now.

About 100 people, many sporting red-and-white palaka armbands symbolizing their support for 24-hour public access to Papaikou Mill Beach, met Tuesday night with the area’s council member and the county’s top civil attorney. Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Nine hardworking contestants are dedicating time and talent as they vie to represent Kona’s specialty crop as Miss Kona Coffee. West Hawaii Today.


Those who work in the juvenile criminal justice system say that there's a need for more youth services, including a safe house on Maui for girls, who constitute an increasing percentage of admissions to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility on Oahu. Maui News.

Arrivals of South Korean tourists on Maui are growing by the thousands each year, and the Valley Isle offers a perfect match for these visitors and what they are looking for, tourism officials said Monday. Maui News.

Maui High School's Saber Marching Band & Color Guard has been invited to the 126th Annual Rose Parade in California. KITV.

All 10 people aboard a small Cessna commuter aircraft, including eight passengers and two pilots, were uninjured after the plane made an emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway in South Maui last night. Maui Now.

A single-engine Mokulele Airlines plane with 10 people aboard turned Piilani Highway into a makeshift runway, making an emergency landing safely in the northbound lane on the normally busy South Maui thoroughfare Monday night. Maui News.

An investigation has been launched into eight suspicious brush fires reported early this morning in Lahaina. Maui Now.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie asked legislators Tuesday to consider a bill that would provide emergency funding for Kauai’s two public hospitals when the Legislature convenes for a special session on same-sex marriage next week.   The request comes less than a week before the House and Senate are set to begin talks and at a time when Hawaii Health Systems Corporation officials are working to ease financial woes across the state public hospital system. Garden Island.

In 1995, the Hanalei River bank broke down in a bad way. Today, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing to return the river back to its original form to the tune of nearly $2 million. Garden Island.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hawaii nears special session on gay marriage, surf's up, but sand is down, dealing with tsunami debris, cattle call on Hawaii Island, Honolulu one of top Conde Nast cities, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Honolulu gay marriage rally file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Support for gay marriage is growing. Hawaii voters are split over making same-sex marriage legal in the islands, with 44 percent in support and 44 percent opposed. When Civil Beat asked voters where they stood on the same issue in April 2012, a majority (51 percent) said they did not believe same-sex couples should have the legal right to get married. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Pastors Roundtable, declaring that God's word is the highest law in the land, issued a statement Monday urging Hawaii to uphold traditional marriage. The message from the round table, which includes Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship, Bishop Larry Silva from the Diocese of Hono­lulu and Kahu Curt Kekuna from Kawai­aha‘o Church, comes as state House and Senate leaders prepare for a special session on gay marriage next week. Star-Advertiser.

With one week left before a special session that could legalize same-sex marriage, opponents are ramping up their lobbying efforts. A new TV ad was released Monday to state their case. The public can expect a lot of lobbying through rallies and sign waving, but also a good amount of money from outside sources. KHON2.

Legislation to fund pay raises for government professional and scientific employees will be introduced by House Republicans during the Special Session scheduled to convene on Oct. 28. Hawaii Reporter.

Ocean Safety personnel participated in 14 rescues and took hundreds of preventive actions as high surf pounded the north and west shores of Oahu on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Government officials, beach cleanup activists and environmental experts have gathered in Honolulu this week to discuss how to deal with trash in the ocean. Associated Press.

It's been more than two years since a horrific, earthquake-generated tsunami wrecked much of Japan's eastern coast, claiming thousands of lives and sucking millions of tons of debris into Pacific waters. Yet despite government researchers' best efforts, it's not clear how much of that debris remains scattered across the ocean or exactly where it will wind up. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for October 22. Associated Press.


A handful of oceanfront residents of Sunset Beach sweated out another anxiety-filled day Monday as high surf in combination with high tides continued to threaten homes above an eroded beach at Ke Nui Road. Large waves out of the northwest actually pushed some new sand onto the beach Sunday and Monday, but the homes are far from being secure as they sit dangerously close to a newly carved cliff that drops 20 feet to the beach. Star-Advertiser.

NOAA Sea Grant Coastal Storms Program
Two of Oahu's most popular beaches are experiencing erosion at unprecedented levels. Kuhio Beach in Waikiki and Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore are more than 40 miles apart, but the growing winter swells and extreme tides have caused rapidly shifting sands in both spots. HuffPost Hawaii.

A new state law is creating friction between the City and County of Honolulu and Kailua residents who are concerned about their eroding beach. Act 120 was signed into law this June.  It prohibits removing sand from Hawai'i's coastlines with a few exceptions, including if it is used for the replenishment or protection of public shorelines, but only if the restoration efforts won't cause water quality issues. Hawaii News Now.

About 1,000 East Honolulu residences receive their drinking water from Aina Koa Water Well II, where broken chlorination equipment led to trace amounts of E. coli bacteria found in water samples taken in the area last week, Hono­lulu Board of Water Supply officials said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu is among one of the Top 10 Cities in the United States, according to the Conde Nast Traveler 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. Honolulu ranked No. 4 on the list, with a readers’ choice rating of 79.5. Pacific Business News.

The fired former head of one of the Hawaii's largest charter schools was arrested Monday and has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 from the school. An investigation by Hawaii News Now first raised questions about spending by Jeff Piontek at Hawaii Technology Academy early last year.

A former Waipahu elementary school principal was ordered to pay a fine after pleading no contest to record-tampering charges Monday in Circuit Court. The state attorney general's office had charged Florentina Smith in June with two counts of tampering with a government record, a misdemeanor. The state alleged she authorized $200 stipends to each of nine staff members for training sessions that they did not attend. The state alleged the crimes were committed Nov. 12 and 19, 2011, while Smith was serving as principal of August Ahrens Elementary. Star-Advertiser.


It’s a cattle call of a different color. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is renewing its call for hunters to participate in a lottery to help eradicate feral cattle from the Puu Oo area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed, near mile marker 22 of Saddle Road. The deadline to sign up has been extended a week after a less-than-enthusiastic response from area hunters. West Hawaii Today.

A medical marijuana group, the Alternative Pain Management Club of Hawaii, has cancelled a meeting it said was scheduled for today with County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, but a spokesman said the group plans to establish a “medical cannabis transfer station” — with or without the blessing of local law enforcement. Tribune-Herald.

The Naniloa Volcanoes Resort could soon be in new hands. On Nov. 6, a federal bankruptcy judge will consider a motion to sell the troubled Hilo hotel following the submission of sealed bids last Friday, said David Farmer, the Naniloa’s bankruptcy trustee. Tribune-Herald.

The Leeward Planning Commission signed off last week on a Kohala resident’s plan to open a home business. Rebecca Jacobs filed the special permit request with the Planning Department, seeking permission to open an acupuncture clinic in her Hookela Place garage. West Hawaii Today.


A public presentation on a proposed county integrated waste conversion and energy project will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the University of Hawaii Maui College's new science building, 'Ike Lea. Maui News.

A Maui-based company is seeking approval from state regulators to take over water and sewer services from the Navy at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station. Kalaeloa WaterCo. is proposing to raise rates for customers in the area now known as Kalaeloa to pay for "massive capital expenditures" it says are needed to upgrade the aging infrastructure it would inherit if its proposed acquisition is approved by the Public Utilities Commission. Star-Advertiser.

A $10,000 challenge grant was awarded to the Kite Surf Pro World Championship Tour to produce a second consecutive annual tournament at Ho’okipa Beach Park next month, county officials announced. Maui Now.

A regional ocean observation network has installed its first-ever wave detection buoy off Kauai just in time for the winter wave season that rolled in during the weekend. The bright yellow buoy, moored three nautical miles off Hana­lei in more than 700 feet of water, is ideally suited to gauge Hawaii's winter swells, which typically move in from the northwest. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai County officials will ask the state for a bigger slice of Hawaii's hotel room tax. Visitor-related expenses cost the county $44.2 million in fiscal year 2012, including nearly $25 million in operation expenses such as police and fire calls, said County Council legislative assistant Ashley Bunda. Kauai County receives $13.7 million in hotel tax money and would like to see that doubled to $27.4 million. Associated Press.

Part of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s dream is being fulfilled, and a part of the dream is still being worked on. The Kauai Community College celebrated the opening of its Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center during a dedication and blessing ceremony honoring the support and advocacy provided by the late Senator Friday afternoon. Garden Island.


Sixty Molokai residents traded in their old refrigerators - some 20 years old - for new more energy-efficient ones Tuesday - for $250. Maui News.