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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
January 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:09 PM :: 6839 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Kahele to Senate Seat

Abercrombie announces four more appointments

Judge: Federal Court ruling “leaves Honolulu police officers no safe course” to detain mentally ill persons with guns

Hawaii Concealed Carry: More Guns, Less Crime

'Great Garbage Patch' Not So Great After All

Spring Cleaning at Hawaii’s oldest Home

Speaker Say, take GOP's offer

Enough with the power struggle, already.

The state Capitol has never been a bastion of bipartisanship and could benefit from a scheme that gives the GOP more influence -- bringing more Republican bills up for a hearing as a matter of course, for instance.

That said, Ward insisted that the decision was made simply to get on with the workload ahead, adding that he hasn't exacted any promises from Say in exchange for Republican support.

Lawmakers, like the Abercrombie administration, are a long way from assembling a plan for resolving the state's revenue shortfall. But Say's record as a fiscal moderate with a distaste for general excise tax increases strongly indicates that the GOP caucus would align better with him, Ward said.

And, he added, the chance to have at least some role to play is welcome.

"We've become relevant, reinserting rational thinking into the leadership process," he said.

That could be at least a small breakthrough in what has been virtually a one-party political structure. But even if a more collaborative era is not at hand, the GOP is offering a chance to get on with the people's work, and the calendar on the wall suggests that it's time to seize it.

Political radar: Nuance

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Groups fear damage to land by Lanai, Molokai wind farms

The damage that proposed wind farms on Lanai and Molokai could do to the islands' natural beauty and cultural sites outweighs the benefits they might have by helping the state reach energy self-sufficiency.

That was the message from several community groups that testified at a legislative hearing yesterday.

The projects, which would deliver (have a capacity of) a combined 400 megawatts of electricity to Oahu via undersea cables, are a major component of the state's plan to generate 40 percent of Hawaii's energy from renewable sources by 2030. The plan calls for the state to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by another 30 percent through increased energy efficiency. (Capacity is usually 2 to 4 times actual production.)

"I support clean energy, but I do not support the current plan, which calls for this mammoth abuse of our treasured aina," said Martha Evans, a member of Friends of Lanai.

"It's just another get-rich-quicker scheme concocted by those who already have so much at the expense of Lanai," Evans said at an informational briefing chaired by state Sens. Mike Gabbard (D, Kapolei-Makakilo-Waikele) and Roz Baker (D, South and West Maui)….

First Wind, meanwhile, has had difficulty nailing down a location for the Molokai wind farm. The Boston-based company "continues to work on securing land rights — that's a big step coming up that we need to resolve," said Wren Wescoatt, a development specialist for First Wind. Wescoatt, who grew up on Molokai and attended Kamehameha Schools on Oahu, said First Wind has been working hard to generate community support.

AP: Senator: Promises made in Hawaii wind farm plan

Molokai and Lanai’s future: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Hawaii Renewable Energy goals: Wild, crackpot

I have never believed that Hawaii would meet its wild renewable energy goals. Even if the Lingle administration had not been rushing off madly in all directions after crackpot schemes like hydrogen and ocean thermal energy conversion, I never would have believed it. (Lingle knows I think this, because I told her. Her response: "You're always skeptical.")

If there were a way to sell energy self-sufficiency short, I could be rich.

Molokai and Lanai’s future: Wind Energy's Ghosts

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Atheist State: Hawaii Senators recommend halt to opening-day invocations, House may follow

State Senate leaders will recommend that the Senate end the invocations traditionally offered by clergy before floor sessions to avoid intruding on the separation between church and state.

The change in policy is part of a new rules package the Senate will consider for the session that opens next Wednesday. Senators agreed at a private retreat earlier this month to eliminate the invocations, but the change is subject to adoption of the rules.

State House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa Valley-Aiea Heights) said the House is looking at legal guidance from the state attorney general's office and might also make changes to its invocation policy.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Marsh v. Chambers in 1983, ruled that prayers at the start of each legislative day are not a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court found that such prayers are deeply embedded in the history and tradition of the nation….

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Grade Inflation: Hawaii schools given C-plus

Hawaii schools got a C-plus in an annual report that grades the quality of the nation's public education systems, coming in slightly higher than the national average but lower than 19 other states.  (This proves that grade inflation goes all the way to the top.)

Hawaii improved a bit from last year, when the state got a C.

The rankings are included in Education Week's annual "Quality Counts" report, released yesterday, which looks at school standards, student achievement, the finances of school districts and other factors to determine the strength of a state's education system.

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Kamehameha Schools explains extra security on campus

Hawaii News Now has learned that the 20-year-old man requested permission to speak at a special assembly, but was denied partly out of concern that he'd been arrested recently for firearms violations.

Hawaii News Now obtained a copy of an internal memo from the schools' risk management director that said, in part, "given the possibility of this denial triggering a negative, possibly violent response from him, several preventative and protective measures have been put into place."

RELATED: Judge: Federal Court ruling “leaves Honolulu police officers no safe course” to detain mentally ill persons with guns

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Borreca, Shapiro join Chorus of liberals attacking First and Second Amendments

IGNORE: Father of 9yr old Tucson Victim: Don't use my daughter's death to take our freedoms, Alleged Tucson Shooter: Flag-burning Leftist, dope smoking atheist

New Law Prohibits Ethnic Studies Courses from Inflaming Racial Hatred and Anti-Americanism

A new law took effect in January 2011 which prohibits ethnic studies courses in the public schools and charter schools from being used as propaganda factories to build racial solidarity and anti-Americanism.

The law targets courses which attract primarily students of any particular ethnicity, where the curriculum fosters hatred toward other racial groups by portraying them as oppressors — courses that promote anti-American, secessionist attitudes by describing America as invader and occupier of the ethnic homeland.

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Hope and Redemption

Founded by Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Steve Alm in 2004, the program called HOPE has helped nearly 2,000 so called “clients” with alcohol and drug addictions in the judicial system with convictions for everything from car theft to sexual assault to violent crimes.

Embraced by conservatives and liberals – touted as successful by law enforcement and defense attorneys and even those on probation – Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, or HOPE, is being studied by legislatures and judiciaries across the country, Congress and researchers based at Pepperdine University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Tree hugger becomes tree chopper: Gabbard may propose plastic bag tax

State Senator Mike Gabbard is thinking about introducing a bill this session not to ban, but to charge 25 cents per plastic bag.  It's similar to other places in the world.

"Ireland is 22 cents since 2007 and interesting what I found about Ireland since they instituted the ban it is socially unacceptable now to be seen with a plastic bag in public," said Sen. Gabbard, (D) Energy & Environment Committee Chair.   (Brainwashing an entire nation.  That’s something to be proud of.)

REALITY: Calif. EIS shows plastic bag ban harms environment

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Kauai County website spreads Pacific Garbage Patch scam

The Kaua'i ordinance permits "biodegradable" plastic bags -- which means they contain "no polymers derived from fossil fuels, and will decompose at a rate comparable to biodegradable material" -- but the Web page of the county's Public Works Department notes "there are currently no bags that meet the definition outlined in the law." The Kaua'i department page also states:

Solid materials, typically waste, that has found its way to the marine environment is called marine debris. It is known to be the cause of injuries and deaths of numerous marine animals and birds, either because they become entangled in it or they mistake it for prey and eat it.  (None of this is plastic bags)

The world's "great garbage patch" can (NOT) be found floating between Hawaii and San Francisco. This garbage patch (doesn’t really exist but) is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and thousands of pounds of our discarded trash, mostly plastics. (But not plastic bags)

KGI: Plastic bag ban takes effect with little fanfare

REALITY: 'Great Garbage Patch' Not So Great After All

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Meet the Hawaii House of Representatives 2011 Republican Caucus

When the 26th Legislature convenes on January 19, 2011, the new Republican caucus will provide insightful knowledge and meaningful dialogue on the important issues facing the people of Hawai’i.

They “team of 8″ have pledged to work every day to:

  • Ensure residents taxes are not raised;
  • Control government spending and maintain fiscal/budgetary constraint;
  • Shrink government bureaucracy, while overseeing that services are delivered timely and efficiently;
  • Create an environment to help local businesses thrive, and;
  • Enhance international relations for investments.

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CB: Hawaii's Human Services Department Says It's Nearing 'Stimulus Cliff'

The department — with a mission to "improve the lives of the most vulnerable and needy adults and children across the islands" — is requesting a $2.34 billion budget for the 2012 fiscal year ($1.3 billion of that from state general funds) and a $2.41 billion budget for 2013 ($1.6 billion in general funds). That compares with a $2 billion budget ($774 million in general funds) approved for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

It has the second-largest budget in the state, after the state Department of Education, which has a $2.1 billion annual budget this year….

Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican in the chamber, said he was concerned with the department's growing budget.

"You said the department has a big mission, big heart," he told McManaman, "you probably should've added big budget. Looking at past trends, you will surpass the Department of Education as the No. 1 department in terms of cost in the next several years. Every department says don't cut our budget, don't reduce our personnel, but the private sector has to pay for all of this. I'm concerned about a lot of this ... We can only get money by taking it from other people."

IGNORE THIS: Former state worker admits stealing $1,200

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Several dead, but Hawaii Lawsuit For Severely Disabled Rejected

The lawsuit cited several cases where people with severe disabilities were placed in danger or even died because they said managed care companies providing state Medicaid were denying needed care.

Judge Alan Kay has dismissed those claims. He said although the transition to managed care was not smooth, the companies are providing care as required by federal law.

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Roberts Hawaii reaches $330K settlement with tour bus drivers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A federal judge in Honolulu on Tuesday approved a $330,000 settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought against Roberts Hawaii by dozens of its tour bus drivers.

The plaintiffs had accused the company of forcing them to work long hours without paying the proper overtime.

He says 83 drivers will receive payments under the settlement.

RELATED: Robert Iwamoto trust sued over Maui Ponzi scheme

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Hawaii Supreme Court denies lawyer's reinstatement bid

Au, 74, was suspended on July 22, 2005, from the practice of law for five years for violating the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.

During the suspension, Au represented himself and Gourmet Delite Inc. in arbitrating issues in a business lease case, which was a violation of the rules of the Hawaii Supreme Court, the court said.

Au could represent himself, but not Gourmet Delite, the court said.

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Seed capital: a third of Hawaii farm revenue

Using figures from 2009 for a report released Tuesday, the National Agriculture Statistics Service and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture reported that seed farms account for more than $222 million of the more than $627 million in statewide farmgate revenue.

Total revenue is up 4% from the year before, and also represents 37% more milk farm revenue as the dairy industry regroups on the Big Island, along with smaller rebounding in cattle operations and improved revenues for bananas, basil, sweet potatoes, head cabbage and other crops.

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AINA LEA, LLC Gets Approval to Build One of The Largest Solar Farms in the State of Hawaii

The electricity will be generated by over 10,000 solar panels atop 864 carports that are oriented to capture the maximum amount of energy from the sun. Low profile dense landscaping (requiring a minimum amount of water, over half of which is re-cycled) is designed to complement the energy saving design of the townhomes by not blocking out the sun's rays to the solar panels.

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Hilo Target to open July 24

Minneapolis -- Target Corp. said today that it plans to open 21 new stores in 12 states in 2011, and as part of the expansion is further integrating its fresh food assortment into the layout.

The new store count includes five stores in California, a third in Hawaii, and a SuperTarget in Minnesota. Target currently operated 1,752 units in 49 states.

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WSJ: North Korea's Imminent Threat

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made headlines this week by announcing that "North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States" since it will develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) within five years. Although the media depicted Gates's comments as a major "new assessment," North Korea's expanding missile threat to the United States and its allies has been long known. But it has been ignored, due to failures and self-imposed limitations on the part of the U.S. and its allies.

read more

Green energy: Burning dollars to generate electricity


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