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Saturday, October 17, 2009
October 17, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 9:36 AM :: 9177 Views

Ruling awaited in water dispute

Moriwake represents Hui O Na Wai Eha and the Maui Tomorrow Foundation. For intervener Office of Hawaiian Affairs, attorney Pamela Bunn said, "Cold, free-flowing water is a necessity for kalo and a cultural necessity for the well-being of the Native Hawaiians."

The streams have not flowed freely for a century, and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. General Manager Chris Benjamin put it bluntly. The amount of water proposed to be restored is too much, he said. The sugar plantation projects a loss of $25 million this year.

"Our board and our shareholders are not sitting idly by," he said. "The directors are committed to make a decision by the end of this year."

Benjamin said he remains optimistic that over a period of years, HC&S can remake itself as a renewable energy plantation, but it needs enough water to stay in sugar for the transition.

Miike's proposal "would result in a shutdown in the very near term."

Maui News: Restoring East Maui waterways considered

RELATED: OHA driving Hawaiians out of Hawaii ,   Lingle: Will agriculture survive Maui water diversion? , OHA Trustees claim ownership of your drinking water

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Parents Rally Against Furlough Fridays

In just one week, furlough Fridays begin for public school teachers, meaning no school for students.

Parents are speaking out.

A rally is set for next Friday at the Capitol. Meanwhile other parents are considering legal action.

The community group called "Hawaii Education Matters" also plans to deliver a petition to Governor Lingle, the superintendent of schools and the teachers union calling on them to find the resources needed to keep schools open.

Musician Jack Johnson will be singing at the rally next week. The group says they're trying to keep the event nonpolitical and have turned down lawmakers' requests to speak at the rally.

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Station owner fights opposition to merger

Raycom seeks to discourage the commission from blocking the merging of the stations, is urging the commission to "refrain from inserting itself into a private transaction" in which it has no standing, and dismisses MCH's petition as being based upon "inaccurate hearsay press reports and its own surmise and misconceptions."

The media council did not have access to the shared services agreement before filing its opposition on Oct. 7.

RELATED: Raycom Honolulu TV Deal: Honolulu Community Media Council has its own issues with "media control"

PDF: Raycom response to FCC

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KIUC biomass deal ‘just a concept’

Obtaining 15,000 acres of land would be “optimum,” Pacific West Energy President William Maloney said Thursday, but no land commitments have been secured as of yet for the growth of sugar cane and woody biomass, though it is a “great priority,” he said.
Gay & Robinson, owner of 7,500 agricultural acres, could not be reached for comment Thursday. A representative for Alexander and Baldwin, another large Westside landowner, said there is no agreement for use of the company’s land for a biomass operation.

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Court to hear opposition to Turtle Bay expansion

Sharon Lovejoy, an attorney for Kuilima Resort, said the litigation has been a "cloud on the project" and Kuilima is pleased that the Supreme Court scheduled the hearing early.

(Just wait until the Supreme Court finds an excuse to demand a new EIS--and we know it will)

In 2006, the city Department of Permitting and Planning determined another analysis of the same project's impact was not required by law. Two lower courts agreed with the city's decision.

"The law says there needs to be a change in the project to require a supplemental EIS," said Lovejoy, referring to the environmental report.

The Sierra Club argues that the previous ruling means an environmental review can remain valid for hundreds of years, even after major hurricanes, shoreline erosion and changes to the community.

"This ruling could be taken to absurd conclusions," the Sierra Club said in a statement.

Gil Riviere, president of Keep the North Shore Country, opposed the plan because of changes over 20 years, including heavier traffic on Kamehameha Highway. He added the project would bring over-development, traffic gridlock, interference with monk seals and the possible disturbance of ancient Hawaiian burial sites.

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Other resorts may be affected by decision on environmental study

If the court requires the developer to provide a supplemental environmental study, the ruling could affect other communities where approvals were granted decades ago and the building still continues, Carr said.

He cited work at Ko Olina and Kaanapali Resort on Maui as examples of projects that have taken decades to build out. Financial backers count on development agreements with the county for entitlements that form a kind of collateral.

(When the Sierra Club wins this, all EIS in Hawaii will become worthless.  All development will stop.)

Not every environmental impact statement needs to be revised, just ones in which conditions have changed, said Robert Harris, Sierra Club Hawaii director.

"The Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that unless there was a change in the project, a design change, then there was no need to change the environmental study," Harris said. "We're arguing that a supplemental (EIS) needs to be done when there are changes to the community or the environment, not just a design change."

(Since the "community" and the "environment" are constantly changing, this means that all EIS would become worthless if not acted upon immediately.)

Meanwhile, Gov. Linda Lingle announced plans to acquire undeveloped portions of the property as a way to limit development and maintain open space.  (Without creating dangerous new legal precedents.)

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Potential land sale helps prompt Saturday Honokaa rally

Awareness, transparency and sustainability are big buzzwords in Hawaii County.

(And they are just code words for socialism.)

Free food and entertainment are part of Saturday's rally, but the event's focus is on transparency and Bill 132, which goes before the council for a final vote Wednesday. That bill, introduced by Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong, would require the mayor to bring any potential county land sale and the selected buyer of the land back to the council, so council members and the public can learn who is buying and what their intentions are for the land.

(This is designed to stifle the sale by placing potentially illegal conditions on its conclusion and keep 100s of Hamakua acres in County hands instead of a private buyer.) 

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Security guards fight airline workers at Maui airport

The jury found Tam Ho not guilty of two counts of depriving Pacific Wings President James Greg Kahlstorf of his constitutional rights under the color of law when he placed Kahlstorf under citizen's arrest for assault on Oct. 20, 2005, then turned him over to Maui police.

U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright dismissed another deprivation charge involving former Pacific Wings security coordinator William Goshorn during trial.

The jury also found Tam Ho not guilty of five counts of witness tampering.

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VIDEO: White House Communications director praises Mao Zedong

From a speech to a high school audience earlier this year, Obama's WH Comm. Dir Anita Dunn cites Mao--at length--as one of her favorite political philosophers.  And explains why....

see video

Obamacare: Lose weight or pay (MSNBC)

The initiative, largely eclipsed in the health care debate, builds on a trend that is already in play among some corporations and that more workers will see in the packages they bring home during this month's open enrollment. Some employers offer lower premiums to people who complete personal health assessments; others offer only limited benefit packages to smokers.

The current legislative effort takes the trend a step further. It is backed by major employer groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. It is opposed by labor unions and groups devoted to combating serious illnesses, such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association.

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