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Saturday, March 12, 2011
March 12, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 10:37 AM :: 8403 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Kauai County News, DHHL, Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party, World News, Hawaii History

Japan-Hawaii Relief Fund set up at First Hawaiian Bank

Photos, Video: Explosion at Fukushima Nuclear plant

Japanese officials say the container housing the reactor was not damaged and that radiation levels have now fallen

9,500 unaccounted for in Miyagi's Minamisanriku: local gov't

Tsunami Statements from Governor’s Office

VIDEOS: Hotels, Businesses in Kona, Kohala, Wailuku, Kauai flooded

The King Kamehameha’s Kona Coast Resort will relocate guests for three days after about a foot of water damaged its restaurant and lobby. A wave also came through the poolside of the Mauna Lani Resort on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, Hannemann said.  As much as three or four football fields of water passed through the Maui Beach in Wailuku, Hannemann said.

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State Senate cancels committee hearings, House does not

The Hawaii state Senate has canceled all committee hearings and briefings Friday in the aftermath of the tsunami.

The House of Representatives will convene committee hearings as scheduled, except for the committees on Agriculture and Higher Education.

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Legislature's backwash flush with antics on ethics and pay

» With the Akaka Bill for federal recognition of native Hawaiians stalled in Congress, state senators passed a local version to put Hawaiians on the road to self-government. It pioneers a new political status called Sovereignty Light.

» The House voted to extend a salary freeze on lawmakers for two years. Coming after a 36 percent pay raise, I'd say it's more of a little chill than a freeze.

» A measure moving through the Legislature would require each county's liquor commission to define dancing. They should just film Sen. Brickwood Galuteria explaining why his ethics bill allowed more freebies for legislators.

» The House approved a task force to study the feasibility of creating a state bank. Lawmakers hope to attract discerning customers who appreciate expert advice on mismanaging their finances.

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Hawaii House Passes Instant Runoff Voting Bill

Ballot Access News: On March 8, the Hawaii House passed HB 638 unanimously. It provides that in special Congressional elections, and county elections, Instant Runoff Voting will be used. In Hawaii, current law provides for only a single round in special Congressional elections. Here is the text of the bill. The preamble bill has an explanation of Instant Runoff Voting and mentions some other places that use it.

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Hawaii’s Marijuana Bills May Die in Committees

Dopers: As you know, several important marijuana bills have now crossed over from the Hawaii Senate to the House. The bad news is that some have very tough referrals to 3 committees (with the first one being a joint referral of 2 committees. This means that the bills will have a difficult time making the internal deadlines for hearings. Usually, bills referred to 3 committees are destined to die because they cannot meet the deadlines….

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HECO union workers approve new contract

Hawaiian Electric Co.'s unionized employees ratified a new contract yesterday, ending a strike that began a week earlier.

The contract covers 1,280 workers on Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai who are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260. The effective date of the contract is Jan. 1, 2011, and it expires Oct. 31, 2013.

A recorded message on an answering machine at union headquarters instructed employees to report to work on Monday at their normal starting time unless they are called in earlier by a supervisor.

"We look forward to welcoming our union employees back to work," said Dick Rosenblum, HECO president and chief executive officer. "We sincerely appreciate the patience of our customers during this process."

AP: Hawaiian Electric supplies emergency generators to Ewa Beach facility still without power

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Maui Land is back in the black after killing off pensions

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. resorted to terminating health and life insurance plans for retirees to help earn a significant profit in the fourth quarter.

The Kahului-based firm announced yesterday that it achieved a $12 million net profit in the last three months of 2010, compared with a net loss of $30.4 million in the same period a year earlier.

The gain was predominantly based on the cuts to retiree benefits as opposed to core operations running Kapalua Resort and developing and selling real estate around the West Maui resort. The cuts resulted in a $16.6 million gain, the company reported.

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Lunalilo Freeway is 26th-most congested in nation

A 3.9-mile portion of the Lunalilo Freeway in Honolulu ranks as the 26th-most congested corridor in the nation, according to a study by Inrix Inc., a provider of traffic data.

The firm identified the east-bound segment between the Middle Street merge and Ward Avenue as having poor travel times during the evening rush hour. It said the corridor takes 5 minutes to drive in good traffic but 16 minutes in highly congested traffic.

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It's mediation for Barr, her Honokaa neighbors

Barr bought the farm for $1.78 million in 2007. Roree Oehlman said that since the comedian moved in, she and her husband have had to deal with fans trespassing on their property.
"It was creepy; it put me on edge," she said. "I don't think she realizes the impact that has occurred within the community. ... I can definitely sympathize with the problems that she has, as a woman of notoriety, and the issues she has to deal with."
Oehlman said the only reason she filmed Barr was to document the illegal grading, which she said could cause flooding from Barr's property to hers.

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Third U.S. Tsunami Center May Be Headed to Puerto Rico

The arrival of a tsunami on the West Coast revives a long-standing debate within the National Weather Service: What happens if the country's only two tsunami centers are wiped out?

Both centers are located in the Pacific region -- one in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and one in Palmer, Alaska. They calculate everything from the possible size of a tsunami to the areas it might hit, providing local authorities with the information necessary for evacuations and warnings.

But with both located in the same general region of the world, they could conceivably be damaged or destroyed by the same event. For example, the Alaskan Tsunami Alert Center could suffer from an earthquake that sends a tsunami to Hawaii and the tsunami center there.

YESTERDAY’s LIE BUSTED: Democrats, Union threaten to cut Tsunami Center funding if GOP Budget passes

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Holes in Hawaii's Tsunami Evacuation Zone

But while dozens of Honolulu Police Department vehicles were parked at nearby Kapiolani Community College, there were no roadblocks into the Kapiolani Park area.

By 2:40 a.m., just 40 minutes before the first wave was expected to hit the southern coast of Oahu, a handful of homeless moved quietly in the dark. A helicopter with a huge spotlight slowly scanned the coastline, looking for people who dared to witness the "big wave" first hand.

The wave into Waikiki was preceded by a sucking sound. Though the waters did not recede heavily, the ocean was clearly in motion. Waves of about a half-foot, one after the other, quickly slapped against the seawall. It was not violent, yet it inspired awe.

Within another half hour or so, area residents were already venturing out of their abodes. A couple walked their dog. A man pedaled a bike. Homeless people emerged from bushes and tents.

The cops? Two squad cars huddled at a restroom spot. As a tsunami-gawker walked by, the police paid him no mind.

A few miles away, another main artery leading into the inundation zone — this one near Ala Moana — was wide open at 2:50 a.m.

Atkinson Drive, leading from Kapiolani Boulvard to Ala Moana Boulevard, had no flares, no road blockades and no police officers in sight on either end.

That alone was surprising enough, but while we were out reporting near Ala Moana from 2:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday, we didn't spot a single police officer. In fact, we didn't see anything other than two Ala Moana Center security guards, five adventure-seekers with cameras, two KHON journalists and a half dozen homeless people

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European Union Official blames Quake, Tsunami on Global Warming

Hours after a massive earthquake rattled Japan, environmental advocates connected the natural disaster to global warming. The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, issued a statement calling for solidarity in tackling the global warming problem.

“Some islands affected by climate change have been hit,” said Nilsson. “Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity — not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming?”

“Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do,” he added.

Global warming enthusiasts have also taken to Twitter to raise awareness of the need to respond to the earthquake by finally acting on climate change. And the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Lee Doren compiled some of the best ones.

Some examples:

  • AliceTMBFan said “2 hours of geography earlier talking about Japan has left me thinking…maybe global warming is way more serious then we thought…”
  • Arbiterofwords tweeted “I’m worried that Japan earthquake, on top of other recent natural ‘disasters’, is a sign we’ve passed point of no return for climate change.”
  • MrVikas said “Events like the #Japan #earthquake and #tsunami MUST keep #climate change at forefront of policy thought: http://bit.ly/cZe8To #environment
  • Tayyclayy noted her frustration by tweeting “An earthquake with an 8.9 magnitude struck Japan.. And some say climate change isn’t real?!”
  • DanFranklin postulated “Never really believed all this global warming talk, but after the earthquake in NZ and today in Japan. Maybe we’ve ruined the world.”
  • And TeamIanHarding tweeted “While Japan witnessed an earthquake we were talking about the problems that global warming leads to in school. Think. Pray. And change.”

Do they have a point?

“Global warming alarmists will exploit any natural disaster to promote their anti-fossil fuel agenda,” Tom Borelli of the Free Enterprise Project told The Daily Caller, adding that the climate change reaction is a result of the “global warming spin machine.”

“First it’s global warming, then it’s climate change, now it’s probably tectonic instability — no doubt all caused by man,” he said.

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