In Print

  • Warming up: As droughts continue, Hawaii must protect its fresh water

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 27, 2016

    Last October, after an unseasonable and unprecedented rainy summer, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that for the first time since April 15, 2008 no part of our island chain was suffering from drought.

    For seven long years, our farmers, ranchers and citizens had endured a prolonged dry period throughout Hawaii that caused cattle herds to be thinned, crops to suffer and spiked our rate of forest fires. Unfortunately, our relief was short-lived.

  • Hawaii lawmakers look to ban ivory

    Associated Press - March 27, 2016

    Cheryl Konrad has spent the last 35 years educating visitors to her Lahaina store about the centuries-old history of scrimshaw.

    Konrad fills the shelves in Lahaina Scrimshaw with the etchings of local artists on fossilized walrus and mammoth ivory. But if a bill to ban the sale of ivory becomes law this year, she worries that she will be forced to close her store.

    "I feel like I've been a part of history, it's just so hard to fathom that it could be criminal eventually," Konrad said.

  • Senate committee OKs water rights bill

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 23, 2016

    A bill that would allow Alexander &Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams survived a close vote in a key Senate committee Monday night.

    After a six-hour hearing on House Bill 2501, Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Chairman Mike Gabbard amended the measure to limit the extension of A&B’s water rights under the the bill to no more than three years.

  • Water rights bill brings out opponents

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 22, 2016

    Opponents turned out in force Monday to testify against a bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams.

    At the start of the hearing by the Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Committee, Chairman Mike Gabbard announced that 577 pieces of testimony had been submitted on House Bill 2501.

  • Proposed legislation would end wildlife trafficking

    Hawaii Tribune-Herald - March 2, 2016

    Lawmakers are considering two bills aimed at ending wildlife trafficking, but opponents worry they instead target another group — those with antiques and collectibles.

    House Bill 2502 and Senate Bill 2647, introduced by Oahu Democrats Rep. Ryan Yamane and Sen. Mike Gabbard, would prohibit selling, purchasing or trading any part of endangered animal species including elephants, rhinoceros, walrus, monk seals and sea turtles. Violators would face misdemeanor charges, hefty fines and time behind bars.

  • Review may yield shake-up of leases

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 19, 2016

    The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ controversial revocable-permit program could be in for some big changes.

    Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the agency’s board, announced Thursday the formation of an eight-member task force, including several members from outside the department, to review the program and recommend revisions to ensure the process serves the public trust and provides transparency and consistency.

  • Bill to allow holdover water rights shelved

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 18, 2016

    The chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture on Wednesday shelved a bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to hold on to the rights of millions of gallons of water that it diverts from East Maui streams even as the company plans to close its water-intensive sugar plantation on Maui in the coming months and lay off more than 650 workers.

  • Bill: Don’t Mess With Sharks And Rays

    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 4, 2016

    The Hawaii Legislature finds that sharks and rays “are extremely important to ocean ecosystems,” and so it wants to protect them.

    Senate Bill 2642 would create a misdemeanor penalty and fine for anyone “who knowingly captures, kills, or takes any shark or ray within state marine waters and makes it a misdemeanor.”

    Exemptions would be provided for Native Hawaiian gathering rights and cultural practices, special activity permits, research and public safety.

  • State Gov’t To Nix Bottled Water?

    A bill at the Hawaii Legislature proposes prohibiting use of funds to purchase single-serving bottles, with some exceptions.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 31, 2016

    A measure that has a hearing Tuesday would forbid the spending of state funds by state agencies for the purchase of single-serving bottled water, except under certain circumstances.
    The exceptions:

  • Ankle Bracelets Could Help Cut Hawaii Prison Costs And Overcrowding

    The high costs of prisons may finally lead legislators to look seriously at an alternative to incarceration that’s widely used elsewhere.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 28, 2016

    Outside of Hawaii, the use of electronic monitoring devices is all but commonplace.

    With the high cost of incarceration, many states are increasingly turning to ankle bracelets as a more cost-effective way to supervise offenders — while freeing up space in prisons and jails.
    Some 300,000 people are under electronic supervision each year across the country, and the number is steadily growing. Cook County in Illinois, for instance, had nearly 15,000 people on electronic tethers in 2014 — a 70 percent increase from the previous year.

  • Fresh push to ban ivory expected

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 15, 2015

    Hawaii lawmakers are expected to push for a statewide ban on the sale of ivory when the legislative session begins in January, in an effort to help curb the illegal slaughter of elephants in Africa.
    Bills proposing a ban on the sale of ivory in Hawaii have died in the Legislature for the past two years, as other states — including California, New York, New Jersey and Washington — have passed prohibitions.

  • Tea of the United States

    At the TOTUS Awards in Hawaii last month, American tea had its first taste of appraisal.
    Fresh Cup News - November 30, 2015

    In recent years we have seen a few international tea competitions held in the United States—that is competitions for teas from all over the world—but nothing specific to the teas grown by this burgeoning industry of its own soils. As part of an effort to encourage and recognize US tea, tea farmer Eva Lee, who lives on Hawaii’s Big Island, spent the last two years putting together the very first TOTUS Awards (Tea of the United States). The event was held in Volcano Village, Hawaii, at the beginning of November.

  • It’s Time To Fix The Hawaii State Capitol Reflecting Pools

    Honolulu Civil Beat - November 30, 2015

    Have you ever visited our State Capitol and noticed a funky, bad smell coming from the murky, algae-filled unsightly water in the Reflecting Pools surrounding the building?

    Well, that’s just part of the problem. Over the years the pool has leaked many times, causing damage to the electrical system and air conditioning in the building.

    Furthermore, it costs $100,000 annually for state workers to continually clean the pool waters, which are fed by brackish water from wells. The latest estimate is that it would take approximately $15.2 million to fix the Reflecting Pools.

  • Farmers union convention set

    Maui News - November 3, 2015

    The Hawaii Farmers Union United will host its annual convention from Nov. 13 to 15 at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

    The event will open Friday with a "locavore" dinner and a keynote address by Hawaii State Sen. Mike Gabbard and his daughter, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Mike Gabbard will speak about regional food security for Hawaii, while Tulsi Gabbard will speak to soil health as it relates to national security, event organizers said.

  • Wanted: Cheaper flights

    Kauai County Council asks state lawmakers to explore incentivizing interisland airline competition
    Garden Island News - November 1, 2015

    LIHUE — The Kauai County Council wants the state to take up what it feels is a serious, islandwide issue: expensive costs for residents to fly from one island to another.
    “I think it’s an important issue,” said Councilman Ross Kagawa, who introduced a resolution calling on the state Legislature to spur cheaper tickets for interisland travel by incentivizing airline competition for Hawaiian Airlines. “We need to speak up already. Right now this is a serious problem.”

  • The Massive Oil Plume Beneath Pearl Harbor Isn't New, But It Is Shocking

    The Navy says the plume is stable, but it is nearly half the volume of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.
    HuffPost Hawaii - September 29, 2015

    Pearl Harbor was once known as Oahu's "bread basket" because it was such an important fishing area, teeming with ocean life. But since the construction of the iconic U.S. military base, the pristine harbor has been marred by environmental disaster.

  • Proposed fixes could facilitate smoother rides

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - September 22, 2015

    Better customer service, competition for the airport contract and tighter safety regulations are some of the ways Honolulu’s taxi system could be improved, critics say.
    But city officials have yet to take action on recommendations made by their own task force, which was created a year ago after cabdriver Enio Tablas was charged in the sexual assault of two female passengers.

  • NAME IN THE NEWS: Michael D. Wilson

    The Hawaii Supreme Court associate justice has taken a leading role in establishing a court that specializes in Hawaii’s environmental laws
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - August 14, 2015

    Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson considers himself lucky to have grown up on the edge of what was known then as “Kawainui Swamp.”

    When he was about 18, Wilson joined a group to protect Kawainui Marsh from being drained and developed. He learned from the organization’s leaders how the marsh held religious, cultural and agricultural significance. Today, the marsh is being restored as a recreational area.

  • Regal Cinemas to open at Kapolei Commons in West Oahu in 2016

    Pacific Business News - July 14, 2015

    Regal Entertainment Group will open its 10th movie theater complex in Hawaii next year at the Target-anchored Kapolei Commons in West Oahu, the state lawmaker representing the area says.

    The 52,000-square-foot Regal Cinemas Kapolei Commons Stadium 12 was slated to open this fall, joining anchors Target, Sports Authority, Office Max and Petco at the retail center, which first opened in 2009.

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