The Beat

  • Regal in Hawaii Confirms ‘The Interview’ Being Dropped

    ·By Chad Blair
    Score one for Kim Jong-un. Our media partner at KITV has this report on how theaters in Hawaii are not going to show the controversial new film “The Interview.” Turns out the rest of the nation is following suit, as Sony Pictures has decided against releasing the film amid safety concerns and theaters pulling out. Excerpt: Hawaii representatives of Regal Entertainment have confirmed that theaters in Hawaii will not be showing the movie “The Interview” after hackers threatened terrorist attacks at the places showing the comedy. Sony later said it is
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  • Lava Could Reach Pahoa Marketplace in 5 Days

    ·By Chad Blair
    KITV, our media partner, has the latest on the Big Island lava. Excerpt: Scientists say the lava flow could reach Pahoa Marketplace and Highway 130 in about five days if it advances at the average rate of the past week. This breakout of the June 27th lava flow has advanced toward the marketplace at around 310 yard per day since Dec. 9.  The leading edge is less than a mile from the marketplace. The lava is moving in an east-northeast direction and advanced about
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  • Hawaii CIO Trumpets ‘Sound Roadmap’ for Tech Transformation

    ·By The Civil Beat Staff
    Hawaii’s chief information officer has positive things to say about the the transformation plan for the state’s antiquated information technology system. Speaking before more than 650 state and county employees at Tuesday’s Hawaii Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Keone Kali congratulated his predecessor, Sonny Bhagowalia, for “laying down the foundation of our information technology transformation, and today we have a sound roadmap outlined in our technology transformation plan.” Kali said the state “remains committed to the transformative changes needed for a modern, secure and accessible digital government for the people of Hawaii.” He then
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  • US Senate Passes Tax Break Extension, Help for Disabled

    ·By Chad Blair
    The Senate passed a $41.6 billion package of tax breaks late Tuesday, “one of the last substantive moves of this Congress,” says The Hill. By a 76 to 16 vote, the Senate approved legislation “that would extend more than four dozen tax breaks” for both businesses and individuals through 2014. It’s a two-week tax bill “that nobody really wanted,” says Politico. “The bill … was the minimum lawmakers could do to prevent tax hikes for millions of individuals and businesses.” “This tax bill doesn’t have the shelf life of a carton of eggs,” Wyden said
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  • Pahoa Gas Station Closing As Lava Nears

    ·By Chad Blair
    Our media partner KITV has this report. Excerpt: Malama Mart Gas N Go fuel station in the Pahoa Marketplace has announced plans to close its fuel station at 6 p.m. Tuesday. After closing it will not sell any fuel. Aloha Petroleum will take the appropriate steps to remove the fuel from the underground storage tanks and remove equipment from the station in the next three days. The station is operated by the staff of the Malama Market and is co-owned by The Kalama Beach Corporation
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  • Kauai County Council Approval Needed to Film Meetings

    ·By Chad Blair
    A possible setback for open government and transparency on the Garden Isle, as reported in The Garden Island. Excerpt: Some Kauai County Councilmembers are defending a new rule that asks reporters and media organizations to provide a week’s notice to videotape or photograph one of their meetings. That rule, which was approved by the seven-member board nearly two weeks ago and included in their governing guidelines and procedures for the next two years, also includes a provision that allows Council Chair Mel Rapozo to assign spaces to
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  • New Hawaii County Council Members to Consider GMO

    ·By Chad Blair
    Here’s the latest on the GMO front, as reported by West Hawaii Today. Excerpt: With three new council members weighing in for the first time, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday is scheduled to decide whether to appeal a federal court ruling overturning the county’s ban on growing genetically modified crops in open-air conditions. The council passed the anti-GMO bill in late 2013 by a 6-3 vote. Two of the no votes — Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan — are
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  • Marcus Mariota Delivers Letterman’s ‘Top 10’ List

    ·By Chad Blair
    ICYMI, check out the appearance of Marcus Mariota on Monday night’s episode of “The Late Show with David Letterman.” The Oregon Ducks star and St. Louis High graduate delivered the top 10 things that were going through his head when he was awarded the Heisman Trophy. My favorites: No. 7 “Last Heisman winner from Hawaii: Don Ho.” No. 3 “I’d like to play in the NFL; does New York have any professional teams?” Both the New York Giants and the New York Jets are playing poorly this season. As
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  • Honolulu Property Values Jump $14B, Residential Property Up 7 Percent

    ·By Anita Hofschneider
    Property values on Oahu have leapt from $200.74 billion to $214.90 billion, according to the City & County of Honolulu’s assessment of taxable real property for 2015. City spokesman Jay Parasco said in a press release that the increase was driven by new developments and improvements to existing parcels. Honolulu has seen a rash of condo developments its urban core, where prices in Kakaako jumped 75 percent earlier this year. As a whole, residential property values rose by more than 7 percent from $162.85 billion to $174.52 billion, Parasco said. But hotel and
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  • South Korea Goes Nuts Over Macadamias After Airplane Rage Incident

    ·By Gene Park
    The Korean Air “nut rage” incident unleashed a firestorm of controversy in South Korea, and a boom in sales for a locally-based macadamia nut company, according to the Associated Press. Cho Hyun-ah, a Korean Air executive and daughter of the airlines’ chairman, publicly apologized for her anger over a bag of nuts that caused a Dec. 5 Korean Air flight to turn around back to New York, just to kick off the senior flight attendant who was responsible for serving her macadamia nuts in a bag. Not surprisingly, the bizarre story has
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  • US Gets a Surgeon General, the First Time in 17 Months

    ·By Chad Blair
    A job that has been vacant since July 2013 was filled today by the U.S. Senate. In a 51-43 vote, Dr. Vivek Murthy on Monday was confirmed as the next surgeon general of the United States. Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz voted in the narrow majority. The vote fell heavily along party lines. President Barack Obama’s nomination had been opposed by the National Rifle Association, which “was unhappy with the choice of Murthy, citing tweets he had written criticizing both guns and the NRA,” according to NPR, which reported that Murthy “has said he plans to target obesity,
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  • FOIA Reform Bill Dead

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    In case you missed it, House Speaker John Boehner killed an effort to improve government transparency last week, according to at least one senator. The Senate had unanimously passed a bill to reform the Freedom of Information Act in large part by directing government agencies to presume records are public. But the House wouldn’t hear it. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, on Thursday declared the reform effort dead for the year. He had introduced the new reforms in June ahead of the 48th anniversary of FOIA’s enactment. The Hill’s Mario Trujillo has this report
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  • Obama Looks Like ‘The Rock’? President Sees ‘Resemblance’

    ·By Chad Blair
    The Hill has this item on how President Barack Obama says he sees a resemblance between himself and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Excerpt: “I have a little more hair,” Obama told the audience at Sunday’s taping of the annual “Christmas in Washington” concert. Johnson, who hosted the holiday show that premieres Friday on TNT, portrayed Obama in a 2009 “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The former WWE star was dubbed “The Rock Obama” in the comedy bit. “Dwayne is tough as nails on the outside,”
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  • Hawaii Congresswoman Gabbard Traveling to India

    ·By Chad Blair
    Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is traveling to India beginning Monday at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I was delighted to accept the invite of Prime Minister Modi,” said Gabbard, as reported by The Economic Times and several other publications. “He is a leader whose example and dedication to the people he serves should be an inspiration to elected officials everywhere.” Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, is expected to meet with senior Indian government and industry representatives during her Dec. 15 to Jan. 3
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  • US Senate Approves $1.1 Trillion Government Funding Bill

    ·By Chad Blair
    The federal government will remain funded through next September, assuming President Barack Obama signs the $1.1 trillion spending bill approved by the U.S. Senate late Saturday evening in Washington, D.C. The vote was 56-40, which came after surviving a lopsided cloture vote that cut off debate on the legislation. Obama has indicated he will sign the measure, despite strong objections from members of his own party. The same measure was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday in a 219-206 vote that saw Hawaii’s two representatives, Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard, voting
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  • Hawaii’s Mariota Wins the Heisman Trophy

    ·By Chad Blair
    It’s now official: Marcus Mariota has won the Heisman Trophy. Our media partner KITV has this report. Excerpt: Hawaii’s own Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy Saturday and is now regarded as college football’s top player. He is the first from Hawaii to win the award. The Oregon Ducks quarterback set a Pac-12 record this season with 53 total touchdowns, including a school-record 38 via pass, 14 keepers and one TD reception. He leads the nation with 10 games of four or more touchdowns this season. His
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  • First Family Heading to Hawaii on Dec. 19

    ·By Chad Blair
    The White House on Friday announced that the First Family will leave Washington, D.C., Dec. 19 en route to Hawaii for the holidays. Details on the visit have not been disclosed, but, based on past vacations in the islands, the trip will likely include a lot of golf for President Barack Obama, shave ice for Sasha and Malia, a barbecue with friends of Barack and Michelle, an expensive meal at a fancy restaurant for the First Couple and traffic holdups for the rest of us. Obama will leave behind a U.S. Congress “ranked as
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  • Ige Appoints Pressler to Head Hawaii Department of Health

    ·By Nathan Eagle
    Gov. David Ige has appointed Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Pressler to head the Department of Health, taking over where Linda Rosen left off. “Ginny has more than 35 years of experience in the medical field and has held administrative positions for more than two decades,” Ige said in a statement released Friday. “A well-respected member of Hawaii’s medical and business communities, Ginny’s wealth of knowledge and experience equips her to lead the Department of Health.” Ginny Pressler Office of the Governor Pressler’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. She is currently
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  • Budget Bill Narrowly Passes US House

    ·By Chad Blair
    Hawaii Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa on Thursday voted against a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill from House Republicans to fund most of the federal government through fiscal year 2015. The bill passed by a vote of 219-206 and is now in the hands of the Senate. Hanabusa’s “no” vote was “because of two objectionable policy provisions, including one that rolls back regulations to allow Wall Street to participate in the same risky transactions that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and one that approves much higher contribution amounts to national political parties.” Hanabusa said in a press release,
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  • An Obama Library on the Beach?

    ·By The Civil Beat Staff
    The Associated Press has this item on the latest regarding efforts to land a presidential library in the islands. Excerpt: Hawaii hopes it has an offer Honolulu-born President Barack Obama won’t be able to turn down. It hopes to build him a presidential library on the ocean, with a dramatic view of his hometown’s famed Diamond Head volcanic crater. The state’s abundant sunshine would generate solar power and support vegetable gardens on site. The Duffer in Chief.
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