News Bites

Mariah OConnell / Flickr
Mariah OConnell / Flickr

Hawaii will become the first state in the nation to raise the minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 beginning on January 1st.  A secondary measure will prohibit the sales of electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes) to anyone under 21.

Nick Yee
Nick Yee

Two locations of a popular Honolulu café chain are suddenly closing their doors.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

November was another record-breaking month for the hospitality industry in Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority reports visitor arrivals were up nearly four-percent from a year ago. HPR’s Bill Dorman has some of the stories behind the numbers.

Brett Levin / Flickr
Brett Levin / Flickr

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has released operation guidelines for the medical marijuana licensing program.

Under the current law, the DOH will establish eight dispensaries – three on O‘ahu, two for both Maui and Hawai‘i Island, and one for Kaua‘i. The rules explain the process for awarding dispensary licenses, and outlines security, safety, and tracking requirements.

Earlier this month the department announced that an on-line “seed to sale” system will be installed to track all marijuana in the islands.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The state says there’s been some significant progress on the road to Hawai‘i’s clean energy objectives.

The Hawai‘i State Energy Office released its Energy Resources Coordinator’s Annual Report for 2015.  The report outlines the State’s current energy policies in accordance with the goal to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045.

Kyle Nishioka / Flickr
Kyle Nishioka / Flickr

Thousands of runners have already made their way to O‘ahu…as the Honolulu Marathon takes place this weekend.

It’s the 4th largest race in the country and attendance for this year is expected to be even larger than last year- with more than 32,000-participants already signed up- and more expected throughout the weekend.  13,000 runners are coming from Japan alone and participants from the US mainland are up 30% with more than 1,000 coming from California alone.  The event is expected to bring $130-million into the local economy.

 PMNM
PMNM

Scientists are connecting a Hollywood movie with a shipwreck in the North Hawaiian Islands.

In 1823 a Nantucket whaling ship called the Two Brothers ran aground on the reef in the French Frigate shoals- north of the Hawaiian Islands. Its captain was George Pollard Jr. – Survivor of the Essex- the ship wrecked by a sperm whale which became the inspiration for Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, or The Whale.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association says higher taxes are needed to improve education in the state.

The group has released a 10-part agenda for the 2016 legislative session. Topics include a reduction in class sizes, teacher retention, equal access to preschool, and an end to high stakes testing. The measure also calls for adequate funding of rural schools and repairs to air conditioning.

To fund the project – the measure recommends a one-percent increase in the state general excise tax. Corey Rosenlee is the HSTA President.

Tony Webster / Flickr
Tony Webster / Flickr

The deadline for comment on a proposed bridge between Native Hawaiians and the US Government is closing soon.

In the fall the US Department of the Interior proposed establishing a formal government-to-government relationship as part of the reconciliation process.  The proposal would give Native Hawaiians a legal framework that would help the native Hawaiian community work with the US government.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Construction is underway for a temporary shelter for homeless families near the Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park.  It’ll be located inside a 5,000-square-foot maintenance shed formerly used by the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority. Governor David Ige says the facility will be able to house around 15 families, each staying for a short duration before making the transition to more permanent housing.

Scott Morishige is the State Homeless Coordinator and says the space is designed to address the lack of shelter available for homeless families. 

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