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State / In Brief

January 3, 2014
The Maui News

The Associated?Press

Lawsuit filed over beach barriers

HONOLULU - A group of surfers and residents on Oahu's North Shore are suing the state over barriers meant to block parking near Laniakea Beach.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the lawsuit filed in Circuit Court is looking to force the state to remove the concrete barriers.

The state installed the barriers, in part, to relieve traffic problems, with vehicles and pedestrians crossing the busy section of Kamehameha Highway.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carolyn Sluyter declined comment, saying that the agency doesn't comment on litigation.

The lawsuit says that the state should have gotten a special permit for the barriers because it's in a protected coastal area. The residents and surfers say the state should have also done an environmental assessment to see how access to the beach would be affected.


Kauai council districts proposed

LIHUE - A Kauai panel plans to hold public meetings this month on a proposal to establish seven geographic districts on Kauai for the County Council.

The proposal would allow voters to elect council members based on the district in which they live. The council would be made up of representatives from each of the districts.

The Kauai County Council's seven members are currently elected at-large to represent the entire island, rather than a specific district or area.

A subcommittee of the Charter Review Commission has scheduled meetings for Thursday at Kapaa Neighborhood Center; Jan. 13 at Church of the Pacific in Princeville; and Jan. 16 at Waimea Neighborhood Center.


Bike repair station set up in Honolulu

HONOLULU - Honolulu transportation officials have installed the first of what they hope could eventually be multiple bicycle repair stations across the city.

The new tune-up stand is part of the city's effort to encourage more people to get around town by bike.

The station is located outside the Fasi Municipal Building and can be used by bicyclists to pump up tires, tighten gears and complete basic repairs.

Transportation services Director Mike Formby said that the station was installed last month and cost about $1,000.

Bicycling advocates have teamed up with city and state officials in an effort to create a bike-share program in Honolulu.


Lawyers want gay marriage suit gone

HONOLULU - State attorneys are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging Hawaii's new gay marriage law.

State attorneys argue that hundreds of recently married same-sex couples shouldn't have a legal challenge lingering over them.

Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage, with same-sex couples starting to get marriage licenses Dec. 2.

Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott and others are challenging the law, arguing that a 1998 state constitutional amendment limited marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto previously turned down McDermott's request for a court order to bar the state from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The state lawyers cite that ruling in arguing that the lawsuit should be thrown out.

Sakamoto is scheduled to hear the request Jan. 29.


E-cigs banned at Health Department

HONOLULU - The Hawaii Department of Health is banning the use of electronic smoking devices at all department properties.

The department said that the directive was the first of its kind among Hawaii state departments.

The ban went into effect Wednesday.

State health officials say that while electronic smoking devices are touted for being smoke-free, they haven't been proved to be safe.



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