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For Monday, February 14, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff and Associated Press


Landfill sues over medical-waste talk

The operator of the private landfill in Nanakuli for construction waste is suing a union lobbyist for defamation for statements he made allegedly connecting it with last month's release of medical waste from the nearby city landfill.

Heavy rain and flooding at the city's Waimanalo Gulch landfill caused medical waste and other debris to wash into the ocean last month off Oahu's Leeward Coast.

PVT Land Co. operates the construction landfill in Nanakuli.

In public hearings in front of two state legislative committees on Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, PVT says Ronald Y. Amemiya, who represents the Ironworkers Union Local 625 Stabilization Fund, submitted written and oral testimony of a "severe breach" at the PVT landfill which "also caused these hazardous waste materials to flow into the neighborhood."

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in state court, PVT says it has asked Amemiya to retract the statements but that he has yet to do so.

Makaha sand being replenished

Volunteers using heavy equipment are working to replenish sand at Oahu's famed Makaha Surfing Beach.

The sand will be moved from another part of the beach today and tomorrow to replenish about 1,800 cubic yards of sand lost to erosion.

The project is aimed at restoring the stability of the lifeguard stand, parking lot and trees while preventing future erosion along the base of the roadway.

Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said it is important to get the work done immediately for safety reasons during the winter surf season.

Buffalo's Big Board Surfing Classic is scheduled to start Saturday at the beach.

Shimabukuro (D, Nanakuli-Makua) is working with several companies that are providing manpower and equipment to the project, including PVT Land Co., Henry's Equipment and Pueo Trucking. 

Anti-pot rally targets bills in Legislature

The Kauai Police Department, Kauai Anti-Drug Program, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and community organizations will hold an anti-drug rally at 4 p.m. Thursday in front of the County Building on Rice Street.

The organizations are holding the rally because of legislation that seeks to decriminalize marijuana possession and distribution, legalize marijuana cultivation and commercial dispensaries, and eliminate the Board of Education's reporting requirements for students possessing marijuana, said a Kauai County news release.

"If passed, these measures will result in increased violent crime, economic crisis and a rise in marijuana usage among our children," said Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho.

Plan to ban plastic bags up for vote

HILO » Merchants and residents have mixed opinions about a bill before the Hawaii County Council that would prohibit retailers from handing out plastic bags to customers.

Maui and Kauai counties have similar bans that took effect last month.

The full Council is due to consider the bill Wednesday after the Environmental Management Committee advanced the bill with a 5-3 vote earlier this month.

Hilo Surplus Store Inc. owner Tim Beatty said the bill needs more research. He said his customers rarely bring their own reusable shopping bags. "We do use plastic bags, and it is a convenience for us," Beatty told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Others, such as Patty Gourley, who was helping with the Le Magic Pan booth at the farmers market, support the proposed ban. "Anything to help," she said. "I think the plastic really contributes to our waste problem."

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