Hawaii Makes Progress in Moving Public Notices Online… Deep Pockets At Civil Beat Could Spell Trouble for Local Papers

This has been a busy two weeks in on line legal notice activity. Hawaii has a bill which has passed the Senate unanimously. California has a new very clever bill proposed. Virginia’s Press Association succeeded in convincing legislators to water down the bills attempting to save the state money.

*Virginia*’s Legislature, which had the most promise for passing 8 state wide bills to move notices on line, caved to the pressure of the Virginia Press Association. As of our last report http://legal-notice.org/blog/virginia-2-line-legal-notice-bills-pass-va-house-delegates-large-margins, only two bills remained alive which could potentially save the taxpayers money without continuing to subsidize the printed newspaper industry.

* House Bill 234 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB234  would have reduced the amount of information required to be published in the newspaper about a time-share being sold under foreclosure. It  passed the House by a huge 98-2 margin on February 14. Prior to the bill going to the Senate and bowing to lobbying by the Va. Press Association, the wording that would have reduced the amount of information required to be published in print, was changed and the requirement to publish an absurd amount of information in print was reinstated. The bill, whose purpose was to “reduce the amount of information required to be published” was neutered and ultimately will save the state nothing while reserving the subsidy to newspapers. The bill will most likely be signed.

* House Bill 1193 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=HB1193 would have required local public bodies to post required procurement notices on the Department of General Services’ central electronic procurement website and makes newspaper publication optional. It passed the House of Delegates 78-21 but was set aside by the Senate’s Committee on General Laws and Technology by a 10-4 margin.

In *Hawaii*, we reported last http://legal-notice.org/blog/hawaii-senate-committees-vote-bill-which-allows-moving-public-notices-line that Senate Bill 2233

http://www.capitol.hawaii.measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2233 had made it out of multiple Senate Committees. Since then the Senate Ways and Means Committee slightly watered down the bill (State-wide notices can be moved out of the statewide paper and into a local paper and county-wide notices can be published on line) and recommended passage. *The Senate unanimously passed the bill 25-0* and it is now in the House where the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on March 15.

Hawaii is unique in that there is a very well written on line newspaper, Honolulu Civil Beat, that has a deep-pocketed owner who could be influential.

*Florida* took the first step in moving notices on line. Both the House and the Senate passed the bill and it was sent to Governor Rick Scott for signing. HB937 http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bill/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=48170 appears benign. It saves the state and local governments no money. It just mandates that notices published in print are also published on line.

The newspapers see this as a victory but it sets them up for the next round of legislation which should say that notices will no longer need to be in print (see below).

We’ve saved the best for last. *California*, the largest state and the most technologically progressive (as well as the most troubled financially) has proposed the most thoughtful bill yet from any state since we’ve been covering this issue. Instead of enforcing that the government publish notices, http://totalcapitol.com/?bill_id=201120120AB1902 in detail expands the definition of newspaper of general interest to on line
newspapers.

Ironically, the need for this bill came from the situation that exists in many rural areas where the print newspapers have now deserted them while on line publications have come in to fill the void of news provider.

We will examine this in our next post as this bill successfully refutes the independence issue which the newspapers have successfully used to protect their franchise. This measure could be heard in committee by March 24.

When Pigs Swim… Tourists Save Pig Swimming in the Ocean

The tourists that were on a recent Bodyglove excursion came across something strange in the ocean nearly one mile off shore, a pig swimming in the middle of the ocean.

Here is a video of the rescue:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/v-JaYIhjR7I]

Body Glove rescues a pig one mile off shore. The pig was released on land and lived happily ever after.

And this is little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/yamCnSGzjY0]

The Lorax and The IHOP Promotion – DLNR Works With Corporate Head Quarters to End Distribution of Non-Native Seeds

Hawai‘i theater goers enjoying the new movie, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” and its theme of protecting local tree species can help honor that message by supporting the use of native Hawaiian plants rather than non-native species.

IHOP Restaurants on the mainland are giving out bookmarks with seeds with every Lorax Breakfast purchased. (see bottom right)

To that end, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) worked with local IHOP managers and the IHOP corporate headquarters in California last week to voluntarily discontinue the distribution of promotional bookmarks embedded with seeds at Hawai‘i IHOP locations.

“Thanks to the quick action of DLNR and others involved, we have turned a potentially negative situation into a positive one by expanding on the movie’s underlying message of being better stewards of our natural environment,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “The collaborative effort to discontinue the distribution of spruce seeds engages those who may not be aware of the importance of the ‘right plant in the right place.’ Our forests will thrive with more native flora and that benefits all of us.”

The bookmarks are part of a promotional campaign for Universal Pictures’ new movie release, “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” in which IHOP customers are being encouraged to help the Lorax by planting trees. The bookmarks are embedded with Engelmann spruce seeds, which are native to parts of the U.S. mainland but not to Hawai‘i.

IHOP in Hawai‘i has voluntarily discontinued distribution of seeds, and the DLNR and the Coordinatig Group on Alien Pest Species have partnered with native Hawaiian plant nurseries to create an exchange program so that any Hawai‘i resident IHOP customers who may already have received a seed-laden bookmark can exchange their spruce seed bookmark for a free native Hawaiian plant.

While the specific species included in the bookmark may not pose a high risk to Hawai‘i’s native plants, other species of spruce trees have been observed to be invasive in parts of the Pacific, where they replace native plants and the animals that depend on them.

IHOP’s corporate office demonstrated its commitment to protecting the environment by also discontinuing this promotion in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Engelmann spruce is also a nonnative species.

“We want to be responsible caretakers of our environment. When we learned that the trees in question would not be the best choice for Hawai‘i, we responded quickly. We hope our guests will take advantage of this exchange opportunity,” stated Patrick Lenow, spokesman for IHOP Restaurants.

First published in 1971, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is a fictional story of a pristine environment where truffula trees provide food, clean air, and habitat for a community of unique animals. As they are overharvested to extinction, the Lorax tries to point out the environmental importance of the trees, but to no avail. The animals leave and the environment is left in ruins. However, the end of the story is one of hope: replant the truffula trees to restore the environment.

“Updating the message of The Lorax to include the value of native species is key for the next generation of conservationists to understand the problems facing our environment,” said Joshua Atwood, coordinator for the interagency Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council housed at the DLNR.

“An important part of The Lorax story is that the truffula trees grow nowhere else, and the Lorax is there to protect that limited resource. Similarly, many of Hawai‘i’s native plants and animals only exist on these islands, and we need to do what we can to protect them. That includes planting native, rather than nonnative, species whenever possible.”

One of the nurseries providing plants for the exchange is Hui Ku Maoli Ola, the largest native Hawaiian plant nursery in the state. “We believe in the importance of perpetuating our native flora as a part of our unique culture and environment,” said Matt Kapaliku Schirman, Hui Ku Maoli Ola co-founder. “This is a great opportunity to help protect and restore the Hawaiian environment.”

DLNR also thanks the Native Nursery and Big Island Plants or Ku ‘Oh‘ia Laka, whose exchange agreements were facilitated by the Maui and Big Island Invasive Species Committees.

IHOP customers who received a Lorax bookmark can exchange the seed-embedded bookmark for a native Hawaiian plant free of charge through the end of April, 2012 at the following participating nurseries:

O‘ahu: Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Plant Nursery, 46-403 Haiku Rd, Kane‘ohe, HI, 96744, Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m. – noon, closed Sunday, Contact: (808) 235-6165, www.hawaiiannativeplants.com

Maui: Native Nursery and Ho‘olawa Farms, exchange facilitated by the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), Contact MISC at (808) 573-6472

Hawai‘i Island: Big Island Plants or Ku ‘Oh‘ia Laka, exchange facilitated by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), Contact: BIISC at (808) 933-3345

One Year Later – Big Island Journalist Releases New Footage of Hawaii Tsunami… RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

West Hawaii Today journalist Chelsea Jensen posted this video entitled “One Year Later” of what happened here in Hawaii after the Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated Japan last year.

Watch until the very end and you can see that Chelsea herself almost got swept out to sea and did suffer damages (posted with permission)

[youtube=http://youtu.be/JLFZvD8Ct5A]

Does My Blog Load Really Slow For You?

Many of us folks that understand internet bandwidth and how the State of Hawaii is currently investigating and researching ways to improve internet bandwidth speeds across the state, often don’t think about how our own sites may be viewed upon others as most of our stuff is already cached in our systems.

I’m looking at ways of making my site more easily accessible to those folks that are grumbling that my site takes to long to load up.

I’ve decreased the amount of posts per front page from 20 to 5 and when I have time I will be consolidating my neighbor island blogs into a “Blogroll” feature that wordpress uses for blogroll’s however I opted out trying to mix in a little of my own HTML coding and I think that might be slowing things down as well.

In the next few days… I will be changing a few things and hopefully this will make loading my site much more pleasurable for those that are having trouble with it.

Any geeks want to weigh-in and and any Big Island Bloggers want to be part of my new Blogroll I create on this site?