State briefs for August 17

Honolulu adds inspectors to help enforce rental law

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu plans to increase its housing inspection staff to help enforce a new vacation rental ordinance, officials said.

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The Department of Planning and Permitting has already rehired three retired inspectors and could add up to three more if needed.

Department Acting Director Kathy Sokugawa informed the city council of the increase in a memo last week. The council had already included funds for the staffing increase in this year’s budget.

The budgeted cost is $132,313 to hire the staff members at a pay rate of $24.18 per hour at 19 hours a week for up to 10 months.

Unless specifically permitted, rentals of 30 days or less are illegal on Oahu except in hotel-resort zones.

City officials estimate there are between 6,000 and 8,000 illegal vacation rentals on Oahu, although others believe there may be as many as 25,000.

The ordinance criminalizes advertisement of a vacation rental of less than 30 days that is not permitted.

The new law also increases fines for advertising or renting an unpermitted vacation rental from $1,000 daily to a maximum of $10,000 per day.

Beer named for Pacific island nuke test site draws criticism

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A Texas-based company is facing criticism for naming a beer after the location of nuclear tests that resulted in the contamination of a Pacific island chain, a report said.

Manhattan Project Beer Company is under scrutiny by Marshall Islanders who were exposed to high levels of radiation by U.S. government research from 1946 to 1958, The Pacific Daily News reported Thursday.

The government and residents of the Republic of the Marshall Islands have objected to the company’s beer named Bikini Atoll, an area of the island chain that remains uninhabitable.

The name is insensitive to people still dealing with the impacts of radiation decades later, islanders said.

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The company has several beers with nuclear-themed names including Half-life, Plutonium-239, Particles Collide, and 10 Nanoseconds.

“Our beer named Bikini Atoll was not created to mock or trivialize the nuclear testing that took place in the Marshall Islands,” the company said in a social media post. The company is “creating awareness of the wider impacts and implications” of U.S. nuclear research programs, the statement said. The company’s website does not mention nuclear testing in a description of Bikini Atoll beer.

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