Friday, May 27, 2016

Average hurricane season expected, Hanabusa pulls nomination papers for Congress, DOT superintendent fined $3k for using state workers and equipment, nonprofits get more from state budget, Maui software company goes bust, Green dinged on financial disclosure error, rental costs increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Wikipedia photo public domain
Damage from Hurricane Iniki in 1992, public domain photo
Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters Thursday said to expect anywhere from an average to an above-average hurricane season, with an outlook that calls for an equal 40 percent chance of either a normal or above-normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. Star-Advertiser.

After a record-setting hurricane season fueled by a strong El Nino in 2015, federal forecasters said Thursday the 2016 central Pacific hurricane season will likely be only slightly above average as La Nina conditions take over. Associated Press.

In the wake of a record-setting hurricane season fueled by a “Godzilla” El Nino, Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters say this season will likely be near or above normal as La Nina conditions take hold. West Hawaii Today.

Weather officials say Hawai‘i will see normal to above normal activity this hurricane season, predicting between four and seven tropical cyclones. Hawaii Public Radio.

Seven tropical cyclones are predicted for the upcoming hurricane season that runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Garden Island.

Will 2016’s hurricane season be as storm-filled as 2015? KHON2.

==============================================

Hawaii lawmakers budgeted significantly more state money for nonprofits and community groups this year compared to last, but the process of choosing who got what remains murky. The Legislature approved 104 grants in aid totaling $36.7 million for fiscal 2017, which starts July 1. Lawmakers winnowed this down from 276 applications for $147.6 million. Civil Beat.

Former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has begun the process in Hawaii to run for the congressional seat that will be left vacant by U.S. Rep. Mark Takai. The Hawaii Office of Elections said Hanabusa was issued nomination papers on Thursday. That's the first step candidates take when running for office. Associated Press.

More homeless people than ever — 14,954 — sought homeless services across the islands in the 2015 fiscal year, representing an increase of 4.7 percent, according to a study released Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s tourism industry continues to break records, as April drew more visitors than any previous April.Star-Advertiser.

Fourteen of Hawaii’s 25 state senators and 14 of the 51 state representatives did not hold fundraisers during the 2016 session. Civil Beat.

Students with head lice, or ukus, will not be sent home from school, which is raising concerns that the infestation could spread. KHON2.

Oahu

A lease agreement to operate horse stables that a state lawmaker describes as the last remnant of paniolo culture in East Honolulu ends next week, prompting supporters to call for needed upgrades. City officials, meanwhile, are weighing whether to close down Koko Crater Stables, which spans 10 acres in Koko Crater Botanical Garden. Star-Advertiser.

An upcoming clean energy event in Hawaii will feature a 100 percent renewable energy microgrid that utilizes an electric vehicle charging station, biomass gasifier, battery storage, solar panels and a microgrid controller, event officials said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

The developer of a proposed wind farm on Oahu has unveiled a new plan for the project that calls for fewer, but taller turbines. Associated Press.

A study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition states that, among other things, Hawai'i has the highest hourly wage needed to afford a two bedroom apartment. KITV4.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s Charity Walk raised $2 million and seeks applications from local nonprofits over the next couple of weeks. Pacific Business News.

In the past 18 months, the Institute for Human Service has moved 388 homeless back to the mainland through its airline relocation program, which enrolls only clients who have support systems in their home states and requires participants to pay for half of their tickets. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

State Sen. Josh Green has paid a $300 administrative fine and submitted an amended financial disclosure form in an agreement with the state Ethics Commission. West Hawaii Today.

A Big Island state roads superintendent who allegedly drew upon government workers and equipment after his personal pickup truck blew a tire has been fined $3,000 by the state Ethics Commission. West Hawaii Today.

The average Hawaii County renter earns less than half of the income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment, newly released data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows. Tribune-Herald.

The final phase of the Pahoa roundabout project opened Monday, marking the end of a much-maligned detour route and the beginning of new traffic patterns in the area. Tribune-Herald.

The new man at the helm of Hawaii County Civil Defense is an old hand at emergency management for the state. That’s allowing a smooth transition for Ed Teixeira, former vice director of state Civil Defense, now called the Emergency Management Agency. West Hawaii Today.

A Puna-based public charter school hopes to appease some of its recent financial problems by delaying payments — such as rent — until late July, after its first allocation of 2016-17 fiscal year per-pupil funding arrives. Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Maui

In the past 10-plus years, the Maui rental market has become more challenging. A  modest, two-bedroom rental rental under 800 square feet in a rural area like Ha‘ikū that would have gone for $1,200 a month a few years ago would now rent for upwards of $1,600 a month. Maui Now.

A mixed-use development cleared a hurdle Tuesday when the Maui Planning Commission accepted its final environmental assessment. Maui News.

A once ginormous value for a small Maui software company has vanished after the firm named Code Rebel Corp. filed for bankruptcy last week in a Delaware court. Star-Advertiser.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen will discuss Hawaiian cultural issues in the courts as the featured speaker at the annual membership dinner of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. Maui News.

Kauai

For about 25 minutes Thursday, Gov. David Ige outlined recent goals and achievements of his administration, the Legislature and the team of Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. Garden Island.

The number of visitors coming to Hawaii rose 3.4 percent in April compared to the same month a year earlier. But the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday tourist spending dropped more than 1 percent to $1.1 billion during the month. Garden Island.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) secured $12 million in defense funding for Kauai for fiscal year 2017. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hanauma Bay named America's best beach, no proof agribusiness pesticides harmful in Kauai report, new judge sought for Thirty Meter Telescope case, four seek state Democratic party chair, Kahuku Village opposes wind farm, DOT deputy fined for sending contracts to husband's firm, Hawaiian Airlines pilots picket, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 all Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hanauma Bay © 2016 All Hawaii News
For the second year in a row, a beach in Hawaii has been selected as the best beach in America by a Florida professor who’s made a career ranking and studying beaches around the country. This year’s top spot goes to Hanauma Bay, a picturesque nature reserve with gin-clear, turquoise water and abundant sea life. Associated Press.

Hawaii's Hanauma Bay on Oahu has been named America's best beach on an annual top 10 list compiled by coastal science professor Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach. Associated Press.

Laying bare the complex politics of reconciliation and contrition, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday rejected the idea of visiting Pearl Harbor to reciprocate for President Barack Obama's historic trip to Hiroshima later this week. Associated Press.

Jacce Mikulanec, Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Florence Kong Kee and Tim Vandeveer are vying to replace Stephanie Ohigashi as chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. The election will be held at the party’s state convention this weekend at the Sheraton Waikiki. Civil Beat.

Democrat Colleen Hanabusa will make a bid to return to the seat she once held in the U.S. House of Representatives representing urban Honolulu, according to sources who have discussed the race with her. Star-Advertiser.

A former deputy director of the state Department of Transportation has paid a $13,000 administrative fine to resolve allegations that she violated the state ethics code when she apparently took action on a dozen state contracts with a consulting firm that employs her husband. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture plans to spend up to $2.5 million to install energy efficiency and renewable energy systems at its facilities across the state.Pacific Business News.

Have an idea for how to improve public education in Hawaii? The Department of Education is asking for public input as it undergoes a review of its multi-year strategic plan — a document that lays out goals for public education in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Federal forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu are announcing the hurricane forecast for the 2016 season. Officials with the National Weather Service will give a briefing Thursday outlining the probability and frequency of tropical cyclones in the waters around Hawaii. Associated Press.

Oahu

Gov. David Ige’s administration says it will move forward on plans to construct a skilled nursing facility on the edge of the University of Hawaii’s Windward Community College campus in Kaneohe, despite rising opposition from the school’s leadership associations and the college chancellor. Star-Advertiser.

One of the biggest uncertainties for Honolulu’s commuter rail project — aside from concerns that there’s not enough money to build it — is how much it will cost to relocate utilities along the proposed route. Civil Beat.

Roughly 24 residents gathered at Kahuku Village Association Community Center on Wednesday evening to voice their concerns about a proposed 25-megawatt wind project, the second wind farm near the North Shore community. Star-Advertiser.

A windward Oahu wind farm could end up with the tallest turbines in the state. The proposed project is forced to make changes, and the Kahuku community found out what could be going up in their neighborhood. KITV4.

The city’s busiest DMV is getting ready to close and reopen in a new location. Council members want to make sure taxpayers are getting the best deal. KHON2.

With less than two weeks to go before the filing deadline, the race for Honolulu mayor has officially attracted eight candidates. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro made it official. He’s running for re-election. Civil Beat.

The National Park Service and the nonprofit group Pacific Historic Parks on Wednesday launched an effort to win grant money to preserve historic Pearl Harbor battleship moorings. Associated Press.

Dozens of Hawaiian Airlines pilots picketed Wednesday for a new collective bargaining agreement a week after voting to allow union representatives to call for a strike if necessary. The pilots gathered outside Honolulu International Airport. Associated Press.

Naked man gives Honolulu airport 4th security fence breach. Associated Press.

The origins of Hawaii’s eclectic cuisine will be explored in a new TV series on PBS hosted by Hawaii’s own Chef Ed Kenney, who owns and operates four Oahu restaurants. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Former 3rd Circuit Court Judge Riki May Amano is facing another hurdle to her overseeing the Thirty Meter Telescope’s next contested case hearing — the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

In a surprise turn of events, the University of Hawaii filed a motion Wednesday asking that Judge Riki May Amano be replaced as hearings officer of the upcoming Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing. Star-Advertiser.

The question of privatization continues to hover over the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Tribune-Herald.

Maui


Despite concerns about traffic, the 1,600-acre Waikapu Country Town project advanced Tuesday as the Maui Planning Commission formalized its comments on the development's draft environmental impact statement. Maui News.

The Makani Kai Air Cessna crash that led to the death of state Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy three years ago off Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula could have been prevented, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. Maui News.

Kauai

There isn’t enough data to conclusively connect pesticide use on Kauai to the health of the environment and of the community, according to the group that spent 15 months researching the subject. Garden Island.

Hawaii needs to do a better job of determining the health and environmental effects of the chemicals that genetically modified seed and coffee companies spray on their crops, according to the final joint fact-finding report commissioned by the state and Kauai County. Civil Beat.

The vehicle weight tax has increased only twice on Kauai since it was imposed in 1978, but it’s been steadily producing money for the county. Garden Island.

Nene and farming will be the topic of conversation at the Kilauea Community Center Thursday at a public meeting hosted by The Kauai Nene Habitat Conservation Plan. Garden Island.

Lanai
The thrice-delayed Lanai Community Plan is returning to the full Maui County Council after passing through the Planning Committee on Tuesday. Maui News.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Japan's Abe nixes Pearl Harbor trip, NextEra reconsidering $4.3B Hawaii electric purchase, crash that killed health director was preventable, revenues council tweaks projection downward, Honolulu rail board reconsidering route, $135M Coco Palms reno slows, ohia wilt a concern, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Kilauea lava flow a Puu Oo, courtesy Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Scientists have posted the first images of the new lava breakouts that began erupting this morning from the flanks of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Big Island Video News.

Lava began flowing in two directions from Kilauea’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o cone Tuesday morning. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense and geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are watching two new lava flows from the Puu Oo vent that began Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

=============================================

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he plans to use his historic visit to Hiroshima with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reflect on the suffering of war and the need to take steps to prevent it. Abe said he had no plans to reciprocate Obama's gesture by paying his own visit to Pearl Harbor. Associated Press.

NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. is looking less and less likely as the company gets a new chance to buy the largest power distributor in Texas, analysts said. Bloomberg News.

The $4.3 billion merger deal between Florida-based NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries is looking less likely to go through, analysts said in a Bloomberg story Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co.’s announcement last week that it has reached an agreement with a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. for the Canadian electric and gas utility giant to supply the state’s largest utility with liquefied natural gas as a replacement for oil has surprised the other Hawaii utility looking to ship in LNG. Pacific Business News.

A panel of experts charged with predicting how much the state will collect in taxes revised its estimate downward Tuesday by about $34 million for this year, but that isn’t expected to cause any great hardship in state government. Star-Advertiser.

The Council on Revenues tweaked its state revenue forecast downward today despite numerous economic indicators pointing to an upward trend. Hawaii Public Radio.

For the first time, former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa admits she's thinking about running for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's seat. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmakers passed two bills in an attempt to monitor and reduce the number of opioid-related overdoses in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

To hear the state’s prison officials tell it, Hawaii is saving millions of dollars by sending hundreds of its excess prison inmates to the mainland. But a closer inspection shows that the deal isn’t as much of a bargain as it seems. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Rail board members are now openly questioning whether narrow Dillingham Boulevard would be the best path on which to build the island’s transit system heading into town, as the project faces huge costs and the community braces for the impacts of building through that crowded corridor. Star-Advertiser.

One of the biggest uncertainties for Honolulu’s commuter rail project — aside from concerns that there’s not enough money to build it — is how much it will cost to relocate utilities along the proposed route. Civil Beat.

Opponents of a planned tourist attraction with commercial hula shows and luau buffets amid gardens deep in Manoa Valley have a new opportunity to contest the project following a lapsed permit for the work. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: There’s no dispute that the 2012 general election was marred by widespread ballot shortages that caused confusion and delays at many polling places. Now the Hawaii Supreme Court will have to decide what, if anything, needs to be done about it. The court heard oral arguments last week in the appeal of a lawsuit brought by the Green Party of Hawaii and seven individual voters stemming from the 2012 ballot fiasco. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Rocks placed on the Mauna Kea Access Road on May 16 have rekindled tensions on the mountain, as state conservation officers seek a person of interest spotted on a Visitor Information Center camera. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii state conservation officers are seeking a suspect who placed rocks on the access road to the Big Island's Mauna Kea. Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers said in a statement Tuesday that a shirtless man wearing board shorts and slippers was captured on surveillance cameras just before the rocks appeared. Associated Press.

Government officials at levels from Hilo to Washington, D.C., are calling for increased resources and collaboration to fight rapid ohia death. Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is pressing federal and state authorities to bolster efforts to eradicate the fungus killing tens of thousands of acres of native ohia trees on the Big Island, comparing the spread of the disease known as rapid ohia death to a large forest fire in scope and degree of devastation. Star-Advertiser.

State land chairwoman Suzanne Case has approved an environmental review for a logging operation of non-native trees in the Waiakea Timber Management Area on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission announced Tuesday that it has resolved a complaint over Big Island Sen. Josh Green’s failure to disclose property he owns on Oahu. The commission decided to agree to a settlement in which the senator must pay a $300 administrative penalty, giving him a lighter penalty in large part because of his cooperation in the investigation. Civil Beat.

Defamation, malice, and cunning. That’s how a Hawaii Island Humane Society response is characterizing a lawsuit filed in mid-April by Big Island Dog Rescue. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
The Makani Kai Air Cessna crash that led to the death of state Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy three years ago off Molokai's Kalaupapa peninsula could have been prevented, according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board. Maui News.

Despite concerns about traffic, the 1,600-acre Waikapu Country Town project advanced Tuesday as the Maui Planning Commission formalized its comments on the development's draft environmental impact statement. Maui News.

A Maui County Council committee recommended two proposed charter amendments and deferred three others Monday, as members began the task of whittling down nearly 20 proposals for November's general election ballot. Maui News.

The Historic Hawai'i Foundation is recognizing four Maui County projects for historic preservation honors during its 42nd annual Preservation Honor Awards ceremony Friday in Honolulu. Maui News.

Kauai

A $135-million project to bring Coco Palms back to life is still moving ahead. After being told that funding for the project is in the bank, the Planning Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to defer its decision on demolition of the resort until June 28. Garden Island.

An “SOS” drawn in the sand led to the rescue today of two hikers stranded overnight on the Na Pali Coast Trail on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

A couple was rescued on Kalalau beach Tuesday morning after writing a signal for help in the sand. Garden Island.

Four victims of Monday’s plane crash at the Port Allen Airport have been identified by friends and family. Enzo Amitrano, Wayne Rose, and brothers Marshall and Phillip Cabe died in the accident. The pilot has not been identified. Garden Island.

The Sunday discovery of 34 dead wedge-tailed shearwater birds near Kauai’s Spouting Horn remains under investigation, but officers with Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources still believe dogs are behind the killings. Garden Island.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hawaii could be first to put all gun owners in FBI database, Kauai skydiving plane crash kills five, Hanabusa may run for Congress, union endorsements begin, rail's future eyed, 30 shorebirds killed by dogs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Augustas Didžgalvis Wikipedia
SIG Pro semi-automatic pistol, Wikipedia photo by Augustas Didžgalvis
Hawaii could become the first state in the United States to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country. Associated Press.

Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress? The Democrat and former congresswoman likely would scare off many potential challengers for the seat she won twice before Takai. Civil Beat.

Not all candidates have filed to run for the state House and Senate, but the Hawaii State Teachers Association already knows who it is supporting in the Aug. 13 primary election. The filing deadline is June 7, but the teacher's union announced its preferred slate last Thursday, nearly all of them incumbents and all but five Democrats. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Rail board members will hold a special public meeting today to discuss the cash-strapped transit project’s ongoing costly challenges with overhead utility line clearances — a problem that an independent oversight firm has dubbed rail’s “most significant risk.” Star-Advertiser.

A new federal estimate that Honolulu rail construction could cost up to $8.1 billion — nearly $3 billion over the original budget — is forcing city officials to re-evaluate the size and scope of the largest public works project in the state’s history. Civil Beat.

John Henry Felix, longtime Oahu businessman, philanthropist and former Honolulu city councilman who once helped block rail from proceeding on Oahu during a pivotal 1992 Council vote is now poised to join the rail board. Star-Advertiser.

The state attorney general has filed criminal charges against the principal and elementary school vice principal of Myron B. Thompson Academy state charter school. Star-Advertiser.

The number of Honolulu drunk-driving arrests is down, so is the number of court cases prosecutors are initiating, and there’s another legal threat looming just months after refusing a breath test got a whole lot easier. KHON2.

Brian Ahakuelo, the embattled leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260, announced his retirement for the second time, telling union officials Saturday that he and his wife would step down as the parent union investigates the local’s finances. Star-Advertiser.

The retirement of a longtime Hawaii state senator has several candidates looking to win the open seat. Democrat Suzanne Chun Oakland, whose District 13 includes Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Nuuanu and neighboring areas, already has state Rep. Karl Rhoads, a fellow Dem, in the running. Now Kim Coco Iwamoto, another Democrat, is in the race as well. Civil Beat.

Jose Fajardo, the new president and general manager of Hawaii Public Radio, says he knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in radio and public broadcasting. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

It’s beginning to look a lot like an election year. With just two weeks to go before the filing period closes, 10 candidates have filed and another seven pulled nomination papers in a crowded mayoral race. West Hawaii Today.

A vacant parcel of land measuring a little more than 3 acres within the Kukio Golf and Beach Club resort community on the Big Island has been sold for $20 million, one of the highest land sales of its size ever in the state. Pacific Business News.

The Hu Honua Bioenergy company’s recent statements on its dealings with the power utility are “woefully inaccurate and misleading”, according to the Hawaii Electric Light Company president Jay Ignacio. Big Island Video News.

The family of musician Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder, 37, who was murdered in 2013, have sued the Hawaii Police Department for allegedly allowing his identity as a confidential informant to leak out. West Hawaii Today.

Sports Authority is shutting down all of its 463 locations nationwide, including two Hawaii Island locations among eight stores across the state, as part of a liquidation process expected to span several months. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Hemp Institute for Research and Innovation hosts a nine-day Hemp Fest to promote the benefits of industrial hemp and celebrate the theme, “Grow Our Future.”  Maui Now.

Kauai

Five people were killed in a plane crash at the Port Allen Airport Monday morning. The single-engine Cessna 182H owned by Skydive Kauai had just taken off for skydive tour around 9:30 a.m. when it crashed and burned. Garden Island.

Investigators spent the day scouring the wreckage of a skydiving tour plane that crashed at the end of a runway while taking off from Kauai’s Port Allen airport Monday morning, killing all five people on board. Star-Advertiser.

Officials are investigating the cause of a fiery plane crash on the south shore of Kauai that killed all five people on board. Hawaii Public Radio.

More than 30 wedge-tailed shearwaters were found dead Sunday in the seabird colony at Spouting Horn in the Lawai area. Garden Island.

Frank VanderSloot, the billionaire founder of an Idaho-based multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements, has purchased a historic 102-acre estate in Hawaii on the island of Kauai for $14.3 million. Pacific Business News.

Monday, May 23, 2016

National Park fees increase, Hawaii GOP convention exposes schism over Trump, Honolulu charter amendment could erase neighborhood boards, state and federal lawmakers fight homelessness, Kauai's Rapozo seeks 7th term, unemployment rate drops, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park lava glow © 2016 All Hawaii News
Beginning June 1, daily entrance fees at all national parks in Hawaii, including Haleakala National Park and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, will increase. Star-Advertiser.

Flush with an extra $3 million it never requested to address island homelessness, Gov. David Ige’s administration is being pressured to better coordinate the state’s homeless efforts as impatient legislators await progress. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Senate has approved an appropriations bill that includes “additional money for homelessness and affordable housing programs which will help Hawaii, Sen. Brian Schatz said in a statement Friday. Civil Beat.

Officials say a staff shortage in the state’s Child Welfare Services agency has resulted in social workers juggling twice as many as cases of child abuse and neglect as they should. Associated Press.

A large banner reading “Defeat Hillary, Vote Trump!” expressed the sentiments of many of the several hundred people who attended Hawaii’s Republican state convention Saturday at the Filipino Community Center’s Casamina Flores Ballroom in Waipahu. But not every local Republican backs the New York businessman-turned-politician, and that led to turmoil when state Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang took the stage. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers were reluctant again this year to strengthen the state ethics code or to tighten the rules lobbyists must follow. The Hawaii State Ethics Commission tracked more than 16 bills related to ethics and lobbying this past legislative session, which ended May 5. Each and every one died, many without so much as a public hearing. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent, seasonally adjusted, in April, from 3.8 percent during the same month last year, as the state’s labor force grew to nearly 690,000, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Pacific Business News.

The most ethnically diverse state in the country, Hawaii also has the highest proportion of non-English speakers. Tribune-Herald.

President Barack Obama on Friday joined the chorus of public officials honoring Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai, who announced Thursday he will not seek re-election but instead focus on his battle with cancer. Civil Beat.

The national retail chain Sports Authority has thanked all its loyalty members and said that “it is with great sadness” that it’s closing the program on Wednesday, May 25. KHON2.

Oahu

The Honolulu Charter Commission might ask Oahu voters to consider eliminating neighborhood boards, using the money saved to fund other means of increasing civic participation. Star-Advertiser.

About a month after the Attorney General's office's charities division opened a civil investigation into questionable spending by the Bishop Museum's former CEO, Hawaii  News Now has learned that the AG's office has launched a separate criminal probe. Multiple sources tell us that the museum is cooperating with the criminal investigation and has handed over a number of documents relating to its former president Blair Collis' use of his museum credit card.

Even though the city and state have been teaming up to clear out the persistent Kakaako homeless encampment, one member of the board that oversees the waterfront parks says the population is growing to dangerous levels. Star-Advertiser.

Two lesbians who were arrested by a Honolulu police officer after he saw them hugging and kissing in a North Shore grocery store were recently awarded $80,000 to resolve a lawsuit they filed last October. Civil Beat.

Plans to redevelop a key section of Haleiwa town won approval from the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday, despite opposition from the North Shore Outdoor Circle and others worried it might harm an adjacent Hawaiian fishpond. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The telescopes atop Mauna Kea help support a local science and technology industry. But could they also attract more manufacturing jobs? A feasibility study by Hawaii’s High Technology Development Corporation will try to find out. Tribune-Herald.

Not all Native Hawaiians oppose construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, a group of community leaders said Friday. The group has formed the nonprofit Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities Inc. — known by its acronym PUEO, for the endemic owl of Hawaiian myth and legend — and has filed a motion to intervene in the contested case currently underway. West Hawaii Today.

Kalani Flores, an appellant in the Thirty Meter Telescope court case, made his case in opposition to new rules that will regulate cultural practices on Mauna Kea. Big Island Video News.

For several years, a small office in the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has been pursuing a spaceport certification for Kona International Airport, which would make it one of the few hubs for proposed commercial flights into suborbit. Tribune-Herald.

Two firefighters who claim they were stripped of their badges by Fire Chief Darren Rosario for publicly criticizing him are suing the chief and the county. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island farmers in line for permits to begin experimental industrial hemp production say the crop could be a major boon for agriculture. West Hawaii Today.

Sayonara, Japanese? Despite dramatic decrease of speakers in Hawaii, some vow to keep it alive. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Hawaii’s attorney general has asked a federal appeals court to lift or modify an injunction halting the transfer of three state-owned hospitals in Maui County to private control under Kaiser Permanente, saying the time frame does not allow the state to reverse course and run the facilities as public hospitals. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's attorney general is asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift or change an order issued Tuesday that suspended work to transfer Maui County's three public hospitals from the state to Maui Health Systems, a subsidiary of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Maui News.

The Maui County Council passed the fiscal year 2017 budget on first reading Friday, with changes that included eliminating biodiesel fuel taxes and reappropriating housing funds originally targeted for photovoltaic systems. Maui News.

Hawaiian Homes broke ground to celebrate the beginning of construction for the first phase of the Keokea-Waiohuli subdivision in Kula on Thursday. The subdivision will be the future home for 46 Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries and their families. Hawaii News Now.

"The Last Harvest" is a series chronicling the various aspects of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.'s final harvest as it shuts down at the end of the year after a 145-year run. The shutdown of HC&S represents the end of sugar in Hawaii. The installments will run periodically throughout the year. Maui News.

Kauai

Keeping the administration in check, maintaining the budget and fighting for the safety of hard-working families is what Mel Rapozo wants do to if elected to a new term on the Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

Over the decades, Mother Nature has been pretty tenacious about breaking down the three bridges that cross Wainiha Stream on Kuhio Highway. Once again, there’s talk about replacing them. Garden Island.

Construction of a beachfront timeshare slated to be built on the Eastside is expected to begin in the fall.Coconut Beach Resort, owned by Symmetry Property Development and SPD II Makaiwa Development Resort Development LLC, will begin construction of its 330-unit resort in the Coconut Plantation Resort Area in Kapaa in September. Garden Island.

Dozens of people waved signs along Kuhio Highway in Kapaa Saturday, supporting organic farming and condemning genetically engineered food. The rally was part of the global March Against Monsanto event. Garden Island.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Takai's decision not to run leaves rare vacancy in U.S. House, Maui study shows shallow ocean shelf attracts sharks, Pro Bowl likely moving to Orlando, medical marijuana scores released, Kauai bans smoking in cars with minors, National Park Service fights to limit Kona water use, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy office of the governor
Gov. David Ige, left, with U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, courtesy governor's offie
Saying he needs to focus on recovery instead of re-election, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai announced Thursday he will not seek a second term in Congress. Takai was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven months ago, and his decision to step down touched off much speculation about who will run to succeed him. Star-Advertiser.

Citing health concerns, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, the Democrat of Hawaii, announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election this year. Civil Beat.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Mark Takai said Thursday he will not seek re-election this fall and will step down when his term ends, because his cancer has spread. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai has announced he will not seek a second term in Congress due to health problems. Associated Press.

US Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01) today announced his decision to step down after serving out the remainder of his term due to health concerns. Maui Now.

===============================

Consumers and businesses in Hawaii risk getting ripped off in routine business transactions because the state agency tasked with inspecting gas pumps, weight scales such as those at supermarkets, and taxi meters still isn’t inspecting those devices as often as it should, according to a new state report. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has yet to receive a single application from anyone interested in replacing Les Kondo as executive director. The commission has been advertising for the position since May 3. Civil Beat.

The economy in Hawaii’s four counties has been strong in recent years and prospects remain good for the near future, although growth rates will start trending lower, according to the annual county-by-county forecast released Friday by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Pacific Business News.

The president of Hawaii’s Local 5 Unite Here, Hernando Ramos Tan, filed a lawsuit Thursday morning in U.S. District Court against the labor union’s secretary-treasurer, Eric Gill. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health has released the application scores for the eight companies who were awarded licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines unveiled its new seating that allows passengers to lie down completely flat and drift to sleep. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Once more Orlando, Fla., thinks it has won the tug-of-war with Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, only this time others are saying so as well. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu is moving one its busiest satellite city halls after more than a year delay. Hawaii Public Radio.

With the cost of Honolulu’s rail project doubling, transit officials are scrambling to figure out how much more of it they can afford to build, where it will have to stop short, and what to do from there. KHON2.

The head of the local electrical workers union is now the target of dueling investigations. Earlier this week, criminal investigators with the state Attorney General's office subpoenaed financial records from the IBEW Local 1260. That follows a separate federal investigation that was launched after the union was placed under trusteeship and its Business Manager Brian Ahakuelo was put on leave. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The National Park Service didn’t provide a requested gallon figure for how much water it needs at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park to sustain its ecosystems and the cultural practices that surround them. But the Park Service did bring the state Commission on Water Resource Management up to speed Thursday on the species that it feels would be threatened by any changes in water salinity due to future pumping of the Keauhou aquifer, which drains to the sea beneath it. West Hawaii Today.

Lawsuits against the county over a Kawa Bay police action and a zip line death are on their way to being settled, with votes earlier this week by the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC, the developer of a $225 million biomass plant on the Big Island of Hawaii that is about 50 percent complete, is asking state regulators to investigate a Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary’s attempts to cancel the power purchase agreement with the two companies. Pacific Business News.

Dust, noise, health problems, lower property values and lawyers. Mix prime real estate and subdivisions with a plan for a commercial gravel crushing operation, and that’s what you get, said 20 residents who testified against a Bolton Inc. plan for that activity off of Hualalai Road above Queen Kaahumanu Highway. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

There’s a reason Maui sees more shark attacks than any other Hawaiian island, according to the results of a new study: It’s the large and protected shallow ocean shelf that acts as a magnet for tiger sharks near and far. Star-Advertiser.

Tiger shark bites peaked in 2012 and 2013, including two fatal attacks that spurred the state Department of Land and Natural Resources — working with the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System, a data collection project — to commission a nearly $200,000 two-year study of shark spatial behavior on Maui. The University of Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology conducted the research, which culminated this week in a report finding that the spike most likely isn’t due to changes in what humans are doing. Civil Beat.

New research released Thursday shows tiger sharks naturally favor waters near Maui that are close to some of Hawaii’s most popular beaches for humans. Associated Press.

A spike in shark bites off Maui in 2012 and 2013 prompted the Department of Land and Natural Resources, with additional support and funding from the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System, to commission a two-year-long study of shark spatial behavior on Maui. Maui Now.

Scientists are getting a better idea of how sharks behave and why so many attacks have occurred off Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

A rising tide of shark bites off the Maui coast over the previous two decades appeared to indicate that sharks in the area had acquired a disturbing affinity for the taste of human flesh. West Hawaii Today.

=============

Buildings are being eliminated and the color scheme and other aesthetics are being altered in development plans to address public opposition to the Makena Resort's proposed 47-acre, 158-home and commercial project. Maui News.

A day after a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order temporarily halted work to transfer Maui public hospital operations from state to private control, administrators first had to stop the momentum of what's been a "massive" effort to make the transition as of July 1, said Wesley Lo, Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui Region chief executive officer. Maui News.

Days after the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction to halt the transfer of Maui hospital operations from the state-operated hospital system to private contractor Kaiser Permanente, Maui Memorial Medical Center’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Ron Boyd, characterized the delay as an “unfortunate expectation.”  Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve a bill that prohibits smoking in cars with children under the age of 18. Garden Island.

A resolution that seeks to institute a county manager was postponed until June 15 during the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday. Garden Island.

Genetically modified food has been cleared of connections to health problems in a 388-page report released Tuesday from the National Academies of Science. Garden Island.

The Board of Education’s vote to change a policy that required principals to consider test results in teacher evaluations is a win for educators, said several local teachers. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hawaii economy pumping, Board of Education no longer links teacher pay to test scores, Honolulu ride-sharing rules advance, Hawaii Council approves mayor's $462.9M budget, Kauai kills general excise tax hike, Ala Moana hotel sold, new stamp for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hilo zoo volunteer feeds bananas to rescued feral donkeys © 2016 All Hawaii News
The days of the Waikoloa nightingales are almost over, as the last 50 of the feral donkeys left in the area are prepared for adoption. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s economy was pumping in the first quarter, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s economy experienced an excellent first quarter, according to a new report by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

The state Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved revising its teacher evaluation policy to remove student test scores as a required measure of student learning and growth. Star-Advertiser.

Student test scores may no longer be linked to a teacher’s job performance. The Hawaii State Board of Education unanimously approved recommendations that would get rid of standardized testing from the evaluation process. That’s a big deal for educators, who say the evaluations are unfairly tied to teacher pay and impact retention. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii State Board of Education unanimously approved recommendations Tuesday effectively removing standardized test scores as a requirement in the measurement of teacher performance, according to a press release from the Hawaii Department of Education. West Hawaii Today.

Did Hawaii Lawmakers Do Enough To Protect The Elderly? The state Health Department got only a fraction of what it sought, and now the online posting of care home inspection reports may stop. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric officials announced Wednesday that they’ve negotiated a huge deal to import liquefied natural gas from Canada that could mean slightly lower utility bills for customers on Oahu, Maui and Big Island. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office has begun an inquiry into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 after the parent union started its own investigation into the local organization’s finances. Star-Advertiser.

Slom Sorry For Campaign Error. The Republican state senator said he did not intend to announce his re-election using state resources. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii researchers say there's a 9 percent chance that an earthquake measuring magnitude 9 or greater will strike Alaska's Aleutian Islands within the next 50 years and send large tsunami waves to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Oahu
A City Council bill requiring drivers of both taxis and ride-hailing companies to obtain “private transportation services” certificates appears to be gathering support. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell still wants the rail project to go all the way to Ala Moana Center. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Ron Taketa said Wednesday that the commission can suspend Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha if he is indicted after a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption. Star-Advertiser.

Totto Tells Ethics Commission To Scrap ‘Silly’ Time Sheet Rules. The Honolulu Ethics Commission forced its executive director and staff to start filling out time sheets to show what they do every six minutes. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii beachfront estate that’s located near President Barack Obama’s winter vacation rental home has been sold for $17.4 million, one of the highest-priced sales of an Oahu home in recent years. Pacific Business News.

Mantra Group Ltd., the largest hotel and resort operator in Australia, is buying Outrigger Enterprises Group’s interest in the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu for $52.5 million. Pacific Business News.

An alleged Honolulu brothel owner tried to bribe federal agents in exchange for protection from raids, help with the U.S. citizenship test and recruitment of prostitutes, Homeland Security investigators said. Associated Press.

A woman awaiting trial in state court for allegedly operating a prostitution business is now also accused of bribing a federal agent. Star-Advertiser.

They’re a key component in saving lives, but we’ve learned the city’s ambulance fleet is now stretched thin. KHON2.

Hawaii

The topic of the day Wednesday was Hawaii County’s nearly half a billion dollar annual budget. But the issue most on the mind of testifiers was the removal of a dozen trees from Kamehameha Park in North Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council got an earful from residents of North Kohala who are upset about the work done at Kamehameha Park in Kapa'au. Big Island Video News.

Regulars at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course once again can play a full 18-hole round. Play at the course, which has been undergoing renovations since last summer, was restricted to the front nine holes and a temporary green since February. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Organizers of the Maui Community Organic Farmland Initiative are laying out their vision for Maui's post-sugarcane future, one in which a network of farmers turns Central Maui into a self-sustaining organic farming operation. Maui News.

The very first US Postal Service stamp to ever depict a Maui locale, will be unveiled at a special event on June 2, 2016. The Forever Stamp will depict Maui’s famed Haleakalā National Park, featuring an image of a rainbow within the crater. Maui Now.

The Stop Cane Burning group announced Tuesday that it has settled its lawsuit against the state Department of Health and Alexander & Baldwin. Maui News.

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order put the brakes Tuesday on the transition of three Maui County public hospitals to Maui Health System, a subsidiary of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Maui News.

Kauai

An increase of the General Excise Tax will not be imposed on Kauai residents. In a 4-3 vote Wednesday, the Kauai County Council voted against a bill that would have increased the 4 percent GET by a quarter of a percent. Garden Island.

The federal government is taking a look at how the island’s population of ‘a‘o (Newell’s shearwater), an endangered seabird found only in Hawaii, is being managed. Garden Island.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully tested the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System’s tracking capabilities Tuesday night on Kauai in an exercise that MDA representatives said went “very well.” Garden Island.