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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hawaii DOT sues for failed traffic computer system, Honolulu council may re-vote on rail following ethics charges, homeless veto overturned, Maui telescope protesters want jury trials, Kauai to keep council term limits, WWII anniversary commemorated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii dad with children © 2015 All Hawaii News
Fathers are better dads in Hawaii. At least that’s what it looks like in some key areas, according to a new study on fatherhood in Hawaii, which found that island dads are better off than their mainland counterparts in education, employment and income. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation is seeking “tens of millions” of dollars in damages from an information technology consulting company that allegedly defrauded the state in a failed contract to set up a new computer system for the state Highways Division. A lawsuit filed Wednesday also alleges the company, Ciber Inc., “used lobbyists and exercised inappropriate political influence” to persuade the state to continue making payments to the company, and to counter pressure from state transportation officials who were trying to enforce the terms of the contract. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Ciber Inc., alleging that the consulting firm “defrauded the State and engaged in other misconduct.” The state is seeking tens of millions in damages, including more than $8 million in fees it said it paid to Ciber, according to a press release from the DOT. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation has filed lawsuit against Ciber Inc. alleging the consulting firm defrauded the state and engaged in other misconduct on a project to implement new software for the department’s Highways Division. Associated Press.

More than 700 people attended the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the official end of World War II on Wednesday aboard the battleship Missouri, where the Japanese surrender was signed on Sept. 2, 1945. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. officials gathered on a decommissioned battleship in Pearl Harbor to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II’s end. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii joined U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift at a ceremony Wednesday. Associated Press.

The state Public Utilities Commission wants to know how Hawaiian Electric would be affected if, hypothetically, there was a major disaster at one of NextEra Energy’s nuclear reactors in Florida. Civil Beat.

The acquisition application that NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Co. sent to Hawaii regulators in January doesn't apply anymore, the head of the Florida utility giant’s Hawaii operation said. Pacific Business News.

Hilo Hattie, one of Hawaii's well-known retailers, has laid out its reorganization plan to to pay off some of its creditors and bring the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time after selling its Nimitz Highway headquarters to the landowner last month. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he's considering holding a re-vote on nearly a dozen rail transit-related bills tainted by ethical conflicts by former city Councilmembers Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia. Hawaii News Now.

An estimated 20,000 Oahu homeowners would soon be able to create second housing units on their properties that they can rent out to people after the Honolulu City Council approved a bill Wednesday that allows for accessory dwelling units. Star-Advertiser.

For the second time in recent months, the Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of a bill that expands Oahu’s “sit-lie” ban — this time to two Chinatown pedestrian malls. Star-Advertiser.

Sit-lie bans on Oahu are poised to expand to two Chinatown pedestrian malls in downtown Honolulu.  The City Council voted 7-2 Wednesday to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of Bill 44, which extends the sit-lie prohibition to College Walk Mall and Kila Kalikimaka Mall. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council overturned the Mayor’s veto today on a ban on sitting and lying in downtown malls Hawaii Public Radio.

Kakaako homeless camp attracting flies. Flies breeding in rotting garbage, human waste. KITV4.

Last week, as Gov. David Ige’s leadership team continued to mull over how to address Oahu’s homelessness crisis, a new idea emerged: to use portable, modular buildings — originally designed as classrooms — to temporarily house homeless people. But, if history is any indication, Ige and his colleagues will likely have to contend with some stiff community resistance before they can put any of the portables to use regardless of where they decide to put them. Civil Beat.

Lawyers representing Ewa Beach homeowners and the developer they sued disagreed in court Wednesday over the move to develop a recreational lagoon instead of a marina in the Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei area. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii regulators — for the third time — delayed making a decision on a “glass rule” for Kakaako high-rise projects regarding an issue with developer OliverMcMillan’s Symphony Honolulu mixed-use condominium tower, a spokeswoman for the developer confirmed to Pacific Business News.

A state board is still not sure what to do about a developer building a condominium tower in Kakaako with glass siding that doesn’t comply with a rule governing development in the area. Star-Advertiser.

The hot and humid weather has taken a dangerous toll at our schools. A teacher at Ewa Beach Elementary School drove herself to the hospital Tuesday for heat exhaustion. KHON2.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County Council wants Congress to sponsor a constitutional amendment curbing the ability of corporations to pump unlimited money into elections. West Hawaii Today.

A team of Hawaii and mainland scientists is seeking to take out some of the uncertainty surrounding lava flows as part of a three-year study that could help Hawaii Island residents decide when they should evacuate. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is working to repair Halekii deep well after it failed on Monday. The breakdown has customers in South Kona on water conservation. West Hawaii Today.

Kuleana and Lanakila Mangauil. The third part of our profile on the Mauna Kea movement leader examines Mangauil’s interpretation of his duty to protect the land, his people's culture and their right to self-determination. Hawaii Independent.

Maui

Two Kihei residents have petitioned the state Department of Health for stricter rules and greater oversight of agricultural burns - including cane burning by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. - that call for the health director, not the farmer, to make daily calls on whether to burn or not. Maui News.

Fourteen of the 20 protesters arrested July 31 at the Central Maui Baseyard are asking for jury trials on charges of failing to disperse when a convoy of wide-load trucks was leaving to deliver parts for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at the Haleakala summit. Maui News.

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife has just released a draft management plan for the Nakula Natural Area Reserve on Maui that is expected to help guide restoration and management activities there for the foreseeable future. Maui Now.

Kauai

Term limits for councilmembers will stay in place. As expected, a plan to repeal term limits fell one vote short in the Kauai County Council on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Board of Education mulls teacher ethics policy, cops as criminals, county council tightens pCard rules, Hawaii Health Connector slammed in second audit, Maui picks electric co-op consultant, Kakaako homeless get eviction notices, officials mark 70th anniversary of WWII surrender, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Military aircraft in Honolulu © 2015 All Hawaii News
Air Force cost-cutting is resulting in the loss of four KC-135R refueling tankers in Hawaii and 152 active-duty personnel with the deactivation of the 96th Air Refueling Squadron and removal of personnel from support units, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. officials are gathering on a decommissioned battleship in Pearl Harbor to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II's end. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Mark Takai of Hawaii will join U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift at a ceremony Wednesday. Associated Press.

The state Board of Education decided Tuesday to hammer out a policy to ensure that public school teachers can chaperone students on educational field trips without having to pay their own way. The unanimous decision followed a sometimes testy exchange with Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo, who assured board members that he thinks the situation is “fixable” and that part of the controversy stems from “misinformation.” Star-Advertiser.

After more than three months of debates and delays, the Hawaii Board of Education approved a Student Climate and Discipline policy Tuesday to guide schools in their use of Chapter 19 — state administrative rules governing school discipline issues. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Education expects that its budget to put air conditioning in more public schools will range from $2 million to $3 million this year — a tiny fraction of the estimated $1.7 billion the department says it will cost to cool classrooms across the state. Star-Advertiser.

A second state audit of the Hawaii Health Connector’s contracts with one of its main vendors further blasts the agency for a “multitude of missteps” that resulted in the abuse of public funds. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii has revised its policy on sexual assault on its campuses for the second time in six months, representing the latest effort to strengthen its response to reports of sex discrimination amid increased scrutiny from federal auditors and state legislators.Star-Advertiser

If you been to the airport lately, any airport in the state, you may have noticed a lot of construction. Some major projects are nearing completion while several others will soon get underway. KHON2.

A local health care consultant has organized a new group to represent Hawaii’s ambulatory surgery centers. Pacific Business News.

Ian Lind commentary: Dispute Muddies Already Confusing State of Sovereignty Claims. Two activists say the overthrown Hawaiian Kingdom still exists legally, but one is accusing the other of misrepresenting recent court rulings. Civil Beat.

Oahu

When Cops Become Criminals: Arrests of HPD Officers Point to a ‘Culture of Corruption’ Dozens of Honolulu police officers have been arrested over the past few years for crimes ranging from drunken driving and tampering with government records to sex assault and extortion. Civil Beat.

A case heard last year by Hawaii’s Supreme Court could change the landscape of how DUI stops are handled by police. KITV4.

City crews officially notified an estimated 20 to 25 homeless people living on the outskirts of the Kakaako homeless encampment Tuesday that they must be out within seven days, when anything they leave behind will be unceremoniously tossed in a dump truck as the city begins the long slog to clear out nearly 300 people over the next several months. Star-Advertiser.

Residents of a Honolulu homeless encampment that had grown to about 300 people have been warned that city crews are planning to clear part of the area. Associated Press.

City aims to clear houseless from Kakaako makai. Sit-lie enforcement will resume next week as the city makes a concerted effort to displace houseless families from their current encampment in the under-development neighborhood. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii has one of the worst rates of homelessness in the nation, but U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz believes the answer is staring policymakers in the face: Put homeless people into housing through an approach called Housing First, something the state and city have embarked on but Schatz says not everyone has embraced. Civil Beat.

Honolulu city transit officials look to add a grid of protected bike lanes in the coming years to help better deal with the island’s crippling car traffic – and also to accommodate the future public bike-share and rail transit systems, they say. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii plans to install machines to reduce the time travelers have to wait in immigration lines when they arrive at Honolulu Airport. Star-Advertiser.

Small business owners give Honolulu an average C grade for business friendliness, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Civil Beat.

Hawaii may need to catch up to other states when it comes to employment, labor and hiring regulations, but some small business owners say the Aloha State is making strides in providing training and networking programs, according to a nationwide Thumbtack survey. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Council members are taking a tougher stance against abuse of county purchasing cards, known as pCards, following a high-profile lapse by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Six years after it was first proposed by Mayor Billy Kenoi, a package of ethics reforms was grudgingly advanced Tuesday by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to pursue public ownership of Hawaii Island’s electric utility came under fire Monday in testimony supporting the proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hawaiian Electric companies. Tribune-Herald.

The Kamehameha Avenue reconstruction project is nearing completion, though motorists might have to wait until the end of the month before finally seeing all four lanes of the major Hilo thoroughfare reopen. The $13.2 million project, which began in March 2014, was most recently expected to be complete near the start of this month. Tribune-Herald.

Community concerns are leading to a route to school that doesn’t include discarded needles and speeding traffic in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

As Hurricane Ignacio moved further away from the Big Island Tuesday, keeping impacts from the storm minimal, Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira sat down with Big Island Now to address the busy hurricane season.

Maui
Maui County has chosen Oklahoma-based Guernsey to study the possibility of breaking away from Maui Electric Co., the county’s Office of Economic Development said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Maui has hired an Oklahoma-based firm to study utility options for the community to give it a better sense of whether the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy is in the county’s best interest. Civil Beat.

State and county lawyers are facing off in a legal rumble over whether the Maui County Council can keep secret minutes from a closed-door Aug. 14, 2013, strategy discussion regarding an investigation of the old Wailuku Post Office demolition. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department is seeking public input by way of a citizen survey to help the department evaluate public attitudes and opinions pertaining to the level of law enforcement services provided. Maui Now.

More than 100 fans were donated to Maui public middle schools Monday as Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and Goodfellow Bros. teamed up to try to bring some cool relief to schools that have seen temperatures of more than 90 degrees in their classrooms since school began in late July. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will discuss today a request from the county attorney to authorize an initial payment of up to $50,000 to retain special counsel to defend a Kauai police officer charged with negligent homicide in a pedestrian death. Garden Island.

Around 15 people helped clean up 75 acres in Kilauea recently in the name of transforming a makeshift dumping grounds into a community garden. Garden Island.

Molokai

The Molokai ferry adopted its new sailing schedule Tuesday in hopes of cutting mounting deficits of about $40,000 a month, but the changes may come at the expense of traveling Molokai High School athletic teams, officials said. Maui News.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hawaii attorney general gets serious about campaign spending laws, new executive director for struggling Hawaii GOP, Native Hawaiian election opponents seek injunction, Tax Office gets collection agency to nab scofflaws, NextEra Energy defends Hawaiian Electric purchase plan, Takai seeks federal road funds to backstop rail project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Facebook photo
Rep. James "Jimmy" Tokioka
In the first campaign spending violation ever prosecuted by the state attorney general's office, five-term state Rep. James Tokioka pleaded no contest Monday in Honolulu District Court and agreed to pay a fine of $1,000 for filing an incomplete and inaccurate campaign committee report. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. James “Jimmy” Tokioka will pay $1,000 for violating campaign finance laws during the 2014 primary election, under a plea agreement entered Monday. Garden Island.

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a Native Hawaiian voter roll and constitutional convention have asked a federal judge to halt an election of delegates while the case is being considered in court. West Hawaii Today.

State tax officials plan to hire a private collection agency to chase down tax delinquents, with a special focus on mainland accounts involving relatively long-term tax debtors who owe larger amounts. Star-Advertiser.

Na‘i Aupuni, the newly formed organization the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has entrusted with the management of the current Native Hawaiian self-determination process, set the registration deadline to file as a delegate candidate to the Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, or ‘Aha, for September 15. Hawaii Independent.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company looking to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., countered its critics in a state filing Monday, promising to bring down fixed costs on customer bills while helping Hawaii meet its 100 percent renewable electric power goal. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric are piling on the promises to help their proposed $4.3 billion merger deal win the approval of the state Public Utilities Commission over the coming year. Civil Beat.

NextEra Energy Inc., the Florida company proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, outlined 50 new commitments Monday, including nearly $1 billion in customer savings and economic benefits in the first five years after the deal closes that are aimed at addressing concerns from Gov. David Ige, the Consumer Advocate and the 28 intervenors in the case before state regulators. Pacific Business News.

NextEra Energy hopes its latest filing before the Public Utilities Commission will show how its proposed $4.3 billion purchase of the Hawaiian Electric companies will benefit consumers. Tribune-Herald.

Florida-based company NextEra Energy is defending its plans to acquire Hawaiian Electric, saying that it is committed to Hawaii's renewable energy goals. Executives from the company filed written responses to the Public Utilities Commission addressing concerns raised by Gov. David Ige, the Consumer Advocate and others on Monday, outlining 50 new promises on issues including retaining local management. Associated Press.

NextEra Energy Inc. plans to expand Hawaiian Electric Co.'s smart meter pilot project to nearly all of its 450,000 customers in Hawaii. That's a key highlight of the Florida company's latest filing, in which NextEra promises 50 new conditions or benefits for consumers as part of its $4.3 billion buyout of HECO. Hawaii News Now.

NextEra and Hawaiian Electric filed hundreds of pages of documents in its case before the Public Utilities Commission Monday, the same day a local solar industry group began running ads against the merger on social media. KITV4.

NextEra Seeks to Control Hawai`i Message. Yesterday morning NextEra sent out copies of some of their rebuttal testimony to selected members of the press. NextEra granted interviews to some media people. Ililani Media.

Marcia Tagavilla appointed new Hawaii Republican Party executive director. MauiTime.

The Hawaii Republican Assembly, far right faction of the state’s GOP (the self-declared “Republican wing of the Republican party”) has sent out an open letter written by its outspoken president, Tito Montes, in which he accuses Fritz Rohlfing JR., current state chair of the Hawaii Republican Party, of “unethical and potentially illegal activities and repeated malfeasance…”  Hawaii Independent.

Always Investigating found a homeless-student problem far bigger than any high-profile encampment. Thousands across our state and in the classrooms face hurdles just to get to school, and some may be falling through the cracks. KHON2.

Only eight states are worse for drivers than Hawaii, according to a new study. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai is touting a new proposal that he says could help the state reduce its more than $600 million backlog in federal highway projects and, at the same time, help ease the Honolulu rail project's budget problems. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai said on Monday the state needs to spend money faster or risk missing out on new appropriations from Congress. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a $173 million project to minimize damage to Waikiki and surrounding neighborhoods if a “100-year flood” causes the Ala Wai Canal to overflow. Such a flood —  which has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year — would destroy 3,000 properties and cause $318 million in structural damages, according to the Corps’ newly released analysis. Civil Beat.

Want some free public land on Diamond Head with a million-dollar view? Multi-millionaire Angus Mitchell has apparently used  state land beside his house on Diamond Head’s southeastern slopes rent-free for nearly a decade, according to state Department of Land and Natural Resources documents. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu plans to notify the homeless living on the outer edges of the Kaka’ako encampment that they must vacate the area by September 8th. Hawaii Public Radio.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program was recognized this week as one of the best in the nation by the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The first-ever Big Island Cacao Conference at the Komohana Research Station was a blend of brainstorming and assessment with, of course, a bit of delicious chocolate mixed in. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A total of 100 fans were donated today to middle and intermediate public schools as part of the “Keep Our Keiki Cool” program initiated by Goodfellow Brothers and Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui. Maui Now.

Kauai
County officials announced that repair work on the seawall fronting Pono Kauai Resort in Kapaa will begin on Sept. 8. Garden Island.

Molokai

A Molokai High School junior and her sister predict that if no management plan is done on the invasive red mangrove on Molokai it will overtake nearly 40 percent of Molokai's fringing reef in the next century. Maui News.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hawaii paniolo cowboys honored, state workers rack up big overtime, Hawaii Health Connector extended, lights in sky likely 1981 Soviet payload, park service to poison Haleakala pine trees, Micronesian center opens, little interest in Hilo university village, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Little cowboys on parade © 2015 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Tourism Authority honored four ranches on Thursday for their commitment to perpetuating the state's unique paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, traditions that date back to the early 1800s. Pacific Business News.

A handful of state workers who are responsible for allocating federal funds to county water projects have raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay in recent years, raising concerns that staff has been abusing overtime and sabotaging efforts to upgrade antiquated accounting processes that would make things more efficient. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige isn’t anyone’s idea of a disruptive force, but he helped to shake up the islands’ power elite at the recent 2015 Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summits & Expo at the Honolulu Convention Center. The unassuming governor turned the clean-energy event on its side in his opening-day speech when he made it clear that he intends to help drive a radical transformation of Hawaii’s most critical industry: electricity. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii is likely to extend the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector through October 2016 for $3.3 million, the health insurance exchange’s officials announced Friday at its board of directors meeting. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Board of Education is slated to consider a considerably scaled-back student discipline policy on Tuesday, after delaying a vote on the proposal for more than three months while trying to address the concerns of school principals. Civil Beat.

Many residents across the state observed unusual streaks of light or a “fireball” over Hawaiian skies late Sunday night, raising questions about what it could possibly be. An official with NASA's orbital debris program told Hawaii News Now that based on investigations, the object was likely a Soviet payload -- Cosmos 1315 -- launched in 1981. Hawaii News Now.

A new Hawaii law requires private insurers to cover medically necessary orthodontic work of up to $5,500 for oral-facial anomalies. That brings the Aloha State in line with 16 other states and Medicaid insurance. Star-Advertiser.

Gridiron 2015, put on by Honolulu’s press corps, public relations pros and supporters, poses the question “Is nothing sacred?” And the answer is a resounding “no.”  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has its sights set on establishing 300 acres of pristine forestland near Hawaii Kai as the Pia Natural Reserve Area. The parcel was offered as a donation by interests that include retired car dealer James Pflueger and is home to a variety of rare plants and animals. Civil Beat.

A City Council bill to allot some parking spaces for car-sharing companies passed third reading unanimously and was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell this month. Star-Advertiser.

On Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced plans for the city’s next protected bike lane and future mauka makai routes to establish a grid in urban Honolulu. KITV4.

The first military “gasifier” waste-burning power plant on Oahu — using palms damaged by the coconut rhinoceros beetle as some of its fuel — is expected to be up and running by the end of the year as part of a $20 million Air Force energy “microgrid” demonstration project for the Hawaii Air National Guard at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A “one-stop center” pilot project that aims to help Micronesians in Hawaii was opened in Kalihi Friday. The center wants to serve as a “central hub” linking Micronesian communities, families and individuals with public services and other resources. Civil Beat.

The Department of Agriculture appears to have won the battle against the little fire ant, one of the world's most invasive species in some Honolulu neighborhoods. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Ka‘u residents angered by a massive solar energy project are changing county law to prevent another of its kind from landing in a residential area. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo hopes to boost interest in plans for its University Village after a request for offers from developers attracted only one applicant. Tribune-Herald.

Lower electricity rates will translate to slightly lower water bills for households that get their water from the county Department of Water Supply. West Hawaii Today.

Plans to redevelop an aged resort area into an educational hub at Kahaluu are making their way through the regulatory process. West Hawaii Today.

Friday afternoon marked the final of three public sessions to review suggestions for a master plan aimed at promoting beautification and improved access to Hilo’s downtown. Tribune-Herald.

Following the August 27 oral arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court in appeal of the state land board’s approval of the Thirty Meter Telescope’s conservation district use permit, the appellants and their supporters are feeling positive. Big Island Video News.

Maui

To prevent Haleakala Crater from turning into a pine forest, the national park will be flying helicopters in September and October to 3,000 invasive trees growing on cliffs and terrain inaccessible by foot and spraying a herbicide tree by tree. Maui News.

The Shops at Wailea sold for $342 million earlier this month to a Chicago-based company that has investments worldwide, according to state records. Maui News.

Until recently, the record-setting, nearly $41.8 million sale of a 4.23-acre residential property in Makena has been hush-hush, supposedly shrouded in secrecy and tied up in binding confidentiality agreements. Associated Press.

A&B Properties, Inc. today announced it has completed the sale of an 11-acre site to Lowe’s for the construction of a 167,000-square-foot store at Phase II of the Maui Business Park in Kahului. Maui Now.

Maui Now received multiple reports late Sunday evening of mysterious lights seen over the night skies.

Kaihalulu Beach in Hana is well-known as a dramatic hidden cove of deep red sand and jagged black lava rocks, but getting there can be dangerous. Maui News.

Kauai

The state is accepting public comment until Sept. 8 on plans that would limit daily visitors to Kauai’s Haena State Park. Star-Advertiser.

The Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative is refining an effort that uses low-powered lasers to create a visual "light fence" that helps night-flying endangered seabirds steer clear of power lines and transmission poles. Star-Advertiser.

Ask any beekeeper the worst thing to hit the islands since Hurricane Iniki and they’ll probably tell you this: Varroa mite. Garden Island.

The road to Polihale State Park will remain closed until at least Wednesday while crews work to clear debris from the roadway and repair the first bridge, according to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hawaii Supreme Court hears Mauna Kea Thirty Meter Telescope case, Hurricane Ignacio veers slightly north of islands, Waikiki sand still contaminated with bacteria, PUC approves Molokai ferry changes, Honolulu homeless to be rousted soon, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy ʻŌiwi TV screen shot
Hawaii Supreme Court screen grab, courtesy ʻŌiwi TV
 The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court heard oral arguments today for a case challenging the issuance of the Conservation District Use Permit by the Board of Land and Natural Resources to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo for the TMT project. Oiwi TV.

The legal battle over the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope drew a step closer to resolution Thursday when the state’s highest court heard oral arguments in the case. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Supreme Court justices expressed skepticism about the state Land Board’s process of approving construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea during oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s endorsement of the $1.4 billion project. The justices grilled state attorneys Thursday about whether the Board of Land and Natural Resources was wrong to approve a permit for the project in 2011 prior to holding a contested case hearing. Civil Beat.

Attorneys representing the state, the University of Hawaii and opponents of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope project presented their cases in oral arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court in Downtown Honolulu Thursday morning. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a case involving building one of the world’s largest telescopes on Mauna Kea. Opponents are challenging a permit allowing the telescope to be built on conservation land. Associated Press.

Hawaii Supreme Court hears Mauna Kea telescope case. KITV4.

Long before dozens of people were arrested while protesting against building a giant telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, there were years of environmental studies, public hearings and court proceedings. Associated Press.

The chair of the Mauna Kea advisory group to the University of Hawaii said he is offended by Governor David Ige’s request that the management of 10,000 acres of mountain land leased by UH be returned to the jurisdiction of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Big Island Video News.

Hurricane Ignacio has maintained its speed in the Central Pacific as its track takes the storm near the Hawaiian islands. The National Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. Friday, Ignacio was located approximately 840 miles east-southeast of Hilo. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is challenging the Ethics Commission’s stance that public school teachers may not travel free as chaperones on students’ educational field trips that they organize with tour companies. Star-Advertiser.

Establishing direct flights between Honolulu and Hong Kong and London are the top priorities for Hawaii visitor industry leaders when it comes to establishing air service with underserved international markets, according to an informal poll taken Thursday at the state's annual tourism conference. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Thursday it’s a top priority for Hawaii that the U.S. be able to process Japanese travelers for immigration and customs before they even get on a plane for the islands. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s largest interisland cargo carrier has encountered what it hopes is the first ripple of a rebound in goods it transports between islands. Star-Advertiser.

The United Health Foundation ranks Hawai‘i number 1 among states in overall health, crediting us with double digit decreases in smoking and binge drinking in the last two years.  Still, 22% of Hawai‘i’s  population is considered obese, a situation three fitness buffs are trying to address. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu
For a second consecutive month, those overseeing Honolulu’s rail project have held off approving a nearly $9 million delay claim for Ansaldo Honolulu, the firm that’s creating the elevated transit system’s rail cars and operating system. Star-Advertiser.

Time is now running out for 20 to 25 people who, if still living on the outer edges of the Kakaako homeless encampment Sept. 8, will be rousted from their makeshift homes in the first sweep since conditions there sparked renewed efforts to address Oahu’s homeless problem. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Thursday that the city will resume the enforcement of the storage property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances in the Kakaako homeless encampment after Labor Day. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell defended his administration's effort to shore up areas of Waikiki during a tourism industry event held on Thursday, including recent city efforts to continually raise funds for replenishing sand on Waikiki beaches that are lost to erosion. Pacific Business News.

The first partial sweep of the Kaka‘ako homeless encampment will take place the day after Labor Day.  Mayor Kirk Caldwell says notices will be given to people living there next Monday—telling them to leave.  The area is a small portion of the Kaka‘ako Waterfront where about 20 to 25 people are living. Hawaii Public Radio.

Environmental groups are calling for updates to Hawaii's wastewater systems in the wake of two beach closures due to sewage from a treatment plant spilling near the ocean. Associated Press.

UH Manoa study points to bacteria left in sand post-sewage spill. KITV4.

When nearly half a million gallons of raw sewage poured into Ala Moana Beach Park on Monday, the city tested nearby areas for bacteria levels caused by the sewage spill. But it didn't test for sewage in Waikiki that day. Hawaii News Now.

About 1 million gallons of treated but not yet disinfected wastewater have spilled on the Windward Shore, forcing health officials to close beaches from the Halona Blow Hole to Erma’s Beach on Thursday. Civil Beat.

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking the next step in addressing questions about the Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage facility.  More than 140 comments were received during the public comment period over the Navy’s Administrative Order on Consent to repair and maintain the facility. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

A veil of secrecy was drawn tightly around a hearing Wednesday and Thursday over pay and benefit packages for the county’s 14 Fire Department battalion chiefs, who say their compensation has not kept pace with their unionized counterparts in the department. West Hawaii Today.

The Big Island’s first hydrogen production facility, part of a $5 million demonstration project, will be built in Kona rather than Puna. Tribune-Herald.

The Queen’s Health Systems is in discussion with Kona Community Hospital about a potential partnership on Hawaii's Big Island. Pacific Business News.

The public will soon have vehicle access to part of a massive forest reserve on the southeastern slopes of Mauna Loa. West Hawaii Today.

A new lava flow has started pouring from Kilauea's Pu'u O'o vent on the Big Island.  The breakout first started early Thursday morning and is headed in a new direction. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. sought flexibility in the amount of scheduled guaranteed power it would supply Maui Electric Co. during recent power purchase agreement negotiations because the sugar plantation said it needs to trim its use of coal and other fossil fuels and to improve its operations, according to a filing with the state Public Utilities Commission last week. Maui News.

The landmark Buzz's Wharf Restaurant, which closed last year, may be leveled after nearly 50 years at Maalaea Harbor to make way for dry dock space and increased boat traffic. Maui News.

The Maui Ocean Center plans to release six juvenile green sea turtles into the open sea this afternoon to continue their life in the wild. Maui Now.

Six juvenile turtles were released from the Ali'i Nui tour boat in a private ceremony for aquarium staff, members of the Hawaii marine science community and dignitaries.Maui News.

Kauai

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, shared his thoughts on this and other topics he is working on in Washington, D.C. during a wide-ranging discussion with the Lihue Business Association Thursday morning, and he also sat down for an interview with The Garden Island.

The beach fronting the St. Regis Princeville Resort reopened following a 2,000 gallon sewage spill caused by a broken line. Garden Island.

Molokai

The Public Utilities Commission has approved Sea Link of Hawaii's proposed changes to its sailing schedule and operations to help keep the Molokai ferry afloat. Maui News.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hurricane Ignacio strengthens, Hawaii schools last in nation for ACT scores, ethics charges cast pall over Honolulu rail vote, Supreme Court to hear Thirty Meter Telescope case today, Maui council forgives $4M homeless shelter debt, Waikiki beaches reopen after sewage spill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Ignacio 5 a.m. Thursday, courtesy National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Ignacio is quickly strengthening in waters east-southeast of Hawaii and is forecast to track toward the state. The National Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. Thursday, Ignacio was located approximately 1,135 miles east-southeast of Hilo. It had maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Ignacio could become a Category 3 hurricane by Friday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii saw a slight increase in the percentage of high school students meeting college readiness benchmarks on the ACT last year, but still posted the lowest average composite scores in the nation, according to a report released Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Amid sweeping educational reforms aimed at better preparing Hawaii’s public school graduates for college, the state’s average ACT composite score improved only slightly last year to 17.5, trailing the national average of 21 out of 36, according to results released Wednesday for the national college entrance exam. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time, the pool of money set aside to pay for health coverage for Hawaii’s future state and county retirees climbed to more than $1 billion in July, but fund managers didn’t have much time to savor that achievement. Star-Advertiser.

Visitor spending in Hawaii last month rose 4 percent to $1.42 billion, compared to a year ago, as arrivals grew 6 percent, the strongest month on record, putting the state on course according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa is demanding that the city either stop funding the $6 billion rail project or have the City Council vote again on measures that have been called into question by the Ethics Commission. The issue stems from former Council members Romy Cachola and Nestor Garcia paying fines to settle cases brought by the commission for voting on bills and resolutions involving rail without first divulging possible conflicts of interest. Star-Advertiser.

Officials building Honolulu’s $6 billion commuter rail line thought they got a good deal when a local contractor submitted a construction bid for three stations in west Oahu that came in lower than expected. Then, after being awarded a $56 million Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation contract, Nan, Inc., apparently had second thoughts about doing the work and has since tried to wriggle out of its obligations. Civil Beat.

One of Hawai‘i’s most popular beaches is back in business. Honolulu city officials announced the reopening of Waikīkī and Ala Moana Beach after test results revealed nearshore waters were no longer contaminated. And while the beaches were closed for two days, tourism officials are hopeful it won’t impact the image of Hawai‘i as a visitor destination. Hawaii Public Radio.

Ala Moana Beach Park and Waikiki Beach reopened Wednesday after test results indicated near-shore waters were never affected by sewage gushing into the ocean from Monday’s monster rainstorm. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell admits that mistakes were made and the city should be more prepared for the storms to come this hurricane season. KHON2.

U.S. Air Force researchers will develop a microgrid demonstration project for renewable fuel sources at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam under a new $20 million agreement announced today by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Civil Beat.

Nearly 100 Oahu residents gathered Tuesday to listen to a developer make his case for 51 wind turbines to be moored in the ocean 12 miles northwest of Kaena Point. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that his leadership team worked with a group of service providers to relocate about 10 percent of homeless people who were living at the encampment in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

Hawaii
Hawaii's Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments today in a case involving building one of the world's largest telescopes on Mauna Kea. Associated Press.

Lanakila Mangauil and the foundation for kapu aloha. Part two of our profile on Joshua Lanakila Mangauil examines the origins of the kapu aloha, a Hawaiian philosophy of non-violence and respect that the Mauna Kea defenders are using to deflect development advances on the sacred mountain. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County residents applying for building permits during the past two months might have found the process to come with less red tape than usual. In an overhaul of the permit review process, the county as of July 1 instituted a new three-tier classification system that allows nearly half of applications to be expedited and began pre-screening applications to weed out those that are faulty and incomplete. Tribune-Herald.

Ohia trees and products may no longer be shipped off the Big Island in a new state effort to keep a deadly fungus from spreading into forests on other islands. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council agreed Tuesday to forgive a loan of more than $4 million to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, saying the action would do more good than harm and would be for the "common good." Maui News.

The Maui County Council approved on first reading Tuesday a bill to allow roadside stands, farmers markets, agriculture retail structures and food establishments as accessory uses in the county agricultural district. Maui News.

The Maui Ocean Center plans to release six juvenile green sea turtles into the open sea this afternoon to continue their life in the wild. Maui Now.

Hawaii Pacific Health and Kaiser Permanente Hawaii submitted their proposals Monday afternoon to privatize public hospital facilities in Maui County, said Wesley Lo, chief executive officer of the Maui Region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Maui News.

Kauai

On Kauai, visitor numbers reached as high as 115,666 last month. While that wasn’t an island record, it is the largest influx of visitors in recent years. Garden Island.

Not your typical classroom. Tucked away in the lush North Shore landscape, Kauai Community College satellite gives farmers, others easy college access. Garden Island.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New tropical storm on Hawaii horizon, attorney general charges Kauai lawmaker for campaign spending violations, county bus system settles ADA lawsuit, Maui council wants to forgive $4M loan, error caused Honolulu sewer spill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy National Weather Service
Tropical Storm Ignacio 5 a.m. Wednesday Aug. 26, courtesy National Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Ignacio has intensified slightly as it continues on a westward track in the Eastern North Pacific. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, Ignacio was located approximately 1,425 miles east-southeast of Hilo. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour with higher gusts. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center. Hawaii News Now.

Tropical Storm Ignacio continued to strengthen and remains on track to become a hurricane and pass close to the Big Island on Monday. At 5 a.m. Wednesday, the storm was about 1,425 miles east-southeast of Hilo, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, moving west at 9 mph. Tropical storm force winds extend 60 miles from the center. Star-Advertiser.

Section 8 Waiting Game: Even With Vouchers in Hand, There May Be No Place to Rent. Participants in the federally funded rental subsidy program may wait years to finally become eligible for subsidies, but then still struggle to find housing in Hawaii’s rental market. Civil Beat.

State Rep. James Tokioka has entered into a plea agreement to settle a charge by the state attorney general’s office that he “recklessly” filed inaccurate reports detailing donations to his re-election campaign last year. Star-Advertiser.

The state Attorney General’s office is charging Rep. James “Jimmy” Tokioka for violating campaign finance reporting requirements during the 2014 election. Garden Island.

The state Attorney General has filed charges against a state lawmaker for a campaign reporting violation. Kauai Representative James Tokioka is scheduled to appear in court next Monday. KHON2.

A proposed merger between the parent company of cable provider Oceanic Time Warner and Charter Communications Inc. is currently before the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

A breakdown in communication led to a spill that dumped more than 500,000 gallons of sewage into the ocean at Ala Moana Beach Park on Monday morning, a city official said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu beaches from the Kapahulu Groin to Point Panic remained off-limits Tuesday and will stay closed pending the results from water testing, city officials said. Civil Beat.

Portions of Hawaii's famed Waikiki Beach remained closed Tuesday as the City and County of Honolulu made plans to reopen Ala Moana Beach Park on Wednesday, two days after untreated wastewater overflowed from manholes near Ala Moana Center and into storm drains that led to the ocean. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu city officials are clarifying the reasons that Waikiki Beach remains closed today.  Heavy rains from tropical depression Kilo soaked the state and led to a wastewater and sewage spill. Hawaii Public Radio.

Many beachgoers showed up at beaches in the Ala Moana and Waikiki area Tuesday, unaware that the beach areas were closed because of possible contamination from more than 500,000 gallons of sewage that flowed into the ocean from storm drains near Atkinson Drive. Shoreline waters were closed from Point Panic in Kakaako to the Kapahulu Groin at the other end of Waikiki. On Tuesday officials clarified that Ala Moana was closed because of the sewage spill, while Waikiki beaches were closed because of a brown water advisory from storm runoff. Star-Advertiser.

It's not only an eyesore – it's illegal. Overgrown trees and bushes are threatening public access to beaches in East Oahu. KITV4.

A second Kakaako condominium tower developer is seeking relief from a state rule governing the opaqueness of window glass. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County has embarked upon a two-year plan to improve services for those disabled individuals who can’t ride the Hele-On public bus system. The paratransit plan, which will cost about $800,000 the first year, is part of a 20-page settlement agreement signed Aug. 13 by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi in Honolulu after the county was sued for not complying with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii got its first glimpse Tuesday of what the commute along Queen Kaahumanu Highway — or a trip to the airport — will be like for a couple of years. West Hawaii Today.

The Hamakua community gathered at the Honoka’a Gym on Tuesday evening (Aug. 25) to discuss possible solutions to the issues that surround the Waipi’o Valley Access Road. The County of Hawaii is offering to assist the Waipi’o Valley residents and stakeholders in a road improvement project, if the community supports the idea. Big Island Video News.

Maui

A Maui County Council committee is proposing to forgive repayment of more than $4 million that the county loaned in 1998 to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center for construction of its Hale Makana O Waiale rental housing facility in Wailuku. Maui News.

Maui police said the Kahului airport’s Emergency Operation Center received a call threatening harm to an outbound flight Tuesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific Health are competing to become the first private managers of state hospitals. Pacific Business News.

Small-business owners interested in learning the basics of government contracting are invited to attend a free workshop Sept. 17 at the Maui Beach Hotel. Maui News.

Kauai

A 2,000 gallon sewage spill is keeping The St. Regis Princeville Resort guests out of the water fronting the high-end hotel while state health officials wait on water sample test results. Garden Island.

Molokai

A $1.2 million project to replace a 19,500-gallon steel water tank in Ho`olehua with a sturdier concrete tank is nearing completion. It’s a replacement that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) hopes will provide a better long-term solution for water pressure problems in the area. Molokai Dispatch.