What they're saying about Hawaii

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Hawaii kills non-compete clause for high-tech workers, Tetris inventor goes off grid, Hanabusa to discuss Hawaiian homelands, open records less open, Waimanalo landfill could close, $1.2M land money not spent, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse 2 approaches Honolulu, courtesy Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse 2 made its first U.S. landing Friday in Hawaii, an event that highlights the state’s goals to create a clean energy sector that has “tremendous economic potential,” the head of the State Energy Office said after the solar-powered aircraft touched down at Kalaeloa Airport in West Oahu. Pacific Business News.

A plane attempting to fly around the world, powered only by the sun, has landed safely in Hawai‘i. The 4,000 mile flight over the Pacific Ocean was the plane’s longest and most challenging leg. Hawaii Public Radio.

A plane powered by the sun’s rays has landed in Hawaii after a record-breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean from Japan. Associated Press.

A bill that supporters believe will help attract high-tech workers to Hawaii and encourage growth in the local technology sector has been signed into law by Gov. David Ige. Act 158 prohibits technology companies from requiring their workers to enter into "noncompete" agreements as a condition of employment, a change that is supposed to make it easier for technology workers to move from job to job. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed several health-related bills Thursday as the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs unveiled an online service for insurance agents to file general liability and workers compensation coverage information for contractors and pest control operators. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige has approved a new exemption from the state open records law that will withhold government records from the public if releasing the information "would create a substantial and demonstrable risk of physical harm" to a person. Star-Advertiser.

The state would halt acceptance of new charter school applications for a year starting next fall under a proposed hiatus before the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission — a move advocates say would stifle growth of the local charter movement. Star-Advertiser.

Kathryn Xian is determined to get a sex trafficking law in Hawaii, despite opposition from the governor and the Hono­lulu prosecutor. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Despite a multiyear waiting list for slips at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, state operators have a vacancy rate above 10 percent, potentially costing the state tens of thousands of dollars annually. Star-Advertiser.

City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine hopes to expedite the closure of the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, a contentious issue prompting years of frustration and concerns. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Pacific Health is no longer considering an acquisition of Wahiawa General Hospital. Star-Advertiser.

Will the Hammer Fall on Homeless Encampment in Kakaako? After an attack on a legislator, some homeless people expect their tent city to be dismantled. But so far, officials are showing restraint and acknowledging there’s no place else for many of the campers to go. Civil Beat.

Tetris video game inventor Henk Rogers has taken his home off the grid and will announce his new company, Blue Planet Energy Systems, on Monday. The new venture, which will sell and install battery systems for homes and businesses running on solar technology, plans to begin sales on Aug. 1. Star-Advertiser.

Hiking survey shows some Oahu trails bursting at the seams. KITV4.

Hawaii

Almost $1.2 million has accumulated in a special account since voters in 2012 approved setting aside money for nonprofits to compete for grants to help take care of land bought with open space funds. But the county has yet to award its first stewardship grant. West Hawaii Today.

At least two incidents of vehicular violence have been committed atop Mauna Kea against its protectors, even as state agencies accuse protectors of endangering public safety through their blockade. Hawaii Independent.

Encouraged by a sound study showing their noise will have minimal impact on neighbors, backers of the Kona Motorsport Park are pushing for the project to get higher priority at the county. West Hawaii Today.

Medical marijuana dispensaries could start operating on the Big Island next year, after Gov. David Ige this week indicated he would not be vetoing the bill authorizing them. Tribune-Herald.

The Big Island — specifically, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — saw a boom in visitor numbers in May as people flocked to catch a glimpse of a Madame Pele in action. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on the control or eradication of invasive rodents and mongooses in native Hawaiian ecosystems. Maui News.

The group Stop Cane Burning and three Maui residents Wednesday filed the first lawsuit in the newly established Maui County Environmental Court that challenged as unconstitutional the state Department of Health's issuance of a cane burning permit to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. Maui News.

Kauai

A pair of proposed federal rules that spell out the process by which the 95-year-old Hawaiian Homes Commission Act should be administered is the topic of a public meeting in Anahola Tuesday night. Colleen Hanabusa, the former U.S. representative and state Senate president, is billed as the guest speaker. Garden Island.

A makeshift junkyard overtaking a stretch of undeveloped land held in trust for Native Hawaiians has grown so problematic that community leaders are binding together in an effort to put a stop to it. Garden Island.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mauna Kea Thirty Meter Telescope stalemate drags on, Kauai mulls mayor-less government, Hawaii council to change law to suit judge's rezoning, Health Department wants comments on Maui cane burning, needles washing up at Keehi beach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Photovoltaic panels in Honolulu
Hawaiian Electric Co. has submitted a new plan to Hawaii regulators regarding rooftop solar, which includes raising the cost of new systems being installed. Pacific Business News.

If there are new challenges to the construction of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the expansion of Turtle Bay Resort or the Honolulu rail system’s impact on historic sites, they could be heard in Hawaii’s Environmental Court, which debuted Wednesday. Supporters hope it will bring more consistency to environmental rulings. Last year, opponents said judges designated to the Environmental Court would be prone to improper influence. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina acknowledged a shopping bag ban will be an adjustment for residents of Oahu, the last county in the state to implement an ordinance aimed at stepping up use of environmentally friendly checkout bags, but said the law is a compromise between environmentalists and businesses that have to pay more for compostable or paper bags. Star-Advertiser.

Several of the homeless people living in a warren of plywood- and pallet-hardened tents around the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center worry that Monday’s attack on state Rep. Tom Brower by two homeless teenagers will bring unwanted attention and force them to set up shop in someone else’s neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

Those who frequent Keehi Lagoon Beach Park say needles have been washing up on shore more often. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The County Council will fast-track changes to its concurrency laws to accommodate a Hilo District Court judge’s application to subdivide his property. Judge Harry Freitas and his wife, Sandra, want to rezone their 50-acre Mountain View property from agriculture 20 acres to agriculture 5 acres. The Windward Planning Commission had recommended against the rezoning. West Hawaii Today.

As University of Hawaii officials offer no timeline for reopening the Mauna Kea summit road and visitor center, some tour operators who rely on the mountain for business say that each day brings them closer to layoffs. West Hawaii Today.

Tourists and island residents hoping to visit Mauna Kea’s summit anytime soon likely will be left disappointed as the road closure is expected to continue through the end of the week. Tribune-Herald.

The Mauna Kea summit will remain closed to the public well into next week while officials ensure the safety of a road damaged last week during the protest that blocked construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Many of the protesters opposed to plans for a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea came down from the mountain for a large gathering Wednesday around the King Kamehameha statue in Honolulu. Associated Press.

A Hawaiian mediation process known as ho‘oponopono is being offered to the first group of protesters arrested on Mauna Kea as an alternative to prosecution. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources approved more than $9,000 in fines for a Big Island tour company that operated unpermitted tours of the lava flow near Pu‘u ‘O‘o. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The state Department of Health is soliciting public comments regarding cane burning on Maui after residents called in earlier this month with concerns about a May 27 burn that enveloped South Maui, an official said. Maui News.

Sign-waving protesters line Piilani Highway near the entrance to a Monsanto farming operation in north Kihei on Wednesday morning. The protest came a day after a federal judge struck down the Maui County moratorium on genetically engineered crops passed by voters last fall. The judge ruled Tuesday that the ordinance was "invalid and unenforceable." Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday to form a council subcommittee to study a county manager form of government. Garden Island.

Members of the public testified Wednesday on a measure that would charge hikers who ignore warning signs for costs to rescue them if they get in trouble. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Judge strikes down Maui GMO ban, illegal immigrants can get Hawaii driver's licenses, Brower bruised in homeless fight, milk price drop threatens local dairy, Honolulu plastic bag ban begins, county faces ADA lawsuit over buses, park smoking ban, environmental court begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

genetically modified crops
Anti-GMO rally in Kauai, courtesy photo
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops is pre-empted by federal and state law and invalid. Associated Press.

A federal judge Tuesday invalidated a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, ruling that the prohibition is pre-empted by federal and state law. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge has invalidated Maui County’s moratorium on genetically engineered crops that voters approved last fall. Judge Susan Mollway said in a ruling filed Tuesday that the ordinance is “invalid and unenforceable” because it is preempted by state and federal law. That’s similar to the reasoning that Judge Barry Kurren relied upon to strike down both Hawaii County’s partial ban on genetically modified farming and Kauai County’s pesticide disclosure law last year. Civil Beat.

According to a federal judge, the initiative to put a hold on the use of GMO's in Maui County gets trumped by federal and state law. KITV4.

A federal judge today ruled that the Maui GMO Initiative passed by Maui voters in November 2014 is invalid because the county does not have the authority over the matter.  The order states that the County of Maui GMO ordinance is preempted and exceeds the county’s authority to impose fines. Maui Now.

Anti-GMO activists, who celebrated when the moratorium passed in November, are now vowing to keep fighting after a judge invalidated the ban on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill into law that creates a limited purpose driver’s license for people who don’t have documents to prove they are legally allowed to live in the U.S. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill that dedicates nearly $3 million of general funds to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over the next two years. Civil Beat.

Among bills Gov. David Ige signed into law Tuesday are measures requiring members of certain councils, boards and commissions to undergo training in Native Hawaiian customs and rights; making it lawful to use human remains for traditional Hawaiian cultural burial practices; and creating a new exception for people without proof of U.S. residency to get driver's licenses. Star-Advertiser.

Governor David Ige signed a bill into law this morning that makes it mandatory for certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend a course on Native Hawaiian customs and rights to be administered by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Maui Now.

Hawai’i’s new Environmental Court system will be activated statewide July 1st.   It’s only the second specialized court of its kind in the nation, but has broad jurisdiction on almost everything dealing with the environment. Hawaii Public Radio.

A ban on smoking at state parks and beaches goes into effect Wednesday, expanding on another prohibition already in place in certain city and county parks in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Last week was former Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s 77th birthday and the longtime Hawaii politician was supposed to be celebrating it in part with the long-awaited unveiling of his official state portrait. Instead, Abercrombie’s space in the gallery of ex-governors that line the walls in the current governor’s office is still empty. Civil Beat.

The West Coast is the best coast when it comes to Hawaii tourism's visitor markets. Total visitor spending from the U.S. West jumped 19.9 percent in May to $447.4 million, up from $373.2 million in May 2014, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A day after he was assaulted while taking photos at a large Kakaako homeless encampment, state Rep. Tom Brower insisted the attack was unprovoked. But the family of two teens involved said it came after the lawmaker laughed at the boys. Star-Advertiser.

Rep. Tom Brower
Suffers Facial Injuries in Altercation at Homeless Camp. Civil Beat.

After three years of warnings, it's finally here. The city's plastic bag ban becomes law Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Army divers said initial examination of the sunken fishing vessel Judy K at Pier 16 shows it is intact, but the earliest they could attempt to float the partially submerged 77-foot boat for removal would be September. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A Maui man on a mission to improve access for the disabled across the state is on the brink of settling a federal lawsuit against Hawaii County government on allegations the county’s Hele-On bus system isn’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Agriculture, bowing to pressure from Meadow Gold Dairies, unanimously approved a 23 percent drop in the state-set wholesale milk price paid to the last locally owned dairy. Hawaii island's Cloverleaf Dairy owner Ed Boteilho Jr. said he may be forced to close his dairy. Star-Advertiser.

Citing safety concerns, University of Hawaii kept the road to Mauna Kea’s summit closed above the 9,200-foot elevation Monday as workers searched for signs of damage following last week’s Thirty Meter Telescope protest. Tribune-Herald.

A new environmental court makes its debut today with the task of handling cases that involve the often complex and specialized rules governing human interaction with lands and waterways. Big Island judges have been selected to hear cases that are now being assigned to an environmental schedule — proceedings which in the past were mixed with other criminal and civil matters on court dockets. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Ridao retiring as director of Housing and Human Concerns. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa is standing by a comment he made during a recent interview that said a potential upside of the new bed-and-breakfast ordinance is that it could give locals a chance to buy properties that can no longer be rented out by tourists. Garden Island.

Kaiser Permanente is planning to open a clinic on Kauai early next year, with the goal of providing subscribers with greater access to doctors and reducing patient wait times. Garden Island.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

General excise tax surcharge, medical marijuana dispensaries survive Ige's veto pen, sex trafficking, grad student unions, ethanol repeal do not, Rep. Brower hospitalized after alleged homeless attack, Thirty Meter Telescope protesters lose restrooms, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

screen capture
Hawaii Gov. David Ige
Gov. David Ige will allow the half-percent excise tax surcharge for rail to be extended for five years to cover the cash-strapped Hono­lulu rail project's estimated $910 million shortfall, and will also allow the first medical marijuana dispensaries to be established in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County now has an opportunity to add a half-cent local surcharge to the 4 percent state general excise tax, thanks to Gov. David Ige’s notice Monday that he will not veto a bill that includes the other counties along with Honolulu’s GET extension for its controversial rail project. West Hawaii Today.

The Kauai County Council will soon have to decide whether it wants to raise taxes. Gov. David Ige announced on Monday he will not veto legislation that gives the Neighbor Islands the option of levying a tax surcharge on the state’s General Excise Tax (G.E.T.) in order to raise money for transportation. Garden Island.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Monday that he currently plans to veto eight of the 252 bills the Legislature approved this past session. Bills to combat sex trafficking, allow University of Hawaii graduate students to unionize and clarify the order of succession for lieutenant governor were among those he’ll potentially veto. Civil Beat.

Gov. Ige to veto 8 bills. Medical marijuana, rail tax not on veto list. KHON2.

Governor David Ige released his intent to veto list today. He also talked about the bills he will sign or allow to become law. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige on Monday announced his intent to veto two pieces of legislation that involve the University of Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Monday that he plans to veto a sex trafficking bill that many in law enforcement have said will make it more difficult to lock up pimps and madams. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige said he plans to veto a bill that would ban sex trafficking, making the state the only one in the nation without a comprehensive law on the subject. Associated Press.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said that he intends to veto a bill passed by the State Legislature that would repeal the ethanol facility tax credit and establish a renewable fuels production tax credit. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is changing a law so that those who practice traditional Hawaiian clean burials won't be accused of abusing a corpse. The idea is being pushed by people who say there's not enough space in cemeteries to accommodate an aging population. Associated Press.

Governor David Ige has informed the Hawai‘i State Legislature of his intent to veto a list of eight bills. Maui Now.

Hawaii will hold its first three-day Cannabis Business Expo on July 17 at the Hawaii Convention Center hosted by the medical marijuana magazine Kaulana Na Pua. Civil Beat.

Any new Hawaii businesses that have not yet signed up for Affordable Care Act qualified health insurance plans may be blocked from receiving federal subsidies until an eligibility determination system is put in place by the state. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

State Rep. Tom Brower, videotaping a homeless encampment in Kaka­ako, was reportedly assaulted by several people Monday afternoon and taken to the Queen's Medical Center, sources told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

A lawmaker involved in an altercation in Kaka'ako ended up in Queen’s Medical Center after videotaping several homeless people in the area on Monday. KITV4.

Jonah Iose, 14, and Isaiah Totoa, 17, said they got mad when state Rep. Tom Brower, also known as the sledgehammer lawmaker, refused to put away his camera after they asked nicely. Hawaii News Now.

A 37-year volunteer reserve officer of the Honolulu Police Department said he saw active-duty officer Vincent Morre assault a patron of an illegal gambling house in September but did nothing about it. Star-Advertiser.

A former probation officer pleaded guilty Monday to felony theft and forgery. Freeman Sasao, 56, a former Oahu circuit court probation officer, was charged with theft and felony offenses in May. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii National Guard is not among the options being discussed to reopen the road up Mauna Kea so construction crews can reach the site of the planned $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope, Gov. David Ige said Monday. Civil Beat.

Last week, the Governor stated that “we are a patient people in Hawaii”, but today David Ige’s patience appeared to be wearing thin. Big Island Video News.

Citing safety concerns, University of Hawaii kept the road to Mauna Kea’s summit closed above the 9,200-foot elevation Monday as workers searched for signs of damage following last week’s Thirty Meter Telescope protest. Tribune-Herald.

The Chinese are coming. So say tourism officials, who are advising island businesses to prepare themselves to handle an influx of tourists who are expected to become one of the most important markets for Hawaii businesses for the foreseeable future. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Opinion: Watching the battle over the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea and now the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) on Haleakala has reached nearly comical proportions. MauiTime.

Kauai

An arbitrator did not exceed his authority when he awarded promotions to three Kauai Police Department officers in 2009, according to a state Supreme Court ruling issued Monday. Garden Island.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Federal grants threatened as state road projects lag, Ige to list possible vetoes today, charter school sued over prayers, Hannemann returns as tourism chief, sea cucumbers protected, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island traffic copyright 2015 All Hawaii News
After years of delays on major Hawaii transportation projects, Federal Highway Administration officials are warning the state they may yank funding for new highway projects unless the state streamlines its plodding, bureaucratic system and moves roadwork into construction more quickly. Star-Advertiser.

Fallout from the state's backlog of federally funded highway projects will affect Hawaii motorists for years as the state Department of Transportation halts work on some complex, large-scale projects that would increase road capacity and ease traffic flow. Star-Advertiser.

As Gov. David Ige continues working on which bills he will approve or veto from the 2015 session, a key lawmaker says the Legislature is unlikely to override any vetoes once the list is published. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers sent more than 200 bills to Gov. David Ige last spring but he still has to decide what he’s going to do with nearly half of them. Legislation to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, authorize the counties to levy a surcharge on the General Excise Tax and make it easier for someone to change their birth certificate so it aligns with their gender identity are among the 114 bills pending action by the governor. Civil Beat.

Land board members heard from Native Hawaiians who say even though they worry about how their cultural gathering rights will be affected, they support this temporary ban on the taking of sea cucumbers. KITV4.

Mufi Hannemann has been appointed president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, a position he previously held after serving as Honolulu's mayor. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

On an island that many people think of as paradise, the struggle for residents to get to school or to work in crushing traffic gridlock is a daily part of life. Associated Press.

Honolulu rail transit officials are reminding drivers about overnight road closures this week on Fort Weaver Road for rail guideway construction along Farrington Highway. Hawaii News Now.

What will Chinatown look like in the next few years? That was the question posed at Saturday’s Chinatown Action Summit. KHON2.

Hawaii

While the 1-year-old June 27 lava flow hasn’t threatened populated areas since March, geologists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continue to study samples that might help fine-tune projections if it sends another 2,000-degree river of molten rock toward homes in lower Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Motorists driving the Queen Kaahumanu Highway near Waikoloa on Sunday morning saw hundred of runners streaming along the makai shoulder of the roadway and along Waikoloa Beach Drive. But for the first time in years, West Hawaii drivers weren’t having to adjust their course and travel times for the Kona Marathon. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Repeated floods have eroded Iao Stream's channel bed and levees over the past three decades to the point where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing new structures and stream diversions to protect surrounding homes and businesses. Maui News.

Kauai

A charter school employee in Kauai files a civil rights complaint over what he says is the practice of forced prayer on campus, illustrating the complex relationship between culture and spirituality at many of the state’s Hawaiian-focused schools. Civil Beat.

The Kauai County Council unanimously approved a Kauai Police Department request to purchase a package deal that includes more than 100 body cameras and 100 Tasers worth just under $180,000, using money from the KPD asset forfeiture fund. Garden Island.

When the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands begins consolidating its electric grid with $30 million in federal funding earmarked for the project, it’s Capt. Bruce Hay’s hope that alternative energy will be part of the solution. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s governor never planned to get involved in politics. In 1985, David Ige was 28 and working as an electrical engineer in the private sector, with no thought of ever running for elected office. Garden Island.

Molokai

A proposed 6-mile fencing and management project in the Waikolu Valley and Pu'u Ali'i Natural Area Reserve will be discussed at an informational meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Kalanianaole Hall on Molokai. Maui News.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Hawaii blocks access to Mauna Kea visitor's center and summit as protests continue, state Supreme Court rules against marijuana initiative, Hawaii worst state to do business, Honolulu pushes for general excise tax hike for rail, Maui residents fight sugarcane burning, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Big Island Video News
Mauna Kea TMT blockade, courtesy Big Island Video News
Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope remained on hold for a second straight day Thursday after two rock altars were discovered on the access road leading to the Mauna Kea summit. Star-Advertiser.

Police named the 12 individuals arrested and charged Wednesday with obstructing Mauna Kea Access Road while protesting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Tribune-Herald.

The boulders and rock walls were cleared Thursday, but the road to the top of Hawaii’s tallest mountain remained inaccessible to the public following a dramatic protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope the day before. Tribune-Herald.

Despite a handful of arrests, officers and protesters treat each other well. But this week’s attempt to resume construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope gets off to a rocky start with boulders strewn across the mountain road, forcing its closure. Civil Beat.

Mauna Kea's summit access road, visitor's center remain closed indefinitely. Hawaii News Now.

Boulders cleared, Mauna Kea road remains closed. Hawaii Independent.

Protesters arrested while preventing construction from resuming on a giant telescope have returned to the Hawaii mountain they say they’re protecting from desecration. Associated Press.

The gravel road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea has been cleared of boulders, however the road has been temporarily closed until further notice. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 1 of 3. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 2 of 3. Big Island Video News.

VIDEO: Mauna Kea TMT Showdown – Part 3 of 3. Big Island Video News.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management is working on a set of rules that will for the first time give the office legal tools to govern public and commercial access on the mountain. Associated Press.

What happened on the mountain top Thursday took some state officials by surprise, but according to the state's top lawyer, the decision about access sits squarely at the University of Hawaii. KITV4.

Hawaii has ranked as the worst state to do business for the second time in three years, according to CNBC’s annual America’s Top States for Business ranking. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii: Sun, Surf and Suicides. The islands seem to be part of a phenomenon one expert dubbed “suicide tourism,” in which some people seek out final-destination spots in well-known places. Civil Beat.

U.S. Census Bureau released the 2014 state and county population information Thursday, including estimates broken down by age, sex, the five major race groups and Hispanic origin between April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation estimated that the city would have to raise the median property tax bill by 5.6 percent to cover the existing project’s massive shortfall. How to finance that $900 million shortfall and whether to extend the half-percent surcharge were major issues at the Legislature this year, and Gov. David Ige is now considering whether to sign a bill to extend the excise tax surcharge for Oahu residents for five years to cover the rail project’s cost overruns. Star-Advertiser.

The state has a constitutional obligation to protect productive farmland, Hawaii Supreme Court justices were told Thursday during oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging a land reclassification for D.R. Horton’s 11,750-home Hoopili development. Civil Beat.

The Hawai’i Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the case challenging the 12-thousand home Ho’opili development project in Ewa. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Howard Hughes Corp. has changed its plans for a Kakaako residential project back to a mostly affordable for-sale condominium tower after requesting a Hawaii agency approve the project as a rental development. Pacific Business News.

The Bikeshare Hawaii program got a big boost when the state and city pledged $1 million each to help put an estimated 1,700 bicycles on Oahu roads next year. Star-Advertiser.

A 14-year police veteran and a former reserve officer are facing federal charges in connection with assaults in September on two gambling house patrons at the hands of another officer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Hawaii Supreme Court on Thursday snuffed out proponents’ hopes of enforcing a voter-approved ballot initiative making adult personal use of marijuana on private property the lowest law enforcement priority of Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

It was a packed house Thursday night at the Kihei Community Center as residents concerned about cane burning met with the Department of Health and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company. KHON2.

A long-awaited high school stadium on Maui finally has the green-light. It certainly seems to have been on the fast track since there’s resolution. KHON2.

Bus drivers at Maui Economic Opportunity voted to form a union Tuesday night, an official with Hawaii Teamsters Local 996 said Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai

A public meeting to discuss Kauai’s housing shortage started with a bit of irony: so many people showed up that several were turned away due to lack of space. Garden Island.

Next month, a public hearing is set for a measure that would require hikers in need of rescue — who disregard warnings — to pay the county for recovery missions. Garden Island.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hawaii officials powerless against protestors who sow road with rocks, line barricade with children, block Thirty Meter Telescope construction. Also, Honolulu ethics chief muzzled, state aquatics director flies first class amid budget cutbacks, state grows younger, more diverse in census count, Kauai rethinks barking dog law, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Big Island Video News
Children block access to Thirty Meter Telescope, courtesy Big Island Video News
 The construction relaunch of the Thirty Meter Telescope got off to a rocky start Wednesday, thanks to some antics by protesters — 12 of whom got arrested — and now the $1.4 billion project is on hold again. Star-Advertiser.

Mauna Kea Access Road remained closed Wednesday evening after opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope again halted construction of the $1.4 billion observatory following a highly coordinated protest. About 300 protesters used their bodies and large rocks to prevent construction crews from traveling more than a mile past the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, and about a dozen continued to block access above Hale Pohaku after the group claimed victory for the day. Tribune-Herald.

State law enforcement officers arrested 11 people Wednesday who were blocking a road up Mauna Kea in protest of the Thirty Meter Telescope project. Hundreds were gathered on the mountain early in the morning to stop construction crews from resuming work on the $1.4 billion project. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of protesters on a Hawaii mountain road erupted in cheers Wednesday after construction crews turned around and retreated from the site for what would be one of the world's largest telescopes. Associated Press.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters forced construction crews for the Thirty Meter Telescope to come to a halt, but it didn’t come without sacrifice. KITV4.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea is on hold once again. Hawaii News Now.

After a seven-hour demonstration, Hawaii DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) agents just informed the hundreds of protesters on Mauna Kea that officers and TMT workers will turn around and no longer ask anyone to leave. No further arrests will be made today, they say. Hawaii News Now.

The road to the summit of Mauna Kea is closed and Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff says construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope is on hold until further notice. KHON2.

10 citizens of Hawaii were arrested on Mauna Kea today for physically impeding construction crews for the controversial Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) project, which has resumed with the blessing of the state. Hawaii Independent.

Scientists hoping to build a telescope that will allow them to see 13 billion light years away, offering a look into the early years of the universe, are facing opposition from Native Hawaiian groups who say the construction site is on sacred land. Associated Press.

A Kauai man was at the Big Island’s Mauna Kea when protesters stopped construction from continuing on a giant telescope. Garden Island.

At a time when the Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatics Division was struggling for funding, its former top administrator spent more than $40,000, mostly for first-class travel. A review of former Aquatics division head Frazer McGilvray's government credit card, or pCard, expenditures shows that he took more than 30 first-class flights to the Mainland and the Neighbor Islands. Hawaii News Now.

The Department of Health has asked physicians statewide to be on alert for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome after a deadly outbreak of the infectious disease hit South Korea. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Bridging the Space Between Islands Could Lower Costs. An interisland ferry system and kamaaina discounts on air travel could stimulate economic activity, create jobs and lower prices — especially on the neighbor islands. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to adopt a media policy that severely restricts what any of its seven members, longtime Executive Director Chuck Totto and staff can tell news reporters. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission approved a new media policy Wednesday that effectively muzzles Executive Director Chuck Totto, who has long been an outspoken voice for good government. Civil Beat.

A group of farmers has sued the owner and developer of a controversial Kunia agriculture tract, claiming the farmers were misled into believing they were buying fee-simple land in the project instead of shares in the nonprofit organization that actually owns the property. Star-Advertiser.

The oceanfront parcel of land in Honolulu that had been reserved for the development of President Barack Obama’s presidential library has a new proposed use as a sports complex and for parking, the head of the Hawaii agency regulating development in the area confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Protesters lined Kamehameha Highway near Kualoa Regional Park several times in the past week to block sheriff’s deputies from enforcing a court-ordered eviction and removing members of an extended Hawaiian family from a disputed parcel of land on Johnson Road. Civil Beat.

The population of Kaka’ako is expected to double to about 30-thousand in the next 15 years or so.   That’s one of the reasons the state is currently looking at ways to retain park space in the area. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Howard Hughes Corp. will have to wait another month to learn whether Hawaii regulators will allow the Texas-based developer to change a previously approved Kakaako residential project from for-sale condominium units to rental apartments. Pacific Business News.

It has been almost a year since the city took action to resolve staffing issues within EMS, but now we are learning the department may go back to its old schedule. KHON2.

A landowner on a historic Punchbowl property has until mid-July to get a permit from the city to cut down about 50 trees that he’s already chopped down. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

We’re growing faster, younger and more diverse. The Big Island continues to lead Hawaii in the rate of population growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which late Wednesday released county-level estimates of population, sex, race and age for 2014. West Hawaii Today.

As rumors swirl about who will and won’t be on the ticket in 2016, two Big Island figures have confirmed they are considering a run for mayor. Former Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann and Puna Sen. Russell Ruderman both say it could be months before they make a final decision. Candidate filings open Feb. 1, 2016. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

While much of the attention has been on the Thirty Meter Telescope being built atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island, resistance by native Hawaiians to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala continues. KITV4.

A rally and aloha ‘āina night vigil will be held at the Central Maui Baseyard tonight in support of those who are protecting Mauna Kea from construction on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, and ongoing issues surrounding development at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui. Maui Now.

County Council Member Bob Carroll has sent two bills and a resolution to the council that would encourage the creation and maintenance of affordable housing with a centerpiece of allowing ohana affordable units on properties as small as 5,000 square feet. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council is considering a proposal to repeal the barking dog ordinance. Garden Island.