Friday, February 24, 2017

Task force urges delay of new jail, Maui wind farm seeks to kill more endangered bats, most want recreational marijuana, homelessness as a medical condition, Ellison's Lanai water at issue, rat lungworm debated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Jail guard in Hilo © 2017 All Hawaii News
A 13-member task force led by Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael Wilson is recommending that the state hold off on its plans for building a new jail on Oahu until the group can issue a final report at the end of the year that provides a road map for reforming the state’s correctional system. Star-Advertiser.

The State Legislature created a task force last session to provide recommendations to improve Hawai’i’s Correctional System.  They briefed lawmakers on an interim report today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislation that would classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and allow the state to pull from its $2 billion annual Medicaid fund to house those who qualify is on its way to a vote on the floor of the Hawaii State Senate. West Hawaii Today.

A growing number of Hawaii residents want marijuana to be legalized for recreational use, a poll released Thursday by the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii shows. Star-Advertiser.

A bill in the Hawaii Legislature could limit some people's rights to file public records requests with public agencies, raising concerns that it could reduce journalists' and community members' access to information. The proposal would allow a state office to declare a person a "vexatious records requester."  Associated Press.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands didn’t produce any new housing units for Native Hawaiians last fiscal year, even though it has $38 million in unspent federal funds. Civil Beat.

Flaws in protective order system leave abuse victims vulnerable. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering putting up hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight rat lungworm disease, a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people's brains. Associated Press.

State lawmakers were briefed on the current status of rat lungworm disease that is worrying East Hawai’i Island residents. Hawaii Public Radio.

An informational briefing was held at the State Capitol on Wednesday, providing state legislators with an update on Rat Lungworm Disease from the Department of Health and a state-wide RLD Joint Task Force. Big Island Video News.

Based on the state's latest data, Hawaii has about 450,000 homes. A little more than 194,000 of those are rentals. Real estate analyst Rick Cassiday estimates the military occupies between 10,000-to-20,000 of those units. KITV.

Anti-Trump Movement Urges Hawaii Politicians To Take A Stand. Members of a new hui called Indivisible Hawaii are letting the state’s congressional delegation know they are worried about the country. Civil Beat.

Oahu

State lawmakers have advanced a bill aimed at providing some relief to Waianae Coast residents who endure hours of daily traffic congestion. Star-Advertiser.

Condominium sales in Kakaako helped the owner of Ward Village earn a $202 million profit last year that was up about 60 percent from $127 million the year before. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Mayoral Luncheon will be held at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay from 11:30 a.m - 1:30 p.m. Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

East Hawaii lawmakers want to beef up Hawaii Community College’s agriculture program. Tribune-Herald.

A Hilo nursing home facing loss of Medicare certification instead achieved a flawless inspection. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A Maui wind farm wants the government to increase the number of endangered Hawaiian hoary bats it is allowed to kill, after passing the limit 15 years ahead of schedule. Star-Advertiser.

Maui coffee farmers worry that state Department of Agriculture standards are tainting the image of an industry that’s already losing good beans to the coffee berry borer. Maui News.

Maui Land &Pineapple Co. kept liquidating assets during the final three months of last year in a continuing strategy that enabled the company to produce a $7.4 million profit in the fourth quarter that compared with a $900,000 loss in the same period the year before. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies plans to begin farming Hawaii’s largest biofuel crop project with a ground blessing scheduled for Friday on the Valley Isle, the Maui company said this week. Pacific Business News.

Safeway will anchor the new Hoʻokele Shopping Center, a 94,000-square-foot center located at the gateway to Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.’s Maui Business Park in Central Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

The US Postal Service plan to close the Rice Street post office throws a wrench into the revitalization plan for downtown Lihue, but it could also help with safety concerns for pedestrians. Garden Island.

The state has said its plan to harvest non-native trees in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve and the ongoing construction of the bridge over the Keahua Stream at the entrance to the reserve are not connected. Garden Island.

County administration has made it clear it doesn’t support establishing a pedestrian easement to get to a Koloa beach, and that’s what concerns Councilman Mel Rapozo. Garden Island.

Lanai

When the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp., Larry Ellison, purchased the majority of the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million in 2012, there was at least one major unresolved issue on the Pineapple Island — the water used at the Manele Golf Course near the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Pacific Business News.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Mosquito birth control could save endangered birds; Hawaii No. 1 in state tax withholding; DLNR officer found guilty in rape of 16-year-old; lawmakers mull election recount, tax hikes, commercial fishing; no opposition to HECO rate hike, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kaua‘i Amakihi, courtesy Lucas Behnke USGS
State wildlife officials will investigate a “birth control method” they hope can be unleashed on the mosquito population that threatens Hawaii’s endangered forest birds. Star-Advertiser.

Scientists are testing what they’re calling “mosquito birth control” to stop a major threat to Hawaii’s most rare endangered birds. Garden Island.

Two Hawaii beaches ranked in Trip Advisor’s 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards for U.S. beaches, including Kaanapali Beach on Maui and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is ranked No. 1 when it comes to states that take the most in taxes out of your paycheck, based on a $50,000 salary, according to a new study by GOBankingRates. Pacific Business News.

Bill Would Require Recounts In Close Hawaii Elections. The proposal would make recounts automatic if a race’s victory margin is less than 250 votes or less than 1 percent of votes cast. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal with the potential to cripple the state’s commercial fishing industry after an Associated Press investigation found foreign fishermen confined to boats and living in subpar conditions.

State lawmakers are considering pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into research and prevention efforts aimed at combating rat lungworm disease, a condition in which parasitic worm larvae infect people’s brains.  Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

No one spoke in opposition to Hawaiian Electric Co.’s proposed 6.9 percent rate increase Wednesday night at the only scheduled public hearing on the request. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council advances three bills that could make your commute much more costly. The measures raise vehicle and fuel taxes, plus double metered parking rates. KITV.

A new bill is moving through the state Legislature that would increase the general excise tax on Oahu from 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent. KHON2.

Homeless people in Iwilei and Kalihi may need to pack up their tents if the Honolulu City Council passes two new bills aimed at expanding the city’s sit-lie ban. Civil Beat.

There are no requirements to serve on the board charged with civilian oversight of a scandal-ridden police department. Civil Beat.

Council OKs bill on defibrillators in buildings. Star-Advertiser.

A wave of high-rise development plans on or near Kapiolani Boulevard close to one end of the city’s envisioned rail line just got bigger with a local developer’s purchase Wednesday of three two-story commercial buildings in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Farrington High School’s 2,396 students have been asked to wear Governors maroon today when Farrington dedicates its first football stadium — a facility that Principal Al Carganilla hopes will spur new traditions for his students and the Kalihi community at large. Star-Advertiser.

HPD investigating 'sextortion' crime in which UH student wired hundreds of dollars overseas. Hawaii News Now.

The Army’s 25th Infantry Division says the death of a Hawaii soldier’s infant is under investigation. Associated Press.

The Army did not notify state Child Protective Services, as required by law, after learning that an infant was taken to the hospital recently with suspicious injuries, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Hilton Grand Vacations is looking to fill scores of positions at its new Grand Islander hotel. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A state conservation officer, who once worked for the Honolulu Police Department, was found guilty Wednesday of raping a 16-year-old girl at a beach park on the Big Island in 2016. Civil Beat.

A Hilo Circuit Court jury of seven men and five women took less than three hours to convict 40-year-old Ethan Ferguson of two counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault for the Jan. 1, 2016, assault at Lalakea Beach Park in Keaukaha. Tribune-Herald.

A state law enforcement officer was found guilty of rape on Wednesday, following a jury trial in Hilo. Big Island Video News.

Recent tests of the sewer main along Alii Drive are showing highly elevated levels of chloride, indicating seawater is getting into the line. West Hawaii Today.

Meeting for the first time since November, the Banyan Drive Redevelopment Agency took stock of ongoing changes to the local political landscape. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County’s housing department is proposing a 36 percent rent hike at its Kula‘imano Elderly Housing Project in Pepeekeo. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Demands for Alexander & Baldwin to be more transparent and to disclose the impacts of its proposed 30-year lease for water from East Maui streams were heard Wednesday evening at a crowded Maui Electric Co. community meeting room. Maui News.

The Department of Management has announced the formation of a Cost Reduction Unit aimed at reducing costs for all county operations. Maui Watch.

The House Committee on Health has amended and recommended passage of a bill to provide a state subsidy that would allow Hale Makua Health Services to admit more wait-listed patients who are no longer in need of acute care but are taking up valuable beds at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Maui News.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday on a Maui man who breached security Saturday at Honolulu International Airport and died after being apprehended. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County councilmembers want to be able to order investigations if they believe they are not getting sufficient answers from the county administration. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Defending Hawaii against missiles, Honolulu rail school impact fee fails, Omidyar-backed Kauai dairy pauses EIS, felons to remain in jail, 'Styrofoam' ban advances on Big Island, biofuel crops planned for Maui, state Capitol crumbling, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pacific Missile Range, Kauai © 2017 All Hawaii News
At the request of Congress, the federal Missile Defense Agency is evaluating the threat to Hawaii from ballistic missiles and possible defenses against them. Civil Beat.

A bill that would have authorized the head of the state Department of Public Safety to release some convicted felons to ease overcrowding in state-run jails appears to be dead for the session. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Count On Hawaii To Ignore Logical Prison Report. In the rush to build a new prison, the Legislature is likely to shunt aside the work of a task force it created just last year. Civil Beat.

A state agency hopes to sell carbon offset credits linked to reforestation. Star-Advertiser.

Representatives from Hawai’i’s hospitality industry converged on the State Capitol today to brief lawmakers on their legislative priorities. Hawaii Public Radio.

High-schoolers are some of the loudest champions of a bill seeking to ban the use of disposable foam containers. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Lawmaker Accepted Junket From Turkish Opposition Group. Sen. J. Kalani English is among 151 state legislators nationwide whose official travel has been tied to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corp. has donated $790,000 to establish the HCRC Distinguished Professorship in Affordable Housing at the University of Hawaii to teach the next generation about affordable housing strategies and develop policy alternatives. Pacific Business News.

State officials believe falling exterior ceiling tiles at the Hawaii State Capitol are the result of strong winds on Monday and this past weekend. Civil Beat.

Matson Inc. delivered more containers and automobiles to Hawaii in 2016, but the largest ocean cargo company serving the state had rough sailing in other areas, which resulted in a 22 percent profit decline last year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The state school board for a second time has rejected an impact fee the Department of Education contends it needs to accommodate the estimated 10,000 students expected to enroll in urban Honolulu schools as developments pop up along the city’s rail line. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to charge developers along the rail line hundreds of millions of dollars in school impact fees has stalled. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmakers say they’re unlikely to get the briefing they want from the city rail system’s federal partners before they must decide what to do about Oahu’s cash-strapped transit project. Star-Advertiser.

While Honolulu may be the eighth-most traffic-congested city in the U.S., Oahu residents can take some solace in the fact that the problem isn't getting any worse, according to data from the 2017 TomTom Traffic Index. Pacific Business News.

A new bill before the Honolulu City Council would expand the city’s law banning people from sitting and lying down on certain public sidewalks to parts of Kalihi and Iwilei. Star-Advertiser.

Dozens of Airbnb listings in Honolulu are raking in six figures in annual revenue, according to a monthly market report by Airdna, the analytics arm of the online vacation rental platform, which ranked the top 10 highest-performing vacation listings for all accommodation sizes. Pacific Business News.

The state Public Utilities Commission is holding a hearing tonight about Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to increase rates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Biotech Inc. moved into its new research and development laboratory and headquarters at Dole Cannery in Honolulu on Tuesday, with staff hopeful the new 11,000 square foot space will facilitate greater efficiency as well as provide the company with access to much-needed emergency power. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Biotech Inc. opened a $3 million laboratory at Dole Cannery this week to continue its research of vaccines that can combat viruses such as Zika, West Nile and Ebola. Star-Advertiser.

The man who breached airport security in Honolulu and later died was court-ordered to be at a drug rehabilitation center just a week and a half before the incident. KHON2.

Hawaii

Foam food containers were back on the table Tuesday, when the County Council Environmental Management Committee on a 5-3 vote advanced a bill restricting those made of polystyrene. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council Committee on Environmental Management gave a positive recommendation to a bill that would reduce the use of Styrofoam food containers on Hawaii Island. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County will not pay any penalties for terminating its composting and mulching contract, according to Mayor Harry Kim. Tribune-Herald.

The chief financial officer of Youth With a Mission’s University of the Nations in Kona stole $2.5 million from the international Christian school, owns a gold mine in Africa and kept loose diamonds in a safe deposit box, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Public scoping meetings for Alexander & Baldwin’s application to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a 30-year lease (holdover water permits) for water from streams in Nahiku, Keanae and Huelo are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 22 and 23, at two different locations on Maui. Maui Now.

Biofuel crops, including sunflowers, will be grown on 115 acres in Maui’s central valley as part of a demonstration project this month, according to an announcement from Pacific Biodiesel. Maui News.

The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas has named Chris Rabang as general manager ahead of the time-share resort’s April opening. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Hawaii Dairy Farms, the planned dairy operation on Kauai being funded by Pierre Omidyar’s social investment firm Ulupono Initiative, has withdrawn the project’s final environmental impact statement to expand responses to comments submitted during the process. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Dairy Farms took a step back in its plan to put a dairy on Kauai by withdrawing its Final Environmental Impact Statement from state consideration on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Hundreds on Kauai may have faulty solar parts. Garden Island.

A hearing is scheduled March 22 for Kauai Community College’s proposal to reclassify 148.5 acres of land from agricultural to urban usage. Garden Island.

Misuse of funds, poor record keeping, and violations of state animal euthanasia laws are just some of the findings of a recent audit of the Kauai Humane Society. Hawaii News Now.

A man accused of beating up a monk seal last year is expected to change his plea today. Garden Island.

Representatives of the Kauai Beer Company are proposing a private-public partnership to renovate Kalena Park. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hotel revenue surges, Legislature mulls transient taxes, Ige AC plan lags, Board of Education reduces proposed impact fee on rail route, grad students again try to unionize, Big Island audit finds inventory controls lacking, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hapuna Beach Prince Resort © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii hotels ended 2016 with record highs in revenue, boosted by increases in visitor arrivals and a spike in room rates in December. Star-Advertiser.

Airbnb is once again backing two bills that would enable the online vacation rental platform to act as a tax broker and collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts in Hawaii, claiming the measure could generate $100 million in tax revenue. Pacific Business News.

Counties face a drop in their share of the state’s transient accommodations tax next fiscal year if the state Legislature doesn’t take action this session. Tribune-Herald.

Housing Bill Strikes A Blow For The Middle Class. Rep. Beth Fukumoto says the Legislature needs to act on housing issues to help low- and middle-income buyers. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii graduate assistants could have the option to unionize under legislation moving through the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Only about 200 Hawaii classrooms have received air conditioning units as part of Gov. David Ige's $100 million plan announced early last year to cool 1,000 classrooms. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s public school system is the top-ranked district in K-12 broadband connectivity in the United States, according to an annual report released by EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit that focuses on Internet connectivity in the classrooms. Garden Island.

Life is getting better for the thousands of humpback whales that make the trip from Alaska each winter to breed in Hawaii’s warm waters, but state and federal scientists, government officials and law enforcement officers are remaining vigilant. Civil Beat.

Young Brothers Ltd.’s interisland cargo volume finished 2016 at virtually the same level it began the year. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The Department of Education has come up with a lower proposed fee that it would charge homebuilders to help pay for new schools along the rail line in urban Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

City proposes new park rules to curb sales of goods by religious groups. KITV.

Police Commission starts hashing out subpoena process. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Inadequate inventory control at county Public Works baseyards allowed chainsaws, string trimmers, a generator, lawnmower, digital camera and other items to walk off the job. West Hawaii Today.

Efforts to revitalize Banyan Drive and the surrounding Kanoelehua Industrial Area are moving forward in the Hawaii State Legislature. Big Island Video News.

The Leeward Planning Commission approved a rezoning proposal last week that cleared a path for a new development at the Mauna Lani Resort in South Kohala. West Hawaii Today.

New Hawaii island Police Chief Paul Ferreira was a young detective when he enlisted famed forensic scientist Henry Lee 24 years ago to determine whether a well-liked police sergeant accidentally ran over his wife or if blood spatter inside his van proved it was murder. Star-Advertiser.

The Big Island Community Beach Clean Up event is back and has the potential this year to be bigger than ever before. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Less than a year after Wailuku’s Clean & Safe program was born, business owners say the town’s atmosphere has improved, and the people who were given jobs say they’ve gotten their dignity back. Maui News.

Kauai


Kekaha Elementary is the only Kauai school on the Department of Education’s priority list in the state’s Heat Abatement project to cool down Hawaii classrooms, ranking 31 out of 33 in the state. As of Feb. 15, no units have been installed. Garden Island.

New Catholic Charities CEO: Homelessness, senior care are big challenges. Garden Island.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hold onto your wallets--the Legislature's in session; Maui mayor's denial of sacred rocks draws ire; insecticide ban urged; bills die on deadline; Kim kills compost contract; rail car construction to resume; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Capitol © 2017 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers are advancing a startling array of more than a dozen proposals this year to increase taxes or impose new levies on everything from marijuana and prepaid cellphones to rocks. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Residents, brace for a clear money grab by politicians. Star-Advertiser.

After a major legislative deadline, the number of bills still alive in the Hawaii Legislature has dwindled. Proposals to boost the use of batteries for renewable energy and take parts of the federal Affordable Care Act into state law are survived. But the variety of unusual proposals to solving homelessness — from setting up sanctioned campgrounds to allowing people to live in driveways — had a mixed fate. Associated Press.

Environmental activists are urging Hawaii lawmakers to implement a statewide ban on a widely used insecticide that’s been linked to disruptions in the brain development of babies and young children — a cause they say is all the more urgent now that President Donald Trump has assumed office and signaled his intent to curtail environmental regulations. Star-Advertiser.

A twice-defeated Senate bill that would allow media access during island disasters and emergencies has passed one committee and is on its way to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association will host its second annual "Tourism Day at the Capitol" this week. KITV.

The state Legislature is considering taking money generated by the transient accommodations tax away from the counties. Garden Island.

The Board of Education has tapped an Iowa-based executive search firm to help it find and screen candidates for the schools superintendent position. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Education is asking Hawaii residents for their input in choosing the state's new schools superintendent. Hawaii News Now.

Candidates are again being sought to fill a vacancy on the five-member Kamehameha Schools board of trustees after one of three finalists withdrew from the search. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is ranked fourth among states with the highest percentage of millionaire households, according to the 2016 Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor, a study released by Phoenix Marketing International. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Nearly three months after its halt, production of rail cars for the Honolulu rail project is about to start up again. KHON2.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's affordable housing strategy aims to add up to 800 units per year. Pacific Business News.

One of the hottest areas for new housing production on Oahu could soon have a longer-lasting supply of moderate-priced homes for sale or rent — and at lower prices — if a state board adopts new rules recommended by its staff. Star-Advertiser.

A man in his 40s died Saturday morning after breaching a TSA security checkpoint at the Honolulu International Airport. Hawaii News Now.

A couple of shopping malls on O‘ahu are dealing with some of the challenges of middle age. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday signed a termination of a composting contract that was “deemed disadvantageous” to Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

As the days add up in the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case, so does the cost. As of Dec. 31, the state’s bill for the quasi-judicial hearing was $224,789.62, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Using a wheelchair or walker to reach the best areas of Hawaii County parks will get easier. But it won’t happen overnight. Tribune-Herald.

Vog experts, health professionals and concerned citizens gathered in Kona for a seminar meant to answer one simple question: Is vog the greatest daily threat to the health of Hawaii Islanders? West Hawaii Today.

A former police officer charged with fatally striking a bicyclist is scheduled to appear in court for a fitness hearing Friday accompanied by an attorney still seeking assurances the county will pay for his defense. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa is coming under fire from social media and elsewhere for saying in a televised “Hawaii News Now Sunrise” interview Friday that “there’s no such thing as sacred rocks.” Maui News.

Public scoping meetings have been scheduled for Alexander & Baldwin’s application to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a 30-year lease for water from streams in Nahiku, Keanae and Huelo. Maui News.

Jeanne Unemori Skog, the longtime head of the Maui Economic Development Board who began with the nonprofit 33 years ago, will step down in June, she announced Friday. Maui News.

Kauai

The County of Kauai will discuss a resolution that will allow the County Council to establish an investigating committee when it meets Wednesday. Garden Island.

When it comes to updating Rice Street, the Kauai Board of Realtors wants to hear what the community has to say. Garden Island.

Kauai has a new state district health officer. Garden Island.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Caldwell stresses affordable housing in State of the City speech, minimum wage hike advances in Legislature, state attorney general persists in travel ban opposition, foam food container ban back on table, Kauai seeks control of historic trail, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Honolulu mayor's office
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell State of the City address, courtesy photo
Mayor Kirk Caldwell made his pitch for more affordable housing and finishing the city’s troubled rail project at his fifth State of the City address Thursday evening. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell called Thursday for cooperation from other governments, the private sector, unions and nonprofits to help the city “turn the corner” on its affordable housing shortage. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled a his plan to re-invigorate affordable housing construction on Oahu in his fifth State of the City address Thursday evening. Hawaii News Now.

Emphasizing the need for more affordable housing, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivered his fifth State of the City Address. KITV.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell delivered his fifth State of the City address Thursday evening. KHON2.

===========

A state Senate committee has passed a bill to increase the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, but three other bills to incrementally raise the state minimum wage have been deferred in the House. Star-Advertiser.

Town Square: Sit-Down With Governor David Ige. Hawaii Public Radio.

State department delays mail-out of tax booklets. The state advised Hawaii businesses seeking to fill out their general excise tax returns to head online or to district offices before Monday’s deadline. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Stands Ready To Challenge Trump’s Promised New Order. The president said he would rescind his earlier travel ban — now stalled in court — and instead issue another one. Civil Beat.

The world's oldest known seabird has a new chick. Associated Press.

Oahu

Local rail officials and Hawaiian Electric Co. say they’ve agreed to a cheaper fix for many of the utility-line clearance problems that have plagued Oahu’s elevated transit project, saving about $140 million. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has allowed a bill limiting the operation of tour buses, limousines and related commercial vehicles in most Waimanalo beach parks to become law without his signature. Star-Advertiser.

A local lawmaker is calling for the consolidation of administrative positions at the University of Hawaii at Manoa after a nationwide search for a new Chancellor came up empty. Hawaii News Now.

Investigation launched after Waikiki hotel diverts storm water into ocean. KHON2.

The Hawaii Convention Center today is unveiling $1.1 million in new flooring that can convert its 204,000-square-foot exhibition hall into courts for amateur and professional sporting events in an effort to diversify group business. Star-Advertiser.

A stingray smuggling bust turned into a new display at the Waikiki aquarium. KITV.

Kmart continues to pay American Assets Trust Inc. yearly base rents of $4.5 million for one of its shuttered Hawaii locations, the highest amount of any lease in its retail portfolio, according to public documents filed Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A ban on polystyrene foam food containers is back before a County Council committee, following its close loss last year on a deadlocked vote. West Hawaii Today.

A bill that would have given control of Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii medical facilities to Hawaii County appears to have died. Tribune-Herald.

The completion date for the long-delayed Komohana Street reconstruction project has again been pushed back. Initially estimated to be finished by February 2016, the work is now set for a mid-April timeline, according to the county Department of Public Works. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island’s efforts toward renewable energy and off-grid living took a giant leap with the inception of Ainamalu, a new Waikoloa community that began construction this week. West Hawaii Today.

Salvador Luquin, who owned a popular Mexican restaurant destroyed by last month’s fire, said he has purchased a lunch wagon and hopes to be cooking again in the next few weeks. Tribune-Herald.

A magnitude-4.5 earthquake struck off the coast of the Big Island on Friday morning, but it was not strong enough to generate a tsunami threat. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

A bill for about a $900,000 appropriation to offset costs for emergency repairs related to the September flooding in Iao Valley failed to garner enough votes Wednesday from a Maui County Council committee. Maui News.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved dredging of the Lahaina Harbor channel to clear a buildup of material that poses a danger to harbor traffic, West Maui state Rep. Angus McKelvey announced last week. Maui News.

Kauai

State lawmakers are weighing a bill that requires the state to identify the path of the ancient Ala Loa trail on Kauai and recognize it as a public trail. The trail, which generally follows the coast around the island, apparently includes a section that crosses the property of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as other oceanfront property owners reluctant to open their land. Star-Advertiser.

For the people of Kauai, the Lihue post office is more than just a swinging door for mail. Garden Island.

It’s going to take days and a crew of more than three people to dig out a net that’s implanted in the sand by the river mouth at South ‘Aliomanu Beach. Garden Island.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Assisted suicide bill clears Senate panel, property taxes could rise to pay for income tax cut, Caldwell's State of the City tonight, Maui may allow advertising at county facilities, firefighters union seeks insignia on uniforms, fewer whales entangled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii sunrise © All Hawaii News
Hawaii bill would allow medical aid in dying. Associated Press.

Senate Bill 1129, the “medical aid in dying” bill, which would allow terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live to self-administer medication to end their own lives, with an amendment to allow advanced practice registered nurses in addition to doctors to prescribe lethal drugs, passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health  on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Medical Aid In Dying Bill Stays Alive In Hawaii Senate. The proposal, which didn’t even receive a hearing last year, has cleared one committee and its prospects seem good in a second. Civil Beat.

The state Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health voted 6-0 Wednesday to recommend passing a “death with dignity” bill after testimony poured in during an emotional hearing Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

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

A bill that could force Hawaii’s four counties to raise property taxes was passed Tuesday by the House Tourism Committee. Maui News.

House Bill 1586 aims to reduce income taxes on low-income and middle-income families, as well as seniors, by eliminating the counties' share of the transient accommodations tax on hotels and short-term rentals. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii lawmakers have advanced hotly contested bills this month that would allow Airbnb, and similar online vacation rental platforms, to collect taxes on behalf of the state. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to deploy high-tech cameras for traffic enforcement by photographing the license plates of motorists who run red lights has been approved by two committees in the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Tightening The Rules For Lobbyists. Lobbyists spent millions trying to influence lawmakers last year. Civil Beat.

Operators of Hawaii’s wind farms are poised to spend more than $4 million on efforts to fill critical knowledge gaps regarding the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, and may eventually spend up to $6 million. Civil Beat.

The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours Inc., alleging that the company’s president sexually harassed male employees for more than a decade. Star-Advertiser.

A man who controls three related Hawaii tour companies subjected male employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. Associated Press.

If, as the classic 1980s TV commercial advises, you’re looking for the union label, you’re not likely to find it on Hawaii firefighters uniforms any time soon. West Hawaii Today.

The number of whales getting tangled up in fishing gear in Hawaiian waters has been on the decline. Associated Press.

Not a single whale entanglement has been reported almost four months into whale season in Hawaiian waters. Maui News.

Kelvin Taketa, who has led the Hawaii Community Foundation for nearly 20 years, said Wednesday that he will step down as soon as the board names a new CEO. Pacific Business News.

Gary Caulfield, First Hawaiian Bank vice chairman and chief information officer, is retiring after 34 years at the bank. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s fifth State of the City address tonight will focus on a revamped plan to give incentives to housing developers in exchange for providing more affordable rentals to those most in need — and keeping them affordable longer. Star-Advertiser.

Bills that would extend Oahu’s rail tax easily advanced in both Legislative chambers Wednesday, but the measures now face tougher scrutiny in the House and Senate’s money committees. Star-Advertiser.

Most of the action so far regarding finding more money for Honolulu’s rail project has taken place in the state Senate, but now the House of Representatives is getting involved. Civil Beat.

There were a few key junctures in the long, convoluted story of Honolulu’s rail project.  Getting the point five percent general excise tax increase was one, and the decision to go with an elevated system is another. Hawaii Public Radio.

Traffic and affordable housing are the most pressing issues for Island residents according to a statewide survey for the Hawaii Association of Realtors, though less than half of Oahu respondents support extending the general excise tax beyond 2027 to fund rail completion beyond Middle Street. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu International Airport could lose one of its runways under a plan to improve runway safety. KHON2.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner has recommended suspending for two years the search for a chancellor for the Manoa campus, following an unsuccessful nationwide search to fill the position. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Commission is aiming for the department's new chief to be sworn-in this summer. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Department may reopen a criminal case involving the suspected assault of a toddler at a day care run by the wife of a Honolulu police officer in response to a Civil Beat story that uncovered serious flaws in the investigation.

A former student at Pearl City High School has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education in a case where she was sexually assaulted by a special needs student in 2012. Hawaii News Now.

Senia, long-planned and recently opened by chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, and Vino, run by master sommelier Chuck Furuya, have been nominated for 2017 James Beard Awards in separate categories. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The third try might be the charm for securing legislative funding for rat lungworm disease research. Tribune-Herald.

A state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer on trial for the alleged sexual assault of a then-16-year-old girl on a Hilo beach on New Year’s Day 2016 admitted Wednesday he kissed the girl but testified she initiated it. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County is seeking more income through a bill that would allow businesses and nonprofits to advertise at county parks, sponsor an event or allow an entity to become an exclusive provider for things such as soft drinks at county concessions. Maui News.

Saying “nobody here wants this,” angry residents voiced overwhelming opposition to TEACH, the group that plans to turn Old Maui High School into a center for agriculture, housing and education. Maui News.

Kauai

Increasing tourist traffic, adding user fees and allowing people to book tee times online are just some suggestions to drum up business at the Wailua Golf Course. Garden Island.

County officials hope an audit of the Kauai Humane Society, paired with new leadership, will help steer the organization in a positive direction. Garden Island.

Gary Hooser, former Kauai County councilman, is joining Kauai Community Radio. Garden Island.