Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hawaii students improve test scores, tax refund unlikely after surplus, Pflueger completes Kauai mudslide repairs, mosquito-borne disease topic at World Conservation Congress, home business irks Maui neighbors, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
University of Hawaii students, courtesy photo
Hawaii high-schoolers posted modest gains in English, reading and science on the ACT exam, but many in this year’s graduating class appear unprepared for college-level coursework, according to results released Wednesday for the national college entrance exam. Star-Advertiser.

The number of hepatitis A victims in Hawaii continues to climb, reaching 228 on Wednesday, but the outbreak appears to be slowing now that the scallops that triggered it have been taken off the market. Star-Advertiser.

Two longtime lobbyists have donated $303,479 to candidates for state and local offices in the past 10 years, according to a Civil Beat analysis of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission data. Civil Beat.

The state is looking at a $1 billion surplus, but don’t expect a refund any time soon. This is the first time that the surplus has reached this amount. KHON2.

A news conference Wednesday highlighted the state's conservation efforts in conjunction with the World Conservation Congress, the premier conference of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, being held Sept. 1-10 in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

The World Conservation Congress will convene for the first time in the U.S. in Honolulu next week. Hawai’i researchers will co-host a workshop on mosquito-borne diseases that is gaining international interest. Hawaii Public Radio.

Supporters of the fourfold expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument have fired back against an advertisement claiming the proposal would result in people being unable to eat fresh local fish. Civil Beat.


Mark Garrity, Honolulu’s deputy director of the Department of Transportation Services, is now acting director of the agency. Civil Beat.

A new analysis of booking and revenue data for Airbnb has found the short-term rental platform isn’t likely causing rents to increase much at this point, but the company’s rapid growth and incentive for a larger commercial share could change that in the future, FiveThirtyEight reported Wednesday. Honolulu has 1,400 active listings on Airbnb, roughly the same as Las Vegas and Boston. Civil Beat.

Kamehameha Highway near Waimea Bay was closed for a second day on Wednesday to finish repairs after a truck knocked down utility poles a day earlier. Star-Advertiser.

At 345,000 square feet spreading over 6 acres, the new International Market Place has gotten much more than a facelift. Pacific Business News.


After decades of trying to get a handle on the island’s growing garbage problems, county officials are taking a wait-and-see approach to a private company’s plan to step into the breach. West Hawaii Today.

Carolyn Ma, interim dean of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, has been recommended to permanently fill the position. Tribune-Herald.

The Hilo council chamber was packed on Tuesday night with Big Island residents interested in helping to shape the future of Hawaii County. Big Island Video News.

Nearly 70 testifiers were divided Tuesday over resident Leona Rocha Wilson's proposal to host special events, including weddings, at her spacious Lona Ridge property in Wailuku Heights. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development issued more than $5.07 million in grant monies to various local organizations during the first half of the 2016 calendar year. Maui Time.

A 1st Circuit Court judge has granted the Employees' Retirement System request to grant a temporary restraining order to block, at least for now, the state's implementation of a law that retirement system officials maintain could jeopardize the pension system's tax-exempt status and retirement benefits for its members. Maui News.

Work goes on as usual at HC&S even as the company prepares to end production. Star-Advertiser.


A Honolulu federal district court judge has granted an order to close a long-standing case against retired car dealer James Pflueger for environmental damage to coastal property in Pilaa on Kauai’s North Shore. Star-Advertiser.

The Clean Water Act consent decree that required former Kauai developer and Oahu auto dealer James Pflueger to stabilize and restore previously owned property at Pila’a on Kauai’s north shore has come to a close. Garden Island.

There are three multi-million dollar projects that can mitigate traffic in Kapaa. But the problem is they are all state-funded projects, and there’s no money for them. Garden Island.

A Hawaii couple has purchased the property that was once occupied by Hanamaulu Cafe, a Kauai restaurant institution that closed about two years ago after opening in the 1920s, they confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ban against swimming with dolphins proposed, state has record $1B surplus, lawsuits filed as more hepatitis cases discovered, judge orders TRO in Maui hospital benefits case, Honolulu mulls outside audit of Ethics Commission, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Creative Commons
Spinner dolphin in Hawaii, Creative Commons
Federal regulators are proposing to ban swimming with dolphins in Hawaii, a move that could imperil one of the Aloha State’s most popular tourist activities and the industry that has sprung up around it. The National Marine Fisheries Service says spinner dolphins — the playful nocturnal species that humans in Hawaii routinely frolic with — are being deprived of rest during the day and becoming stressed out. Associated Press.

Federal officials proposed a new rule Tuesday that would prohibit approaching Hawaiian spinner dolphins within 50 yards in designated waters between Maui, Lanai and Kahoolawe where they are found throughout the day, a release says. Civil Beat.

The state was holding a record-setting $1 billion general treasury cash surplus when it closed the books on last fiscal year, an extraordinary sum that likely will alter the course of contract negotiations as the state and counties begin a new round of bargaining with Hawaii’s public worker unions. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Behind The Democrats’ Failed Push To Close The Primary. The party sued to keep non-Democrats from voting in its primary races, but federal judges are having none of it. Civil Beat.

A Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant, who served inflight food and beverages to passengers, was confirmed to have hepatitis A, the state Health Department said in a news release this afternoon. Star-Advertiser.

A second lawsuit in as many weeks has been filed against the restaurant chain Genki Sushi and two distributors of tainted scallops that have caused Hawaii’s hepatitis A outbreak. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu law firm has filed a class action as a result of the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

At least two of the 200-plus hepatitis A victims in Hawaii are so gravely ill that they are on the waiting list for a liver transplant, according to their attorney. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines is still in negotiations with pilots who are threatening to strike. Garden Island.


The city may spend as much as $100,000 auditing the processes of the Honolulu Ethics Commission. KHON2.

The state Department of Health confirmed another case of Hepatitis A in a cafeteria worker at Kipapa Elementary school on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu Publications has pulled its buyout offer for union employees of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, a move that likely means the newsroom’s planned downsizing will be achieved solely through involuntary job cuts. Civil Beat.

A new cannabis testing laboratory is opening in downtown Honolulu. Steep Hill Hawaii will be a full-service quality-assurance laboratory for medical marijuana with testing equipment that can handle up to 500 test samples per month. Pacific Business News.

The once kitschy marketplace lined with carts full of costume jewelry, faux lei and made-in-China trinkets is a stark contrast to the glitzy, $500 million shopping center opening Thursday in the heart of Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu-based seafood processor is being put on notice by the FDA for "unsanitary conditions." According to a warning letter to Tropic Fish Hawaii, LLC, an FDA inspector found cuts of raw ahi tuna, mahi mahi and skipjack tuna on the company's warehouse concrete floor. Hawaii News Now.


The public became the planners Tuesday evening, as more than 75 people pushed buttons to define what they want to see in Hawaii Island’s future. West Hawaii Today.

BioEnergy Hawaii LLC, a Kailua-Kona-based developer of waste-treatment and alternative-energy systems, plans to start construction on its $50 million resource-recovery and energy-conversion facility on the Big Island by the fourth quarter of next year. Pacific Business News.

A handful of residents living in emergency housing on the HOPE Services campus in the Kona Old Industrial Area are trying to clean up their group’s larger image one area at a time. West Hawaii Today.

A Hilo obstetrician/gynecologist is fighting a state Department of Human Services finding that he was overpaid more than $200,000 for services to Medicaid patients. Tribune-Herald.


An Oahu Circuit Court judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday to bar state officials from implementing a new law that would provide severance pay and retirement bonuses to state workers whose jobs are being privatized. The Hawaii Employees’ Retirement System filed a lawsuit Aug. 9 to block the new law, which would affect about 1,500 Maui County hospital workers. Star-Advertiser.

A judge has granted the state pension system’s request for a temporary restraining order to stall the implementation of a new law that offers special retirement benefits to certain state hospital workers. Civil Beat.

Pukalani resident Kathleen Phillips was brought to tears when the state Legislature in the last session passed the CARE Act, designed to help unpaid caregivers receive medical instruction and other help before patients are discharged from a medical facility. Maui News.

Almost 35 years after he started working as a baggage handler for Hawaiian Airlines, Maui's Marvin Moniz was named the state Department of Transportation's Manager of the Year Friday for his leadership in a district that includes the state's second busiest airport. Maui News.


Those who live and work in Kapaa say the traffic on the eastside has gotten out of hand. Garden Island.

Swimming with spinner dolphins already constitutes animal harassment under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but the National Marine Fisheries Service is pushing for further regulation. Tour companies on Kauai, however, aren’t concerned with the potential rules because they say they’re already following the practices recommended. Garden Island.

A third Kauai resident has been infected with hepatitis A, but the source of the infection is unclear, according to Hawaii Department of Health. Garden Island.


An army of volunteers, nonprofit groups and state and federal agencies mobilized this summer to remove 16 tons of marine debris from a 22-mile stretch of Molokai’s north shore. Star-Advertiser.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

State parties try to rein in members, Pearl Harbor preps for 75th anniversary, Lassner gets high marks as UH president, Honolulu police and domestic violence, invasive species control pits Maui property owner against government, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Road in Hawaii © 2016 All Hawaii News
The state recently sold more than $204 million in highway revenue bonds at the lowest interest rate in the 23-year history of the state’s Highway Revenue Bond Program. The bond sale raised over $247 million. Pacific Business News.

Will Hawaii Dems’ Progressive Movement Have Staying Power? Energized by the Sanders presidential campaign and hot-button local issues, a handful of newcomers spiced up primary races. Civil Beat.

State political parties seem to be having a hard time keeping some of their members in check. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii GOP Appears Stuck With Angela Aulani Kaaihue. As offensive as the congressional nominee’s views on ethnicity and religion are, there is little that the Republican Party can do to make her go away. Civil Beat.

Japan’s first lady Akie Abe teamed up with U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s widow Monday to launch an environmental symposium that they hope will become an annual gathering of students, scientists and activists from both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Star-Advertiser.

A witness to Pearl Harbor and a USS Arizona survivor added to their World War II legacies over the past week as big plans continue to unfold for the 75th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner received high marks on his latest performance evaluation by the Board of Regents but again requested no salary increase. Star-Advertiser.

Going Green At IUCN. Organizers of the World Conservation Congress meeting in Hawaii next month urge participants to be “carbon neutral, plastic free, paper low.” Civil Beat.

State officials are gearing up to give a helping hand to some of Hawaii’s smallest creatures through programs involving captive rearing and release into the wild. Star-Advertiser.

New nautical rules have gone into effect, increasing safety requirements for numerous vessels and leading to more registration requirements. West Hawaii Today.

DRFortress, the largest carrier-neutral data center and cloud services provider operating in Hawaii, has been selected as the landing and operating partner in the state for a planned 8,700-mile trans-Pacific submarine cable system from Australia and New Zealand to Hawaii and the West Coast. Pacific Business News.

New state data aimed at helping newly licensed marijuana dispensaries determine where to set up shop shows the Big Island has nearly twice as many medical marijuana patients as Oahu. Associated Press.

Domestic violence victims and their advocates say officers showing favoritism toward a fellow officer — is not uncommon when one of “Honolulu’s finest” is accused of abusing a family or household member. Star-Advertiser.

Advocates for domestic violence victims say the process for filing complaints against police officers in Hawaii is too stringent and needs to be changed. Star-Advertiser.

Imagine re-thinking a neighborhood through the lens of food. That’s what a group of residents, business owners, and policy makers in Kaka‘ako have been doing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Commentary: When The Law Allows Overbuilding For The Rich. A proposal to build six luxury condos on a single oceanfront lot is the type of project that’s more likely to benefit out-of-staters than locals. Civil Beat.

Manoa Botanicals LLC has begun forming companies that will be part of its effort as one of the eight firms in Hawaii to get medical marijuana dispensary licenses in the state, Pacific Business News has learned.

Dozens gathered at Schofield Barracks Monday as the US Army and Hawaiian Electric broke ground on a new power plant. KITV.

Hawaiian Electric and the U.S. Army are building a power plant capable of burning biofuels. Associated Press.


The number of applications for photovoltaic systems in Hawaii County has dropped considerably from last year’s numbers, according to permit data from the county Department of Public Works. Tribune-Herald.

The state has sold more than $200 million in highways revenue bonds, of which $22 million are headed to the Big Island, the governor’s office announced Monday. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council Committee on Planning voted to halt decisions on rezoning applications for projects in Hamakua until the district’s community development plan is adopted. Big Island Video News.

Former Hawaii politician and real estate developer D.G. “Andy” Anderson and his grandsons, Brad and Cord Anderson, plan to assign their state-leased parcel surrounded by the Coconut Grove Marketplace in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island to the owner of the shopping center. Pacific Business News.

Greggor Ilagan is wasting no time choosing a new career path following his failed state senate bid. The Puna councilman has launched a new YouTube channel, Ilagan Videos. His first offering is the shaving cream challenge. Big Island Video News.


One resident's attempts to keep employees from invasive species agencies off his Huelo property have created a clash of rights between communities wanting to eradicate invasive species, and individuals opposed to the methods used to fight them. Maui News.

Maui authorities are discussing how to eradicate invasive species without trampling on the rights of individuals opposed to the methods used to fight them. Associated Press.

Grand reopening held at park. Maui News.

The 22-acre, 413-room Fairmont Kea Lani hotel in Wailea on Maui recently completed a solar energy project that is expected to reduce the property’s electricity demand by more than 10 percent, the resort said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Charles Louis Millman of Maui Marine Photography captured this rare look of what he described as a pod of melon-headed whales off of Kīhei, Maui today. Maui Now.

Improvements to Waimea Canyon Drive, Kokee Road and parts of Kuhio Highway will be funded by the state, officials announced Monday. Kauai received more than $2.2 million for improvements from Leho Drive to Aleka Loop, on Kuhio Highway and Waimea Canyon Drive and Kokee Road, said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for Hawaii Department of Transportation. Garden Island.

Flags can create a firestorm of controversy, Jane Gray, director of the Kauai Museum discovered Monday afternoon. Outside the museum, an American flag flew alongside the Japan national flag. Garden Island.

A trial date is set for a Lihue man incarcerated at Halawa Correctional Facility who said two Kauai jail corrections officers violated his civil rights when they allegedly did not allow him to practice his religion. Garden Island.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Japan’s first lady visits Pearl Harbor, Souki retains House speakership, $10M in Honolulu Police lawsuits, Maui sugar layoffs continue, black band killing Kauai coral, medical marijuana permits increase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Facebook photo
Japanese First Lady Akie Abe at Pearl Harbor, Facebook photo
Japan’s first lady has visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for the first time to pay tribute to the victims of the Japanese attack 75 years ago. Associated Press.

In his long career in Hawaii politics, Democratic House Speaker Joe Souki has risen to power, been ousted, and then engineered a deal to get that power back. At 85, he still commands respect, and he isn’t ready to walk away yet. Both Souki’s supporters and critics say he has firmly locked down all the votes he needs to remain as speaker for the next two years, quietly gathering that support with his allies even before lawmakers adjourned the last session in May. Star-Advertiser.

The chair of the Hawaii Republican Party is urging party members to disavow the candidacy of the GOP nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, which represents the neighbor islands and rural Oahu. Civil Beat.

The libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has a new project in which it analyzed all 50 U.S. states regarding “respect for individual freedom,” and it found Hawaii wanting. Civil Beat.

How One Attorney Is Trying To Make Food Safer. Hawaii’s hepatitis A outbreak is the latest battleground for a Seattle attorney who specializes in foodborne illnesses and has won damages of more than $600 million. Star-Advertiser.

Luaus, potlucks, a breathtaking variety of seafood and ways to eat it, and endless summer are a few of the attractions of Hawaii life. But the combination may come with a hangover: foodborne illness. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced Friday that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for July was 3.5 percent, up from the revised rate of 3.4 percent in June. Pacific Business News.


Nearly 1 of every 6 current Honolulu Police Department officers have been taken to court over criminal or civil allegations of wrongdoing, ranging from excessive force to domestic abuse, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Short of being fired, police disciplined for misconduct are the only county and state workers in Hawaii whose names under state law cannot be released publicly. Star-Advertiser.

The tab to taxpayers is nearing $10 million and likely will go higher. Over the past decade, that’s about how much the city has paid or approved to settle dozens of lawsuits accusing Honolulu Police Department officers of excessive force, negligence and other wrongdoing, including civil rights violations. Star-Advertiser.

Using the frame of his Taser, a Honolulu police officer struck a bystander’s hand as the man shot video of a friend’s arrest. The blow was strong enough to fracture the hand, according to court documents. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents will foot most of the city’s multimillion-dollar security tab to host the upcoming World Conservation Congress, a major international event next month in Waikiki, which may attract President Barack Obama as opening speaker. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu taxpayers have reportedly been responsible for paying nearly $10 million to settle dozens of misconduct allegations against police officers over the last decade. Associated Press.

A Honolulu company has been awarded the first four contracts under the state’s $100 million initiative to cool 1,000 public school classrooms — signaling a major step forward for the project, which has suffered setbacks amid the state’s booming construction market. Star-Advertiser.


The next Hawaii County Council is starting to take shape following the primary election. Tribune-Herald.

New data from the state Department of Health confirms Hawaii County has nearly twice as many medical marijuana patients as Oahu, with about 11 percent living in Pahoa alone. Tribune-Herald.

Were they interfering with the rescue of a stranded whale or not? That is the question left to a federal judge following an administrative hearing last week to determine whether two Hilo women who run a small Native Hawaiian group dedicated to the protection of whales and other marine animals will be punished for violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Star-Advertiser.

Couple feels targeted after Trump signs repeatedly stolen. West Hawaii Today.

More than 25 community volunteers participated in a weed pull Saturday, 9,000’ feet up on Mauna Kea at the site of Halepohaku. Big Island Video News.


The last harvest: The final chapter in the story of sugar on Maui. Many learned a trade at HC&S. With the end of the sugar industry on Maui, so too goes the apprenticeship program. Maui News.

With another round of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers set to leave Friday, the company held its second on-property job fair Thursday. Many workers said they are still trying to figure out the next step after HC&S, the only employer they've known for decades. Maui News.

Remembering plantation life. Life in the camps was filled with community, ohana. Maui News.

The Maui Fire Department would like to reassure the public that the unscheduled cane fire currently burning in the Pūlehu-Puʻunēnē area is not an immediate threat to any structures or neighborhoods. Maui Now.

People who camp at a Maui beach park will temporarily lose access to permits come September as the county works to clean up the area. Associated Press.


All of the Kauai County Council candidates who came in at the bottom five during the recent primary election plan to continue in the race. Garden Island.

Submarine groundwater discharge could be contributing to the black band coral disease outbreak on Kauai’s North Shore. That’s according to initial evidence discovered during a United States Geological Survey study at Makua (also known as Tunnels) and Haena, conducted July 29 through Aug. 5. Garden Island.

Over the past few weeks, volunteers have removed more than 1,500 pounds of trash from Papaa Bay Beach, and there’s more where that came from. Garden Island.

Some Waimea residents are calling for the preservation of a historic Westside home that was formerly a nurses quarter. Garden Island.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hawaii bids fond aloha to U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, Honolulu rail chief resigns, Ige extends homeless emergency again, Maui to get roundabout, ballots mailed too late, Predator drones off Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Rep. Joy San Buenaventura
Takai memorial service, courtesy Rep. Joy San Buenaventura
Dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Gov. David Ige and Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki shared fond memories of U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, his intense work ethic, his love of his family and his dedication to public service. Star-Advertiser.

The state Capitol fell silent Thursday morning as the late Congressman Mark Takai’s casket was carried into the rotunda accompanied by a traditional chanter offering a sad, haunting kaniku, or song of mourning. Civil Beat.

Friends and colleagues remembered the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai as a warm public servant who never gave up when facing adversity, paying their respects in a ceremony at the state Capitol as a soft rain fell and palm branches swayed in the breeze. Associated Press.

The State of Hawai’i said goodbye today to Congressman K. Mark Takai who passed away at age 49 last month from Pancreatic Cancer. Hawaii Public Radio.

In a Thursday service for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai at the Capitol, state and national leaders join hundreds of other people to grieve and share memories. Photos. Civil Beat.

Mourners paid their respects Thursday to the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, whose body lay in state Thursday at Hawaii's Capitol for a day before his memorial service. Pacific Business News.

There were tears, but mostly happy memories shared Thursday at a moving service honoring late Congressman Mark Takai. KHON2.

KITV's Brenton Awa was there for today's memorial service and he says folks from Hawaii to Washington were there to remember U.S. Rep. Mark Takai.

Candidates have started filing to run in the special election that will determine who serves the remaining two months left on the late Congressman Mark Takai’s term in office. Civil Beat.


Gov. David Ige on Thursday extended his original 2015 emergency proclamation on homelessness for the sixth time to more quickly bring homeless projects online — and officials in California are taking notice, Hawaii’s homeless coordinator said. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has issued a sixth emergency proclamation on homelessness, ensuring that the state remains in a crisis mode for a full year. Civil Beat.

In one of the more peculiar outbursts of the Hawaii political season, Republican congressional candidate Angela Aulani Kaaihue has issued a news release rejecting “this local dumb mentality” and offering to withdraw from her race if Gov. David Ige and “his Japanese constituents” will settle a lawsuit over land her family owns in Waimalu. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that it plans to stop contracting with for-profit prison companies, a decision that will affect some 20,000 federal inmates. But Yates’ directive won’t have any bearing on lucrative contracts that for-profit prison companies have with states, including Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The office of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) is accepting applications for this year’s Schatz Seniors High School Internship Program. The Schatz Seniors program provides a hands-on learning opportunity about the U.S. Senate and encourages students to be advocates in their schools and communities. Garden Island.


Amid rail officials’ seeming inability to stay ahead of skyrocketing costs and calls for greater accountability, the project’s top executive resigned Thursday after more than four years leading the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

The board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and its executive director Dan Grabauskas agreed to part ways Thursday morning, as HART looks for a fresh start for the city’s behind-schedule, over-budget rail project. Civil Beat.

Dan Grabauskas, the embattled head of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, resigned from his position as executive director and CEO on Thursday morning. Pacific Business News.

The head of Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project resigned today. Hawaii Public Radio.

During Dan Grabauskas' tenure as CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the rail authority completed nine miles of the guideway, despite a year-long legal delay and massive cost overruns. Hawaii News Now.

Dan Grabauskas’ resignation as Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s executive director and CEO comes in the midst of a lot of turmoil for the rail project, and while a recovery plan is being prepared for the federal government. KHON2.

With rail leader Dan Grabauskas on his way out, many are wondering what's next for the largest infrastructure project in state history. Hawaii News Now.


A group of Schofield Barracks soldiers who returned Thursday from what are increasingly rare deployments to the Middle East — at least for Hawaii — provided sustainment, distribution and personnel for logistics support to U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait. Star-Advertiser.

Some Oahu pharmacies are seeing a surge in hepatitis A vaccine requests after state officials this week reported the source of the ongoing outbreak, which has sickened 206 people with the virus. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii law school students are getting ready for one of world’s biggest environmental conferences next month, which will be held in the United States for the first time. Civil Beat.


The Hawaii County Elections Office found a staggering 771 completed absentee ballots in its mailbox Monday, prompting County Clerk Stewart Maeda to issue a reminder for people to mail their ballots earlier next time. West Hawaii Today.

The once-iconic Kona Village Resort is set to reopen by 2019, after an agreement made public Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

The state of Hawaii aims to finish building a new immigration facility at Kailua-Kona's airport one month before Hawaiian Airlines launches direct flights there from Tokyo. Hawaii News Now.

Riders praise new paratransit system, gripe about price. West Hawaii Today.

An “all-gender” bathroom movement at the University of Hawaii’s flagship campus has been “the norm” at UH-Hilo for years, campus administrators say. Tribune-Herald.

A deficiency notice issued to Ka‘u Learning Academy earlier this summer has been resolved, staff at the state’s Public Charter School Commission said last week. Tribune-Herald.

In light of increased rabbit sightings during the past few months, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee stepped up outreach efforts to let people know about the dangers of the animals creating an established population. Tribune-Herald.

A new slate of tools has been made available so members of the public, especially those sensitive to vog, can keep an eye on conditions around the island and learn ways to protect themselves. West Hawaii Today.


A roundabout will be replacing the four-way-stop intersection at Kamehameha Avenue and Maui Lani Parkway, an area that can see more than 20 cars backing up at stop signs especially before and after school and during the afternoon rush hour. Maui News.

The Department of Parks & Recreation will be placing all overnight camping permits at Kanahā Park on an indefinite hold next month while the park undergoes a clean-up as part of its Master Planning Process. Maui Now.

An experimental Department of Water Supply program could make it easier for residents to add plumbing units without having to purchase expensive and sometimes larger-than-necessary water meters. Maui News.

Maui residents could see an increase of imported cases of Zika virus this fall after three more residents returned home sick from Zika-infested areas over the past three weeks, state Department of Health officials said Wednesday during a community meeting at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku. Maui News.


Two Predator drones were tested on Kauai this summer as ballistic missile trackers as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency seeks to expand its launch detection capabilities without adding costly and sometimes diplomatically unacceptable land-based radars abroad. Star-Advertiser.

Kanani Fu, County of Kauai housing director, said the county averages about 620 applicants who qualify for vouchers every year for the past four years. Currently, there are 607 applicants who qualified for housing vouchers. Garden Island.

Treatment center gets going. Nearly 50 volunteers clean up the 'Fields of Dreams' Garden Island.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

U.S. Rep. Takai to lie in state today, Kilauea volcano adds 8 acres to Big Island, hepatitis lawsuit filed, university project lost in space, Maui senator's house burned twice, Honolulu ride-hailing bill becomes law, little medical care on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USGS Hawaian Volcano observatory
Kilauea Volcano flows to sea, courtesy USGS
Geologists and national park officials are warning people not to get too close to the lava entering the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

The journey starts deep within Earth and ends in one spectacular collision. On the southeast coast of Hawaii Island, molten rock continues to spill into the Pacific Ocean, creating billowing clouds of steam and adding new land to the rugged coastline. Tribune-Herald.

A field excursion provided Hawaii news media an opportunity to meet and interact with staff from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the three agencies that monitor the active flow and help manage public safety on Kīlauea. Big Island Video News.

The late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai will lie in state today at the state Capitol courtyard, where visitors can pay respects from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Public viewing will begin following a short program, and a book of condolence will be available for the public to sign. Star-Advertiser.

The public is invited to pay their final respects to late Hawaii Congressman and longtime state legislator Mark Takai. KHON2.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has advised state employees and lawmakers that they can accept free passes to a major environmental conference Sept. 1-10 in Honolulu. The International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress is set to hold its quadrennial meeting for the first time ever in the United States. Civil Beat.

Hawaii regulators have set a schedule for Hawaiian Electric Co.’s major energy plans, which will set the agenda for the state’s energy industry. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii’s State Of The Environment: Good, Bad And Ugly. A new report highlights challenges and opportunities. Civil Beat.

NASA today said it lost the payload of a suborbital rocket carrying student experiments — including one designed by University of Hawaii students — as it returned to Earth, a rare occurrence that’s being investigated. Star-Advertiser.

A former assistant attorney general of Missouri is now the chief counsel for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, replacing Thomas Gorak, who moved into the position of commissioner on the PUC. Commission Chairman Randy Iwase appointed Caroline Ishida as chief counsel effective July 26. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Department of Health officials said Wednesday that they have identified 38 new cases of hepatitis A, bringing the total of this summer’s outbreak to 206 statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii authorities are urging diners to be aware of the risks of eating raw and undercooked food after they traced a hepatitis A outbreak to frozen scallops served raw at a sushi restaurant chain. Associated Press.

It took only a day for the first lawsuit to be filed. Oahu resident Brant Mauk filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Genki Sushi and Koha Foods alleging negligence for serving him the likely source of Hawaii’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. Civil Beat.

Those seeking Hep A vaccine encounter long lines, waits. Hawaii News Now.

Local travel industry leaders are gathering in Honolulu to discuss industry trends. The Hawaii chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association plans to meet at a Waikiki hotel on Thursday. Associated Press.


Embattled executive Dan Grabauskas’ fate with the largest public works project in Hawaii history could be disclosed today as the board overseeing rail resumes its closed-door discussions on his job performance. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell allowed a bill placing regulations on Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to become law without his signature Wednesday, citing logistical problems that he maintains could put the public’s safety in jeopardy. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has decided to allow a bill to regulate ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to go into law without his signature, and said in a press release that he hopes the City Council will work with his administration to amend it this fall. Civil Beat.

The state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation temporarily will issue revocable permits for two sites in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, which were intended to be developed by Honey Bee USA as part of a public-private partnership. Star-Advertiser.

Once city and state officials signed a right-of-entry agreement early Friday, it wasn’t long before Honolulu police and state Department of Transportation workers descended on a busy traffic triangle on Atkinson Drive near Ala Moana Center to evict the homeless couple who had occupied the state-owned property for the better part of a year. Star-Advertiser.


Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille appears set to get a seat at the table if the Hawaii County Council forms a panel tasked with reducing waste from food packaging and other consumer products. Tribune-Herald.

More than 40 teachers, administrators and others came out Wednesday evening for a town hall meeting about the Every Student Succeeds Act and the future of public education in Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources earlier this year approved a marine reserve at Kaupulehu, enacting a 10-year rest period and creating a no-take area spanning a 3.6-mile stretch of West Hawaii coastline. The decision produced a divergence of opinion within the Native Hawaiian community as it was met with substantial resistance, particularly from Palikapu Dedman of the Pele Defense Fund, who asserted the ban was a violation of his religion and Hawaiian gathering rights. West Hawaii Today.

The Kapiolani Street extension is set to open this afternoon. A blessing of the completed work, which closes a 0.5-mile gap between Lanikaula Street and Mohouli Street, is planned for 11 a.m. Tribune-Herald.


State Sen. J. Kalani English says he is installing a security video system at his home in Hana after someone set fire to his house for the second time in four months. Star-Advertiser.

Maui County is a step closer to acquiring more than 250 acres near the world-famous "Jaws" surf break in East Maui after a Maui County Council committee recommended approval Tuesday of a resolution to acquire the lands owned by Alexander & Baldwin. Maui News.


About one third of Kauai’s population has to leave the island for hospital procedures, according to Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP Hawaii State director. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve exemptions for the Lima Ola Workforce Housing project to help ease an affordable housing crisis. Garden Island.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hawaii coalition calls for better conservation, Kenoi lawyer accuses attorney general of leaking information to TV news, raises deferred for school administrators, Maui taro farmer escapes water use fine, Hilo landfill almost full, hepatitis-tainted scallops destroyed, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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A coalition of 17 Hawaii funders of conservation projects issued a report today that says the state’s environment is under pressure and out of balance, and calls for greater attention to protection of drinking water, renewable energy and marine management. Star-Advertiser.

The biggest issue with feral cats, federal and state scientists said, is the cats’ unique ability to spread toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that has killed at least eight critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, two spinner dolphins, nene geese and native birds over the past 15 years. Civil Beat.

As a Native Hawaiian living in modern Hawaii, one of the times Shad Kane truly felt connected to his ancestors was when he traveled to a remote, 140,000-square-mile area of the Pacific where islands, atolls, islets and coral reefs make up a federally protected marine monument. Associated Press.

A Board of Education committee deferred action Tuesday on proposed raises for 23 senior Department of Education executives, with some board members citing concerns about paying out across-the-board increases. Star-Advertiser.

Members of a Hawaii Board of Education committee tasked with investigating the State Public Charter School Commission are recommending a more formal review of the agency’s performance after finding a “pattern of well-founded complaints” from charter school leaders. Civil Beat.

Scallops suspected of triggering a major hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii came from the Philippines and were served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai but not other islands, state health officials said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he wants Hawaii to deploy more community solar projects — which give those renting or living in condominiums access to renewable energy — by 2018. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu-Based Young Brothers, Hawaii's largest interisland shipping company, reported that interisland cargo shipping was "essentially flat" in the second quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier. Pacific Business News.


The Pentagon agency that searches around the world for American service members missing from past wars has started a mission to recover one of the last World War II pilots still left on land in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

On Tuesday, the federal public defender issued a lengthy statement that blasted the Police Commission for its repeated failure to investigate the chief in a case that involves allegations that he helped frame his wife’s uncle, Gerard Puana, for the theft of their mailbox in 2013. Civil Beat.

It will take an estimated $8 billion in infrastructure upgrades alone to get Oahu to 100 percent renewable energy, a former Hawaii regulator told attendees at an energy event in Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

For the first time in 10 years, the state has reopened the wait list for Section 8 rental housing vouchers on Oahu. But the window to apply is short — just three days — and thousands are expected to apply. KHON2.

Pharmacies on Oahu saw long lines for the Hepatitis A vaccine Tuesday, a day after state health officials identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants as the source of a Hepatitis A outbreak. Hawaii News Now.


Pretrial motions filed by lawyers representing Mayor Billy Kenoi in his felony theft case accuse the state attorney general’s office of leaking confidential information to a Honolulu television news outlet and claim the leaks were intended to prejudice the grand jurors who indicted the mayor and the prospective jury pool for his upcoming trial. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has asked a Circuit Court judge to dismiss charges stemming from a state investigation of his alleged misuse of a county credit card. Star-Advertiser.

A lawyer for Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has made several requests to have Kenoi's theft case tossed out before he heads to trial. Associated Press.

In just 36 months, the Hilo landfill will be filled up and all garbage not recycled or composted will be trucked to the Puuanahulu landfill for disposal. West Hawaii Today.

A small group of Kukuihaele residents staged a protest Tuesday afternoon at the site of a controversial county park project. Tribune-Herald.

Building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea will come with educational opportunities that Hawaii shouldn’t close the door to, the president of a Native Hawaiian group that supports the project said. Associated Press.

The state Commission on Water Resource Management on Tuesday voted not to impose fines against a family in ʻĪao Valley for their use of water from the Wailuku River to grow taro. Maui Now.

The Genki Sushi restaurant in Lahaina discarded about 21 pounds of raw scallops Monday night after discovering the seafood was likely linked to the recent hepatitis A outbreak at the chain's Oahu locations, state Department of Health officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

Genki Sushi in the Maui Mall is expected to reopen in December with touch-screen ordering and a double-rail sushi delivery system, a supervisor said Tuesday. Maui News.

Maui County is a step closer to acquiring more than 250 acres near the world-famous "Jaws" surf break in East Maui after a Maui County Council committee recommended approval Tuesday of a resolution to acquire the lands owned by Alexander & Baldwin. Maui News.


Val Faford was concerned when she found out Hawaii’s Department of Health closed Genki Sushi on Monday in connection with the state’s hepatitis A outbreak. Garden Island.