What they're saying about Hawaii

Loading...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Djou, Takai in dead heat, ousted Abercrombie still unpopular, rail project adds $14M, Honolulu mulls e-cig ban, Big Island GMO ban gets court hearing, lava advance quickens, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Mark Takai, Charles Djou vie for Congress
Democrat Mark Takai, who already has spent $1.2 million on the race, and Republican Charles Djou, who has a 2-to-1 lead in cash on hand heading into the home stretch, are tied at 47 percent each, according to the latest Hawaii poll. With the race for Hawaii's open 1st Congressional District seat up for grabs, at least one analyst predicts the contest could come down to who has more money for the final push and who gets outside help from mainland third-party money. Star-Advertiser.

Our latest Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser poll in the campaign to represent urban Oahu in Congress suggests the vote could go either way. In the race between Charles Djou and Mark Takai,volunteers and the candidates will crank up efforts to get out the vote with their campaigns in a dead heat. It's tied at 47 percent according to our new Hawaii poll.

Mark Takai needed more campaign money — and he got it. The Democratic candidate for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District raised just over $200,000 — including $85,000 from super PACs — during the first half of October, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. His Republican opponent, Charles Djou, pulled in $72,000 but outspent Takai by almost $82,000 during the same 15-day period. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Democrats Launch Preemptive Strike Against National GOP Group. In a tight race for Congress between Charles Djou and Mark Takai, the Democrats are worked up about a political commercial that might hurt their candidate — even before the ad airs. Civil Beat.

History might eventually treat him more kindly than voters did during the Democratic primary in August, but the initial appraisal of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's four-year term is below average. Asked in a new Hawaii Poll to rate the Democrat's job performance during his term as governor on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being a "terrible job" and 5 being a "great job," voters gave him a 2.53. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says his intent if elected in November is to help make sure the federal budget reflects Hawaii's priorities. Star-Advertiser.

The state will consider new hunting rules that some say could destroy traditional pig hunting methods. The DLNR will hold a hearing Friday to approve the new rules, which will require all hunting dogs to be registered and to carry some form of identification. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s Department of Health today said it has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, one on Maui and two on Kauai. Civil Beat.

Matson Inc. will lower its fuel surcharge for Hawaii cargo shipping by 5 percentage points Nov. 2 to compensate for falling ship fuel prices, the state's largest ocean cargo carrier announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Researchers will be sharing their latest observations on how warmer-than normal ocean temperatures are causing large sections of Oahu's coral reefs to expel algae. The phenomenon called coral bleaching can kill coral, an organism at the foundation of Hawaii's marine environment. Associated Press.

Oahu

Board members overseeing Oahu's rail transit project have approved an additional $14 million in cost increases -- and nearly half of that expense is due to yet another contract that went out prematurely, project officials say. Star-Advertiser.

E-cigarettes have long been touted as an alternative to cigarettes. But e-cig users could soon have fewer places to smoke on Oahu. A city councilman wants to expand the smoking ban, to include e-cigs. KHON2.

Jeffrey Crabtree, a private attorney who specialized in consumer protection, personal injury, malpractice and end-of-life medical issues, was confirmed to 1st Circuit Court. Christine Kuriyama, a Family Court judge, was also confirmed to 1st Circuit Court. Before she was a judge, Kuriyama was a private attorney, deputy attorney general, administrator at the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and staff attorney for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and state House Democrats. Star-Advertiser.

A new non-profit, established in September, 2014, has sent a letter to the four gubernatorial candidates asking that—whichever one of them wins the general election in November—he overhaul the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) board and end fast tracking of development and permitting. Hawaii Independent.

A Republican state Senate candidate resumed sign waving Thursday afternoon after he was hit by a car while crossing the street after waving signs in Waipio Thursday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Sonar mapping shines new light on USS Utah. Star-Advertiser.

The city and county of Honolulu says it has an explanation for hundreds of pounds of trash that’s stockpiled in Kapiolani Park. Honolulu spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke says the trash collected by street sweepers is being kept there so that consultants can test it for the type of debris that ends up in the ocean. Associated Press.

The attorney for Malia Arciero, a madam who operated her business out of the elite Oahu neighborhood Portlock for about a decade, will go to court Thursday, Oct. 23, to attempt to get drug possession and drug dealing charges against her dismissed. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

A lawyer representing a group seeking to invalidate Hawaii County’s law restricting the use of genetically engineered crops urged a judge Thursday to make the same decision he recently made invalidating Kauai’s law. Associated Press.

Hawaii County officials are keeping a constant eye on the June 27 lava flow as it begins to reach the outskirts of Pahoa. After weeks of sluggish advance, the flow gushed toward pastureland above the village and Civil Defense initiated the first road closure since access was restricted to Kaohe Homesteads more than a month ago. Tribune-Herald.

A larger crowd than usual attended the weekly lava update meeting in Pahoa on Thursday night following news that Madame Pele's path had quickly advanced. Star-Advertiser.

Margaret Masunaga officially became District Judge Masunaga upon her confirmation Thursday by the state Senate in a special session. West Hawaii Today.

There’s a “desperate” need for election workers, as Hawaii County finds itself short 67 volunteers for precincts in Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona and Ka‘u. West Hawaii Today.

Led by a 23.6 percent rise in room rates on the Big Island, the statewide average room rate at Hawaii hotels last week rose 8.6 percent to $232.58 compared to the same week a year before, according to the latest Hawaii Hotel Industry Snapshot from Hospitality Advisors LLC and STR Inc. Pacific Business News.

Mauka from the Kekaha Kai State Park entrance on Queen Kaahumanu Highway is land the Hawaii Racing Association believes is best suited for a motorsport park. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County Council Candidates Assess GMO Moratorium Ballot Initiative. Most were not in favor of the bill as written, and will vote “no.” Maui Weekly.

Maui resident Kathleen Soule is pursuing a class action lawsuit against Priceline Group and Marriott International seeking monetary damages "arising from the unfair and unconscionable assessment and collection of 'resort fees.'" Pacific Business News.

Kauai
Department of Public Works officials are reviewing current policies and procedures after thieves stole $86,000 in equipment from two county facilities in July. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday passed a trio of measures that seek to correct current tax laws and assist some property owners who saw substantial increases on their real property tax bills this year. Garden Island.

Grove Farm Company has given the state Department of Health permission to access its land in Mahaulepu and investigate the source of pollution in Waiopili Stream. Garden Island.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ige widens lead in new poll, federal judge to hear Big Island GMO complaint today, Hawaii not ready for Ebola, commission undecided on PAC spending complaints, Senate panel advances judge nominees, Steven Tyler Maui nightclub plan falters, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ige © 2014 All Hawaii News
State Sen. David Ige has the advantage in the campaign for governor, a new Hawaii Poll shows, scoring well with Japanese-Americans, seniors and union families who are among the most likely to vote in November. Ige, the Democrat, leads former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican, 47 percent to 35 percent. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the independent, is at 12 percent, while Jeff Davis, the Libertarian, is at 1 percent. Six percent remain undecided. Star-Advertiser.

Early voting has begun and the general election is just under two weeks away. Who will win the big races in Hawaii — for governor, the U.S. Senate, the 1st Congressional District and the 2nd Congressional District, according to the national experts? In short, Democrat David Ige has the edge over Republican Duke Aiona for governor, as does Democrat Mark Takai over Republican Charles Djou in the CD1 contest. Democrats Brian Schatz and Tulsi Gabbard, meanwhile, need not fear Republicans Cam Cavasso and Kawika Crowley in their Senate and CD2 races, respectively. Civil Beat.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Aiona © 2014 All Hawaii News
Fresh poll numbers for Hawaii’s top political races (sans the federal offices) are expected any day now, but by another metric there is already a clear frontrunner: David Ige, the Democratic Party nominee for governor, has held 15 campaign fundraisers since the Aug. 9 primary. Civil Beat.

Gubernatorial candidates James "Duke" Aiona and David Ige were treated like celebrities — cheered on by scores of screaming fans decked out in red, white and blue, toting hand-painted posters — at a student pep rally Wednesday at Maryknoll School. Star-Advertiser.

The state Campaign Spending Commission decided Wednesday to defer until November a complaint that former Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano filed against the super PAC that crushed his bid for mayor in 2012. Pacific Resource Partnership, a political action committee funded by contractors and unionized carpenters, spent over $3 million on a coordinated attack to keep Cayetano out of office after he pledged to end Honolulu’s $5.2 billion rail project if elected. Civil Beat.

The state Campaign Spending Commission on Nov. 19 will vote again on whether two complaints against the Pacific Resource Partnership Political Action Committee should be reviewed by state attorneys for criminal prosecution. The commission voted 2-1 Wednesday, failing to muster three votes to make a decision on whether to refer for review the two complaints — one by former Gov. Ben Cayetano and the other by commission Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao. Star-Advertiser.

Officials said Wednesday Hawaii health care workers need more training to be sufficiently prepared to handle an Ebola virus outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

A Senate investigative committee is calling for major reforms to the Hawaii State Hospital in an effort to curb violence and restore trust in a mental health system that has been mismanaged for many years. On Wednesday, the committee, which is co-chaired by Hawaii Sens. Clayton Hee and Josh Green, issued its final report after holding nearly a dozen hearings in which top officials from the hospital and state Department of Health were subpoenaed to testify under oath. The report’s recommendations are wide-ranging and include everything from building a new state hospital — something that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars — to sending the most troublesome, violent patients to an out-of-state facility to receive treatment. Civil Beat.

A special State Senate committee convened to investigate problems at the Hawaii State Hospital Wednesday released a lengthy report about its findings and recommendations to improve the troubled facility. The 88-page report calls the state's only mental hospital outdated and overcrowded. It also said the facility suffers from bad management, a lack of training and chronic overtime and sick leave abuse, leading to assaults by mental patients against the staff. Hawaii News Now.

Scientists have found evidence of a massive tsunami that slammed into Hawaii nearly 500 years ago. That’s according to a new study released this week, that’s prompting state officials to re-examine their tsunami evacuation plans. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

The contractor hired to dispose of seized commercial-grade fireworks in Honolulu says it will find another site for the job after residents of Nanakuli objected to blowing them up in their community. Michael De Sousa of URS Federal Services Inc. says the company will honor the state Department of Health's request to find another site. Associated Press.

A government contractor will find another site to dispose of 39 pallets of commercial-grade fireworks from a Waikele storage bunker after Nanakuli residents voiced strong opposition to setting them off on a property in their rural neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

The city has been stockpiling hundreds of pounds of trash collected by street sweepers right in Kapiolani Park. The debris piles, located near the Waikiki Shell next to a city no dumping sign, includes asphalt, oil, gravel and plain old trash that's exposed to the elements. Hawaii News Now.

An accident that left an Ewa Beach man dead has now become even more tragic for the loved ones left behind because of a mistake by the Honolulu City Prosecutor’s office. KHON2.

Matson Terminals Inc., the company responsible for spilling 220,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor in September 2013, has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, court records show. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

A federal magistrate judge will be hearing arguments a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Hawaii County’s law restricting the use of genetically modified crops. Big Island agriculture groups and farmers filed a lawsuit in federal court in June seeking to overturn the law, which went into effect in December. Thursday’s hearing will be on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, which argues that the law is invalid on the grounds that it’s pre-empted by federal and state law. Associated Press.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee gave its unanimous approval Wednesday to the confirmation of Margaret Masunaga as a district judge in Kona, despite a negative rating by the Hawaii State Bar Association. West Hawaii Today.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is in Pahoa offering low-interest loans to victims of Tropical Storm Iselle. Loans are available to homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses in Hawaii County that received damage related to the storm from Aug. 7-9. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island hunters will have more opportunities to bag feral pigs, goats and sheep under a package of changes to hunting rules set to go before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday. West Hawaii Today.

Some Ocean View residents aren’t waiting around for a new county garbage disposal facility. Instead, large quantities of trash are being dumped along the access road to the future site of the transfer station. West Hawaii Today.

A narrow finger of lava  along the southern edge of the main flow has now become the leading edge of the flow and advanced about 100 yards since Tuesday, Hawaii County Civil Defense officials said after an overflight Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Maui
The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission on Wednesday dismissed two complaints filed by a Paia political activist, one against a nonprofit industry trust fund and the other against a related super Political Action Committee, which have poured thousands of dollars in at least the Maui County Council West Maui residency race. Maui News.

State and county officials Wednesday closed down beaches from the Old Suda Store to Kalama Park in South Maui after a shark encounter — the third since Saturday on the Valley Isle. Star-Advertiser.

A plan to develop a new restaurant and nightclub in Hawaii involving Aerosmith frontman and part-time Maui resident Steven Tyler has likely been shelved, one of the operating partners told Pacific Business News.

The non-profit Lokahi Pacific community development corporation broke ground on a new affordable housing complex in Happy Valley on Maui. Maui News.

Veteran candidates vie for East Maui council seat. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County Councilman Tim Bynum says Kapaa New Town Park is a place that has not necessarily lived up to its name. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council plans to rename the Kapaa New Town Park Facility the Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex. Associated Press.

Benches built to accommodate visitors to Kauai Veterans Cemetery were stolen just weeks after they were installed. Garden Island.

A former Department of Land and Natural Resources official pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Kauai Circuit Court to 30 counts of sex assault — a majority of which are alleged to have occurred when the female victim was a minor. Star-Advertiser.

Molokai

A single initiative on the November election ballot has the Molokai community in such a heated debate that “vote yes” and “vote no” only refer to one thing: whether or not the cultivation of all genetically engineered crops in Maui County should stop while studies are done examining effects on human health and the environment. Molokai Dispatch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Matson fined $1M for molasses spill, campaign shenanigans abound, Department of Education wants more money, Gabbard seeks military impact on marine life, same-sex marriage ban moot, road to be connected over old lava flows, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy KHON2 TV
KHON2 file footage of 2013 molasses spill
Matson has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve all federal criminal charges tied to last year's 233,000-gallon molasses spill in Hono­lulu Harbor. The U.S. attorney here filed papers in federal court Tuesday charging Matson Terminals Inc. with two misdemeanor violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 — one charge for each day the molasses leaked into the harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Inc. reached a plea agreement Tuesday with the U.S. Attorney in Hawaii on charges that the company illegally discharged more than 230,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor in 2013, agreeing to pay a total penalty of $1 million. Pacific Business News.

Four complaints alleging campaign violations against the political action group Pacific Resource Partnership or its successor, Forward Progress, will be heard by the five-member Campaign Spending Commission at its meeting Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: It appears the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission could devote some of Wednesday to chewing on the Pacific Resource Partnership, which, because of the money it flings around, is one of our most influential political players. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary:  The most recent public reports filed with the Campaign Spending Commission only covered the period through the Aug. 9 primary. All of the subsequent spending remains hidden. Civil Beat.

Early voting has started across the Hawaiian islands for state's general election. The Office of Elections opened the polls Tuesday for early absentee voters to cast their ballots. Polling stations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island will be open until Nov. 1. Hawaii News Now.

Sen. Brian Schatz is publicly supporting the campaign to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to use public funds to pay for private preschool programs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is requesting information from the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor about the Navy’s efforts to monitor the effects of the Rim of the Pacific military exercise and Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on the ocean and marine ecosystems. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Education anticipates requesting an additional $159 million from the state during the next legislative session to cover expenditures in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. West Hawaii Today.

The Department of Education says it needs $19 million in emergency funding from the Legislature to cover shortfalls in its school lunch and bus transportation programs, or officials warned that meal prices might go up and some bus routes could be eliminated. Star-Advertiser.

The state Board of Education is giving Hawaii's public schools superintendent an "exceeds expectations" rating for the current year. The board said Tuesday public schools have made exceptional progress under Kathryn Matayoshi's leadership. Associated Press.

A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling quietly ended a last-ditch court fight against a Hawaii law allowing same-sex marriage. The court issued an opinion earlier this month declaring moot a lawsuit filed by a Hawaii couple seeking to marry before the state legalized gay marriage last year. Associated Press.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Hawaii's marriage equality law makes a pending federal lawsuit moot, and instructed the lower court to dismiss the case. Star-Advertiser.

One of three judicial appointments pending this week in the state Senate has been labeled “unqualified” by the Hawaii State Bar Association despite significant testimony supporting her. Civil Beat.

Proponents of a state constitutional amendment to allow farmers, ranchers and owners of other agricultural endeavors to request special purpose revenue bonds say the measure won’t cost taxpayers any money. West Hawaii Today.

Anna Azevedo became the owner of a new $176,650 home on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property earlier this year after spending 26 years waiting for a homestead. But her house — affordable by Hawaii standards — was built with a tool that could reduce the number of affordable-housing units for non-Hawaiians. The tool is a relatively new and controversial credit program that has largely simmered out of public view. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Last week, residents of east Honolulu found flyers in their mailboxes attacking Honolulu City Council District 4 candidate Tommy Waters as being a “carpetbagger.” Curiously, no one has acknowledged being responsible for the ad’s message — not even representatives of the super PAC that paid for it. Civil Beat.

Not in our neighborhood. That's the message in Nanakuli as families shot down a proposal to set off thousands of illegally shipped fireworks in a residential lot next to a large chicken farm. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said a perfect storm of events led to damage to the plant and yes, the city could have done better in trying to prevent Sunday’s massive wastewater spill at Sand Island. KHON2.

A palm-damaging coconut rhinoceros beetle has been found in Central Oahu — significantly expanding the known range of the palm pest on the island. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Three of five bills aimed at reducing loopholes and making property tax collections more fair have survived their first reading at the County Council and will be considered a final time when the council meets early next month. West Hawaii Today.

Construction of the Chain of Craters alternate route will speed up Friday as bulldozers begin making a path over a wall of lava rock covering the road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The $12 million to $15.5 million route, to be re-established between the park and Kalapana as a gravel road, could eventually be the only road in and out of lower Puna if the June 27 lava flow makes its way to the sea. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

You may have seen the ads all over local TV taking a stand against the genetically modified organism initiative. It’s a measure that'll be up for vote by the people of Maui County on next month’s ballot. KITV4.

Super PACs could impact West Maui race. 2014 Election: Outside funds help newcomer take on council incumbent. Maui News.

For council candidates, a civil race to Nov. 4. This story is part of a series of stories covering contested state legislative and Maui County contests leading up to the Nov. 4 general election. Maui News.

Several Maui projects will benefit from a funding release announced today by the governor for capital improvement projects administered by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

The Waikamoi Flume should be fully operational by next month as the rotting and aging redwood of the flume is being replaced with shiny new aluminum that will improve the reliability of the system and may increase water intake for Upcountry, county officials said. Maui News.

Kauai

Better visibility of bus schedules in tourism guides, more frequent service, and increased bus routes to areas like Lydgate Beach Park and Anini are among the suggestions that one resident had for Kauai Transportation Agency officials, who oversee The Kauai Bus operations. Garden Island.




Lanai

Applications for the 2015 Lānaʻi Axis deer hunting season are now available through the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui Now.

Kahoolawe

Promised Land: The Navy and the Damage Done. THIRD OF THREE PARTS: Kahoolawe still bears the scars of decades of bombing, and erosion unearths even more unexploded ordnance. State lawmakers wonder if it's time to try to compel the Navy to finish its cleanup. Civil Beat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Honolulu airport third-worst, Say residency unresolved, Kona woman fights for judgeship, sewer spill on Sand Island, Kauai councilwoman wants GET tax for buses, hearing to be held on Ebola, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii government
Honolulu International Airport, courtesy Hawaii state government
Hawaii's main airport is the third-worst in North America in a recent survey of travelers. Honolulu International is not as bad as top-ranked LaGuardia International Airport in New York, or second-ranked Los Angeles International Airport, according to users of online travel site www.sleepinginairports.net. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii politics is in transition in the wake of the death of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and the retirement of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. The churn at the top has caused political uncertainty that might take several election cycles to settle. Here's a rundown of potentially competitive state House and Senate campaigns, which is based on information provided from political analysts, party strategists, campaign consultants and lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

After nearly three decades in Hawaii politics, in a career that has seen roughly as many dramatic wins as huge losses, Mufi Hannemann has not lost his self-confidence. Civil Beat.

State House Speaker Joseph Souki said the House will not take up a challenge to former Speaker Calvin Say's residency before the November elections. Six Palolo voters have questioned whether Say lives in the Palolo state House district he has represented since 1976 or whether he actually lives with his family in Pauoa Valley. The voters lost a legal challenge in Circuit Court but plan to appeal. Star-Advertiser.

The speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives says the chamber will not immediately consider a request to investigate Rep. Calvin Say’s residency qualifications. In a letter dated Oct. 17 to Lance Collins, the attorney for six Palolo residents who argue that Say no longer lives in District 20 and so should not represent them, Speaker Joe Souki said it would be “inappropriate” to address the “numerous assertions” made in Collins’ letter. Civil Beat.

Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki says the Legislature will not immediately resolve claims about the residency of Rep. Calvin Say. Say had been challenged in court by six Palolo voters who claim his main residence is outside the district. Say has represented the Palolo district for more than three decades. Associated Press.

As hospitals across the country prepare for a potential Ebola case, Hawaii officials are working on new guidelines to keep the state safe from the deadly virus. The director of Hawaii's Department of Health will also outline the state's strategy at a hearing this week at the state Capitol. Hawaii News Now.

Local officials are ramping up efforts to keep people in Hawaii safe from the Ebola virus. A new treatment protocol to deal with Ebola in Hawaii may be released later this week at a hearing at the State Capitol. KHON2.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has vacated a federal district court’s judgment in Jackson v. Abercrombie. The lawsuit challenged Hawaii’s 1998 ballot decision to give the Hawaii Legislature the authority to restrict marriage to one man and own woman. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s highly celebrated technology and cybersecurity czar started a new job Monday as the U.S. Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary and chief information officer. Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia spent the past three years helping the state develop and implement a 12-year plan to pull itself out of the dark ages and into the information age. Civil Beat.

Oahu

More than 100 workers and a dozen private contractors are scrambling to repair the critical Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant that was flooded by Hurricane Ana, which left behind 20 million gallons of untreated sludge that overwhelmed the plant Sunday morning and left it without power. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Rep. Karen Awana sharply criticized a plan Monday that calls for using a rural property on the Waianae Coast as a place to store and dispose of a large cache of illegal fireworks. The commercial-grade fireworks are the remnants of a stash that was involved in the 2011 explosion at a Waikele storage bunker that killed five people. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii will be examining dumped chemical weapons in deep water off the south coast of Oahu for the last time to see what effects they have on seawater, marine life and sediment. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell plans to hold three public town hall-style meetings this week to address the affordable housing crisis on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

The videotape beating of a bystander by a Honolulu police officer has prompted a crackdown on bad behavior within the HPD's elite crime reduction units. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Why It’s So Difficult to Prosecute Domestic Abuse in Hawaii. Honolulu's prosecutor weighs in on domestic violence and actions that he's hoping will help ease the situation. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

An army of public officials rushed to the defense of Margaret Masunaga, a Hawaii County deputy corporation counsel, after the Hawaii State Bar Association deemed her unqualified to be a district judge. West Hawaii Today.

A plan to open a recycling redemption center in the Seaview Center subdivision has some neighbors concerned. West Hawaii Today.

The leading edge of the June 27 lava flow remained at a standstill Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County is providing early walk-in voting in Puna in case the June 27 lava flow interferes with Election Day. Tribune-Herald.

A University of Hawaii professor submitted a stinging critique of the planned expansion of a West Hawaii fish farm. The final environmental assessment, which included Frazer’s comments, was released several days ago. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Island of Maui was dethroned from its top spot as the best island in the world after earning the accolade for 20 consecutive years between and 1993 and 2013 in the annual ranking conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Maui Now.

Some Maui residents are not happy about the Health Department's new rules on cesspools. They claim the rules do not consider the interests of rural communities on the Neighbor Islands, where the vast majority of cesspools in the state are located. Hawaii Public Radio.

About 1,100 free-roaming and feral cats loiter around Kanaha Beach Park and surrounding areas in Kahului, according to a December survey, and researchers say "serious management attention" should be paid to control the cat population in that region. Maui News.

Researchers are concerned about the number of cats near a Maui wildlife sanctuary that's home to endangered birds. A survey in an area that includes Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary found more than 1,000 free-roaming and feral cats. Associated Press.

Kauai

Kauai County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura says more must be done to ensure that the county’s public transportation system remains viable and becomes a key part in alleviating traffic congestion throughout the island. A proposal that Yukimura is slated to introduce during Wednesday’s County Council meeting could allow for one of those funding sources to be a county surcharge tacked on to the state’s 4 percent general excise tax, which is levied on business activities in Hawaii and is reflected on many consumer purchases, including food and groceries. Garden Island.

The state Department of Health is requesting access to Grove Farm Company property in Mahaulepu in an effort to pinpoint how large amounts of bacteria are ending up Waiopili Stream. Garden Island.

The state Intermediate Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the owner of a former North Shore commercial boatyard owner in his attempts to prove the County of Kauai had revoked his operation permit for a false purpose. Garden Island.

Friends of Mahaulepu will host a public meeting Thursday to discuss legal remedies concerning Hawaii Dairy Farms’ proposed $17.5 million, 578-acre dairy in Mahaulepu Valley. Garden Island.

Kahoolawe
Promised Land: ‘Where Beauty is Alongside the Ugliness’ SECOND OF THREE PARTS: As they sweat through the monumental task of restoring an island decimated by ranching, goats and bombs, workers' efforts are infused with respect for its history and significance to Native Hawaiians. But at least one activist questions whether it's worth all the effort. Civil Beat.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Common Core standards have Hawaii educators on edge, no federal relief for storm damage, targeting Kahoolawe, bloated voter rolls, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
Hawaii public school, courtesy Hawaii Department of Education
After three years of preparation, the state Department of Education rolled out Common Core at public schools statewide last school year, a more rigorous set of standards in English language arts and math intended to better prepare students for college and the workforce. Star-Advertiser.

This year, more than ever, teachers are feeling the pressure of high-stakes testing. Teachers are expected to prepare their students using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a new set of rigorous learning standards to guide their lessons for the year. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s infamously low voter turnout may not be quite as bad as it seems. That’s because thousands of people who are still on the registered voter list have moved, gone to prison or died since the last election, lowering the overall turnout percentages published by the state Office of Elections in any given year. Heading into the Nov. 4 general election, the state has identified 626,431 people as “active” on its master list of 706,890 registered voters. Civil Beat.

Private islands, super-yachts and Marine Protected Areas How Marine Protected Areas have given rise to a surge of profit-seeking Eco-tourism investments. Hawaii Independent.

Renewable energy technologies are highly favored with 97 percent of the public supporting increased development of at least some forms of renewable energy in Hawaii, according to a new report by the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Nanakuli residents will get a chance to air their concerns this week on a proposal to dispose of a large cache of fireworks — remnants of the fatal 2011 Wai­kele storage bunker explosion — by shooting them off at a property in their neighborhood. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents may see lower prices from Hawaii Gas if the utility's request to bring in more liquefied natural gas is approved. Hawaii Gas filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission on Thursday seeking to import more LNG. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Too Many Forums for Gubernatorial Candidates? There have been some two dozen debates or forums since late August. But do they really help voters make up their minds? Civil Beat.

City Environmental Services officials say 5,000 gallons of waste water spilled into Honolulu Harbor Sunday afternoon. One of the primary clarifier tanks could not handle the water surge from the storm, officials said. KITV4.

Hawaii businessman Jay Shidler, who on Friday quadrupled his gift to the University of Hawaii business school that bears his name to a total of $100 million, told Pacific Business News that he started thinking about making this big move about four years ago.

Hawaii

Hawaii County officials announced an appeal for federal relief funding for damages wrought by Tropical Storm Iselle was denied. The Oct. 7 appeal was submitted in response to an Aug. 28 decision by President Barack Obama to not declare a major disaster in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Although he performed before a crowd of 20,000 a few nights ago, rock 'n' roll superstar Steven Tyler admitted to a touch of nerves as he addressed 11 Maui Drug Court graduates and their families Thursday afternoon in Circuit Court. Maui News.

Newcomer taking on incumbent mayor. 2014 Election: Tamara Paltin has experience running a grass-roots campaign. Maui News.

Maui boy Lui Hokoana was approved by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday afternoon to be the next chancellor at UH-Maui College. Maui News.

Kauai

One person who did have a role in the Pflueger dam breach, but has received little publicity, has walked away without consequences. MaryAnn Kusaka was the mayor of Kauai in 1997, the year Pflueger allegedly illegally graded around his dam and reservoir and covered the spillway. Hawaii Reporter.

A former police officer and DLNR enforcement manager has been indicted on 30 counts of sexual assault. Tarey William Kahana Low, 53, of Kapaa, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged with 26 counts of first-degree sexual assault, forcible rape and four counts of third-degree sexual assault. Garden Island.

Kahoolawe

Promised Land: Will Kahoolawe Ever Be Saved? FIRST OF THREE PARTS: The state agency tasked with restoring the island for Native Hawaiian cultural uses is running out of money, and the Navy left unfinished the job of removing unexploded ordnance from the former bombing range. But the volunteers keep coming, at least for now. Civil Beat.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tropical Storm Ana veers south of Hawaii, Honolulu homeless law expanded, gas prices drop, cesspool rules irk testifiers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

National Weather Service Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Ana 5 a.m. Oct. 17, Central Pacific Hurricane Center
Tropical Storm Ana intensified overnight and is just below hurricane strength as it nears Hawaii. At 5 a.m., the storm's winds remained at 70 mph with higher gusts, just below the category 1 hurricane status of 74 mph winds. The storm was 280 miles south of Hilo and 455 miles southeast of Honolulu, moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph. Forecasters said Ana could develop into a hurricane Friday as it passes south of the Big Island and Maui County. Star-Advertiser.

Living Hawaii: Is the Price of Paradise Getting You Down? The cost of living and our declining work environment are undermining the state's sense of well-being. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gas, which became the first utility in the state to begin shipping liquefied natural gas to the Islands in April, is making a move to bring in even more of this fuel to Hawaii to help it better manage its fuel costs. The state's only franchised gas utility said Thursday that it has filed an application with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to increase the volume of LNG shipments for its synthetic natural gas pipeline. Pacific Business News.

Ad Watch: Mark Takai Plays the Veterans Card. Again. There is fresh fodder from the candidates running for the U.S. Congress, and more negative spots in the race for Hawaii governor. Civil Beat.

Lowering tuition at University of Hawaii campuses can now be done more quickly under a revised policy approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. Previous rules required that any increase or decrease in tuition be presented at a public meeting at least one semester in advance. The board, which met Thursday on Maui for its monthly meeting, unanimously approved removing that requirement for tuition decreases. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
Owners of Oahu businesses who want a ban against sitting and lying down on sidewalks in front of storefronts in their neighborhoods need to step forward and argue that they should be included in islandwide legislation. A bill expanding the ban the Waikiki ban on lying and sitting on city sidewalks to 10 other business districts on Oahu was given a preliminary OK by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department is doubling the amount of classroom time that officers receive annually on domestic violence issues and is working closely with victim advocacy groups on developing more stringent policies on how they should approach cases involving law enforcement officers as potential suspects, HPD Chief Louis Kealoha and other police brass say. Star-Advertiser.

A group of UH Mānoa faculty members have sent testimony to the Board of Regents urging the board to fix serious flaws at the System level. Hawaii Independent.

Average gas prices in Honolulu dipped below $4 a gallon Thursday for the first time since March and appear headed to their lowest level in nearly four years. Star-Advertiser.

More transportation options will be available for Honolulu residents as the second car-sharing company comes to Hawaii. Ulm, Germany-based car-sharing service car2go is looking to expand to Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Most people testifying Thursday evening about proposed rules aimed at reducing cesspools in the state agreed that protecting water quality is important. But many objected to what they considered draconian measures to accomplish it. West Hawaii Today.

People seeking treatment for addiction in West Hawaii have another option again. The Big Island Substance Abuse Council is reopening its Kealakekua office next month, 18 months after it closed that site and one in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

The leading edge of the lava flow threatening Pahoa appears to have temporarily ground to a halt. Tribune-Herald.

In partnership with the Hawaii County Civil Defense, Hawaii Red Cross volunteers will be opening shelters on the Big Island in response to Tropical Storm Ana. Evacuation Shelters will open on Friday, October 17, 2014 at noon. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Two days after Wailuku Water Co. reportedly released 10 million gallons of water back into Iao Stream, residents claim the full amount is still not flowing from mauka to makai. Maui News.

A 2nd Circuit judge Wednesday deferred arguments and complaints about the development of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex to the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.

Kauai

More than eight years after the Ka Loko Dam breached on Kauai’s North Shore killing 7 people and an unborn child, James Pflueger, the man the state said was responsible for causing the breach, was sentenced to 7 months in prison. Hawaii Reporter.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tropical Storm watch begins in Hawaii, final gubernatorial debate talks taxes, Takai fundraising leader, state studies GMO pesticides on Kauai, Pflueger gets prison in dam breach, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

NOAA National Weather Service
Tropical Storm Ana 5:30 a.m. Oct. 16, courtesy NOAA
At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, the center of Tropical Storm Ana was located about 500 miles southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. Ana is moving toward the west near 10 mph.  Ana is expected to turn toward the west-northwest on Thursday, then turn toward the northwest on Friday with little change in forward speed.  On the forecast track, the center of Ana will pass near the Big Island Friday night and Saturday. KITV4.

State officials say they are preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana which is expected to crawl up the island chain beginning Friday.Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed an emergency proclamation in anticipation of Ana's arrival. Hawaii News Now.

All of the main islands are under threat of Tropical Storm Ana's flash flooding, strong and damaging winds, and coastal inundation and waves Friday through Monday, Central Pacific Hurricane Center meteorologists said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The final televised gubernatorial debate before November's general election produced no major gaffes but did have a fairly clear winner and loser Wednesday, according to a political analyst. Hawaii News Now.

Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona on Wednesday night challenged his opponents for governor on taxes, claiming that former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and state Sen. David Ige would be more inclined to raise taxes because they both supported a general-excise tax surcharge for the Honolulu rail project. Hannemann had urged the state Legislature to approve the surcharge and Ige voted in 2005 to give the city the authority to levy the tax. Star-Advertiser.

Democrat Mark Takai has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than Republican Charles Djou in their tight race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years. But Djou had more than twice as much cash on hand in his campaign account — $626,191 to be exact — at the end of the most recent reporting period with the Federal Elections Commission. Civil Beat.

Hawaii real estate mogul Jay Shidler is the richest person in Hawaii with an estimated net worth of $700 million, according to a new report by Wealth-X. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Oahu residents weren't in a rush Wednesday to increase their stockpiles of goods before the storm, with many leisurely buying just a few cases of water and typical supplies for the week. That's a stark contrast to the scene just over two months ago when anxious consumers amassed large amounts of water and dry goods days ahead of Tropical Storm Iselle, which turned out to be mostly uneventful on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Construction equipment is starting up Thursday to begin building the Collection, the latest condominium tower to rise in Kakaako. The project's developer, Alexander & Baldwin Inc., held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday on the site once occupied by a CompUSA store to thank everyone helping the roughly $200 million tower get off the ground, including government officials, contractors and especially homebuyers. Star-Advertiser.

A day after a binder containing sensitive court documents for a prison gang trial was found at a downtown restaurant, the attorney who owns the binder said someone stole it from him at the federal courthouse. Star-Advertiser.

Palama Settlement announced Wednesday its request for proposals for the redevelopment of its Kalihi-Palama campus. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Police Secrecy: What We Don’t Know Is More Disturbing Than What We Do Honolulu police need to make public an investigation into a cop accused of domestic violence. Otherwise, we'll never know if the sergeant received special treatment. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A tropical storm watch has been issued for the Big Island ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Ana. The forecast track for Tropical Storm Ana shifted just south of the Big Island late Wednesday afternoon and wind speeds dropped slightly, but the system still has the potential to hit the southeast flank of the island with torrential rain and hurricane force winds early Saturday. West Hawaii Today.

An Oahu judge will hear arguments on the lawsuit filed against the state regarding Pohakuloa Training Area today. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. filed the complaint in April on behalf of Hawaiians Clarence Ching and Mary Maxine Kahaulelio, who claim the military’s presence is impacting their cultural rights. West Hawaii Today.

A Honolulu judge will take up a suit that claims the state failed to protect former kingdom lands that are important to Native Hawaiians. Circuit Judge Gary Chang will hear arguments in the case Thursday at 3 p.m. Associated Press.

After hearing from dozens of testifiers mostly supporting the measure, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution asking the state Legislature to tighten labeling requirements for coffee. West Hawaii Today.

After hearing assurances that borrowing an additional $20 million won’t break the bank, the Hawaii County Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution paving the way for emergency roadwork on alternative routes to Puna in the event lava crosses Highway 130. West Hawaii Today.

The Mamalahoa Highway bypass extension has hit a snag. Construction that the Hawaii County Department of Public Works had hoped to start back in August has been delayed likely until next month while the department waits for an archaeological study to be reviewed. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County officials are urging Maui County residents to prepare now for possible storm impacts from Ana. Maui Now.

Tropical Storm force winds from Tropical Storm Ana are expected to impact Maui County in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 18. At this time, the Maui Civil Defense Agency and Mayor Alan Arakawa would like to remind the community that they should prepare now, before the storm hits, while there is still plenty of time. Maui Weekly.

Parents to DOE: Why Aren’t We Being Told Sooner About Possible Child Abductions? A recent incident on Maui has many parents concerned that the Department of Education is days late in letting families know there might be someone bothering children near their schools. Civil Beat.

Kauai

A retired car dealer was sentenced to seven months in prison and five years of probation for a dam breach in Hawaii that swept seven people to their deaths in 2006. James Pflueger, 88, was sentenced in Hawaii’s Fifth Circuit Court on Kauai Wednesday. He had been convicted of reckless endangerment. Associated Press.

It was not a sentence that anyone was prepared for on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court. A January 2013 plea agreement reached with James Pflueger did not include recommended jail time from the State Attorney General. But the 88-year-old retired Honolulu auto dealer will serve seven months in jail along with felony probation for his part in causing the Ka Loko dam failure on March 14, 2006 that killed seven people. Garden Island.

A state judge sent retired car dealer James Pflueger to jail for seven months Wednesday for his role in the deaths of seven people swept away in 2006 by floodwaters that had breached Ka Loko Dam. Circuit Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano sentenced Pflueger, 88, to five years of probation for felony reckless endangering and included the seven-month jail term as a condition of the probation. Star-Advertiser.

The Office of Economic Development and the state Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that they will jointly fund a process to examine possible health and environmental impacts associated with the use of pesticides applied to genetically modified agricultural products. Garden Island.

To prepare for the implementation of the new Pay as You Throw Ordinance, which will take effect in July 2015, the Department of Public Works is conducting a PAYT Cart Survey. The purpose is to determine how many 64- and 96-gallon refuse carts should be ordered for the new program. Garden Island.

This time of year, Kauai’s threatened and endangered native Hawaiian seabirds become disoriented by artificial lights during their maiden flights from the mountains to the sea. Garden Island.

Molokai

The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on a plan to remove unexploded ordnance from a World War II bombing range on Molokai’s Kalaupapa peninsula. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing a proposed munitions cleanup plan for the 937-acre site, which the military used for aerial bombing, rockets and gunnery practice from 1942-45. Associated Press.

For 50 years beginning during World War II, the island of Kaho`olawe was rocked by bombs, dropped by the U.S. military for naval training. Hawaii residents recall hearing the explosions and feeling the ground shake as missiles left gouges in the earth. Now, after decades of protest efforts, cultural reconnection and environmental restoration, a process of healing is continuing as a strategic plan is being developed to guide Kaho`olawe’s future. Molokai Dispatch.