What they're saying about Hawaii


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Native Hawaiian elections near end as opponents appeal to U.S. Supreme Court, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani addresses South China Sea in Honolulu, CDC coming to study dengue, Oahu solar panels capped, Maui mayor wants $1.8M for homelessness, Four Seasons Resort Lanai remodeling, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Native Hawaiian protest in front of governor's mansion ©2015 All Hawaii News
Opponents of an election designed to be a significant step toward Native Hawaiian self-governance are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block votes from being counted in what they argue is an unconstitutional, racially exclusive process. Associated Press.

An election for delegates to a proposed convention is set to conclude November 30th, though concerns about the process persist among members of the Hawaiian community. Na’i Aupuni, an organization founded to help establish a path toward Hawaiian self-determination. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward on rules that would ban wild animals from being brought to Hawaii for use in circuses and fairs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii and its low rate of gun-related violence — even in the face of a remarkable surge in gun ownership here — has gotten the attention of one national publication that writes about the raging gun debate in America. Civil Beat.

Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani on Tuesday expressed his support for the U.S. Navy’s sailing of a warship close to one of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea. Associated Press.

In his first visit to Hawaii as Japan’s defense minister, Gen Nakatani said it is important for the international community to “work more effectively” together to protect freedom of navigation, but he said Japan won’t be patrolling disputed islands in the South China Sea. Star-Advertiser.


Last month, with little fanfare, the state Public Utilities Commission announced it will cap new residential and commercial solar projects at 25 megawatts or about 4,500 new systems on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Solving the housing crisis is not going to be easy or cheap, in part, say development experts, because of city officials’ longtime neglect of Honolulu’s basic infrastructure, particularly sewers. Civil Beat.

Three dogs and a cat became the first animals to be cleared for the new Sand Island transitional shelter Tuesday as the city tries to make it easier to get homeless pet owners off the street. Star-Advertiser.

You might think you know where the wealthiest people in Hawaii live. After all, the area of Oahu’s South Shore from Kahala to Portlock is consistently ranked as the state’s wealthiest area, with some of the highest real estate prices in the Islands. Pacific Business News.

Some elderly and disabled residents say they are trapped after the elevators in their seven story building stopped working. KHON2.

When real estate agents have open houses in Honolulu these days, they are putting out their usual signs. But more and more agents seem to be placing signs on sidewalks or on the city property between the sidewalks and the curbs. Civil Beat.


As Hawaii County dengue cases approach 100, a top CDC official is set to arrive on island next week to assess the handling of the outbreak here. West Hawaii Today.

A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control will visit Hawaii island next week to assess the development of the dengue fever outbreak and review state and county efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Tuesday night. Star-Advertiser.

The Big Island’s tourism industry appears to have been spared the bite from the ongoing dengue fever outbreak, but some worry that could change if the number of infections from the mosquito-borne illness continues to rise. Tribune-Herald.

The U.S. Labor Department says an unregistered farm labor contractor deprived migrant workers picking coffee on the Big Island of federal protections such as minimum wage. Associated Press.

A woman is barred from work as a farm labor contractor for operating an unregistered company after a federal investigation. The U.S. Department of Labor filed its allegations on Nov. 3 against Tomasa Rincon-Ibarra, who was doing business as Tomasita Farm Service in 2011. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor Alan Arakawa is recommending nearly $1.8 million be spent on mobile, lightweight and durable portable shelters for the immediate housing needs for Maui's homeless. Maui News.

Heeding a call to ease the island's pent-up demand for more housing, the Maui Planning Commission recommended approval Tuesday of A&B Properties' proposed Wai'ale South development in Central Maui. Maui News.

Maui County's unemployment rate for October fell a half-percentage point compared to October 2014 to 3.6 percent, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations reported Thursday. Maui News.


The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative that has powered Kauai since 2002 is launching a one-year pricing plan that will offer 300 select households a 25 percent discount on electricity between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. Civil Beat.

The stoplight at Kuamoo Road and Kuhio Highway has been throwing a wrench into Eastside traffic flow since Saturday, when heavy rains caused a short in the system. Garden Island.

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai has started taking reservations for early 2016, following a multimillion-dollar renovation led by owner Larry Ellison that shut down both of the island's main hotels earlier this year. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Board of Agriculture mulls wild animal acts, Japan defense minister visits USS Arizona, Thirty Meter Telescope to be last atop Mauna Kea, dengue fever worries tourism authorities, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Zoo animals, such as these elephants at Honolulu Zoo, won't be affected by animal act ban © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state Board of Agriculture is expected to vote today on an initiative that would ban wild animals, such as lions, elephants and tigers, from being brought to Hawaii for display at circuses and fairs. Star-Advertiser.

The State Board of Agriculture will be reviewing the formal rule proposal banning the importation of wild animal acts to Hawaii Tuesday morning. KITV4.

Japan’s defense minister has arrived in Hawaii to meet senior U.S. military officials this week. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani was scheduled to lay a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial on Monday. He’ll also due to see a ballistic missile defense radar and a guided missile cruiser at Pearl Harbor. Associated Press.

The state’s largest labor federation and three local chambers of commerce have announced their support of the $4.3 billion buyout of Hawaiian Electric Industries by Florida-based NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed into law Monday measures that range from rezoning land in Waikiki to ensuring that homeowners who are renovating their homes don’t miss out on property tax exemptions. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and members of the Strategic Housing Development office presented Monday the city’s plan to convert a former school campus in Makiki into a transitional housing facility. KHON2.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority says a $7 million appropriation from the Legislature to move utility lines underground in Kalaeloa isn't enough to complete the project after bids to do the work came in high, and it will ask for an additional $6 million. Star-Advertiser.

Doubt continues to reign over the ownership of Ansaldo, the Italian rail-car maker that has the $1.4 billion contract to build and operate the train cars for Honolulu’s rail transit system, as Italian regulators are taking a complaint over Hitachi’s bid for the company seriously. Pacific Business News.

People living in tents and makeshift shacks on state land bordering the Waianae Boat Harbor have long known their situation was precarious at best.  Civil Beat.


The University of Hawaii has made it official: the Thirty Meter Telescope site will be the last spot on Mauna Kea to be developed for astronomy. Tribune-Herald.

The University of Hawaii is confirming that the planned location for the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Northern Plateau of the Mauna Kea summit will be the “last new area on the mountain where a telescope project will be contemplated or sought.” Big Island Video News.

While tourism apparently hasn't suffered much yet, there's growing concern the visitor industry on the Big Island could take a major hit if the number of dengue fever cases continue to mount. Star-Advertiser.

The Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak reached 92 cases Monday, matching the number confirmed on Maui during a 2001 outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

There are nearly 90 confirmed dengue fever cases on the Big Island, primarily centered in Kona.   One elected official in a neighboring district is concerned the state is not doing enough to prevent its spread. Hawaii Public Radio.


The County of Maui Department of Environmental Management reported that a wastewater overflow of approximately 2,160 gallons occurred on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 at the Paukūkalo Pump Station along Waiehu Beach Road. Maui Now.


Kauai police officials are warning the public to be aware of fake $100 bills with red Chinese markings being used to buy merchandise. Star-Advertiser.

Three experienced voyagers from Kauai who set out nearly two decades ago to build the island's first long-distance Polynesian canoe in more than a century are almost ready to set sail. Associated Press.


Shipping volume between Honolulu and Lanai took a double-digit dive for the first nine months of this year compared to last year. Maui News.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sea cucumber limits sought, lawmakers back teachers in ethics dispute, Pear Harbor trail improvements coming, Big Island tax changes spur questions, Maui planning department likes new development, Kauai 911 system to get upgrades, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawai News lal rights reserved
Sea cucumber © 2015 All Hawaii News
After a commercial operation was discovered overharvesting sea cucumbers earlier this year, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is seeking to regulate the catch and consumption of the marine creature throughout the state. Molokai Dispatch.

Several lawmakers have pledged to help the teachers union in its dispute with the state Ethics Commission over a ban on free trips for teachers who organize out-of-state student field trips. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s public worker pension fund already has teams of lawyers pursuing lawsuits over investment losses where improper or fraudulent activities by publicly traded companies allegedly reduced the fund’s earnings, and the $14 billion retirement fund is ramping up to pursue possible new legal claims. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Health Connector’s board of directors plans to vote Wednesday on a plan to accelerate the transition of the beleaguered online insurance marketplace to the state beginning Dec. 1. Civil Beat.

Hawaii regulators’ upcoming evidentiary hearings regarding NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. will be televised live on cable on Olelo Community Television. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii received a grade of “C” on the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Star-Advertiser.

The Pentagon agency that recovers missing American war dead said it plans to more than double this fiscal year the number of identifications it made last year — possibly fulfilling for the first time a mandate previously set by Congress. Star-Advertiser.


If history repeats itself it will be several more months before the verdict is in on whether the Federal Transit Administration is effectively overseeing major public transportation infrastructure construction in the western United States, including Honolulu’s $6.6 billion commuter rail project. Civil Beat.

City officials are proposing several short- and long-term projects to revitalize the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail after residents expressed concerns with improving the trail’s safety and infrastructure. Star-Advertiser.

The new Sand Island facility opened its doors to the homeless last week, but as of Saturday, it’s nowhere near full. KHON2.

A MV-22 Osprey crash at Bellows Air Force Station that killed two U.S. Marines was caused by pilot performance and an improper survey of the landing zone, according to an investigation released Monday by the Marines. Hawaii News Now.

Residents in Kahaluu alerted KHON2 of a problem in their neighborhood of huge pieces of a major road missing.


The Hawaii County property tax office is being deluged with phone calls following mailings this week to more than 40,000 property owners telling them about a new ordinance that requires them to file state income taxes in order to qualify for their county homeowner’s exemption. West Hawaii Today.

An Adventist Health representative has begun studying the financials of East Hawaii’s publicly funded hospital system, as his nonprofit organization continues making overtures to the economically troubled health care facilities. Tribune-Herald.

The growing dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii's Big Island isn't a reason to cancel vacation plans to the Aloha State, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. Associated Press.

Big Island residents should now have a better idea where dengue cases are located. Hawaii County Civil Defense has begun publishing on its website a map of the island with pins showing where the confirmed and suspected cases are located. West Hawaii Today.

As Hawaii County continues its “Fight the Bite” campaign to get a handle on Hawaii Island’s dengue outbreak, reaching out to homeless residents is an especially important step, said county Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira. Tribune-Herald.

State health officials say the outbreak of Dengue Fever could last for months and are urging the public to take precautions. Hawaii Public Radio.

The idea that the moon could serve as a viable location to site and operate an observatory was discussed at the Galaxy Forum Hawaii 2015 in Waimea. Big Island Video News.


The Maui County Department of Planning is recommending approval of land-use measures to make way for A&B Properties' 123-acre Wai'ale South project on fallow sugar cane fields in Central Maui. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa's homeless initiative that will provide temporary sanctuaries for people living on the streets and at the beach was called "amazing" by one homeless person at a health fair Friday, while other homeless people expressed concerns about locations of the sites and access to transportation. Maui News.

More than 30 portable air-conditioning units have been installed at Maui County public schools this school year alone, in an immediate response to the public outcry over the excessive heat in public school classrooms during the record-high temperatures numerous days early in the school year. Maui News.

Adding bus service between Queen Ka'ahumanu Center and Kahului Airport every half hour, extending hours of service on popular routes and doubling the number of bus stops on Maui are all part of a plan county officials hope will improve bus service for riders. Maui News.


The Kauai Police Department is going to get a new 911 and records management system, which brings with it a $2.3 million price tag. Garden Island.

Skeptics of the upcoming Nai Aupuni elections sought clarity at Wilcox Elementary School Friday night. Garden Island.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Federal court rejects lawsuit to stop Native Hawaiian election, National Guard called to help dengue fever fight, Maui settles religious pamphleteering lawsuit, Honolulu homeless possessions protected in ACLU lawsuit, grand jury hearing police chief case, state out $3.2 million in overdue library books, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu public library © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state of Hawaii is trying to collect $3.2 million in fees from overdue library books. KHON2.

A move to block a Native Hawaiian convention was rejected Thursday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting a pledge to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected an attempt to stop the counting of votes in the election of delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, or ‘Aha. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and 46 other Democrats joined 242 Republicans in the U.S. House on Thursday in passing a bill to restrict the admission of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to America by requiring extra security procedures. Civil Beat.

Responding to criticism over transparency, the state Public Utilities Commission now plans to post online the transcripts of the upcoming evidentiary hearing on the proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Community Foundation is adjusting its approach as it marks its centennial next year and welcomes the former head of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as its new president and chief operating officer. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Navy is asking the public to weigh in on how it can tailor its training exercises to better protect whales and other marine life from harm. West Hawaii Today.


The city’s efforts to address homelessness by routinely cleaning up city sidewalks suffered a setback Thursday when a federal judge ordered officials to stop the immediate disposal of property seized in the sweeps and start videotaping items they destroy. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu has reached a court-sanctioned agreement that temporarily prevents it from immediately disposing of any personal items during the enforcement of the stored property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances. Civil Beat.

A new study said today that Honolulu has the largest number of homeless of any small U.S. city, underscoring the seriousness of Hawaii's homeless problem. Associated Press.

A federal grand jury is now hearing evidence in the criminal case against Honolulu's police chief and his wife, a prosecutor, Hawaii News Now has learned.

The University of Hawaii Athletics Department's deficit hit a record $4.2 million in the 2015 fiscal year, and is expected to grow to $4.8 million the following year, UH Athletics Director David Matlin said Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Company is proposing to offer customers on Oahu electricity rates as low as some found in high-end states on the mainland — at certain times. The pricing is part of an effort to get customers in Hawaii to change how, and when, they consume electricity. Civil Beat.


Hawaii’s Department of Health announced Thursday that the National Guard will be assisting the agency in a “support” role after 79 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed on the Big Island since Sept. 11. Civil Beat.

The state epidemiologist says the Big Island dengue outbreak, now poised to eclipse the 2001 Maui outbreak, is just getting started. Star-Advertiser.

On Wednesday afternoon, the state Department of Health revealed a new version of a map showing the Big Island and the areas were the dengue virus likely is to have been transmitted to people from mosquitoes. Tribune-Herald.

In a press conference held today on Oahu, Governor David Ige said the state has been in communication with the federal Center For Disease Control and Prevention over dengue fever from the beginning, and that the White House is monitoring the situation in Hawaii. Big Island Video News.

The Hawaii State Department of Health said Thursday that the number of cases of dengue fever reported on the Big Island had reached 79. Pacific Business News.

A cluster of locally acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island is growing, heightening concerns that the painful mosquito-borne disease could spread to other islands. Garden Island.

It’s been a year since West Hawaii Battalion Chiefs Steve Loyola and Ty Medeiros were suspended, reportedly for publicly criticizing Hawaii County Fire Chief Darren Rosario. West Hawaii Today.

A Kona resident frustrated by a lack of response from Gov. David Ige’s office on the decision to resettle Syrian refugees in Hawaii is creating an online petition seeking to pause immigration to the state. West Hawaii Today.


A pastor and his wife who were passing out religious material on a sidewalk fronting the Maui Fair in 2013 and were ordered by police to leave have reached a settlement with Maui County in a federal lawsuit over violations of their First Amendment free speech rights. Maui News.

The state Land Use Commission voted this morning to approve the 15-day extension requested by the applicants, Olowalu Town LLC and Olowalu Ekolu LLC. Maui Now.

Fifteen days were added Thursday to the state Land Use Commission's deadline to take action on a draft final environmental impact statement for development of a 1,500-home Olowalu town in West Maui. Maui News.

Five Hawaiian youth delegates from Maui will be joining nearly 200 world leaders in Paris on Monday - the site of last week's terrorist attacks - for a United Nations conference on climate change. Maui News.

Commentary: If you’re headed to Wailea this week, watch out! California lawmakers–and their attendant lobbyists–are out in force. It’s the work of the California Independent Voter Project, and their annual conference is taking place at the Fairmont Kea Lani. MauiTime.


Jeni Kaohelaulii of Work It Out was determined to find her workers during the Kauai Community College Job Fair Wednesday. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chinese Navy to visit Honolulu, Hawaii business is brisk, residents favor solar, Honolulu rail tax advances, dengue fever response slow, Maui Olowalu development opposed, Kauai finalizes legislative wish list, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state of Hawaii plans to select a contractor for a major project to cool 11 of its Downtown Honolulu buildings, including the State Capitol — a total of nearly 1.3 million square feet of space — with a seawater air conditioning system in an effort aimed at reducing future costs. Pacific Business News.

Three Chinese navy ships will stop in Hawaii on the final leg of an around-the-world deployment meant to show China’s expanding global military capability, but also highlighting ongoing relations between the United States and People’s Liberation Army despite disagreement in the South China Sea. Star-Advertiser.

“China is testing us,” states a new report from Hawaii Pacific University that warns of a shortage of U.S.-flagged merchant ships and China’s ability to potentially withhold its own booming shipping to limit U.S. deliveries of consumer goods or troop supplies in a crisis. Star-Advertiser

A new poll done by SMS Research on behalf of The Alliance for Solar Choice reports that 97 percent of the respondents support more rooftop solar in Hawaii, and oppose state regulators’ recent decision to do away with net energy metering, a big reason for the record growth of this type of renewable energy in the Islands. Pacific Business News.

In its final quarterly forecast of 2015, the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism said Wednesday that it is slightly revising upward its visitor arrival projection for 2016 and noted that labor market conditions improved through the first three quarters with civilian labor force, employment and payroll jobs hitting historically high levels during that period. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state economists predict 1% inflation and 2.4% economic growth this year, after their revising their forecast with summer data. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is in the midst of a construction boom with cranes dotting the skyline throughout the islands. KITV4.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given Hawaii a $660,422 award for the exemplary performance of its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Navy is expected to prepare a new environmental impact statement for sonar training and testing exercises in the Pacific Ocean in response to concerns for the safety of whales, dolphins, turtles and other marine life. Maui News.


The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would extend Oahu’s 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax through 2027 to help pay for the $6.57 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee passed a measure Wednesday to extend for five years a 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax to pay for the escalating costs of the $6.6 billion rail project. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee today focused on financing for Honolulu’s rail transit project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu officials have approved a bill that would extend a tax surcharge to pay for the $6.57 billion rail project. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawaii-Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman has initiated a search for a permanent director for the financially struggling UH Cancer Center, the university announced this afternoon. Star-Advertiser.

Almost exactly a year after Michele Carbone resigned as director of the struggling University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the UH is initiating a formal search process for his replacement. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee deferred action this week on two bills pertaining to the last undeveloped phase of Haseko’s Ewa Beach development after several community members raised concerns about building near the shoreline. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s Section 8 program got a “High Performer” rating from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the rental subsidy program that’s officially known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Civil Beat.

The city's new facility to help the homeless officially opens Thursday in Sand Island. Hawaii News Now.

Businessman Duane Kurisu has been looking at a 13-acre parcel just off Nimitz Highway — and seeing a lot of promise. In Kurisu’s vision, the state-owned land could be the perfect place for a “plantation-style” village for homeless families and single mothers with children — up to 300 of them. Civil Beat.

A group of 20 protesters joined The Alliance for Solar Choice, a solar activist group, at the King Kamehameha statute on King Street on Wednesday to rally against the recent Public Utilities Commission decision to end a popular solar incentive program. Star-Advertiser.


Two West Hawaii lawmakers are calling for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to send medical experts to help quell the dengue fever disease before it becomes endemic. West Hawaii Today.

As the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever rises on Hawaii Island, two doctors-turned-lawmakers are challenging state officials – in writing and on video – to step up the response to the outbreak. Big Island Video News.

The state Department of Health says it addressed issues which, in some cases, slowed the delivery of results from dengue fever blood tests to Hawaii Island residents. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Health confirmed Wednesday that 72 people have contracted dengue fever on Hawaii island, up by seven from Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hilo garbage soon will be making its way across the island to the West Hawaii landfill at Puuanahulu, thanks to a unanimous vote Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

A 13-acre Ka‘u property that once hosted Native Hawaiian sporting events came closer to being preserved Wednesday. In a 9-0 vote, the Hawaii County Council gave final approval to a resolution authorizing Finance Director Deanna Sako to negotiate acquisition of the land near Naalehu. Tribune-Herald.


A proposed development of a small town at Olowalu with 1,500 homes, hundreds of potential ohana units, stores, schools, parks and a mauka realignment of Honoapiilani Highway ran into a buzz-saw of opposition Wednesday before the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.

As of noon on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the state Land Use Committee heard from 31 of the 84 Maui residents who signed up to testify at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theater regarding acceptance of the Olowalu Town LLC and Olowalu Ekolu LLC’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, a 3,000-page document made available to the public 18 days ago. Maui Now.

Maui County has fully recovered from the Great Recession and is breaking previous records in labor force, employment and job count, as well as generating three-quarters of a billion dollars' worth of construction work over the past year, a state administrator and county official said Wednesday. Maui News.

It’s been six months since Always Investigating first told you about a fancy kitchen in a Maui County building, paid for with tax dollars on a county credit card. Now, we’ve finally gotten a look inside and learned more about how long it’s been there. KHON2.

Widening work has started on Old Haleakala Highway in Pukalani. BCP Construction of Hawaii Inc. is the contractor for the more than $1 million county sidewalk improvement project. Maui News.

Commentary: Dust can be a big hassle. Even a health hazard. Ask the good people at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S), which runs Pu`unene sugar mill–the last one in the state. State health officials recently busted the mill for producing too much dust in one of its fields. But a warning to those members of the public who wish to complain about it: you’re in for a long and frustrating duel with bureaucrats if you do. MauiTime.


The county has finalized a $7 million list of five projects that will be seeking state funding in January. Garden Island.

A master plan that will set a vision for Black Pot Beach Park over the next 20 years was the topic of a public discussion attended by Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., members of a Honolulu-based planning agency hired by the county and more than 100 community members. Garden Island.

Mark Oyama was recognized and congratulated by the County Council for his induction into the 2015 Hawaii Restaurant Hall of Fame in ceremonies on Sept. 21. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gov. Ige clarifies Syrian refugee stance, state Supreme Court temporarily blocks Thirty Meter Telescope work on Mauna Kea, Honolulu rail bids within budget, Maui pCards under criminal investigation, Native Hawaiian convention foes meet on Kauai, Hawaii County wants say over medical marijuana dispensaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

screen shot from webcast news conference
Ige explains Syrian refugee stance, screenshot of governor's video conference
   Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Tuesday afternoon, after hundreds of emails and phone calls about whether or not Hawaii should accept Syrian refugees, that his position remains the same: The state should keep its doors open to Syrian refugees as long as the proper security precautions are taken. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of refugee resettlement in the country, receiving only 0.6 refugees per 100,000 residents between 2012 and 2014, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis of federal refugee and population data.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he doesn’t know of any specific plans to relocate Syrian refugees in Hawaii, one day after he said the state would welcome refugees from the war-torn country. Associated Press.

In an attempt to squelch the fervor over his welcoming of Syrian refugees to Hawaii, Gov. David Ige said he should have been more thoughtful about comments he made on Monday. KITV4.

Governor David Ige is clarifying the comments he made Monday about accepting Syrian refugees to Hawaii. While he defended his position, the governor says his top priority is to tackle issues that Hawaii is facing. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige’s office has been flooded with more than 500 phone calls and about 300 emails from constituents in response to his statements Monday that Hawaii would welcome refugees fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Ige further addressed his position on Syrian refugees during a press conference this afternoon in which he reiterated that his, “first and foremost priority, as always – as it is President Obama’s and virtually every other governor across the country – is the safety and security of our people.” Maui Now.

Hawaii Republican Party Chair Fritz Rohlfing said Tuesday that the state’s “over-taxed social safety net” can’t handle Syrian refugees. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Ige says refugees welcome, state track record disagrees. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved a trio of annual rate hikes that will ultimately raise the monthly fee for its A+ after-school program to $120 per student from $85, marking the first increase in five years. Star-Advertiser.

Allegiant Air’s expansion into Hawaii turned out to be short-lived. Star-Advertiser.


Bids by companies vying for a contract to build three rail stations near Pearl City and Aloha Stadium were opened Tuesday, with the apparent low bidder submitting a proposal to build the stations for $112.7 million. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu received more welcome news Tuesday when transit officials opened bids to build three rail stations along the city’s $6.6 billion project corridor from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center. Three of the four bids came in within the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s estimated range of $100 million to $125 million, allowing officials to rest a little easier about their plans to fight skyrocketing costs. Civil Beat.

Landlords heard tearful pleas to open their hearts and homes — along with the practical realities of renting to low-income and homeless tenants — as Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell teamed up at Tuesday’s Landlord Summit to try to sway property owners to house the homeless. Star-Advertiser.

Landlords at a conference on Hawaii’s housing crisis learn about voucher programs, but wonder where to turn when there’s trouble. Civil Beat.

The State and City hosted a Landlord Summit today to ask O’ahu property owners and managers to rent more of their housing units to the homeless. Hawaii Public Radio.

For more than a decade, dozens of homeless families and individuals have quietly called The Harbor home, their presence largely tolerated or simply ignored by the public, including the state Department of Land and Natural Resources which owns the 19-acre parcel. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and AES Hawaii Inc., the owner of the state’s only coal-fired plant, have reached agreement on a power-purchase agreement with more favorable pricing that is passed on to the Honolulu-based utility’s customers, according to a regulatory filing this week. Pacific Business News.


The state Supreme Court on Monday granted a request for an emergency stay that blocks crews from working at the Thirty Meter Telescope construction site through Dec. 2. Star-Advertiser.

The TMT International Observatory agreed to stand down on the eve of another confrontation on Mauna Kea after the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a temporary suspension of its construction permit. The nonprofit organization was planning to send workers back to the mountain this month for equipment maintenance and repairs. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has partially granted a group’s request to stall construction of the $1.4 billion telescope on Mauna Kea. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has granted an emergency motion to halt construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. According to Tuesday’s ruling, “The Conservation District Use Permit HA-3568 is temporarily stayed until Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, or until further order of the Court.” KHON2.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has issued an order that will temporarily prevent construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii State Supreme Court has granted a last minute Emergency Motion for Stay Upon Appeal, filed by opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope project, putting a temporary suspension on the observatory’s Conservation District Use Permit. Big Island Video News.

Ku’uipo Frietas, Mauna Kea Protector and Mauna Media representative, tells Big Island Now that the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources has confirmed that Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers would not ascend Mauna Kea Wednesday.

Hawaii County Council members want greater home rule over medical marijuana dispensaries and they want the chance to levy a tax on marijuana sales. West Hawaii Today.

State health officials plan to begin spraying insecticide at Big Island schools this weekend as the fight against Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak enters its fourth week. The outbreak, which was announced Oct. 27, now encompasses a total of 65 confirmed cases, including 55 residents and 10 visitors who have contracted the illness. Tribune-Herald.

Critics say the Hawaii Island Humane Society has an unacceptable kill rate, and they want its $1.9 million annual county contract tightened. Supporters say the society is an open admission shelter required to take in all animals, and its euthanasia rate shouldn’t be compared with the so-called “no-kill” shelters that cherry-pick the most adoptable dogs. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County pCard Expenditures Under Criminal Investigation. Maui Now.

Acquiring a Houston consulting firm helped boost revenue for fledgling Maui software developer Code Rebel Corp. in the third quarter, though the Kahului-based company also suffered a bigger net loss in the period. Star-Advertiser.

Kula Botanical Gardens, a farm frequented by many Mauians seeking freshly cut Christmas trees, has been forced to chop down one of its fields due to the wet and humid weather in late summer and early fall, but the hundreds of trees that will be sold this holiday season will be greener and fuller because of the rain. Maui News.

Single-family home sales were up both in volume and in sales prices in October, although condominiums didn't fare quite as well, according to statistics released last week by the Realtors Association of Maui. Maui News.


Critics of the ongoing Na‘i Aupuni election for Native Hawaiian self-governance will gather at Wilcox Elementary School Friday for a public panel discussion. Garden Island.

A master plan that maps Black Pot’s future was the topic of a community meeting attended by more than 100 people at Hanalei Elementary School. The master plan will set a vision for Black Pot Beach Park over the next 20 years. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hawaii to study reef health but allow aquarium trade, Ige will welcome Syrian refugees, electricity at 5-year low, feds could cut off rail funding if tax not extended, police and protesters gird for Wednesday battle over Mauna Kea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Yellow tang amid bleached coral ©2015 All Hawaii News
With Hawaii plagued by widespread coral bleaching for the second year in a row, state officials Monday announced plans to fight back. Officials said they are launching the development of a statewide coral reef management plan for nearshore waters but are not imposing a moratorium on aquarium fish collecting. Star-Advertiser.

The state of Hawaii is gathering information from the scientific community and local stakeholders to create a comprehensive coral reef management plan, but officials said Monday they will not yet impose a requested moratorium on collecting aquarium fish. Associated Press.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has rejected a recent demand from environmental groups for a temporary ban on the collection of aquarium fish in Hawaii waters as a response to unprecedented coral bleaching. Civil Beat.

The state's efforts to fight coral bleaching is getting stronger. Plans to launch a statewide reef management program are underway. There's a call to action to come up with a defense plan to combat the growing problem in Hawai'i's waters. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige said Monday that he would welcome Syrian refugees to Hawaii — in contrast to more than two dozen other governors who have come out in opposition to relocating the refugees in their respective states in the wake of last week’s Paris bombings. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige says the state would welcome refugees from Syria with aloha. Ige said in a statement today Hawaii and the U.S. have a long history of welcoming refugees affected by war and oppression. Associated Press.

As Republican governors react to the deadly attacks Friday in Paris by trying to close their states’ doors to Syrian refugees, Democratic Gov. David Ige said Monday that he will not be abandoning Hawaii’s “tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect.” Civil Beat.

The Navy is seeking public comment on a new environmental impact statement for future training and research, including sonar that might harm whales and dolphins, in what’s known as the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area. Star-Advertiser.

While operational funding for public schools in Hawaii has remained virtually flat over the last seven years, the cost for nearly everything, including school supplies, has gone up. That’s resulted in schools and teachers asking donors in crowdfunding sites for basic supplies such as pencils, paper and staples. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii receives $13 million to fight rampant drug problem in schools. KHON2.

Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers are seeing their lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years this month, mainly due to the continued dip in fuel prices. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Electric Co. customers’ electrical bills in November will be the lowest in more than five years, as oil prices continue to pull down rates across the isles. Star-Advertiser.

Customers of Maui Electric and Hawaiian Electric this month are seeing the lowest monthly electric bills in more than five years, according to company representatives. Maui Now.

Marriott's $12B acquisition of Starwood brings together 26 Hawaii hotel properties. Pacific Business News.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday urged the Honolulu City Council to move quickly to approve a bill that would extend the 0.5 percent surcharge on the general excise tax after he made public a recent letter from a top federal transit official threatening to cut off funding for the city’s $6.57 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is ramping up the pressure on the Honolulu City Council, and particularly Chairman Ernie Martin, to pass a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge and to do it quickly. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Inspector General for the federal Department of Transportation started auditing the Federal Transit Administration’s oversight of Honolulu’s rail project earlier this year. KHON2.

The addition of eight hybrid buses to TheBus fleet is expected to save diesel fuel consumption, reduce emissions and cut down on noise, city officials announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Kids In The Harbor: Lessons From The Edge Of Life. Learning to survive in The Harbor involves a kind of independence and resourcefulness that mainstream children aren’t exposed to. Civil Beat.

More than 350 people have signed up to attend today’s Landlord Summit to learn what role landlords can play in reducing Hawaii’s homeless population, which is the largest per capita in America.. Star-Advertiser.

What is rooftop solar power worth to homeowners in Honolulu? In recent years, a cocktail of high electricity bills, generous government incentives and increasingly cheap photovoltaic panels have made the shift to solar so appealing that top electricity executives in the islands acknowledge that homeowners who can afford rooftop systems should probably buy them. Civil Beat.


Protesters and law enforcement appear headed for another showdown on Mauna Kea.  Hawaii News Now has learned that hundreds of officers from several state and county law enforcement agencies are expected to be on hand to ensure TMT crews have safe access to the construction site.

Law enforcement sources confirm with Hawaii News Now that construction crews for the Thirty Meter Telescope project will return to Mauna Kea Wednesday morning.

State health officials so far identified a total of 56 people infected with dengue fever on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Standing on the sun-kissed slopes of Parker Ranch, you could almost hear the happy sounds of future children at play, as a group of community, county and state officials came together Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the county’s newest planned park. West Hawaii Today.

The community gathered on Monday morning to break ground on the future Waimea District Park. Big Island Video News.

East Hawaii continues to experience bouts of heavy rain, despite long-term predictions the island has a dry winter ahead. Tribune-Herald.


Moving toward a sustainable and local model of agriculture was a recurring theme at the fifth annual Hawaii Farmers Union United convention at Maui Tropical Plantation. Maui News.

Sugar cane was once Hawaii’s most important crop - but today only one sugar plantation remains in the state.  That’s Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar on Maui, but they are now considering changing their crop. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Land Use Commission will consider acceptance of a proposed final environmental impact statement for the Olowalu Town and Olowalu Ekolu projects this week. Maui News.

This week, the state Land Use Commission will discuss the final Environmental Impact Statement of the proposed Olowalu Town, which has been in development for the last decade by Bill Frampton and Dave Ward. MauiTime.

Smoking is banned at all Maui County bus stops. KITV4.

The Maui Food Bank can double the distribution of produce, and rice, bread and dry goods will have an extended shelf life, thanks to a nearly $500,000 renovation project. Maui News.


Kauai needs to work together at all levels to make headway toward ending homelessness on the island. That was the theme of Monday night’s Homelessness Awareness Vigil hosted by the Kauai Community Alliance at the Lihue United Church. Garden Island.

The sugar monument is still there — sans one of the bronze sculptures. Garden Island.