Friday, February 15, 2019

New school tax floated, feds subpoena Honolulu rail documents, Kaneshiro impeachment postponed, Kauai seeks curbside recycling, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Governor's Office
Gov. David Ige with schoolchildren, courtesy photo
The state Education Department and teachers are now backing another controversial idea to raise money for public schools. A new proposal being considered by lawmakers would raise the statewide general excise tax (the tax consumers pay on just about everything in the islands) half a percent — from 4 percent to 4.5 percent. Hawaii News Now.


Federal grand jury subpoenas rail authority documents as part of criminal investigation. Hawaii News Now.

Federal subpoena could affect rail funding. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation confirmed Thursday it was served with a sweeping federal subpoena this week seeking construction documents and a variety of other records in connection with the $9.2 billion project. Star-Advertiser.

The agency overseeing Honolulu rail has been subpoenaed by federal authorities to provide documents related to the transit project’s construction. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation received a federal subpoena for project documents this week, the agency said today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Feds slap subpoena on Honolulu rail authority. KHON2.


A bill that would have abolished aquarium fishing in Hawaii cleared its first committee Wednesday, but not before its purpose was significantly amended. West Hawaii Today.

Overdue Report Holds Up Hawaii Plan To Prevent Gender Discrimination. The Legislature approved creating a state version of the federal Title IX law, but its January 2020 implementation will be delayed. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii gun rights group is planning to file an ethics complaint after its members discovered nearly 700 pieces of testimony emailed to a Senate committee were missing from the Legislature’s records. Hawaii News Now.

Costco considers farming in Hawaii. State officials say Costco has a serious interest in growing its own products right here. KHON2.


A decision on whether Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro should be impeached has been put off for at least one more month — and likely longer. Star-Advertiser.

A community effort to impeach Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is scheduled to be heard in court next month. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Honolulu businessman is gathering signatures from voters in his quest to impeach the city’s prosecuting attorney. Associated Press.

Kaneshiro's attorney questions validity of impeachment petition. KHON2.

Kaneshiro impeachment case in Dist. Court; Yoshimura and attorney look to gather more petition signatures. KITV.

Police Commission Chair Says Kaneshiro Should Step Down. Hawaii Public Radio.


A bill that would prohibit people with three or more Waikiki-related misdemeanors away from the area is likely dead this session. Civil Beat.

The water off Waikiki might appear red Friday, but it will be intentional. The city said it will be conducting red dye testing in the Waikiki area, specifically near the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Hawaii News Now.

A bill would allow a new stadium to be built on the lower parking lot of Aloha Stadium. KITV.

Saint Francis School in Manoa will shut down completely after graduation in May, unable to overcome its debt, nearly a century after it was founded. Star-Advertiser.

St. Francis School of Manoa will close all grade levels at the end of this school year. KHON2.

Without enough money to carry on, Saint Francis School in Manoa will soon be no more. School officials announced Thursday the entire school is closing at the end of the school year. KITV.

A 13-year-old vision to build affordable housing on public land in Chinatown took a major step forward Thursday. A state board endorsed providing Halewaiolu Senior Residences with $86 million in development financing. Star-Advertiser.

People who live and work in Chinatown are fed up and desperate to have the city take aggressive action now against dirty and unsanitary sidewalks. KITV.

Hawaii Island

Hu Honua Bioenergy will have to wait until the state Supreme Court rules on the appeal of its power purchase agreement before it can begin generating power. Tribune-Herald.

After two years of behind the scenes meetings, Mayor Harry Kim and a "core committee" have completed a vision for Maunakea, which also contains a set of recommended initiatives. Big Island Video News.

More than $66,000 is headed to the Hawaii County Housing Agency to help residents living in public housing to reach self-sufficiency. West Hawaii Today.

Pohakuloa Training Area will open for a two-day mammal hunt later this month. West Hawaii Today.


The state Department of Transportation has put the Paia bypass development process on hold while working on prioritizing major road projects for the entire island and how to use limited funds available. Maui News.

Wailuku Civic Complex Presentation, Feb. 20. The discussion will be led by Erin Wade, County of Maui Planner and Project Administrator.  She will be discussing the future changes in Wailuku Town including design, parking mitigation and construction strategies. Maui Now.


A measure circulating through the state House is aimed at setting up curbside recycling for Kauai, though originally the bill was meant to include the entire state. Garden Island.

Hawaiian monk seal pup RK58 was recently returned to the wild on Kauai after successful rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital and visitor center in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Feds: Kealoha sent secret supportive texts to suspect she was prosecuting, Legislature advances vacation rental tax, deadly force bill dies, environmental group sues Maui over street lights, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

pool photo
Katherine Kealoha
Feds release Katherine Kealoha’s secret texts. Former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha sent secret messages of support to a defendant in a drug-dealing case Kealoha was prosecuting, according to documents released Wednesday by federal prosecutors. Star-Advertiser.

In court filings Wednesday, federal prosecutors offered new details into the investigation into Katherine Kealoha’s alleged misconduct as a deputy city prosecutor ― along with the role that city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro allegedly played. Hawaii News Now.

Kealoha And Her Brother Are Free Pending Trial On Drug Charges. The former city prosecutor and Dr. Rudolph Puana are accused of running an illegal opioid racket out of his medical clinic. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii pain doctor and his former prosecutor sister were released on bond Wednesday while awaiting trial on charges they dealt opioids. Dr. Rudolph Puana and his sister, former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, stood side-by-side as they pleaded not guilty to a 54-count indictment alleging she used her position to cover up their crimes. Associated Press.

Former deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her brother, a Big Island physician, pleaded not guilty to dozens of drug charges in federal court on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha was back in court today. This time with her brother facing dozens of drug charges. Both plead not guilty to the allegations. KHON2.

The attorney for Rudolph Puana, a Big Island doctor and brother of former Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, said he's ready to go to trial. The siblings pleaded not guilty Wednesday to dozens of drug charges in federal court. They're both out on bail awaiting trial. KITV.

Prosecutors: Elect them, or appoint them? Honolulu's top prosecutor has been elected since 1980. Before that it was a position appointed by the mayor, which became a lightning rod for accusations of corruption at worst -- and cronyism, at a minimum. KHON2.


Vacation-rental tax bill advances at Legislature. A state proposal is back to allow vacation-rental hosting platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and Home­Away to collect tens of millions of dollars in state taxes generated by transient accommodations while making it illegal for them to do business with any rental operators who are breaking county laws. Star-Advertiser.

State Lawmakers killed a bill Wednesday that would have given residents more rights to defend themselves and their families from attackers by using deadly force within their own homes. KITV.

Legislature’s New Approach: Inspect Budgets In Bite-Sized Chunks. Dozens of programs and offices are getting closer scrutiny under a new House process that’s less reliant on the Finance Committee. Civil Beat.

A bill addressing Climate Change preparing Hawaii for rising sea-levels passed through a pair of Senate committees Wednesday. The measure would prevent development along shorelines projected to be impacted, and to reduce the amount of people potentially affected by future coastal hazards. KITV.

At the State Capitol, Senators are fast tracking a proposal that would give housing vouchers of $500 per month to more than 1,300 teachers who work in the state's hardest-to-staff schools. KITV.

Former state lawmaker was influential feminist, advocate for Native Hawaiians. Former state lawmaker Jackie Young, an influential feminist in Hawaii, died on Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

The chief executive of Southwest Airlines says the Dallas-based carrier is considering adding nonstop flights between Las Vegas and Hawaii. Associated Press.


The House Committee on Transportation passed House Bill 327 that would allow the use of Oahu’s zipper lane for single occupant vehicles, for a price. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would abolish bus fare program for low income. The bill would also increase single-ride fares to $3 from $2.75, day passes to $6 from $5.50, monthly passes for seniors to $8 from $6 and annual passes to $45 from $35 and single TheHandi-Van fares to $2.25 from $2. Star-Advertiser.

Official charged in money laundering free on bond. Master Halbert is one of at least two FSM officials accused of assisting Frank James Lyon, co-owner of civil engineering firm Lyon Associates Inc., in securing contracts worth $7.8 million for FSM government projects in exchange for bribes. Star-Advertiser.

Developer’s plan for pricey farm lots, equestrian operations in Mokuleia moves forward. A developer has taken major steps toward turning a controversial North Shore project into reality. The plan would split up historic Dillingham Ranch and sell pricey farm lots to buyers who could build homes on the agricultural land. Hawaii News Now.

State Looks To End The Battle Over Kakaako’s Disputed Roads. A new move by the attorney general could resolve the longstanding question of who owns the pothole-plagued roads. Civil Beat.

The state is urging current and former students of Argosy University-Hawaii to obtain their academic and financial records from the school as soon as possible in case it shuts down suddenly. Star-Advertiser.

State officials on Wednesday issued an urgent message to Argosy University students in Hawaii, advising them to get their affairs in order ahead of the potential closure of the campus. Hawaii News Now.

State Urges Argosy Hawaii Students to Take Necessary Steps to Continue their Education. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea draft rules don’t limit Hawaiian culture, university says. The university is now asking for public comment on the latest revision of the draft rules. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii has released revisions to its proposed administrative rules for the Maunakea Science Reserve. Tribune-Herald.

Construction of a permanent Federal Inspection Station to allow for continued international arrivals beyond 2021 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole remains on track for completion ahead of deadline. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island microalgae producer Cyanotech Corp. boosted sales in its fiscal third quarter to a record but failed to achieve a profit because of higher costs. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health confirmed two new cases of rat lungworm disease, both of which were contracted on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County is being sued by two Hawaii environmental protection groups over the installation of LED street lights. Represented by the non-profit Earthjustice, the suit alleges the County of Maui Department of Public Works failed to perform mandated review of potential harm to wildlife. Hawaii News Now.

Hearing Friday on bat deaths at wind farm. A hearing on Auwahi Wind Farm’s plans to increase the limit on incidental deaths of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bats in its turbines from 21 to 140 through 2032 will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Kula Elementary School. Maui News.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is in the process of securing a contractor to complete repairs to the boilers that service the 50-meter pool and training pool at the Kihei Aquatic Center. Maui Now.

Despite rumors circulating about its closing, Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon, a 50-year-old landmark for food and entertainment on Maui, will remain open for the time being, a restaurant official said Tuesday. Maui News.


The county is suing the owners of a vacation home in Wailua for allegedly using the property as a transient vacation rental in violation of county zoning ordinances. Garden Island.

An excavator operator working at a Kauai recycling plant was treated for severe burns last year after accidentally triggering a massive blast that was caught on camera — and authorities believe they know who will be held accountable for the explosion. Hawaii News Now.

County of Kauai officials on Wednesday, in partnership with Lihue Safeway and Intellectual Technology Inc., launched the island’s first self-service kiosk for motor vehicle registrations. KHON2.

In about the time it takes to write a check, amass the necessary documents, place everything in an envelope, and seal it, the new registration documents and emblems could be ready — using the county Department of Finance Motor Vehicle Registration section kiosk at the Safeway store in the Hokulei Village. Garden Island.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Attorney general petitions Supreme Court for Honolulu prosecutor's suspension, Katherine Kealoha and Waimea physician brother indicted on drug trafficking charges, rail scrutiny sought, downtown Honolulu office high-rise to turn into affordable apartments, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Attorney General Clare Connors, Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro
Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors on Tuesday asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to immediately suspend Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who is a target of a federal investigation. Star-Advertiser.

State Attorney General Clare Connors contends the Honolulu prosecuting attorney should be temporarily removed from office because of his potential entanglement in a federal corruption case. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's attorney general is asking the state's highest court to immediately suspend Honolulu's top prosecutor because he is the target of a federal investigation. Associated Press.

Attorney general seeks ‘immediate suspension’ of embattled city prosecutor. Hawaii News Now.

What's next if prosecutor goes on leave, quits or gets ousted. KHON2.


Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu deputy prosecutor and the wife of a former Honolulu police chief, dealt illegal prescription drugs obtained from her brother, a Big Island doctor, and used her position to protect him from arrest, federal prosecutors alleged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday.  Star-Advertiser.

In a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday, former deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her brother, Big Island Dr. Rudolph Puana, face new charges of selling powerful opioid painkillers illegally prescribed by Puana, covering it up from police and thwarting the prosecution of the case. Civil Beat.

In shocking 54-count indictment, Katherine Kealoha and doctor brother charged with dealing drugs. Hawaii News Now.

In page-turner of a court filing, prosecutors detail the Kealohas’ ‘house of cards’. Hawaii News Now.

To think it all came crashing down with a report of a stolen mailbox in 2013 that would later spark investigations into former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her husband, former Chief of Police, Louis Kealoha. KHON2.

Katherine Kealoha indicted on drug distribution charges. KITV.


The 2019 Legislative Session is almost at the 1/3rd mark but work on the State Budget appears to be moving slower than before. Hawaii Public Radio.

A bill that would shift authority over the state’s airports from the Department of Transportation to an independent airports corporation was introduced for the fourth consecutive year. Tribune-Herald.

State legislators are again considering bills to restrict the areas where tobacco or e-cigarettes can be sold, and to make smoking more expensive by increasing the state’s tobacco tax. Star-Advertiser.

A Senate Committee Tuesday passed a bill to clarify the language on Hawaii's ban on gay conversion therapy. KITV.

Gov. Ige extends emergency proclamation on homelessness. West Hawaii Today.

A Micronesian government official was arrested in Honolulu for his alleged connection to a bribery case involving the head of an Oahu engineering firm. Hawaii News Now.

Federal authorities in Honolulu have arrested a high-ranking government official from the Federated States of Micronesia in the latest development in a Hawaii bribery scandal involving a prominent local engineer. Civil Beat.

44-year-old Master Halbert is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for allegedly accepting bribes from a Hawaii-based engineering company to secure nearly $8 million in contracts from the FSM government. KITV.


Honolulu City Council newcomer Heidi Tsuneyoshi is calling for a forensic audit of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s procurement processes as well as the city’s management of rail contracts. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi will be introducing a resolution to conduct a forensic audit of the 8.6 billion dollar Rail Transit Project. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Honolulu lawmaker is calling for a forensic audit of the City's rail project. KITV.

A measure to raise height limits for high rises in Kakaako tabled in House Committee meeting. KITV.

The owner of the 25-story downtown Honolulu office tower 1132 Bishop announced plans today to convert the building into about 500 residential apartments with moderate rent. Star-Advertiser.

The owner of one of Honolulu’s most recognizable office buildings unveiled plans on Tuesday to convert most of the property into hundreds of workforce rental apartments. Hawaii News Now.

Kyo-ya is gearing up to raze the existing Princess Kaiulani Hotel to construct Waikiki’s first new all-hotel tower in nearly 40 years. Star-Advertiser.

Massive flood control project for Waikiki would gobble up schools’ outdoors space. Hawaii News Now.

Experts seek long-term solutions to North Shore’s chronic erosion problem. Hawaii News Now.

The Legislature came closer to setting the framework for rusting Aloha Stadium’s future Tuesday by quickly deferring House Bill 695 and leaving just two identical bills, House Bill 1497 and Senate Bill 1530, dealing with a new stadium progressing in the session. Star-Advertiser.

Kamehameha Schools has announced three finalists in the running to become a new trustee. Hawaii News Now.

Group Calls For Ouster Of Humane Society CEO. Excessive euthanizations and hostile working conditions are alleged by an organization that includes former and current employees. Civil Beat.

Vehicle registrations can now be done at Safeways. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Florida-headquartered Southern Airways Express announced Tuesday that it has acquired Mokulele Airlines, but the local airline’s customers can still count on seeing the same branding and employees they’ve come to know and could potentially see new destinations on the horizon. West Hawaii Today.

A winter storm that caused reported wind gusts of 191 mph late Sunday afternoon at the Maunakea summit caused minor damage to at least two observatories, but didn’t affect operations, officials said. Tribune-Herald.

Trimming traffic: Bill to widen Kuakini Highway passes first committee hearing. West Hawaii Today.

Increased Military Training In Hawaii Raises Concern. Big Island Video News.


An opening hearing will be held to receive testimony on the Auwahi Wind Farm draft Habitat Conservation Plan amendment. Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC operates eight 3-megawatt wind turbines augmented by an 11-megawatt battery storage system located on ‘Ulupalakua Ranch, on the eastern side of the island of Maui. Maui Now.

A public informational meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Department of Planning conference room for proposed Maui County amendments to the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code. KHON2.

Rangers: Look but don’t go to snow. White winter reached down the mountain to Polipoli; scores still without power. Maui News.

Atop Haleakala, the wintry storm conditions are sticking around. Maui County officials said Tuesday afternoon that the Haleakala National Park summit district was closed and will remained closed until the wintry conditions subside. Hawaii News Now.


Gov. David Ige on Tuesday issued a sixth supplementary proclamation for Kauai County, which continues to recover from severe flooding and damage caused by heavy rains in April. Garden Island.

Suicide death numbers lower in January. In 2017, there were 25 reported suicide deaths on Kauai. In 2018, there were 18. Garden Island.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Aquarium fishing ban still afloat, employees allege retaliation in Honolulu prosecutor probe, 4-year council terms mulled on Big Island, Haleakala still closed after record snowfall, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2019 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Moorish idols off Kona coast ©2019 All Hawaii News
Bill to Ban Aquarium Fishing Heard by Senate Committee. Senate Bill 931 would prohibit the collection of aquarium or ornamental reef fish because their capture is incompatible with Kanaka Maoli values. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Senate panel Friday deferred a decision on whether to advance a controversial bill that would shut down the commercial collection of aquarium fish in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are considering allowing Alexander &Baldwin Inc., the state’s electrical utilities on Kauai and Hawaii island and a number of farming and ranching operations to continue using public water for another seven years even if they haven’t completed environmental reviews, consultations with Native Hawaiians about water needs, appraisals and, in some cases, public auctions — requirements envisioned by Hawaii’s laws protecting the state’s water resources. Star-Advertiser.

Attorney says another state hospital patient has confessed to giving Randall Saito fake ID's. Attorney Michael Green says the patient provided Saito with the fake ID's that allowed him to fly all the way to California. KHON2.

The number of bankruptcy filings in Hawaii increased by more than 40 percent to 149 cases last month, marking the highest level for January in seven years, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records. Associated Press.

Bank of Hawaii has been ranked fourth among U.S. financial institutions and 40th overall in the 2019 “100 Most Sustainable Companies list,” published Friday by Barron’s magazine. Star-Advertiser.


Women say city prosecutor retaliated against them for testifying in corruption probe. Two women who testified against their boss — city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro — as part of an ongoing federal probe claim they’re now being retaliated against and face disciplinary action. Hawaii News Now.

Former Pearl Harbor Navy Spokesman Sentenced In Corruption Scandal. The former director of public affairs took money for authoring emails to top Navy officials on behalf of a contractor convicted of bribery and fraud. Civil Beat.


Motorists in need of street parking in downtown Honolulu on Monday generally aren’t happy about the city’s announcement that on-street parking meter rates will be doubling in the coming weeks. Star-Advertiser.

Businesses unhappy with doubled parking meter rates. KHON2.

The price of most metered parking doubled on Oahu Monday. The increase was approved back in 2017. KITV.


A planned wind farm is getting opposition from an unusual source: Environmentalists. The developers of the Palehua Wind project say it’s one of the last and best sites to build a wind farm on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Cleanup gets underway after powerful gusts and high surf. The crumbling Royal Hawaiian groin, between the Waikiki Sheraton and Royal Hawaiian hotels, was still standing Monday despite facing threats from a weekend storm. Star-Advertiser.

Weeks of work may be ahead for windstorm cleanup. The weekend windstorm resulted in 90 tree-related calls and nearly 80 blown roofs reported. Hawaii News Now.

The North Shore was hit hard by the storm on Sunday. KHON2.

These Rare Seabirds Are Having Babies On Oahu’s North Shore. Years of chopping down invasive trees, replanting native species and controlling predators may be paying off for albatross threatened by sea level rise. Civil Beat.

Noa Botanicals is preparing to open its second medical cannabis dispensary on Oahu this week. The company is expanding into a 1,700-square-foot retail center across from Windward Mall behind Zippy’s in Kaneohe at the Windward Centre. Star-Advertiser.

Armed with search warrants, the city Prosecutor’s Office and Honolulu police raided two massage parlors Monday morning. They were raided on suspicion of promoting prostitution. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council terms could be extended from two to four years under a ballot measure advanced by the Charter Commission last week, but under another measure, council members could be docked a month’s pay if they don’t show up. West Hawaii Today.

Commissioners last week delayed making any recommendations on a developer request to alter the conditions for the planned Wailani Development in Hilo. Big Island Video News.

Loss Of Slaughterhouse Cripples Specialty Meat Industry. The island’s only full-service slaughterhouse has quit taking smaller animals, leaving farmers, butchers and lovers of fresh kalua pork with no place to turn. Civil Beat.

Power disruption affects 45,000. The loss of the Spectrum Communications line resulted in Monday’s closure of the Vehicle Registration and Driver’s license Services in Waimea and the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.


Snow closes Haleakala National Park. At least six inches to a foot of snow fell at Haleakala summit Saturday night into Sunday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Foster. Star-Advertiser.

Additional Snow Accumulation at Haleakala; Closed Until Further Notice. Maui Now.

Haleakala National Park closed due to extreme weather conditions. KITV.

Power restored to most customers; Haleakala still closed. Maui News.

Auwahi Wind Farm Draft Habitat Hearing, Feb. 15. An opening hearing will be held to receive testimony on the Auwahi Wind Farm draft Habitat Conservation Plan amendment. Maui Now.


The aftermath. Jill Lowry just came on board as executive director of Anaina Hou Community Park — in time for the weekend storm that hit the North Shore hard. Garden Island.

Tickets are selling fast for the 15th annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon on March 9 at Kilohana Luau Pavilion. Garden Island.

Future teachers get financial aid. Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai relies on donations and fundraising events to provide these financial awards. Garden Island.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Hawaii mops up after winter storm, Senate rejects marijuana edibles, Honolulu public-private rail partnership 4 months behind schedule, Big Island gets half the recovery money, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Strong winds are expected to ease on Monday after a potent winter storm pummeled the state just a day prior, toppling trees onto cars, sending waves washing onto roadways and triggering widespread power outages throughout the day. Hawaii News Now.

Although a statewide high wind warning has been canceled, a high surf warning is in effect for all islands along with scattered weather warnings and advisories as the low-pressure system passes north of Hawaii Island this morning. Star-Advertiser.

The bulk of the windy conditions is over for the islands. As a strong area of low pressure will lift northeastward and away from the state over the next couple of days, resulting in diminishing winds. KHON2.

PHOTOS: Wild winds and surf rock the Aloha State. KITV.


Senate committee rejects sale of marijuana edibles. Star-Advertiser.

Should Hawaii Tax Carbon Emissions To Combat Climate Change? Several measures in the Legislature give the public a chance to weigh in on what could be a sweeping environmental policy reform. Civil Beat.

A bill to create a Hawaii Aerospace Development Corporation appears grounded for this legislative session. Tribune-Herald.

A  Senate panel Friday deferred a decision on whether to advance a controversial bill that would shut down the commercial collection of aquarium fish in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The gender of Hawaii residents would no longer be included on limited-purpose driver’s licenses under a bill Hawaii lawmakers advanced Wednesday that aims to protect transgender people from discrimination. Star-Advertiser.

Taxpayers Hit With $1.1 Million Tab After State Settles Lawsuits. Civil Beat.

DOE, OIA respond to ACLU's federal lawsuit alleging Title IX violations. An update on the federal lawsuit the ACLU filed against the state Department of Education on December 6, 2018. KITV.

Commentary: As U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard struggles to right her faltering campaign for president, deafening in their silence are fellow Hawaii Democratic politicians who have been slow to back the hometown candidate. Star-Advertiser.


The city’s critically important effort to launch a public-private partnership to complete the Honolulu rail project is running nearly four months behind the schedule mapped out by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation last year, but the head of the rail authority says the effort is still on track. Star-Advertiser.

The city’s two newest tools aimed at curbing homeless activity have unspecified legal problems that are preventing their enforcement, nearly four months after they became law. Star-Advertiser.

Homeless at Oneula Beack Park, also known as "Hau Bush,” say they were warned on Friday to get their vehicles out because the area will now be blocked off by boulders. The announcement comes the day after a sweep and heated town hall meeting, in which Ewa Beach residents complained that the park is overrun with rowdy squatters, dumping, and crime. Hawaii News Now.

Three Oahu areas named 'Worst cities to live in America'. The cities that made the list are said to have high crime rates, poverty, "weak job markets and little in the way of entertainment options or cultural attractions." KITV.

Hawaii lawmakers have reopened a debate over Kakaako building heights by proposing to allow at least two exceptionally tall towers. Star-Advertiser.

Birds escape from zoo enclosure after wind knocks tree onto cage. Two African ground hornbills escaped from their enclosure at the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

Calls for a shakeup at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Thirty current and former employees are calling for CEO Lisa Fowler's resignation. They formed a group called "People for Animals First." KITV.

East Honolulu school goes green with culture shift in the cafeteria. It’s lunch time at Mary, Star of the Sea School in Kahala. Plastic forks and water bottles are no where sight. Instead the kids use stainless steel trays and utensils. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A bill to provide $60 million in additional disaster aid to Hawaii County cleared four state House committees Friday with some strings attached. Tribune-Herald.

House lawmakers Friday approved a lava and flood disaster aid package for Hawaii County that includes $20 million the county can use as the local match for federal disaster assistance, and another $40 million in loans from the state to the county. Star-Advertiser.

A joint House Committee today voted to amend a bill to provide disaster relief funding for Hawaii County in the amount of $60 million, less than half the amount requested by the County at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session. Big Island Video News.


Years of neglect led to Hawaii County spending $618,000 to rent last-minute daily substitute buses in December alone, but the Mass Transit Agency is working hard to stop the bleeding, Administrator Brenda Carreira told the County Council last week. West Hawaii Today.

A charter amendment that would have cut the annual open-space preservation set-aside from 2.25 percent of property tax revenues to 1 percent will not be on the 2020 ballot, following a failing vote Friday by the county Charter Commission. West Hawaii Today.

A proposal to put a land fund reduction to a public vote in 2020 failed at the Hawaii County Charter Commission on Friday. Big Island Video News.

Bills take on helicopter noise. Helicopter noise has long been a concern for many Big Island residents. Tribune-Herald.

The Kona Historical Society is moving forward with plans to construct a community gallery at its main campus in Kealakekua. West Hawaii Today.

A federal program could bring new money to parts of Kailua-Kona and Hilo by encouraging investment in low-income communities across the country dubbed Opportunity Zones. West Hawaii Today.


Multiple Parking Violations at Hookipa Amid Mega Surf. Maui Now.

Restoration of forest key to fire control, expert says. Over the past century, there’s been a fourfold increase in the annual amount of acreage burned in Hawaii. Maui News.

A piece of Maui's housing market slumped in January, but median prices for homes sold last month were up modestly, according to industry data. Star-Advertiser.

40 years later, mystery still surrounds the Sarah Joe and its five Hana fishermen who didn’t return. Maui News.


A proposed measure in the state House aiming to change the state’s water-use permitting system passed through a committee hearing on Friday, and the hearing’s public testimony threw the spotlight onto Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.

The Kauai Lifeguard Association’s goal is to help save lives. And they do so while trying to further an “Ocean-Minded Community.” Garden Island.

Two abandoned cars have been taking up space in the dirt parking lot by Wailua Beach Park. Garden Island.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Recreational marijuana legalization bill advances; 100-year-old smoking age, anti-abortion bills die, court protects Airbnb records from government, heiress Kawananakoa releases video claiming competency, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pixabay Commons
Marijuana PC:Pixabay Commons
Bill to legalize pot in Hawaii passes state Senate committee. A bill to legalize marijuana passed a significant legislative hurdle with a surprisingly quick approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Star-Advertiser.

Marijuana legalization bill clears committee hurdle. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday became the first legislative committee in Hawaii to pass a bill that would legalize recreational adult use of marijuana. Tribune-Herald.

A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana is moving forward at the state Legislature. On Thursday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to support the measure. It’s now headed to at least two more committees. Hawaii News Now.


DUI bill moves forward in wake of fatal Kakaako crash. State lawmakers advanced a measure Thursday that would allow judges to prohibit drunken drivers from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for three years after their conviction, among other increased penalties. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmaker drops plan to ban cigarettes until age 100. A lawmaker who wanted to restrict the sale of cigarettes to people who are 100 years old or older backpedaled from his proposal today, suggesting instead that his bill be amended to limit cigarette sales to people who are age 25 or older. However, the bill failed anyway. Star-Advertiser.

House Health Committee Tables Anti-Abortion Bill. The first anti-abortion bill in 20 years was heard today by the state legislature in a standing-room only committee room. Hawaii Public Radio.

Proposed measures could weaken service animal law. While a law prohibiting people from falsely claiming an ordinary dog is a service dog successfully passed last year, two bills recently introduced in the Legislature would broaden the definition of service dogs to include emotional support animals. Tribune-Herald.

A new proposal is taking aim at pet owners who don't pick up after their animals. The law would consider it littering and would carry a hefty $500 fine. KHON2.

Bestiality Is Still Legal In Hawaii. It’s not a crime to have sex with animals. Legislation aims to right that wrong. Civil Beat.

Judge Denies Hawaii’s Move To Get Airbnb Host Records. The state sought the records to find out which hosts haven’t been paying taxes involving their vacation rental listings. Associated Press.

Court sides with Airbnb; state to appeal. Hawaii’s Department of Taxation plans to appeal a Honolulu judge’s ruling Thursday that denied the state’s attempt to subpoena rental records from online vacation rental booking site Airbnb. Star-Advertiser.

In new video, heiress Kawananakoa says she can run her $200 million trust. The descendant of Hawaiian royalty defends wife who is suspected of manipulating her. Hawaii News Now.

Campbell Estate heiress Abigail Kawananakoa says in video that she’s mentally fit. During the eight-minute, edited interview, the 92-year-old Campbell Estate heiress also says she has an obligation to the Hawaiian people but that her hands are tied. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa in her own words. For the first time we're hearing from 92-year-old Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa. This video of an interview recorded last month was released by public relations firm Comm-Pac Thursday. KITV.


City rejects plea to delay homeless sweeps. City rejects plea to delay homeless sweeps. Star-Advertiser.

Homeless camp to city: Stop the sweeps and let us come to the bargaining table. A group of homeless people who typically try to avoid media attention sought it out Thursday morning, inviting cameras inside the tents they call home. Hawaii News Now.

The hui "Ka Poe o Kakaako" or The People of Kakaako announced Thursday that it will conduct weekly clean ups around the Children's Discovery Center. The group is made up of houseless residents in the area focused on improving the cleanliness of area parks. KITV.


HPD plans to speed up rollout of body cameras. The Honolulu Police Department’s body camera program is going so smoothly that Chief Susan Ballard is aiming for full implementation by the end of the year, eight months earlier than projected. Star-Advertiser.

Deployment of body cameras to all officers ahead of schedule. The Honolulu Police Department said Thursday that it was making plans to speed up the implementation of body cameras on the remainder of its police officers after the success of initial field tests. Hawaii News Now.

Faster roll-out of body cams. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard wants a faster roll out for body cameras to police officers in all districts. KHON2.

Fighting To Keep The Kealoha Case Open To The Public. As the trial nears in a high-profile case involving widespread corruption in Hawaii law enforcement, a silent legal battle is being waged in the background over courtroom transparency. Civil Beat.

City Leaders Unveil Plan to Encourage Affordable Housing Development. Officials with the City and County of Honolulu want to build more affordable rental housing. But rather than directly fund construction, they have prepared a package of incentives to make those type of projects more appealing to developers. Hawaii Public Radio.

At heated meeting, residents clash over future of popular Ewa Beach park. Oneula Beach Park, also known as “Hau Bush,” has been overridden with illegal dumping, homeless encampments and crime for years. Hawaii News Now.

City hopes to install security cameras at Ala Wai Boat Harbor. KHON2.

State puts Falls of Clyde up for auction after decade of waiting. State transportation officials have officially put the 140-year-old Falls of Clyde up for auction. Star-Advertiser.

DOH fines trendy Kakaako bar for failing to get food permit. WorkPlay, a coffee and cocktail bar on Ilaniwai St., was found to have been operating a food establishment without a state permit. Hawaii News Now.

'Secret’ yakitori restaurant now open to the public. For about a year after opening in late 2017, Toridokoro Matsumoto operated solely as an exclusive eatery — you could only make a reservation if someone who was invited to dine there previously gave you a referral and vouched for you. But recently, the secret restaurant opened its doors to the public, and its locale on Kalauokalani Way has been published for all to see. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Planning Puts Off Piilani Partners Water Bottling Permit. The Windward Planning Commission once again took up the permit application for a water bottling facility in Hilo, and once again the applicant failed to receive a recommendation. Big Island Video News.

Residents air concerns about spaceport proposal. A draft EA could be complete in three to six months, followed by a public meeting on its findings. Tribune-Herald.

Long-term relief sought for Hawaii Island. The eruption on Hawaii Island last year destroyed some 700 homes, not including businesses, farms and schools. KHON2.

Prosecutors seek additional funds for Career Criminal Unit. Hawaii County prosecutors are now seeking an additional $365,000 from the Legislature for the office’s unit for fiscal years, 2019-20 and 2020-21. West Hawaii Today.


$350,000 pact reached in Maui Police Department discrimination suit. Retired captain sues over not being promoted to assistant chief. Maui News.

Goodfellow Bros., LLC has issued a notice to motorists that they will be performing construction along Kulanihakoi Street for installation of underground utilities as part of the infrastructure work for Phase 1 of the Kihei High School project. Maui Now.

Class to raise new crop of Master Gardeners. A new Master Gardener class has begun at University of Hawaii Maui College. Maui News.


Talk Story With Mayor Kawakami Of Kauai. It’s been two months since Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami was sworn into office. The Garden Isle lawmaker traded his seat in the State House for the top county job. Hawaii Public Radio.

Woman missing for 7 days on Kauai found safe in ravine behind homes. She’d lost 30 pounds and was very dehydrated, but was otherwise OK. Hawaii News Now.

A Kauai woman who was missing for a week in Kalaheo has been found alive. According to Kauai Police Emi Oka had been yelling for help from a ravine Thursday morning behind homes on Kakela Makai Drive. KITV.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Styrofoam ban advances, sports gambling considered, judge rules against non-solar water heaters, shipping costs rise, Mauna Kea ski video rankles, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Polystyrene 'styrofoam' takeout ©2019 All Hawaii News
Statewide styrofoam ban advances. A bill to ban styrofoam containers for take-out food -- statewide. KHON2.

The House Judiciary Committee today will consider a bill to legalize and regulate sports betting in Hawaii, which is now one of only two states in the nation that has no form of legalized gambling. Star-Advertiser.

Bail-reform legislation, seven years in the making, is moving rapidly through the Legislature. The bills would require public safety officials to make it easier for people to gain release if they are arrested for nonviolent crimes and are not a flight risk, requires consideration of a defendant’s financial situation before setting bail, and eliminates money bail for low-risk offenses. Civil Beat.

Judge: DBEDT must adhere to solar water heater mandate. Environmentalist and renewable energy advocates are hailing a court decision Tuesday ordering the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to follow state law mandating all new single-family homes include solar water heaters and to consider variances for gas water heaters only on a case-by-case basis. Tribune-Herald.

Court Ruling On Water Heaters Will Help ‘Protect The Climate’. The state has been wrongly approving too many gas hot water heaters in new homes, a judge says. Civil Beat.

Effort To Pump Up Voter Interest In Elections Goes Nowhere In Legislature. It looks like there will be no hearings for bills that would have advanced the top two primary vote-getters to the general election regardless of political party. Civil Beat.


Legislature Seeks to Reform OHA Elections. State legislators have taken the first step toward overhauling the elections process for Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees. The Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee started with campaign funding and the way candidates' names are listed on the ballots. Hawaii Public Radio.

The attorney for former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Rowena Akana said Wednesday his client will appeal a state Ethics Commission complaint that imposes a fine of more than $23,000 for 47 ethics violations. Star-Advertiser.

Former OHA Trustee Rowena Akana Hit With $23K Ethics Fine. Akana, who served on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees for nearly 30 years, may also have to pay back more than $21,500 in gifts. Civil Beat.

Ex-OHA trustee who used office allowance for cable bills slapped with hefty fine. Former OHA trustee Rowena Akana must pay more than $23,000 in fines for accepting legal fees from Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa and misusing her annual office allowance. Hawaii News Now.

Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Rowena Akana must pay more $23,000 in fines. The State's ethics commission found that she committed 47 ethics violations. KITV.


It was Agriculture Day at the State Capitol today inside committee rooms and outside on display tables. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers want to fight mosquitoes ... with more mosquitoes. But introducing new insects could have adverse affects. Hawaii News Now.

Young Brothers LLC announced Wednesday it has received approval from the state Public Utilities Commission for its first significant rate increase in six years. Garden Island.

Rate increase for interisland service. The 4.3% rate increase is critical to allow Young Brothers to reinvest in its business and upgrade equipment to continue providing essential interisland cargo transport services. KHON2.

Gabbard Takes Heat On MSNBC Over Russia, Assad. As the Hawaii congresswoman escalates her bid for president, she’s already facing stiff questions from journalists on a number of issues. Civil Beat.

Gabbard on defense after more bad publicity. On national television on Wednesday, she was questioned about her positions on Syria and Russia and even the Ku Klux Klan. Hawaii News Now.


Manoa board calls for pause in Ala Wai Flood Control Project. The Manoa Neighborhood Board unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday calling for a halt on an Ala Wai Canal flood control project to give stakeholders an opportunity to give feedback on a plan to add detention and catchment basins to the upper reaches of Manoa, Palolo and Makiki. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu home, condo prices, sales all declined in January for first time since 2010. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu housing inventory up, prices down. KHON2.

Developers to receive incentives. The Honolulu City Council is proposing a new bill that would ease building requirements for developers in an effort to increase affordable housing options. KHON2.

City seeks landowner incentives to build hundreds of affordable rentals. As skyscrapers were added to Honolulu’s skyline and “monster homes” sprouted up in residential neighborhoods, low rises in Makiki and Moiliili have decayed. Hawaii News Now.

City begins to condemn Palolo properties damaged by severe erosion. Hawaii News Now.

Mysterious Manoa Tree Hackers May Be Peddling Hallucinogenic Bark. Large gashes in acacia trees, whose bark is reportedly hallucinogenic, were first noticed in December by Manoa residents. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Department met for its monthly Commission meeting and one of the topics that came up was recreational marijuana. KITV.

Sewer spills were at a historic low last year amid ongoing monitoring and proactive measures taken by the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

A bill to provide state funding for restoring lava-covered portions of Highway 132 cleared its first committee Wednesday at the state Capitol. The Senate Committee on Transportation voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 1298, which provides $15 million for restoration. Tribune-Herald.

At the request of the state Department of Health, legislators have shelved a bill that would have funded two ambulances for Hawaii Island, including one at the Makalei Fire Station. West Hawaii Today.

Pahoa pool reopens to the delight of area residents. For the first time in months, swimmers glided through the water at the Pahoa Community Aquatic Center on Wednesday morning. Tribune-Herald.


Lawmakers and The Office of Maunakea Management said they were disturbed by a recent social media video that shows three individuals skiing and snowboarding on Puu Poliahu on Maunakea on University of Hawaii managed lands. West Hawaii Today.

Snowless Skiing On Mauna Kea Denounced. Big Island Video News.

The Office of Maunakea Management condemned a video posted to social media showing three individuals skiing and snowboarding down a revered volcanic cone on Mauna Kea that is managed by the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Video of skiers, snowboarders on Mauna Kea sparks outrage. KITV.


People packed the room at the Grand Naniloa Resort to hear about the proposed Pacific Spaceport Complex-Hawaii and the environmental assessment process. Big Island Video News.

Dozens of residents crowded into a public meeting on Wednesday to learn about a proposal to build a satellite launch facility on the east side of the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.


A council committee on Tuesday advanced a recommendation of Michele McLean as director of the Department of Planning, but voted down the mayor’s appointment of Pat Wong as Corporation Counsel. Maui Now.

Planning’s McLean gets preliminary OK. Committee 5-4 vote comes amid claims of ‘prescripted’ process. Maui News.

Panel votes against Wong confirmation. Corporation Counsel choice second to go down in panel. Maui News.

A House committee holds a hearing on Friday to consider the holdover of revocable water permits, allowing for the continuation of water leases authorized in previous legislation. Maui Now.

VA one-stop facility is ‘progressing’. Still, local veterans have waited for more than a decade. Maui News.


Bolstering the bridge. For weeks, Hawaii Department of Transportation workers in their yellow coats have been floating their barge through yellow barriers around the base of the bridge over Wailua River. Garden Island.