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Friday, May 22, 2015

Hawaii turns Obamacare program over to feds, House speaker tries to hobble ethics director, teachers challenge union election decision, tuition hikes scaled back, military beefed up, layoffs for Kaho'olawe Island commission, Hawaii hospitals, Kaui DuPont workers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

By AlaskaDave (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Waimanolo Beach, photo by Alaska Dave
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park was named the top beach on an annual top 10 list of U.S. beaches compiled by a coastal science professor known as Dr. Beach. Associated Press.

Hawaii is switching its Obamacare program to the federal exchange, meaning 37,000 residents insured through the Hawaii Health Connector will have to re-enroll via the federal marketplace for coverage in 2016, Gov. David Ige's administration confirmed Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Joe Souki is calling on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to reject many of the new policies it has put in place since Les Kondo became its executive director in 2011. The five-member commission has been reviewing Kondo’s performance over the past four months, his first formal evaluation in three years, and plans to take up the issue at its next meeting Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Three teachers who say they won the Hawaii State Teachers Association election plan to go to court on Tuesday to try and force the union to uphold the already counted election results, unless the organization takes action on its own before then. Civil Beat.

The man who won the election last month to become the next president of the state's teacher union said he will go to court to prevent union leaders from throwing out the results and holding another vote. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige has approved a final payment to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser to cover lawyers' fees in a lawsuit the newspaper filed to force former Gov. Neil Abercrombie to disclose the names of nominees for appointments as state judges.

The State Auditor has released a follow-up to its 2012 report on the state Department of Education’s transportation woes. That audit slammed the DOE for numerous problems related to how it managed its school bus services and made 20 recommendations for improvement. Civil Beat.

The Army's commander in the Pacific said Thursday one of his top priorities is incorporating the growth of U.S. soldiers assigned to the region. Over 100,000 soldiers are now assigned to the U.S. Pacific Command, Gen. Vincent Brooks said in an interview. That's up from about 80,000 before President Barack Obama implemented his policy of "rebalancing" U.S. attention to the Asia-Pacific region, he said. Associated Press.

Tourism numbers would seem to be at all-time highs, but a deeper dive into the data shows that the visitor spending may not be as rosy as it appears. Hawaii Public Radio.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents on Thursday took the unusual step of scaling back tuition increases for the next two school years in an effort to keep tuition affordable. Star-Advertiser.

UH regents vote to divest from fossil fuels. The University of Hawaii, with 53,000 total students, is now the largest university in the world to have divested from the fossil fuel industry so far. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

An updated master plan for the Hawaii State Hospital includes development of a new 150-bed long-term care facility on the site of the Bishop Building located near the front of the Kaneohe campus, a state official said. Star-Advertiser.

Don’t expect a quick decision on whether the City Council will override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of Bill 6, legislation that would have expanded the city’s sit-lie law beyond business and commercial districts. On Thursday, Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he and his colleagues would review the mayor’s offer to work on a different version of the bill before deciding their next step. KITV4.

Hawaii

The West Hawaii region of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. is planning layoffs to address budget shortfalls. But it is not yet clear what the reduction in force will look like, or how it will impact services at Kona Community and Kohala hospitals. West Hawaii Today.

A task force is taking on a troublesome bike lane design on Queen Kaahumanu Highway where it passes through Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

The first of several fee increases at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park kicks in June 1. While entrance fees will increase annually in $5 increments from its current price of $10 per vehicle to $25 in 2017, the annual Tri-Park Pass will remain at $25 until 2017, when it will jump to $30. The vehicle pass is valid for seven days. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Laying off half of its staff and periodically closing the Kahoolawe base camp may be in the future for the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation hopes emergency funds from the federal government will help make shoreline repairs to the Olowalu section of Honoapiilani Highway, but residents insist the department focus its efforts, and money, on moving the highway mauka to the planned Lahaina bypass. Maui News.

Stock price for Maui-based software firm Code Rebel soars after IPO. Code Rebel is the first Hawaii-based technology company to have an initial public offering in 10 years. Pacific Business News.

Maui’s Hāmoa Beach in the remote east end of the island has once again claimed a spot on the top 10 Best Beaches in America list compiled by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University. Maui Now.

Kauai

Seed company DuPont Pioneer has laid off 23 employees on Kauai as part of a plan to consolidate a parent seed facility in Kekaha with one in Waialua on Oahu, officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Global seed giant DuPont Pioneer is shuttering its Kekaha facility and serving pink slips to 34 workers in a move company officials say will help streamline operations. Garden Island.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility is earmarked to receive $30 million in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016 on Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Garden Island.

An endangered monk seal is set to return to Kauai shores today after veterinarians on Oahu removed a large fish hook from its esophagus. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Court upholds Hawaii ban on contractors' campaign donations, Caldwell to veto Honolulu homeless bill, DuPont shutters Kauai facility, Kenoi touts $99M bond issue, Maui bus fare hikes cut, monk seal flown to Oahu to remove fish hook, rebuilding trust in police, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii police on parade © 2015 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers are hoping to rebuild public trust in the state's police departments by increasing state oversight and changing policies. But a number of bills that aimed to reform the law enforcement community died during the 2015 session. Associated Press.

A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday upheld Hawaii's ban on political donations by state and county contractors. The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also upheld the state's transparency laws allowing the public to "follow the money" in campaign contributions. Star-Advertiser.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Hawaii law that prohibits government contractors from giving political donations to state and county candidates, finding that the ban eliminates both actual and perceived corruption. Local electrical construction firm, A-1-A Lectrician, first challenged the law in 2010, saying the state’s campaign finance laws violated its First Amendment rights because it barred contractors from donating to candidates and lawmakers not directly overseeing contract awards and decisions. Civil Beat.

Emergency Money Made Easy, If You’re a Democratic Governor. David Ige, like Neil Abercrombie, had no problem securing funding from Hawaii lawmakers to get his new administration up and running — without providing detailed requests. That wasn't the case for Republican Linda Lingle. Civil Beat.

Leadership changes in the state senate will have a big impact on the next legislative session. The new president of the senate, Ron Kouchi, is an unusual leader in several ways, including the fact that he comes from a neighbor island. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige’s public schedule is now available online, making it easier to keep tabs on where he’s going and who he’s seeing. His predecessor, former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, had provided a similar service in the form of weekly public calendars. But until now, tracking Ige’s whereabouts over the past six months since he took office had proven a bit challenging. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association says an election held last month for union leaders will not count because some teachers never got their ballots. So the state’s 13,500 public school teachers will have to vote all over again next month, and some, including the candidates, are not happy about it. KHON2.

U.S. Marines and sailors are demonstrating for military leaders from around the Pacific how to land troops on a beach. Associated Press.

The final vote to decide whether the University of Hawaii will divest from the fossil fuel industry will take place today. A “Yes” vote would make the UH System, with 53,000 total students, the largest university in the world to divest so far. Hawaii Independent.

Veterinarians with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday assessed a Hawaiian monk seal for a procedure to remove a fishhook it swallowed. Star-Advertiser.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal was transported from Kauai to Oahu after the animal swallowed a fish hook. The Coast Guard said Wednesday crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used an HC-130 Hercules airplane to move the injured seal to Oahu for medical treatment. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Airlines will end its service to Sendai, Japan, in September, citing low growth in the market. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he plans to veto an expansion of the sit-lie laws, which prohibit people from sitting or lying at specific times in areas of Waikiki, Chinatown and downtown that are zoned for commercial and business activities. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members want Mayor Kirk Caldwell to consider the Hilo Hattie flagship store site in Iwilei as the location for a homeless transition shelter. Star-Advertiser.

An additional five properties along Oahu's future elevated transit line could be on track for full or partial seizures by eminent domain. The board overseeing the island's 20-mile, 21-station rail project will consider passing resolutions to start condemnation procedures for the latest properties during its regular meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A jetty off of Queen's Beach in Waikiki has become a popular spot for feeding fish. But some see a connection between the practice and recent shark sightings nearby. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council is including funding in the City’s Budget to combat the growing populations of noisy animals in communities island-wide. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi is proposing the county take on an additional $99 million in debt to build a host of new projects during his final 18 months in office. West Hawaii Today.

If common ground was found during a talk-story session Tuesday evening about the Thirty Meter Telescope, it’s that Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and astronomers can view Mauna Kea as a source of knowledge. But regarding how the mountain should be used, speakers at the event were light years apart. Tribune-Herald.

The controversial $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project may be sputtering on the ground in Hawaii but elsewhere it appears to be all systems go. Star-Advertiser.

Administrators of East Hawaii’s health care system said patient care was their No. 1 concern as they weighed cutting employees and services to meet an anticipated $7 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year. Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region announced Tuesday night it would cut multiple services and lay off 87 employees. The cuts will impact Hilo Medical Center, Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Hoola Hamakua. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County and the National Park Service appear as far apart as ever on the question of how the Keauhou aquifer should be managed. West Hawaii Today.

A Rat Lungworm Awareness Forum was held at the Pahoa Community Center this past Sunday, and the topic drew a large crowd of concerned residents. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Proposed fare hikes for the Maui Bus will be excised from the county budget, currently under consideration by the County Council, if a recommendation from the council's budget committee chairman is accepted. Maui News.

The entrance fees to Haleakalā National Park will undergo a staggered increase over the next three years to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities. Maui Now.

Maui County Business Resource Center presents Starting a Business in Maui County with Karen Arakawa this Tuesday, May 26. MauiTime.

Kauai

Global seed company DuPont Pioneer has shut down its facility in Kekaha, Kauai and plans to consolidate its parent seed operations with another facility in Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu. Laurie Yoshida, spokeswoman for the company, said that DuPont Pioneer has laid off 23 employees and plans to lay off 11 more once the closure is complete. Civil Beat.

The Kauai Police Department is seeking grants for 105 Axon cameras for officers to wear. It would cost an estimated $124,000 annually to equip officers with cameras, although details on when those devices could be online on Kauai hasn’t been hashed out. Garden Island.

Molokai

Sea Link of Hawaii withdrew last week its petition to reduce its twice-daily ferry route between Molokai and Maui and intends to submit a new petition to run the ferry only on an "as-needed" basis, according to company President and Senior Capt. Dave Jung. Maui News.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Prosecutor fights sex trafficking bill, Thirty Meter Telescope work ongoing behind the scenes, lawmakers scrutinize work furlough program, 90 Big Island hospital workers face layoffs, governor signs stormwater fee, B&Bs buck Kauai law, Honolulu Handi-Van woes continue, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki at night © 2015 All Hawaii News
Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is urging Gov. David Ige to veto a bill that would establish "sex trafficking" as a crime in Hawaii, while supporters of the same measure are mobilizing to persuade Ige to sign it into law. Star-Advertiser.

A Senate committee looked into the state’s work furlough program for prison inmates today.   The focus was on the increasing number of inmates who walk away from the program. Hawaii Public Radio.

While the state's work furlough program for prison inmates has proved to be successful, a recent rash of nearly two dozen prisoners walking away from custody has lawmakers considering tweaks to improve the system. Star-Advertiser.

Some high-profile escapes unresolved, work furlough program scrutinized. KHON2.

Governor signs 'rain tax' bill into law. Bill gives counties power to impose new stormwater fee. KITV4.

Cigarette use among island children ages 12 to 17 has dropped, according to a new federal study, and health officials hope that a bill that would make Hawaii the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21 will further cut young people's cigarette use. Star-Advertiser.

Nelson Doi, a self-acknowledged political maverick, was remembered Tuesday as among the best political orators in Hawaii after World War II and a staunch supporter of the economically underprivileged. Star-Advertiser.

Nelson Kiyoshi Doi, former lieutenant governor, judge and state senator, died earlier this month in Waimea. He was 93. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Some seven months after the Handi-Van system was upgraded with badly needed new vehicles and real-time scheduling software, Oahu transit officials acknowledge that the big fixes they'd hoped to see aren't taking hold yet — and riders still have plenty of horror stories to share. Star-Advertiser.

Can Honolulu’s Sit-Lie Ban Pass Constitutional Muster? What started with a push by the mayor to get the homeless out of Waikiki is now an ever-expanding effort by the City Council in the face of a migrating homeless population. Will a legal challenge put a stop to it? Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to sign a rezoning bill Wednesday for the contentious 11,750-home Ho‘o­pili project in West Oahu, but opponents say their fight is far from over. Star-Advertiser.

At least one classroom at James Campbell High School in Ewa Beach will be getting air conditioning later this year, after a student-run fundraising campaign raised $21,710. Civil Beat.

For the third time in the past three decades Hawaii will once again play host to the Asia-Pacific Real Estate Congress, with more than 300 attendees expected to attend this fall. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Nearly 90 employees will be laid off and some services will be cut at Hilo Medical Center, Ka'u Hospital and Hale Ho'ola Hamakua because of a projected $7 million deficit in the fiscal year starting July 1. The hospitals comprise the East Hawaii Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, the state funded hospital system which is facing a $50 million shortfall overall for fiscal 2016. Hawaii News Now.

Despite the ongoing standstill atop Mauna Kea, those behind the Thirty Meter Telescope are moving forward with the $1.4 billion project. Tribune-Herald.

A new law allowing hospital privatization will likely lead to a public-private partnership between Kona Community Hospital and The Queen’s Medical Center within five years, and the construction of a free-standing emergency room near the Kona International Airport. West Hawaii Today.

Puna Geothermal Venture finished drilling a new well earlier this month intended to offset a drop in production at the 38-megawatt power plant outside Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority has improved its transparency and accountability to the public, but some problems remain, the state auditor said in a report issued Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced that it was issuing a new Request for Proposals (RFP) on a proposed Maui County municipal utility or co-op. MauiTime.

Slowly, more bits and pieces of a former home of Hawaiian royalty are becoming visible to archaeologists, researchers and a group trying to restore a West Maui gem. Maui News.

Phase I of the bypass road between Hana Highway and Puunene Avenue is expected to be completed by July. Maui News.

Kauai

“The Planning Department’s tactics are bullying tactics.” That comment from Greg Allen gave voice to the anger and frustration many B&B operators are feeling after the county sent cease-and-desist letters telling them they had two weeks to shut down or risk facing $10,000-a-day fines. Garden Island.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Waikiki businesses to help pay for beach widening, police bills DOA, iconic Coco Palms coming down, Nago to remain elections chief, Hawaii shines at foster care, Maui wants dancing defined, Big Island mulls Roundup ban, Kauai takes up B&B bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki Beach © 2015 All Hawaii News
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed two city ordinances Monday that will tax Waikiki commercial property owners and raise millions of dollars to combat beach erosion and shore up coastal infrastructure in the state's top tourist destination.Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has signed two bills creating a special improvement district in Waikiki to require commercial property owners to subsidize the restoration of the eroded beach. Civil Beat.

Waikiki Beach loses tons of sand each year and obtaining funding from the state legislature to replenish it takes at least a couple of years.  Today, two City and County ordinances were signed into law to enable surrounding businesses to contribute to maintaining the beach. Hawaii Public Radio.

This year, state lawmakers introduced a record number of bills aiming to modernize and restore trust in Hawaii’s county police departments, yet only one of the police reform bills passed. Civil Beat.

Children in foster care in Hawaii are far likelier than those in other states to live with a family, rather than in a group setting, and to be placed with relatives, new data show. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Elections Commission voted Monday to keep Scott Nago as Chief Election Officer for another four years, according to the commission's head William Marston. KITV4.

Inmate escapes have nearly tripled in Hawaii over the past few years and every time it happens, officials say there will be consequences. KHON2.

Living Hawaii: Our Retirement Boom May Cost Us Dearly. People live longest in the country's most expensive state. They're putting off retirement or planning to work until they drop. It all comes at a price. Civil Beat.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds the public that the moi fishing season is closed June 1 through Aug. 31. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A military plane crash that killed a Marine and injured several other service members during a training exercise in Hawaii has renewed safety concerns about the Marine Corps' new airplane-and-helicopter hybrid. Associated Press.

Toraki Matsumoto served his beloved Central Oahu community with distinction during his 17 years on the Honolulu City Council. Matsumoto, 86, died May 2 at Kuakini Medical Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The County Council is poised to strike the word “Roundup” from its budget, but it remains to be seen if substituting “vegetation management” on paper will make a big change on the ground. Just one dollar out of every $14,627 in the county budget is spent on roadside spraying for weed control. That, however, didn’t stop opponents from devoting the greater part of Monday to asking it be struck from the $438.8 million budget. West Hawaii Today.

Despite an increase of $200 for a fine for driving while on a cellphone, Big Island motorists are still using their electronic devices while navigating local roadways. According to the Hawaii Police Department, there have been 824 citations issued so far this year for use of a mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle. West Hawaii Today.

Nelson Doi, who served as lieutenant governor from 1974 to 1978 with Gov. George Ariyoshi, died Saturday at his home in Waimea, Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

It remains to be seen when a section of the Haleakala Trail that used to take people to the summit will be open to unguided hikes even if a tentative settlement giving the state ownership of the trail is confirmed next month, a state official said Monday. Maui News.

Opinion: After something like a decade of earnest testimony and moneyless lobbying, it looks like the Maui Dance Advocates may finally–FINALLY!–win their fight to force the Maui County Department of Liquor Control to do something they’ve steadfastly refused to do: define “dancing.” MauiTime.

The second annual Startup Weekend Maui proved that it is possible to create a startup - and a pretty good one - in just 54 hours. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will meet at 1:30 p.m. today to listen to comments from the public regarding possible zoning ordinance changes that deal with permits for bed-and-breakfast operations. Garden Island.

Demolition of Kauai’s long-shuttered Coco Palms Resort is scheduled to begin in the next 30 or 60 days, clearing the way for the redevelopment of the iconic property into a Hyatt-branded hotel. Pacific Business News.

Newer and more reliable transportation is coming to transit riders in Kauai County. The county purchased 20 new buses that will be used to replace older ones in the Kauai Bus fleet. The total number of buses will remain unchanged at 56. Associated Press.

Kauai County has purchased 20 new buses that will be used to replace older vehicles in the aging Kauai Bus fleet. The total number of buses in the fleet will remain unchanged at 56. Garden Island.

Legislators from Kauai will recap the recently completed session at the May 28 meeting of the Lihue Business Association. Garden Island.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Osprey safety concerns Japan as military games begin in Hawaii, Honolulu Osprey crash kills one, injures 21, bill closes more government records, teacher's union tosses votes, Kauai, Maui wrapping up county budgets, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam, U.S. Navy.
U.S. Marine Corp amphibious assault vehicle splashes into the sea, Department of Defense photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam, U.S. Navy
Amphibious military capabilities are on the agenda as the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy host defense leaders from around the Pacific in Hawaii this week. The first-of-its-kind meeting comes as territorial disputes over islands are growing more heated in the region. U.S. treaty allies Japan and the Philippines are expected to attend along with U.S. partners like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Altogether, 23 nations will join the meeting. Associated Press.

A fatal crash of a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey in Hawaii has renewed safety concerns in Japan, where more of the hybrid aircraft are to be deployed. Gov. Takeshi Onaga on the southern island of Okinawa said Monday that flights of Ospreys should be suspended until the cause of the crash is found. Associated Press.

One Marine died after an MV-22 Osprey aircraft crashed in a "hard-landing mishap" at Bellows Air Force Station in Wai­ma­nalo during a routine training exercise late Sunday morning. Twenty-one others were sent to three Oahu hospitals with varying degrees of injury following the 11:40 a.m. incident. Star-Advertiser.

A Marine Corps Osprey aircraft made a hard landing on Bellows Air Force Station near Waimanalo, Oahu on Sunday, killing one Marine and sending 21 other people to hospitals as dark smoke from the resulting fire billowed into the sky. Associated Press.

Honolulu firefighters and emergency crews are responding to a downed military aircraft at Bellows Air Force Station in Windward Oahu that killed one person and injured several others. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers have approved a new exemption to the state open-records law that allows government records to be withheld from the public if releasing that information "would create a substantial and demonstrable risk of physical harm" to a person. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association's board of directors has rejected the results of ballots cast for a new union president and other state officers, and says it will redo the elections. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teacher's Association held an election and then a runoff vote for union leadership positions, but the board decided not to certify either set of results. Some members are questioning the union's credibility. Civil Beat.

Oahu
The state said it’s close to identifying the source of what appears to be a chemical spill that led to a large fish kill in Pearl City discovered Friday. KHON2.

Robert ‘Bobby’ Bunda Stepping Down from HART Board. The former lawmaker has been overseeing the Honolulu rail project since 2011. He says he's leaving to spend time with family. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Opposing sides have agreed to come together to discuss the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope project during a series of informational meetings beginning Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

The Commission on Water Resource Management will be in Kailua-Kona next week to take up the petition to designate the Keauhou aquifer a state water management area. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County residents will see lower property tax rates, but may be still paying more in taxes with rising property valuations. Maui News.

A tentative settlement has been reached in the Haleakala Trail lawsuit that will hand the state ownership of the old path to the summit, which runs through the middle of Haleakala Ranch lands. Maui News.

The 2nd Annual Startup Weekend Maui kicked off on Friday, May 15, with nearly 30 entrepreneurs pitching business startup ideas in front of an enthusiastic audience of 80-plus like-minded individuals at the Maui Economic Development Board’s Malcolm Center in Kīhei. Maui Now.

Two Maui startups got the chance to pitch their ideas to Silicon Valley investors during the third annual MaiTai Maui Tech Night at Maui Tropical Plantation on Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai
The Kauai County Council wrapped up its decision-making process on Friday with a unanimous vote to cut $314,000 from the mayor’s proposed budget for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year. Garden Island.

James Pfleuger, the Kilauea property owner who was convicted for his role in the Ka Loko Dam break that killed seven people is now a free man. Garden Island.

Celebrity real estate deals on Kauai's North Shore abound: Slideshow. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

A bill to give the ailing Molokai ferry a subsidy to stay afloat for a little more than a month passed out of a Maui County Council committee Friday afternoon. Maui News.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Honolulu homeless funds cut, Navy brass wants more female sailors, El Nino could bring more hurricanes, UH investigates officer over bullying, racism complaints, Hawaii Community College-Palamanui on schedule, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu homeless © 2015 All Hawaii News
A full-court press lobbying effort by Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his top lieutenants failed to persuade the City Council Budget Committee to restore $616,000 that the administration insists is critical to providing housing for the homeless. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of warnings, a couple of hundred citations, but only a few arrests. That's what the latest data shows when it comes to removing the homeless from city sidewalks under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s program of compassionate disruption. KITV4.

After 11 terms on the Kauai County Council and five years in the Legislature, Ron Kouchi is hardly new to politics. And yet his ascension last week to the state Senate presidency caught many off guard. Civil Beat.

Concerns over implementation costs and oversight requirements stymied efforts to pass comprehensive anti-bullying legislation this session, but Hawaii lawmakers and advocates say they are optimistic they can resurrect the bill next year. Civil Beat.

The No. 2 officer in the Navy envisions a day when 25 percent of warship crew members are women. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard knows that percentage on ships and across the Navy is a ways off, but efforts are underway to reach that goal, she said. Star-Advertiser.

Watch out, Hawaii. As sea surface temperatures heat up in the Pacific under the spell of El Nino, the islands could see a replay of the busy 2014 hurricane season. Star-Advertiser.

Today kicks off hurricane season for the Eastern Pacific, and even though we are in the Central Pacific, we need to keep an eye to the East for any development, especially with the rise of a strong El Nino year. Hawaii News Now.

The current Council on Revenues members’ terms end on June 30, but all were reappointed for another term starting July 1. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A record number of Oahu residents have cast their vote for the 2015 Neighborhood Board election, according to the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office. With a day still left before the ballot closes, nearly 18,500 people have already voted in the all-online election, surpassing the previous record set during the last election in 2013 by nearly 20 percent. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has launched an internal investigation of UH-Manoa's chief academic officer over faculty and staff complaints alleging bullying and racist and sexist behavior. Star-Advertiser.

The former chief attorney for the city is expected to join the University of Hawaii as general counsel. Star-Advertiser.

As chairman of the Mililani/Waipio/Melemanu Neighborhood Board, Dick Poirier supported a bill that would reinvest rental fees and other revenue collected at the 269-acre Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park — equipped with aquatics and sporting facilities — to help pay for much-needed improvements and maintenance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A grass-roots drive to reduce pesticide applications along the roadways is getting encouragement from Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who said she’s suggested people come to the County Council meeting on Monday to testify about taking the products out of the county budget. West Hawaii Today.

Because of the community’s insistence and persistence, Hawaii Community College-Palamanui will open on time, University of Hawaii administrators told a crowd in Kailua-Kona Thursday evening. West Hawaii Today.

It’s still not clear when the Kona Country Club’s ocean golf course will open. Renovations that began in the first quarter of 2013 could wrap up by the fall, but the completion date is still a moving target, the project’s superintendent John Hamilton said. West Hawaii Today.

VIDEO: Ethics Board Defers Action On Mayor Kenoi. Big Island Video News.

Maui

More than 10 years ago, a new stadium was envisioned for Lahainaluna High School on Maui. The project is finally just about at the end, but what’s holding it up from getting an opening day? KHON2.

A $123,640 project for ADA Improvements at Hoʻokipa Beach Park is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Monday. Maui Now.

A free community workshop on how to nominate historic properties for the state and national registers of historic places will be held Friday in Wailuku. Maui News.

Kauai

The North Shore Shuttle will come to an abrupt halt at 9 tonight after the County Council approved a motion to eliminate funding for the service by a 4-2 vote Thursday. Garden Island.

Kahoolawe

The state legislature failed to provide 2 million dollars for the restoration of Kaho’olawe this session.   But the William S. Richardson School of Law hosted a panel discussion recently on the island’s future. Hawaii Public Radio.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hawaii out of compliance on Obamacare, ethics board delays Kenoi pCard case, sharks love Maui, monk seal feasts on scraps in video, two few marijuana dispensaries, Honolulu TV station sold, Kakaako affordable housing delayed, Molokai seeks money for ferry, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo by Occupy Hilo Media all rights reserved
Mayor Billy Kenoi, attorneys at Ethics Board, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
The state attorney general said it was unusual — and unnecessary — for the three-member Hawaii County Board of Ethics appointed by Mayor Billy Kenoi to postpone hearing a complaint about Kenoi's $129,000 in county purchase-card spending until the AG's office finishes a separate criminal investigation. Star-Advertiser.

photo courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
Hawaii County Board of Ethics, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media
The Hawaii County Board of Ethics deferred a citizen’s petition filed against Mayor Billy Kenoi because of use of his county-issued credit card for personal expenses. The board voted 3-0 Wednesday to wait until the state Attorney General’s Office completes its investigation of the matter before proceeding with the complaint. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's ethics board wants the attorney general to conclude an investigation into Mayor Billy Kenoi's questionable credit card expenses before proceeding with its own inquiry. Associated Press.

Gov. David Ige acknowledged Wednesday that Hawaii is out of compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act and is at risk of losing $1 billion in Medicaid funds if Washington does not accept the state's plan to remedy the ailing Hawaii Health Connector. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii organization formed to spur the public acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co., is causing the state’s largest utility to question the involvement of the groups, companies and organizations that were allowed to the intervene in NextEra Energy Inc.'s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition case before Hawaii regulators. Pacific Business News.

Some lawmakers had wanted 26 medical marijuana dispensaries to be licensed. Compromise whittled it down to 23 then 16. But the conservatism has some medical marijuana experts questioning the math. Hawaii News Now.

Opinion: Gov. David Ige and former Gov. Neil Abercrombie differ on something more important than style. They approach policymaking in diametrically opposed ways. Civil Beat.

The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. Associated Press.

Oahu

The Hawai’i Community Development Authority withheld a final decision on a project proposed by a major Kaka’ako developer to build affordable housing. Hawaii Public Radio.

The city plans to open the King Street bike track to cycling in both directions Friday, coinciding with national Bike to Work Day. Star-Advertiser.

A Shangri La museum official says the fence it erected a year ago to prevent young daredevils from diving into shallow water in front of Doris Duke’s Diamond Head mansion has failed to stop the risky behavior. So now the foundation that owns Shangri La is seeking permits to take down the massive lava rock breakwater that created the harbor basin near Cromwell’s Beach in 1937. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ABC-network affiliate KITV is being sold by New York-based Hearst Television to California-based SJL Broadcast Management. Star-Advertiser.

President Barack Obama’s presidential library will be built on Chicago’s South Side, but his foundation plans to develop “joint programs” with the University of Hawaii and other “local partners,” Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, said Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

The embattled principal at Honokaa High and Intermediate was removed from the school through the end of the year. Tribune-Herald.

State regulators are reminding the public that new rules will slap heavy fines on those who introduce new wildlife to the islands. Laws that went into effect Feb. 27 lay out fines up to $25,000 and seizure of equipment, aircraft, vehicles and vessels used in the violation. West Hawaii Today.

With video. He’s known as B-18 and for the past week this endangered Hawaiian monk seal has been spotted repeatedly swimming in and around boats at Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. He’s feeding on fish scraps that have been thrown overboard. This has prompted the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation to remind people that it is against the law to dispose of fish scraps in state waters. West Hawaii Today.

IRONMAN will forfeit nearly $2.8 million to the U.S. government for running an illegal lottery that gave competitors a chance to compete in the historic world championship triathlon on the Big Island. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Sharks love Maui, but scientists aren’t ready to explain why. MauiTime.

Kauai

Good news for Kauai’s economy: more tourists are visiting the island, and they are spending more, too. Garden Island.

Molokai

Possible financial aid is in sight for the Molokai ferry, whose recent losses in ridership and funds have forced company president David Jung to consider a shutdown as early as June. Molokai Dispatch.