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Friday, February 5, 2016

Legislature seeks to remove shroud of secrecy surrounding police departments, Honolulu PD promotes cop with criminal record, Ige seeks $5M for United Way to combat homelessness, Honolulu voters oppose rail in poll, money for Native Hawaiians, arguments begin in Maui cane-burning lawsuit, Coco Palms races deadline, new hearings on Thirty Meter Telescope, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii police on parade © 2016 All Hawaii News
A bill that could unravel years of secrecy surrounding police officer misconduct in Hawaii  cleared its first hurdle Thursday at the State Capitol. The Senate Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 3016, which would change the state’s public records law to allow access to information in the disciplinary files of police officers who’ve been suspended. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige wants Aloha United Way to build on its existing efforts to combat homelessness by funneling $5 million of state money throughout the islands over the next year with the goal of immediately helping 1,300 households get off the streets or avoid becoming homeless. Star-Advertiser.

One in five people in Hawaii qualify for public housing -- but only one in 20 get in. In other words, there's too much demand for affordable rentals and not enough supply. Hawaii News Now.

A House committee this week shelved a proposal to fly homeless people back to the mainland, representing the fourth consecutive year the idea has died in the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

The state agency responsible for improving the well-being of Native Hawaiians is asking the legislature to lift a decade-old funding restriction. Hawaii Public Radio.

After listening to Hawaii residents speak out against vaccines and saying they cause everything from autism to the Zika virus, Hawaii lawmakers killed a bill to speed up the state’s process for adopting federal vaccination guidelines. Associated Press.

Hundreds of Hawaii teachers and their supporters are expected to rally today at the Hawaii State Capitol to support a 10-part education bill that officials believe will improve the state’s school system. Garden Island.

The House Higher Education Committee gave initial approval this week to measures that would impose legislative control over tuition hikes and new construction at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

With less than five months until medical marijuana dispensaries are up and running, Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to create an oversight committee for the future industry. Associated Press.

A proposed bill could make intrastate crowdfunding in Hawaii simpler, by easing regulations required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz had $2.6 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31. According to his year-end filing with the Federal Election Commission, the Democrat raised a hefty $400,000 in the fourth quarter. Civil Beat.

It's been nearly seven years since the Hawaii Superferry shut down. Now there's talk of bringing a similar system back to the islands. KITV4.

Competition from Virgin America is driving down California-Hawaii flight fares. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Three out of four Hawaii voters say they either feel that Oahu’s rail project is a bad idea, or that they are troubled by how it’s progressing. A mere 16 percent of voters say they feel good about the $6.6 billion project, one marked by revenue shortages, construction delays and costs overruns. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has promoted to assistant chief an officer who was convicted of assaulting a family member in 1994 and has had two temporary restraining orders sought against him in the years since. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha defended the promotion of a major who was arrested in 1994 for domestic violence after a lawmaker complained the selection is bad for the department's image. Associated Press.

Police are trying to cut back on the number of dismissed DUI cases, while courts are moving to clear a backlog of cases. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa and two of its faculty members squared off before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board on Thursday in a case that could have implications for the university’s reputation and its ability to attract high-quality faculty. Civil Beat.

Overcrowding stresses Waianae bus routes. Star-Advertiser.

SunEdison Inc.’s planned 50-megawatt solar energy farm on Oahu’s North Shore may be in serious jeopardy of not being developed, according to public documents filed this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A judge on Thursday cleared the way for a new round of hearings by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

The Windward Planning Commission declared Banyan Drive “blighted” Thursday as it voted unanimously to form a new redevelopment agency. Tribune-Herald.

Two companies seeking to expand quarry operations in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates got a green light Thursday from the Windward Planning Commission, but the go-ahead comes with conditions attached. West Hawaii Today.

Residents in the heart of dengue territory in South Kona are nervous about the disease, and still want more done to address an outbreak that has dragged on for four months now. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island representatives are hoping the third try is the charm for a bill that would bolster ambulance services in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

After using a stun gun and beating a Kona man while he lay incapacitated on the ground, Hawaii County police delayed seeking medical attention for the 39-year-old resulting in his death, a lawsuit filed on behalf of Randall Hatori by his brother claims. West Hawaii Today.

An investigation is underway on the Big Island following a police-involved shooting early Friday, authorities said. Hawaii News Now.

Eighteen months after thousands of albizia trees toppled by Tropical Storm Iselle damaged homes, blocked roadways and knocked out power in lower Puna, multiple bills up for discussion by legislators this session appear poised to tackle the troublesome invasive species. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Arguments begin in Stop Cane Burning lawsuit. If Stop Cane Burning and three Maui residents prevail in their lawsuit, it could impact more than 140 agricultural operations in the state - including taro farmers - and invalidate Hawaii's air pollution controls, said an attorney for defendants in the case, which include the state and Alexander & Baldwin, parent company of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, Public Works Director David Goode and officials with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and Maui Police Department will be attending a Makawao community meeting at 6:30 p.m. today in the Makawao School cafeteria. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department reports that their forensic facility currently has 11 unclaimed remains. Maui Now.

Rock work on a large scale progresses along the new Kahului Airport access road near the airport Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

The County Council on Thursday waded through details of changing to a council/mayor system of government that employs a county manager. Garden Island.

Developers committed to rebuilding the shuttered Coco Palms Hotel on Kauai are at risk of having their redevelopment permits revoked because of a lag in planned demolition work. Star-Advertiser.

Mount Waialeale, known as one of the wettest spots on Earth, was far from it in January. Garden Island.

Lanai
Maui County Council members will take up the Lanai Community Plan update at their regular meeting Friday and, again, at a public hearing March 12 on Lanai. Maui News.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gov. Ige to bring back Superferry; economists upbeat, blood quantum could be reduced for Hawaiian homelands; Honolulu lawsuits over Catholic Church, HIV-tainted blood, jail inmates, schools; Maui silversword threatened; Kauai mulls general excise tax hike; Hawaii County Ethics Board filled; Kona coffee grower sues Monsanto over cancer; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Superferry docked near Oahu in 2008 © 2016 All Hawaii News
Gov. David Ige’s administration is moving ahead with a proposal to revive interisland ferry service in Hawaii, a potentially controversial effort that could even involve the same catamaran vessels that were deployed in the ill-fated “Superferry” initiative that shut down in 2009. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to reduce the blood-ancestry requirement for Native Hawaiians to receive Hawaiian homesteads from relatives. Right now, Hawaiian homestead beneficiaries can only transfer land to descendants who are at least 25 percent Hawaiian. The bill would lower the requirement to 1/32nd Hawaiian. Associated Press.

Two legislative committees Wednesday advanced identical bills that would strengthen consumer protections against Hawaii physicians who are sanctioned by other states for misconduct or other licensing violations. Star-Advertiser.

A legislative committee has advanced a bill that would again protect financial disclosures of members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents from public release — a move that would reverse a 2014 law that prompted several regents to resign. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii economists on Wednesday predicted steady economic growth for the rest of the year, but they warned of challenges lying ahead. Associated Press.

Hawaii voters overwhelmingly believe that homelessness is a major problem in the islands — 90 percent of them, to be exact. Only a scant 8 percent say it’s a minor issue. But when it comes to their confidence that state and local leaders are doing what is needed to tackle the crisis, Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell get low marks. Civil Beat.

HPV Vaccine Bill for 7th Graders Opposed. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that he is still opposed to Next­Era Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries and the state’s use of liquefied natural gas for electrical power generation. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers plan to revisit the state’s 100 percent renewable goal Thursday morning, when the Energy and Environmental Protection Committee hears House Bill 2575.  Civil Beat.

The Hawaiian Electric Industries utilities will be more insulated from the financial risks of their parent company and its affiliates if regulators allow NextEra Energy to buy Hawaii’s privately owned utility — at least according to testimony and filings discussed in hearings before the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday and Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Gov. David Ige not to sign off on a proposed rule change that before the state Department of Health that would ban new cesspools statewide. Civil Beat.

Last month’s weather may have been great for the beach, but the lack of rain made it the driest January on record in several locations in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

The state has agreed to a $7.2 million settlement in the case of a former inmate who had all his fingers and both feet amputated after he says jail medical staff failed to diagnose him. Associated Press.

A man’s lawsuit against Blood Bank of Hawaii, the American Red Cross and others says that he became HIV-positive from a blood transfusion during bypass surgery in 2011. Associated Press.

A Catholic church in Kailua and a school in Kalihi are the two locations that generated the most allegations about priests and teachers sexually abusing students decades ago, a Hawaii News Now investigation has revealed.

The mother of a former Koko Head Elementary School student has sued the Department of Education, alleging staffers improperly restrained her autistic son. Hawaii News Now.

When Honolulu police officers face termination for breaking the law or otherwise violating department policies, they often are presented with a choice. Stick out the disciplinary process — which can include criminal trials, administrative hearings and a lengthy union grievance proceeding — or quietly resign. Civil Beat.

Six park attendants are being hired to ensure everyone follows the rules at Ala Moana Regional Park, city officials said Tuesday during an update of improvements underway at Oahu’s busiest beach park. Star-Advertiser.

Developer Forest City Hawaii is offering to build Kakaako Elementary School, where a parking lot is currently located off Pohukaina Street, and right next to a highrise it’s hoping to turn into affordable housing. KHON2.

Commentary: The HART board formally accepted the audit of their June 30, 2015, financial statements at its meeting January 28. During that meeting, I mentioned that their note on “Liquidity Risk” included a statement that the federal government “may” require the return of federal funds if there is a breach of the grant agreement and that this is inconsistent with statements HART has been making. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

After months of canceled meetings, the Hawaii County Board of Ethics is at full strength again, following County Council confirmation Wednesday of two Kona nominees. West Hawaii Today.

The late state Sen. Gil Kahele signed three bills from his hospital bed just hours before his Jan. 26 death — each pertaining to issues near and dear to his heart. Tribune-Herald.

A husband and wife who operated a South Kona coffee farm are suing Monsanto Co., alleging the agricultural biotechnology corporation purposely downplayed carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and are responsible for the woman’s cancer. Tribune-Herald.

State and county officials reiterated Wednesday that they are close to declaring an emergency in response to Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak and provided more details about what that declaration might mean for response efforts. Tribune-Herald.

Costs have climbed for repair work on the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant, with the County Council voting Wednesday to add another $5 million to the $18 million estimated cost of the project. West Hawaii Today.

Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel would remain open — though under a different name — if the state Land Board agrees to transfer its land lease to a new operator next week. Tribune-Herald.

Thirsty pigs are tearing up water lines and coffee fields are layered in dust as portions of West Hawaii look back on the driest January on record. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Lanes, which has sat vacant since May 2014, could soon have a new owner. Lorraine Shin, a Hilo businesswoman, said Wednesday that she has made an offer to buy the building at 777 Kinoole St., and the deal is going through escrow. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

One-day suspensions were ordered for two Maui Police Department officers as part of internal investigations concluded from October to December, police reported. Maui News.

The rare and threatened Haleakala silversword plant on Maui is experiencing its lowest numbers in 45 years, as dry weather trends have reduced rainfall at its mountain habitat. Star-Advertiser.

The number of silverswords in Haleakala Crater has declined 60 percent since the early 1990s - the apparent result of reduced rainfall from climate changes, a study by University of Hawaii-Manoa researchers found. Maui News.

The Department of Public Works will be closing down a portion of Piʻilani Highway in Kīpahulu for geotechnical testing later this month, county officials announced. Maui Now.

The state Department of Health confirmed a case of dengue fever on Maui on Tuesday, only the second on the island since the outbreak began in Hawaii last September. Maui News.

Refuse pickups in Haiku and Paia were not made Tuesday due to staff shortages, the county Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division said. Maui News.

Kauai

Raising the general excise tax isn’t the silver bullet that will clear traffic congestion, said councilman Gary Hooser. Garden Island.

Today is the day to get up to speed on the idea of switching to a county manager form of government. The County Council is going to be taking on the issue in a workshop starting at 8:30 this morning at the Historic County Building. According to Council Chairman Mel Rapozo, the workshop will last as long as needed, potentially until 4:30. Garden Island.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced Wednesday that the island’s renewable resources met around 90 percent of customers’ electricity demand on four days in January. Star-Advertiser.

A large forest of Koa trees on Kauai once burned by a wildfire is finally getting restored. It's an enormous replanting endeavor that is all being done by hand. Hawaii News Now.

Almost 30 volunteers took to Hikimoe Ridge Wednesday, breathing new life to the once tree-filled forest. Garden Island.

Lanai

The Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele will undergo renovations and reopen later this year, resort officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Legislature kills bill to fly homeless to mainland, only DNA was recovered from Marine helicopter crash, Thirty Meter Telescope hearings officer sought, Ige defends slow response to dengue, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell grows $1.6M war chest, public opposes NextEra Hawaiian Electric purchase, Kona could beat Honolulu to bike-share program, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy of Hawaii House Majority Office
Sen. Gil Kahele funeral procession, courtesy Hawaii House Majority
A motorcade tribute with the body of the late state Sen. Gilbert Kahele passed the state Capitol on Tuesday and then continued its trip to Big Island locations.

Hawaii lawmakers killed a bill today that would have funded a program to fly homeless people back to the mainland, saying some people may view it as an opportunity for a tropical vacation. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s controversial program to fly homeless people back to the mainland is likely to expire at the year’s end. The Legislature adopted the three-year program in 2013, infusing it with $100,000 in state funds to buy one-way tickets to those wishing to return to their families on the mainland. Civil Beat.

A bill to exempt members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents from a law that requires them to publicly disclose their financial interests cleared its first hurdle in the House on Tuesday. Civil Beat.

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Gov. David Ige on Tuesday defended his response to the ongoing dengue fever outbreak, following criticism from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Friday that included a call for him to declare a state of emergency. Tribune-Herald.

The stubborn outbreak of dengue fever on Hawaii island underscores the potential threat to the state from other mosquito-borne diseases like the fast-spreading Zika virus, linked to devastating birth defects in Brazil. Star-Advertiser.

Responding to Hawaii’s largest dengue fever outbreak since World War II has stretched state resources thin, an issue that the state will have to address in order to be prepared for future outbreaks, Gov. David Ige says. Civil Beat.

It’s been 3 months since the Dengue Fever Outbreak was first reported on the Big Island.   There are also concerns of it spreading to the neighboring islands.  The Governor brought the County and State responders to the Capitol for an update. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. Ige and other county and state officials said in a news conference Tuesday that they are continuing an “aggressive, collaborative response” to the current dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii Island. KHON2.

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The proposal for a Florida company to acquire Hawaii’s largest electric utility does not sit well with most Hawaii voters. And, when it comes to state government officials being capable of making a sound decision on the merger, people also don’t think state regulators have their interest at heart, according to a new Civil Beat Poll.

Staffing shortages and inefficient technology are hampering operations of the special-education program in Hawaii’s public schools, according to an internal audit released this week that found the program is functioning at a “marginal” level. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering dozens of proposals to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as a couple that could legalize recreational marijuana. Associated Press.

The state Health Department is going ahead with rules banning cesspools statewide even after state lawmakers rejected similar proposals last year. Hawaii News Now.

Fitch Ratings is concerned about First Hawaiian Bank’s future after BNP Paribas and has placed its support rating and long-term issuer default rating on negative watch. Pacific Business News.

Scientists have discovered four new species of algae in waters 200 to 400 feet deep at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Bolstered by an active fundraising effort since winning the race for Honolulu Hale three years ago, Mayor Kirk Caldwell owns a hefty $1.6 million campaign war chest to draw from as he gears up for a re-election bid. Star-Advertiser.

As of Dec. 31, Kirk Caldwell was sitting on $1.6 million for his re-election in 2016. The figure comes from the Honolulu mayor’s filing this week, which covers the past six months of 2015. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has asked FanDuel and DraftKings to stop operating their daily fantasy sports contests on Oahu, his office said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Marine Corps today clarified a statement it made Monday about remains being recovered from the Jan. 14 crash of two CH-53E helicopters off Waimea Bay, killing all 12 service members aboard. trace elements of remains, in the form of DNA, were recovered during the search and rescue phase that ended on 19 Jan. Star-Advertiser.

Trace elements of DNA have been found from Marines killed in a helicopter crash off Oahu last month, the Marine Corps said Tuesday. Associated Press.

Hawaii

Hawaii officials are looking for a hearings officer to oversee proceedings for a permit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope. Telescope officials haven't indicated whether they will pursue a new contested case hearing after the state Supreme Court in December voided the project's permit to build on conservation land on Mauna Kea. Associated Press.

If all goes as planned, Kailua-Kona could be the first community in the state to have a bike-share program. West Hawaii Today.

Several Big Island lawmakers are backing legislation that would establish seven “science and technology research subzones,” including one covering Mauna Kea’s astronomy precinct. Tribune-Herald.

A 39-year-old Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer, accused of sexually assaulting a girl, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault in Circuit Court in Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

A state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer accused of the New Year’s Day rape of a 16-year-old girl on a Hilo beach pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Virgin America airlines today announced it is expanding its service to Hawai’i with daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Honolulu, Oʻahu on May 5, 2016, and Kahului, Maui on June 14, 2016. Maui Now.

Maui-based Kokua Realty LLC has taken over management of the Lahaina Business Park on the Valley Isle. Pacific Business News.

"Your County with Mayor Arakawa" will be televised live on Akaku Channel 55 at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Maui News.

Kauai

Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where he attended the 84th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. While there, the mayor also met with Hawaii’s congressional delegation and their staff as well as with federal partners. Garden Island.

In November, 10 fuzzy Hawaiian Petrel babies were taken from their mountain burrows in the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and transplanted into artificial nesting boxes within the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. It was the first phase in a plan to establish a protected breeding colony of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel. Garden Island.

Lanai

Lanai's tourism engine restarts, and Larry Ellison turns the key. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Native Hawaiian convention begins with protests, some Marines recovered from ocean, record number of Honolulu police fired or disciplined, six more Thirty Meter Telescope protesters acquitted, first Maui dengue case confirmed, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy Melissa Leina'ala Haa Moniz
Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte barred from ʻaha, photo courtesy Melissa Leina'ala Haa Moniz
The Na‘i Aupuni constitutional convention began Monday with 127 Native Hawaiians gathering at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Maunawili. Star-Advertiser.

Of the 150 or so unelected delegates who organizers say are participating in the Nai Aupuni convention on Native Hawaiian self-governance that began Monday, two are lawmakers on the public payroll. Brickwood Galuteria has served in the Hawaii state Senate since 2008, while Rowena Akana has been a trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs since 1990. Civil Beat.

Despite terminating its Native Hawaiian election, Na'i Aupuni's highly contested conference pressed on in Maunawili Monday. The goal of the 'aha or conference is to discuss self-governance for Hawaiians. KITV4.

Wringing some new tax revenue from about 40 mostly mainland companies that own prime retail, hotel, office and other commercial properties in Hawaii has been put forth at the state Legislature in a move that also could affect the pocketbooks of small local investors with mutual funds. Star-Advertiser.

Housing developers and Hawaii lawmakers Hawaii are debating how to chip away at the state’s severe housing shortage. Associated Press.

State lawmakers were briefed today on the major challenges developers face in building affordable housing for low income residentsHawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban police from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant. The bill would make exceptions for emergencies such as searches and rescues, hostage situations and when there's an immediate danger to someone. Associated Press.

One month after gas stations were allowed to start selling fuel without ethanol, Hawaii drivers are still stuck with mostly the same blended gasoline. KHON2.

A month and a half after going into recess, regulatory hearings to decide the fate of NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries resumed Monday. Civil Beat.

Can You Afford To Be A Teacher with an average salary of $55,930 In The Islands? The cost of living weighs so heavily on schoolteachers that many fear they will never get ahead if they stay here. Civil Beat.

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has announced a new training program to help Hawaii companies begin or expand their export market development. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday that raising property tax rates to pay for operations of the upcoming Honolulu rail line isn’t part of his game plan. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell made it official Monday: Rail will keep chugging along. The mayor held a brief signing ceremony at Honolulu Hale for Bill 23, which extends for five years a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge that pays for the $6.6 billion project. Civil Beat.

Some of the 12 Hawaii Marines who perished in an apparent nighttime fiery crash of two big CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters at sea off Waimea Bay on Jan. 14 have been recovered, the Marine Corps has confirmed. Star-Advertiser.

At least 28 Honolulu police officers were disciplined in 2015 for committing crimes ranging from witness intimidation and theft to kidnapping and sexual assault, according to an annual misconduct report filed with the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu Police Department fired 17 officers in 2015, far more than in previous years. The figures were included in HPD's annual disciplinary report, which was submitted to the state Legislature on Friday. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Police Department last year fired or recommended for firing police officers in 25 cases involving offenses ranging from sex assault and kidnapping to terroristic threatening and theft, according to an annual report the agency submitted to the Legislature and made public Monday. Star-Advertiser.

More Honolulu police officers are being disciplined and fired from their job. In an annual report submitted to the Legislature, the Honolulu Police Department outlined police misconduct, including details of each incident and the disciplinary action that was taken. KHON2.

In the coming months Oahu will see a new homeless shelter in Kakaako; the first-of-its kind, city-owned apartment building in Makiki for low-income and formerly homeless tenants; and greater efforts to help homeless Micronesians and get churches more involved. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The 2016 campaign season in Hawaii officially kicked off Monday with the first day of pulling nomination papers for candidates.West Hawaii Today.

The East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. will discuss the future of Hilo Medical Center’s Extended Care Department during its next meeting. Meanwhile, ECD employees are being encouraged to apply for other jobs with the hospital. Tribune-Herald.

A district court judge acquitted an additional six Thirty Meter Telescope opponents of obstruction charges after defendants argued their actions prevented a greater harm from occurring. Tribune-Herald.

Peter Savio, a Honolulu-based developer, would become the new operator of Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel in a bid to keep the kama‘aina business running until the site is redeveloped, a state official confirmed. Tribune-Herald.

A monk seal has taken over part of Dog Beach at Honokohau and she might be there a while. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The state Department of Health tells Maui Now that they have confirmed a case of dengue fever in a resident of Maui that recently traveled to a country where dengue fever is endemic.

Maui County hospital employees who feared losing their jobs after a "Reduction in Force" announcement Monday were assured by hospital leaders that this was just part of the process to transition them from public workers to private workers under incoming hospital operator Kaiser Permanente. Maui News.

Maui's warm sun and lush tropical landscape aren't just a luxury for tourists and residents - they're also a haven for honeybees. Maui News.

Maui County beekeepers have been exploring ways to keep the insects healthy as the county remains one of the few places untouched by an invasive species known to attack honeybees. Associated Press.

Kauai

Rep. Dee Morikawa of District 16 has introduced three bills on behalf of the Office of Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Kauai. Garden Island.
 
Lanai

The Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, located at Manele Bay, reopened Monday after shutting down in June as part of a $75 million renovation project to spruce up rooms, suites, lobbies, spas and restaurants. Maui News.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Native Hawaiian constitutional convention begins today, homeless counted on all islands, $27M airport cargo building unused, Kauai voters prefer single-member districts, former Maui mayor opposes county manager government, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Native Hawaiians stand guard over Hokolia in Hilo © 2016 All Hawaii News file
A contested Native Hawaiian election canceled in December isn't stopping 151 former delegates from proceeding to the original plan of attending a conference starting Monday. KITV4.

A group is urging people to protest a gathering of Native Hawaiians who are set to discuss the possibility of establishing a governing body. Court disputes led organizing group Nai Aupuni to shorten the gathering and open it to 151 participants, with closed-door sessions starting today. Associated Press.

The historic Na‘i Aupuni constitutional convention convenes Monday with 151 Native Hawaiians charged with setting up the building blocks of a nation. Star-Advertiser.

Delegates to the native Hawaiian constitutional convention met at the Pagoda restaurant tonight. It was a social meeting designed to introduce delegates to each other. But behind the scenes, discussions between some delegates have become openly hostile, with some reverting to name calling and personal attacks. Hawaii News Now.

A shortage of volunteers hampered efforts to count homeless people throughout the state last week, potentially jeopardizing a federal funding formula that has provided millions of dollars for homeless support, according to service providers and outreach workers. Star-Advertiser.

A measure that has a hearing Tuesday would forbid the spending of state funds by state agencies for the purchase of single-serving bottled water, except under certain circumstances. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering limiting the number of years people can live in public housing if they agree to an incentive program in advance, hoping to create more movement in a system with a yearslong waiting list. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers are heading into their second full week of the 2016 legislative session, planning to tackle the housing shortage, dental needs for the poor, renewable energy and breast-feeding jurors. Star-Advertiser.

A recent state report estimates Hawaii missed out on more than $16 million of corporate income tax revenue last year due to a long-standing exemption for real estate investment trusts. Civil Beat.

Hawaii caregivers could see improvements in their financial bottom line in exchange for concessions that consumer advocates have long sought under a broad “compromise” bill that House Vice Speaker John Mizuno is pushing this legislative session. Civil Beat.

In a few months, the state Department of Health will select the state’s first licensees for medical marijuana dispensaries. The application process closed just Friday. KHON2.

Hawaii State Sen. Roz Baker wants to require children to get at least one dosage of the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to attending seventh grade, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Civil Beat.

Undeterred By Cancer, U.S. Rep. Mark Takai Wants A Second Term In Congress. The Hawaii Democrat says he is responding well to treatments for pancreatic cancer and has been told by doctors he can run for re-election. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission foresees a future when Hawaiian Electric companies get out of the power generation business and, instead, manage and dispatch electricity from dispersed independent operators and support clean energy generated by customers - from rooftop solar panels, for instance. Maui News.

Two Hawaii officials disagreed about whether Hawaii’s innovation sector should get its own dedicated source of funding at a panel discussion on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are reopening a public comment period and holding a public hearing and informational meeting about whether to add 49 plants and animals in Hawaii to the federal list of endangered species. Star-Advertiser.

Wildlife officials are seeking feedback from the public on whether to add dozens of plants and animals in Hawaii to the federal list of endangered species. Associated Press.

Oahu
Honolulu’s efforts last year to reduce homelessness resulted in 772 people getting off of Oahu streets, which Mayor Kirk Caldwell says represents an unprecedented success for a city struggling with the highest per-capita rate of homelessness in the country. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting has recently identified properties in the rail transit station areas that are near areas of contamination, and has begun notifying property owners and lessees about the issue, according to a letter from the city to these parties obtained by Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A $27.4 million cargo facility built by the state at Hilo Airport has been standing empty since it was completed in March because the state was unable to finalize lease agreements with tenants, including Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Air Cargo, according to Department of Transportation officials. Star-Advertiser.

The appointment of a successor to the late state Sen. Gil Kahele could result in a game of political musical chairs, depending on who makes it through the Democratic Party’s nomination process in two weeks. Tribune-Herald.

Gov. David Ige didn’t budge Friday afternoon after U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called for him to declare a state of emergency in response to Hawaii Island’s ongoing dengue fever outbreak. Tribune-Herald.

Like a lot of people who are forced to sleep outdoors, Ronnie Lance doesn’t see much problem with taxing wealthy developers to pay for building new homes for those who don’t have one. West Hawaii Today.

Warm sunshine poured over Nadine Ageres’ tent encampment Monday morning, but the 52-year-old remained bundled up in a blanket. The night before, she’d slept outside — and temperatures had dipped into chilly overnight lows. Tribune-Herald.

Cinder crunched underfoot Friday as members of the Windward Planning Commission and a bevy of staff and residents inspected mining sites in anticipation of a vote next week on two permit applications. West Hawaii Today.

Residents who said they were never allowed proper input on earlier planning for the future of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park got a chance to be heard on Saturday as a consultant rolled out options for improving the increasingly popular area. West Hawaii Today.

Traffic fatalities were up in 2015 over the previous year, while arrests for impaired driving were down, according to the Hawaii Police Department. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists say a disease killing hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees on Hawaii's Big Island is spreading. Recent aerial surveys show the acreage of infected trees has more than doubled in the past two years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

The state Labor Department eliminated civil service employees who assist dislocated workers and help with job training in the weeks and months before Alexander &Baldwin announced that it was closing its Maui sugar plantation and laying off more than 650 workers. Star-Advertiser.

Haleakala National Park has received $312,000 to restore habitat for the endangered uau, or Hawaiian petrel, in the upper elevations of Nuu. Maui News.

Two new buildings for retail and restaurant businesses along with construction of more storage space for Whole Foods Market are among the improvements and additions on tap for the Maui Mall in Kahului. Maui News.

While former Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares neither opposes nor supports the new form of government currently under the county microscope, she said Thursday that the county should first consider improving its current system before moving to a county manager structure. Maui News.

Maui's largest no-kill cat rescue and sanctuary, which has sterilized thousands of cats on the island, needs to raise roughly $200,000 this year or it will lose its property, which could result in the death of countless cats, the executive director said. Maui News.

Kauai

A little more than 70 percent of those who responded to the Charter Review Commission’s online districting survey said they wanted some kind of change in Kauai’s voting system for the county council. Garden Island.

Domestic violence is rampant across Kauai, according to figures from the county prosecutor’s office and Kauai Police Department. Garden Island.

Molokai

A recent study on Maui County’s electric utility could play a large role in shaping the future of Molokai’s electric service. The independent study, contracted by the county to consulting company Guernsey, examined alternate forms of electric utility ownership and operation models. Released two weeks ago, it recommended that Maui County seek an Independent Systems Operator (ISO) or Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to oversee the electric grid and energy market. Molokai Dispatch.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Hawaii tourism up, copter commander fired days before deadly crash, Maui jail plans scuttled for Oahu project, lawmakers have gambling fever, inter-island ferry bill floated, zika worries add to dengue scare, airport security bribery spurs lawmaker action, mayor's deputy seeks top Hawaii County job, EPA investigates Kauai pesticide poisoning, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Rainbow over Kauai © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii’s tourism industry achieved its fourth consecutive year of records for visitor arrivals and visitor expenditures in 2015, with strong momentum expected to continue into 2016. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii hotel market is doing well, compared to its Asia Pacific counterparts, according to a new report by Hospitality Advisors and STR Inc. Pacific Business News.

The commanding officer of the Kaneohe Bay Marine squadron, which lost 12 aviators two weeks ago in a helicopter accident, was removed from his job three days prior to the tragedy because he had failed to keep the unit operating at acceptable standards, the Marine Corps Times reported Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Copter Commander Fired Days Before Crash. Twelve Marines were killed in the Jan. 14 crash of two helicopters off Oahu’s North Shore, just three days after the unit’s commanding officer was removed from his post. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers in Hawaii want to make an exception to the state’s gambling ban by legalizing fantasy sports contests. Hawaii is one of two states, along with Utah, with no legal gambling. The Aloha State has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the country, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said. Associated Press.

There’s Another Hawaii Lottery Bill. Rep. John Mizuno’s bill would direct proceeds to be used to address homelessness. Civil Beat.

Private Police Force At Hawaii Airports Draws Legislative Scrutiny Contract security guards at the state’s airports carry guns and have the authority to arrest people. But some lawmakers question whether they’re qualified to do so. Civil Beat.

Re-establishing an interisland ferry capable of carrying hundreds of passengers as well as vehicles and cargo should be a priority for Hawaii, giving residents an alternative to expensive air transportation, according to a bill introduced Wednesday by Big Island Sen. Lorraine Inouye. Maui News.

Lawmakers Debate A Lower Blood-Alcohol Limit For Drivers. The measure is deferred, but another making it illegal to smoke in a car containing minors is passed by the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. Civil Beat.

Establishment of a law enforcement standards board is a priority for female lawmakers at the Hawaii Legislature this year. Another is that county police commissions have members experienced in women’s issues and civil rights. The 2016 Women’s Legislative Caucus package also targets domestic violence and sex trafficking. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health is looking for ways to beef up its staffing and expertise for responding to mosquito-borne viruses like dengue and Zika, following a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointing out “critical deficiencies” at the agency. Civil Beat.

After months battling the dengue virus, Hawaii health officials now are wary of another mosquito-borne virus that is sweeping through the Americas and has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. Tribune-Herald.

Compared to other states and regions, Hawaii’s labor market is tiny. However, its growth needs to be realistic and lofty goals are not the solution, according to a panel of experts. Hawaii faces an “uphill battle” to fix its labor market, said Jack Suyderhoud, a professor of business economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business at a “jobs for Hawaii” panel hosted by ThinkTech Hawaii on Thursday. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Under new legislation introduced by Gov. David Ige, the price tag for building a new facility to replace the crumbling Oahu Community Correctional Center could reach nearly a half-billion dollars. Civil Beat.

A joint Senate and House committee was briefed yesterday on a proposal to move the O’ahu Community Correctional Center from Kalihi to Halawa. Hawaii Public Radio.

It’s been more than two years since building resumed on Honolulu’s rail transit system, but the project continues to cope with its earlier construction delays and those costs are proving more expensive than officials had anticipated. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu grand jury has indicted four private security officers and traffic control officers for allegedly taking bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers at Honolulu Airport, state Attorney General Douglas Chin announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

An Oahu grand jury indicted four Securitas law enforcement and traffic control officers on Thursday for accepting bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers at the Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced. KITV4.

Airport bribery scheme sparks criticism over security at state facilities. KHON2.

Burglaries on Oahu dipped to a 30-year low last year, following local and national trends of declining crime. Star-Advertiser.

Folks unhappy with the city’s decision to allow alcohol in a roped-off section of the National Football League’s Pro Bowl Beach Stadium party at Queen’s Surf Beach today and Saturday are expected to voice their objections during the event. Star-Advertiser.

Police are investigating after a dozen schools received prank bomb threats Thursday afternoon. The threats were made between 2 and 3 p.m., police said, and officers were dispatched to each school. Hawaii News Now.

Several Honolulu schools were evacuated Thursday afternoon due to a series of bomb threats. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi’s top deputy quit his job Thursday and announced he’s running for mayor. West Hawaii Today.

Wally Lau announced his candidacy for Hawaii County Mayor on Thursday, resigning from his post as Hawaii County Managing Director. Big Island Video News.

A Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer accused of raping a 16-year-old girl on a Hilo beach faces a possible 20 years in prison if he is convicted under terms requested by prosecutors. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County has identified revisions for a park project in Kukuihaele it hopes will better suit the community’s needs after residents expressed concern earlier this month. West Hawaii Today.

Two bills currently under review in the legislature call for $100,000 to study the impact of a small satellite launch facility on Hawaii Island. KHON2.

The number of visitors arriving by airline on Hawaii Island rose by 3.8 percent in 2015, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Meanwhile, cruise ship tourism foundered slightly, dropping 0.2 percent, with 225,707 visitors arriving on the Big Island by ship in 2015. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Plans to relocate Maui’s overcrowded jail to a larger facility in Puunene have fallen by the wayside as Gov. David Ige aggressively moves forward on plans to relocate Oahu’s largest jail to the grounds of the existing Halawa Correctional Facility. Star-Advertiser.

To prevent vehicle overcrowding and safety hazards in a parking lot at 'Ahihi-Kina'u Natural Area Reserve, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing a concrete-paved, 31,000-square-foot parking lot. Maui News.

Kauai

Two government agencies are coordinating an investigation after some Syngenta workers were hospitalized last week after they were exposed to the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dean Higuchi, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, said his regional office was working with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to review the incident. Garden Island.

For 2015, Kauai saw 1.16 million visitors, up 4.3 percent from 1.11 million in 2014. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fuel tax hikes proposed for roads, three counties mull general excise tax increase, attorney general says fantasy sports betting illegal, military wants to beef up Kauai missile range, opposition rises to homegrown marijuana ban bill, more than 2k bills filed this legislative session, two Hawaii billionaires among world's top 10 wealthiest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Road construction in Hawaii © 2016 All Hawaii News
In an unusual election-year move, Gov. David Ige is asking lawmakers to raise the state’s gasoline tax from 16 cents to 19 cents per gallon while also boosting the state’s vehicle registration fees and weight taxes, steps the administration expects will cost a typical motorist about $55 extra per year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin issued a formal advisory opinion Wednesday stating that daily fantasy sports contests, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are illegal under Hawaii gambling laws, and his office is considering pursuing criminal or civil enforcement actions against companies operating the websites. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office issued an opinion Wednesday saying daily fantasy sports contests like those run by FanDuel and DraftKings constitute illegal gambling in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The state Attorney General says daily fantasy sports contests, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, are illegal gambling under Hawaii law. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers have filed more than 2,000 new bills in the 2016 legislative session. They're racing to turn in their proposals before a legislative deadline. Associated Press.

With the high cost of incarceration, many states are increasingly turning to ankle bracelets as a more cost-effective way to supervise offenders — while freeing up space in prisons and jails. But, in Hawaii, the concept of electronic monitoring has yet to fully take hold. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state lawmakers are pushing for a new bill to make wrongdoings by officers become public knowledge. KHON2.

A bill that would ban homegrown marijuana in Hawaii is riling pot advocates as the state prepares for the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries this year. Star-Advertiser.

The people have spoken, and lawmakers have finally heard them: Hawaii’s sweltering classrooms need to cool off. How to accomplish that will be a top priority this legislative session, possibly snagging even more attention than the Hawaii State Teacher Association’s ambitious proposal for wide-ranging education reforms. Civil Beat.

A no-tipping model has been gaining popularity across the nation and Hawaii restaurants may soon jump on the bandwagon. Pacific Business News.

As of Jan. 23, approximately 13,194 Hawaii residents had signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov during the enrollment period that began in November, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pacific Business News.

Candidate filing for the elections for federal, state and county offices later this year gets underway Monday and runs through June 7, the state Office of Elections said Tuesday. Maui News.

A new report ranking all 50 states based on residents’ sense of well-being puts Hawaii at No. 1, followed by Alaska, which held the top spot last year. Associated Press.

Oahu

Oahu residents and visitors will be paying a 0.5 percent surcharge on goods and services through 2027 for the $6.57 billion rail project after the Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to approve a five-year extension. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council extended state funding for the rail transit project today.  But the lawmakers imposed a few restrictions on spending. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge Wednesday to help cover cost overruns and lost revenues on the $6.6 billion rail project that’s currently under construction. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council 7-2 vote boils down to this. For the average taxpayer, it’s not a forever tax. But it's continuing to pay a half percent more on goods and services until 2027. KITV4.

Is Rod Tam returning to politics? An outspoken and controversial figure, he spent two nights in jail in late 2011 and early 2012 for stealing city funds and violating campaign spending laws. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Navy is asking officials from government agencies that want to participate in the implementation of an agreement to update underground fuel tanks at Red Hill to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prevent them from sharing information related to procurement and national defense. Civil Beat.

Bikeshare Hawaii planned to roll out its bike rental system this month, but the start date has been delayed because of a lack of capital. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

A measure currently being considered by Hawaii County officials would add another half-percent to the general excise tax charged on goods and services. West Hawaii Today.

All seven members of the Big Island’s state House delegation are co-sponsoring a bill that would bolster efforts to combat invasive little fire ants. Tribune-Herald.

Extending roads across five lots between subdivisions would be enough to connect upper Puna communities and provide another route in case of an emergency, an ad hoc committee concluded. Tribune-Herald.

A pair of House and Senate bills would pave the way for privatization of Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. West Hawaii Today.

An off-duty Kona Patrol officer has been arrested and charged with the alleged assault of a 72-year-old man living above him in a Kailua-Kona apartment. Big Island Video News.

Scientists from University of Hawaii at Hilo and the San Diego Zoo, are trying to bring the Hawaiian crow back from the brink of extinction. Researchers were able to successfully sequence the genome of the bird, also known as the alala. KHON2.

Maui

ATC Makena Holdings came up against strong opposition Tuesday to its plans to develop 47 acres in the Makena Resort. Maui News.

Kauai

It was a mixed bag at the Kauai County public hearing Wednesday for the proposed one-half percent general excise tax surcharge increase. Garden Island.

Findings from N&K CPA Inc.’s audit report were in the same areas as the findings from the last fiscal year’s audit report. But the county has made progress in each of the areas. Garden Island.

The head of U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday that the U.S. military should consider enabling an Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai to protect against North Korean missile threats. Star-Advertiser.

A school bus rear-ended a sedan on Kaumualii Highway near the Kauai Humane Society Tuesday morning. There were no injuries. Garden Island.

Lanai

Billionaire Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corp. to bought Hawaii’s island of Lanai for $300 million, is the seventh-richest person in the world, according to a new ranking by Wealth-X, in collaboration with Business Insider, of the world’s 50 wealthiest people. Another Hawaii landowner, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 31, was ranked just below Ellison at No. 8 with a net worth of $42.8 billion. Pacific Business News.