Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Caldwell mulls future of Waikiki Natatorium, tourism officials fined for ethics violations, state pension shortfall increases, voters want more say in government, UH athletics a tax drain, Kauai pesticides studied, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki Natatorium © 2017 All Hawaii News
Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he’s willing to consider the idea of making improvements at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium that would allow the public to swim in it again, but only if a new proposal being offered pencils out financially and makes sense. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell outlines four alternatives for future of historic Waikiki Natatorium. The City and County of Honolulu is considering four options for the reconstruction of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial, with an environmental impact study expected to be released in spring 2019. Pacific Business News.

City outlines potential options for future of Waikiki Natatorium. KHON2.

All the plans for Waikiki Natatorium share one thing: They're costly. Hawaii News Now.

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Honolulu mayor backs governor for re-election. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is throwing his support behind Gov. David Ige. KHON2.

Civil Beat Poll: Power To The People — Voters Want More Control. Respondents support term limits for legislators, all-mail balloting and establishment of a statewide system for initiatives, referendums and recalls. Civil Beat.

State pension fund shortfall rises to $12.95 billion. A preliminary report presented Monday by an independent actuary to ERS trustees showed the deficit in the fund widened from last year’s $12.44 billion, but the funded ratio — what is needed to meet future obligations — improved to 54.8 percent from 54.7 percent. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has fined Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO George Szigeti and three other tourism officials more than $12,000 for allegedly violating the state’s Ethics Code when accepting and soliciting travel upgrades for business trips. Star-Advertiser.

Tourism authority execs fined for failing to report travel upgrades. The Hawaii Ethics Commission has fined four top current and former Hawaii Tourism Authority executives more than $12,000 for failing to report that they received free travel upgrades from international airlines. Hawaii News Now.

Insurance ‘Hell’ Leaves Many Injured Workers Broken. In Hawaii’s workers’ comp system, people with long-lasting injuries are often forced to battle doctors hand-picked by insurance companies to get treatment. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii won a $23 million federal grant to help improve the well-being of residents at risk due to serious health disparities. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Public Health Institute: Farm to School and Obesity Prevention. The Hawaii Public Health Institute is focusing on childhood obesity prevention in the upcoming legislative session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Charter School Debuts An Online Hawaiian-English Dictionary. Students at the immersion school say the product could prepare them for a vocabulary test. But it’s also designed for the wider community. Civil Beat.

Former Island Air employees will get about $35,000 of their misdirected 401(k) contributions restored to their accounts. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Even with a combined $3.4 million infusion from the Legislature and the Manoa campus, University of Hawaii athletics ran at a $1.7 million deficit for the 2017 fiscal year, according to an independent auditor’s report. Star-Advertiser.

Sweeping The Boat People Of Ala Wai Harbor. Plenty of them are illegally sleeping aboard vessels — only 129 “live-aboard” permits are allowed out of the 747 slips. Civil Beat.

Howard Hughes gearing up to launch public sales efforts at next Honolulu tower. The Howard Hughes Corp. is getting ready to launch public sales efforts next month for its next Ward Village mixed-use tower, the 42-story Aalii, which is being marketed as a building for “smarter living” with units ranging from less than 300 square feet for a studio to nearly 850 square feet for a two-bedroom unit. Pacific Business News.

Aging fuel storage tanks at Red Hill could soon get an upgrade. A newly released study could get the ball rolling on upgrades to the aging fuel storage tanks at Red Hill. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Meeting On The Future Of Mauna Kea. An aha has been convened, bringing together Hawaii Island residents who sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of tough issues facing the mountain. Big Island Video News.

Two new meatpacking facilities might open on the Big Island next year following the success of the Hawaii Island Meat Cooperative’s mobile slaughterhouse. Tribune-Herald.

Arsenic-Contaminated Soil Removal Considered For Hilo Land. There is a potential buyer for the 6.2-acre portion of the former cane plant site near Waiakea Pond, and a Removal Action Report has been drafted. Big Island Video News.

As North Kona approaches the one-year anniversary of its first mandatory water usage restriction, questions about how and why deep well equipment prematurely failed at several sites across the region remain unanswered. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island’s nonnative birds might have found a friend in the coqui frog. A new study on coquis, an invasive species known for its piercing two-tone chirp, noted a connection between the abundance of the small frogs and higher populations of introduced birds in a forest. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Mayor says water chief lacks management abilities. Arakawa cites low morale in his request to terminate Taylor. Maui News.

$14K in Back Wages, Penalties Recovered for Maui Surf Instructors. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recovered $14,360.12 in back wages and penalties on a wage complaint made by two surf instructors hired by a Maui business that offers a variety of ocean-related recreational activities. Maui Now.

State puts up delineators to deter illegal parking on Hana Highway. East Maui residents who were frustrated by traffic backups from cars illegally parking on narrow portions of Hana Highway near scenic areas got some relief last week when the state Department of Transportation installed delineators to deter motorists from parking at one popular spot. Maui News.


Kauai

Pesticides remain key concern. The purpose of the briefing to the House Committee on Health and Human Services and the House Committee on Agriculture was for legislators to find out how to help move forward the fulfillment of the 2016 Kauai Pesticide Joint Fact Finding Study Group’s recommendations. Garden Island.

KIUC receives approval for holdover of hydro permit. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative will be able to operate two hydroelectric facilities after the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday approved the holdover of a revocable permit for water use at the Blue Hole Diversion.  Pacific Business News.

Dawn of digital dollars. One Kauai property is opening up its sale to digital currencies in the midst of a rapidly changing cryptoasset market that many are still trying to understand. Garden Island.

Molokai

Latest crash underscores risks of airspace around Molokai. National Transportation Safety Board records show that six of the state’s 12 fatal air crashes occurred in and around Molokai, with four of them happening in just the last 14 months. Star-Advertiser.

Plane crash kills former Kahala dentist and his wife. The family of William F. Vogt, 78, and Lynn Vogt, 74, notified the office of his former dental partner, Dr. Derek Takai, that the two were killed in the crash. Star-Advertiser.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ige's union support falters; lawmakers to take up payday loans, suicide prevention, self-driving cars in upcoming legislative session; Kauai post office to be moved; Big Island income lags; rail station privatization mulled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HSTA
Teachers union supported Gov. David Ige in 2014. Other unions are not so happy with him. Courtesy HSTA
Twice this fall the state’s largest union has issued dire warnings about efforts by Gov. David Ige’s administration to upgrade critically important state computer systems, and that pushback is taking on political implications as Ige prepares for a tough Democratic primary next year. Star-Advertiser.

Gov’s chief of staff shifts to deputy role. Mike McCartney, Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff, has been moved into a lower-­level position and salary — but gets to keep his old title — under what Ige describes as a reorganization of his office. Star-Advertiser.

Medical Pot: Taking Your Medicine Can Get You Fired. Cannabis advocates may try to strengthen patient protections in workplaces and public housing during the next legislative session. Civil Beat.

Civil Beat Poll: Let’s Have A Constitutional Convention. Two-thirds of Hawaii voters surveyed in our poll support the state holding a “con con,” the first in 40 years. Civil Beat.

State legislators aim to regulate high-interest payday loans. State lawmakers plan to again consider imposing stricter regulations on so-called payday lenders issuing loans that can carry interest rates as high as 459 percent in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers urge more funding, awareness to suicide prevention. Hawaii legislators are grappling with how to prevent suicides, the leading cause of fatal injuries in the state.  Associated Press.

Inouye among skeptics of testing self-driving cars. Hawaii’s drivers might soon share the road with self-driving cars, after Gov. David Ige signed an executive order last month allowing statewide testing of the autonomous vehicles. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Longliners Are Paying Big Bucks To Go Over Quota. Environmentalists worry short-term deals will result in overfishing. Meanwhile, fishermen seek more access to restricted areas. Civil Beat.

China ups recycling regulations, causes ripple effect felt in Hawaii. China wants to rehabilitate its environment, but one of the country’s primary initiatives to do so could leave pollutants piling up over much of the rest of the world, including Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

State creates Hawaii Defense Economy website to share data. Total defense spending in Hawaii averages around $7.8 billion a year, according to the website, and defense spending is 9.8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Garden Island.

Hawaiian Telcom took a step closer to being acquired by Ohio-based Cincinnati Bell on Friday, receiving one of two necessary Hawaii regulatory approvals. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Cable Television Division on Friday conditionally approved the merger transaction transferring control of Hawaiian Telcom’s Oahu cable franchise to Cincinnati Bell Inc. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines Federal Credit Union merged with Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union last month after Hawaiian Airlines FCU’s board of directors and membership voted in favor of the merger on Sept. 8. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Hawaii Reserves Inc. has scrapped its contentious plan to put up houses in rural Malaekahana and is instead proposing a scaled-down project allowing for 300 additional residential units within the Laie ahupuaa. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu rail officials have brought on Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors LLC to study the potential use of a public-private partnership for the remainder of the 20-mile elevated rail project. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will award Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children $514,532 to fund resident training. Pacific Business News.

Waianae latest stop for Hokulea in its 'mahalo sail' around the islands. The voyaging canoe Hokulea received a warm welcome when it arrived at Pokai Bay in Waianae Saturday as it continues its Mahalo Hawaii Sail around the islands. KITV.

Hokulea sails to the west side, celebrates Buffalo Keaulana. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Big Island household income falling behind. It’s long been said a rising tide lifts all boats, but census data released last week shows the Big Island remains grounded on the reef of a faltering economy. West Hawaii Today.

Council questions scrutiny of contingency funds. Hawaii County Council members often use their contingency funds as grants to nonprofits, which they say allows them to provide quick aid to their districts. Tribune-Herald.

Delay sought in TMT sublease contested case. Attorneys for the University of Hawaii and TMT International Observatory are asking that a contested case for the telescope’s sublease not proceed at this time. Tribune-Herald.

Raises for UH staffers: Many at UH-Hilo, HCC earn more than $100K per year. Nearly a dozen executive and managerial employees at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College will get merit-based raises effective Jan. 1. Tribune-Herald.

Wind farm seeks incidental take permit.  The operator of Lalamilo Wind Farm has applied for a federal permit that would allow for the incidental taking of two endangered Hawaiian species during the project’s operation. West Hawaii Today.

$30M Waikoloa resort project moving forward. Two years after the Planning Department accepted applications to rezone part of a Waikoloa parcel and grant a special management area use permit for a proposed 44-unit resort development, the Leeward Planning Commission is expected to take up the issue this week. West Hawaii Today.

Non-native birds thrive where coquis abide, study finds. The proliferation of coqui frogs in Hawaii has had a significant, and surprising, impact on non-­native birds — not that indigenous birds have bothered to notice. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Illegal fireworks are booming. Resident: ‘It cannot be a cultural thing, every single night from Halloween to the first week in February’. Maui News.

Maui residents call for end to Illegal fireworks. With New Year's around the corner, Maui residents are complaining over social media about loud booms in their neighborhoods, which are irritating residents and frightening children and pets. Associated Press.

Pilot program aims to use oysters to filter pollution from Maalaea bay water. According to UH researchers, oysters can filter 50 to 100 gallons of water a day. Maui News.

Kauai

Community blasts USPS decision to close Lihue office. The U.S. Postal Service is under criticism for giving the Kauai community “false hope” that it would prevail in its appeal to save the historic Lihue Post Office. Star-Advertiser.

Molokai

2 killed in fiery crash of small plane on Molokai. The Cessna 206 propeller plane crashed while en route to the Molokai Airport under unknown circumstances, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer. Star-Advertiser.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Grounded fishing boat finally moved off Waikiki, Honolulu council approve state hospital expansion, Pearl Harbor survivors commemorate anniversary, Miss Hawaii wants to be state rep., Kauai mayoral candidates meet, Queen Kaahumanu Highway costs escalate, LUC mulls Maui development, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur / U.S. Coast Guard
Pacific Paradise PC: Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur / U.S. Coast Guard
Pacific Paradise finally towed away, sunk at sea. The Pacific Paradise sank to its watery grave Thursday afternoon, ending a nearly two-month saga to get the grounded fishing vessel off the reef at Kaimana Beach. Star-Advertiser.

Salvage Team Tows Wrecked Fishing Boat Off Waikiki Reef. Aided by a high tide, a tugboat pulls the Pacific Paradise out to sea where it will be sunk two months after it ran aground. Associated Press.

2 months after it grounded off Waikiki, big fishing boat finally removed. Hawaii News Now.

Remaining survivors determined that Pearl Harbor not be forgotten. The dwindling sentinels of Pearl Harbor faithfully returned on the 76th anniversary of the surprise Japanese attack Thursday to reminisce and honor fellow warriors from the greatest generation still living and gone. Star-Advertiser.

100-year-old veteran inspires bill for Pacific war memorial. A bipartisan bill called the “Admiral Lloyd R. ‘Joe’ Vasey Pacific War Commemorative Display Establishment Act” unanimously passed the U.S. House on the 76th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Trump travel ban to be heard by federal appeals court. President Donald Trump’s updated travel ban is headed back to a federal appeals court in Virginia. Associated Press.

VIDEO: Hawaii vs. Donald Trump At Appeals Court. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday on the merits of the third version of the President’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority nations. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Urges DHHS Not to Roll Back Contraception Coverage Mandate. Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Hawaii has joined a letter authored by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pressing Eric Hargan, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, not to roll back the contraception coverage mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act. Maui Now.

Feds: Many Public Housing Units For The Disabled Aren’t Really Accessible. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is appealing the preliminary findings of a federal investigation. Civil Beat.

Island Air bankruptcy is 'a catastrophe,' judge says. A federal bankruptcy judge lashed out at Island Air in court Thursday for the treatment of its employees as the liquidation of the state’s second-largest airline appeared to be headed for an early termination due to lack of funds to administer the case. Star-Advertiser.


Trade "Clusters" and Hawaii's Economy. U-H Economic Professor, Carl Bonham, says the Hospitality and Tourism cluster in Hawaii is five times more concentrated based on employment than in other states. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii employees of GE's power division not affected by layoffs, source says. Hawaii employees of General Electric Co.'s power division are currently not affected by the company's decision to cut its global workforce by 12,000 positions. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii mumps cases reach 685; health officials broaden recommendation. The Hawaii Department of Health is asking all residents to get an “outbreak vaccination” against the ongoing flareup of mumps cases statewide. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

City Council approves expansion of State Hospital. Long-range expansion plans for the Hawaii State Hospital have been approved by the Honolulu City Council after the facility’s staff gave assurances that improvements would include a perimeter fence and other public safety measures prompted by the recent escape of a patient deemed to be dangerous. Star-Advertiser.

City to convert empty building into 30 affordable apartments. The city has purchased another three-story building in town — on Young Street, Ewa of McCully Street — which will add another 30 studio apartments for people who earn just over $36,000 per year. Star-Advertiser.

One Ala Moana Condo Development Approved And Another In The Pipeline. Developer Jay Fang wins approval for his 26-story tower despite some rocky moments at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Civil Beat.

Former Kawamoto lot on Kahala Avenue sells for $13M. A 1-acre beachfront lot on Kahala Avenue that once belonged to Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto was sold this week for $13 million to a Chinese multinational company that is planning to build a new house on the site. Pacific Business News.

Fire department releases 911 calls made during deadly Marco Polo building fire. KHON2.

No threats against Honolulu Marathon, but authorities aren't taking any chances. On Sunday, 28,000 runners from all over the world will participate in the 45th annual Honolulu Marathon. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Queen Kaahumanu Highway project costs rise again. It’s going to cost another $16.3 million to widen Queen Kaahumanu Highway from Kealakehe Parkway to Keahole Airport Road, compared to numbers released earlier this year, putting the project more than $30 million over initial estimates from its groundbreaking two years ago. West Hawaii Today.

Miss Hawaii 2015 to run for state House. Former Miss Hawaii Jeanne Kapela announced Thursday she’s throwing her crown in the ring for what’s shaping up as a competitive race for the open District 5 House seat. West Hawaii Today.

Paradise Helicopters expands fleet with first twin-engine helicopter. Paradise Helicopters has added a twin-engine Bell 430, becoming the first Hawaii tour company to operate a twin-engine helicopter. Pacific Business News.

Ohio investor to buy state’s second-largest dairy. An Ohio entrepreneur and financial planning company executive is advancing an initiative to acquire Hawaii’s second-largest dairy as part of a plan to more than double the production of local milk in the state. Star-Advertiser.

Three injured after state vehicle strikes school bus. Two children and a state employee were injured Wednesday morning after a state pickup truck struck a school bus in Mountain View. Tribune-Herald.

Keauhou Beach Hotel demolition progresses.  The Keauhou Beach Hotel is literally a shell of its former self — the soft demolition completed and the inside of the structure gutted. West Hawaii Today.

Firefighter disciplined after reportedly ‘reeking of alcohol’ while on duty. A Hawaii island firefighter is being disciplined for having alcohol in his system while on duty. KHON2.

Thieves target Big Island humane society — twice. The Hawaii Island Humane Society is looking for crooks who stole animals at a shelter. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Atherton’s Waikapu project finishes evidentiary phase. LUC chairman orders drafting of panel’s proposed final action. Maui News.

LUC members hear testimony backing ‘agrihood’ project. Land Use Commission members heard several hours of testimony Wednesday as part of hearings on proposed state district boundary amendments for the nearly 500-acre Waikapu Country Town project. Maui News.

Maui Cannabis Conference hosts its inaugural Maui Cannabis Conference on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 6-7, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. Maui Now.

Kauai

Mayor candidates state cases. Derek Kawakami, Lenny Rapozo and Mel Rapozo mingled with attendees at the Christmas party setting before taking the stage Thursday at in the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Garden Island.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hawaii still tops in homelessness, new tax chief named, Honolulu police chief admits error in gun confiscation, Kauai council passes GET surcharge, attack siren failures reported, Pearl Harbor remembered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Homeless sleep on Honolulu sidewalk © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii still leads nation in homeless count per capita. The 7,220 homeless people counted across the islands in January as part of an annual, nationwide homeless census put Hawaii’s rate at 51 homeless people for every 10,000 individuals, the worst of all 50 states, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Despite broad concerns, governor says tax system upgrades are on track. The governor says a $60 million project to modernize the tax department's outdated computer systems is moving forward with the right team in place. Hawaii News Now.

Ige appoints new director for troubled state tax department. Gov. David Ige today named Linda Chu Takayama as the new director of the state Department of Taxation in an effort to quickly replace outgoing director Maria Zielinski in what has emerged as a pivotal position in Ige’s administration. Star-Advertiser.

Linda Chu Takayama
Ige appoints new interim director of taxation. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has named Linda Chu Takayama as the new interim director of the state Department of Taxation following Maria Zielinski's sudden resignation on Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Governor Appoints Linda Chu Takayama as Interim Tax Director. Hawaii Public Radio.

Trump advised to alter Pacific Remote Islands monument. Commercial fishing has been banned for nearly a decade in 490,534 square miles of water around several western Pacific islands and atolls. But that could change based on a recommendation issued Tuesday to President Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

Can Voluntourism Offset the Environmental Impacts of Hawaii's Growing Visitor Industry? Most tourists come to Hawaii on vacation for rest and relaxation, but there’s a popular trend in visitors coming to Hawaii to volunteer their time and labor. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Lawmakers Are Used To Hearing About Potential Conflicts Of Interest. Legislators argue there are good reasons to vote even on issues where they may have potential conflicts. Associated Press

Why Hawaii Residents Can’t Build Their Own Private Power Grids. As solar systems and battery storage gain popularity, some say Hawaii’s law needs to catch up with the technology. Civil Beat.

Survivors, families to mark 76th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack. The crowds will be smaller this year. There will be fewer headlines and cameras and big names. Hawaii News Now.

76th Anniversary of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Maui Now.

WWII veterans accomplish final mission. Seventy-six years have passed since the “day of infamy.” The call to “Remember Pearl Harbor” has faded, Hotel Street has faded, and the men like Lauren Bruner and Lou Conter, who were there and fought back, are fading, too. Star-Advertiser.

USS Arizona Survivors take special flight to mark 76th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack. KITV.

USS Arizona survivors take aerial tour ahead of Pearl Harbor’s 76th commemoration. KHON2.

How Hawaii airports stack up against the competition for international passengers. Pacific Business News.

Island Air workers unable to access 401(k) funds. The company’s 423 workers, already without their final November paycheck and health insurance, now are being shut out from accessing their 401(k) retirement funds — some of which have been deposited in the wrong account. Star-Advertiser.

Following report, judge in Kamehameha Schools sex abuse case recuses herself. Hawaii News Now.

Commentary: Preparing For Hawaii’s Next Constitutional Convention Vote. A referendum is set for Nov. 6, 2018, but now is the time to begin the discussion. Civil Beat.

Oahu


Emergency Leader Concerned Siren Was Hard To Hear In Waikiki. Beachgoers hardly noticed the alarm, which also was hard to hear in some other areas. Associated Press.

HPD in error over cannabis patients with guns, chief says. Honolulu police Chief Susan Ballard said her department’s controversial policy requiring medical marijuana patients to relinquish their guns was wrong. Star-Advertiser.

Council Gives Preliminary OK To Changing How Police Panel Selected. The resolution would allow the City Council to select three members of the seven-member commission. Civil Beat.

Council OKs measures trying to rein in ‘monster’ homes. The Honolulu City Council approved legislation Wednesday that directs the Department of Planning and Permitting to come up with stiffer regulations on large-scale houses and renewed an effort to impose a moratorium on building permits for such structures until new rules are in place. Star-Advertiser.

Council gives OK to Keeaumoku condo tower project. The developers of the Hawaii City Plaza condominium tower in the Keeaumoku area have been given the go-ahead by the Honolulu City Council, despite lingering ill feelings toward the developers by some Council members and concerns by community members that the approval was rushed. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed High Rise With ‘Poor Door’ Stalls At City Council. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine said the developer needs to address concerns about a planned separate entrance to the lower-cost rental units. Civil Beat.

Hawaii health officials have issued an advisory telling people not to eat fish or shellfish caught in the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii fuel pier and marina area due to unsafe levels of contaminants. Associated Press.

Crews Are Close to Finally Ridding Waikiki Of The Pacific Paradise. The Coast Guard says the cost of salvaging the wrecked vessel has already exceeded $1 million. Civil Beat.

The state attorney general says no criminal charges will be filed for now in the case of a toddler who was assaulted in a babysitter's care. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu home prices continued their mostly slow and steady rise this year, notching 3 percent gains in November. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu home sales post double-digit increases as prices rise. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

State adding more sirens to alert Big Island about emergencies. The state is adding 17 new Big Island sirens to its system of emergency alerts as it works to fill gaps in a program designed to bolster public preparedness in natural and man-made emergencies. West Hawaii Today.

People in Hilo thought they were hearing sirens. It was actually a leaf blower. Hawaii News Now.

The owner of Cloverleaf Dairy is looking to hand his family business over to another company after a deal reached in 2016 fell through. Tribune-Herald.

VIDEO: Hungarian Automated Telescope On Mauna Kea Made Permanent. A request for permanent continuation of the Hungarian Automated Telescope, or HAT, was approved by the Maunakea Management Board on November 28. Big Island Video News.

Maui

LUC members hear testimony backing ‘agrihood’ project. Land Use Commission members heard several hours of testimony Wednesday as part of hearings on proposed state district boundary amendments for the nearly 500-acre Waikapu Country Town project. Maui News.

Letter: County Liquor officials did not prohibit children at event. The county Department of Liquor Control defended its “limited role” in an October fundraiser by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, writing in a letter last week to the club that no liquor laws or rules prevented youths from receiving awards at the event that served alcohol. Maui News.

Infographic: Sewage Spills on Maui. Maui Now.

Kauai

Council OKs tax hike. On Wednesday, the county council approved Bill 2670 to establish a general excise and use tax surcharge. Garden Island.

Officers seize illegal plants from Kalalau Valley. The Kauai Police Department participated in a two-day multi-agency operation this week that led to the removal of 15 coca plants from Kalalau Valley. Garden Island.

Molokai

New emergency sirens will be tested at five Molokai sites between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Friday, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said. Maui News.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

State tax director resigns after trying to alter report, medical marijuana registrants allowed to keep their guns, sunken ship that fired first Pearl Harbor shots found, new hotel for Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

photo courtesy of Hawaii Gov. David Ige
State Tax Director Maria Zielinski, courtesy Governor's Office
State Tax Director Maria Zielinski has resigned in the wake of reports that state tax officials instructed a consultant on which subjects “should and should not” be addressed in its supposedly independent monitoring reports on the progress of a new $60 million tax computer system. Star-Advertiser.

Tax director resigns as $60M computer upgrade project falters. The head of the state Tax Department has resigned amid ongoing concerns over a beleaguered $60 million project to modernize the state's outdated tax collection and filing computer systems. Hawaii News Now.

Temporary OK for travel ban puts focus on Wednesday hearing. While courts in Hawaii and Maryland had partially blocked the third ban, the Supreme Court on Monday stepped in and lifted those orders pending the outcome of legal challenges in the 9th as well as the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th Circuit, which is scheduled to hear arguments Friday. Associated Press.

Expedition finds sunken USS Ward, which fired first shots in Pearl attack. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s expedition team on Tuesday released the first underwater footage of the sunken destroyer USS Ward, whose captain famously radioed in on Dec. 7, 1941, “We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges” on a submarine operating in Pearl Harbor’s defensive sea area. Star-Advertiser.

Extradition hearing set for state hospital escapee. A California Superior Court judge on Tuesday confirmed the identity of Hawaii State Hospital escapee Randall Saito, allowing prosecutors to move forward with extradition proceedings. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Committee Advances Hawaii State Hospital Use Permit. Hawaii Public Radio.

City wants to add safeguards to state hospital to tighten security. After last month's escape at the Hawaii State Hospital by a patient with a violent past, some Honolulu City Council members want the Windward Oahu facility to become a secure one. KITV.

Board Of Education Seeks Public Money For Charter School Facilities. Despite “mixed” reviews of their performance last year, the charters deserve more taxpayer money, the board says. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines posted a 6.3 percent increase in revenue passenger miles, or traffic, to 1.3 billion in November, according to statistics released Tuesday. Pacific Business News.

Job fair attracts dozens of ex-Island Air workers. Star-Advertiser.

Former Island Air employees attend another job fair, no health coverage. KITV.

Island Air employees lost their jobs. Then they lost their health insurance. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

HPD won’t take guns from medical marijuana users. The Honolulu Police Department will not enforce a controversial policy requiring legal marijuana patients to turn in their guns. Star-Advertiser.

HPD Won’t Force Marijuana Patients To Give Up Their Guns Right Away. But the department will continue to deny new gun permits to medical cannabis patients. Civil Beat.

Police to pot card holders: You can hold on to your gun (for now). Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Officer’s Road Rage Results In Lawsuit Against City. The complaint states the incident resulted from a pattern of the HPD not addressing excessive use of force by officers. Civil Beat.

Commentary: New chief’s straight talk a remarkable change for HPD. Star-Advertiser.

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Council panel holds up tower over ‘poor door’. A proposed 41-story condominium tower in the Keeaumoku area is being held up because plans call for those living in the building’s affordable rental units to use a separate entrance from residents in market-priced units. Star-Advertiser.

Why Are Fewer People Riding TheBus? Passenger counts nosedived in recent years, but Honolulu’s mass transit system still enjoys some of the highest demand in the country. Civil Beat.

'A mess': Beachgoers, businesses seek solutions to Waikiki's disappearing shoreline. On Tuesday evening, beachgoers and business owners gathered to develop an action plan to combat erosion along Hawaii's most famous beach. Hawaii News Now.

Big wave surfer Clyde Aikau, brother of legendary waterman Eddie Aikau, sounded an alarm Tuesday about Waikiki Beach erosion during a community workshop to discuss efforts to restore and protect the famous strand. Star-Advertiser.

Security company awarded lucrative contract to keep Kakaako parks secure. KHON2.

New high rise project gets green light from zoning committee. The Hawaii City Plaza condominium got the green light from the City Council's zoning committee Tuesday afternoon. KITV.

Contractor battling developer seeks lien on ultraluxury Kakaako units. Nordic PCL Construction, the general contractor for the ultraluxury Waiea tower, filed an application for a mechanic’s lien in state Circuit Court on Friday, claiming a security interest in 18 units that include two unsold grand penthouses on the market for $35 million and $36 million. Star-Advertiser.

After serving nearly two terms in the state House of Representatives, Rep. Matthew LoPresti has his sights set on the Senate seat representing Ewa and Ewa Beach. Star-Advertiser.

Hotel promises action, but questions remain over growing trash heap in Waikiki. KHON2.

City’s tow contract to expire with hundreds of abandoned vehicles on the line. KHON2.

Environmentalists fight to save monkeypods at Manoa shopping center. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

A $12.5 million bond issue for a new county prosecutor building in Kona met with quick approval Tuesday by the County Council, the first of what could be millions more in new county borrowing. West Hawaii Today.

VIDEO: Council, Attorney Disagree On Use Of Funds. The corporation counsel Joseph Kamelamela defended his position on the need for his staff to review the legality of council contingency relief grants, even after they have already been appropriated by a vote. Big Island Video News.

Coral is still suffering in West Hawaii, though considerably less following three straight years of bleaching that decimated the entire coastline, claiming 50 percent of the area’s coral reefs. West Hawaii Today.

Petition asks to halt plan to reorganize UH-Hilo’s largest academic college. The reorganization plan, approved earlier this year, would divide the College of Arts and Sciences into two separate colleges: the College of Natural and Health Sciences and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Tribune-Herald.

Condominium sales on Hawaii’s Big Island jumped 20 percent in November as prices of both condos and single-family homes rose, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Maui

Developer unveils Wailea Ike hotel proposal to panel. The California developer behind the Courtyard by Marriott in Kahului and the Residence Inn by Marriott in Wailea is proposing a new 110-unit hotel in Wailea. Maui News.

Council Seeks to Strengthen Sunscreen Ban Bill Before Final Vote. A measure prohibiting the sale and use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate surfaced for first reading in the Maui County Council. Maui Now.

The National Park Service will host a public meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss proposed plans to rehabilitate the 9,324-foot-elevation Kalahaku Overlook at Haleakala National Park. Maui News.

County mulling having free WiFi in its facilities. Maui News.

With unanimous backing from the Maui County Council, a resolution in support of victims’ rights is headed to the state Legislature. Maui Now.

Kauai


Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall is scheduled to be closed six months starting Jan. 1 for removal of asbestos-laced floor tiles as well as for new flooring and ceramic tile installation, according to a county press release on Tuesday. Garden Island.

Home prices rose on Kauai last month, despite a drop in sales of both single-family homes and condominiums for November, compared to the same month last year, according to statistics from Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mauna Kea telescope removal sought; 75th anniversary of USS Bowfin; new tax rate for Maui short-term rentals; another Honolulu homeless sweep; Kauai mulls hikes in salaries, taxes; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory telescope Mauna Kea © 2017 All Hawaii News
Caltech seeks feedback on removal of observatory atop Maunakea, site restoration. The California Institute of Technology is preparing to take removal of its submillimeter telescope atop Maunakea through the regulatory process. Tribune-Herald.

VIDEO: Process Starts To Decommission CSO From Mauna Kea.  Last week, Mauna Kea Management Board members heard from consultants retained to begin the decommissioning process for the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory. Big Island Video News.

USS Bowfin celebrates 75th anniversary of its launch. Star-Advertiser.

4 of last 5 USS Arizona crew members to attend ceremonies. Four of the last five crew members of the USS Arizona will be at Pearl Harbor on Thursday to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the “Day of Infamy” on Dec. 7, 1941. Star-Advertiser.

US Supreme Court Allows Enforcement Of Trump Travel Ban. The court ruled the ban on travel from six Muslim countries can be enforced while legal challenges from Hawaii and other states make their way through the lower courts. Associated Press.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries. Star-Advertiser.

Where Protected Lands Stand After National Monument Review. Trump downsizes two Utah monuments, and rule changes are still under consideration for two preserves in the Pacific. Civil Beat.

Why The Number of Criminal Defendants Sent To The State Hospital Is Soaring. Experts cite Hawaii’s large number of homeless mentally ill, who are often charged with minor crimes, and the lack of preventive services. Civil Beat.

Health and Human Services Providers Gearing Up for Legislative Session. Hawaii Public Radio.

OHA Settles Lawsuit That Pitted Trustee Against Her Colleagues. Former Board Chair Rowena Akana has penned an apology to other trustees, but her legal fees will be covered by the state agency. Civil Beat.

Island Air didn’t fund health plans, may have thwarted COBRA coverage. On Nov. 10, the day Island Air ceased operations, it promised employees it would continue to pay for their health insurance until the end of November. The airline broke that promise. Star-Advertiser.

Judge in Kamehameha Schools case didn't disclose apparent conflict. For more than three years, Circuit Judge Virginia Crandall has presided over the lawsuits against Kamehameha Schools and St. Francis Hospital by former students who accuse a psychiatrist of sexual abuse decades ago. Hawaii News Now.

Western Union to pay restitution to scam victims. Hawaii residents scammed out of money they transferred via Western Union have an opportunity to be paid back. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu


Whether you drive a car or catch the bus, prepare to pay more for your ride. There have been numerous proposals to increase fees and taxes in Honolulu. KHON2.

The state’s last large homeless sweep of 2017 saw 70 people, 20 dogs and 22 guinea pigs cleared from a public bike path near the H-1 freeway airport viaduct on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

State expands massive homeless sweep to troubled Nimitz bike path. Hawaii News Now.

Councilman Wants A Piece Of The Action In Picking Police Commissioners. Ikaika Anderson seeks to change the selection process for the Honolulu police and fire commissions, whose members are now mayoral appointees. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police inadvertently free suspect wanted in felony case. When Honolulu police arrested a 36-year-old suspected felon on Nov. 1, he had been on the run for more than a month after escaping from court-ordered custody at Kahi Mohala. Star-Advertiser.

UH Manoa’s Sinclair Library to resume 24-hour operation. KHON2.

Hawaii Mexican food chain Maui Tacos has opened its third Oahu location in the Waipahu Town Center. Pacific Business News.

Rumours Night Club, the site of thousands of parties, pau hana gatherings and more than few high school dances, will close in January after 34 years. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

The county is raising tipping fees at its landfills even more than previously considered. The County Council Finance Committee on Monday advanced Bill 82, increasing the price haulers pay at the county’s Hilo and West Hawaii landfills by 36.4 percent over the next five years. Tipping fees were last raised in 2007. West Hawaii Today.

VIDEO: Eminent Domain For Pahala Wastewater Plant Deferred. The parties involved in the taking of lands from Kamehameha Schools in Pahala for a future wastewater treatment plant were not exactly on the same page. Big Island Video News.

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply has detected trace amounts of dalapon — a commonly used herbicide — in two South Kona water sources, the department announced in a press release Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Buying Local Beyond the Holidays. For one of Hawaii's few remaining locally-owned grocery chains “buy local” is a year-round effort, and has been for nearly three decades. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Tax rate for short-term rentals created. Permitted operators are worried the higher rates will penalize law-abiding owners. Maui News.

Testimony Supports Keeping Water Director. Council members agreed to refer the item to committee for discussion so that they can hear from both Director Taylor and Mayor Alan Arakawa.  The item is expected to be discharged back to the council for a full vote on Dec. 15. Maui Now.

Sunscreen ban is postponed. Council wants attorneys to sign off on measure first. Maui News.

Rehabilitation of Kalahaku Overlook Focus of Dec. 7 Meeting. The National Park Service will host a public meeting about proposed plans to rehabilitate the Kalahaku Overlook at an upcoming meeting slated for 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, the Pukalani Community Center pool meeting room. Maui Now.

Students at Kahului Elementary go back to class. A Nov. 24 fire over the Thanksgiving break charred classrooms, damaged waterlines. Maui News.

Hawaiian Airlines is beginning nonstop daily service between Kahului and San Diego and expanding seasonal summer service, including its first to an international location. Star-Advertiser.

U-Haul International Inc. is converting a former Kmart store in Kahului to the company’s first self-storage facility on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

Commentary: Proposed increases in salaries, taxes a quandary. Two items on Wednesday’s Kauai County Council meeting deserve the public’s attention. Garden Island.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will loan the Makana North Shore Urgent Care $1.1 million to complete construction and help with operating costs of a new urgent care clinic to serve Kauai’s North Shore community. Pacific Business News.

North Shore clinic receives USDA loan; scheduled to open Spring 2018. The Makana North Shore Urgent Care clinic in Princeville will receive a loan of about $1.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to complete construction and help with operating costs. Garden Island.

New system for county finance. Customers may experience some slight delays with services, as county cashiers are becoming familiar with the new system. Garden Island.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thirty Meter Telescope could influence governor's race, Trump travel ban hurts convention business, GET surcharge one hot potato, Arakawa seeks to fire water director, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Crowds at Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport © 2017 All Hawaii News
State economists have ratcheted up their expectations for Hawaii’s economy on the heels of a stronger-than-expected tourism market, increased air seats and a record-low unemployment rate. Star-Advertiser.

TMT controversy likely to figure in race for governor. Just months after taking office, Gov. David Ige found himself caught in the undertow of the fierce dispute over the Thirty Meter Telescope, a $1.4 billion project with determined supporters and fervent opponents.Star-Advertiser.

Hanabusa says UH had deal to clear way for telescope. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hana­busa said state lawmakers believed they had a “deal” with unnamed community members in 2010 that would clear the way for the Thirty Meter Telescope if the Legislature agreed to fund construction of the College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin is joining the growing field of local political figures who plan to run in the Democratic primary next year for the congressional seat representing urban Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin plans to run in the Democratic primary next year for the congressional seat representing urban Honolulu. Associated Press.

Trump travel ban, N. Korean threat erode convention center earnings. Travel ban woes lost the center its bid for the 2025 International Union for Nutritional Science, which went to Paris, and for Women Deliver 2018, which went to Canada, along with an electrical engineering conference slated for 2018 and an international medical association conference that would have come to Hawaii in 2022. Star-Advertiser.

Fight Over Trump Travel Restrictions Back To Appeals Courts. Hawaii’s challenge goes before a three-judge panel in Seattle on Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Democracy In Hawaii Needs A Tuneup — Here Are Some Tools To Do It. Government officials can do more to encourage public participation — and citizens need to stay engaged, conference participants say. Civil Beat.

HSTA Responds to Criticism of Public Unions. The President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Corey Rosenlee, responds to a recent interview on The Conversation that made the case for weakening public sector unions. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Last Wild Place. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is one of the most remote places on Earth. Now it’s threatened by climate change, pollution and politics. Civil Beat.

Navy, coral, whales topics of Wednesday Oahu meeting. Two councils will be jointly meeting to discuss coral, whales and their ecosystems in Honolulu on Wednesday. Garden Island.

Kamehameha therapist accused of abuse was respected member of society. Star-Advertiser.

UH Graduate Students Say GOP Tax Plan Could Derail Their Education. Many are already financially strapped, and one Republican proposal would increase their tax liability by thousands of dollars. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Public forum to address future of Waikiki beaches. The erosion at Kuhio Beach, made worse by summer’s king tides and elevated sea levels, is the worst it’s been in a decade, said Dolan Eversole, a scientist for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program, who coordinates the Waikiki Beach Special District Improvement Association. Star-Advertiser.

Release of 70 rescued shearwaters launches Oahu Seabird Aid Program. The Hawaii Wildlife Center, based in Kapaau on Hawaii island, brought its rescue van to Oahu as part of the pilot, three-week Oahu Seabird Aid Program, which is here until Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Complications halt attempt to remove grounded boat. The Pacific Paradise is a-bobbing but still not a-budging from the Waikiki reef on which it has been stranded for more than seven weeks. Star-Advertiser.

'Pacific Paradise' isn't moving anytime soon. Coast Guard officials called off removal operations for the grounded fishing boat near Waikiki — yet again — on Sunday. Hawaii News Now.

Grounded fishing boat still stuck off Waikiki beach. KHON2.

Hawaii Island


Time is running out for the County Council to consider a general excise tax surcharge granted by the state Legislature during its special session earlier this year. West Hawaii Today.

Federal regulators will give parts of Pohakuloa Training Area’s radiation monitoring plan another look in response to a petition from a Hawaii Island resident. Tribune-Herald.

With no public hearing scheduled for the U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa's draft Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan, the people decided to hold their own. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Dairy to process its own milk, bypassing Meadow Gold. Hawaii consumers can soon expect to see a new brand of local milk, and for the first time in a long time it will be direct from a major dairy. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County is looking to acquire land for a wastewater treatment plant in Pahala through eminent domain. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island has a greater shortage of infant and toddler care options than anywhere else in the state, according to a report by the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Health confirmed six more cases of mumps in Hawaii County in the past week as the outbreak of the virus continues across the state. West Hawaii Today.

NOAA symposium in West Hawaii creates space where marine science, management converge. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

County Department of Water Supply workers and members of the community urged Maui County Council members to retain Water Director Dave Taylor, despite Mayor Alan Arakawa calling for his ouster. Maui News.

Tour of East Maui Irrigation ditch system draws just 1 commissioner. Seven-member state panel will decide how much water to restore to taro farmers, residents after the closing of Maui’s sugar plantation. Maui News.

Na Wai Eha stream flow standards proposed. Exceptions to hearings officer’s report for Maui rivers due Jan. 5 to the state water commission. Maui News.

Kahului Elementary School students will be returning to school Monday with needed repairs completed and temporary arrangements made to accommodate the 137 students displaced by a suspicious fire that damaged six classrooms Nov. 24. Maui News.

Kahului Elementary School students to return Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Hawaii’s Marijuana Scene Takes Center Stage At Kauai Conference. Politicians and industry reps attend the event in Poipu, where visitors wonder why the islands haven’t legalized recreational use. Civil Beat.

Mayoral candidates attend trade expo. The three current candidates for Kauai mayor — Derek Kawakami, Lenny Rapozo and Mel Rapozo — will be guest speakers at the Kauai Board of Realtor’s annual Christmas meeting on Thursday at the Kauai Marriott Beach and Resort Club. Garden Island.