Friday, March 24, 2017

Assisted suicide bill dies in Legislature, Trump judge threatened, 24/7 alcohol purchases now allowed on Maui, bacteria at Waikiki beach, fuel tax bill killed, hope for coral reefs, utilities model mulled by potential buyers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii New a rights reserved
Ornate butterflyfish with damaged coral © 2017 All Hawaii News
New information could be on the horizon for the world’s declining coral reefs, as well as a more complete picture of their health. Garden Island.

The FBI says authorities are aware that the federal judge in Hawaii who ruled against President Donald Trump’s travel ban has received threatening messages. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers defeat a bill allowing terminally ill patients to end their own lives.The action comes after decades of debate, which culminated in hours of testimony Thursday morning.  Associated Press.

A bill that would allow terminally ill patients to obtain prescriptions for lethal doses of medication is dead for the year after the House Health Committee deferred the measure, saying, in part, that there were too many kinks to be worked out before the legislative session ends in May. Star-Advertiser.

A lack of specifics in the current draft of the controversial 'Death with Dignity' bill is partially the reason some lawmakers decided to table the issue. Hawaii News Now.

The House Health Committee killed a bill Thursday that would have made it legal for Hawaii adults diagnosed with a terminal illness to take medication that would end their lives. Garden Island.


The state House and Senate separately — and unanimously — passed bills earlier this month to extend and expand tax credits for low-income people while raising taxes on the wealthy. Civil Beat.

A bill that would have increased Hawaii’s fuel tax to fund state highway improvement projects is dead. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii legislative committees have passed new versions of bills addressing vacation rentals. Lawmakers have been keen to devise ways to make sure vacation rental operators are paying transient accommodation taxes just like hotels. Associated Press.

Another attempt to consolidate management and planning for Hawaii’s airports is making its way through the state House of Representatives. Tribune-Herald.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a proposal to hire an independent certified public accounting firm to conduct a wide-ranging financial audit and management review of the agency and its subsidiaries. Star-Advertiser.

Firefighters’ meal allowance among points of discussion as contract negotiations continue. KHON2.

Companies are lining up to possibly buy Hawaiian Electric Co. subsidiary Maui Electric Co., the mayor of Maui County confirmed to Pacific Business News.

Washington D.C.-based Twenty First Century Utilities, a company looking to own and operate regulated utilities, proposed a business model that could be used in Hawaii at the Maui Energy Conference. Star-Advertiser.

Maui Energy Conference: ‘What Type Of Place Are We Trying To Create?’ Experts discussed Hawaii’s move away from fossil fuels amid buzz about another potential buyer for Hawaiian Electric. Civil Beat.

The Maui Energy Conference, which is currently underway in its fourth year, reports the highest amount of attendees in its short history, a conference organizer confirmed to Pacific Business News.


The state Health Department is warning the public about elevated bacteria levels at popular Kaimana Beach in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

State health officials are warning beach lovers in Waikiki about a spike in an “indicator bacteria” in the waters off Sans Souci Beach that could lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Star-Advertiser.

Sick beachgoers say 'cesspool' at Pokai Bay is source of infections. Hawaii News Now.

Some City Council members are trying to block transferring oversight of Thomas Square to the Department of Enterprise Services from the Department of Parks and Recreation amid concerns the move could commercialize the historic site. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers discuss homeless concerns as retailers prepare to open in Iwilei. KHON2.

If you park in front of your own driveway, you could get a ticket.  But, a proposal from Honolulu Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi could change that. KITV.

A scary encounter involving two female city workers and a homeless man is highlighting the need for increased security at Honolulu Hale. Hawaii News Now.

It might only be a temporary grass lawn, but construction of a “central plaza” at Ward Village in Kakaako is slated to move forward by the end of this year with the demolition of several warehouse buildings. Star-Advertiser.


Planned upgrades at the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant won’t only offer recycled water to irrigate growing Kona developments, they can also drastically reduce the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus — two nutrients that can be harmful if they get into groundwater. West Hawaii Today.


Residents on Maui can now purchase alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Maui is the first county in the state to relax existing liquor laws that restrict the sale of alcohol between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County is the first in the state to allow stores to sell alcohol any time of the day. KHON2.

The Department of Liquor Control on Maui has lifted the time restriction on the sale of alcohol at retail locations and hotels in Maui County. Maui Now.

In addition to eliminating dry hours for alcohol sales at retail stores and hotels, the Maui County Liquor Commission approved rule changes allowing home delivery of alcoholic beverages and removing the more than three-decade-old cap on the number of hostess bars in the county. Maui News.

Work has begun on buildings in the first phase of Alexander & Baldwin’s Kamalani project in Kihei with the first affordable units expected to be completed in the summer, an A&B official said Wednesday. Maui News.


The blessing of Koloa Landing, Phase III marked the completion of the $100 million expansion project on 25 acres leading to the rocky coastline adjacent to the Koloa Landing small boat launch site. Garden Island.

A claim filed by Kauai Police Department Chief Darryl Perry was discussed in executive session during the Kauai County Council meeting Wednesday. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gov. Ige slashes budget, Oahu loses population in census estimate, protection for Hawaii travel ban judge, House loses rare Republican after Trump criticism, rail tax survives, Honolulu tax hikes ahead, fighter jets coming, electricity increases, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo, Governor's Office
Ige with schoolchildren, courtesy photo
Budget cuts hit construction, schools. Gov. David Ige has proposed a package of spending cuts for the next two years that includes slashing the state construction budget financed with general obligation bonds to $1 billion from $1.5 billion during the next two years. Star-Advertiser.

Census: Oahu loses population for first time in a decade, while Hawaii Island hits national growth benchmark. Hawaii Island led the state in several measures of population increases, according to estimates released late Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii judge who blocked travel ban gets protection detail. The U.S. Marshals Service has flown in about a dozen deputies from the mainland to provide 24-hour protection for U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson. Hawaii News Now.


Fukumoto says aloha to GOP. Rep. Beth Fukumoto announced today that she is leaving the Republican Party, citing, in part, its failure to condemn elements of racism and sexism within its base. She will seek membership in the Democratic Party. Star-Advertiser.

Ending months of speculation, state Rep. Beth Fukumoto made it official Wednesday: She resigned from the Hawaii Republican Party and announced that she will seek membership in the Democratic Party of Hawaii. Civil Beat.

A Hawaii lawmaker who says she was pressured to give up her leadership post at the statehouse after criticizing President Donald Trump resigned Wednesday from the Republican Party. Associated Press.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto announced on Wednesday that she will be leaving the Republican Party and seeking membership with the Democratic Party.  At a press conference, she cited racism and sexism as the core reasons why she's leaving the GOP. KITV.


Lawmakers consider charging prepaid wireless users a 911 fee. A bill in the state Legislature would charge a fee of 1.2 percent on pre-paid wireless plans or cards, with the revenue going into the Enhanced 911 Fund.  Hawaii News Now.

Electricity bills increase across isles. The cost of electricity in the state is double the national average, as Hawaii residents paid an average of 27.68 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity in December. The national average was 12.21 cents in the same month, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Energy, the ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program for Honolulu, Hawaii and Maui counties, accounted for more than $325 million in lifetime savings for its customers in its last program year, its top executive said Wednesday at an industry event on Maui. Pacific Business News.

Why Hawaii Must Become More Energy Resilient. Speakers at the Maui Energy Conference posed questions about what type of life the state wants to create for its citizens as it adapts. Civil Beat.

Iwase glad he rejected NextEra. Eight months after the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission rejected Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3 billion bid to buy the state’s dominate electric utility, Commission Chairman Randy Iwase said he feels good about the decision. Star-Advertiser.

Randy Iwase, head of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, said he is very comfortable with the state agency’s decision to reject Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3 billion deal to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. Pacific Business News.

Fighter jets flocking to Hawaii for combat exercise. An increase in fighter aircraft activity will be seen beginning next week as part of a new round of the recurring Sentry Aloha exercise, the Hawaii National Guard said. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor’s budget plan, tax and fee hikes get initial OK by Council. Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s $2.45 billion operating budget proposal and an accompanying slate of measures raising various taxes and fees won initial approval from the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council gives preliminary approval for increased bus and garbage fee.  The council voted in favor of increasing bus prices beginning January of next year.  Single fares would jump 25 cents to $2.75. KITV.

Council OK’s Bill Eliminating Cap On Rail Money. The Honolulu City Council approved a measure Wednesday to eliminate the $4.8 billion cap on how much general excise tax money can be used to build the city’s 20-mile rail project. Civil Beat.

Legislators differ on rail-tax extension. A rail-tax extension is back in play at the state Capitol — but the proposal will likely face more tough scrutiny and hurdles in the weeks ahead. Star-Advertiser.

House Restores Honolulu Rail Tax — For Now. For the mayor of Honolulu, a state legislative hearing this week on a bill to pay for rail was a bit of déjà vu.. Civil Beat.

House Transportation Committee Extends GET Surcharge for Rail Transit for an Unspecified Period. State funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project cleared a critical hurdle in the House today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Area for Rapid Transportation posts job ad for new CEO. The Honolulu Area for Rapid Transportation posted a job ad for a new chief executive officer last month. Pacific Business News.

City salaries reveal some employees make more than department heads. KHON2.

State clears homeless encampments from Diamond Head. Following six months of warnings, state law enforcement officers early Wednesday morning swept through 40 or so homeless encampments on the slopes of Diamond Head, where seven people had remained atop the Hawaii landmark. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii law enforcement agents have cleared dozens of homeless camps in Oahu's Diamond Head State Monument and issued citations to seven people who refused to leave despite weeks of warnings. Associated Press.

A private contractor hired by the state on Wednesday hauled away tons of trash from illegal homeless camps on Hawaii’s iconic Diamond Head crater.  Civil Beat.

A 78-year-old business could shut down due to problems after a homeless encampment moved into the neighborhood. KITV.

Sewage spill in Halawa prompts $465,000 fine. The state Department of Agriculture has been ordered to pay a $465,000 fine for discharging sewage into Halawa Stream on Oahu for two months last summer. Star-Advertiser.

State to dispute fine for massive Halawa sewage spill that lasted 2 months. Hawaii News Now.

Did Honolulu Cops Issue Fake Tickets Or Did The Honolulu Prosecutor Make Up The Story? Several defense lawyers who specialize in drunken driving cases are hoping to use Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro’s own words against him in an attempt to beat various DUI charges that have been filed against their clients in Oahu District Court. Civil Beat.


Telescope foes criticize slew of objections. Thirty Meter Telescope foes are crying foul after lawyers with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the TMT International Observatory board filed numerous objections to exhibits entered in the contested case proceedings. Star-Advertiser.

Start of $75M Kona airport expansion celebrated. State and airport officials are moving forward with the facility’s first expansion to accommodate the 3 million people now filtering through the airport annually. West Hawaii Today.

County to negotiate for purchase of Hakalau valley land. The Hawaii County Council authorized negotiations for the purchase of an 83-acre parcel in Hakalau valley in a 9-0 vote Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists Say There’s Hope For Dying Ohia Trees. Researchers are closer to understanding a fungus that has infected 50,000 acres of Big Island ohia forest in little more than a handful of years. Civil Beat.

Second ride-hailing company begins operations on Big Island; Lyft goes live today. Less than a week after ride-hailing first arrived on the shores of the Big Island, a new transportation startup is set to begin operations. Tribune-Herald.

Senior Produce Program to cease operations after 10 years. The Food Basket, Hawaii Island’s food bank, announced its decade-old Senior Produce Program has ended. Tribune-Herald.


Haiku group sues county over housing project. Developer included in lawsuit that alleges an attempt to bypass public review, ag laws. A group of more than 200 Haiku residents has filed a lawsuit against the County of Maui and a proposed workforce housing development in Pauwela and is claiming that the project has circumvented public review and violated state and county agriculture laws, their attorney said last week. Maui News.

Panelist: ‘Food, water and energy must all intersect in agriculture’. Lack of coordination, inconsistent laws keep them out of sync, says sustainability expert Jonathan Koehn. Maui News.

Public input sought on MPD accreditation. Telephone and written comments will be accepted on the Maui Police Department’s ability to meet accreditation standards, and an assessment team from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies will be on Maui from March 27 to 30 to examine the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support system. Maui News.

Final birds from captive-breeding program released. Event marks the successful end to the recovery of the puaiohi birds into their native habitat. The final trio of endangered puaiohi birds bred in captivity — including on Maui — has been released to the wild on Kauai, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Tuesday. Maui News.

The Road To Hana Is Sometimes Paved With Bad Intentions. Some vehicles left behind by motorists with car trouble are vandalized. To make matters worse, emergency call boxes frequently don’t work. Civil Beat.


Council begins budget process. The Kauai County Council began work Wednesday on Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr.’s proposed $204 million operating budget for fiscal year 2017-2018. Garden Island.

Post office resolution rejected. Kauai County Councilmembers may not want to see the Lihue post office change sites, but some say it’s out of their control. Garden Island.

Mohihi Camp road, bridge completed. A $2.4 million project to replace three bridges along the Mohihi Camp 10 access road in Kokee State Park was finished two months ahead of schedule. Garden Island.

Coral New growth at Waipa. Coral cover could be increasing around Kauai’s North Shore. Garden Island.

KCC could be smoke-free. Kauai Community College may join the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a smoke-free campus. Garden Island.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Airport authority advances, minimum wage hike dead but paid sick leave survives, fishermen ask Trump to ease restrictions near Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Kauai dairy permits revoked, House releases CIP project list, Honolulu mayor spurns raise, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu International Airport © 2017 All Hawaii News
The House Labor Committee approved a proposal Tuesday to change how Hawaii's airports are operated. Hawaii News Now.

Leaders of a quasi-government agency tasked with helping manage Pacific fisheries are urging President Donald Trump to reverse restrictions on commercial fishing within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument that were expanded by former President Barack Obama just months before he left office. Star-Advertiser.

The debate over fishing regulations at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is heating up again. Hawaii News Now.

Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu are ranked second, third and fourth, respectively, as the top U.S. destinations in the annual Travelers’ Choice Awards. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has taken the next step in its battle against President Donald Trump by filing a motion to convert the temporary restraining order against the administration’s travel ban into a preliminary injunction. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii is asking U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who blocked President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration, to turn his temporary ruling into a preliminary injunction. Civil Beat.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced a bi-partisan House Resolution, that aims to de-criminalize marijuana nationwide. HR 1227 is known as the "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act." KITV.

The state Board of Education still anticipates hiring a new schools superintendent by June 30 despite setbacks over the last two weeks that saw a former board member submit and then withdraw his name from consideration. Star-Advertiser.

Educators and others are concerned that an outside donor paying for the search for a new Hawaii schools superintendent has too much influence over the outcome. Civil Beat.

Bills to further increase Hawaii’s minimum wage appear dead this legislative session. But workers could be helped by a proposed sick leave measure still alive in the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

Paid Sick Leave Being Considered by Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

An attempt to address pesticide disclosure at a statewide level will be heard today before the House Committee on Agriculture. Tribune-Herald.

The owners of community-based care homes for the elderly and disabled are pressing state lawmakers, government officials and others to address what they say is a growing trend of illegal care facilities in neighborhoods throughout Hawaii. Civil Beat.

A new model for reimbursing doctors at the state's largest health insurer is causing concern -- and some argue it could hit the sickest patients hardest. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmaker Blows Smoke At Teen Lobbyists: On Monday, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii (a program of the Hawaii Public Health Institute) held its annual Kick Butts Day youth rally at the Capitol to urge state legislators to prohibit smoking in motor vehicles when keiki are present. Civil Beat.

A $2 billion destroyer named after Dec. 7, 1941, hero Chief John Finn will be commissioned July 15 at Pearl Harbor but will be based in San Diego, the Navy said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.


Years of delays in construction of a maintenance and cargo hangar for Hawaiian Airlines at Honolulu Airport have effectively stalled hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of other airport improvements, leaving the airline and the state in an expensive holding pattern until the hangar project can be completed. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal that would increase how much Honolulu’s mayor and other top-level city officials get paid ran into opposition Tuesday, including from the mayor himself. Hawaii News Now.

What was once one of the largest sugar plantation towns on Oahu is again at the forefront of change.  Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council is considering approving a $900,000 settlement with the sons of an elderly woman who was run over by a garbage truck in 2013. Civil Beat.

Ray Soon is retiring as Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s chief of staff and will be replaced by Gary Kurokawa, the city’s deputy budget director. Star-Advertiser.

City to assist affected residents ahead of parking permit pilot project. KHON2.

A former Honolulu Police Department officer has been indicted on seven counts of sexual assault, according to court documents. KITV.

“Dying For Vacation,” a Civil Beat series that examined the high rate of visitor drowning deaths in Hawaii, has been named a winner in the annual Society of American Business Editors and Writers contest. Civil Beat.


The recently approved House budget proposal, which state representatives sent to the Senate on Tuesday, includes nearly $361 million in capital improvement project funding for Hawaii Island, the lion’s share of which would prioritize upgrades to roads and airports. West Hawaii Today.

Outreach providers helping homeless regardless of pending cleanup. West Hawaii Today.

County Council members are considering moving oversight of the Hawaii Island Humane Society from the Police Department to the mayor’s office or Finance Department to give the council more say over the nonprofit’s costs and procedures. West Hawaii Today.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu has settled one of three civil lawsuits that allege a prominent retired Big Island priest sexually molested teenage boys decades ago, according to the attorney for the plaintiffs in the cases. Tribune-Herald.

The media and public can now find Hawaii County documents and correspondence for all departments in one spot online. West Hawaii Today.


The state House has targeted $382 million for capital improvement projects in Maui County, including $63 million for the new high school in Kihei and $40 million for another phase of the Lahaina bypass road. Maui News.

The head of Honolulu contracting firm Allied Builders System plans to redevelop his recently purchased medical office building into a new retail building, the broker handling leasing for the project confirmed to Pacific Business News.

An explosive device was detonated in Mākena on Maui Monday afternoon by members of the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. Maui Now.

Molokai, Lahainaluna and Lanai high schools were the only public high schools in Maui County whose college enrollment rates increased over the past four years, according to a report released Monday. Maui News.


A judge Tuesday revoked all developer permits and approvals for construction of a dairy in Poipu, pending an environmental assessment. Garden Island.

The permits for a controversial Kauai dairy have been revoked after a circuit court judge ruled the farm must complete and Environmental Impact Statement before construction can begin. Hawaii News Now.

Local resort developer Jeff Stone is proposing to build an 80-unit hotel complex along a ridge overlooking Hanalei Bay on Kauai after eBay founder Pierre Omidyar failed to advance a bigger project on much of the same site four years ago. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai legislators are seeking $167.5 million in Capital Improvement Project funds. Garden Island.

A different way to process waste could be the answer to the problem of cesspools leaking bacteria, nutrients and pharmaceuticals that can affect human and marine health. Garden Island.

While they do not want the Lihue post office on Rice Street to close, some Kauai residents say the building could serve as a community center. Garden Island.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Legislature ponders road taxes, pesticides, kupuna care; Honolulu airport cargo facility mired in litigation; Thirty Meter Telescope hearing officer's contract renewed; Zuckerberg moves to No. 5 on billionaire list, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ala Moana Park © 2017 All Hawaii News
The city of Honolulu is adding more than a dozen full time positions to its Ala Moana park staff. This is just part of the mayor’s plan to improve the park with many projects already underway. KHON2.

Lawmakers are trying to decide which of your taxes to raise to help operate and maintain Hawaii's highway system, including one proposal that would have changed the vehicle tax system entirely. Hawaii News Now.

Rep. Richard Creagan wants to take another shot at passing a bill that would require agribusinesses that use large amounts of pesticides to disclose what pesticides they apply, where and in what amounts. Civil Beat.

A bill that brings relief to kupuna caregivers is gaining momentum at the capitol. Under this legislation, a caregiver can get up to $70 a day to help care for their loved ones. KITV.

Those Tourists Are Actually Good For Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines’ top executive Mark Dunkerley believes visitor spending is what’s going to make up for federal budget cuts. Civil Beat.

A bill that would’ve provided a tax credit for energy storage projects has been shelved. Pacific Business News.

Emergency planners and government officials from across the Pacific are attending a conference on natural disaster and climate adaptation planning this week at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

Bank of Hawaii Chairman, President and CEO Peter Ho earned $167,564 less in total compensation in 2016 than he did the previous year, according to a proxy statement the company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. Pacific Business News.


More than six years after the state awarded a contract to build a $73 million maintenance and cargo facility at Honolulu Airport, the partially finished project stands vacant and stuck in a legal tangle of disputes among a general contractor, subcontractors and the state Department of Transportation. Star-Advertiser.

While private money will never pay for a significant part of Honolulu’s stalled rail project, having the private sector shoulder more of the risk might result in a quicker, less costly finish, according to a new report. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s troubled rail project could save as much as $570 million by getting a private sector contractor to finance the final push for the 21-station, 20-mile line, according to a report released Monday. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council Considers Bill to Prohibit Use of Cell Phones in Crosswalks. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige will soon have an opportunity to tweak the makeup of a state board regulating development in Kakaako, and some community members fear that two board incumbents could be replaced by pro-development representatives. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Convention Center predicts it'll lose $1.5 million this year. KITV.

As many as 300 people had to be evacuated from a Kalihi apartment building on Sunday after nearly 40 pipe bombs were discovered inside one of the building's units, according to a Honolulu Police Department spokesperson. Hawaii News Now.


The state Department of Land and Natural Resources extended its contract with hearing officer Riki May Amano to complete the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case. Tribune-Herald.

A group of veterans’ organizations left a videoconference meeting with Mayor Harry Kim on Monday optimistic that a laundry list of problems at West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery will be addressed. West Hawaii Today.

A lawsuit over whether a state Department of Health official can substitute other physicians for a psychiatrist contracted with Kona Community Hospital will play out in a Kona courtroom starting next week. West Hawaii Today.

John McDermott said if neighbor islands want the best care for their most vulnerable seniors then citizens must do for those people what he’s made a career of doing for the elderly — advocate. West Hawaii Today.


Maui police were seeking the public’s help in identifying two suspects in a robbery and kidnapping at gunpoint of two tourists last week. Star-Advertiser.

Questions surrounding the death of a Maui resident at a prison in Arizona in 2015 are being brought to light in an investigative article, “Prisoners in Hawaiʻi Are Being Sent to Die in Private Prisons in Arizona” that appears in the March issue of VICE magazine. Maui Now.

Camp offers reprieve, hope for children of isle inmates. Maui News.


Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook and owns property on Hawaii's island of Kauai, moved up to No. 5 in the annual ranking of the world’s richest billionaires by Forbes magazine, which was released on Monday. Pacific Business News.

80-unit luxury hotel planned; boating limits may be lifted. Garden Island.

There’s a web of secret passageways used by pollutants to reach the reefs that fringe Kauai’s beaches. Garden Island.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pearl Harbor sub heading to Korea, state Legislature has full plate, new egg laws sought, protecting coral reefs, property taxes and vacation rentals irk Oahu, state won't fund Puna roads, Maui to mull flood plan, Kauai utility elects board, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USS Columbus
USS Columbus PC: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cynthia Clark, courtesy
A Pearl Harbor-based nuclear submarine is part of a task force set to conduct maritime maneuvers around the Korean Peninsula as tensions with North Korea remain heightened. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are planning to tackle proposals aimed at protecting coral reefs, boosting recycling and taking care of the state's growing elderly population. Associated Press.

Research shows connection between watersheds, reefs. Garden Island.

Reefs struggling: Foundation of life in Hawaiian custom. Garden Island.

Ag Department seeks relief from egg inspection mandate. Star-Advertiser.

Full disclosure: Ige, some legal experts raise flags about constitutionality of measures forcing presidential candidates to release tax returns. Associated Press.

A federal judge on Sunday rejected the U.S. government’s request to clarify his temporary order blocking President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. KHON2.

Immigration issue is personal to Chin. Associated Press.

While the number of Hawaii public school students enrolling in college after high school continued to hover near three-fifths of last year’s graduating class, education officials say they’re encouraged that new data show students are better prepared for the rigor of college coursework. Star-Advertiser.

Veterans Choice, which was created in 2014 to address a national controversy over long wait times for VA appointments, still is marred by a convoluted bureaucracy — so much so that the department’s new secretary said a top priority is to simplify the system. Star-Advertiser.

Local animal rights activists are rallying behind legislation which they say is their last shot this year to bolster Hawaii’s dog tethering regulations. Tribune-Herald.

Commentary: Federal gov’s proposed belt-tightening will put huge squeeze on Hawaii’s budget. Star-Advertiser.


Owners of properties classified as Residential A that are assessed at just over $1 million would benefit under a bill up for a final vote of the Honolulu City Council on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The spread of vacation rentals into neighborhoods is frustrating government officials and lawmakers who have spent decades trying to ensure zoning laws are upheld and taxes are collected. Star-Advertiser.

Sewage Spill That Closed Waikiki Beach. Honolulu says it will upgrade its procedures for handling storm water discharges two years after massive sewage overflows made national headlines. Civil Beat.

The Roots Project, part of the nonprofit organization Kokua Kalihi Valley, is spearheading an effort to make locally grown produce more affordable and accessible to Kalihi’s low-income communities. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $30 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract to Honolulu-based Design Partners Inc. for designing and engineering services for housing and other lodging type projects at various locations for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific’s area of responsibility. Pacific Business News.

Emotional Support Chickens Are Ruffling Feathers. A rise in questionable emotional support animals is concerning to condo associations and businesses that must accommodate them. Civil Beat.

Sculpture Brings Peace to Kaka‘ako. Hawaii Public Radio.


The mayor’s office has asked the Hawaii Police Department to once again look at ways to possibly trim its budget, according to a financial report delivered to the Police Commission on Friday. West Hawaii Today.

An overlap of state and county jurisdiction is contributing to a continuing controversy between Kahauloa Road residents and kayak rental operators who use the boat ramp into Kealakekua Bay at the end of the road. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Transportation’s response to Hawaii County’s request for release of $15 million appropriated for Puna roads could be summed up in two words — nice try. Tribune-Herald.

Kamehameha Schools remains in a holding pattern as it awaits approval of permits that will allow the organization to move forward with the removal of the Keauhou Beach Hotel, making way for a project-based educational complex dubbed Kahaluu Makai. West Hawaii Today.

Will Tiny Homes Help Big Island Farmers? Providing housing for farm workers is one way to attract employees. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii County Police Commission voted unanimously to approve a request for legal counsel for a former Hawaii County police officer charged with fatally striking a bicyclist. West Hawaii Today.

For the last six years there have been some nearly finished two-story town-home buildings overlooking distant ocean views at the Villages of Aina Lea, but completing and selling them has been an ordeal that recently became more challenging. Star-Advertiser.


A draft plan to ease flooding along South Kihei Road has taken almost 10 years to complete, but is close to fruition and scheduled to be presented to the public in the next several months. Maui News.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public information meeting Thursday on sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation. Maui News.

Pukalani residents universally opposed sewer rate increases proposed by Hawaii Water Service Co., calling them “outrageous” and “unfair” during a Hawaii Public Utilities Commission hearing Thursday night at Pukalani Elementary School. Maui News.

Maui Waena Intermediate School’s new classroom building — more than a decade in the making — is finally open. Maui News.

State officers have blocked off a section of shoreline on South Maui after someone found an aging piece of unexploded ordnance among rocks near the ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Bill Backing Maui Grown Coffee Advances. Maui Now.


Two Kauai County Councilmembers have concerns about the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-18. Garden Island.

Some county employees may be getting an increase in salaries in the upcoming months. Garden Island.

Incumbent directors Dee Crowell and Allan Smith have been re-elected and join newly elected former board member Jim Mayfield to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s (KIUC) Board of Directors. Garden Island.

Voters re-elected two members of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative board of directors, and a former board member, according to results released Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

State officials say Kauai’s honeybee population is strong and healthy. Associated Press.

Timbers Kauai Ocean Club & Residences, the $800 million master-planned development on the unfinished Kauai Lagoons master-planned community, has begun sales for its mix of oceanfront and golf course homes, condominiums and townhomes. Pacific Business News.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have contributed $50,000 dollars to the Aloha Angels endowed fund, which supports Kauai’s teachers and students. Pacific Business News.

Friday, March 17, 2017

#BoycottHawaii trending on Twitter, gay tourism study released, state could be dinged by Trump budget, Honolulu rail spared, voter turnout lowest in nation, police set to test body cams, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii pool party at Kona resort © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii won in court over the travel ban Wednesday but found itself in the midst of a social media firestorm Thursday as #BoycottHawaii went viral on President Donald Trump’s favorite platform, Twitter. Star-Advertiser.

After a federal judge in Hawaii blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban Wednesday, Trump supporters took to Twitter to call for a boycott of all things Hawaii. Civil Beat.

#BoycottHawaii is a hashtag that’s currently trending on Twitter after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. KHON2.

Derrick Watson: An Apolitical Judge Caught In A Partisan Firestorm. Acquaintances call the federal judge from Honolulu reserved and unemotional. But he’s under attack from the president and his supporters. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is bringing the preferences, sentiments and profiles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers out of the closet with the Thursday release of the state’s first commissioned studies for this niche market. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's airline industry saw gains in 2016 due to the addition of new routes, though there are huge market opportunities from Asia and Japan, according to independent airline consultancy Ailevon Pacific. Pacific Business News.

New air service to Hawaii in 2017 is expected to bolster Hawaii’s economy by millions of dollars and help the state reach a sixth straight year of record-setting tourism performance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii would stand to lose tens of millions of federal dollars annually that support services for the poor, affordable housing, the environment, local arts and media organizations under President Trump’s 2018 budget outline for discretionary spending released Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

President's budget proposal includes significant cuts to Hawaii programs, services. Hawaii News Now.

Trump’s draft budget still includes Honolulu’s rail funds. KITV.

At least 6,000 Hawaii students — including more than 1,000 on the Big Island — could be without after-school care if President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 fiscal budget were to take effect as is. Tribune-Herald.

The East-West Center is listed among the Trump administration’s programs that would be eliminated under the president’s proposed budget cuts. Pacific Business News.

How Trump’s proposed budget could affect agencies, programs in Hawaii. KHON2.

For the fifth presidential election in a row, Hawaii had the lowest voter turnout rate in the nation, with only 43 percent of eligible voters casting ballots, according to a study. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers: Mail-in voting can improve Hawaii’s low voter turnout. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds of people with developmental disabilities thronged the Capitol on Thursday to celebrate 30 years of progress toward self-determination and to push for adequate funding. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Air Force this week hosted allies and partners in Hawaii for a symposium on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can sneak undetected behind enemy radar. Star-Advertiser.


The Honolulu rail board approved nearly $15 million in additional change orders Thursday — the latest tranche of money to help cover changes to construction contracts that project leaders have said the city issued prematurely. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department hopes to have patrol officers in at least one of its districts equipped with body cameras by the end of the year under a pilot project, HPD officials told the City Council Budget Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A Kakaako street will be closed Saturday as the city begins construction of a new protected bike lane. Hawaii News Now.

Nineteen-year-old Christian Gutierrez, one of three people charged with slaughtering Laysan albatrossess at Kaena Point in 2015, agreed to a plea deal Thursday in Circuit Court. Civil Beat.

The Grand Islander, a 38-story Hawaii time-share property by Hilton Grand Vacations, is at 99 percent occupancy just two weeks after opening in Waikiki. Pacific Business News.


Much of the Akaka Falls State Park trail system remains closed to visitors until further notice. The upper portion of the trail between the Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls overlooks was damaged accidentally in February during the removal of trees. Tribune-Herald.

Rain and snowfall continue to replenish Lake Waiau, keeping the alpine lake that sits some 13,000 feet above sea-level atop Mauna Kea nearly full or full for more than two years. West Hawaii Today.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal has died after wandering into a net pen and becoming trapped at a fish farm that was partially funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Hawaii. Associated Press.

West Hawaii Today senior reporter Nancy Cook Lauer earned the Big Island Press Club’s Torch of Light award for her work on breaking the story surrounding former-Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s use of a county-issued pCard. West Hawaii Today.

Press Release: The Big Island Press Club presented its annual Torch of Light Award to reporter Nancy Cook Lauer for shining a light on a credit card scandal involving former Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, who received the group’s Lava Tube dishonor award for keeping the public in the dark.


The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s public hearing on 113.5 percent sewer rate increases for 880 residential, business and government customers in Pukalani will begin at 6 p.m. today in Pukalani Elementary School’s cafeteria. Maui News.

The developer of a proposed project below Wailuku Heights that called for 147 residential lots, 450 multifamily units, a park and commercial area has nixed the project, according to a filing with the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.

Almost 280 people live in the Front Street Apartments, an affordable housing complex in Lahaina on Maui’s western shore. In two and a half years, their rents will convert to market rates if state lawmakers don’t take action to keep the 142 units affordable. Civil Beat.

Waiehu Golf Course Pro Shop co-owner Catherine Cordeiro holds a stack of petitions against Mayor Alan Arakawa’s proposal to shut down the municipal course. Maui News.

State House budget approved; moves to Senate for review. Proposed funding for Maui County airport improvements, ag park, flood damage included. Maui News.


Fixing roads, freezing county vacancies, raising property taxes and establishing a special reserve fund are some of Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr.’s goals for the coming fiscal year. Garden Island.

Kauai residents are a step closer to being able to legally access an area in Koloa to get to the shoreline. Garden Island.

Award-winning documentary features pesticide use on Kauai. Garden Island.

Seven aircraft tour companies on Kauai are staffing a help line available for the public to report complaints about low-flying aircraft and noise issues relating to air tour operators. Garden Island.

A new study provided the first rigorous population estimate of an endangered bird species found only on Kauai. Garden Island.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Commentary: In recognition of Sunshine Week. When the government won't talk to you, the documents will. Eventually.

 “We are always secretive. It’s part of being a legislator.”

Those unapologetic words this week from Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki show the Aloha State still has a long road ahead in making government more transparent. The quote, reported by both the Star-Advertiser and Civil Beat, couldn't have been timelier, coming in the middle of Sunshine Week.

Launched in 2005, Sunshine Week has grown into an "enduring annual initiative to promote open government and push back against excessive official secrecy," according to its website. It's sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, with support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Gridiron Club and Foundation.

Considering everything happening on the federal level, it's easy to see why Sunshine Week is more important than ever. But access to government doesn't stop in Washington, D.C.

Not just the media, but everyday citizens have a right to ask for, and receive, government documents. They have a right to ask -- no, demand -- that their government work in the open, in the sunlight of public scrutiny. They have a right to know how taxpayer money is spent.

Yet, more and more, government is drawing a screen over that important access. Government, at the state, national and local level, seeks to provide the public only the information, or in some cases, misinformation, that it wants the public to know about.

Our leaders  need to be reminded that sunshine is the best disinfectant, that citizens are more likely to understand and trust the workings of government if they can see it at work and that there is no embarrassment exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.

I have encountered resistance at the county, state and federal level as a reporter for a small daily newspaper, way out in the middle of the Pacific. Here's my story.

It took five years for the federal Transportation Security Administration to respond to my FOIA request for a list of items confiscated during a 12-month period at our five major airports. By the time I received them, they were literally old news.

On Oct. 17, 2013, I requested copies of tsunami inundation maps created for the state Emergency Management Agency by the state university. Yep. Still waiting. The state claims the maps will "confuse" the public if they're released. My appeal is being considered by the overworked and under-staffed Office of Information Practices.

In another case, it took five years of regular requests for records of our county mayor's taxpayer-paid purchasing card. Once someone apparently outside official channels finally provided me a document, I discovered the card was used for such personal expenses as hostess bars, where young attractive hostesses sit on your lap in exchange for overpriced drinks.

Our mayor was ultimately indicted by a grand jury for what turned out to be a continuing practice of using the card for private expenses -- a surfboard, a bicycle and lots of hefty bar tabs. He was cleared of theft charges by a jury after he proved he repaid the expenses, so there was no intent to steal. Funny thing though, many of the repayments came just after FOIA requests were submitted.

A study of more than 300 of those who seek (or provide) public records, released March 12 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found half of those surveyed said access to public records has deteriorated over the past four years, and nearly nine of 10 predicted access will continue to get worse under our new president, according to “Forecasting Freedom of Information," by David Cuillier of the University of Arizona School of Journalism and Eric Newton, of Arizona State University, as consulting editor.

After encountering so many roadblocks trying to get my questions answered, I've adopted a new mantra: "When the government won't talk to you, the documents will."

I'm adding this caveat: "Eventually."