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Friday, November 21, 2014

Fisherman's Wharf demolished, unemployment back to pre-recession levels, group sues over ahi rules, military says marine exercises not hurting wildlife, sharks studied off Maui, Oahu to ease second homes, Hawaii council names new leaders, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

All Hawaii News
Fisherman's Wharf in better days
The iconic Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant building in Honolulu, which stood along Ala Moana Boulevard for nearly seven decades, was demolished on Thursday to make way for a redevelopment of the property. Pacific Business News.

courtesy Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Fisherman's Wharf, courtesy OHA

The former Fisherman's Wharf restaurant at Kewalo Basin was demolished Thursday morning as part of a redevelopment plan by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii hotels, which set a record of $4.06 billion in total hotel revenue for the first nine months of the year, achieved the nation's second-best average daily rate and revenue per available room behind New York. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in October, from 4.9 percent during the same month a year ago, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations said Thursday. Pacific Business News.

The state's jobless rate declined in October for the third month in a row to hit a six-year low of 4.1 percent, matching its lowest level since the early stages of the recession. Star-Advertiser.

A new report from State Budget Solutions, a national nonprofit organization focusing on states’ fiscal responsibility, warns it’s time for newly elected state officials in Hawaii and throughout the country to address unfunded liabilities in the retirement system. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii’s holiday sashimi could be in short supply this year if conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, get their way in a lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday. Civil Beat.

Environmental groups on Thursday sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to challenge a new rule for fishing bigeye tuna, a popular species for sushi and fish steaks. Associated Press.

Environmental groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service on Thursday to challenge a new rule for fishing bigeye tuna, a popular species for sushi and fish steaks. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Hawaii says it collected more than $6.5 million in fines and penalties this fiscal year. U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni says the collections included nearly $5.7 million from criminal cases and more than $800,000 from civil cases. Associated Press.

The head of Hawaii's troubled health exchange says he wants more oversight for the institution. Executive Director Jeff Kissel says he plans to expand the scope of some of the contractors that verify how well the Connector website is functioning. Associated Press.

A Department of Land and Natural Resources worker serving time for child pornography charges will soon be released from prison, and will go back to working for the state. At the time of his arrest earlier this year, Randy Honebrink was the education coordinator for the department’s aquatics division. KHON2.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is appointing an interim CEO to take the place of Mike McCartney, who is leaving office to become the new governor's chief of staff. Atlantis Adventures CEO Ronald Williams takes over on Friday. Associated Press.

Oahu

Plans to ease up the rules to allow for more secondary dwellings on Oahu's residential lots got mostly positive public feedback at a hearing before the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A resolution allowing property owners to rent out ohana units — currently reserved for family members —  to the general public was moved forward Thursday by the Honolulu Zoning and Planning Committee. Civil Beat.

A Honolulu City Council Committee passed a Resolution today that would enable the Administration to develop rules to build more affordable rental housing for lower income residents. Hawaii Public Radio.

A plan to set aside city parking stalls for car-sharing vehicles has won a preliminary approval from the Hono­lulu City Council Budget Committee. Star-Advertiser.

A quarantine on the movement of pigs was issued for Oahu on Thursday following the outbreak of a serious swine disease never before seen in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Nuuanu Reservoir will be open for fishing for one day next month, the Board of Water Supply has announced. The board wants anglers to help remove fish from the reservoir in advance of an improvement project slated for mid-2015. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A West Hawaii majority emerging from the Nov. 4 election is poised to name Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha chairman and Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter vice chairwoman. West Hawaii Today.

Red Cross volunteers will be going door-to-door on Friday to survey Pahoa residents in the immediate evacuation area of the June 27 lava flow. West Hawaii Today.

Lava activity along the upper reaches of the June 27 flow has remained “fairly consistent” during the last few days, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Thursday. Breakouts were as close as 4 miles from Apa‘a Street that morning with little to no activity seen closer to Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

Puna lava flow breakouts develop near abandoned geothermal well site. Hawaii News Now.

Since early September, UH-Hilo’s Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Laboratory has worked in partnership with Civil Defense and the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, outfitted with a high-resolution camera to map the flow. Tribune-Herald.

Conventional wisdom holds that shield volcanoes like Mauna Loa and Kilauea don't blow their tops like Mount St. Helens. But new research is bolstering the little-known fact that Kilauea can explode and did so to deadly effect as recently as 1924. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

A total of 24 tiger sharks off of Maui are now being tracked with satellite tagging devices as researchers with the University of Hawaiʻi continue to study their movement following an increase in the number of unprovoked shark bite incidents last year. Maui Now.

An unprecedented spike in shark attacks over the past two years prompted state officials to fund a study to tag and track the movement of tiger sharks in the waters off Maui. Hawaii News Now.

The state Land Use Commission declined Thursday to schedule a hearing or issue a declaratory order to address neighbors' complaints about development of the Central Maui Sports Complex. Maui News.

The Maui Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved needed zoning changes to move the long-awaited West Maui Hospital and Medical Center one step closer to reality. Maui News.

Kauai

The U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor says community concerns that the Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise and Kauai’s Pacific Missile Range Facility are negatively impacting marine life are unfounded. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council, by a 4-2 vote, passed a measure on Wednesday that will separate agricultural lands on Kauai into three categories — pasture, diversified agriculture and biotech research — when county officials are calculating real property tax assessments. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Many Hawaii homeless new arrivals, Abercrombie says same-sex marriage highlight of gubernatorial term, PAC spending case sent to prosecutor, Hawaii council advances e-cig ban, Kakaako construction gone wild, Maui could hike water rates in droughts, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Honolulu homeless © 2014 All Hawaii News
About 6 percent of Hawaii's homeless population — or about 600 people — arrived in the Aloha State in only the last 12 months, according to a new University of Hawaii report. In addition, about 16 percent of the homeless population — or about 1,600 people — told Hawaii social service workers they became new residents within the last five years. Star-Advertiser.

Opponents of a proposal to put in place the city's "sit-lie" ordinance in business districts across Oahu plan to hold rally at Hono­lulu Hale starting shortly before midday Thursday to urge Mayor Kirk Caldwell to veto the bill passed by the Honolulu City Council. Star-Advertiser.

A Statewide Homeless Awareness Conference on O’ahu is scheduled for Friday. It will bring service providers and government agencies together to look for viable solutions. Hawaii Public Radio.

An immigration reform proposal expected to be unveiled by President Barack Obama today could protect hundreds of undocumented immigrants living in Hawaii from deportation. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday described the legalization of same-sex marriage as his proudest accomplishment as governor and said he wished he had done more to convince the public of the need for shared sacrifice near the end of the recession. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Attorney General David Louie plans to appeal a court’s decision requiring the release of financial disclosure statements of certain state board members, which is expected to keep the records private while that lengthy process plays out. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Hawaii Needs to Spread a Little Digital Aloha. Our new governor should take steps — even if they're costly — to drag the islands’ computer systems into the modern world. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The city prosecutor's office is now tasked with deciding whether criminal charges are warranted in connection with two complaints related to the 2012 mayoral campaign activities of the Pacific Resource Partnership Political Action Committee. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges against the Pacific Resource Partnership’s political action committee for failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars spent during the 2012 mayoral campaign, among other violations. The state Campaign Spending Commission voted 3-1 Wednesday to refer two complaints against PRP to city prosecutors. Civil Beat.

A global engineering and design firm that holds three Oahu rail project contracts has purchased a rival company that holds the contract to oversee the design firm's work, forcing city officials to look at ways to resolve an apparent conflict of interest. Star-Advertiser.

The former lead prosecutor in the gambling, money laundering and racketeering case involving arcade sweepstakes machines is facing possible sanctions for failing to show up in state court Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor is getting a fourth Virginia-class submarine next week, adding to the high-tech firepower the Navy has said will accompany the rebalance to the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii developer Stanford Carr's Keauhou Lane project, which includes 388 residential units in a 400-foot high-rise tower, along with 35 townhouse units in a 42-foot mid-rise tower, is slated to start construction in late March or early April. Pacific Business News.

Better coordination between landowners, developing a business improvement district and subsidizing retailers were some of the ideas tossed around at a town hall meeting in Downtown Honolulu that focused on the pedestrian experience in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako. Pacific Business News.

Opinion: Imagining Kakaako — How Our Hearts Lead Us Astray. The area is developing all too quickly thanks to public/private cooperation on steroids and the lack of urban vision. Civil Beat.

Reece Huculak-Kimmel has become known as the million-dollar baby. The 11-month-old Canadian girl was prematurely born at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children on Dec. 10 and her parents are now responsible for a $950,000 bill that insurance won't cover. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A bill prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes anywhere smoking traditional cigarettes is banned moved ahead Wednesday to its final vote, after attempts to first amend, then delay, the measure were batted away by a County Council majority. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Civil Defense chief said he will continue to assess whether road restrictions should be lifted as the June 27 lava flow remains calm near Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

US House Panel Gets Volcano Hazard Update. Reps. Hanabusa and Gabbard were among those at the congressional hearing that included testimony from Hawaii officials. Civil Beat.

The June 27 lava flow took centerstage Wednesday during a Congressional subcommittee hearing on volcano monitoring in the United States. Tribune-Herald.

The comptroller for the state Department of Accounting and General Services has joined the lineup of opposition to placing the Keauhou aquifer under the control of the state’s water commission. West Hawaii Today.

Two top administrators of the state Department of Health’s Adult Mental Health Division appeared in a Hilo courtroom Tuesday to explain delays in performing a mental examination for a woman jailed several months for relatively minor offenses. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Members of the council committee on water resources today passed a bill on first reading that seeks to establish special water rate actions and conservation measures during times of water shortages and drought. Maui Now.

Lahainaluna High School staff, students, supporters and local politicians have formed a Lahainaluna Boarding Department Working Group to sustain the historic and nearly 200-year-old program that has been hit with funding problems and the phasing out of traditional and lucrative farming programs. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council soundly defeated a proposal encouraging Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration to create a low-interest loan program that would help residents upgrade their cesspools to septic systems on the heels of imminent changes to state Department of Health rules on wastewater. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ige slowly filling Cabinet, Abercrombie asks that Aila stay at DLNR, state Medicaid plan misleads 318k beneficiaries, Honolulu prosecutor mislaid rape cases, Maui council defers polystyrene bill, Kapoho fish kill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island's new Saddle Road © 2014 All Hawaii News
Gov.-elect David Ige will bring Ford Fuchigami back to the state Department of Transportation as its director. Fuchigami had served as the department's interim director before taking a post Nov. 1 as director of the city Department of Enterprise Services. Star-Advertiser.

Outgoing Governor Fired Up About Climate Change. On a night of passionate statements about the planet's future, Gov. Abercrombie urges Gov.-elect Ige to keep William Aila as head of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has enlisted a familiar face to lobby for federal research dollars in Washington, D.C., under a new contract signed last month. Jennifer Sabas, the former chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, will be part of a two-person lobbying team from The National Group that will try to secure funds in fields such as astronomy, ocean sciences and food sustainability. Civil Beat.

The state Medicaid health insurance program, which has more than 318,000 beneficiaries, mailed out fliers in August incorrectly stating that Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is not accepting new Quest members. Star-Advertiser.

A new study analyzing poverty and income inequality in U.S. counties concluded that Hawaii County has high levels of poverty and inequality. The report by the Population Reference Bureau also found that while Maui County has relatively low poverty rates, it has high inequality. Civil Beat.

Thousands of veterans in Hawaii have started to receive "Choice Cards" from the Department of Veterans Affairs that are meant to provide health care in the community as an alternative to long waits for VA appointments. Star-Advertiser.

An Air Force colonel is joining the Hawaii public school system's leadership team. The state Department of Education said Tuesday Dan Carlson will head the Office of School Facilities and Support Services as an assistant superintendent. Associated Press.

They are essential to the success of Hawaii's child welfare system.  They take in abused and neglected children, some with complicated physical or emotional problems, and temporarily care for them, house them and nurture them. Star-Advertiser.

Opinion: Let’s Tackle the Public Policies Promoting Obesity. A soda tax is just one idea. There are other public policies to be considered. Civil Beat.

Oahu

About one month after officials implemented a new reservation system and policy, Handi-Van users are still outraged by the service they're receiving. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu doctor to serve in Ebola hot zone. Death rate among health care workers infected with virus nearly 57 percent. KITV4.

City prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro stunned Honolulu City Council members Tuesday when he admitted several rape cases were never prosecuted because the office lost track of them. KHON2.

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro apologized and took personal responsibility for the mishandling of a negligent-homicide case that has left the grieving family of an Ewa Beach man continuing to seek answers two years after he died from injuries he sustained when hit by a truck near his home. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A new building will be cropping up at the West Hawaii Civic Center in a few years, thanks to initial action Tuesday by the County Council Finance Committee. The committee unanimously agreed to forward to the council with a positive recommendation a $9.6 million appropriation to plan and construct a building for the county Prosecutor’s Office. West Hawaii Today.

Following a wave of testimony supporting new regulations on aquarium collectors, a County Council committee on Tuesday postponed action, saying more scientific information is needed before a bill is implemented. Most council members said, however, they would, if they could, favor a total ban on commercial aquarium fish collection. West Hawaii Today.

A significant fish kill in the Kapoho tide pools this weekend represents yet another worrisome event within a fragile ecosystem that is seemingly under siege from all sides. Tribune-Herald.

Residents seemed to hold mixed views on a county project to bring sewer lines to the Lono Kona subdivision. But even those in support of the plan at a public hearing Tuesday night in Kailua-Kona worried about how the system would impact their wallets. West Hawaii Today.

A $28 million program aimed at benefiting farmers will continue in its current state a little longer, despite fears some landowners are abusing the program at the expense of other taxpayers. West Hawaii Today.

Geologists say a tube system that has supplied lava to the outer reaches of the June 27 flow could slowly be refilling several miles upslope of Pahoa while breakouts continue to keep the threat far from homes. Tribune-Herald.

As lava continues to move slowly toward Pahoa, costs are increasing for Hawaii County, including those for emergency services and road construction.  But there's another cost:  the county's long term potential for revenue. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

After listening to more than two hours of public testimony, the Maui County Council's Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee deferred action Monday on a bill that would ban the use and sale of polystyrene disposable food containers in Maui County. Maui News.

The Maui County Council will form a Committee of the Whole next term to handle litigation matters, the hiring and payment of special counsels, indemnification and settlements, according to Council Member Mike White's office. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is accepting applications for seats on two dozen county boards and commissions. Associated Press.

A workshop on a draft West Maui watersheds study will be hosted this month by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Maui News.

The University of Hawaiʻi will offer four financial aid workshops in Maui County for Native Hawaiian students interested in attending college, and those interested in applying for college scholarships. Maui Now.

Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co. are challenging a law in Maui County. The law, approved by voters Nov. 4, bans cultivation and experiments with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Hawaii Reporter.

Kauai

Outgoing Kauai County Council Chair Jay Furfaro is sponsoring a measure that encourages Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and his administration to create a low-interest loan program that would help qualified Kauai residents living near steams, rivers, oceans or shorelines convert their cesspools to septic systems. Garden Island.

A Kauai County Councilmember is asking the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to help preserve the character of Hanalei Bay by restricting large vessels from its waters. Garden Island.

Animals — chickens, sheep, geese and feral pigs — on Grove Farm Company land are the likely source of pollution ending up in Waiopili Stream in Mahaulepu. Garden Island.

Each day, at the picnic tables fronting the Historic County Building, dozens of people gather. They are a community of homeless. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Permits required for Kaena Point, Air Force to stay strong in Hawaii, Rosen to head state hospital group, Big Island man busted with 85 marijuana plants, electric rates drop on Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Panorama of the Ka'ena Point Trailhead (also the end of the Dillingham Highway) on O'ahu's North Shore (past Mokule'ia Beach). You can park here and continue to Ka'ena point on foot just a few miles up!
Kaena Point panorama, courtesy Alaska Dave
After consulting with a community advisory group, the Department of Land and Natural Resources will implement a vehicle access permit system for the roads at Kaena Point State Park Reserve’s Mokuleia section. Civil Beat.

Ignoring signs, damaging natural resources and causing erosion. That's what the Department of Land and Natural Resources says careless drivers are doing at Ka'ena Point. KITV4.

Kaena Point has long been a favorite place for off-roading. Now, the state is hoping to get a better handle on vehicles in the area. In the coming weeks, a gate will be put up that can only be opened by people who have permits. KHON2.

Hawaii Department of Human Services officials say that their plan to reduce funding for medical coverage for roughly 7,500 adult migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands will save the state roughly $21.5 million while maintaining vital health care coverage. Star-Advertiser.

The Air Force is reducing its ranks overall due to budget cuts, but staffing in the Pacific will remain at 100 percent due to the re-balance to the region, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

The Air Force’s top boss said Monday she hopes to make all jobs in the service open to qualified women in the next year and a half. Seven jobs in the service are closed to women, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters during a visit to Hawaii on Monday. Associated Press.

Opinion: Hawaii stands to lose nearly 50,000 people, more than 25,000 jobs and $1.35 billion in total economic impact by 2020, if we do not step up to keep thousands of soldiers and their families here in the islands. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp. announced Monday afternoon that Linda Rosen, M.D., M.P.H., will be its new chief executive officer. She will start her new position with HHSC on Dec. 16. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Health Systems Corp.'s board of directors has appointed Linda Rosen as chief executive officer of the public hospital system effective Dec. 16. Star-Advertiser.

New car and light truck registrations will rise about 8.8 percent in 2014, according to a forecast from the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The Arizona Memorial ticket scandal has been brewing for a year but so far, the man at the center of the controversy, Frank Middleton, remains on the job. Two internal reports by the National Park Service show that Middleton and other memorial officials were aware that tickets intended to be distributed to the public for free were being diverted to tour companies that charged visitors anywhere from $39 to $89. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu customers will see the lowest electrical rates in more than a year this month as residential bills dropped more than $10 due to reductions in fuel prices. Star-Advertiser.

Sources tell Always Investigating that Honolulu city bus workers were involved in a long-time scheme to clock in and out for a staffer who barely showed up. The timecard scheme is said to have taken place at a maintenance yard of TheBus and centers around a mechanic. KHON2.

A plan to allow more Oahu homeowners to create second dwellings on their lots is gaining momentum at Hono­lulu Hale. Star-Advertiser.

Last summer, developers of seven new luxury condo buildings at Ala Moana held a groundbreaking for their $300 million project. Amid calls for more affordable developments in Kakaako, these “ultra luxury” towers are rising quietly without the need for public hearings or any units set aside for moderate or low-income people. That wouldn’t happen under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposed islandwide housing strategy. Civil Beat.

A march, rally and sit-in were held at University of Hawaii's Manoa campus Monday to protest proposed budget cuts rumored to target teaching assistants and other areas that affect graduate students. Star-Advertiser.

The YMCA of Honolulu is making another move to get out of the housing business on Oahu by offering to sell or lease two historic Manoa residence halls occupied by University of Hawaii students. Star-Advertiser.

The YMCA of Honolulu Central branch across from Ala Moana Center will temporarily close on Feb. 28 for a redevelopment project that will result in a smaller Y building next to a 128-unit condominium on its 1.8-acre property on Atkinson Drive. Pacific Business News.

Homeowners in the Ewa communities of Ocean Pointe and Hoakalei are complaining that the man-made recreational lagoon serving their communities contains algae. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Farmers will have to dedicate their property to agricultural use a minimum of three years to get tax breaks, under a bill to be considered today by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

A perennial battle between aquarium fish collectors and conservationists will be played out in County Council chambers today, as a council committee takes up a measure regulating the transport of fish off-island. West Hawaii Today.

A 26-year-old Naalehu man accused of possessing 85 marijuana plants and 52 pounds of dried marijuana will stand trial on a half dozen felony charges, a Kona District Court judge ruled Monday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

The June 27 lava flow offered little for geologists and Civil Defense officials to observe Monday around Pahoa as it focused its activity miles upslope from the town it has left on edge for the past few months. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

For years, Hawaii's public hospitals have relied on state subsidies to offset the rising cost of health care. That’s especially true on the Neighbor Islands.  But now hospitals are receiving less funding from the state, and on Maui, administrators are looking at other options. Hawaii Public Radio.

Now that the state has completed its acquisition of Lipoa Point from Maui Land & Pineapple Co., the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is calling on the public to be diligent stewards of the land. Maui News.

The Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety today announced the promotion of five fighters including Firefighter III Chad Pacheco to the rank of Captain. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai Invasive Species Committee confirmed that an unfamiliar plant growing along Kuhio Highway near Kalihiwai Bridge is an invasive mule’s foot fern. Garden Island.

A construction zone accident has led to a lawsuit seeking medical and other damages. Narciso Nicolas, of Honolulu, is suing William Waialeale and his employer, Robert’s Tours and Transportation, Inc., for injuries incurred while working on Kokee Road in 2012. Garden Island.

Monday, November 17, 2014

UH research: North Pacific hottest on record, e-cigs curb smoking. Child abuse cases drop, statewide planning meetings set, Oahu plans for extreme tsunami, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii sunrise © 2014 All Hawaii News
Heat is the fuel of hurricanes, and the North Pacific last summer was the hottest on record, a University of Hawaii climate scientist has calculated. Star-Advertiser.

State regulation of pesticide use is hampered by a lack of money despite aggressive measures passed by neighbor island counties demanding more disclosure about spraying. Civil Beat.

President Barack Obama made a brief stop at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam base Sunday morning after the G20 Summit in Australia. Associated Press.

Where many might see a deep divide and bitter partisanship that has led to congressional gridlock, U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Takai sees an opportunity. Star-Advertiser.

When Duke Aiona campaigned for governor against the state's high cost of living, he was speaking from personal experience.Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s health insurance exchange enrolled more than 40 people on the first day clients were able to sign up to be covered next year. Another 60 applied for financial assistance to pay for premiums as of mid-afternoon, Jeffrey Kissel, the CEO of Hawaii Health Connector, said Saturday. Associated Press.

Tapering off tobacco cigarettes can be a challenge, but research released by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center found some smokers can get a kick-start to kicking the habit with e-cigarettes. KITV4.

The state Office of Planning is holding meetings across Hawaii to hear from interested stakeholders on the effectiveness of the state's land use system. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Office of Planning is holding a series of meetings to gather public input on the state’s land use regulations. The public meetings are part of the agency’s comprehensive analysis on how to make Hawaii’s land use process more effective and efficient. Civil Beat.

The number of confirmed child abuse cases in Hawaii has dropped by more than half since 2005. The steep decreases have been attributed in part to the state's switch in late 2005 to a new but controversial program for determining how child welfare authorities respond to reports of suspected abuse.Star-Advertiser.

Oahu
New research has prompted Honolulu to add an "extreme tsunami" evacuation zone to its maps and change its evacuation plans, including for high-rises in Waikiki. The maps represent "an unlikely worst-case scenario" and will not replace current, standard tsunami evacuation maps, Department of Emergency Management officials said. Star-Advertiser.

UH budget crisis hits Mānoa graduate students especially hard. Hawaii Independent.

Graduate students at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa are protesting possible cuts to their departments. They’re leading a protest today in hopes of some answers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Some 24,000 Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to attend their international convention in Honolulu over two weekends, making it one of the largest conventions this year in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The breakouts above the front of the lava flow threatening Pahoa town remained active on Sunday morning, but “very sluggish,” according to Hawaii County Civil Defense. Tribune-Herald.

A newly released plan for the island’s highways drives home the fact there is significant growth ahead and not enough money to pay for the roads to support it. West Hawaii Today.

Crews worked to mop-up a fire that broke out early Saturday at the West Hawaii Sanitary Landfill in Puuanahulu. The fire, located in the dump’s green waste area, was still smoldering Saturday evening, and firefighters said it was not clear what caused the blaze. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A federal judge said Friday that Maui County may not implement a new law banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms until he considers arguments in a lawsuit against the measure. Associated Press.

Now that the state has completed its acquisition of Lipoa Point from Maui Land & Pineapple Co., the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is calling on the public to be diligent stewards of the land. Maui News.

Maui High School Band Director Kerry Wasano admits there's "a little bit of pressure" as the Maui High School Band & Color Guard prepare to perform in the Rose Parade. Maui News.

Kauai

A Hawaii developer plans to build a private resort on Kauai’s North Shore that will have its own airport. Associated Press.

There aren’t even blueprints, let alone construction plans, but the idea of another South Shore resort already has neighbors and county officials concerned. They say they are wary of plans to designate a 13-acre section of Mahaulepu for future resort development over the next 20 years. Garden Island.

North Shore shuttle up and running. Garden Island.

Kauai's electric utility has won approval to pursue a new pumped water energy storage project on the island's west side. Associated Press.

Friday, November 14, 2014

OHA broke Sunshine Law, Obama to make Hawaii stopover, Honolulu homeless rousted for Hawaii Five-0 shoot, rail delay costs reach $165.8M, Maui agribusinesses sue over GMO ban, state can now test for Ebola, Health Department monitoring lava flow air quality, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Molly Solomon
OHA meeting draws crowd, file photo courtesy Molly Solomon
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs violated the state Sunshine Law when trustees corresponded by telephone and email before sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rescinding an earlier letter by Chief Executive Officer Kamanaopono Crabbe. Then the board violated the law again when it refused to allow public comment before conducting a closed-door session discussing Crabbe’s conduct. That’s the finding of the state Office of Information Practices in a Nov. 7 opinion responding to a complaint by six Hawaii residents. West Hawaii Today.

President Obama will make a refueling stop at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this weekend. Air Force One is expected to arrive early Sunday morning for just two hours, as the president's plane is refueled. Star-Advertiser.

Campaign Spending Commission Rejects Rep. Calvin Say Challenge. A review finds that it's legal for the former Hawaii House speaker to use campaign funds to pay for his legal fees. Civil Beat.

The National Center for Access to Justice released its Justice Index findings Thursday, and Hawaii ranks among the top five states in the country for “best practices of ensuring access to the civil and criminal justice systems.” Civil Beat.

The State Department of Health can now test for cases of Ebola in Hawaii. A Pearl City laboratory has been approved by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Defense to test for the virus. KITV4.

The Hawaii State Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division said Thursday that it can now test for the Ebola virus. Civil Beat.

Millions of dollars come to Hawaii each year to help law enforcement bust drug organizations. But behind the scenes of a White-House-backed agency that controls the cash, there are money troubles and internal upheaval that may lead to legal action. KHON2.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is getting a new executive director. The union says Wilbert Holck is replacing Al Nagasako. Associated Press.

Oahu

Honolulu city officials say a cleanup of homeless encampments Thursday in Kakaako is not related to a "Hawaii Five-0" filming session this weekend. Star-Advertiser.


copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
© 2014 All Hawaii News
Homeless Rousted from Kakaako as ‘Hawaii Five-0′ Readies Shoot. WATCH A SLIDESHOW: Officials say the latest operation wasn't prompted by TV show's car chase scene, but some of the homeless and advocates are skeptical. Civil Beat.

Approximately 150 homeless people have been cleared from Kakaako encampments along Ohe and Ilalo Streets, and some believe a “Hawaii Five-0” shoot this weekend may be to blame. Hawaii News Now.

Five days a week, city workers hit the streets to conduct sweeps on Honolulu sidewalks. It’s part of a controversial ordinance that went into effect last July, that allows officials to clear streets occupied by the homeless and their belongings. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu’s homeless don’t usually die with dignity. Not only do they pass away at much younger ages than the rest of the population, but their demise is often the result of substance abuse, poor health or violence. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council may vote on a bill that would ban sitting and lying down on sidewalks in neighborhoods beyond Waikiki. The council plans to take up Bill 48 Friday at noon. They say public testimony is complete and no new testimony will be allowed. Hawaii News Now.

The rail transit board Thursday authorized the payment of $48.4 million for change orders and other additional costs due to delays in the project. Dan Grabauskas, executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, told board members that the latest price changes bump the total amount attributable to project delays to $165,771,851. Star-Advertiser.

It's unknown who will replace Lance Wilhelm, the man who's been responsible for overseeing Kiewit Hawaii's $556 million contract to build the first leg of the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail transit project since the company was awarded the work five years ago, after he leaves next month. Pacific Business News.

Lawsuit alleges overly aggressive security officers at airport. KHON2.

Kamehameha Schools and SunEdison Inc. got a green light from the state Land Use Commission on Thursday to establish what would be the state's biggest solar farm -- generating up to 115 megawatts -- on land in Waiawa previously approved for a master-planned residential community. Star-Advertiser.

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. has earned its biggest return yet selling one of 30 Kahala Avenue residential properties it acquired from Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto last year. The Honolulu-based firm sold two adjacent vacant parcels that include 132 feet of beach frontage for $19.4 million Thursday, according to broker Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. Star-Advertiser.

It appears an invasive seaweed that has plagued the reefs of Kaneohe Bay for more than 30 years has finally met its match all quarter-million of them. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources recently put another 6,000 hatchery-raised sea urchins on selected reefs in the bay, bringing to roughly 250,000 the number of native collector sea urchins released so far in a program developed over the last decade. Star-Advertiser.

The new governing board of Halau Lokahi Public Charter School will lay off all 18 employees at the financially strapped school at the end of this semester and then quickly rebuild a smaller staff that the school can afford. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Driving through Pahoa as lava continues to threaten the town became a little easier Thursday when police removed a roadblock where Post Office Road meets Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Health set up three air-quality monitoring stations to warn of potentially dangerous conditions as a result of the lava flow threatening Pahoa. Tribune-Herald.

The front of the lava flow from Kilauea Volcano threatening Pahoa remained stalled Thursday as officials monitored active breakouts and air quality. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Biotech companies, including Monsanto, filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu challenging the voter-approved Maui County initiative for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms. Maui News.

A day after supporters of a Maui County moratorium on genetically engineered crops went to court in support of the new law, Monsanto struck back with its own lawsuit hoping to invalidate the voter-approved ordinance. Star-Advertiser.

Two leading developers of genetically engineered corn have sued Maui County to stop a new law banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms. Associated Press.

Biotech companies Monsanto and Agrigenetics, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to throw out Maui County’s recently passed moratorium on genetically modified farming. Civil Beat.

All Maui County House representatives secured leadership positions for the 28th Legislature, which will convene Jan. 21. Maui News.

Kauai

County officials announced that repairs to the Kealia Beach parking lot will begin on Monday. The project will be done in phases to allow the public access to the areas of the parking lot that are not being worked on. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reorganization pits Hawaii House vs. Senate in GMO fight, Maui residents sue for GMO home rule, Abercrombie sparse with pardons, woman sentenced to jail for damaging Iolani Palace, Kauai anti-war group allowed in job fair, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Hawaii state Capitol © 2014All Hawaii News
The coalition of dissident Democrats and minority Republicans that brought state House Speaker Joseph Souki to power last year has officially ended. Souki's postelection reorganization of the House reflects his expanded support among Democrats and sheds the alliance with Republicans, who had held three committee vice chairmanships — including the vice chairmanship of the House Finance Committee — through the coalition. Star-Advertiser.

GMO Debate to be Shaped by New Senate, House Ag Chairs. Sen. Russell Ruderman and Rep. Clift Tsuji are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to regulating the seed industry. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Joe Souki and the Democratic majority met in caucus briefly Wednesday afternoon before unveiling the 2015 leadership team and committee chair assignments for next legislative session, which convenes Jan. 21. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives has named new leaders for its key committees and top posts. Speaker Joseph Souki and Vice Speaker John Mizuno will head the chamber with Majority Leader Scott Saiki. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Ethics Commission must release the financial disclosure statements of all members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, state Land Use Commission and Agribusiness Development Corp.'s board of directors, a state judge ruled Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

First Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura has granted Honolulu Civil Beat’s request for a preliminary injunction to require the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to make public the financial disclosure statements of certain state board members. Civil Beat.

Consumer finance site NerdWallet has a new study out that estimates gay weddings could have a $26.6 million benefit to Hawaii in additional annual revenue. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pardoned significantly fewer criminals than his three most recent predecessors, according to records obtained by Hawaii News Now.

While the Hawaii Supreme Court already has dinged the state for failing to provide sufficient funding to operate the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the debate now turns to what constitutes sufficient funding. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai'i Short 50K New Housing Units by 2016. State Lawmakers conducted a comprehensive briefing on Housing requirements state-wide today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A 22-year-old woman who admitted that she damaged a 130-year-old glass panel when she kicked in a door to break into Iolani Palace could be spending 12 more months in jail. Star-Advertiser.

A Civil Beat analysis of Honolulu death records found that 139 of the 417 homeless people who passed away from March 2006 to July 2014 died of natural causes, most often heart disease and pneumonia. That’s second only to drug and alcohol-related deaths, which totaled 142 in the same period.

A decision to expand the city's contentious sit-lie law outside of Waikiki and into business sections of other Oahu neighborhoods is delayed until Friday to allow Honolulu City Council members more time to examine and research the latest draft they received Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday suspended a final vote on a bill that would extend the city’s ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki to commercial districts throughout Oahu after four council members said they hadn’t been given sufficient time to review last-minute amendments. Civil Beat.

Construction equipment may begin rolling again next week on the site of the 801 South St. Building B condominium tower in Kakaako after a state court injunction that stopped work in May was lifted Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in four years, Honolulu motorists can look forward to seeing $3.50-per-gallon gas prices, and not five or 10 years from now, but in three to six months. Pacific Business News.

Bikeshare Hawaii, a nonprofit that will work to establish a bike-sharing transportation system on Oahu, is under new leadership. Star-Advertiser.

The public will get its first look at a planned $38 million affordable rental complex aimed at local artists in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako on Dec. 17. Pacific Business News.

Starting Wednesday night, it’ll be a nightmare to drive through the Kalihi area. That’s when a Department of Transportation pavement resurfacing project begins. KHON2.

Hawaii

Following the destruction Monday of the first home in Pahoa to be hit by the advancing lava flow, one question is likely on the minds of many homeowners in the area. When will the state request federal assistance for individual homeowners and renters as a result of the June 27 lava flow? Tribune-Herald.

As lava slowly oozed its way into Pahoa last week, University of Hawaii at Hilo researchers were out on the flow field, providing aerial imagery to emergency responders. Big Island Video News.

courtesy Hawaii County government
courtesy Hawaii County
Firefighters doused two power poles threatened by lava with water and foam Wednesday to help protect them from temperatures that can exceed 2,000 degrees. Tribune-Herald.

The lava flow from Kilauea Volcano is lingering near Pahoa's $3.9 million waste and recycling center while county officials keep an eye on a breakout upslope that moved 225 yards Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

If public meeting laws were applied to the scientific investigations of a board trying make a determination on public policy, they would create “unworkable and absurd conditions.” So argues the state Commission on Water Resource Management in its response to an allegation it violated the Sunshine Law during site visits to West Hawaii this fall. West Hawaii Today.

Facing sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and striving to keep Kailua Bay clean, Hawaii County is undertaking a $6.5 million sewer project mauka of Kuakini Highway in an area residents have dubbed “Hamburger Hill.” West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Global seed companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences promised litigation after Maui County residents approved a voter initiative to ban on genetically modified crops on Election Day, but five residents have beaten them to the punch. Civil Beat.

The group responsible for putting a moratorium on genetically engineered crops on the Maui County ballot launched a pre-emptive strike against agricultural giants Wednesday by filing a lawsuit in Maui Circuit Court. Star-Advertiser.

With the dust still settling from last week's election, two dozen California lawmakers are flying to luxury resorts in Hawaii for conferences subsidized and attended by interests that lobby the Legislature: oil companies, public employee unions, drug and tobacco firms, and others. L.A. Times.

Kauai

Hawaii Peace and Justice — an organization that supports the demilitarization of Hawaii — will be allowed a spot at the upcoming Hawaii College and Career Fair after initially being told it could not participate. Garden Island.

A decision could be issued soon on whether two Kauai fishermen will get a chance to challenge new rules approved for the state's first community-based subsistence fishing area in Haena on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hanalei boatyard owner Michael Sheehan’s civil action alleging former neighbors built un-permitted structures that caused environmental damage will move forward with the same judge in 5th Circuit Court. Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Wednesday denied a plaintiff’s motion to recuse herself as presiding judge in the case. Garden Island.