Friday, April 28, 2017

More unions get pay boost, Senate may ditch Ways and Means chairwoman in rail battle, bills in the balance as Legislature reaches crucial deadline, Maui mayor wants Oahu sand shipments stopped, LUC gives nod to Ellison's Lanai golf course, lifeguards lose lawsuit immunity, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Road work in the rain © 2017 All Hawaii News
An arbitration panel has awarded 6 percent to 7 percent raises to about 27,500 public employees in six bargaining units of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the union announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of state employees to get 4.25% raise as part of arbitration settlement. Hawaii News Now.

A tentative agreement has been reached between the Hawaii Government Employees Association Unit 6 and the state, which includes a salary raise of 13.53 percent over the next four years. Hawaii News Now.

On Friday, HGEA’s Unit 6, which represents educational officers, will vote cast ratification votes for a four-year contract made with the employer, which includes a salary increase of 13.53%. KHON2.

Hawaii public school teachers overwhelmingly voted in favor Thursday of a contract that will boost their pay by 13.6 percent over the next four years. Star-Advertiser.

Teachers voted to ratify a new contract in overwhelming fashion Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Public school teachers voted to ratify contract that gives them a 14% raise in the next four years. KITV.

Public school teachers ratify new contract, will receive 13.6% raise over four years. KHON2.

Lawmakers are once again eyeing a possible reorganization of the state Senate to try to clear the way to provide more funding for the city’s embattled rail project. Star-Advertiser.

A new twist in the rail drama is unfolding as lawmakers prepare to meet to decide how much longer to extend the half percent excise tax. KITV.

State lawmakers scrambled to move dozens of bills ahead of a Thursday night deadline for gaining approval from key House and Senate negotiators on measures that don’t carry a price tag. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lifeguards will lose immunity from lawsuits this summer after the Senate announced Thursday night that they are going along with a House bill that allows the protection to expire. Hawaii News Now.

A committee of Hawaii lawmakers is moving forward with a bill that would allow the Honolulu Police Commission to hire a chief from out of state and permit Micronesian immigrants to serve on state boards and commissions. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers prepare to take final vote on bill that holds child care providers accountable. KITV.

Critics: Water Bill Could Hurt Customers And The Environment. The Sierra Club is mounting a last-minute push amid worries the measure will remove private water distribution companies from state regulation. Civil Beat.

Neither Linda Chen or Christina Kishimoto, the two finalists for state schools superintendent, have ever worked in Hawaii's public education system – or even lived here in the islands. Hawaii News Now.

Defenders and opponents of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are moving back into their familiar battle stations as Republican President Trump reopens the review process that led to the preserve’s expansion by President Obama last summer. Civil Beat.

A handful of police misconduct cases came to a close this week with a $30,000 legal settlement, a not guilty verdict and a 10-year prison sentence. Civil Beat.

First Hawaiian Bank’s loans rose to a record high but net income fell 13.4 percent in the first quarter because of $25.7 million in securities sales made in the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

By a 5-4 margin, the Honolulu City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that lifts the ban on using property taxes to finish the city’s $10 billion rail project. Star-Advertiser.

A measure that is key to moving ahead on a replacement for Aloha Stadium goes down to the wire at the Legislature today. Star-Advertiser.

Elections are underway for members of the island’s 33 neighborhood boards. Civil Beat.

More than 1,000 people stood in line in Chinatown on Thursday to get on a waiting list for an affordable apartment. Hawaii News Now.

Native Hawaiian practitioners are vowing to try to stop what they've dubbed the 'Coca Cola fence.'  Hawaii News Now.

An ambitious plan will soon get underway to restore a long-lost native forest near Laie by replanting massive numbers of koa, milo and sandalwood trees. Civil Beat.

The International Market Place’s newest dining concept, The Street, A Michael Mina Social House, will bring 13 food and beverage vendors together in a 6,900-square-foot space that is slated to open next month. Pacific Business News.

Eddie Flores Jr., founder of L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, donated $1 million to the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii Manoa. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County could get a better view of its budget gap today as legislators meet one last time over how much of the hotel tax to share with the counties. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy wants the council to get a heads-up when the administration hires people on nonemergency 89-day contracts worth $5,000 or more monthly. West Hawaii Today.

Budget chairwomen for the House and Senate allocated $1 million earlier this week to the state Department of Health to combat rat lungworm disease, but in doing so they diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars in hoped-for funding away from researchers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo who have been leading research into the disease and spearheading public education efforts. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Maui mayor demands halt after mountains of sand stripped, shipped for Oahu development. KHON2.

Maui Electric Co., a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Co., has been named one of the top utilities in the nation for connecting energy storage to the grid, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance. Pacific Business News.

When the state Supreme Court convened in the Baldwin High School Auditorium on Thursday morning to hear arguments in a Molokai drunken-driving case, more than 500 high school students were in the audience. Maui News.

Kauai

The United States Postal Service is reconsidering a plan to relocate its operations of the Lihue post office from Rice Street to the annex facility near the airport. Garden Island.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will hold a meeting next week regarding the Anahola Village Park playground. Garden Island.

Lanai

The state Land Use Commission on Thursday adopted a hearings officer’s recommendation and found that Lanai Resort Partners did not violate a condition regarding golf course irrigation set by the commission in 1991. Maui News.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

PACOM warns Congress of North Korean nuclear missile threat, Maui mayor to run for lieutenant governor, two candidates for schools superintendent, Legislature spars over rail, Honolulu council advances tax hike, lifeguard liability protection at risk, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

CSPAN TV
Adm. Harry Harris C-SPAN3 screenshot
The head of the U.S. Pacific Command told Congress on Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today,” adding that a defensive radar for the islands is being planned and that installing intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors here is being discussed. Star-Advertiser.

Pacific Command Head Calls For Missile Interceptors In Hawaii To Defend Against North Korea. Adm. Harry Harris said Hawaii needs missile interceptors and improved radar capabilities. American Military News.

U.S. ballistic missile architecture is sufficient to protect Hawaiʻi today, Navy Adm. Harris testified, but it can be overwhelmed. Big Island Video News.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing Wednesday, Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaii. Garden Island.

Does Hawaii face a nuclear missile threat from North Korea? The top U.S. commander in the Pacific says yes. KHON2.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing today, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command, confirmed the threat of North Korea to Hawaiʻi and detailed potential vulnerabilities that exist within current US missile defense capabilities that could put Hawaiʻi at risk. Maui Now.

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Two mainland schools chiefs are in the running to become the next superintendent of Hawaii’s public school system. The Board of Education announced Linda Chen and Christina Kishimoto as the top candidates for the position. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Board of Education is one step closer to finding the state’s next schools superintendent. KHON2.

The state Department of Transportation wants to transfer management of Hawaii's airports from the DOT's Airports Division to a separate entity that it would no longer manage. KITV.

Hawaii airports chief admits failure to bring about changes addressed in airport authority bill. Pacific Business News.

State lawmakers have less than a week to agree over a bill that would protect county lifeguards on state beaches or to let it expire and open the state up to the possibility of personal injury lawsuits — and it appears neither side is budging, a Maui senator said Wednesday. Maui News.

Despite the upswing in rat lungworm cases, researchers who have been studying the disease for years at the University of Hawaii at Hilo are still pleading for state funding. Hawaii News Now.

Extensive environmental protections put in place by former President Barack Obama in waters surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands could be in jeopardy following an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Wednesday that requires a review of national monuments. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Key state lawmakers gathered Wednesday to discuss a new plan to extend the Oahu excise tax surcharge for rail by another 10 years, but it isn’t clear whether the idea has the support it would need to win approval in either the Senate or the House. Star-Advertiser.

Feuding over the future funding of Honolulu’s rail project, normally confined to behind-the-scenes negotiations, broke out into the open Wednesday at a crowded legislative hearing. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers clashed Wednesday over plans to extend a tax to cover a $3 billion shortfall for Honolulu's rail project. Hawaii News Now.

Some called it a drastic departure for Honolulu's train. A new Senate draft of the bill that would fund rail extends the tax by 10 years. That's longer than the two years the House proposed. KITV.

In a series of 5-4 votes, several of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposals to increase taxes and fees won preliminary approval Wednesday from the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

In bid to boost revenues, council passes bill to allow sponsorship of city properties. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday passed a bill banning sitting and lying on sidewalks in parts of Kapalama and Iwilei. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s Water Pipes Keep Rupturing. Customers pay millions annually to repair main breaks, but the Board of Water Supply would need far more to fully upgrade the infrastructure. Civil Beat.

Sears is planning a homecoming of sorts at Ala Moana Center, where the retailer closed a store in 2013 after spending more than 50 years at Hawaii’s largest shopping mall. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The state’s proposed budget includes $40 million for additional widening of Highway 130, according to Puna lawmakers. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s Parker Land Trust, the sister entity of Parker Ranch Inc., one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States, has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against German industrialist and clean energy pioneer Michael Saalfeld for not paying the trust the full amount for the 3,509 acres of land he purchased in 2010 at the Big Island ranch, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

After decades of discussions, adjustments and scrapped plans, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has released an environmental impact statement preparation notification for the master plan for Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park in South Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Several cases of rapid ohia death were confirmed in the main unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, marking the first instances of the deadly fungal disease in one of the most visited locations on the island. Tribune-Herald.

Father reportedly said he disposed of Peter Boy’s body in ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Family members of Peter Kema Jr. were escorted Wednesday morning to the Puna site where Peter Kema Sr. said he left the body of his son, also known as “Peter Boy,” in 1997. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said Wednesday that he is “very strongly inclined” to run for leiutenant governor, the second-highest office in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

On the surface, it seems that the more than 600 workers who lost their jobs with the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar last year have been absorbed by the labor market with Maui unemployment rates below 3 percent and falling, a University of Hawaii economist said Wednesday. Maui News.

An Upcountry dance academy has until Monday to vacate its longtime studio at the Old Kula Community Center, after Maui County condemned the 82-year-old building earlier this week. Maui News.

With worries about rat lungworm disease in the East Maui community, the Kaupo Community Association and the Jonathan Starr Foundation will be sponsoring a free rat trap giveaway during the East Maui Taro Festival on Saturday at the Hana Ballpark. Maui News.

Kauai

Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School will not be opening in August. That decision came after an almost eight-month endeavor to find a space for the school came up short. Garden Island.

Speedie Lube closing Saturday after 30 years in business. Garden Island.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Humpback whale count concludes, over-the-counter birth control advances, counties count budget blessings, Ellison's Lanai golf course up for LUC decision, Honolulu seeks comments on transit development plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Humpback whale breach, courtesy  Kohala Sail & Sea PC: Michael Faughn
More than 380 volunteers gathered data from the shores of Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai during the final count of the 2017 Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count. Tribune-Herald.


Women would no longer have to make a trip to the doctor to get a prescription for birth control pills or other forms of hormonal contraception under a bill that gained approval from negotiators in the House and Senate on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Passage Of State Budget Bill Breaks The Legislative Logjam — For Now. Negotiations continue on the rail-tax measure during the secretive home stretch when Senate and House leaders meet in conference committees. Civil Beat.

Advocates Fear Hawaii’s Sick Leave Bill Abandons Workers In Need. But industry groups say bills that mandate paid sick leave for workers and expand the state’s current family leave law will push prices higher. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are in the midst of intense negotiations about what bills to pass this year. But with only three days left to make decisions, some committees haven’t even met yet. Bills to increase public input about new seawalls, ensure media access in disaster zones and protect lifeguards from lawsuits may die without negotiations. Civil Beat.

A new course of relief for residents plagued by little fire ant infestations or concerned about falling albizia trees is nearing the finish line in the state Legislature. House Bill 606 allows county employees or authorized county agents to enter private property in order to manage invasive species or pests on the land. Tribune-Herald.

State officials reassure visitors after rat lungworm cases. Associated Press.

President Donald Trump is ordering a review of the designations for more than two dozen national monuments, including ecologically rich marine preserves in the Pacific such as Papahanaumokuakea, Marianas Trench and the Pacific Remote Islands. Civil Beat.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that could end up shrinking — or even nullifying — some large federal national monuments on protected public lands, as established since the Clinton administration. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

The city is seeking input on its draft plan for transit-oriented development around the three rail stations in the Hono­lulu Airport area, including proposed new mixed-use communities not primarily centered on housing. Star-Advertiser.

Some residents on Oahu’s North Shore want to stop tour bus companies from dropping off passengers at beaches in the area. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige joined dozens of kindergarten and first-grade students, along with faculty and state officials, to dedicate a new one-story, air-conditioned building at Ewa Elementary School on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Is a DLNR officer harassing a North Shore businessman? KITV.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is looking for a “few good men and women” to fulfill its goal of making military veterans and military family members 7 percent of all their new hires in the next three years. Star-Advertiser.

Waikiki center seeks more aid as costs and services grow. Star-Advertiser.

Even though there have been no cases of rat lungworm on Oahu, fear about the disease is hurting sales for growers of leafy greens. Hawaii News Now.

Kahala Resort plan: Privatization of public beach? KITV.

Honolulu-based Island Air and South Korea's Jin Air have entered into an interline partnership, which allows travelers to book connections between Jin Air’s network throughout Korea and Southeast Asia and Island Air’s destinations in the Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Leaders in the state House and Senate agreed to a budget deal that includes funding for extending Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway, responding to rat lungworm disease and containing rapid ohia death. Tribune-Herald.

West Hawaii is currently using less than 40 percent of what scientists have determined is the sustainable yield of water in the Keauhou Aquifer system. If current population growth trends continue, that amount will top 60 percent by 2035. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island Residents Step Up Resistance To Solar Project. Residents of Hawaii Ocean View Estates are upset about having no formal way to oppose or have input into plans for a large solar farm in their subdivision. Civil Beat.

Peter Kema Sr., as part of a condition of a plea deal, led police on Sunday to a site in Puna where he claims he dumped his 6-year-old son’s body in 1997. Tribune-Herald.

Bird excrement annoying post office goers in Waikoloa Village. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The $1.1 billion in capital improvement projects that state House and Senate conferees agreed upon Monday for the biennium budget include $63 million for the Kihei high school, which should be enough to open the school by 2022, education officials and state lawmakers said Tuesday. Maui News.

An approximately $90 million, 217-condominium unit project behind the Kamaole Shopping Center along South Kihei Road moved closer to fruition Tuesday as the Maui Planning Commission granted a Special Management Area use permit for the project. Maui News.

The former Maui Film Studios will be converted into a 23,000-square-foot trampoline park to open in July or August in the Maui Lani Village Center, the park’s owner said Tuesday. Maui News.

A non-profit dance academy in Kula is scrambling to vacate the Old Kula Community Center building that is being condemned by County officials due to the discovery of chipped and deteriorating lead paint. Maui Now.

Researchers who examined Maui’s nearshore waters in a study of changing sea depths discovered a remarkable amount of seafloor and coral reef erosion — enough sand, rock and other material over nearly four decades to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers have approved a budget bill providing funds for the transfer of operations of Maui Memorial Medical Center and two other state-owned Maui County hospitals to private health care provider Kaiser Permanente. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

When it comes to Kauai’s General Plan, Planning Commissioner Glenda Nogami-Streufert wants to make sure future lawmakers are not locked into policies they cannot enforce. Garden Island.

Dow Chemical is asking members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet agencies to “set aside” results of federal studies that say three pesticides may pose a risk to the health of endangered species and humans. Garden Island.

The water conservation request for Wainiha and Haena residents has been lifted as of 4 p.m., April 25. Customers may return to normal water use. Garden Island.

Lanai

The state Land Use Commission could make a decision this week regarding the water usage at Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison’s Manele Golf Course on Lanai, which could lead to the billionaire shutting down the course. Pacific Business News.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hawaii House, Senate conference committee reaches budget agreement, Pence dines with troops, paraphernalia decriminalized, Hawaii County transit administrator steps down, Makiki homeless apartments opened, Haiku Stairs may come down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Senate majority
House, Senate conference committee, courtesy Senate majority
House and Senate lawmakers reached agreement on a new two-year, $28.4 billion state operating budget Monday that would increase state spending over this year’s level but would trim the overall budget somewhat from what Gov. David Ige originally proposed. Star-Advertiser

When a conference committee of Hawaii House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a state budget bill Monday — sooner than is typical — it was in marked contrast to the sense of stalemate that permeated the Capitol days earlier. Civil Beat.

Governor’s Political Fortunes May Rise With New Teachers’ Contract. Many other union contracts are still being negotiated, but David Ige is being praised by the teachers union after it reached a deal with the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's public school teachers are asking tough questions at informational meetings about their new contract proposal. Hawaii News Now.

Some East Hawaii educators say they’re “pleasantly surprised” with a new tentative contract agreement that would gradually bump their annual pay by more than $6,000 and boost the state’s contribution to their health care. Tribune-Herald.

Vice President Mike Pence dined with about 120 service members this afternoon at Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam on an abbreviated stopover in the islands before returning to Washington from a week-long trip to Asia and Australia. Star-Advertiser.

House and Senate negotiators agreed Monday morning on a bill that would decriminalize possession of drug paraphernalia, reducing the penalties for being caught with items such as a marijuana pipe or cigarette papers to no more than $500. Star-Advertiser.

The Legal Services Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Pro Bono Net have named Hawaii as a state partner in a pilot program to develop online, statewide legal portals to direct individuals with civil legal needs to the most appropriate forms of assistance. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is moving forward with a plan to demolish the Haiku Stairs, although both supporters and opponents of the plan insist the fate of the popular — but now illegal — hiking trail is far from decided. Star-Advertiser.

Should Haiku Stairs be torn out or managed? KITV.

Hawaiian Electric Co. has contracted to build the state’s largest solar farm near Haleiwa with up to 500,000 solar panels on 100 acres. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. and New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. have struck a deal on a power purchase agreement for the Honolulu-based utility to buy power from the Kawailoa Solar farm on Oahu’s North Shore, the two companies said Monday. Pacific Business News.

At least 15 people were treated for exposure to ammonia Monday after a major leak at Pier 38. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Prosecutor Could Be A Witness For The Defense. In an unusual move, a defense attorney wants Keith Kaneshiro to testify about a prosecutor’s investigation into “ghost tickets.” Civil Beat.

Within a few weeks the first homeless families are expected to move into newly renovated rental apartments in the heart of urban Honolulu as the city continues to find homes for people living on the street. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu To Open Makiki Apartments For Homeless People. Applicants for the 42 units must earn less than $35,200 per year for an individual or $50,250 for a family of four. Civil Beat.

City takes legal action to clean Makiki property neglected for years. KHON2.

A Honolulu company headed by a Hawaii solar energy executive has racked up fines totaling $22,000 for multiple violations at its Haleiwa property on Oahu’s North Shore, including doing unpermitted work. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Mass Transit Administrator Tiffany Kai is stepping down and Mayor Harry Kim is bringing in a retired U.S. Marine to whip the struggling Hele-On bus system into shape. West Hawaii Today.

A former Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for the New Year’s Day 2016 sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl on a beach in Hilo’s Keaukaha neighborhood. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island visitors traveling via the popular home sharing website Airbnb this past week for the 54th annual Merrie Monarch Festival Hula Competition were expected to generate $5.2 million in economic activity through guest spending and host earnings, according to Airbnb. West Hawaii Today.

A new National Park Service report shows almost $200 million in economic benefits associated with visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Hawai‘i Island. Big Island Video News.

Scientists are looking to man’s best friend for help in the fight against rapid ohia death. Dogs already are used to sniff out a fungus in Florida avocado trees, and researchers in Hawaii think they could be trained to detect the ohia disease before trees show symptoms. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

State House and Senate conferees agreed Monday on a biennium budget that includes $33.4 million for a Kaiser Permanente subsidiary to run Maui County public hospitals as well as capital improvement funds for extending the Lahaina bypass in the Kaanapali direction and for holding room expansion at Kahului Airport. Maui News.

Maui County Council Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Riki Hokama has proposed keeping the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course open, raising some county rates and fees and a mixed bag of increases and decreases to property tax classifications, compared to the proposed budget of Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

The Maui County Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on real property tax hikes that Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Maui News.

Kauai

Computer, Internet services at public libraries might be lost under Trump’s proposed budget. Garden Island.

Kauai still free of rat lungworm. Health officials advise caution. Garden Island.

An interim arrangement has been reached to address the issue with HI5 bottle redemption and commercially generated recyclable services. Garden Island.

Monday, April 24, 2017

VP Pence visits Hawaii, Hanabusa downplays Korea fear, big raise mulled for teachers, half of Big Island buses broken down, private sponsorship of Oahu city parks proposed, record high carbon dioxide measured, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Pence in Hawaii, courtesy KHON2
Vice President Mike Pence and his family late Sunday evening arrived on Oahu, where he will spend most of his short visit with military personnel. KHON2.

Vice President Mike Pence is on Oahu for a short visit before going back to Washington, D.C., concluding his 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region. Hawaii News Now.

Vice President Mike Pence is making a shortened visit to Hawaii today before heading back to Washington, D.C., ahead of a busy week for President Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

Vice President Mike Pence's office said he would depart Hawaii on Monday afternoon after meeting with U.S. Pacific Command leaders and troops stationed in Honolulu. Plans for a Tuesday visit to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor have been postponed, Pence's office said. Associated Press.

Video: VP Mike Pence Arrives in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

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The fears of a ballistic missile strike on Hawaii from North Korea are overblown, according to U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, speaking at a town hall in Honolulu Saturday. Civil Beat.

3 judges to hear appeal of Hawaii ruling blocking travel ban. Associated Press.

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Hawaii public school teachers would see multiyear pay raises totaling nearly 14 percent under a tentative four-year contract deal reached with the state. Star-Advertiser.

A crucial vote for thousands of Hawaii's public school teachers is coming up this week. They'll have a chance to learn more about a tentative contract agreement during statewide meetings that start on Monday. Hawaii News Now.

After nine months of negotiating, beginning public school teachers across Hawaii could see their salaries jump by nearly $10,000. For the first time by the end of the contract, beginning teachers in Hawaii will be making over $50,000 a year. KITV.

Tentative agreement goes to teachers to ratify. KHON2.

Corey Rosenlee, president of the 13,500-Member Hawaii State Teachers Association, announced that the HSTA Board is recommending a tentative agreement for four-year contract. Maui Now.

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Tom Gorak, Gov. David Ige’s controversial nominee to the state agency that regulates Hawaii’s utilities was dealt a preliminary setback Friday when he was narrowly rejected by a Senate committee. Star-Advertiser.

A state Senate committee recommended Friday to the full Senate to reject Gov. David Ige’s nomination of current Hawaii Public Utilities Commission commissioner Thomas Gorak. Pacific Business News.

A state House-Senate conference committee has recommended final passage of a bill that would budget $250,000 in state money to help fund a physician student loan repayment program for doctors who practice in underserved areas in Hawaii. Maui News.
http://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2017/04/funding-for-student-loan-repayment-program-advances-in-state-legislature/

Atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory last week topped 410 parts per million for the first time in modern history. Star-Advertiser.

More than 600 students joined activists at the state Capitol rotunda Thursday in support of a bill that sets a goal of having all ground transportation in Hawaii run on renewable fuel by 2045. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers tussle with bill to fight painkiller addiction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are still considering several bills designed to make life easier for condominium owners and stem complaints about the boards that oversee their buildings, but some owners say the legislation doesn’t go far enough. Civil Beat.

The state’s Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee advanced a resolution Tuesday calling for a national constitutional convention to claw back the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, which has increased the influence of corporate money in political campaigns. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii, last year ranked the healthiest state in the nation, has scored below average in a report measuring public health preparedness — or the ability to respond to natural disasters, disease outbreaks and other public health crises. Star-Advertiser.

As state health officials try to balance public education with preventing panic, some critics believe the state should have addressed rat lungworm disease more vigorously earlier. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Ige’s administration lacks needed victories. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A bill that would allow private sponsorship of city parks and other facilities is drawing the ire of the Outdoor Circle and others worried that it would clear the way for billboards and other outdoor advertising despite the strong insistence by the bill’s author that that won’t happen. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Commission votes down Haleiwa house lots plan. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The wheels on the bus aren’t going round and round for almost half the Hele-On fleet. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. and its parent companies, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaiian Electric Industries, are asking a judge to dismiss a federal antitrust lawsuit against them by Hu Honua Bioenergy and compel arbitration of all claims. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County’s 2017-18 spending plan was hit with a double whammy Thursday, when a legislative conference committee deadlocked on the county share of the hotel tax and firefighters were awarded a more than 2 percent pay increase. West Hawaii Today.

Invasive spittlebug attacks Kona grazing land. Tribune-Herald.

The Ka‘u Community Development Plan is nearing completion. Tribune-Herald.

Not cleared for takeoff: DLNR confusion puts model flying club in holding pattern. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui surrounded by history. A team of divers is documenting state’s underwater wreckage. Maui News.

Signs have been posted warning people against trespassing near a crop of sunflowers on Maui that is being grown as part of an experiment to produce biofuel. A growing number of visitors have been attracted to the yellow flowers that started blooming weeks ago. Associated Press.

Kauai

The Kauai Police Department is requesting nearly $900,000 from the County Council to lease 15 marked patrol Ford Explorers. Garden Island.

The gigantic pension plan that serves Los Angeles County government employees is putting up for sale the St. Regis Princeville Resort and Makai Golf Club in Princeville, which have been part of the fund’s assets since 2005. The decision has major financial and other ramifications for Kauai. Garden Island.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Firefighters get 2 percent raise, Cayetano urges Trump to cut rail funds, new rules for Aloha Stadium, lava boat tours face fines, another 30 days for Thirty Meter Telescope case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii County firetruck © 2017 All Hawaii News
An arbitrator has awarded raises of more than 2 percent for each of the next two years to Hawaii firefighters in a binding decision that may be the bellwether of ongoing contract negotiations with all of the state and county public worker unions this year. Star-Advertiser.

Health care lobbyists in Hawaii are pushing lawmakers to kill part of a bill that would expand access to fertility treatments to same-sex couples who want to have a child. Associated Press.

A bill to generate school funding through a surcharge on investment properties and visitor accommodations has died. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate resumed its descent in March, falling to 2.7 percent, its lowest level in nearly 10 years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate has continued its downward trend and dropped to its lowest figure in 10 years last month. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions drew fire Thursday for comments about the federal judge from Hawaii who halted President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Democratic lawmakers on Thursday criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he expressed amazement on a radio show that a “judge sitting on an island in the Pacific” could stop the president’s travel ban. Associated Press.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono raised nearly $300,000 in the first three months of the year, bringing her cash-on-hand total to more than $1 million. Civil Beat.

A state Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday that the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General can keep secret its year-long investigation of the state auditor’s office. Civil Beat.

The future of cannabis in Hawaii -- that was the controversial topic of a forum held Thursday night at the Hawaii Democratic Party headquarters. Hawaii News Now.

One of Hawaii’s newest agricultural initiatives, industrial hemp, slowly is gaining its footing as state agencies lay groundwork for a long-term commitment to the crop. Tribune-Herald.

Professor says state’s coral reefs have chance to bounce back from bleaching. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Hawaii Senate To Propose 10-Year Extension On Rail Tax. But Honolulu would receive a smaller share of the surcharge while some money goes to the state highway fund. Civil Beat.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano is urging President Donald Trump to cut funding for Honolulu’s beleaguered rail project, arguing that cost estimates are the some of the highest in the world. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu’s rail agency has started the process to acquire a First Hawaiian Bank-owned facility next to Kalihi Stream via eminent domain. Star-Advertiser.

The deed restrictions on the 100 acres of land under Aloha Stadium in Honolulu has officially been lifted, paving the way for a planned major redevelopment project that includes building a mixed-use community using a rail transit station, as well as a brand new, smaller stadium that could accommodate more events. Pacific Business News.

It took city, state and federal government officials assisted by attorneys and others, but the paperwork to lift restrictions against using the 98-acre Aloha Stadium property for anything other than recreation is officially done. Star-Advertiser.

City Council considers rules that would add accessibility to new homes. KHON2.

More than 1000 people are expected to March for Science in Honolulu Saturday. KITV.

New signs promoting environmental and cultural care are being installed around Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Participants in the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case will have another month to submit their final arguments. Tribune-Herald.

Two men could face substantial fines for allegedly operating illegal lava boat tours. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is recommending fines of $60,000 against Henry Pomroy, $20,000 against William Fujimoto and $60,000 against Ho‘okupu Fish Company LLC, which they co-own. Tribune-Herald.

Miss Aloha Hula 2017 is hula sister of last year’s winner. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

More than 1,000 Maui residents attended a Town Hall meeting hosted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday night at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Maui Now.

HC&S shutdown adds urgency to wildfire training. Firefighters prepare for their busy season, the first without the help of sugar plantation crews. Maui News.

Flurry of Activity at Flower Farm Followed by Private Property Reminder. Maui Now.

Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC is opening up an office in Downtown Honolulu to help further the company’s education mission. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Some locals say marijuana should be legalized, regulated. Garden Island.

The Department of Public Works will hold a meeting Tuesday on the proposed alternatives for the repair work planned for ‘Aliomanu Road in Anahola. Garden Island.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Teacher tax struggling, $13M technology fiasco, rat lungworm cases pile up after slug found in kava drink, Honolulu police to get body cams, agreement reached in Big Island compost contract, Haleakala tour companies pared, Schatz and Gabbard continue town hall tour, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii State Teachers Association
Teacher rally at Capitol earlier this year, courtesy HSTA
Legal, practical and political problems appear to be piling up in the path of a controversial proposal to impose tax surcharges on hotel rooms and residential investment properties to raise more money for public education. Star-Advertiser.

An information technology firm that is battling the state in court over a failed state Department of Transportation computer project has filed for bankruptcy, but transportation officials say they plan to pursue their claims against the company. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature is on the cusp of passing two bills that will allow online accommodation brokers such as Airbnb to serve as tax collectors for the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has one of the toughest drug paraphernalia possession laws in the country. But, Hawaii lawmakers are working to decriminalize paraphernalia possession. KITV.

Coast Guard Budget Cuts Could Mean Fewer Rescues In Hawaii. The service’s District 14 is a lifeline for the islands. All coastal states are concerned, but Hawaii would be hit the hardest. Civil Beat.

Hawaii ranks fifth among the 50 states in the U.S. for shifting to renewable energy, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

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State Department of Health officials confirmed two more cases of the parasitic disease rat lungworm today and said another four are probable. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Health announced Wednesday that as many as six more people may have been infected with rat lungworm disease on the Big Island, bringing the year-to-date total of the parasitic infections statewide to 15. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Department of Health announced Wednesday that two Hawaii Island residents have been diagnosed with rat lungworm infections, bringing the number of confirmed cases across the state up to 11 in 2017. West Hawaii Today.

Two new cases of rat lungworm disease have been reported on Hawaii Island, with four more probable cases, after residents in Puna accidentally consumed garden slugs in a homemade drink. Big Island Video News.

As many as six people have contracted rat lungworm disease on the Big Island after drinking homemade kava tainted by slugs, the state Health Department said Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Department of Health says there are two new cases of rat lungworm on the Big Island. There are also four other cases that are probably for rat lungworm. KITV.

Two new cases of rat lungworm on Hawaii Island were confirmed today by the Hawaii Department of Health. Another four cases are considered highly probable due to exposure through the same method. KHON2.

Oahu

The Honolulu Police Department has crafted a nine-page policy on the use of body-worn cameras for its officers as it gears up for a pilot project scheduled to begin before the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Twenty Honolulu Police Department officers should be outfitted with body-worn cameras by the end of the year as part of a pilot program. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police officers accused of crimes or named in lawsuits may not be getting the legal representation they deserve under state law. Civil Beat.

Officials on Thursday night will be discussing how to proceed with the off-limits Haiku stairs. Hawaii News Now.

Critics: Billboards proposal would allow ads on everything from public buildings to garbage trucks. Hawaii News Now.

It took the state nearly 12 hours to alert the public about 3 escapees. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Health fined a Waikiki health food restaurant $9,000 for hiding a yellow “Conditional Pass” placard, indicating the restaurant had major food code violations. Star-Advertiser.

Heavenly, a popular breakfast and dinner café in Waikiki, was fined $9,000 by the Department of Health for hiding a yellow conditional pass placard that was issued following other food safety violations, though the restaurant claims it was not intentional. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii developer Gil Barden has purchased a vacant parcel of land in the Honolulu neighborhood of Makiki that’s surrounded by residential buildings for $2.9 million. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Mayor Harry Kim and Hawaiian Earth Recycling announced an agreement Wednesday that trims $1.5 million off its original contract and relocates a planned composting facility away from the Keaukaha/Panaewa neighborhood that doesn’t want it. West Hawaii Today.

A contested case hearing about a proposed 306-unit condominium in Kahaluu will continue beyond the originally planned two-day schedule to allow an area resident to question a groundwater expert about his research for the project. West Hawaii Today.

Former Hawaii County police officer Michael Dubberstein’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss an assault charge filed in connection with a 2014 road rage incident in Ka’u. West Hawaii Today.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz emphasized his commitment to resisting President Donald Trump’s agenda while working toward the “sweet spot” of bipartisanship during a town hall meeting Tuesday at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Senator Brian Schatz tackled questions of federal concern, like working (or resisting) on the Trump administration, the potential threat from North Korea, ethics and the emulsion clause, internet privacy, and helicopter noise on Hawaii Island. Big Island Video News.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard warned of the threat from North Korea and defended her stance on the conflict in Syria during a packed town hall meeting in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

A huge crowd came out to hear from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in Hilo Tuesday night. Big Island Video News.

Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Moanikeala Akaka, whose early activism in the 1970s helped native Hawaiians eventually obtain more than $100 million in trust land revenues, has died. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Higher costs for wind power in April increased the bills for electric utility customers on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Starting in 2018, Haleakala EcoTours, Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Adventures and Valley Isle Excursions will be the only companies allowed to bring vehicle-based tours into Haleakala National Park, park officials announced Tuesday. Maui News.

Hawaii park officials have announced that starting in 2018 only four companies will be allowed to bring vehicle-based tours into Haleakala National Park. Associated Press.

The Office of the County Auditor said Tuesday that there was “poor communication,” “assumptions” and “pressure to move quickly” in the process that led to the demolition of the historic Old Wailuku Post Office, siding for the most part with the Maui County Council in its dispute with Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

About 100 high school and adult golfers rallied Tuesday evening outside the Kalana O Maui building demanding the county save its only public golf course, which Mayor Alan Arakawa has proposed to close by the end of the year. Maui News.

Kauai

About 300 people came to the Kauai Veterans Center Wednesday evening for a town hall meeting with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Garden Island.