What they're saying about Hawaii


Monday, October 5, 2015

Prominent people seek marijuana licenses, lawmakers block biotech correspondence, $1.7B tech tax credits run amok, teachers' ethics compromise planned, Big Island biotech to fuel power-hungry Oahu, $10M donated for Punahou scholarships, federal funds for false killer whale study, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

used with permission under Wiki Commons
Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop in Denver, courtesy O'Dea
Big-name entrepreneurs, high-profile attorneys and former politicians are positioning themselves to compete for one of the eight licenses the state will issue next year to begin selling medical marijuana legally in Hawaii for the first time. Nearly 30 new business registrations include “marijuana,” “cannabis,” “pakalolo” and “weed” in their names, many of them filed with the state since the enactment of the law authorizing the establishment of pot dispensaries. Many are associated with well-known business personalities. Star-Advertiser.

Two Hawaii lawmakers have rejected a request from a nonprofit organization seeking correspondence between the legislators and biotech companies or groups representing their interests. The Hawaii Center for Food Safety asked five lawmakers to share all their communications with seed companies such as Monsanto — as well as organizations representing them — regarding genetically engineered crops and bills related to buffer zones and pesticide use. Civil Beat.

Special state tax credits lawmakers approved almost 15 years ago to spur growth in Hawaii’s technology sector could eventually cost the state up to $1.7 billion in lost tax collections, or more than twice the amount the state previously estimated, according to the Hawaii state auditor. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. CEO and President Alan Oshima would like to puncture a dream once and for all: This state shouldn’t expect cheap electricity. It could become less expensive, eventually, but it won’t be cheap. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gas’ $300 million plan to ship in liquefied natural gas in bulk amounts to the Islands could save the state in excess of $2 billion over a 15-year period from the beginning of 2019 through the end of 2033, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

A Board of Education committee has come up with a possible solution to the ethical dilemma posed by public school teachers traveling free as chaperones on field trips they organize with tour companies. Star-Advertiser.

Bruce Anderson, a well-known Hawaii leader in environmental protection, has been selected to be administrator of the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources. West Hawaii Today.

A new federal funding source for false killer whale research will allow researchers to dive deeper into their understanding of the elusive marine species. Last week, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in partnership with Hawaii Pacific University and the Olympia, Wash.-based Cascadia Research Collective, received nearly $1.2 million in grant funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association fisheries division to support further conservation and research relating to the whales. Tribune-Herald.


The biggest construction and renovation projects at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific since 1966 have the Department of Veterans Affairs warning visitors to Punchbowl that things will be bumpy — and noisy and somewhat unsightly — for some time at the usually serene cemetery. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Planning Commission voted last week to recommend approval of a city proposal to rezone about 282 acres in Waipahu to make way for mixed-use communities around the area’s two rail stations. Star-Advertiser.

Here’s What Homeless People Have to Do to Get Their Property Back. When belongings are confiscated instead of trashed, Honolulu’s retrieval process is too expensive and cumbersome for many. Civil Beat.

The Sierra Club of Hawaii has expressed “extreme disappointment” in Governor Ige, the U.S. Navy, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for agreeing to a settlement that the nonprofit says does not do nearly enough to protect Oahu’s drinking water from the massive, “historically leaky” fuel storage tanks beneath Red Hill. Hawaii Independent.

Punahou School announced Sunday that it has received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor and alumnus that will have a multiplier effect on its student financial aid program. The gift represents one of the most significant philanthropic contributions in the school’s history, and by far the largest ever made outside of a capital campaign. KHON2.

An unprecedented $10 million gift to Punahou School is expected to help 150 more families over the next five years afford an education at the state’s largest single-campus private school, and advance Punahou’s long-standing goal to increase access for qualified students. Star-Advertiser

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has plans to install protective fencing on a hillside just below the popular Lanikai 'Pillbox' trail. KITV4.


New liquor license fees to be considered Tuesday by the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee will usher in new opportunities for county businesses, officials say. West Hawaii Today.

Work will begin Monday to restore Cemetery Road in Pahoa, a large portion of which less than a year ago was covered by lava. Tribune-Herald.

A renewable energy project in South Kohala is catching its second wind with a new operator. Lalamilo Wind Co. LLC is building five wind turbines at the former Lalamilo Wind Farm near Puako, which Hawaii Electric Light Co. decommissioned in 2010 after operating for 25 years. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a contract between Hawaiian Electric Co. and Pacific Biodiesel Technologies to supply biodiesel for Oahu power generators. West Hawaii Today.

VIDEO PRESENTATION: Ka’u Coffee Economic & Risk Analysis. Big Island Video News.


Maui is down to only a handful of agricultural inspectors a day - the frontline defense against new invasive species arrivals such as the little fire ant and coqui frogs - and there does not appear to be any relief in sight with a deadly fungus rapidly killing Big Island ohia trees. Maui News.

Former Maui Film Commissioner Harry Donenfeld's termination from his job nearly two years ago went unexplained publicly at the time, but in a recent interview Mayor Alan Arakawa disclosed that Donenfeld was fired because "he wasn't coming to work, period." Maui News.

Road work begins today, Monday, Oct. 5, in the Summit District of Haleakalā National Park. Maui Now.

The mayor's South Maui budget meeting that was canceled due to a tsunami advisory Sept. 16 has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Kihei Community Center. Maui News.


Kauai’s Hilo Hattie store isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even though the company is downsizing and relocating its flagship store on Oahu, company officials say the original Kauai branch will stay right where it is. Garden Island.

The newest store in the Longs chain on Kauai was blessed and dedicated Sunday morning before a handful of customers. Garden Island.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hawaii 'Bleachapalooza' coral inventory set for Saturday, military, EPA ink agreement on leaky Red Hill storage tanks, helipads coming to Ellison's Lanai property, UH Cancer Center money unresolved, wind works on Maui, Big Island, Honolulu rail work chugging along, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Bird wrasse amid Hawaii coral © 2015 All Hawaii News
The state department of Land and Natural Resources launches a “Beachapalooza” event this weekend to bring attention to the damaging effects of coral bleaching in the islands. Maui Now.

Volunteers will be searching for the damage to the island’s coral reefs caused by high water temperatures Saturday, and more people are needed. They’re looking for coral bleaching, when corals go from their normal vibrancy to a whiteness close to death. West Hawaii Today.

NextEra Energy Inc., the company proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, won’t go through the acquisition process a second time if Hawaii regulators ultimately nix the current proposal that’s on the table, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Innocence Project is looking to revamp its image in the community. It was started in 2005 by retiring UH law professor Virginia Hench and local defense attorneys Susan Arnett, Brook Hart and Bill Harrison. Like other Innocence Projects throughout the U.S., its goal is to free the wrongfully convicted. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has a new sheriff in town. The Department of Public Safety announced its appointment Thursday of Renee Sonobe Hong to head the state Sheriff Division. Civil Beat.


State and federal officials said Thursday that “immediate and long-term” actions being required of the Navy will help reduce the threat of future leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. Star-Advertiser.

A new agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Hawaii Department of Health, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency outlines a plan to upgrade underground fuel storage tanks in Red Hill over the next 20 years. Civil Beat.

Senator Laura Thielen deems Honolulu’s drinking water to be at continued contamination risk even after the Navy and the state struck an agreement today concerning leaks from fuel tanks at the Red Hill facility. Hawaii Independent.

Members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents Budget and Finance Committee couldn’t agree Thursday on how much money to seek from the state Legislature for the financially troubled UH Cancer Center, and instead passed out a budget proposal omitting the $5 million university officials had wanted. Star-Advertiser.

A structural assessment of the Wilson Tunnel on Likelike Highway has identified additional deterioration of stainless-steel rods supporting the ceiling, state Department of Transportation officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Workers are almost done building the rail system’s Pearl City-based high-tech operations center — a milestone that rail leaders touted Thursday — but the deal for the city to own the land under that site still isn’t done and at least one key rail official is concerned about how that might affect the project. Star-Advertiser.

HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas, along with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, sounded upbeat when showing off the structures and rail already being laid down at HART’s Rail Operations Center. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu buildings deal with elevator issues, maintenance problems. KHON2.

A city crew patched potholes on Halekauwila Street in Kakaako on Thursday following weeks of heavy rain, but the public shouldn’t expect the same to be done for several nearby streets in shabby condition. That’s because the city has discontinued maintenance of at least five streets in central Kakaako after the private owner of the public thoroughfares restricted parking along major portions of Queen, Waimanu, Kawaiahao, Ilaniwai and Cummins streets. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge sentenced a former executive director of the Hawaii Center for Independent Living to 21 months in prison Thursday for embezzling nearly $180,000 in federal grant money from the now-defunct nonprofit organization, which provided services to people with disabilities.Star-Advertiser.

A third former employee of Waianae Community Outreach has been charged with felony theft, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced Thursday. Civil Beat.

Firefighters are investigating a potentially toxic gas release at the Waiau Power Plant that occurred Thursday evening. Hawaii News Now.


A massive energy kite being developed in California could be deployed for testing near Waimea by early next year. West Hawaii Today.

Cinder mining operations will likely be expanded in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates without the county being forced to regulate assessments on private roads there, if the Windward Planning Commission follows through on planning director recommendations following a protracted contested case hearing that wrapped up Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

How to keep energy costs down dominated the public hearing at Kealakehe High School on a possible merger between Hawaii Electric Company and Florida-based NextEra Wednesday night. The hearing was organized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, part of a series running across the state. West Hawaii Today.

On the Big Island, work is underway for a wind farm in South Kohala. The project will consist of five wind turbines – generating 3.3 megawatts of energy – for the Department of Water Supply wells. KITV4.

This weekend, Puna residents will have another opportunity to live through the harrowing approach of the June 27 lava flow. “The Pahoa Flow,” a documentary made by Pahoa-area residents Josh Ballauer, Jeremiah Lofgreen and Matt Tavares, will premiere Saturday at Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar in Kalapana. Tribune-Herald.


A Maui County Council committee Wednesday recommended fast-track approval of the 184-unit Kenolio Apartments affordable rental housing project in Kihei, with a member saying affordable housing is "direly needed." Maui News.

Maui Electric Co. has steadily increased the amount of wind energy that it utilizes for power generation, leaving less curtailed, or wasted, energy on the table, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

South Maui state Rep. Kaniela Ing and Hawaiian activists Walter Ritte Jr. and Dr. Noa Aluli are among the candidates vying to be delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention. Maui News.


Former deputy prosecutor Lisa Arin will officially announce her bid for the office of Kauai’s Prosecuting Attorney in the 2016 election Tuesday. Garden Island.

The planned revival of the shuttered Coco Palms Resort on Kauai is back on track after the county approved demolition permits for the famous resort. Star-Advertiser.

A local subsidiary of a Texas-based gasoline company has made a deal to acquire a mix of gas stations, convenience stores and Subway restaurants on Kauai from a 57-year-old kamaaina firm. Star-Advertiser.


Molokai residents voiced largely opposition two weeks ago to a proposed merger between Hawaiian Electric and NextEra, a Florida-based energy company. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is gathering public feedback on the proposed $4.3 million merger and will make a decision within the next six months. Molokai’s feedback, said Commission Chair Randall Iwase, has been in keeping with what they’ve heard so far around the state. Molokai Dispatch.


Billionaire Larry Ellison, who purchased 98 percent of the Hawaiian Island of Lanai several years ago for $300 million, has plans to develop helistop pads at the two luxury Four Seasons resorts that he owns on the Pineapple Island. Pacific Business News.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gov. Ige goes paperless, auditor targets growing IT problems, Hawaii tourism dollars fly homeless back to mainland, online travel companies to pay $53M in back taxes, 209 vie for 40 Native Hawaiian delegate slots, Maui homeless next project, Big Island opposes NextEra utility purchase, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Governor's Office
Gov. David Ige goes paperless, courtesy Governor's Office
In an effort to get a grip on the growing cost of complex state computer projects, the state auditor has hired a private auditing firm to finally inventory how much state agencies are actually spending on information technology, and what the projects are designed to accomplish. Star-Advertiser.

In an effort to make government more efficient, Hawaii Gov. David Ige plans to start processing all documents electronically starting Thursday, according to a press release from his office. Civil Beat.

A unit set up in the state Attorney General’s Office to combat Medicaid fraud has failed to communicate with federal authorities about its investigations and worked on cases that were not allowed under a federal grant, according to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Star-Advertiser.

The state Attorney General’s office said Wednesday that online travel companies will have to pay $53.1 million in general excise taxes, penalties and interest stemming from litigation that began in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaiian vacation tab has arrived for nine online travel companies, and it’s a big one. The companies, including Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline, owe the state of Hawaii $53.1 million in general excise taxes, penalties and interest, the state Tax Appeal Court ruled. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s attorney general on Wednesday said the state has recovered more than $53.1 million in general excise tax, penalties and interest from nine online travel companies, following a final judgement by the state Tax Appeal Court. West Hawaii Today.

A federal research vessel returned to Honolulu on Wednesday after discovering perhaps a dozen species never seen before in an expedition exploring the coral reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at greater depths than ever before. Among the discoveries was a possible new species of sea horse and a sea star previously not seen in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

The list of delegates running in a election this fall to establish a way forward for Native Hawaiian self-determination includes a lot of names that will be familiar to many people. Civil Beat.

Some 209 candidates will vie for 40 delegate positions across the islands for the Native Hawaiian ‘aha constitutional convention that will work to form a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

209 candidates are running for 40 spots to help form a Native Hawaiian government.  The long-awaited list of people wanting to participate in the landmark Na'i Aupuni election was released just one day after the Department of Interior announced a pathway toward federal recognition for Native Hawaiians -- which has some asking what impact, if any, it will have on the November vote. Hawaii News Now.

Throughout November of 2015, Native Hawaiians who have been registered by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission will be able to vote for 40 delegates to attend an ʻaha, or convention, in which those delegates will convene for the purpose of working out the details of a new Hawaiian government and determining what relationship the governing entity would have with the Hawaiian community, as well as with the State of Hawai‘i and the United States of America.  Hawaii Independent.

What does it mean to be local in Hawaii? That’s a discussion we’re diving into in a new thread in our popular Connections section. It launches today with a podcast featuring former Gov. Ben Cayetano and a story by a young man who left his dream life in Hawaii because he didn’t feel local enough. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association pledged Wednesday to expand the Waikiki homeless outreach program that in the past 11 months served 355 people, including 115 who were assisted with buying airline tickets to leave the state. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s tourism industry and the state’s biggest homeless shelter operator are partnering to expand a program that flies homeless people back to the mainland. Civil Beat.

Fence built to deter homeless camp causes parking shortage near Honolulu Community College. Hawaii News Now.

Imagine a flood that raised the level of the Ala Wai Canal just seven feet. It's possible, and engineers are working on a way to keep those waters from overflowing into Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Traffic, street parking, drainage and loss of the community’s character were among the issues raised by neighbors at a public meeting Wednesday about the proposed Skyline Honolulu condominium on the slopes of Punchbowl crater. Star-Advertiser.

Eight schools with large numbers of military dependents in West Oahu will benefit from a $1.5 million federal grant aimed at expanding learning opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Star-Advertiser.

Alan Oshima, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Co., which is involved in a proposed $4.3 billion sale to NextEra Energy Inc., has met with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission eight times this year, more than he did in the three previous years combined, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

For more than a half century, the fountain at Kailua’s Pohakupu Mini Park has proudly welcomed visitors and residents into the Windward Oahu community. But for more than two years, it has sat in a state of disrepair. Its waters have gone from streaming to stagnant. KHON2.

Kamehameha Schools isn’t selling its leased fee interest in the 677 Ala Moana Building nor is it looking to buy the landmark Honolulu high-rise, a spokesman for the trust confirmed to Pacific Business News.


Area residents who spoke during a public meeting were almost universally opposed to the pending acquisition of Hawaii Island’s electric utility. More than 300 people attended the meeting, with dozens waiting in line to speak to the PUC members. Tribune-Herald.

Hundreds packed the Hilo High School cafeteria Tuesday night for the Hawaii Public Utility Commission’s public listening session for the Hawaiian Electric Companies and NextEra Energy docket, a multi-billion dollar deal said to be one of the biggest economic transactions in state history. Big Island Video News.

A handful of Big Island residents spent Tuesday evening under a pop-up tent in the parking lot of Hilo High School giving out buttons, bumper stickers, yard signs and gray T-shirts emblazoned with “Own The Power.” Civil Beat.

Thirty-two candidates are running for seven positions as Hawaii Island delegates to a Native Hawaiian constitutional convention, or aha, set for early next year. In all, more than 200 candidates qualified for a total of 40 delegate positions, the organization in charge of the election and convention announced Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

A meeting opposed to the introduction of a marijuana grow site in Kohala included a strong current of local rule. West Hawaii Today.

A disagreement between the board that controls the roads in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates and two quarry companies over expansion of mining activities in the neighborhood played out before a Windward Planning Commission panel on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

With construction on Kamehameha Avenue reaching an end after a year and a half of work, a host of smaller roadway projects continue in the Hilo area. Work on Manono Street and Kapiolani Street began earlier this year. A reconstruction project on Komohana Street is set to begin this week. Tribune-Herald.


A Kahului resident has filed a petition to have the Maui Planning Commission consider sugar cane smoke when evaluating special management area use permits for projects near and around shorelines. Maui News.

The Grand Wailea reached a more than $3 million settlement Monday with nonmanagerial food and beverage workers owed back wages dating back to 2006, said a member of the class-action lawsuit. Maui News.

It’s been nearly a year since tourism officials funded a plan to tackle Waikīkī’s homeless problem. Now they’re looking to expand the model to neighbor islands, starting first on Maui. Hawaii Public Radio.

Since the announcement Sept. 23 that Kaiser Permanente has been chosen to take over Maui's three public hospitals, some - including Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui - have questioned what that would mean for residents who aren't insured by Kaiser. Maui News.

The Maui County Farm Bureau announced honorees of its annual award celebration, who were recognized for demonstrating tremendous support for Maui agriculture. Maui Now.


Five candidates from Kauai County have been cleared to campaign in an upcoming private election for Native Hawaiian self-governance. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Federal recognition plans for Native Hawaiians draws mixed reviews-- 10 articles and an opinion. Plus, civil rights lawsuit at Department of Education, Maui coqui frog invasion, Sandwich Isles Communication loses money to tax evader, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Department of the Interior 2014 sovereignty hearing © 2015 All Hawaii News
More than a year after holding hearings in Hawaii where most speakers rejected U.S. government involvement in their Native Hawaiian sovereignty discussions, the Department of the Interior announced Tuesday a proposal to create a procedure in case a unified government comes forward seeking federal recognition. West Hawaii Today.

Proposed rules announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior emphasize that Native Hawaiians — not the federal government — would decide how to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government and determine any relationship it would have with the United States. Star-Advertiser.
copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Faye Hanohano © 2015 All Hawaii News

The U.S. Department of the Interior has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding “Procedures for Re-establishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community.” Civil Beat.

The U.S. Interior Department is moving forward with a proposed rule that could lead to federal recognition of Native Hawaiians. The announcement comes one year after Department officials led a series of listening sessions across the state and on the mainland. Hawaii Public Radio.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Tuesday a proposal to create an administrative process by which a Native Hawaiian government could seek a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States. Garden Island.

The United States Department of the Interior today announced their proposal for “re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community.” The controversial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows a series of public meetings held in the summer of 2014 in which most of those who testified spoke out against the Interior’s involvement in Hawaiian sovereignty affairs. Big Island Video News.

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
© 2015 All Hawaii News

It will be up to the Native Hawaiian community to create its own government — if it chooses to do so, federal officials said as they outlined a proposal to establish a possible government-to-government relationship. Associated Press.

In a 74-page document, the U.S. Department of the Interior set a framework for a Native Hawaiian government's relationship with the U.S. Government if that's what Native Hawaiians want. Hawaii News Now.

Some say it is all about protecting $450 million worth of programs that support Native Hawaiians against race-based legal challenges. It's about federal recognition and a "special political status"-- government to government. KITV4.

The U.S. government proposed Tuesday a process to reorganize a Native Hawaiian government. The proposal creates a process or procedure that would be followed if Native Hawaiians formed a unified government. KHON2.

Opinion: The casual racism and the more ominous state-sponsored oppression that the TMT episode has brought to the surface are reminders that, like oppressed people throughout America and the world, Hawaiians are still fighting for civil liberties and equality under the law. Hawaii Independent.

A telecom company that serves about 3,600 residents of Hawaiian Home Lands is facing mounting financial difficulties following a Monday ruling by the state Public Utilities Commission that cuts off its federal subsidies through at least March. Star-Advertiser.

Why Can’t the State Make Developers Keep Their Promises? The state Land Use Commission often lacks the power to enforce the conditions that developers agree to. Civil Beat.

The former head of the Department of Education's civil rights office has sued her former bosses, alleging that the DOE suppressed civil rights investigations, improperly shredded important documents and mishandled the department's policy for reporting child abuse. Hawaii News Now.

The former head of the Hawaii Department of Education's civil rights office has filed a lawsuit against her former bosses, claiming the department suppressed civil rights investigations, improperly shredded important documents and mishandled the department's policy for reporting child abuse. Associated Press.

Hawaii is ranked among the worst places to be a teacher in the nation, according to annual rankings by the website WalletHub released this week. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii’s Institute for Biogenesis Research is just 15 years old but has already made a serious impact on the local and national health landscape. The institute, which focuses on reproductive and developmental biomedical research, has attracted $40 million in outside funding over the past decade and a half. Pacific Business News.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will host a "Bleachapalooza" event Saturday to spread awareness of the damaging effects of coral bleaching. Maui News.

Bank of Hawaii Corp. is exiting the aircraft leasing business and is disposing of six aircraft and a lease it has on another, according to a company filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Star-Advertiser.


City officials are proposing zoning changes for about 282 acres around Waipahu’s two rail stations to facilitate development of mixed-use neighborhoods patterned after the city planners’ concept of “live, work and play.” Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. customers will be on the hook to pay for an increase in internships made available if the $4.3 billion sale of the Honolulu-based utility to NextEra Energy Inc. goes through, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

A state judge is giving former Honolulu police officer Danson Cappo, who pleaded no contest to theft, assault and property damage charges, a chance to eventually clear the offenses from his record. Star-Advertiser.

The fifth phase of the city’s enforcement in Kakaako happened Tuesday, and another block is now clear of what had been a massive homeless encampment. KHON2.


Trial began Tuesday morning over the claims of Native Hawaiians that the state is neglecting its duty to watch over the Army's lease of the huge Pohakuloa training area on the Big Island. Hawaii News Now.

Robert Emmett “Bob” Bethea, a retired attorney and prominent business and community leader, died Sept. 18 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo. He was 85. Tribune-Herald.

Star creation is a messy but spectacular process as an image released by Hawaii’s Gemini Observatory shows. Tribune-Herald.


A heavy infestation of coqui frogs in Maliko Gulch has migrated toward Haliimaile and thousands of the critters have spilled onto neighboring properties, causing at least one homeowner to warn the public. Maui News.

Aided by increased air seats to Kahului, Maui's robust visitor industry continued to grow faster than any other county in the state in August, according to statistics released Monday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Maui News.

This Thursday, Oct. 1 is the ostensible deadline for the County of Maui to get its act together in regards to Act 136, the new state law that requires county Liquor Commissions to define dancing (since they’re so insistent on enforcing dancing restrictions). MauiTime.


Life’s Choices Kauai, which is part of the Office of the Mayor, is conducting a survey about services for an adolescent treatment and healing center (ATHC) that will be built off Maalo Road in Kapaia. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hawaii set to lose federal Safe Drinking Act funds, state #2 in military money, Affordable Care Act waiver makes Hawaii first, more on medical marijuana dispensaries, Punchbowl condo project opposed, sex offenders get special treatment, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Freshwater stream enters Pacific Ocean © 2015 All Hawaii News
The federal government is withholding $8 million — or all of the 2015 fiscal year funding that’s earmarked for repairing Hawaii’s drinking water infrastructure — because the Hawaii Department of Health continues to do a poor job of spending federal funds, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Department of Health shouldn’t receive any more federal funds under the Safe Drinking Water Act until it cleans up its own act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General said in a report made public Monday. Daily Caller.

Read full EPA report on Hawaii's drinking water infrastructure spending here.

Hawaii still ranked No. 2 in the nation in fiscal 2014 among states with the greatest military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product, but those expenditures slipped to $7.6 billion in 2014 from $8.1 billion the previous year, the Department of Defense said in a new report. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s first draft of an Affordable Care Act waiver proposal is the first of its kind in the nation. The state is seeking public input on a waiver to harmonize its relatively progressive Prepaid Health Care Act, which passed in 1974, with the federal health care law. Pacific Business News.

Protections Proposed for 49 Hawaii Species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to add 10 animals and 39 plants to the Endangered Species Act. Civil Beat.

Should lawyers be allowed to represent medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal under Hawaii state law but not under federal law? That’s the question the state Supreme Court is grappling with, and it’s asked for public input. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s record run of visitor arrivals and spending could be in jeopardy next year even though airlines are bringing more seats to the islands than ever before. Star-Advertiser.

While the visitor growth in August was not as strong as in previous months, Hawaii’s visitor industry continues to exceed 2014 records in spending and arrivals. Spending reached $10.3 billion for the first eight months of 2015 and contributed $1.1 billion in state tax revenue. West Hawaii Today.

Virgin America, AirAsiaX and Jin Air will begin operating flights between Hawaii and the West Coast and Asia by the end of the year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority says. Pacific Business News.

State lawmakers have confronted the issue of how to allow charitable giving by candidates in a way that creates a public benefit but doesn't give incumbents an unfair advantage over those seeking to challenge them politically. Maui News.

Treating Hawaii’s Sex Offenders: ‘Here, We Don’t Give Up on People’ Of the state program’s 800-plus “graduates,” only 20 have returned to prison after committing a new sex crime, a recidivism rate of slightly more than 2 percent. Civil Beat.


Plans for a contentious condominium project on the makai slopes of Punchbowl crater will be subject to a public hearing Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

Pearl Harbor was once known as Oahu’s “bread basket” because it was such an important fishing area, teeming with ocean life. But since the construction of the iconic U.S. military base, the pristine harbor has been marred by environmental disaster. Civil Beat.

The cost of a parking ticket and other traffic violations on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus would significantly increase next summer under a proposal that would bring campus fines in line with citations from Honolulu police and state sheriff’s deputies. Star-Advertiser.

More than a year after a violent fight between a Honolulu police officer and his girlfriend was caught on surveillance video, the internal investigation is finally done. HPD Sgt. Darren Cachola was not indicted for domestic violence but his own department could hand down stiff punishment against the 19-year veteran of the force. Hawaii News Now.

Goto Construction has been contracted by the city to refurbish 15 playgrounds across Oahu, and they’re hoping to bring a new one online every week. KHON2.


NASA’s announcement Monday that it found evidence of liquid water on Mars was reassuring for a University of Hawaii at Hilo team hoping to select the landing site for the first manned mission to the red planet. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Public Utility Commission has granted the request made by Parker Ranch subsidiary Paniolo Power Company, LLC to withdraw from the HEI-NextEra merger docket. Big Island Video News.

A trial begins today in a lawsuit that accuses the state Department of Land and Natural Resources of failing to properly oversee the Army’s use of ceded lands at the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.


Kahului is one of the most tax-friendly places for retirees in Hawaiʻi, according to a recent study from SmartAsset, a New York-based financial technology company. Maui Now.


Visitor expenditures on Kauai increased 15.5 percent (to $1.1 billion), which was boosted by the growth in visitor arrivals (up 4.5 percent to 802,554) and air seats into Lihue (up 5.2 percent to 473,200). Per person per day spending also saw a double-digit increase of 12.2 percent, which helped the island maintain its momentum for the first eight months of 2015. Garden Island.

The Department of Public Works used sand to fill holes at Kapaa Beach Park after an old cesspool was removed Monday morning. Garden Island.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Environmentalists seek tougher tuna rules, Maui mulls tax breaks for affordable housing, butterfly arrives in Hawaii, IRS probe shows Hee's political spending, charter changes coming to Honolulu, trial on Pohakuloa munitions cleanup, Supreme Court seeks lawyer rules on medical marijuana dispensaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii fish market © 2015 All Hawaii News
Environmentalists on Friday asked a federal judge to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service from allowing Hawaii-based fishermen to attribute some of the bigeye tuna they catch to U.S. territories. They argue the agency is enabling the fishermen to circumvent international agreements aimed at controlling the overfishing of a popular tuna species known as ahi. Associated Press.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii say they’ve identified a tiny newcomer to Hawaii that’s been settling across the islands with “remarkable” speed. The Sleepy Orange, a butterfly commonly found across the Americas — from the Southern United States all the way to Brazil — was first spotted on Oahu in 2013. It has since become common on Maui, and also spotted on Kauai, Molokai, Hawaii Island and even Kahoolawe. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court is seeking public input on whether to amend its rules to allow attorneys to help clients who are applying for high-stakes licenses to run medical marijuana dispensaries. The court’s Disciplinary Board issued a formal opinion last month saying lawyers shouldn’t provide legal services to help establish or operate medical cannabis businesses because that would assist in committing a federal crime. Civil Beat.

The IRS investigation into Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. also exposed some eye-popping spending in a politically connected corner of Hawaii’s business community that benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in federal subsidies and contributed generously to the campaigns and causes of many of the state’s leading politicians. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers have confronted the issue of how to allow charitable giving by candidates in a way that creates a public benefit but doesn't give incumbents an unfair advantage over those seeking to challenge them politically. Maui News.


Hawaiian Electric Co. has given the green light to nearly 10,000 rooftop solar systems on Oahu this year, and still the rush of applicants outpaces what the utility can approve. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents have until Oct. 31 to submit proposals to the Honolulu Charter Commission for improving the city and county government. As of Friday only six proposals have been submitted, but the commission chair still anticipates that the ultimate response will be similar to 2005, when 180 proposals were made. Civil Beat.

Is the City Violating the Law in Destroying Homeless People’s Property? As the ACLU launches a legal battle against Honolulu’s sweeps of homeless encampments, it points to a case in Los Angeles in which that city’s sweeps were ruled unconstitutional. Civil Beat.


A lawsuit claiming the state breached its duties to protect public lands used for the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area will go to trial this week. Filed by Big Island residents Clarence Ching and Mary Kahaulelio, the suit says the Department of Land and Natural Resources failed to ensure that munitions are cleaned up after military exercises as the Army’s existing 65-year lease for the lands between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa requires. Tribune-Herald.

Flooding that turned coffee fields into wastelands of rock this week has Kainaliu coffee farmers asking how the water can be managed in a way that doesn’t pit neighbor against neighbor. West Hawaii Today.

Only one Hawaii County Council seat will be open because of term limits next year, and two political neophytes are already planning to run for it. West Hawaii Today.


A Maui developer is seeking to create a largely rural residential subdivision near Lahaina on 271 acres of land zoned for agricultural use. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would provide a $75,000 property tax assessment exemption for landowners who rent to lower-income residents in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development voucher program was introduced Thursday by Maui County Council Member Robert Carroll. Maui News.

After 2nd Circuit Court implements its upgraded security system for Hoapili Hale on Oct. 9, all courthouse visitors will go through a single screening location on the first floor before they can enter the building. Maui News.


A Navy-funded project landed five scientists on a research boat in the waters between Kauai and Niihau earlier this month in an effort to learn more about the effects of sonar on whales and dolphins. Garden Island.

A group of homeless people in Lihue have set up a semi-permanent tent city in the forested lot between Walmart and Wilcox Memorial Hospital. The owners of the lot are in the process of clearing it and have given the homeless people who live in tent city three weeks to vacate the premises. Garden Island.


After dangerous winds and huge swells led to the cancellation of a world-renowned canoe race, stranding competitors on Molokai, some say Hawaiian Airlines increased fares in the rush to fly off the island. About 750 paddlers were left looking for flights off the island Saturday when race officials called off Na Wahine O Ke Kai, which is sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Associated Press.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bullish on the economy, Tropical Storm Niala forms, attorneys want to help marijuana dispensaries, Maui settles clean water lawsuit, Big Island pot sweep, Kauai gets solar project, Caldwell wants answers on rail costs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2015 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki shoppers © 2015 All Hawaii News
Hawaii economists are getting more bullish on the state’s expansion. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization is the latest group to revise upward some of its growth projections as the state closes in on a fourth straight year of record tourism and the construction sector continues rebounding. Star-Advertiser.

A tropical storm, located about 460 miles southeast of Hilo or 665 miles southeast of Honolulu, will bring heavy rain and high surf to the Hawaiian islands starting this weekend. Hawaii News Now.

The tropical depression expected to become Tropical Storm Niala is the 11th cyclone this hurricane season in the Central North Pacific, tying the record for the most such storms. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and former state Attorney General David Louie are urging the Hawaii Supreme Court to reverse an opinion barring lawyers from helping to establish medical marijuana dispensaries. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and former Attorney General David Louie have sent letters to the state Supreme Court urging the justices to change a recent opinion by their Disciplinary Board that warns attorneys against helping applicants seeking medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Civil Beat.

A group of 25 lawyers has submitted a letter to the Hawaii Supreme Court to reexamine a recent disciplinary board decision prohibiting lawyers to provide legal services to medical marijuana business hopefuls. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige didn’t reveal his stance on NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. to local business leaders at an industry event this week, nor did his director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which is taking part in the regulatory review of the deal. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Board of Education members will meet a few hours later than usual Oct. 20 in hopes of attracting a larger audience and encouraging greater public participation. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has the highest percentage of middle market businesses owned by non-whites in the country, according to a recent report from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet. Civil Beat.


Responding to rail leaders’ update that the project might cost even more and won’t stay on schedule, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking what did they know and when did they know it. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell would like some answers, please. After receiving a letter 10 days ago from the board chair and executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation detailing more than $200 million in potential additional rail cost overruns and a likely one-year delay in the project’s completion, he replied to both leaders with a letter pointedly asking for details in six areas. Civil Beat.

State and city officials are calling for a major overhaul of taxicab regulations, including more robust background checks and drug testing for drivers, creating a database to track arrests and revisiting the Honolulu Airport contract. Star-Advertiser.

Some Kailua residents may be sleeping a little better after the capture of a coqui frog. KHON2.


State police confiscated more than 6,700 marijuana plants on the Big Island during two recent eradication missions. West Hawaii Today.

After removing a large tent from Mauna Kea earlier this week, state conservation officers were back on the mountain Thursday taking down canopy-style tents that appeared to have been erected by Thirty Meter Telescope opponents. Tribune-Herald.

Two Mauna Kea protesters addressed the 14th annual Native Hawaiian Conference today.  They presented their own perspectives on why they oppose the telescope project. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Hilo-based aerospace agency plans to build a prototype for a launching and landing pad this fall that could help bring the concept of sustainability into space. Tribune-Herald.

Waimea residents are raising concerns about a former service station they say has become an eyesore in their community. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County could end up paying $2.5 million for projects to divert and reuse wastewater from Lahiana injection wells, under a settlement reached in a federal lawsuit over Clean Water Act violations. Maui Now.

Maui County has reached a settlement with environmental groups over penalties for releasing partially treated wastewater into injection wells close to Lahaina's coast. The settlement filed in federal court in Honolulu on Thursday requires Maui County to come up with safer ways to dispose of wastewater at its Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, said Earthjustice attorney David Henkin. Associated Press.

In the first two months of the fiscal year, the Maui Police Department spent more than 30 percent of its overtime budget, in large part due to protests over transports for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at Haleakala, officials said. Maui News.

Maui County Council Member Elle Cochran has filed a complaint with the state Campaign Spending Commission alleging illegal campaign coordination between a super political action committee and her former opponent for the West Maui residency council seat, Ka'ala Buenconsejo, the current county Department of Parks and Recreation director. Maui News.

The Maui regional board of the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. has selected Kaiser Permanente to take over operations of Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai Community hospitals. Maui News.

Fitch Ratings has assigned an AA+ rating to the following Maui County general obligation bonds. Maui Now.


Kauai Island Utility Cooperative turned on the island’s largest solar facility Sept. 10, the cooperative said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The Planning Department is updating the general plan, a comprehensive, long-range document that serves as a guide for future land use and planning decisions on Kauai. Garden Island.

Suzanne Case is in charge of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction of nearly 1.3 million acres of state lands, beaches and coastal waters, as well as 750 miles of coastline. But of the DLNR’s wide reach in Hawaii, it is Kauai with which Case feels a strong connection. Garden Island.