What they're saying about Hawaii

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Hawaii IT needs work, PUC nixes HECO biofuel deal, Kauai council doesn't require solar water heaters, Big Island redistricting road show begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Waikiki natatorium (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

A comprehensive assessment of Hawaii state government's information technology infrastructure reveals a system suffering from lack of investment and multiple inefficiencies. But it also suggests ways to improve it. Civil Beat.

A consultant hired to assess the state's information technology systems found that many state services are not being performed or were less timely because of excessive backlogs, a lack of staff and an absence of technical support. Star-Advertiser.

The latest disaster declaration signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie was a long time in the making, state records and interviews show. Hawaii Reporter.

The Institute for Human Services saw a nearly 13 percent increase in people using Hawaii's largest emergency shelter last year, but donations are down and badly needed federal and state money will dry up after December. Star-Advertiser.

The state Public Utilities Commission denied Thursday Hawaiian Electric Co.’s biodiesel supply contract with Aina Koa Pono LLC, according to a PUC docket. Pacific Business News.

State regulators rejected Thursday a controversial plan by Hawaiian Electric Co. to buy 16 million gallons of locally produced biofuel a year for electricity generation, saying the high cost of the alternative fuel was too much for ratepayers to bear. Star-Advertiser.

The state Reapportionment Commission has scheduled a special meeting next week to correct an error in the way the state's 25 Senate districts were split into two- and four-year terms, affecting two districts. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Co. announced Thursday it has signed a deal to buy up to 150,000 gallons of locally made algae-based biofuel to burn in its Kahe Generating Station as part of the utility's shift away from its reliance on fossil fuels. Star-Advertiser.

Inouye's Committee Recommends Reinstating East-West Center Funds. Civil Beat.

Honolulu has decided to the crumbling seawall around the historic Waikiki war memorial is enough of a threat to require immediate action. KITV4.

It’s time for the City and County of Honolulu to decide what it wants to do with the aging and crumbling Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial. Pacific Business News.

The first-ever National Diabetes Symposium is being conducted in Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio.

A long anticipated project to slow erosion at Kailua Beach has stalled. Hawaii News Now.

Discussion underway to fix flooding issues on the Waianae coast. KHON2.

Hawaii

The Hawaii County redistricting roadshow begins Saturday with six sample maps depicting how new County Council district lines could be drawn. West Hawaii Today.

With a Hawaiian blessing and the untying of a maile lei, the Keaukaha Military Reservation's Armed Forces Reserve Center was opened for business Thursday in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Damage to Kona Village Resort from the March tsunami reached into the tens of millions of dollars, CEO Patrick Fitzgerald said Thursday, but he is certain the iconic hotel will open again. West Hawaii Today.

Anyone caught importing live axis deer to Hawaii Island could end up spending a year in jail, according to a bill pending before the County Council. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given final approval to Maui County's consent order that requires it to improve the treatment of sewage at the Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant before it is disposed of in injection wells. Maui News.

While Hawaii's visitor industry was breathing a sigh of relief that March's earthquake and tsunami in Japan did not seem to have affected tourism for long, it seems that another aftereffect of the disaster is still beating on island shores. Maui News.

Kauai

The County Council’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee on Wednesday unanimously rejected a proposal to address a variance in a 2004 state law that mandates new homes be equipped with solar-powered water heaters. Garden Island.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawai‘i completed its final inspection on Sept. 20 for a photovoltaic (PV) system at Pacific Missile Range Facility, which is expected to generate 760 kilowatts of continuous power during the day when it is fully online. Garden Island.

Molokai

DHS Molokai Office Increases Staff. Molokai Dispatch.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New rental car tax nets $5M, Honolulu cleaning streets of homeless, Maui lures tourists, movie-makers, geothermal pitched for Big Island, hydroelectric for Kauai, top Hawaii government and politics news for web and smartphone

Humpback whale NOAA courtesy photo

A confirmed appearance of a humpback whale in Honaunau Bay this week marked the anticipated return of the gentle giants to Hawaii, as well as a reminder for all ocean users to keep a safe distance. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s leaders say allowing more visitors from a growing group of ready to spend Chinese holds enormous economic potential for destinations like Hawaii. Hawaii Public Radio.

Higher Rental Car Fee Generates Extra $5 Million. Civil Beat.

State Budget Solutions in its analysis of state budget trends during the past decade – reports that Hawaii is number 47 out of all 50 states in the “total of the state expenditures in a given fiscal year encompassing all state funds.” Hawaii Reporter.

What Super Committee's Automatic Cuts Would Mean for Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The federal government spent more than $20 billion in Hawai‘i for the first time last year. Civil Beat.

Oahu

A bill being introduced by Honolulu City Council members is expected to make it easier for city officials to remove the property of the homeless and others from sidewalks and parks. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee deliberated today on a resolution asking for new bids to build rail-cars for the city’s mass transit system. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu's unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in August from 5.4 percent in July, causing the city to lose ground in a ranking of metropolitan areas with the nation's lowest jobless rates, according to a report released Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For many Kapahulu residents and lawmakers Wednesday night was a chance to see for the first time conceptual plans for a new office building on Charles street adjacent to Leonard's bakery. KHON2.

It is a bittersweet day for customers as another mom-and-pop restaurant closes its doors, but the closure wasn't due to the tough economy. KITV4.

City vehicles that were set to be scrapped by Oahu Transit Services have instead been converted into HPD paddy wagons in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in early November. KHON2.

Hawaii

Hawaii's dismal voter turnout could be improved by allowing people to vote by mail, said South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford in introducing a resolution asking the state Legislature to set up a pilot program in Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island residents aggrieved with the Reapportionment Commission's decision to deny Hawaii Island a fourth Senate seat are making good on their threat to have the Hawaii Supreme Court decide the issue. Tribune-Herald.

Developing a public-private partnership to produce geothermal energy on Hawaii Island could lead to a $1.25 million annual public benefit, a geothermal development company stressed Wednesday evening in Waimea. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii's fastest-growing island is getting more police officers to patrol its swelling neighborhoods. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Army National Guard and Army Reserves are holding a blessing for their new joint complex in Hilo Thursday. Associated Press.

Maui

Maui County must fully disinfect all wastewater at the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility under a consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pacific Business News.

The new visitor industry marketing campaign is just beginning to reach the public, but in test views on the Mainland, the reaction has been just what was hoped for, Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau Executive Director Terryl Vencl told the Maui Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Maui News.

From producers and scriptwriters to casting consultants to contractors who rent pump trucks to empty the portapotties on location shoots, the nucleus of Maui's permanent film production business filled Kahului Community Center on Monday night. Maui News.

Kauai


Free Flow Power is preparing for its first round of community outreach meetings on its proposed hydroelectric projects for Garden Isle waterways on behalf of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative. Garden Island.

Molokai

In what appears to be a clash of Hawaiian and western cultures, some Molokai residents are upset that boaters who come to the island as escorts for canoe and other races are catching fish and taking other seafood from coastal waters. Star-Advertiser.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hawaii Supreme Court: teachers can strike, Lingle behind GOP coup, HGEA backs Hirono, Army to train on Mauna Kea, shipping prices drop, coral in danger, government and politics news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Supreme Court building (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The state Supreme Court rejected Tuesday a request by the Hawaii State Teachers Association to compel the Hawaii Labor Relations Board to issue a quick ruling on whether teachers deserve immediate relief from a new two-year contract imposed by the state. Star-Advertiser.

The Supreme Court of Hawaii has ruled that the teachers union has the right to strike once its current complaint before the Labor Relations Board is resolved. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state's largest public-sector labor union, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Jonah-Kuhio Kalanianaole Kaauwai 's decision to resign as chair of the Hawaii Republican Party yesterday is a victory for former Gov. Linda Lingle, and her followers, but not necessarily for local conservatives. Hawaii Reporter.

A closer examination of party finances under former chair Jonah Kaauwai shows that the Hawaii Republican Party owes tens of thousand of dollars for unpaid credit card bills and political mailers. Civil Beat.

The new chairwoman of the Maui County Republican Party said that while Jonah Kaauwai demonstrated he was a "very hardworking" and "admirable" person, his inability to raise money for campaigns led to his resignation Monday as chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Maui News.

Hawaii Congressional Delegation Hosts Fundraiser for House Hopeful Tammy Duckworth. Hawaii Reporter.

Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines lowered its fuel surcharge Tuesday by 3 percentage points. Pacific Business News.

The commission overseeing how the Department of Education spent federal stimulus money learned Tuesday that $115 million of it paid for teacher salaries. Hawaii News Now.

The University of Hawaii is proposing tuition increases for the entire state system beginning next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A City Council committee has put its stamp of approval on the installation of 34 security cameras across key sections of Oahu in preparation for the arrival of 21 world leaders and their entourages for this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative summit in Waikiki in November. Star-Advertiser.

Efforts made last week by members of Oahu’s North Shore community resulted in a stop to a proposed redistricting that would have made the Sunset Beach area a part of the Koolauloa district. Hawaii Independent.

Rail Transit Town Hall Meeting Draws Crowd. KITV4.

Hundreds of postal workers and their supporters converged at the state capitol, one of nearly 500 such rallies across the country Tuesday. KHON2.

Hawaii

A settlement reached Tuesday requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service to decide in about seven months whether 82 coral species will be listed as endangered or threatened. West Hawaii Today.

The state granted the Army a short-term "right-of-entry" permit to conduct high-altitude helicopter training on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Hawaii island next month, but said if the service wants to do the training in the future, it needs to do a full state environmental impact statement, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

A geothermal development company seeking a private-public partnership for energy production on Hawaii Island will hold community meetings this week. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island business and tourism officials told state senators how the Hilo side was wasting its visitor industry potential. Tribune-Herald.

County Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd issued a preliminary subdivision plan approval for the Villages at Aina Lea, despite the revocation of the property's urban land use classification. West Hawaii Today.

Christmas is coming early for lower Puna residents wanting to participate in the legislative branch of local government. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

For now it looks like F&H Construction has won the contract to build the new Kihei Police Station, according to county Department of Finance Director Danny Agsalog. Maui News.

The inaugural flight of an emergency medical helicopter to Maui Memorial Medical Center's new $3 million helipad drew more than two dozen people Monday afternoon. Maui News.

Kauai

A controversial county Salary Commission resolution squeezed through a special Kaua‘i County Council meeting Tuesday and is on track to become law next week after a split vote. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i County Councilman Mel Rapozo on Tuesday afternoon filed a complaint with the county Board of Ethics, requesting an advisory opinion on the actions of Boards and Commissions Administrator John Isobe and the county Salary Commission. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hawaii political maps finalized, GOP fallout, budget cuts for HHSC, Honolulu tax hike mulled, Maui shoppers adjust to plastic bag ban, Kauai seabird suit dropped, TNT hearings to conclude, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii GOP chair Jonah Kaauwai courtesy photo
Jonah Kaauwai, the embattled chair of the Hawaii Republican Party, has stepped down. Civil Beat.

Hawaii GOP In Dire Financial Need. Civil Beat.

Hawaii County groups that say their island deserves a fourth seat in the state Senate are challenging the constitutionality of new maps for the state's political boundaries approved Monday by the state Reapportionment Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Redistricting Panel Deals One Senator Bad Hand. Civil Beat.

The State Reapportionment Commission voted on its final redistricting plans today. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state attorney general's office now says three children died of abuse in Hawaii's Child Welfare Services system in the past decade — not one, as legislators were told last week — and some child advocates were stunned Monday to learn that deaths in state custody are not reported in Hawaii's Child Death Review. Star-Advertiser.

China's outbound travel market to the U.S. could grow to 5 million visitors in 2015 from less than 1 million last year if visa restrictions are loosened and more direct flights are added. Star-Advertiser.

Filling the tourist hole: Industry buffs look to big spenders from far away. Hawaii Independent.

Data from PV study isn't surprising, but still important. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

It's a controversial idea - raising the state’s general excise tax in order to create better commuting options for Oahu residents. KHON2.

The Honolulu City Council is expected to take action on a controversial video monitoring proposal leading up to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in November. Hawaii News Now.

USPS rally to be held at state capitol Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu District staff teamed up with the City and County of Honolulu Storm Water Quality Branch, State Department of Health’s Wastewater Branch and Clean Water Branch, Punahou School Mamiya Science Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Hawaii Nature Center and more than 100 Anuenue School students Sept. 22 as part of Oahu’s annual World Water Monitoring Day activities in the Makiki watershed. Hawaii Reporter.

Honolulu residents brace for the first round of traffic slowdowns from the rail transit project. KITV4.

Hawaii

Kona Community Hospital must cut about $1.1 million from its budget this year, after the governor's office ordered Hawaii Health Systems Corp. to cut payroll costs by 5 percent. West Hawaii Today.

Opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope rested their case on Monday after a three-hour hearing that featured a lengthy cross-examination of Kealoha Pisciotta. Tribune-Herald.

Overwhelmingly negative comments from Big Island residents were "inadvertently omitted" from a recently published Kahuku Village draft environmental impact statement.West Hawaii Today.

By the end of August, Hilo Harbor had welcomed about 9,000 more cruise ship passengers to East Hawaii than it had at the same time last year. Tribune-Herald.

In preparation for its upcoming deployment, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) recently conducted a Culminating Training Event (CTE).  The CTE allowed the 25th CAB and its subordinate battalions to train on mission critical tasks in order to increase their mission readiness. Hawaii Reporter.

Maui

More people are declining an offer of a paper bag at local markets as 30 percent of Maui County residents are now bringing their own reusable bags when they go shopping, according to a county study. Maui News.

Each year since just after WWII, they gather on Maui to remember their fallen brothers in arms and husbands, and each year they say there are fewer of them - members of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team - the most highly decorated unit in U.S. military history. Maui News.

Kauai

Conservation groups are dropping a federal lawsuit they filed against Kauai’s electric utility after deciding the company is taking important steps to protect threatened seabirds. Star-Advertiser.

Conservation groups on Monday dismissed the federal lawsuit they filed last year against Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative for violations of the Endangered Species Act. Garden Island.

The state has severed its relationship with Kauai Independent Food Bank, choosing instead to recommend that another agency, the Hawaii Foodbank-Kauai Branch, receive federal support to distribute food to agencies on the island for needy families. Star-Advertiser.

Five veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion were joined by a host of dignitaries, veterans, family members and spouses at the 66th Memorial Service commemorating not only fallen veterans of the 100th Battalion, but other veterans of all wars. Garden Island.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Groups eye Hawaii geothermal potential, Obama's mother Dunham gets museum exhibit, Japanese-American WWII vets honored, Honolulu rapid transit takes road show, domestic violence on Maui and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Kilauea Volcano (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Some officials think the Big Island could become the next Brunei, a small nation on the island of Borneo made extremely wealthy by its energy exports. West Hawaii Today.

Millions of dollars could be at stake in an emerging dispute over who owns the mineral rights to Hawaiian home lands that are being considered for the development of geothermal energy. Civil Beat.

The brave scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory have shared another round of compelling volcano video. Big Island Video News.

Should native Hawaiians living on Hawaiian Home Lands, or state lands set aside for native Hawaiians with a 50 percent or higher blood quantum, pay a lower property tax rate than other Hawaii residents? Hawaii Reporter.

Sunday's service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl recognized four World War II units, which were segregated for Japanese-Americans during the war: the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service and the 1,399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Star-Advertiser.

In a disturbing parallel, China in 2011 seems to have started down the same warpath that led Japan to attack the United States at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Civil Beat.

Years of economic downturn and the resulting cuts to invasive species spending are having consequences in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Class requirements are increasing for Hawaii’s high school students. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

President Barack Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, is recognized for her work as an anthropologist in Indonesia. KITV4.

Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC on Friday signed a 55-year agreement to lease a 30,000 square-foot parcel in Kakaako from Kamehameha Schools, where it will build and operate a pumping station and exchange facility for a seawater air conditioning cooling system that will serve downtown Honolulu. Pacific Business News.

A series of meetings across Oahu are planned to provide the public with information about Honolulu's planned rail line. KITV4.

Residents will have a chance to find out more about Honolulu's planned rail line starting Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Archaeological excavations along the planned rail route in Kalihi, downtown and Kaakako will prompt lane closures and detours — and might last from six to 10 months. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Load Up on Taser Ammo, Pepper Spray, Bean Bags for APEC. Civil Beat.

Plan to rezone an area in Kapahulu creating concern. KHON2.

Hawaii

Cattle ranchers, horse breeders and even prospective first-time farmers came here Sunday afternoon to inspect Hawaii County jewels that have gone unpolished for 17 years. Tribune-Herald.

On a sunny day in the near-shore waters off of the North Kohala Coast in Kawaiahae on February 15 of this year, Brooke Landt was conducting a commercial dive when she noticed another diver harvesting aquarium fish species. Hawaii Independent.

Imagine walking in the footsteps of King Kamehameha I's most elite warriors along the Waikoloa Stream taking in some of old Hawaii whilst getting some good exercise in a relaxing Waimea setting. West Hawaii Today.

Maui


The killing of a Santa Cruz, Calif., woman on Maui this month was the second domestic violence homicide in the state this year, with both involving tourists, domestic violence task force members say. Maui News.

While use is up by about 25 percent at Maui's only domestic violence shelter, the nonprofit agency running the shelter is struggling to maintain services with a nearly 41 percent cut in state funding. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i County Council had to suspend its consideration of a request to spend $75,000 on outside legal counsel for its case against Michael Sheehan regarding alleged permit violations in the operation of his Hanalei boatyard. Garden Island.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hawaii tourism takes a hit, zipline death could spur new laws, DOE mulls No Child Left Behind waiver, rodents take over Capitol, census shows pricey housing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Honolulu Spam Jam (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Hawaii's tourism industry has seen a pattern in recent months of lower visitor arrivals but higher spending by those who travel to the islands. Associated Press.

This year is still one of positive numbers for Hawaii's tourism industry, even though August's visitor totals fell short of those posted a year ago. Hawaii News Now.

Even though August visitor arrivals to Hawaii took their worst monthly drop in more than two years, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has set its sights on surpassing its peak arrivals and spending figures next year. Star-Advertiser.

Personal income in Hawaii grew by 0.9 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, putting the state in the bottom 10 percent nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported. Star-Advertiser.

Unemployment numbers for Hawaii are still below the national average but that’s no consolation for thousands of people across the islands searching for jobs right now. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii dwells near the bottom among the states when it comes to homeownership and renting, according to the 2010 American Community Survey. Star-Advertiser.

The death of a zip line construction worker Wednesday on the Big Island could lead to government oversight of the industry, which consists of at least nineteen operations on all of the main Hawaiian islands. KHON2.

The state Department of Education said it will do more research before deciding whether to seek a waiver to key provisions of the once-heralded No Child Left Behind law, which requires that schools meet rising annual proficiency goals or risk losing federal money. Star-Advertiser.

A local geologist is proposing a new way to warn people of the potential risks when enjoying Hawaii’s beautiful beaches, oceans and natural wonders. KITV4.

Sounds like the setup to a joke: Rodents have been discovered at the Hawaii state Capitol.Civil Beat.

Attorney General David Louie, Narcotics Enforcement Division Acting Administrator Derek Nakamura, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special-Agent-in-Charge Robin Dinlocker encourage the community to bring in their expired or unused prescription medications at various collection points from September to October 2011. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Aulani, a Disney resort and spa officially opened to guests August 29th, but that was nothing compared to the grand opening celebration Thursday night on the beach of Ko'Olina. KHON2.

State officials are having a cow over feral cattle that are tearing up vegetation in the Waianae Kai Forest Reserve on Oahu. Pacific Business News.

Some residents of Oahu will be represented in Congress and at Honolulu Hale, but not at the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Coinciding with the arrival of a lifescale, bronze sculpture depicting a famous World War II kiss, the Battleship Missouri Memorial is inviting visiting couples to “plant one on” for an opportunity to win a return trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii

The state Department of Education has a message for the County of Hawaii -- you need to comply with our impact fee proposal. West Hawaii Today.

Ownership, maintenance and the ability to collect user fees on the nearly completed Hawaiian Ocean View Estates well facility will soon be decided. West Hawaii Today.

Police get kingpin's money. Tribune-Herald.

Even a trip to the nut farm couldn’t help Roseanne Barr’s attempt at reality TV: Lifetime has canceled Hamakua-based “Roseanne’s Nuts” after one season. Los Angeles Times.

Maui

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission will likely face a legal challenge after it approved a redistricting plan that would prevent a state Senate seat from shifting from Oahu to the Big Island, commission member Tony Takitani of Wailuku said this week. Maui News.

Maui County Council members said this week they hoped to form an "investigative group" to study inequities in agricultural property tax assessments and to propose solutions. Maui News.

Rents for new tenants are lower at the state’s Honokowai Kauhale affordable housing project on Maui but they’re higher for longer-term occupants, the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. said this afternoon. Hawaii Reporter.

Kauai

The County Council on Wednesday returned to its original home, the 98-year-old Historic County Building in the Lihu‘e Civic Center Historic District. Garden Island.

Waimea High has received a new sound system in the school’s Clem Gomes Gymnasium because of a generous donation from the Gift Committee of Waimea High School Class of 1962, according to a news release. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hawaii has no worker safety regs for ziplines, Big Island fatality reveals, Ethics Commission clears lawmakers to accept APEC freebies, $29M park coming to Oahu's Sand Island, council kills impact fees again, ecotour operators feted, Kilauea on the move, more Hawaii news

courtesy USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Kilauea's eastern fault zone ruptured near Pu'u 'O'o for the third time this year, sending a flow of lava at least 11/2 miles to the east. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission agreed Wednesday that lawmakers could accept free tickets to some APEC-related events in November. Civil Beat.

Hawaii State Ethics Commission Executive Director Les Kondo says he doesn't get the "big brouhaha" over his position that members of legislative task forces are state employees — and subject to the Ethics Code. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers Investigate Prison Complaints. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers earlier this year declined to increase tax credits for television and film productions filming in the islands, but the proposal is still alive for the 2012 legislative session. Hawaii Reporter.

The Task Force on Public Charter School Governance approved a draft plan today that will be used as the basis to revamp the system. Hawaii Public Radio.

Fourteen Hawaii tourism companies have earned recognition as the state's first Certified Ecotour Operators through a standards program developed by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association to improve and protect the destination. Star-Advertiser.

A date has been set for the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American Veterans of World War II. Hawaii News Now.

Former Hawaii Republican Party Chair John Carroll announced today that he will run for the U.S. Senate, for the seat to be vacated by Senator Daniel Akaka. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

Canoe pavilions, a cafe, concession stands, restrooms, a marina and an ocean activity center are among the renovations the state is proposing in a $29 million master plan for Sand Island. Star-Advertiser.

A financially struggling slaughterhouse on Oahu, indebted to taxpayers, has been further imperiled after the two largest kama­aina supermarket chains decided to quit selling pork from hogs shipped live to Hawaii from the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

The leading opponents of Honolulu’s $5.3 billion elevated rail system are in need of some cash in their efforts to halt construction of the project. Pacific Business News.

West Oahu has waited 35 years for a new University of Hawaii campus, and soon that wait will be over. KHON2.

Hawaii


An impact fee would create too much impact for Hawaii County lawmakers to accept. Tribune-Herald.

Impact fees, which have been considered by the Hawaii County Council for decades, have been rejected again. West Hawaii Today.

One man was killed and a second was fighting for his life after a 30-foot zip line tower in Paukaa collapsed Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

Zip line operations have no workplace safety regulations in Hawaii, unlike other amusement rides. KITV4.

Hawaii County police on Wednesday received $140,000 in forfeiture money for the department's work more than five years ago on a federal methamphetamine trafficking investigation. West Hawaii Today.

Alahou Clean and Sober Executive Director Sandra McCoy is facing charges of assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct and possessing a controlled substance stemming from a July altercation in Mississippi. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Although state housing official Karen Seddon promised two weeks ago to decrease rents at a troubled Maui housing project, her agency now has ordered rent increases. Hawaii Reporter.

A Maui businessman confirmed Tuesday that he is proposing to develop a bottled-water plant in rural Waihee, adding that the project is part of a larger plan to acquire 490 acres in the area and preserve most of it from residential development. Maui News.

Maui County is looking for a contractor to design and install a midsized, wind-powered turbine to generate as much as 100 kilowatts of power for a water-pumping station in Kaupakulua. Maui News.

Kauai
County officials are reminding the public that an increase in the state motor vehicle weight tax and registration fee was approved by the 2011 State Legislature. Garden Island.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hawaii GOP in disarray, lawsuit protests Native Hawaiian tax exemptions, political firestorm over Senate districts, graduation requirements change, HNL airport woes, new helipad for Maui hospital, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

F-22 Raptor, military courtesy photo
The F-22 Raptors belonging to the Hawaii Air National Guard are scheduled to take flight Wednesday for the first time since the entire fleet was grounded back in May. Hawaii News Now.

Top Republicans in Hawaii are calling for the resignation of party chair Jonah Kaauwai.Civil Beat.

Saying the Hawaii Republican Party is broke heading into an election year, some state GOP leaders here are calling for the Republican State Chairman Jonah Kaauwai to be replaced. KITV4.

State legislative boundaries look increasingly likely to be decided by the Hawaii Supreme Court, two Big Island residents said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Monday's meeting of the Reapportionment Commission got a little strange. Two Big Island political rivals put on a bit of a show when one accused the other of trying to fix district boundaries to benefit himself. Civil Beat.

H. William Burgess, long known for his involvement in lawsuits challenging native Hawaiian entitlements, is now involved in a lawsuit challenging property tax exemptions for native Hawaiians. The lawsuit was filed on September 15. Hawaii Independent.

Republican John Carroll is expected to make an announcement regarding his possible candidacy for U.S. Senate. on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

A growing number of workers who took jobs during the economic slowdown to ensure they had a paycheck are now looking to trade up for better positions as employers increase hiring, organizers of the state's largest job fair said. Star-Advertiser.

Starting with next year's freshmen, high school students will have to meet tougher graduation requirements aimed at better preparing them for college or careers, under changes unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Education. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii public school students will graduate better prepared for college and the world beyond -- at least that's the goal behind new diploma requirements approved Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Board Unfazed by Ed Department's Reversal on Grad Requirements. Civil Beat.

Two children died while in Hawaii's foster care system in 2006, and another in 2008, but the grandparents of a 9-month-old Hauula boy who died last month under unexplained circumstances after he was taken by state officials say Hawaii's fatality statistics are too high. Star-Advertiser.

CONGRESS.ORG: How Hawaii's Elected Officials Voted - September 19, 2011. Hawaii Reporter.

The 8th International Women’s Leadership Conference was conducted with a sold-out audience in attendance today in Waikiki. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A free weekly newspaper in Honolulu nearly shut down last month. Thanks to some of its loyal readers, the Honolulu Weekly is still on news stands. KITV4.

Three Hawaiian Airlines flights were delayed Tuesday, and federal security workers had to rely on dogs and other methods to screen checked baggage after a Transportation Security Administration X-ray machine broke down — the fourth such device to malfunction in that section of the airport. Star-Advertiser.

The union that represented most of the Honolulu Airport baggage screeners disciplined for improper screening said it plans to appeal almost all the cases. Star-Advertiser.

Foodland Super Market Ltd. and Times Supermarkets have agreed to stop purchasing pork products from pigs that are transported live to Hawaii for slaughter. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

Despite police concerns, a bill allowing them to impound vehicles driven by intoxicated, unlicensed or fraudulent drivers was advanced out of a County Council committee Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Stretching the dollar as far as possible should be at the forefront of the state Judiciary's mind when it selects a site next year for the long-promised Kona Judiciary Complex, a state official said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Laupahoehoe High and Elementary will once again face the possibility of closure if efforts by community members to block its conversion to a charter school are successful, a Department of Education official said Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

Three unexploded ordnance have been discovered in the Hapuna Beach area since a cleanup began two weeks ago. KHON2.

Maui

Maui Memorial Medical Center's long-awaited $3 million helipad will be blessed Thursday, followed by a helicopter trial run next week. Maui News.

With separate interview rooms designed for children and teenagers and a lounge where families can wait, the Maui County prosecutor's office is offering crime victims a "friendly atmosphere" to meet with deputy prosecutors in its new Victim Witness Services office. Maui News.

Kauai

Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is in danger of losing nearly a third of the food it distributes to local agencies that feed the hungry. Garden Island.

The development of a county Human Resources Department seems like a hot potato everyone wants to eat but no one wants to hold. Garden Island.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hawaii budget up but workforce lags, Reapportionment Commission counting some military, but not enough to change Senate seats, Aina Koa Pono agrees to EA, ordnance removal coming to Maui as environmental groups object, songbirds moved to Laysan, more news

Gov. Neil Abercrombie courtesy photo
Despite growing its operating budget this year, Hawaii state government has yet to restore its work force to pre-recession levels, according to an analysis by Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

The Sierra Club Hawaii chapter and several other environmental and cultural groups urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday to withdraw an emergency proclamation that he made to help the Army Corps of Engineers remove unexploded ordnance, but the governor declined. Star-Advertiser.

About 16,000 residents, predominantly military members and students, will be excluded from the state's population base when the state Reapportionment Commission submits its final plan for redrawing state political boundaries. Star-Advertiser.

State negotiators had no explicit backup plan in the event that Hawaii teachers rejected their collective bargaining agreement in June, according to Don Horner's testimony before the labor board. Civil Beat.

The state of Hawaii has agreed to team up with 8 other states, the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor to crack down on business owners who they believe are improperly labeling workers as “independent contractors.” Hawaii Reporter.

Federal officials have moved two dozen endangered songbirds from Nihoa in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to Laysan 650 miles north in the hope they will establish a new population there and prevent the extinction of the species, officials said Monday. Associated Press.

Hawaii continues to be a hot travel deal, according to a popular travel company. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Don Horner, who has devoted more than half his life to First Hawaiian Bank and helped turn the company into the state's largest financial institution, will retire as chief executive officer at the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

Topless Protesters Don't Have Day In Court. KITV4.

The owner of the Kamehameha Drive-In property in Ai’ea is planning to develop it for mixed residential and commercial use. Hawaii Public Radio.

More than 60 laptops stolen in school burglary. KHON2.

Hawaii
A company that plans to build a biofuel plant in Pahala will commission an environmental assessment even though it's not required. West Hawaii Today.

Business has picked up at Hawaii County's Building Division, but that hasn't translated into jobs for the island's beleaguered construction industry, experts say. Tribune-Herald.

Protections built into a proposed impact fee ordinance and in state law should assure taxpayers that needed infrastructure will be built when new development puts a strain on existing facilities, Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann said Monday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

By the end of this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors will begin a $2 million investigation at the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve to assess the type and location of old, unexploded shells and bombs in the area formerly used for military exercises. Maui News.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proclamation that lets the corps bypass state laws to investigate and remove military ordnance helps gain access to state lands, but the corps still has federal rules to follow. Maui News.

Kauai

The Rotary Club of Kapa‘a along with a handful of local Kapa‘a residents spent Saturday morning removing ocean debris from the Kealia Beach area. Garden Island.

Molokai

A joint venture including Pattern Energy will bid on the proposed 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai as part of the so-called “Big Wind” project. Pacific Business News.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hawaii Tourism Authority targets North America, Oahu crime drops, Honolulu to host Medal of Honor ceremony, Kona donkeys arrive in California, garbage wars, sewage spills, pay freezes and other Hawaii news

Waikoloa resort (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is due to discuss its plan for marketing Hawaii in North America next year at a meeting this week. Associated Press.

Hawaii GOP Plans to Field CD2 Candidate. Civil Beat.

Most Hawaii State Senators Use Facebook. Civil Beat.

Local 'Ag' Strives to Meet Hawaii's Energy Needs. Civil Beat.

It's been touted for years, now it's less than two months until November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Hawaii. KHON2.

Oahu

Oahu's total crime rate in seven categories dropped in 2010 to its lowest level since Hawaii began using the federal standard 35 years ago. Star-Advertiser

The Honolulu Medal of Honor 2012 host committee announced Saturday that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society had selected Honolulu to host its 2012 national convention. KITV4.

The ACLU has protested the arrest of a topless protestor and her husband in Waikiki last month, calling the action unconstitutional and demanding that a citation against the pair be dismissed. Hawaii Reporter.

For 45 years, troubled kids have been going to the "storefront school" in Wahiawa to make up credits and get a little tough love — and a lot of encouragement — to make it to graduation day. Star-Advertiser.

Over the weekend, State Civil Defense director Ed Teixeira stayed in close contact with crews dealt the difficult task of removing a 7 to 10-ton boulder from along the ridge side above Niu Valley. KITV4.

The unveiling of the Turtle Bay master plan, called “Tomorrow’s Ahupua’a,” for the proposed development of the North Shore resort on Thursday was preceded by a sign waving rally held by opponents of the proposed large scale development. Hawaii Independent.

Honolulu was recently voted to the top 10 tattoo-friendly cities in the U.S. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Big Island garbage haulers are sliding further behind in more than $1.5 million of seriously past-due landfill fees to the county, but a Department of Environmental Management in disarray has so far done little to protect the taxpayers' interests. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaiians had a saying: "He i'a make ka 'opihi": The opihi is the fish of death. Tribune-Herald.

Most people have been on a plane with a few jackasses before. But 10 dozen donkeys on one flight? Associated Press.

Maui

Despite a rebound in tourism, Maui County continues to shed jobs well after the official end of the recession, economist Leroy Laney said. Pacific Business News.

Environmental officials are warning the public about thousands of gallons of wastewater that spilled on Maui’s North Shore. Associated Press.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and several lawmakers heard concerns about dredging Lahaina Harbor, understaffed state enforcement officers and other issues during two "listening sessions" Saturday on Maui. Maui News.

Maui's axis deer problem has become so bad that the introduced animals with no natural predators have eaten entire crops and cost some South Maui golf courses up to $10,000 annually for repairs to trampled grass, testifiers told the Maui County Council at Friday's regular meeting. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kaua‘i County Council plans to reconsider its decision on a resolution that would have frozen the salaries of most county officials for the next two years when it meets Wednesday morning. Garden Island.

County officials announced that long-time county employee Glenn Sato has been selected as the Kaua‘i County sustainability manager, a newly created position. Garden Island.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hawaii unemployment rate up, second Abercrombie Cabinet member resigns, Japanese message in bottle reaches Kauai, homeless camps airlifted off Diamond Head, Kona coffee lawsuit brewing, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hapuna Beach (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A hand grenade found Sept. 2 and a 57 mm Japanese mortar round discovered Thursday at Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area on Hawaii Island have been detonated by the Army Corps of Engineers as an ordnance cleanup continues there, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's unemployment rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent in August in yet another sign that raises questions about the strength of the state's economic recovery. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie's Human Resources director, Sunshine Topping, will leave her post Friday. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Barbara Krieg as interim director of the state Department of Human Resources Development after director Sunshine Topping resigned. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's latest graduation policy proposal that reverses a recommendation to reduce social studies requirements also goes against promises made in the state's Race to the Top. Civil Beat.

Russians Help Hawaii Hunt for Japanese Tsunami Debris. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo ended today in Honolulu. Some policy makers and planners asked why not use more volcanic heat to generate electricity in Hawai’i. Hawaii Public Radio.

They came by land and by air and in the end, more than 50 homeless campsites were torn down and removed along Diamond Head Crater. KHON2.

The state has ordered evacuation of 28 Niu Valley houses this weekend when two boulders — one of which weighs 7 to 10 tons and is likely to come loose — will be removed from a ridge above the structures. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii is considering raising tuition and on Friday the public will have the chance to weigh in. Hawaii News Now.

Lane closures related to nighttime soil sampling work for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project will begin Monday, September 19, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) announced today. Hawaii Independent.

Former Kaneohe Marine Awarded Medal Of Honor. KITV4.

The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday named three Oahu schools to the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools list. KITV4.

It's a decades old debate of how to go about growth while maintaining the north shore's unique environment and community.KHON2.

Hawaii


A spat involving Safeway and Hawaii coffee growers is still brewing, even after the supermarket giant agreed to change labeling on its Kona blend coffee. Associated Press.

In a modern take on the great land rushes of the 19th century, Hawaii County is preparing to issue agricultural leases for Paauilo lands that have sat idle since 1994. Tribune-Herald.

Kona Blue Water Farms Inc. will soon be no more. The company that marketed its farmed amberjacks as Kona Kampachi is dissolving. West Hawaii Today.

Only two members of the public showed up Thursday evening to a hearing in Hilo by the state Department of Health's Clean Air Branch on proposed new restrictions to open burning. Tribune-Herald.

With supply lagging, a slow economy, high gas prices and used car prices rising, some local automobile dealers said sales may continue to creep ahead or fall behind last year's numbers, but no one can be certain in a volatile market. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. presented formal requests to Maui County Council members Wednesday for the entitlements the company needs to build the Pulelehua housing development in Mahinahina. Maui News.

There’s been a lot of belt-tightening across the state in recent months, but nothing like what happened on Maui. Pacific Business News.

State officials are completing a report with recommendations for the East Maui Animal Refuge to obtain a wildlife rehabilitation permit in the wake of an inspection and the federal seizure of 17 birds from the Haiku facility last month. Maui News.

Kauai
County ends fiscal year with 160 jobs open. Garden Island.

A sailor participating in a beach cleanup in Hawaii found a message in bottle that had been dropped in the ocean more than five years ago by a Japanese school girl. Star-Advertiser.

An unexpected treasure was found underneath the sizzling sun on the beaches of the Pacific Missile Range Facility Thursday, discovered by Navy Petty Officer Jon Moore during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. Garden Island.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hawaii students fall behind, foreclosures drop, back to the drawing board for Reapportionment Commission, Oahu hotel planned, Costco expanding on Maui, more news for web and smartphone

Puna beekeeper Jenn Rasmussen, courtesy photo
Hawaii is home to an estimated 12,000 beehives, an indication the state may have reattained hive levels present before the arrival of many pests and ailments affecting honeybees today. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii students in all types of schools underperformed their national counterparts when College Board released its 2011 College-Bound Seniors report Wednesday. Civil Beat.

In response to strong concerns from teachers, parents and community members, the state is scrapping a plan to do away with one of four required social studies credits but will seek to put tougher diploma requirements into effect two years earlier than planned — starting with the class of 2016. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie should have notified the public after declaring a civil defense emergency in June to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contain unexploded ordnance, the governor's spokeswoman said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For Hawaii Island residents seeking a fourth state Senate seat, there is a glimmer of hope. West Hawaii Today.

Members of the West Hawaii community echoed concerns raised by their Hilo counterparts in urging the state Reapportionment Commission to change its decision to include nonresidents in the population count when redrawing the state's political boundaries. Star-Advertiser.

The inaugural Hawaii Counties Sister-Cities Summit was conducted today in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center. Hawaii Public Radio.

The number of Hawaii properties with foreclosure filings plummeted in August when compared to the same month last year, according to new data from RealtyTrac. Pacific Business News.

Nationally poverty numbers have increased, while the number of people living in poverty in Hawaii has dropped to 12.1% from 12.5% a year ago. KITV4.

Oahu

HPD Chief Kealoha held a press conference to discuss Tuesday night's crash. He reflected on the service of officer Eric Fontes, and the recovery of officer Herman Scanlan.  KHON2.

The City Council on Friday will again consider a proposal for a 222-room hotel next to the Polynesian Cultural Center that critics say would add to traffic congestion along busy, two-lane Kamehameha Highway. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu rail planners agreed to pay a Washington-based lobbying firm $1.5 million over a five-year period, according to a copy of the 2009 contract obtained by Civil Beat. Civil Beat.

The National Science Foundation’s International Research Experiences for Students program has awarded a $149,952 grant to Drs. Kenneth Hayes and Robert Cowie of UH Mānoa’s Center for Conservation Research, and a group of other international researchers. Hawaii Independent.

Fourteen months after merging Honolulu’s two daily newspapers and jettisoning more than 400 jobs, owner Oahu Publications began charging for access to the Star-Advertiser’s formerly free “premium content.” Honolulu Weekly.

Hawaii

A German television host hopes he's been able to barter his way to owning his own home right here on the Big Island. Tribune-Herald.

Before he left public office, then-Hilo Councilman James "Jimmy" Arakaki predicted vacant Waiakea Homesteads property eventually would become a long-anticipated neighborhood park. Tribune-Herald.

Snaring at Kea’au Transfer Station revives old controversy. Big Island Weekly.

Maui

The future of the film industry on Maui will be up for discussion. Hawaii News Now.

The Maui Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a special management area permit for Costco to expand its Kahului store, a project that would include a gas station and carwash. Maui News.

The University of Hawaii Maui College has received a nearly $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to work with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and private industry to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawaii. Maui News.

Kauai

Fight to eradicate little fire ants lasting more than 12 years. Garden Island.

Citing safety reasons, county officials closed the public parking lot at Shipwreck Beach in Po‘ipu as of Tuesday. Garden Island.